Sunday, March 12, 2006

HRM and the Quality of Work-Life

Coercion in the workplace can certainly get things done. It can even yield more productivity in some cases. This type of ‘direct action management’, i.e. ‘kicking’ people to do what is required of them. Such an approach to motivation would be like kicking a dog each time you want it to move. Likewise, you can charge an individual’s battery, and keep on charging and recharging it to get things done, but it is only when that individual has his own generator that we can talk about ‘self-motivation’, the internal generator that automatically recharges employees batteries.

Through good Human Resource Management and practices this self-motivation chip can be instilled in the organizational behavior leading to excelling performance. The HR department can develop a bundle of systems that can together create a highly motivational culture such as:

Reducing Time Spent at Work: The goal here is to help employees work smarter rather than harder, and establish a life-work balance for more job satisfaction. It is a marvelous way of motivating people to work by getting them off their jobs before they become some kind of punishment. An interesting variant of this approach is development of an off-hour recreation programs for employees to relax in the workplace. The Japanese are far advanced in this than any other country. Gymnasiums which are nowadays part of any organization’s premises, allow employees to even take a nap or just sniff pure oxygen during their lunch breaks. This approach encourages informal team activities and spirit to spread at the workplace. The paradox here is that the more motivated people become, the more work and working hours they would seek!

Fringe Benefits: Businesses have probably outdone the most welfare-minded of welfare states in dispensing cradle-to-grave adoption of their employees. The cost of fringe benefits has reached approximately 30-35% in average of the total wages nowadays. People spend less time working for more money and more security than ever before despite the economic turbulence. The problem is that these benefits are no longer considered rewards, but are now taken as granted as part of compensation packages.

Human Relations Training: Thirty years ago one ‘please’ was enough when requesting the employees not to infringe the regulations. Today, the same admonition requires three ‘pleases’ before the employee feels that his superior has demonstrated the psychologically proper attitudes towards him. An advanced form of human relations, sensitivity training, teamwork, diversity management training is more needed than ever in order to harmonize human interaction in the workplace. If done correctly, this kind of training will be translated into positive, constructive employees’ attitudes towards their organizations, their jobs, and their supervisors.

Sensitivity Training: A more serious attempt to help the individual understand himself and others, trust and cooperate more effectively with others. A lot of this training success and effectiveness and applicability depend on transparency and open communication channels that encourage efficient flow of information throughout the whole organization. Briefing sessions, group meetings, follow-up and progress reports, and organizational events and celebrations are proper venues to accomplish this objective.

Job Participation: What I mean here is giving employees an opportunity to design their own jobs and become accountable for doing them. Job participation also means ‘getting the big picture’ and thus escalating the role of the individual in the organization, i.e. if the employee is tightening 10,000 nuts a day on the assembly line, tell him he is building a Chevrolet. Another approach aims at giving the employee a ‘feeling’ that he is determining, in some measure, what he does on his job, i.e. provide a ‘sense’ of achievement in his task.

Employees Counseling: Back in the early thirties, when Hawthorn experimented with Western Electric Company, it was found that employees harbored irrational feelings that were interfering with the rational operation of the factory. Therefore, counseling was used as means of letting the employees unburden themselves by talking to someone about their problems. Traditional techniques since then have improved tremendously and the prime responsibility of direct supervisors rather than outside counselors, except when there are major psychological problems that requires specialized professional expert help.

To conclude, Herzberg when conducting a research on job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction on a sample of 1,685 employees, had found out that that their satisfaction is derived from ‘a job related’ factors that are directly influencing their feelings (81%) and only (69%) of their job dissatisfaction is caused by ‘job context’ factors such as the style of management, policies and procedures, the workplace, and the members of the team.

1 comment:

Prescilla Priyanka said...

It is the responsibility of HRM to communicate in the fullest possible sense; tapping ideas, opinions and feelings of customers, non-customers, regulators and other external public as well as understanding the views of internal human resources.
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