Post Master General, Joel Brathwaite, has described as ???timely and appropriate??? the six half-day productivity seminars currently being held for 120 employees of the Barbados Postal Service.
While addressing the official opening of the Productivity Best Practices seminar at the General Post Office today, Mr. Brathwaite said: ???Sometimes I get the real feeling that the gravity of our crisis is not known or felt by the average worker, and hence, there is no great attempt to change the status quo.
???I am, therefore, confident that this seminar will serve as an eye opener as to why, at every level of government institutions, there must be the drive to be more efficient in what we do, although in many cases, the level of output is determined by the quantum of the input.???
He acknowledged that the economic experts had at times expressed vastly different methodologies and solutions needed to resolve the economic challenges, but the consensus among them is that there is a need for greater productivity across the board.
???The dilemma that exists in government is, ???how do you get employees to become more productive???, especially those who see appointments as security of tenure, written in the law of the Medes and Persians, which could not be altered; and have no desire to do more for the same pay. This challenge often is a de-motivator for the ???hard worker??? who sees the worker at the other end of the spectrum, doing little or nothing, but similarly being rewarded ??? getting his salary regardless,??? Mr. Brathwaite stated.
He expressed the view that the concept of productivity in service-oriented organisations such as the Post Office presented greater challenges. ???We can set targets and timelines for our ???pipeline??? operations, that is, from postage to delivery. However, productivity will not be achieved if it is not linked to some other element, and let me hastily add that money does not always have to be that link,??? he remarked.
However, the Post Master General stressed that there were intangible things that could be done to motivate employees to be more productive.
Manager of Training and Development at The Productivity Council, Shawn Callender, told the media that the Productivity Best Practices workshop was part of the Department Adoption Training Thrust programme, designed to create productivity awareness and advocacy.
Mr. Callender said that given the economic situation and the focus on productivity, it was necessary for The Council to address these issues in a practical manner. ???So, we came up with these programmes to help public sector and statutory corporation employees become more efficient and effective and focus on quality as well because quality is a very important element when it comes to productivity???
???We still need to have departments and agencies working better, managers motivating their employees to produce more and we believe there must be performance measures in place in order for productivity to improve, because without performance measures, it is very difficult to say whether productivity is improving or not,??? he added.
He stressed that there were some workers in Barbados doing very good work. ???But, what they need is encouragement, they need reinforcement, they don???t need persons to be constantly telling them what they are doing wrong. We need people to start telling them what they are doing right,??? he underscored. He urged employers to recognise the good work of their employees by offering non-cash incentives and congratulating them for a job well done.
Mr. Callender noted that The Council offered a number of programmes, including GET UP! and one for young school leavers, and he said the response to them has been encouraging.
???Many departments are coming on board because they are now recognising the importance of productivity and helping employees to understand what productivity and work ethics are all about. We are encouraging more organisations to get on board with us, so we can push the message of productivity further??? so that everybody knows what productivity is because it is not about working harder, but working smarter,??? he said.
The training at the GPO continues tomorrow and will end next week Friday.