How to raise workplace productivity in China

New management culture to engage employees

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There is a huge but largely hidden opportunity to improve workplace productivity and, by doing so, overall economic productivity.

The pervasive level of wastage evident in the workplace should serve as a wakeup call for executives and managers to ensure that they have understood the nature and extent of this issue in their own workplaces.

New management culture

Gone are the days when China was just the world’s factory, and so too must go the old command-and-control management culture.

The new management culture must be one that seeks to engage employees in the broader corporate objective.

As we’ve seen, productive workplaces are ones that best track business and individual performance, that most effectively incentivize productive employees.

A systematic and comprehensive approach to improving operating practices will build upon and reinforce improvements in human resource management. These improvements – such as developing an integrated planning model, standardizing operating processes, or unifying intraorganizational communication tools – enable companies to execute faster, with higher quality and at lower cost.

Bolstering productivity in the workplace will in the end be good for companies’ bottom line, good for workers’ incomes and work-life balance, and good for long-term economic growth.

Questions for management

  • Do you know how your people are spending their time?
  • Do you actively measure employee engagement, i.e. an employee’s involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with their work?

Efficient operational processes

  • Is enough being done to remove all wasteful non-value work?
  • Do you have an ambitious program for process automation?
  • Have you fully leveraged lean (modern) processes in your workplace?
  • How do you go about fixing problems and improving workplace processes?

Effective performance management

  • Do management dashboards effectively report your organization’s productivity key performance indicators in real time?
  • How useful is your organization’s performance dialogue to solving problems?
  • Are performance targets effectively communicated to employees? Are they realistic (neither too easy nor too hard)?
  • Can your organization deal effectively with problem workers or poorly performing parts of the business?

Aligned and relevant incentives

  • Do you know what motivates your employees the most?
  • Is compensation linked to specific productivity measures (i.e. not just cost savings)?
  • Is senior management rewarded for attracting and developing talented people?
  • Are you developing and utilizing the full talents of your workforce?