Managing Organizations and People Essay

 

 

1.0    Abstract

 

One of the biggest challenges facing small and medium-sized organizations today is the coordination of work among the workers and managers. Many companies have been successful in gathering or statistically evaluating these data, but find it hard to convert the findings into positive results. Studies have also shown the importance of employee participation programs and group based pay incentives. These measures have met with success, and so too have profit and gain sharing programs. High-performance and High-involvement are two business terms related to employees and production.

In order to attain perfection, employee performance is mandatory, and the company’s management needed to develop a strong belief and determination among the leadership and worker-class, to accelerate progressive changes and create a difference. Only those with exceptional influence can change the way an organization runs. Management must consider the criticality of a visible and active role taken by them to integrate policies of diversity and inclusion into every aspect of an organization’s operation and culture.

Culture affects every employee of the organization, whether it is a man or woman. It’s imperative that any policy decision reach all concerned in the organization; every individual of the organization must feel a part of the scheme of things, for the welfare of the organization.

A healthy work environment goes a long way in instigating quality work. At the workplace, it is imperative for the management to introduce an increased and effective mode of cooperation between the workers and managers. One way of looking at it is by creating better leadership styles and flexible work/career patterns. There are many number of business tactics, that can be employed to bring about operational changes to manage talent most effectively. Some tactics, most noticeable among them are:

Identifying role models and establishing mentoring programs
Eliminating all bias-based company policies and procedures
Providing equal opportunities, training and development for all
Conducting workshops for employees to impress upon them the importance of diversity and inclusiveness to increase performance and production
Though the above initiatives may sound simple, there is more to it, than meets the eye. The exercise needs the wholehearted support and sustained effort by all employees to make it a success (David Pappie, p.103, 2006).

2.0    Introduction

Performance is the cornerstone to success and productivity. Performance comes about through the wholehearted and sincere effort of employees of an organization. This is possible only if the employees are kept happy and cared for. Strategies that favor employee retention, elicit competitive bonus schemes, and creates healthy work environment are pre-requisites for employee performance, culminating in higher production.

A company’s best asset is its people, so there is a good reason why the company needs to do what is right for them. A point of contention to performance and productivity is the way one works; the ability to work remotely, where enterprise convergence gains momentum. This can come about only if the people concerned in the program are well trained to perform under least supervision and motivated. For business bosses and their employees, a converged environment makes work location and distance irrelevant. The impetus to work for the benefit of the organization must come from within the individuals concerned. Just as a students finds his/her studies important and strive for excellence, employees must find the inclination to work from within their heart. This can come about with the sustained effort of the management to bring changes that enliven the workplace (Tanuja Randery, p.107, 2006).

Traveler Import Cars, run by Randy and Beryl started of very well on inception, but gradually ran into problems as they diversified and expanded. The company had a problematic organizational structure, with people reporting to too many heads, and getting nothing concrete in return. This had severe repercussion on developments. The ground reality was that the managers were not able to come to a common consensus on organizational directions, and had too much of worries themselves to be of help. This affected the company very badly. The company was running without direction, and many of the workers projected a laid-back attitude by absenting themselves from work often. Another problem that the organization faced was that a few managers knew that they could stamp their authority on certain functions within the organization, but had to get the approval of their superiors for others. This showed that the organizational setup was in a shoddy state and that this caused a backlog in work allocation and execution.

3.0    Literature Review

There are some serious concerns with the way the organization Traveler Import Cars functioned. Till the time when Randy and Beryl were in charge of all decision-making within the organization, the company was operating in the most efficient manner, drawing applause from all around. This led to the company doing well financially and the growth of the company was also well-defined. Problems set in when the organization began to expand through acquisitions and the workload on Beryl began to grow considerably. The earlier meetings of department heads continued, but the difference lay in executing orders to comply with needs. This forced many activities inside the organization to be curtailed or left unattended, causing backlogs. The work pressure on Beryl kept increasing and the organization suffered from segregation of work responsibilities.

