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The workforce is addressed on a personal level to ensure that each individual not only understands what the expectations are of him or her, but also to ensure that they will give only their best effort towards the organizational goal. In order to motivate employees in this way, it is necessary for each individual to understand the organizational goals and to care sufficiently about these. Employees therefore have to find meaning in their work. This can best be done by communication.
It is one fortunate feature of the current technological world that communication can occur both regularly and instantly. Instead of having to print out thousands of circulars, managers can write a single email and send it to thousands of employees simultaneously with a single click. This greatly facilitates the communication paradigm between management and employees, or indeed between the HR department and employees.
Various forms of communication are possible - an electronic notice board can for example contain important documentation such as terms of service, procedures for leave taking, and also the company's mission and goal can be displayed for all employees on their desktops. Email can then be used for important notifications or newsletters, and the company Web site is a further possible outlet for company information. In the current business world, no employee can really claim that they know nothing about their company or its management; such information is only as far a computer screen.
The HR department in business also frequently simplifies and eliminates administration by means of automation and outsourcing. This then provides a strong platform from which the business can direct its energy towards its own strategic initiatives. Cuddihey indicates that the workforce is not only instrumental, but also vital to achieving these initiatives. As such, recruiting and retention programs are of vital importance, as these provide the workforce with the motivation to remain with the company and deliver their best.
In this, Cuddihey notes that HR processes need to be aligned with the business objectives of the company in order to demonstrate to the workforce their necessity in the company. Cuddihey goes further in examining the reasons why employees would remain with a company rather than retiring or seeking employment elsewhere.
The business world has not only changed in terms of financial and market structures, but also in terms of employee expectations. Employees now use more than monetary compensation to make their choices for a workplace. Factors such as a stimulating, rewarding work environment and flexible work hours tend to be high on the priority list when making such choices. Many employees already have families when entering the workforce, and will expect to be accommodated regarding their family demands. The social structure has also changed such that family men are no longer appreciated in his absence from the home. Instead, with both parents working, it is expected that both spend as much quality time as they can at their homes. At the same time, employees expect to enjoy their work on a level that is deeper than only monthly compensations.
Employers need to keep in mind that employees are human beings, and expect to be treated as such. Once again, an open communication policy is best in this regard. In addition to family and workplace requirements, employees also generally require the opportunity to engage in continuous learning. Cuddihey sites research indicating that young recruits consider such opportunities a top priority when choosing their future workplace.
Significantly, the author notes that most executives believe that their companies incorporated a lack of critical workforce skills, a lack of understanding the business and organization strategy, and a lack of connection of employee functions with the overall strategic priorities of the company. This needs to be remedied by means of targeted education programs towards both greater employee satisfaction, and better performance within the structure of the company as whole. Current business paradigms recognize the workforce as more than a collection of automatons to perform a simple function towards the success of the company. Instead, the workforce is also an intellectual asset that can contribute significantly to the overall growth of the company when provided with the opportunity to do so.
Cuddihey cites research indicating that employees also feel a need to understand and feel that they are a part of the organization as a whole in addition to being an individual performing a specific function. In the current workforce, employees also wish to know how they contribute to the success of the company as a whole. In this way, their work would carry greater meaning in terms of the collective, and also be more satisfying on the individual level.
In addition, retention strategies should also focus on recognition. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Employees can for example be rewarded by positive feedback, formal recognition programs, time off, job title changes, or more responsibility in addition to competitive salaries.
Another important factor in this is employee feedback. This is a significant component of the above-mentioned element of communication. In addition to maintaining an open communication structure, employers should allow employees to provide feedback regarding their experiences within the company, and solicit possible improvements to these.
Communication technology offer valuable opportunities for companies to help their workforce experience their work hours in an optimally satisfying way. Employee and manager self-serve portals, information management, and performance measurement are some it tools that Cuddihey mentions in this regard.
Cuddihey also notes that the success of a company as it relates to its workforce can be quantified by means of measurement. Metrics can for example be implemented as a measurement tool in this regard. The author suggests that such measurements should be implemented at a minimum, as a large amount of company success is dependent upon an accurate measurement of employee performance. Specific HR and training initiatives should also be continually scrutinized for their success and possible room for improvement. Taking proper care of the workforce will provide the company with a workforce that is happy to give as much as they can towards the satisfaction of customers and the ultimate success of the company.
In addition to a company's financial structure, customer base, and human resources, the business environment has also seen significant changes over the last decades. Michael Carney notes that organizations and their environments experience co-evolutionary changes in response to social, economic, and technological changes. Carney notes that his perspective is somewhat broader than general research in this regard, which tends to focus on narrow environmental elements and their influence on business. Instead, Carney attempts to address a broader range of changes in terms of both society and business.
In order to provide a platform for his considerations, Carney distinguishes between endogenous and exogenous influences on business. The former emerge from within local societies, including institutional and market forces in these societies, as well as how firms in these societies influence each other, and how these firms respond to elements within the local environment. Exogenous influences relate to non-local social, economic, political and technological forces that are nonetheless important for the local firm and its environment. In the globalized environment, it is common practice to draw inspiration from companies around the world in order to gain a competitive local edge or to enter the global market. Indeed, Carney notes that once a business enters the global economy, it becomes even more subject to exogenous influences than before.
Using Japan after the end of the Cold War as an example, Carney then goes on to demonstrate via a co-evolutionary framework how business systems are open, evolving in concomitance with both external and internal forces. The fact that these forces are often global in scale is one of the main factors that contribute to the complexity of the business environment today. By nature, local agents are able to significantly influence endogenous, but not exogenous forces.
One of the key characteristics of the emergence of Japan as significant economic power on a global scale is the commercialization of information and knowledge products. This is a paradigm that has influenced the whole world of business, and continues to do so on a global scale. The rapid development of information technology is another exogenous factor that has influenced this trend.
In this regard, Carney suggests that organizations will adapt to changes in the environment in three broad ways. The first step is that already established firms adapt and calibrate their existing models and paradigms to fit the changed environment - this is an endogenous action; where the business uses its internal resources to adapt to its environment, and can in this way also shape it. Secondly, new organizational forms can emerge in response to environmental change, which are closer to the new environment than the existing ones. Again, these new organizations can provide feedback and in turn shape the new environment concomitantly with its own structures. The third possibility for responsiveness to change is reciprocal adjustment: both existing and new firms make adjustments to fit…[continue]
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