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Productivity Issue
Human Resources » HR Metrics & Measurement

Chrm Message From: tashu Total Posts: 45 Join Date: 15/08/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/11/2006 00:59:17 Points: 225 Location: United States

Dear Colleagues,

We are facing some productivity issues in our company. Our engineers are working on some project. They were asked to pre-pone the delivery date but managers say that their team members are too burdened, but actually it has been observed that some of them spend a lot of time in leisure activities during and after office hours. I feel that we have disguised unemployment in our company. I don’t know how should I increase the productivity of my employees and make sure that everybody’s potential is used at the max.

Looking forward to have inputs/suggestions from HR/ People’s experts.


Chrm Message From: Jim Watson Total Posts: 27 Join Date: 15/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/11/2006 04:27:16 Points: 135 Location: United States

Dear Ms. Tashu,

The following is my immediate reaction, which need not necessarily be accepted or rejected. I'd really love to hear from our fellow members too on their views.

The aspect of software professional employees spending time at work and indulging in leisure is typical in the industry particularly in India.

Having said this I must hurry to let you know that it depends on the place of work, the technology, the career growth, the environment the compensation, the organized leisure activates organized by the company, apart from the numbers at work.

There is no readymade solution to this, except that you begin to plug the holes and look into the future. I do not see that anything can be done immediately, but yes it can surely be done over a period of time.

Just read one of our experiences. To quote an example, we used to offer net connectivity to everyone working with us 24 x 7 x 365, but quickly we realized there were people who had their Yahoo. Messenger boxes open, chatting, exploring etc. In fact, most of them were chatting with multiple people and also group chatting. This used to choke our bandwidth on the server. We called all our people told them that we will curtail the offer to just 12 hours instead of the earlier 24 and then the net will be available for their use from 7.00 PM to 7.00 AM. Those who didn't like, left the organization, those who accepted are still there and like the way it is working for them.

Permit me, but I'm not really concluding nor am I judging, but must let you know that there are a few contrasts observed. For instance you say "We are facing some productivity issues in our company….. " and in the end part of the posting you say, "I don't know how should I increase the productivity of my employees and make sure that everybody's potential is used at the max…"

Let me not mince words – HR isn't responsible by itself. The Project Managers, the Organizational Manager, have to work along with HR to evolve strategies to keep people motivated, and to help the productivity. Leisure could be replaced by "learning" after all everyone would appreciate value-addition to their lives. You must be able to identify "Champions" among the working professionals who can bring about the desired change.


Jim Watson

Chrm Message From: archanahr Total Posts: 29 Join Date: 15/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/11/2006 04:36:39 Points: 145 Location: United States

This area is sometimes a grey area we HR professionals are often strictly asked to layoff the operational matters as we are often told that we don’t understand the nuts and bolts of business so we shouldn’t make comments etc..This is true to some extent and I always make a point to work in that position for a day to understand the nature of the job.


1. Focus on the Managers – make them undergo time management programes.

2. Collect the data as pertaining to previous projects in terms of a. Nature of projects – new & existing b. Number of IT professionals involved.Time taken to complete in your organization. Problems faced and how solutions were found.e. Profile of the IT professionals involved.This should create a reasonable data and should be presented to all Managers for review and comments.(Please don’t say that the reason is to tackle disguised unemployment- this will derail this process.)

3. Benchmark with other company’s projects details, here you have to work closely with the IT professional to get the data. Also this information is available during interviews as well.

4. Have a software dashboard on each PCs to note that the time & status of the projects worked during the day and review report to Manager.This has been implemented by Infosys.

5. Request Top Management to consider incentives if the projects is completed before due date or on time.

6. Before the project commences – clearly put on record the time & parameters.

7. Implement initiatives to make their place a little more exciting and buzz like a piped music or recreation rooms for beating stress or TV to watch a match for a while – of course they need to have a internal discipline to maintain a balance.

8. Analyse what prevents them to perform even better.

Hope this helps you to some extent :)

Warm Regards

Chrm Message From: proftandon Total Posts: 101 Join Date: 15/08/2006  
Rank: Leader Post Date: 13/11/2006 04:42:47 Points: 505 Location: United States

Here is my personal observation: We can't increase the efficiency, but yes, productivity can be incresed by ensuring the follwing:

1. The schedules should be tight enough to ensure that people no time to waste.

2. Visible encouragement should be given to those who spend least amount of time in non- productive activities.

3. People should be made directly accountable about the missed deadlines, if a manager is trying to cover for his team's inefficiency, some statistics about the amount of time not spent at desk by the concerned tream members would be si\ufficient to make him start "managing".

4. HR dept should act like a firm and disciplinarian parent in such cases.


Prof Tandon

Chrm Message From: troger Total Posts: 21 Join Date: 15/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/11/2006 04:45:55 Points: 105 Location: United States

I would say almost the same as what my other colleagues have stated. However, I would also add that it would be the onus of the Project Managers / Team Leaders to see why the employees are spending their productive hours in leisure activities. You need to sit with the employees who are indulging in such activities and know the reasons, leading to creating such environment in which each employee feels that it is his responsibility to be productive during office hours and also that they realise that whiling away during office hours is counter-productive both for themselves as well as the company they are working for.

In my previous company, we gave uninterrupted net connectivity to all our employees but we had never faced any problem with the employees whiling their time chatting or doing other unproductive activities. We, i.e., the Project Managers along with the HR, just ensured that the employees had enough tasks on their hands to work on during office hours, not withstanding their role or the team on which they are presently working in. If the team they were working on was having a little less to do, then they were temporarily shifted to another team to help those employees who were a bit loaded with work. The point to note here is that we kept the employees engaged.

I do agree with other's in saying that each company has its own set of problems and there are no ready made solutions to those problems which are common to every company. Each company has to evolve its own methods to overcome the problem it is facing.

Hope to have clarified your dilemma.

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