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Fixing employee productivity in the industrial age, when most workers were handling machinery and it’s parts, was a tedious but doable process. The managers had to fix the people who were making mistakes or were inefficient through systematic management.
Today, in the age of software and intellectual property, when half of the workforce is made up of knowledge workers, the old practices are of no use.
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Employees also have other concerns that hamper productivity and efficiency. It may be personal problems, a lack of will to work, or any other factor not in a manager's control.
The basic productivity formula(productivity= output divided by input) worked well in the industrial age as the output and input were clearly defined and measurable.
Demonstrating that the company cares and values its employees makes them feel respected and creates reciprocating behaviour.
Earlier input used to be the raw material. In the knowledge economy, the input is a mixture of a diverse set of tasks, like attending meetings, creating a campaign, giving a presentation, retraining the task force, and so on. They all look like work, but not everything is productive.
In the new economy, knowledge workers have to manage themselves and have autonomy. They are no longer cogs in a wheel, but nodes in a neural network and their individual productivity is now more important than ever.
While assigning value to the output of knowledge workers, we cannot simply measure the output like before.
Human beings are complex creatures, and merely getting the best people together in a team does not make it successful or efficient. Optimization of a team requires it’s team members to work together by showing sensitivity and empathy towards everyone’s feelings and needs.
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