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Workforce and Labor:
One of the emerging trends in the 21st Century that has had tremendous impacts on organizational behavior is the changing workforce. Workforce diversity has become an essential and major aspect of business concern in today's information or digital age. Actually, the face of modern workforce is changing at it is increasingly global, digital, and female. Consequently, sustaining competitive advantage in the modern business world requires attracting and retaining the best talent and creating a new work order based on the changing nature of the workforce. In addition to these changes, the other major aspect in the current organizational behavior is emotional labour, which has become an issue for workers in the fast-paced service industries.
The Changing Workforce:
As previously mentioned, the face of today's workforce is changing as it is increasingly becoming digital, female, and global. Organizations are continually faced with the need to create a new work order in order to attract and retain the most talented workforce and maintain competitive advantage over rivals (Sorensen, 2009). In essence, organizations need a working environment that is more flexible, connected, and interactive in order to maximize the value of the increasingly diverse workforce.
One of the major ways with which the workforce is changing is through the increase of female workers. Currently, women account for nearly half the workforce since they act as the primary or co-breadwinners in a huge portion of households (Lerman & Schmidt, n.d.). The increase in the number of female workers is expected to continue to an extent that it will outpace the growth of the male labor force. This trend is expected to continue because the number of women graduating from colleges annually exceeds that of males. Many employers continue to hire more female workers than male based on the numbers that graduate from colleges.
The second way in which the workforce is changing is through becoming more global because of increased connectedness of the modern society. The increased connectedness is attributed to globalization and rapid technological advancements, which have changed the nature of work. These developments contribute to the need for new tools, technologies, and corporate work techniques in order to meet the pressures of innovation, cost-reduction, and productivity (Malik, 2010). Therefore, the workforce is increasingly made up of employees who represent all connections and links brought by information and communications technology infrastructure. The infrastructure has made it easier for businesses and governments to connect to resources, talents, and monetary capital for business growth.
The third way, which is closely linked to technological developments, is the fact that the workplace is becoming increasingly digital. The digital workforce is brought by these advancements that have contributed to the emergence of new work policies, procedures, flows, and systems. Organizations are increasingly embracing new information technologies to make sure that the coming generation is capable of driving the success of the business. Consequently, organizations are developing policies and environments that support diverse and digital workforce and structures.
Consequences of Workforce Changes for Organizations:
The changing workforce has had tremendous impacts on organizational behavior since it has forced organizations to develop new policies, procedures, and flows that reflect these changes. One of the major consequences of these changes is the increased need for new tools and processes in the workplace including the increased consumerization of the enterprise Information Technology. While organizations are developing and embracing the use of technology, employees is some companies are allowed to bring their personal technology into the working environment. The increased use of technology has also forced companies to adjust to the new work reality. This adoption includes allowing flexible work hours in line with employees' lives instead of standard or conventional office hours and establishing flexible working policy and procedures. The flexible work hours is partly attributed to the overload of information in the working environment because of increased connectedness due to rapid technological developments. Currently, more than two-thirds of the workplace experiences more productive and richer communication in the working environment.
The second consequence of the changing workforce is that it is transforming how companies and organizations do business, which implies that workforce stability will be a major competitive advantage for an employer (Herman, n.d.). Generally, as the changing workforce changes work, it also changes how organizations and companies do business. Some of the major changes in the way business is conducted include changes in the corporate culture, modernization of leadership, increased adaptability, agility and responsiveness, and focus on developing workforce stability. In addition, companies face intense competition due to economic expansion brought by the changing workforce.
Emotional Labour as an Issue for Employees in Fast Paced Service Industries:
Emotional labour is relatively a new concept that was developed by Arlie Hochschild who stated that people control their emotions in both personal and work life ("Emotional Labour: The Human Resource Issues," n.d.). The concept basically refers to the control of an individual's behavior in order to display the suitable emotions. In essence, an individual either provokes or suppresses some emotions in attempts to conform to social norms. Therefore, this concept was introduced as a term that is not only confined to the working environment but something that invades nearly every aspect of life.
Since its introduction, emotional labour has been a major concept and issue in the service industry given that it was coined to describe the things service workers do beyond their mental and physical duties. Some of these things include showing concerns for the needs of a customer through making a positive eye contact and smiling in order to influence the customer's perception of service quality. Emotional labour is a vital concept in the service industry because these types of activities are essential to the performance of the service worker. Even though emotional labour is applicable to several kinds of businesses, the consequences of applying this concept are largely felt and experienced in conventional service roles ("Emotional labour: Helping Workers Present a Positive Face," n.d.).
In the fast paced service industries or companies, many organizations have developed and established a set of policies that govern conduct with customers. These policies tend to be rules or guidelines that are used as the benchmark for determining appropriate response. For instance, McDonalds Corporation encourages its service personnel to be sincere, confident, enthusiastic, and possess a sense of humor while serving customers. Since all service industries require interaction with customers, emotional labour is an important aspect for promoting success in these industries. It is primarily a requirement for all workers to act in a positive, friendly, and empathetic way every time when dealing with customers to make them feel wanted and welcome (Lo & Lamm, 2005).
As an important element for success in the service industries, organizations have developed several strategies to help employees deal with demands of emotional labour. Some of these strategies include use buffering, provide staff assistance programs, teach display regulations, enhance emotional intelligence, teach problem-solving measures, share knowledge, and bring emotional labour into the process of performance evaluation.
However, employees in these industries have considered this concept as a major issue though they recognize its significance in the success of customer service and profitability. It is a major issue because requiring an employee to be nice and courteous to customers despite of how customers are treating the employee can have significant negative impacts. The main reason for the growing concern with the application of this concept in service industries is that it contributes to the likelihood of work stress. The work stress can in turn contribute to heart disease, hypertension, and even worsen cancer. The likelihood of work stress is attributed to the fact that emotional labour tends to force employees to surface act, which makes them to experience detachment from their personal emotions and even suffer burnout ("Emotional Labour: The Human Resource Issues," n.d.).…[continue]
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