Review and appraisal is the second stage, where it is important for employees and managers to meet and discuss issues about appraisal both on a day-to-day basis that can be seen as being informal, and then the more formal processes of an appraisal and review. The formal process involves managers monitoring and keeping an eye on how the employee is going about achieving his or her individual objectives. Work managers would be required to provide them with ongoing and unsolicited support, for example, discussing certain issues or problems that may arise during their normal working day and looking at ways of tackling them.
When the appraisal interview is viewed there are dangers when staff are congratulated or condemned for meeting or not meeting targets and when training and development needs are acknowledged. Therefore it is important that managers set time aside for quarterly appraisals when these issues could have been identified and rectified earlier so that improvement can be made. The third stage of performance management system is the phase of reinforcing performance standards. At this stage issues could range from minor problems in performance to more severe and potentially long-term deterioration in standards.
If employees are uncapable of doing certain tasks managers often take no notice of this whereas this should be addressed. It may be the case as managers feel that this problem will go away itself or that the individual involved will leave. A consequence of this problem may result in the company being taken to an employment tribunal by the individual involved. Lastly, performance management systems require support for individuals in order for performance requirements to be met through welfare and counselling services.
This could take the form of informal support from an individual manager, or maybe through a quiet chat in the office, which may be the only thing necessary to improve things for both the individual and the company. More and more companies are using external services for counselling and as the Internet is more widely used companies use the web, as employees feel that an independent person is listening to their concerns due to the increasing pressures and stress faced by employees within organisations.
In order for the management of Software Systems to remain successful they need to motivate, retain and generate the commitment of its workforce. The most common way of motivating the workforce is through monetary rewards, but the SBS have pointed out that employees within the company view the reward system as being inappropriate as it just consists of a flat salary plus an expenses system. Therefore Helen and Brian need to look at alternative means. “Motivation is a process in which people choose between alternative forms of behaviour in order to achieve personal goals” (Cole G. A. , 1995).
This definition is based upon an individuals choice, who tends to react upon the “emotions and deeply-held values” (Cole G. A. , 1995) of themselves. “The traditional definition of employee loyalty is being replaced by the new type of commitment that requires a more mutually beneficial relationship between the worker and the employer” (Laabs J. , 1998). Employees have now become aware that the fatherly employer is no longer needed and that they themselves can control their own “professional and personal growth” (Laabs J. , 1998). Frederick Hertzberg (1966) has suggested a leading theory of motivation.
His study was based upon 200 engineers and accountants, “he asked these people to describe in detail what was happening in their jobs at times when they felt unusually satisfied, interested or enthusiastic about their work and again when they felt unusually dissatisfied, frustrated or unhappy” (Paul & Robertson, 1976). This research found that employees were disappointed with their work they seemed to blame environmental factors for example poor working conditions, whereas if they “felt satisfied they put it down to the job itself” (Chell, 1993).
The forms of non monetary rewards or incentives that Software Systems can use could be through “aspects of the work environment that serve to enhance a workers sense of self-respect and esteem” (Cascio, 1989). Other forms could include, commissions, discounts, regular appraisals, job rotation, suggestion box and the possibility of the Management agreeing to recognise trade unions and staff associations. Despite all the possible incentives listed above the overall and most important element of generating commitment from employees is through communication.
A “communication programme is seen as fulfilling the role of both increasing the individual’s identification with the company and the acceptance of organisational goals” (Sission, 1989). Training & Development Over recent years more and more firms have acknowledged the importance of training and development. These changes have mainly been due to “the changing nature of both modern employment and workers expectations of what it should provide” (Thomason, 1981). Human capital within organisations like Software Systems can be improved through forms of activities in training and development.
Organisations often see training and development as either being an investment or an additional cost. “Training and development activities are planned programs of organisational improvement undertaken to bring about a relatively permanent change in employee knowledge, skills, attitudes, or social behaviour” (Cascio, 1991). Helen and Brian need to “define what is to be learned and what the substantive content training and development should be” (Cascio, 1991), for it’s employees only then will she be able to design an appropriate training and development plan.
Once this task has be fulfilled, I would advise the management to investigate and choose a particular learning theory and then relate this theory to the most appropriate methods of training. This will allow her to choose the most effective training methods suited to all individual learning styles of it’s employees, ensuring that all new employees are properly trained despite the limited time available due to the strict timetable.
Kolb et al (1994), did an investigation to help us understand how individuals learn from their experiences. He developed a learning cycle consisting of four stages, this was “further developed by Honey and Mumford (1989). A diagram of both influences is shown in Appendix B. The four stages shown on the learning cycle are important factors of adequate learning, not everyone is particularly brilliant at each stage and this cycle help us “to understand where our strengths and weaknesses lie. ” (Torrington ; Hall, 1995).
Research done by Honey and Mumford enabled them to “identify an individuals learning styles as ‘activists,’ ‘reflector,’ ‘theorist,’ and ‘pragmatist'” (Torrington ; Hall 1995). If Helen and Brian were able to recognise the possible strengths and weaknesses of it’s employees it would enable her to “choose learning activities which best suit their style” (Torrington & Hall, 1995), as well as giving them the “opportunity to strengthen a particular weak learning stage of their learning cycle” (Torrington & Hall, 1995).
Communication is an important aspect within any organisation enabling mangers and to be informed about a variety of relevant matters. It has been identified by SBS that there is a lack of integration of in house systems, which has resulted in causing friction and interpersonal problems within the company due to not having relevant channels of communication. Laabs (1998) has acknowledged that “if managers are going to get the most out of employees, they need to look at individuals separately, which demands a higher level of communication. ”
Helen and Brian could put together a communication programme, which would involve undertaking specific tasks, which would ensure regular communication between employers and employees. This could be done through either a newsletter from the Management to employees, or regular meeting with members of the Management. This would “display a greater commitment to the view that Management can only manage effectively with the active co-operation of it’s workforce and is more conductive to an integrative problem solving approach” (Sission, 1989).
Having looked at the six problem areas of Helen and Brian’s business of Software Systems it can be seen that they have a very difficult task ahead of them. They will need to put together an action plan in order for them to be organised, and regular step to step analysis will be required. Helen and Susan will firstly have to decide on whether they are going to use my advice and consolidate or pursue the growth strategy. This will involve the management of the company looking at the SWOT.
Once they have enough information on each of these sections, Helen and Brian will then be required to implement the chosen strategy. The first task will be to provide the companies “field based” staff with the use of performance management systems and appraisals. This will involve the management setting the staff targets/objectives which need to be achieved within a certain time frame. Helen and Brian can then carry out performance reviews to see which employees are meeting targets and meeting their expectations.
The second task requires the management to look at motivation, retaining and generating commitment. This will help reduce the companies’ high labour turnover of 18% because if they are happy with the rewards and other aspects they are more likely to remain within the company for a longer period of time. The third task comprises of identifying the most suitable training methods and activities that the company needs to focus on as in house training could reduce the costs of recruiting fully trained software engineers at premium rates.
This is required to ensure that all the software engineers as well as all the other employees of the company to make sure that they are properly trained. The final task involves Helen and Brian looking at possible ways of improving communication across the three sites. This would benefit the company as all employees can provide and receive information on a daily basis, which will ensure that all the internal departments within the company are running smoothly.