Improving Organisational Productivity

After a lot of comments in LinkedINĀ on factors that effect productivity, at what we would call micro level relating to specific leadership/supervision and management practices (which is relevant), Maxumise felt it was time to elevate the issue to what we see as initially strategic, organisational and structure issues including defining the ideal contribution – 13th May 2014 Maxumise Consulting Pty Limited responded: At the macro level this is a strategic and organisational issue not an individual or even departmental issue. We find the biggest constraint on productivity is the lack of a well-defined structure including the definition of the “contributing elements” i.e. position descriptions. The definition of the position must include the Outcomes (not a shopping list of poorly defined activities or tasks); quantitative Performance Measures (which empowers the employee when we appoint them) and then we can define the outcome based competency (and attributes) needed to produce the outcome at the standard specified by the performance measures. Now we have a comprehensive specification to recruit against or assess the existing employees. A case study we undertook for a retail group which started with defining the positions in the outcome based competency approach and when we assessed the top 19 managers only 2 were competent but half had been recruited in last 3 years against a “gut feeling” of what they wanted, not a quantitative and definitive system – they put more effort into buying a photocopier than they did designing what they needed before recruiting a departmental manager reporting to the CEO. Yes the right structure and capabilities needed are dependent on a clear strategic direction and understanding of the corporate risk. The bottom-line is, if you do not have the people power at the level you need it and where you need it then the “people machine” is not going to produce to the level it should and you are losing productivity – it needs serious maintenance or in some cases, like the case study, complete overhaul which was not the employee’s fault it was clearly a management issue of poor practices. If we need to bring these down to three (3) items, they would be i) Strategic focus with dynamic current, future and transitional structures reflecting the progressive direction; ii) having a futuristic outcome based approach with success measures and competency complexity identified and iii) integrated and supportive HR programs including acquiring the right HR asset, rewarding right and an empowerment based performance management system which is the key to maintaining our HR resources. If you wish to receive a copy of the case study that was printed in RetailWorld 7th June 2013 I am happy to send it to you if you give us your email or it is on the web site and LinkedIn profile.

Max Underhill Managing Director Maxumise Consulting Pty Ltd