• KeithH
    According to the NZ Productivity Commission, "Workers in New Zealand work longer hours and for less reward than workers in most other OECD countries. In short, New Zealand works harder rather than smarter."

    This is to evaluate what influence health and safety, environmental management, and quality management have on work activities of New Zealand workers with the objective of determining what practical changes can be made.

    I'll collate all input and post the replies here.

    The questions are:
    • What is your definition of worker productivity?

    • What factors do you believe affect worker productivity?

    • What activities can or could improve worker productivity?

    • How do you measure employee productivity?

    • What tools/plant/equipment do you provide workers?
  • KeithH
    This is the current state of evaluating Worker Productivity.
    Comments would be appreciated.

    Definition of worker productivity
    The output measurement of a worker or group of workers within a specific timeframe.

    My original definition of worker productivity
    The effective output of a worker or group of workers in a given work environment who have instructions, resources, of sound mental wellbeing, focus without distractions.

    Factors affecting productivity - in no particular order
    • Workload
    • Conflicting dynamics
    • Individual/Team motivation
    • Work environment
    • Defined goals
    • Communication
    • Knowledge and training
    • Concentration
    • Well-being

    Activities to improve worker productivity - in no particular order
    • be appreciative
    • look at the big picture
    • collaborate and communicate
    • communicate regularly and effectively
    • cut out the excess
    • delegate
    • remove distractions
    • eliminate unnecessary meetings
    • give feedback
    • allow flexible working and time off
    • be goals focused
    • hire people, not CV’s
    • provide incentives
    • macro-manage
    • match tasks to skills
    • remove micro-management
    • on-boarding
    • optimise communication
    • optimise meetings
    • clear productivity metrics
    • recognise and reward employees
    • roster workers at the right times
    • support self-care
    • minimise stress in the workplace
    • allow telecommuting
    • provide time off
    • provide training and development
    • transparency
    • suitable workplace conditions

    Measuring employee productivity - in no particular order
    • The amount of work completed/ goals met
    • The quality of work completed
    • Amount of time spent on a task
    • Time-tracking software
    • Amount of profit

    Providing employees with the tools - in no particular order
    • Mobile app and data
    • Curated content
    • Surveys for feedback
  • Matthew Bennett
    It is difficult to deny that New Zealand’s productivity is lagging, and you’ve dived into an important question @KeithH.

    Routinely it is referred to as ‘worker productivity’ which I believe is disingenuous to the workers: daily I see people working hard for long hours across New Zealand. This language may have a (small) part in our inability to shift the numbers by placing the responsibility on the individual rather than on business.
     Many years ago I was taught an axiom that I believe has been forgotten: ‘You can stipulate the process or the output. Not both’.
     Put another way, if the task is to fell trees and the worker is given an axe they’ll get beaten by the company with a chainsaw.

    Aside from wondering if a misunderstanding of productivity is at influence, I see two drivers:
    1. The economy is orientated to low value commodities – Two of our biggest overseas earners are being exported for others to add the value: raw logs and milk powder.
    2. Businesses have not invested in production capability – we continue to give the worker an axe and expect them to swing it harder.

    There are several stand out exceptions to this (our machinery manufacturers are revered globally, and our software and gaming industry continues to amaze). I believe there are four steps to lifting our performance:
    1. Commit to the creation of higher value add products – take the raw materials and turn it into the highest quality finished item.
    2. Train and educate workers to think and have vision, then
    3. Liberate workers by setting an expectation of outcome. Get out of their way and let them find the best way to deliver.
    4. Invest in technology and production capacity. Any repetitive task can be automated, whether it be filling in a form or moving an object from point A to point B.
  • Clare Feeney
    Hi, Keith - great thinking! And Matthew's comments add great value to them. I hope my response is not too late! My response is much narrower than your scope, but touches on some of the points you raise. I've done some work around how productivity in the civil construction sector is sapped by incidents and near misses, and I show how you can add up the dollar value of environmental incidents and near misses under the following headings:
    [*] Upfront cash costs of an environmental incident response
    [*] Costs of incident recovery and extracting the learnings from environmental incidents
    [*] Counting the cost of opportunities lost
    [*] Communication, contractual, legal and PR costs
    [*] Costs of reputational harm
    [*] Business impact costs: valuation and viability

    The numbers for even small incidents add up very fast and I believe are an ongoing drain on productivity. And people tell me the indicators under each heading work really well for health, safety and quality as well.

    Ganesh Nana (CEO of the now cancelled Productivity Commission) has done some great work about how productivity should be counted across all the wellbeings (a bit like the broader outcomes in the government's procurement rules). See https://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/productivity-applying-our-taonga-to-deliver-wellbeing and https://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/articles/wellbeing-in-the-workplace-to-lift-productivity/.

    I hope this helps!
  • Steve H

    Matt, the Chinese Government pumps a huge amount in subsidies to turn some of our raw logs into re-exported "higher" value products, China’s processors also benefit from being larger and having fewer environmental restrictions such as the chemicals they use and how they dispose of them. It’s also less costly to ship logs than higher value products that would require more care to prevent damage.
    Another timber processing facility would be helpful for local log sales, (yes Betty we do sell locally if demand is there)

    4. Invest in technology and production capacity. Any repetitive task can be automated, whether it be filling in a form or moving an object from point A to point B.Matthew Bennett
    Yes, that's true, there's a former client of mine in Christchurch that builds robotic assembly lines for the whiteware giants of the world, their lines can be found in North America, South America, China, Europe.

    As far as moving objects from A-B goes, in 1978 a materials handling company I worked for at that time could automate it's forklifts and materials handling order pickers etc to pick and place items in a warehouse. If your A-B means inter plant, inter city movements then I fear you may have swallowed too much of Electric Jesus's cool aid, according to Mr Musk, self driving cars and his Electric Semi are always about 18 months away from production quantities.
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