Wednesday February 27, 2013
Malaysian workers lack performance culture, say experts
By NICHOLAS CHENG
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian workers lack performance culture and generally spend half their working hours on matters unrelated to their job, said experts.
Leaderonomics chief executive officer Roshan Thiran said the laid-back working culture was partly to blame for the country's low labour productivity.
“We tend to mix our working hours with bonding with colleagues and relationships whereas in other countries, working hours are made full use of,” he said.
He advised employees to perform self-audits to identify unproductive activities in the office that drained their working hours.
A check by The Star with several human resource practitioners revealed that Malaysian workers in general only spend four hours in a regular nine-to-five work period being productive.
Another two hours are spent on social networking sites or browsing through the Internet, whilst long lunches, cigarette breaks, tea breaks and office chatter make up for the other two hours.
Malaysian Employment Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said our low productivity levels could drive away investors to neighbouring countries.
Shamsuddin said the unprofessional attitude among workers was in stark contrast to high-performance nations which encouraged a professional working culture with a focus on developing human capital.
“Some here have the so long as I show up to work, it's enough' attitude, which shouldn't be happening,” said Shamsuddin.
Human resource consultant Dr Asma Abdullah said Malaysian culture generally regarded the workplace as a social unit where work and social interaction mixed.
Meca Employers Consulting Agency executive director Dharmen Sivalingam said some employers had difficulties addressing their under-performing staff.
“Malaysian employers generally find it hard to converse with their employees on the matter of their productivity. It may be because they don't want to be put in positions where they have to confront their subordinates,” he said.
Sivalingam also said workers in foreign countries were constantly under probation which keeps them performing at their best.
He said managers need to develop a proper key performance index system and see to it that employees understand how they are being assessed.
Minister: Create conducive setting