The Consequences of Worker Productivity: Passing Thoughts
The US Department of Labor recently reported that "Worker Productivity" continued to rise during the fourth quarter of 2011, as it has been doing for a few years now.
I visit many organizations in a variety of settings, and this is fairly consistent with my overall perception - people are working harder and worker longer hours. The natural consequence, whether we like it or not, is that dissatisfaction is up. This may or may not be true in your particular organization, but it is a general sense that we have experienced.
Increased dissatisfaction usually results in new decisions - quitting, transferring to a new job, etc. However, as we all know, jobs are scarce, and people are staying put. I cannot tell you how many times, when I have asked someone how they are doing, their response was, "Well, At least I've got a job." (As if that's all they've got, and they are not too happy with it, either.)
What does this mean for the future? First of all, no one is currently complaining much about it, since the job market is low (and therefore nothing is being done about it.) But that means that there could be a deep well of resentment that is just not being surfaced. None of us has to retake that high school Physics class to learn what happens when pressure builds up within a closed system.
Most of the consequences may not actually occur during the bad times, but when it starts to get better. When people believe that they have more options, only then will they begin to voice their concerns or risk exhibiting behaviors that they would not consider when they feel more vulnerable.
Further, it is safe to say that if there is widespread dissatisfaction (with limited movement between jobs), then it is certainly likely that there will be a great deal of turnover in many organizations if the economy and job market improves, that could impact those organizations critically. It is a possibility that many organizations may want to prepare for now.
Marc McElhaney, Ph.D.
CEO, Critical Response Associates