Published in El Pais, 26 June 2021.
The world is very competitive and many companies try to improve the productivity of their staff to the maximum extent. There are many ways that we learn in human resource management theory to improve staff productivity. But this theory is applied in different ways in the world, perhaps anchored in the culture of each country. Which one works best? One should look at the World Bank statistics on worker productivity (with purchasing power parity) in the last ten years. Among the first countries are Norway, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Sweden, the United States, Belgium, France, Finland, the Netherlands. And among the most productive sectors are mining and the financial sector with up to 200 times the productivity of other countries.
What do they do differently if we only focus on two aspects: good treatment and the use of technology? Still, this way of working expects results, but to achieve them they give a good deal. This good treatment includes boss-employee collaboration to get the best out of the worker and help him achieve what is expected of him while assuming part responsibility for the results (good or bad). Perhaps it helps the fact that there is no effective hierarchy (colleagues working) in which communication is fluid and without fear of constructive criticism.
In other countries, among the most mentioned reasons that lower productivity are: fear of the boss’s screams, expectation of a deception in the work process, toxic behaviors to ruin the other, lack of recognition for a self-controlled job (over control ), salary discounts for whatever reason, a lot of hierarchy and lack of a way of working that has a balance between work and personal life (all day working).
What about productivity in times of COVID-19? Countries that have not adapted to working from home with new technologies (managing tasks, projects, times, etc.) will surely be worried about the big drop in productivity. Today it is seen that companies in the education and health sector are the most affected, especially in comparison with the countries that did adapt. Today, the countries that adapted are showing high productivity that did not affect their population since the quality or pace of work did not drop. In fact, many companies will continue to work hybrids (from home and office) after COVID-19 as this system worked very well.