The Importance of Organizational Behavior and its Affect on the Company. Discuss how the study and practice of organizational behaviour can make a difference, if any, in the operation of a business.
We have discussed the implementation of organizational behavior principles in the company for quite some time. Some feel that there is no need to add these principles to the agenda, “that employee benefits are unrelated to both worker performance and perceived organizational support” (Lambert, 2000, p.801). The Board requested that we investigate these principles before adding them. The results of that investigation follow.
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The core of any organization is its personnel and our success depends on our people. The goal of this company is to increase our profitability, increase growth and innovation, and introduce new values and culture into the organization. In order for us to remain competitive, we need to have “maximum quality, minimum cost, and [maintain peak performance]” (Ahls, 2001, p. 6).
I have noticed that the staff operates by a “hard-skills” ethic; they deal with the technical and functional aspects of the job but not the social. “Soft skills” work synergistically with the hard skills. Soft skills like team work, communication, problem solving, and leadership together with the hard skills of computer knowledge, filing, and financial analysis make for a well-rounded employee (South Dakota’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Skills). The technical aspect of our company was top rate. Our employees came here with great talent, however, they seem to have stalled and that along with the high absenteeism and increased turnover indicates that they are looking for something more in their jobs.
As you are aware, we recently completed an employee survey to understand our employees’ perceptions of the organization better since “employee behaviours are based on perceptions, not reality” (Robbins, 2001, p. 94). Through participation in the survey was voluntary, 84% of the employees took part. There has been much research that provides evidence showing that factors in the work environment relate to “outcomes such as employee motivation, job satisfaction, intentions to quit, job performance, and even organizational productivity” (Altmann, 2000, p. 16). That would explain why 77% of employees rated “I would proudly recommend this organization as a good place to work to a friend or relative” as disagree or strongly disagree (HR Solutions, Inc.).
The supervisory section of the survey also rated low. The staff would like to see their supervisors and senior management more often, they look for input and encouragement regarding their workgroups and their own work effort, and 78% feel that their skills are not used. 52% do not feel that their supervisors are friendly (HR Solutions, Inc.). Studies have shown that reinforcement conditions behaviour. Meeting with and talking to the employees would be an ideal time to help reinforce the certain behaviors that we would like to see increase (Robbins, 2001, p. 115).
It is important for us to acknowledge that the lack of communication between workers, insufficient feedback from managers, and incongruity with family life leads to conflict in the workplace. The amount of productivity for the number of hours worked is insufficient. People skills or soft skills are not something we can ignore any longer.
Incorporating them into the workplace will help decrease the amount of missed work time, the cost of exit interviews and training new hires, and increase productivity (de Haas, 2001, p. 50). Exactly how cost-effective will this be? The Rowell Consulting Group explains that managers who have been coached in bettering certain behaviours or skills “reported a conservative ROI equal to six times what the coaching had cost their companies” (Rowell Consulting Group).
Having requested feedback about their work performance, the staff is asking for motivation, looking for a need come to work every day (Robbins, 2001, p. 108). David McClelland proposed three major needs that employees have: the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. The need for achievement is presented as a drive to excel and succeed. There is a need to do things better than others.
The need for power is the desire to have an effect on others, to be influential. Finally, the need for affiliation is the desire for close, personal, friendly relationships (Robbins, p. 112). Each of our employees has one or more of these needs yet they do not have the desire to achieve them. If we acknowledge these needs, help them set goals, and provide feedback, we can influence their productivity (Robbins, 2001, pp. 114 – 115).
An improvement in the social relationship with our employees will add value to the team, which assists in increasing performance and decreasing costs to the company. I believe that we should implement the following suggestions as soon as possible: “Recognize the efforts and contributions of the current staff Reward staff with compensation directly linked to performance Motivate staff to improve performance Orient staff towards goal achievement Retain key employees through the use of competitive compensation programs Attract quality employees with an effective performance…system” (Compensation Resources)
Since the staff already works long hours and there is a need for motivation, I also suggest a modified workweek. If we alter the schedule to Monday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM and 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Friday, the employees would still work 40 hours but they would have an early start to the weekend. This would add little to no cost to the company but it would give the staff a boost in motivation and help them balance their home and work lives.
