PM Lee warned Singaporeans of the economy’s weak productivity after registering a negative 0.5 per cent performance for the third straight year.
Mr Lee reiterated that economic growth remains important for Singapore. While it is “not the be-all and end-all”, growth helps provide resources to improve on social well-being and social safety nets for citizens. (CNA a few days ago).
Well productivity has been a problem here since the days when he became DPM in 1990.
He has tried all the Hard Truths to improve it and failed.
Productivity: The New Age way
Less fear (including fear of losing job to cheaper FTs) and shorter working hours are the key to increased productivity
Life@Work: Why Fear Kills Productivity It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear, Tony Schwartz writes in the Life@Work column.
As the productivity expert Edward Deming once put it: “Drive out fear, so that everyone may work more effectively and productively.” It’s in any company’s self-interest to create a culture that minimizes fear. Obvious as that seems, it isn’t always the intuitive move.
In the endless quest to minimize costs and maximize efficiency, companies demand more of us than ever. But the fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed that result often push us into survival mode, bring out our worst instincts, and actually diminish our capacity and effectiveness.
Trauma theory has applicability here. “A continuum exists between mental health and mental illness related to the degree of stress a person is forced to endure,” writes Sandra L. Bloom,a psychiatrist and leading thinker in the field of trauma. “To develop normally, children require environmental stress sufficient to promote skills development and mastery experiences (positive stress) combined with sufficient buffering to prevent them from being overwhelmed.”
Adults are no different. The enemy of sustainable productivity is not stress. Rather, it’s the absence of intermittent rest and renewal — and not just physically.
At the emotional level, the most powerful source of renewal is the experience of feeling valued and appreciated, which explains why studies consistently show that the most engaged employees are those who answer “yes” to the survey question “My boss genuinely cares about my well-being.” When leaders deeply care, it serves their own interests as well as their employees.
Conversely, leaders who express anger, frustration and impatience – even in relatively small doses – may prompt action, but those emotions also drive their employees into states of fear and survival. People perform best when they feel best. Leaders’ negative emotions not only leave a long tail, but also progressively deplete the reservoir of capacity and motivation their employees bring to the table.
Reducing hours, say, from 55 to 50 hours a week, would have had only small effects on output. The results are even starker when we are talking about very long working hours. Output at 70 hours of work differed little from output at 56 hours. That extra 14 hours was a waste of time.
“Of course longer hours reduce productivity. As an employer I am certainly under no illusions about that. Above a certain threshold, longer hours ultimately reduce output and increase employee churn. But my experience is that the threshold is well above 40 hours per week.”—on “Proof that you should get a life”, December 9th 2014