Treat the Causes, Not Symptoms at Workplace to Drive Productivity

This article originally appeared on Saudi Gazette.

A year into their jobs, how many employees still have the unbridled energy and enthusiasm that they brought with them to their first day on the job? How many still believe they can make a difference?


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Unproductive routines, corporate bureaucracy, and “administrivia” kill ambition and sap energy for far too many employees. That’s demoralizing for employees, and a waste for companies, which badly need the full energy and commitment of all their workers.

The novelty of any new job will wear off, but employees can remain energized and engaged if companies attack the true causes of organizational drag—all the practices, procedures, and structures that waste time and limit output—not just the symptoms. The symptoms may seem to be minor annoyances and inconveniences that could be wiped out without much effort—too much process, too many meetings, meaningless goals, and time wasted on work that no one will ever care about.

But those symptoms stem from fundamental problems. Companies wind up in trouble and squander the time, talent, and energy of their workforce when they lose focus, spend money on things that don’t make a difference to employees or the future of the business, and use operating models that are out of whack.

Read the full article at Saudi Gazette.

Joe Rahi is a partner in Bain & Company’s Middle East offices and a member of the firm’s Global Organization practice.