Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, is calling on members of the private sector to assist the Government with improving worker productivity in Jamaica.
According to the Minister, it is through improving worker productivity on an annual basis that Jamaica’s national productivity will increase.
Senator Reid was speaking at the opening ceremony for Productivity and Continuous Improvement Conference 2018, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (October 24).
“If each of us in our respective organisations were to increase individual worker productivity, then national productivity [would] be increased. I believe the first step along that road is for each of us, as leaders of organisations, to take a look in the productivity mirror and ask ourselves these questions: ‘Am I being as productive as I need to be’, and ‘Do I inspire productivity’,” Minister Reid said.
He pointed out that low productivity has been a very big challenge for this economy for a very long time, adding that the Jamaica Productivity Centre reported earlier this year that since the early 1970s, labour productivity in the country has declined an average of nearly 1.5 per cent a year, “meaning that the average Jamaican worker has been progressively contributing less to national economic wealth over the past 40-plus years”.
The Minister also called on managers to constantly motivate staff. “There are some organisations where the happiest time for workers is closing time, and the saddest time is opening time. It is not that the workers are lazy; there are even some workers who get anxiety attacks on Monday mornings, because they know that they will be going into a job environment which is controlled by a vindictive micromanaging boss,” he said.
Senator Reid said research has shown that one of the best approaches to raise worker productivity is the careful cultivation of a work environment where learning is a treat and not a task. “Help create a positive environment where people want to come to work every day,” the Minister encouraged.
The conference was arranged by Make Your Mark Consultants (MYMC), and was being held for the second time.
According to Managing Director, Make Your Mark Consultants, Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, the conference was designed to meet the needs and build the capacity of the public sector and private enterprises.
“MYMC continues to advocate for an assessment of our readiness to capitalise on the numerous opportunities being presented to our beloved country. Most organisations continue to struggle with unacceptable levels of productivity, which result in low output and underperforming assets. We need to assess our levels of justification of the standards we have chosen to accept, live with and implement,” she said.