Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times, capacitación en EE.UU.
Por Vladimir Huber
Investing in the Work Force
Can Boost Profits, Survey Shows
From Times Wire Services
NEW YORK-Companies that train workers, involve them in decisions and give them a stake in the business are more profitable than those that do not, according to a study released Monday.
The two-year study, commissioned by the Labor Department, is the first comprehensive examination of the impact of innovative workplace practices on corporate financial results and may provide a useful guide for investors.
«This is a path-breaking study that shows the surest way to profits and productivity is to treat employees as assets to be developed rather than costs to be cut,» Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich said at a news conference Monday.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard University and Wharton business schools in partnership with the Ernst & Young management consulting firm, adds academic weight to the Clinton Administration’s call for more «high-performance» workplaces.
«In general, our findings encourage continued investment and experimentation with the workplace practices considered,» the report says. «They should also encourage closer investor scrutiny of the firms using innovative workplace practices.»
Reich said the findings can serve as a guide to success for managers savvy enough to recognize the importance of continuously training their workers.
«There is money to be made for companies and investors that take better account of the human side of management,» he said.
About two years ago, Reich suggested to the National Assn. of Manufacturers that a rating system be devised to measure companies on training, profit sharing, employee participation, job security and health and safety, which he said correlates directly with their financial results.
The study, which examined 100 other studies of workplace practices, is a possible step toward such a rating system.
«We are working with the investment community and also other private sector groups to discover what sort of measures might be most useful,» Reich said, adding that such a rating system should originate with the private sector.
The study concentrated on three areas: employee stock ownership plans; total quality management, a management style used by most Fortune 1,000 companies and typically stressing employee involvement and customer satisfaction, and just-in-time inventory management, which seeks to hold inventories and related costs to a bare minimum.
Among the findings:
• Economic benefits to the companies were greatest when they successfully integrated innovations in management and technology with the appropriate employee training and «empowerment» programs.
• On average, companies investing in employee development enjoy significantly higher market values than their industry peers.
• Companies that were first among their competitors in implementing new management practices reaped the largest rewards.
According to the study, Motorola Inc. estimates that it earns $30 for every $1 invested in employee training, while Xerox Corp. found that in cooperation with its employee union, it has reduced manufacturing costs by 30% and halved the time needed to develop new products.
Terry Ozan, vice chairman of Ernst & Young, said the findings show that successful companies must constantly evolve.
‘This is a path-breaking study that shows the surest way to profits and productivity is to treat employees as assets to be developed,’ said Robert B. Reich, Labor Secretary.
«Stability is no longer the goal,» Ozan said. «I think that today it’s not enough to be occasionally innovative. Innovation must be fast and it must be frequent.»
A lead researcher for the study, Sarah Mavrinac, said that before the study was conducted, anecdotal evidence of new management practices had been mixed, with many managers indicating dissatisfaction with the innovation.
«Managers should worry less about whether innovative workplace practices will pay off and more about how to maximize their rewards,» she said. «To the extent that these practices become an industry norm, investing in them may become imperative.»