Introduction and Contextualization
Productivity is generally regarded as the ratio of production inputs and resources to outputs, of an acceptable quality standard. Given the Covid-19 induced proliferation of remote (work from home) cultures, organizations are under pressure to craft unique and innovative productivity improvement strategies across business value chains and the productivity architecture.
- Workforce Productivity as a HRM Scorecard KPA
Workforce productivity is generally one of the Key Performance Areas (KPA) included in HRM Scorecards, for which HR Managers are annually held responsible. Typically, the related Key Performance Indicators (metrics), include:
- Human Capital Return-on-Investment;
- Human Capital Value Add;
- Profit/Revenue per full-time employee and
- the number of HRM-initiated productivity improvement programmes.
- L-A-D-I-O approach to organizational productivity improvement
In order to achieve the set performance targets in each of these metrics, I recommend the adoption and application of Cotter’s L-A-D-I-O (2019) approach to organizational productivity improvement:
- Lean Structures
- Agile Processes
- Digital Systems
- Innovative (Intelligent) Behaviour/Organizational Culture
- Optimization of Resources (by means of the 4 E’s of resource management, namely):
- I-Q-C-A-P levers of business performance
In their perpetual quest to transform and actualize to become Strategic Performance Advisors, I suggest that HRM must be instrumental and at the forefront of the I-Q-C-A-P drivers of business performance, namely:
- Agility and
- Processes (to optimize productivity)
- Evidence-based HRM philosophy
In order to be feasible, to prosper professionally in 2022 and to be future-fit in a business unusual employment landscape, I advise that HRM will have to exchange the currency in which they
trade from old notes to noteworthy, Industry 4.0 and business relevant denominations and value. Specifically, this change translates from
- 1 feelings to facts;
- 2 anecdotal to analytical;
- 3 hindsight (descriptive) to insight (diagnostic) to foresight (predictive and prescriptive analytics);
- 4 business tributary to mainstream;
- 5 intuition to intelligence;
- 6 best practice (universal) to best fit (organization-specific) to next practice (future-proof) i.e. leapfrogging from imitation to internalization to innovation and ultimately,
- 7 a cost to a profit centre.
Generally, this 7-point transformation means an upgrade to Evidence-based HRM
“Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has a meaningful impact and is contributing to the good of society.” — Larry Page
6. Business executive expectations of the roles of HRM
According to Cotter (2021), business executives expect HRM practitioners to fulfil the following 10 key roles:
- #1: Catalytic Driver of organizational Change
- #2: Proactive Business-minded Thinker
- #3: Collaborative business management Consultant
- #4: Purpose-directed Coach (of line managers)
- #5: Delivery (value-adding and results-oriented HRM practices)
- #6: (Credible and Accountable) Performance Advisor
- #7: Strategic Facilitator and Enabler
- #8: Innovative Solutions Architect (and trouble-shooter)
- #9: Digital Futurist and -Analyst
- #10: (Future-focused) Organizational Behavioural Economist
their agenda with the business agenda. Positively influencing workforce productivity presents a golden opportunity to facilitate this transformation.
Based on my research, I anticipate that the next 3 years culminating in 2025 will be a profession-defining time period for HRM practices. In retrospect and reflection, it will either be regarded as a golden era in which HRM was able to transform to a Strategic Performance Advisor (i.e. yardstick of excellence) or worst-case scenario, be the age of HRM extinction (i.e. graveyard of mediocrity). Metaphorically, either Jurassic Park (resting place) or Disney World (podium place). HRM will either get in business sync or the profession will sink.
HRM cannot continue to perpetuate a culture of mediocrity, but has to accelerate a culture of meritocracy. HRM has to harmonize and converge
Dr Charles Cotter
Dr Charles Cotter is an independent global blended learning practitioner and L&D strategist. He is currently the facilitator of the Prospen Africa Human Resource Management Training programme (F2F and/or online).