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Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Andrew Downes, has said that training and a stable macro-economic environment, are just two of several critical factors the country needs, to increase its productivity level.
“A research done in Jamaica suggests that organisational development, human resource management, training, re-engineering, and a stable macro-economic environment, are critical in increasing productivity in the country,” he pointed out.
Speaking at the just concluded three-day Productivity Conference, held in Kingston and Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Professor Downes said whilst the country required those key elements to drive productivity forward, poor management and worker distrust are two of the main factors that have contributed to the country’s low levels of productivity.
Other factors include growth of the informal sector, deficiency in the educational training system, outdated machinery and plant, and absenteeism.
Professor Downes stressed that with increased productivity and improved quality of products, all stakeholders would benefit immensely, through increased sales and increased profits.
“Companies that benefit will improve their organisations. Employees will benefit through better wages and salaries, incentives, and better working conditions. Society in general will benefit, as Government revenue will increase, as growth in output usually means increase in tax revenue, and that allows you to build all the things you want, such as better roads, lighting systems and educational facilities,” he added.
According to Professor Downes, an additional strategy that should be employed to increase Jamaica’s productivity, which has proven successful in Barbados, is a productivity improvement Gain-sharing Scheme.
“This scheme will involve human resource management, but to get a gain-sharing scheme in place, you have to bring all the elements to the table,” the Professor emphasised.
Gain-sharing is a formula-based company or factory-wide bonus plan, which provides opportunities for employees to share in the financial gains made by a company, as a result of its improved performance. The formula determines the share by reference to a performance indicator, such as added value or another measure of productivity. In some schemes, the formula also incorporates performance measures relating to quality, customer service delivery or cost reduction.
This system offers the possibility of all stakeholders being equally committed to the well-being of an organisation and sharing fairly in its success. Such schemes can work in practice, if a few basic rules are followed, and if the scheme is sufficiently simple to be open and transparent to all stakeholders. The purpose of a gain-sharing scheme is to motivate employees to high performance and perhaps, create loyalty, which ensures retention of key skills.