Why Should You Care About Productivity?

I’ve had several people email me in the last few days about the U.S. productivity figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics a few weeks ago.  Great news.  3.2% increase in the first quarter.  But not quite where we were in 2002-2003 with levels over 4%.  One quarter in 2003 had over 8%!  That’s when we were all working like dogs, when everyone was afraid of losing their jobs, before employees screamed "enough"!

But still it’s absolutely amazing that we can sustain this level of productivity.  Fundamentally, why should you care?  Well, why does your organization care about  productivity? In order to be successful, your organization must both make money and save money. To make money, it must find and keep customers. To save money, it could reduce benefits, staff or salaries; it could reduce the quality of its products; it could cost costs and expenses. Or it could improve employee productivity.  So improving productivity looks like a pretty good option.

So why should you care about productivity? The main reason is that you don’t get laid off <g>. But seriously the benefit is that by becoming more productive, overworked employees can get the same amount of work done in less time and leave the office earlier. Employees get a life, and organizations get to keep them. The organization doesn’t have to hire as many people when productivity improves, theoretically putting the money back into salaries, resulting in more money for each person.  Not to mention the economy benefits.  Not sure you’re feeling the increase in money part yet, but you will. 

The pendulum is swinging, and retention will once again be the battle cry in a couple years.  Keep up the good work!