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Factors That Impact Productivity

Is there any logical grouping or hierarchical order of the factors that affect talent management? For example: imprecise career paths, engagement, skills development, subjective performance assessments.... Are there rules about which ones are foundational and which ones get built on the foundation?

—We Need a Solid Foundation, training and development program leader, telecommunications, Montreal

September 16, 2013
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Dear Solid Foundation:

You pose an excellent question. In all, there are 20 total factors that impact output. They are:

  1. A great manager
  2. Effective plans and strategies
  3. Clear and prioritized goals to focus the work
  4. Rapid learning and “best practice” being shared
  5. The correct motivators, rewards & engagement
  6. The “right” employee skills
  7. Two-way communications
  8. Performance metrics
  9. Quality team members from great hiring & retention
  10. Collaboration for innovation
  11. Employee is placed in the “right job”
  12. The work environment is designed  for productivity
  13. Enough time is devoted to the task
  14. Identifying, and removing, barriers to productivity/innovation
  15. Integrated talent processes
  16. Information for decisions
  17. The right tools/technology
  18. Quality inputs/materials
  19. Enough budget/ resources
  20. Outside-of-work factors

Every organization is different, but the No. 1 factor that affects talent management is universal: managers.

Think of it: poorly skilled managers are the primary cause of low productivity, low innovation, low engagement – and high turnover. The next most powerful impact factors are rapid learning and being permitted to "do the best work of your life." Firms like Apple Corp. are highly successful, despite a relatively harsh and secretive management approach, simply because the work itself is so important and exciting.

Many surveys also list unclear career paths as key factor in engagement, although firms like Apple and Google Inc. are productive and innovative despite having notoriously imprecise career paths.

It’s also true that the performance-appraisal processes is mentioned as being too subjective, but this is true at almost every firm (except in the rare cases where managers rely on metrics and data, rather than opinions in their assessment) The Gallup organization has a list of 12 productivity factors that have been developed over many years which many people find to be quite accurate.

SOURCE: Dr. John Sullivan, San Francisco State, September 4, 2013

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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