When people struggle to balance their home life with their work-life, they tend to undergo increased stress and fatigue; this could explain the high absenteeism and high turnover (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety [CCOHS]).
As Eddie Bauer said, “Never confuse having a career with having a life.” (Parus, 2000, p. 50) With that in mind, we looked at the demographics of our employees and found that the majority were married and had children (Lambert, 2000, p. 806). I feel that it is vital for our employees to have a life outside of work and spend time with their families. “Studies have shown that acknowledging people’s needs outside of work is one of the key drivers of employee commitment” (Spinks & Moore, 2002, p. 11).
Because of all the variables that can cut into an employee’s work time, it is in our best interest to have a work/life plan in place (Gornick). Work/life programs have grown and changed over the past 20 years. The old school of thought about onsite childcare centers so women could more easily work has grown into a more well-rounded solution of addressing the concerns of both men and women. There are now work/life programs that assist all levels of the organization and provide for a wide variety of needs including childcare, parent care, and adoption and tuition assistance (Gornick).
To integrate a work/life program and initiate soft skills into our company, it would be best to start with an employee task force with staff from all levels. This is more realistic than having management sit down and just throw a package together as these employees would come up with suggestions on what they feel they need most.
It would also be more beneficial to have an outside consultant assist the employees in the task force, as the consultant would have the experience to help us with real needs as opposed to the perceived needs the employees may come up with (Gornick). Having asked for more input into the company, the creation of a task force will show them that we have paid attention to the results of the survey and care for their feedback.
None of this will succeed without the unwavering support from management. There is a human tendency to resist change, especially one as significant and challenging as this. It means that management will need to give up their current familiar routine though it will feel unnatural at first (de Haas, 2001, p. 52). Currently, you excel at your position; you will now need to excel at recognizing and bringing out the strengths in others. The employees will notice and appreciate the simple adjustments to your everyday work schedule.
TG & Associates cites from the book “Managing for Dummies” the top ten ways of motivating employees. There is no need for me to list them here, but if each manager uses the first one every day for the next couple of weeks, we should see an improvement in job performance: “Personally thank employees for doing a good job one-on-one, in writing or both. Do it timely, often, and sincerely (TG & Associates). It is management’s role to be supportive and available and though it will not happen overnight, the changes will be noticed.
The thought going into this survey was that our employees were happy to be here and that technically we had the most productive company in the field. It is obvious from the survey that our employees are not happy, also, productivity is down, absenteeism and turnover is up, and we are not meeting the needs of the employees. The survey should become a regular part of our company’s agenda, and I look forward to working with you on instituting a new work/life program for the firm.
References Ahls, B. (2001, July-August). Organizational behaviour: A model for cultural change. Industrial Management, , 6-9. Retrieved January 10, 2003, EBSCOhost Altmann, R. (2000, Summer). Understand the organizational climate. Canadian Manager, 25, 15-16. Retrieved January 9, 2003, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Work/life balance. Retrieved January 11, 2003, www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/worklife_balance.html Compensation Resources. Performance overview. Retrieved January 8, 2003, http://compensationresources.com/Performance/overview.html De Haas, T. (2001, September). Conflict? What an opportunity!. Charter, 72, 50-52. Retrieved January 12, 2003, ProQuest Gornick, M. How to implement a strategic work/life plan. Retrieved January 11, 2003, www.bcsolutionsmag.com/online/implement_strategic_worklife.html HR Solutions, Inc. Employee satisfaction surveys. Retrieved January 11, 2003, www.hrsolutionsinc.com/g/employee_satisfaction_surveys.htm Lambert, S. J. (2000). Added benefits: the link between work/life benefits and organizational citizenship behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 43(5), 801-815.
Parus, B. (2000, September). Measuring the ROI of work/life programs. Workspan, 43, 50-54. Retrieved January 10, 2003, ProQuest Robbins, S. P. (2001). Organizational behavior (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Custom Publishing.
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