Focused on wrong things

Re. Rob Shaw’s column Eby offers staff flexibility (Castanet, Feb. 3)

This isan interesting column on an interesting topic.

The author discusses diversity, employee morale and "modernizing" the culture (around the civil service workforce).

Premier David Eby seems to think allowing more government employees to work from home is the solution to the problems of recruitment and retention. He may be right, as far as that goes. But I would argue the real problems lie elsewhere, beyond recruitment and retention.

Sadly, nowhere in the column is employee productivity mentioned. Nowhere are taxes or public spending mentioned. Nowhere is value for a dollar mentioned. Nowhere is improved government service mentioned. Shouldn't those be the objectives of any government?

It's all well and good to worry about employee morale, culture and diversity, but those don't automatically lead to increased performance or productivity. They should not be the goals of any manager in any organization, private or public. They may be tools that are used but not goals in and of themselves.

In my career, I've seen many people who were "happy" at work but far from productive. I've seen organizations with "positive and diverse culture" but had dissatisfied customers because they couldn't get their products out the door on time.

One does not automatically lead to the other, despite what the textbooks suggest. Productivity, excellent service, and the prudent use of tax money are the most important concepts that should be consuming the minds and energy of our government managers.

Perhaps political interference, red tape, stifling bureaucracy and endless committees and meetings are why recruitment is difficult and turnover is so high, in spite of high salaries and “gold-plated” pensions. But, as usual, the government picks up the latest fad in order to do what's easy rather than what's necessary. Taking the easy way out seldom makes positive change in the world.

Is Eby willing to go on the record and promise the taxpayers of B.C. how much better his government will perform, using tangible metrics, as a result of his new working from home policy?

If so, then I say go ahead and let's see what happens. If not, then he's just wasting his time and our money while dodging the hard work of governing.

Lloyd Vinish, Kelowna

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