Hi Friends,
                                              Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.
                                                  There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"
                                       With regards,
                                       Hemen Parekh
                                       27 June 2013

Tuesday, 12 June 1984

PRODUCTIVITY-DRIVE

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).

12 Jun 1984

To:
Dear Colleague:                     

PRODUCTIVITY-DRIVE


Do you remember that we  conducted an "employee attitude-cum-compensation"  survey   some  18   months  ago?   An  outside consultant  (Marketing & Business Associates MBA) interviewed nearly  2500 unionised  employees  to  fill-in an  exhaustive questionnaire.  A comprehensive  report was submitted,  I had sent a copy  of the report to General  Secretary of our Union with a covering letter, nearly 15 months ago.

Since writing that  letter a lot  of things have happened  in Powai.  A 4-year settlement has been signed with the Union.

But certain things which  we would have liked  to happen, did not happen!   One of  the things mentioned  in the  letter (a copy enlosed  for your ready  reference) was -  Acceptance by the Union of the principle of "POST PERFORMANCE REWARD".

This is one thing we could not get through 10 The reward  has been 'given' but  the performance  has yet to be  "taken" ', And that is precisely what  is expected  of us now - "Take" the performance!

But the  employee must know what  (precisely) he  is expected to "give"! I can almost hear some of you thinking.

"Oh,  come now!  Don't  be  so naive!  You  mean  to  say the employees  don't know  what  is expected  of  them?  Everyone knows what he  (or she) is supposed to produce  at the end of the shift'."

I thought so too  - until I looked up table No. 20 of the MBA report, reproduced here.
                                      TABLE  20       
PRODUCTION  TARGET (FOR DAILY RATED EMPLOYEES ONLY)           
BY GROUPS

n =
SER
Total
552
937
202
147
1838
Opinion about
Production Target





1. Satisfied (%)
05
12
04
-
08
2. O.K. (%)
02
02
01
-
02
3. Not Satisfied (%)
05
10
03
01
07
4. Do not have production target(%)
88
76
92
99
83

Did  you say,  you don't  believe it  or you  do not  want to believe it?

I am not  surprised because all of us see  and hear things we like to see and hear.   Human beings have an in-built defence mechanism  that  pushes  out  perception  of  all  unpleasant experiences.

But  that does  not change  things.   If anything  it creates misunderstandings.  .

So it is  far better to face the "experience"  (no matter how unpleasant) squarely, and do something about it.

In the current  instance, tell your men  (and women) squarely what is  the production expected  at the end  of the  hour or the shift or the week or what-have-you!

And if an employee  continues to be a  "poor" performer, call him up and  tell him where he stands - without  mincing words (nicely  but  firmly).   Three  times  confront  him  in  the presence of the  shop-rep and fourth time in  the presence of the  concerned  Joint-Secretary.   They  have  agreed  to  be present  -  as  witness  -  so  that,  should  an  unpleasant situation develop  at a later  date, the employee  cannot say "I was not  told".  Some supervisors have tried  this out and they say it works.

Having found  out what the employee  think about, "production - targets",  if you are  curious to  know what  our employees think about.

-    Their ambitions
-    Their retirement plans
-    Present working conditions
-    Relationship with co-workers. Supervisors & Management
-    Level of satisfaction Fear of stagnation
-    Job content etc.

Please  do let  me know,  and  I will  circulate  to you  the findings of MBA, through a series of such letters.

 

H.C. PAREKH

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