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How to drive workforce productivity

While improving productivity of workforce is high on the management’s priority, it is also a challenge to track and measure workforce productivity. Therefore, it is important for organisations to look at measures to ensure that people are enabled to drive organisational performance
Today, in an increasingly competitive scenario, maintaining and improving workforce productivity is extremely crucial. Organisations need to constantly train their employees in order to help them keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment. Improving workforce productivity is the real underlying challenge for an organisation. “Maximising employee productivity is a challenge as well as an advantage for any organisation. If a firm can optimise its employee performance, it will not only have a positive influence on its financials but also impact the other pillars i.e. organisation culture, innovation quotient, and employee relationships.
It is definitely achievable to enhance productivity if an organisation follows the basics. Manpower planning, clarity in terms of deliverables sought from an employee and objective evaluation of output are key to enhance productivity. At the same time, ensuring that employees are engaged and actively feel part of the organisation’s growth process would ensure that the company has a highly productive base which is more than willing to take the challenges of the organisation on its own shoulders,” says Surbhi Shweta, head-HR, Mirae Asset Global Investments.
It is important that enhancing and maintaining employee productivity is a continuous exercise to ensure that it becomes an inherent part of the organisation’s culture. Kronos recently conducted a survey on the challenges HR faces and where productivity figures in the list. The results revealed that improving productivity of the existing workforce was the topmost priority for as high as 84 per cent of survey respondents. What are the key factors that affect productivity? “Today, most organisations do not have automated means of managing two of the most important factors that impact workforce productivity:  manpower planning and scheduling, and employee absenteeism.
It may be surprising to know, but inaccurate manpower planning is the most significant factor in comparison to employee absenteeism that affects employee productivity.  Up to 76 per cent as per the Workforce Productivity Survey feel that the execution of a business plan can be severely affected by not having the right people for the right roles at the right time,” states James Thomas, country manager, India operations, Kronos.
While striving to improve workforce productivity, it is essential for organisations to ensure job satisfaction. This would lead to creation of a motivated workforce which gives its best in improving the overall productivity of the organisation.  “Some of the factors that help in improving productivity are, the work environment; leadership/managerial skills of the senior team; ability of the organisation to offer challenging and growth oriented opportunities to employees; investment the organisation makes in training and development; technology; adaptability of processes,” adds Arvind Laddha, chief executive officer, Vantage Insurance Brokers & Risk Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
Though driving workforce productivity has traditionally not been a HR departments’ prerogative, how can the HR department help an organisation? “Primarily the HR department needs to understand the business of its organisation and its nuances. Once the minuscule details of the organisation are understood, their approach towards work and workforce will change significantly. It is essential for them to be in sync with the business strategies of an organisation,” mentions Ashish Arora, founder & managing director, HR Anexi.
The cost of human capital has been and will continue to be on an upward spiral, while need to offer the same or better product/service to the customer at a lower price is also a reality of the marketplace. It is natural therefore that improving workforce productivity is the only way to ensure that organisation wins in the market place.

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