Hi everyone, as we all know, the 2015 Singapore Budget was recently announced and a few of the points that were highlighted reminded me how pertinent organisational behaviour is. The budget especially got me thinking about the attitudes and motivations behind both employees and organisations regarding productivity efforts.
The budget this year emphasised on innovation and productivity in the workplace. I’ll be focussing specifically on productivity in this post.
The Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme (PICS) benefits companies as they will enjoy tax deductions or allowances should they engage in any of the 6 activities that has been pre-set. One of the activities are sending employees for upgrading courses for continuous learning and an increase in productivity. However, I feel it’s important to keep in perspective the difference between the benefits that the organisations receive and the benefits that the employees receive and realise that while employees should in theory have a skill that they can takeaway, companies may have the wrong motivations behind sending employees for skills upgrading courses.
There needs to be a measurement or survey in place to ensure that employees that are being sent for skills upgrading want to attend such courses and have a positive attitude towards learning instead of being ‘forced’ by their organisations to attend such courses for the sole purpose of a higher profit margin.
As we have learnt in class, attitudes are evaluative statements or judgements about something, in this case productivity and workshops that are meant to upgrade skills and hence productivity. Employees opinions need to be heard before being sent for such courses and given a choice as to the type of workshops that they will be attending. Allowing employees to choose exactly the skills that they will be upgrading gives them greater autonomy over their work environment. Should organisations have a specific skill that they require to be picked up, a dialogue session first would seem to be more helpful in ensuring that each employee that does go for workshops that will increase productivity goes for them with a positive attitude.
The importance of considering the attitude that employees have towards productivity is paramount when one considers that perhaps an individual feels he/she is already the most productive out of the group or that they will ever be. Sending such individuals without a feedback dialogue to productivity workshops may be counterproductive considering their potential reluctance to learning. On the other hand, an employee may have chosen their current employment by considering person-job fit and not person-organisation fit. Which means that they joined a company with the thought that they would be a perfect fit for the job and are happy with the skills that they have as they entered. Employees should have a say in what productivity measures are undertaken by them and not be ruled by the fact that the organisation would have a higher profit margin and hence everyone needs to go to workshops.
While tax allowances/deductions are motivators to the organisation to ensure employees undergo training to fulfil the PICS requirements, they will not be welcomed by employees that have no control over the workshops, as mentioned above. Why? This can be explained by the self-determination theory which states that the lack of control over the activity that one engages in, undermines his/her motivation in partaking said activity.
Pending what employees value from their work, the lack of control over their working environment could cause a negative effect on their perception of their work and ‘de-motivate’ them from putting in their fullest potential. Which is the opposite of what the budget wants to have happen.
The Singapore budget allows organisations to think about how their profit margins can be increased with schemes and regulations. But, how organisations behave towards compensation towards employees will also have an effect on employee’s attitudes towards the organisation. For example, pay structure is a consideration for many employees. In class we have already discussed money as a motivator. However, organisations in implementing the rules that they will set regarding productivity also needs to be flexible such that they re-look at their compensation structure to ensure it fits with their new rules. Organisations that make use of the piece-rate pay system currently need to realise that employees may have a negative outlook towards workshops as that means hours away from work and hence lower pay. A more appropriate structure perhaps could be skill-based pay that rewards employees based on the skills that they have acquired.
Impact yet to be seen
The effects of the 2015 budget remains to be seen on the behaviour of organisations and the effect on the core of organisations, employees. However, organisations need to take into account the attitudes and motivators of employees before insisting on skills upgrading purely for profit purposes.