Productivity or Job Security – Do We Have to Choose?

This article "Why US productivity can grow without killing jobs" in the McKinsey Quarterly made me stop and think this morning since improving employee productivity is such a big focus for us inside Intel IT and we see our role as facilitating productivity and business efficiency as a core function and an IT best practice .

Over my career, I see three conflicting emotions or perceptions about productivity

  • Management is always trying to drive productivity and efficiency - hey, that is their job .. make the business go faster, cost less and be more competitive.
  • A common fear is that if we improve worker productivity or efficiency is that someone, somewhere will lose a job.
  • Yet, we (or at least I) feel really good when I can get more done and as individuals we are rewarded for it in our performance reviews.

The McKinsey article talks about the short term and long term effects and I found it interesting history lesson. 

So what can or should IT organizations do about productitivity.  My opinion -- Embrace IT, Drive IT, Create IT and Enable IT.

IT plays a huge role in driving productivity amongst employees.  Inside Intel IT our management team sees Employee Productivity as one of Four core ways that IT delivers value to business.  In the 2010-2011 Intel IT Annual Performance Report, CIO Diane Bryant shares why, as well as how we are taking innovative steps in IT investment, operations and solutions to bolster productivity. These range from supplying richly configured mobile business PCs as a standard computing platform, enabling and allowing personal devices to access corporate services for flexible work models, enabling collaboration tools, deploying social media platforms and implementing IT service desk solutions that proactively look for performance issues across our PC fleet to find, detect and correct issues before they happen.  Additionally, we are using IT to accelerate the time it takes to design and build next generation micro-processors and, the time it takes to respond to customer change orders in our supply chain and finally, to improve the automation processes within Intel's factories.

The result. Intel employees are more productive and Intel's business is more competitive. 

I'm all for increasing productivity - and IT plays a key role in making it happen. I agree with the McKinsey article findings, driving productivity increases the capacity for new business opportunities - which, in my mind, grows business and creates jobs - not drive them away.

Do you Agree:

  • Is productivity good or bad?
  • Does IT have a role?


For more IT Best Practices on creating Business Value, check out the home of IT @ Intel at