What was more was the fact that the meetings from being productive also set precedence to accounts. The Accounting Office was not properly informed of department requirements, as forms were not filled in properly by the Business Office. Susan Johnson, at the desk was working under severe pressure of workload and did not have the time to fill out all forms carefully and on a timely basis to have them authorized. The Accounts Office did not receive proper information on new car sales, and the Spares department suffered from untimely information from New Car Sales. This was not what Randy and Beryl had in mind when they expanded their business. True, they recruited a couple of managers to look after specialized services, increased the number of employees to meet the demand of more sales and service, and treated all employees as a family, but the fact that they did not envisage such contingencies due to lack of communication and execution of work.

Employees felt left high and dry by the actions of some of their superiors, who they felt left them in the dark on policies and responsibilities. Beryl with her background in Management, and Randy with his vast experience in the car business were quite ethical in training their workforce and this showed well in the overall analysis of the organization in the beginning. But with expansion, segregation of portfolios or responsibilities among the new managers never took place, and this showed in the lethargic response from technicians, who had just the formal training from the car manufacturer. Training was never given importance, or never had the approval from managers. Some managers rose through the ranks into supervisory and managerial positions. Since they never had any formal training, they too never showed any inclination to implement such facilities to their new workforce. This affected the growth of the organization.

This would automatically have an impact on performance and more so on performance appraisal. Many reported that they do not receive periodic formal appraisal, which could have helped them assess their performance and encouraged them to perform better. This was an area of utmost concern. Despite treating the members of the organization as one family, managers never took the initiative to recommend changes to bring about better productivity. The negative attitude of the managers could be attributed to their reluctance to take control, or fear of being rebuked or denied powers to do so. Randy and Beryl had faulted on this issue. They had forgotten to segregate responsibilities among their managers which they should done so. Beryl, under severe pressure to handle most functions of the organization missed the trick to allocate work responsibilities to her managers, which would have given her more time to look at further strengthening the organizational goal and growth.

The failure to instigate a performance appraisal also led to inconsistent wage and salary increase as well. Randy and Beryl had flawed in their thinking on this front. Workers were not inclined to perform, as they were in the dark on the way wages and pay increase were calculated. Many workers thought that it was the work of the subordinates to initiate a wage or salary increase, while most thought that they would have preferred their superior to initiate wage and salary action annually.

With no proper work ethics, workers began to show lethargy and many started coming late, took extended lunch breaks, and violated rules with impunity. This demoralized others to the extent of them too following suit.

3.1       Employee-Centric

 

In the broader spectrum of the life cycle of an employee, they go through three stages of the cycle before culminating in retirement. These are, the hire stage, the inspiration stage, the admiration stage, and finally, the retirement stage. The first three stages are of immense importance to the employer. A company will always seek the service of an able and hardworking person to improve production or sales. In order to do this, they go through the process of identifying the right people for the job. Once hired, the employer looks at inspiring the employee to work harder for higher production and revenue. Once this is achieved, the employer rewards the employee for his devotion to duty and record production. This is the third part of the life cycle. Retirement is a sad end to a great career with the organization. The company does not have much of a share in an employee’s retirement, except to see that the employee is again rewarded for his tireless devotion to duty while in service. Pension benefits and rewards go a long way to acknowledging the management’s attitude towards the retiring employee.

Human Resources professionals focus their attention on these four steps in the hope of making an impact on the company’s bottom line. Their goal is to reduce the company’s cost per employee hired. But, the people who really count are not the HR professionals; it’s the managers. It is the manager’s job to motivate, persuade, and dictate terms to the employees to make them work for the organization.

People don’t work for their company; they work for their boss. A good manager can keep his employees happy, and at the same time, reduce costs associated with employee turnover.

Hire

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Hiring an employee is perhaps the most difficult and important part of an employer. A potential employee always projects him/herself as the most suitable candidate for that post. The credentials could be flattery, yet it is with due consideration that HR personnel have to select the candidate(s). It is important to hire the best people in the business for the progress of an organization. A costly lapse or mistake can be irreparable. Remember, the cost of replacing a bad hire far exceeds the marginal additional cost of hiring the best. There are a few points that a selection panel can ponder on:

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Hire talent, not just trainable skills. Skills can be taught to a talented person, but talent cannot be taught to a skilled one.
Improve interviewing skills. Know your job is to recruit the best, so be the best to select the best.
Project a positive company outlook. Company culture can be a powerful recruiting tool. Make sure to reflect the company objectives and goals.
Inspire

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Once the selected members join the workforce, the real test of character begins. This is when the managers take over to promote and inspire confidence among the working group. As managers, they need to place great faith in the available workforce and inspire them to perform. Motivation is the key here to performance. Managers can use any technique that instigates oneness and selflessness. Pay rise, bonuses, benefits, promotions, and so on are some tactics that managers employ to get work done. The idea is to make the team aware of the management goals and work to achieve that. Managers need to be leaders, not managers. They need to set an example for the others to follow. This way, employees will feel being a part of the company’s growth and success. With growth come bonuses, and incentives.

