Relevant skills + productivity = competitive resource
Does your employer need the work done which you are doing?
Are you delivering better productivity than what can be got from a replacement hire, an external entity, or automation?
The answers to these questions will help you assess the durability of your current job; and the actions to take to ensure continuing employment, within our outside your present organization
Is your work relevant to your employer?
Over time they change what work gets done, how it gets done, and where new investments get directed
These changes create opportunities for employees to learn new skills, do different work, and be more relevant.
On the flip side they also create redundancies in activities and in the people performing them.
If the work which you do for your employer is no longer required, you are unlikely to be a productive resource.
To continue working for the same employer, reskill to deliver work output which is relevant. Alternatively, take your existing skills to organizations which will see value in them.
Relevant yes – but are you also productive?
Understanding how your individual or team’s productivity benchmarks with available alternatives is the first step towards identifying areas of improvement and becoming more competitive
Productivity = Output / Cost
a. Output or deliverables include both direct and influenced deliverables. In addition to their own output, individuals or groups may have a contribution to the output of others. As an example, the actions of a supervisor have an impact on the output of her/his team. Similarly, initiatives of a brand building or marketing team may generate business leads which translate into sales. Wherever it can be measured with a level of confidence, the impact on the output of others should be added.
b. Timeliness of output - The timeliness of the output of some individuals or groups can affect revenue generation or cost avoidance. The sooner a data center migration is completed, the earlier the old data center can be shut off and the costs of running it be saved. Similarly, the sooner a product is delivered, the faster it can be taken to market and create revenue. If it can be measured, add the impact of the speed or timeliness of output into the productivity equation.
c. Input or Cost = Paycheck ++ - Costs go beyond the paycheck. They include cost of benefits provided (healthcare, paid leave, reimbursements, in-office benefits like subsidized meals), payroll taxes, supervisory costs, costs of infrastructure (tools, space, equipment). They also include costs of travel, training and similar expenses which facilitate work performance.
d. Quality of output - The quality of output determines if and how much rework will be required to get it done right. Any costs associated with rework need to be added.
How do you benchmark vs. competition?
Having done an assessment of individual or group productivity, the next question is how it stacks up vs. peers or alternative options.
Both individuals and groups can be benchmarked with others performing the same work in the organization (or school. Remember grading on the curve!), or with those in peer firms.
Benchmarking can also be done with available options of automation & outsourcing.
This exercise serves more than one purpose. It helps identify what & who could be alternatives to existing individuals or groups, their productivity, and the practices being followed to facilitate productivity & effectiveness.
Get better – continuous productivity improvement
A benchmarking exercise can reveal that the incumbents are more, equally, or less productive than alternatives.
Option 1 - Enhance the productivity of the incumbents
The benchmarking process helps identify opportunities for productivity improvement by making changes to existing processes or emulating good practices being followed by peer companies.
The first action is to assess how much productivity boost these actions can yield and the investments required.
If resources are available, and the productivity boost merits the cost and effort, then there is a case to invest in incumbents.
Investments first tend to get first directed towards the more productive resources, the par or better than par performers. These are resources which organizations want to retain them and will make investments in to keep them performing at a high level.
Option 2 – Retain or replace
What if the efforts and investments in process improvement and other enablers are not likely to be sufficient to make incumbents equally or more productive than alternatives or the business case does not support the investment?
This is when decisions will be taken whether to retain or replace
The less disruptive path is to find means to enhance the productivity of incumbents and often organizations will even take a decision to live with a slightly lower productivity to prevent disruption and loss of morale.
This may delay the inevitable. In the course of time, the less productive will get replaced.
Individuals or groups are a productive resource when their output is required by their organization and they are equally or more productive than alternative means of getting the same output.
Reskilling is important to stay relevant to the changing needs of organizations.
So are ongoing efforts to ensure that productivity is on par or better than alternative options.
Those equally or more productive than alternatives are more likely to be retained and attract investments from their employers.
Be aware of the relevance of your work and competitiveness of your productivity vs. alternatives. Reskill to stay relevant and make (or get funded) ongoing investments to enhance personal productivity to stay ahead of competition.
You may want to read Keep an eye on the budget funding your job
You may also want to read Is your job at risk from automation or outsourcing?