Employee Performance and Productivity
Real wages cannot go up faster than productivity does. The wealth and wellbeing of society depend on the productivity of its workforce. No major industrial nation has had worse productivity improvement than the United States during the last two decades: not Great Britain, not Italy, not France, and certainly not Japan or Germany. Although the United States remains the worldwide productivity leader (both total and per capital), the effects of losing that leadership in industries such as automobiles, shipbuilding, steel, and consumer electronics have led to serious economic dislocations for employers and employees. These dislocations will spread unless productivity improves relative to that of our trading partners.
Competitive advantage increasingly is found in the creativity of employees. Tapping that wellspring may be the best hope for both emerging and mature industries. As a sign in a Union Carbide plant observed: “Assets make things possible; people make things happen.” those top performers will need sophisticated career planning assistance, training, flexible working hours, and flexible compensation systems-systems that proactive professionals are already designing and testing. The Challenging Role of Human Resource Management