Musings On Productivity

Jamaica Observer

What you see is what you get (WYPIWYG)

Dennis Chung
Friday, November 30, 2007

WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) is a computer terminology that refers to the way in which a file is output in relation to how it is viewed on the monitor. As it says, what you see on the monitor is the way the file will be output. Before WYSIWYG technology the representation on the screen may have includedreferences that would not be shown on the output.

Based on this I have coined the acronym WYPIWIG, what you pay is what you get. And I think of this mostly in relation to the way we approach human resources in Jamaica.

Sometimes when I see ‘Butch’ Stewart, he proudly refers to the fact that his hotel workers are among the best trained in the world and attributes this in large part to the success of his chain. In fact, he will tell you that on occasions when he visits a hotel overseas he will see one or two former Sandals workers in management positions. His philosophy: hire good people and watch your business grow.

Recruitment process

This of course is one of the biggest problems in the public and private sector. Many hirers believe that the way to business success is to spend as little money as possible on human resources, so that the greatest effort in hiring is to try to get someone with acceptable qualifications for the lowest cost. The result, of course, is that the ‘critical thinking’ required to perform the job better than the competition, and driving the company to new levelsof efficiency, is missing.

They would much rather spend the money on internal training, fixing errors, or marketing, than getting someone very capable who will prevent such expenses. Is there any question then as to why we have companies that find it difficult to compete internationally?

Some years ago a very senior manager said to me that the main advice he would have for someone is hire good people, irrespective of how long they stay with you, as the value they could add in a year far outweighs the value a mediocre person adds in five years. When that company was facing challenges (driven by global changes) it was the quality of the human resources there that turned it around, and today it is one of the more successful companies.

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