Admire

With success comes admiration. No management likes to part ways with a winning team. This is the time when retention policy is at its peak. In recognition of their toil and selfless attitude to the success of the business, managers must not fail to recognize this. The talented hired group that was challenged and motivated to perform to management expectations, should never be ignored. Appreciations, warm friendly gestures, a one-family attitude, and appropriate awards will make the employees feel attached and friendly. This is what is expected of managers.

Many employees are scared to accept the fact that they are unable to perform a particular task. They find it very difficult to say ‘I can’t do it’, or ‘I’m not sure I can do it’, out of fear. Managers find this quite a problem to handle as it could have severe repercussion on production. This calls for strategic thinking and execution of plans to bring out the best from their employees. Effort-performance problems can be overcome by skill building measures. These include, training and working simultaneously, combining the work experience with coaching, and finally, combing training, work, and work experience together (Thad B. Green, p.55, Ch.3, 1992)[1].

Effective communication is the borderline to a good relationship between company managers and their employees. It is also an essential tool in relation to training. H.M Carlisle’s definition on organizational communication states that, it is the use of systems to convey information to large number of people within and outside an organization. Interpersonal communication, as the name suggests, is the communication between individuals to share and understand information. According to H.W Greenbaum, organizational communication has four objectives:

Regulation: Regulate employees conform to organizational instructions and requirements.

Innovation: Promote changes to improve performance and production

Integration: Develop an identity among the workforce and raise morale

Information: Pass on information for the better performance of organizational tasks.

(Richard Barrett, p.64, 2003).

Managers often express their desire to ‘light a fire’ under someone not performing well. This is not the solution to under-performance. This jibe will only serve to move those people just far enough to get away from heat. In other words, such an attempt by managers will only worsen the situation to the extent that the ‘liabilities’ will only shun work further. On the contrary, should the managers build the fire within the people concerned, the company will profit from optimum performance. Motivation to subscribe to the purpose, have confidence in their organization, and a positive thinking that their effort is worthwhile, is what managers need to inculcate (Gary English, p.33-34, 2004)[2].Positive feedbacks will guide their efforts, helping their performance become more effective and efficient.

4.0    Summarization

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Randy and Beryl started well but faulted at the end, causing the organization to rethink their strategy, and Beryl to take the services of the consultant, Muzak, who in studying the organizational operative, was quick to point out the drawbacks of the organizational operations. He was correct in his assessment of Stuart Graham, whom he thought was from the old school of thinking. This did not help his subordinates to rethink strategies to bring about changes. They were not inclined to question his authority or judgment, leading to the present situation. Jeff Amos was too nice to be authoritative, and lacked the moral respect of his subordinates. Tom Tucker was probably a weak link in the hierarchy. The subordinates felt that he was not qualified for the job entrusted to him. The problem thus lay in the way the system was programmed by Randy and Beryl, and thus mandated change.

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5.0    References

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David Pappie, Women in Business, The Long Haul to Parity, Management Today, 2006, Journal

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Tanuja Randery, Convergence, A New Way of Working, Management Today, 2006, Journal.

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Thad B. Green, Performance and Motivation Strategies for Today’s Workforce: A Guide to Expectancy Theory, Praeger/Greenwood, 1992

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Richard Barrett, Vocational Business Training, Developing, and Motivating People, Nelson Thornes, 2003

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Gary C. English, HRD Products, Managing Information and Human Performance: Strategies and Methods for Knowing Your Workforce and Organization, 2004

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[1] Chapter 3, Solving Effort-Performance Problems
[2] Chapter 4, The Rational Thread, The Rationality of Motivation