The World Today
By Alexandra Kirk
Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012 3:32pm AEST
Photo: Bill Shorten says happy workers could add to the nation's productivity. (AAP: Penny Bradfield) Map: Australia
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says happiness is the key to boosting productivity in the country's workforce. At a speech on Thursday night, he called Australia's productivity performance over the past decade woeful. He says the solution is for employers to stop blaming unions and labour laws and look instead at increasing the happiness of their staff. "I'm not naive. Not everyone can go to work everyday and be happy," he told The World Today. "But what I do know is that the happier your workers, the better your business is performing. "It is not unreasonable to aspire to, if you are a worker, to want to have a good job where you don't feel like taking sick leave, where you don't feel like changing jobs on a regular basis, where you feel valued, where you feel that what you do is an intrinsically worthwhile something and where you feel that your potential is being fulfilled." He says happy workers could add to the nation's productivity. "I have no doubt that Australia's productivity growth has been lower in the last 10 years than it was in the last 30 years," he said. "The low productivity growth of the last 10 years has haunted national and state governments of all political stripes. "Whilst there is a lot to be said about workplace regulation, I actually think that is far less important than what happens at the enterprise itself - if you have got a workforce that think that they are not wasting their time, that inefficiency is not the rule of the day at the business. Mr Shorten says a good job will attract good people.
'What makes a good job is the sense that you are valued at work, a sense that there is safety of work in terms of the work practices, a sense that innovation is rewarded, that there is not...