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2.2.2 Research into the Problem
Employee attitude is a well-researched topic which has shown that, on an organizational level, collective employee attitudes can greatly affect job performance, customer satisfaction and work quality (Ryan, Schmit & Johnson, 1996). Employees believe that the overall positive or negative attitude of the company comes from management (line management and human resources management) due to the policies adhered to (Nishii, Lepak & Schneider, 2008). Therefore, as can be seen from the complaint research, many of the established employees hold management just as responsible for the overall negative attitude in the plant as the newly hired employees. This is consistent with the research that has been conducted in the past (Ryan, Schmit & Johnson, 1996).
Some established employees are also report seeing some negativity surrounding their relative ages. The average age of the established employees is 43.2 years while the average age of the newly-hired employees is 26.9 years. This generational gap has caused the established employees to see a lack of sensitivity on the part of the company for their relative experience. This attitude among older employees is common when a new wave of much younger employees is hired (Bibby, 2008). The complaints from the older employees had less to do with how they were treated by the younger employees and more to do with how they saw the arising perceptions of the company as a whole (Bibby, 2008).
The established employees are also concerned with the lack of training and screening conducted with the new employees. Rather than formal training most of what has occurred is on-the-job due to the need to have personnel to man the open positions. Also, the some established employees complained about the activities of those newly-hired while they were taking breaks. It is believed that some have violated the company's drug policy during breaks and are coming back to work somewhat impaired. The established employees are worried that some of those who are new were not properly screened prior to being hired.
The research suggests that it does not matter what the actual intent of the employer is, what employees perceive as reality become reality (Bibby, 2008). Therefore, it is necessary for management to change the perceptions of those employees which it is most crucial to retain (experienced operators who man the most complicated machines, and other jobs). The fact that retention rates have dropped cannot be explained by natural attrition due to employee movement or due to retirement from the workforce. Retention is an issue because of the employee's perceptions of how they are being rerated by management. This statement comes from data taken from the retention interviews of established employees who have chosen to leave the company.
These employees detail that is a lack of respect from their employer which has caused them to become disillusioned with the company, and has led them to a wish to terminate their employment (Table 1). This is a disturbing trend which must be curtailed or the employment issues which the company currently faces will continue.
The issues at hand are the fact that more established employees are leaving, and that the pool of people that meet the company's hiring requirements is diminishing quickly. Also many of the established employees believe that the company is responsible for the lack of attention to their needs and that they are being discriminated against due to the more stringent requirements of their hires. This has meant a decrease in their loyalty to the company and an increased desire to leave given the current overriding attitude of the plant.
4.0.1 First Recommendation
The first item to be addressed is hiring practices. The company needs to reinstitute former practices to make sure that the level of employee attained is the same as it was prior to the current hiring cycle. This means:
Reinstating a full range of background checks to include criminal, educational and credit.
Conduct a range of profile instruments during the interview process
Reinstitute the three level interview process
The second recommendation is to have a board of line employees who, with the assistance of management personnel, determine the validity of the all complaints. This board will not have disciplinary responsibility, but they can recommend solutions to a complaint. They will also have investigatory power, so that they can make recommendations to higher management which can then decide on the proper solution. This will also quell the feeling among the employees that they have no control over company policy. It will also work to reduce the amount of rumor that now occurs within the company (Mansour-Cole & Scott, 1998).
4.0.3 Third Recommendation
A third recommendation is to incorporate more fun activities both into the work day of the employees and on their off time. Research has shown that employees who enjoy their work experience are more likely to be productive employees (Owler, Morrison & Plester, 2010). This idea will be researched by a team of line employees (both established and newly hired) and management. This team will recommend methods by which employee morale and camaraderie can be reestablished among all employees.
Coffee Break: A break lasting 15 minutes that is federally mandated to occur after an employee has been on the job for two consecutive hours.
Established Worker: An employee who is retained past the 12-month probationary period required of all employees prior to receiving full benefits.
Full Background Check: A series of three checks consisting of criminal, educational and credit background of every individual prior to hire.
Guaranteed Time: The company guarantees that every employee will be paid for a 40-hour week if they are present at every shift clock-in time and clock out at the same general time (within 15 minutes) of other employees on their shift.
Hiring Cycle: A one year period during which a group of employees are hired in batches.
Interview Process: A battery of three interviews and a psychological profile instrument.
Line Employee: A non-management employee.
Lunch Break: A period not to exceed 30 minutes taken when an employee has been on their shift for four (4) hours.
New-Hire: An employee who has not reached the one-year probationary mark
The Company: The employer of all food service and management personnel.
Bibby, C.L. (2008). Should I stay or should I leave? Perceptions of age discrimination, organizational justice, and employee attitudes on intentions to leave. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 13(2), 131-142.
Mansour-Cole, D.M., & Scott, S.G. (1998). Hearing it through the grapevine: The influence of source, leader relations, and legitimacy on survivors fairness perceptions. Personnel Psychology, 51(1), 25-37.
Nishii, L.H., Lepak, D.P., & Schneider, B. (2008). Employee…[continue]
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