For a number of human resource managers from different organizations, developing flexibility within the workplace is one of the major problems for various firms. Actually, one of the most fundamental considerations for any high performing organization or firm is flexibility within the workplace. The need for developing flexibility within the workplace arises from its importance to the employees and the employers as well as its value in organizational performance. If the flexibility needs of employees and employers are met, their quality of work improves. For employers, they need flexibility in order compete and offer better services that meet the needs of consumers. On the other hand, employees need flexibility for the assurance of job satisfaction, job security, equality and the capability to live balanced lives within and without the workplace.
The advantages of flexibility within the workplace to the employers include the ability to meet the needs of customers, lessening of absenteeism and employee turnover, attraction and preservation of talent as well as increased employee commitment, motivation and productivity. On the contrary, workplace flexibility has certain advantages to the employees including an improved ability of managing work time, the potential for a reasonable and pleasant work as well as extra time for other important activities ("Workplace Flexibility," n.d.).
However, workplace flexibility has also some disadvantages to both the employees and employers. For example, employees are likely to spend more time in other activities as well as the need for more discipline and self-motivation to work in a flexible environment. For the employers, the disadvantages of workplace flexibility may be the unavailability of employees when needed, lack of supervision of the employees and a lot of freedom on the employees.
One of the ways of developing flexibility within the workplace is the use of the flexible firm model which promotes the operation of various employment systems for different workforce sections. The flexible firm model gives information of how firms can minimize employment costs and become more reactive to market and technological changes. This model shows this through restructuring employment systems in order to attain a mixture of functional numerical and financial flexibility. While numerical flexibility is the ability of a firm to change labor inputs to output fluctuations, functional flexibility is the ability of a firm to position employees between tasks and activities to equal shifting workloads. Additionally, financial flexibility is the firm's ability to alter employment costs to replicate the condition of supply and demand (Edema, 2010).
There are different types of flexibility which may be developed by an organization through the use of different flexibility models. These different types of flexibility include time flexibility and contractual flexibility. The contractual flexibility involves the employment of people based on the needs of the organization whereas time flexibility involves the provision of series of work-time flexibility patterns to employees. Similar to these types of flexibility, the flexible firm model is applied and implemented in an organization through several steps. The steps include the evaluation of needs, understanding of available options, negotiation, implementation and monitoring. Through these steps, employees' needs and capacities are considered, discussions held, the flexible practice adopted and monitored afterwards.
The Need for Equal Opportunities within the Workplace:
Equal Opportunities is a term that is mainly used to advocate for the concept that everyone within an organization needs to have an equal chance of applying and being selected for posts. Additionally, the term promotes the concept that everyone within an organization should be equally and fairly trained, promoted and/or have their employment terminated. The need for equal opportunities within the workplace arises from that fact that it enables employers not to discriminate any staff on any grounds. It's against the law for any employer to discriminate any employee on any grounds such as age, sex, race, disability, religion and marital status among others. This need for equal opportunities also enables employers not to discriminate on grounds of potential, ability or experience resulting in employment decisions that are dependent on a person's ability to do a specific job.
Discrimination in the workplace usually takes place in two main forms i.e. direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is the treatment of an employee less favorably than others on grounds like sex, race, marital status or disability. An example of this form of discrimination is the termination of a person's employment because of his/her decision to marry. On the other hand, indirect discrimination is a situation in which one sex has a considerably less ability to fulfill than the other sex. An example is a job that requires a candidate to be of certain minimum height putting women in a general disadvantage.
In the last few years, there have been various initiatives and practices that focus on equal opportunities within the workplace. These initiatives include the empowerment of women to seek career progression and the bringing back of disabled people who can work into the workplace ("Equal Opportunities," n.d.). Currently, the enactment of laws that promote equal opportunities within the workplace has been a key initiative. These laws can be applied by an organization to avoid discrimination through various steps such as the description and advertisement of a job and avoiding the use of discriminatory questions during interviews.
There are several similarities and differences between equal opportunities and managing diversity as used in the workplace. Basically, managing diversity is a term used by successful businesses in connecting the skills and talents within the workplace. Some of the similarities between equal opportunities and managing diversity include the fact that they focus on having the right person for a specific job despite of the person's race, sex or disability. Additionally, similar to equal opportunities, managing diversity creates a working environment in which people from all backgrounds can work together in harmony. Both equal opportunities and managing diversity fight harassment, stereotyping and prejudice within the workplace. However, some of the differences between the two terms include the fact that managing diversity extends the boundaries beyond equality issues through the standard approaches to equal opportunities. While equal opportunities concentrate on equality issues in selection, training, promotion and termination of employment, managing diversity focuses on developing a workforce that meets the business objectives.
Human Resource Practices and Issues:
Human resource management is one of the critical factors to organizational development since it involves the planning, implementation and management of recruitment, selection and training of employees. Actually, its goal is usually to improve and exploit an organization's productivity through the optimization of employees' effectiveness. Given that human resource management focuses on organizational productivity and employees' effectiveness, it's critical in performance management. Performance management in practice basically includes all the activities that ensure that organizational objectives are consistently met in effective ways. This practice can either concentrate on the overall organizational performance, an employee or department. There are different human resource practices in the workplace that help in the development of a highly motivated and satisfied workforce and enable the organization to produce greater results if they are both logical and ethical (Taylor & Harris, 2009).
Some of the different human resource practices in the workplace include human resource planning, capable leadership and outsourcing. Capable leadership is one of the most effective human resource practices since it involves a team or human resource managers who are knowledgeable in organizational development, employee issues and legal requirements. This human resource team or managers develop the most effective and efficient ways of achieving organizational tasks or objectives. The team is in charge of ensuring that they address all the personnel issues that may arise while ensuring that there are collective efforts towards a common goal. The danger with this human resource practice is the need for the managers or team to have on-the-job experience and education. Additionally, these managers or teams need to allow equal place at…