Improving Productivity through People

Article excerpt

Improving Productivity Through People

Modern businesses face three major challenges: improving quality, improving productivity, and competing in a global marketplace. In its struggle for success and continuation, every business directs all its human, capital, and material resources to meet these challenges. But gaining the competitive advantage increasingly depends on improving productivity at all levels--on investing in our human resources.

In their book, Productivity: The Human Side, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton identify seven means for improving human productivity: pay, selection of the best worker for the job, scientific management approach, worker training, supervisor attitudes, motivation, and participation in decision making. Only if combined and applied synergistically, however, can these human resource methods improve employee performance and productivity.

The career, earnings, description, evaluation, and training (CEDET) model is a synergistic method that, when combined with others, stimulates continual improvement of each "human asset."

At the heart of the model is a people-centered commitment to organizational success by improving productivity through employee growth and development. The CEDET model is not a quick fix. Time, an environment conducive to change, commitment from upper management, and human and capital resources are mandatory. The process yields tangible results in return for this investment: ] a means for identifying career paths in the organization; ] a salary or wage structure based on specific job tasks, skill levels, and working conditions; ] an objective, performance-based evaluation and appraisal program; ] identification of training requirements for each job and implementation of training programs to improve employee skill levels; ] a detailed job description for each position.

More important are the expected outcomes of improved productivity, greater commitment, and a more cohesive, cooperative organization.

How does it work?

The CEDET model draws together principles of four distinct disciplines--education and training, industrial engineering, human resource management, and counseling and guidance--into one systematic approach for achieving organizational success through people. Regardless of which functions are responsible for these disciplines in the organization, they are interrelated.

The trainer uses occupational analysis, task analysis, and training needs assessment to organize the job, explain what is expected on the job, identify training needs, and develop training programs. The human resource manager uses job duties identified in occupational analysis to develop job descriptions and establish a performance evaluation program that measures individual productivity. The industrial engineer draws on the results of task analysis to establish a wage structure using the quantitative techniques of job evaluation. The guidance counselor evaluates the outcomes of the occupational analysis relative to specific jobs as the basis for career pathing. The professionals responsible for these activities will need to work together closely.

Using the model

You can construct and apply the CEDET model through the following nine steps: 1. Identify the occupational cluster.

An occupational cluster is a group of jobs related by the kinds of materials and equipment workers use or the technical concepts involved. Based on the role that each group of jobs within a cluster plays in the organization's purpose, segregate the target population into groups that meet the criteria of the occupational cluster definition. 2. Identify specific jobs.

Segregate specific jobs into the appropriate occupational cluster by job title. A specific job is a collection of duties performed in a specific job position. 3. Identify job duties.

Identify the job duties required within an occupational cluster and assign a skill-level code. …