Increased Usage Of Flexible Work Practices Business Essay

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The term organization refers to a group of people working together to achieve common goals. Organizational Behaviour is a study which analysis the Behaviour of the organization in order to shape it and to reinforce it to achieve organizational goals efficiently. Organization also refers to a social unit that is coordinated continuously. Organization is not only limited large scale business units but it is also significant in relatively smaller businesses which are based on even less than 5 people all together. (1)

Every institution, company or a department has an organization where the people working in it work together for the organization. Every organization has got set of objectives to achieve and to achieve them successfully the study of organizational behaviour plays a vital role. It studies the behaviour of individuals collectively so that it can be aligned and synchronize with organizational goals. (2)

The most fascinating part of the organizational behaviour is that it is a very powerful tool to achieve some of the toughest targets just by altering the behaviour of individual attached to it according to the organizational needs. (3)

The study of Organizational behaviour tells us how can the behaviour of individuals can be formulated and how can individuals be considered collectively to work as an organization.

Example:

Barclays bank, Lloyds tsb Bank or Helifax, all are financial institutions and Organizations, in which different groups of people are working together to achieve common organizational goals. Organizational goals can be as a cleaner office environment to maximization of share holder s wealth. Broadly we can say that each and every financial institution is an Organization and the success of each organization depends on how well the organization performs. Organization can perform good if organizational behaviour is managed according the organizational needs.

If we concentrate on the Organizational structure of Barclays bank, we would find that from lower staff to the most senior managers, all are bonded with effective channels of communication. The study of Organizational Behaviour has helped managers to motivate the employees to work efficiently for the betterment of the organization. There are formal as well as informal groups and middle level managers have a good coordination with senior and lower level managers. Such coordination is highly productive for the organization and increases efficiency.

Organizations are formed by smaller groups of individuals that form into larger groups, those large groups then work towards organizational goals. (4)

The merits and disadvantages of flexible working practices within the finance industry.

Flexible working practice:

Flexible working practices' refers to all the innovative and productive ways in which employers and employees can agree to structure work to accommodate business and individual needs. As employers would have business needs according to business demands and they would need different number of employees at different times. Same goes with the individual needs of employees to balance their work life balance as they would like flexible working patterns according to their individual priorities. (5)

Flexible working practices within the finance industry:

The flexible working practices with in the finance industry may have an unanticipated consequence, related to work intensification. Research conducted on professional workers show that flexible workers have often more job satisfaction in an organization than the non-flexible workers. It is also proved that there is work intensification among the workers who work reduced hours and who work remotely. This intensification may occur in three different types. Imposed intensification, Enable intensification and Intensification as an act of reciprocation or exchange. To increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment work intensification can be used by employees where they want to put flexibility against effort. According to the social exchange theory we may conclude that employees put extra additional effort to show their ability to work flexibly, as they are motivated by the benefits from their employer. (6)

Advantages:

It can be concluded from the research that by flexible working practices the business gets the advantage to hire high quality staff for a longer period. It is like this because many workers have got different timing issues and the organization also has different available time slots for the workers to work. It is easier for the organizations to find workers who are willing to work on flexible working patterns. The organization gets the advantage to hire specific staff for flexible practices that would be willing to work flexibly. (7)

Flexible working improves the recruitment process and the retention of the employees. It is very effective to reduce absenteeism such as child care necessity or sick leave as it reduces stress. According to a survey conducted by CBI in 2005 the organizations lost 13 billion due to absenteeism and the organizations who adopted flexible working practice found it very advantageous to reduce absenteeism. (8)

DTI (Department for Trade and Industry) had a survey in 2003 Work-Life-Balance Survey and in that survey it said that the employers who were keen to work life balance practices have a positive impact on their relations with their employees and their employees are more committed and motivated to work so the labour turnover is higher than those employer who were not keen for work life balance practices. There practices have a very encouraging result mainly for recruitment, absenteeism and productivity. Organizations can achieve Work life Balance by flexible working practices as it gives workers to balance their work and life. Workers can have more time for leisure, family and spiritual harmony. (9)

Flexible working practices would result in the enrichment of Work Life Balance and a better work like balance would result in the high satisfaction of the employees. The satisfaction level of the employees would increase and a happier workforce would shape up. Happier and satisfied workforce also means a highly motivated work force that would be very productive for the organization and would show consistency towards improvement of their performance. There organization would benefit from the satisfied employees as they would work more and demonstrate high performance. (10)

Flexible working practices can be changed and altered according to the organizational needs. If the organization wants to adapt certain working patterns by the staff it can have them and later if it wants to alter or change those working hours and timings it can change them according the business needs. Due to flexible working practice the organization as well as employees would feel more control. As organization would have more control to change or alter the working practice, organization would be able to get more employees where and required and it may tend to have less employees at a time where they not required. and employees may request for different working slots according to their availability and suitability. (11)

Disadvantages:

Although flexible working practices have several apparent advantages, but it is often criticised that ill-conceived programs may cause a negative impact on the Organization and some times even good working practices may cause problems for the organization. (12)

The fact must be realized by the organizations that flexible working practices are not always suitable for all employees, the jobs, the organizations or the industries. If the business needs flexible working practice but the employees are not willing then it may cause into low productivity and high cost and if employees or the organization are keen for flexible working practice but if the business needs are not suitable for flexible working practices then also the result may be disastrous. (13)

Flexible working practice may result in high overheads as the organization will be running multiple shifts it would be using the fixed assets all day long as well as utilities such as electricity, water etc. So the overhead cost would even occur in the timings when the productivity level is very low. (14)

Example: The most productive time in a commercial bank is the time when the bank is open for the customers, and if more employees find it suitable to work in the timings when the bank is closed for the customers there would be high overhead costs. (15)

Due to division of labour and specialization many business in finance industries are dependent on all of the specialized staff present at the same time. That means each specialized department/staff member is correlated with each other and if any one of them is not present at a time when other are present it may cause hindrance in the production process. In the flexible working environment it is not easy to put all the specialized staff in the same time so this could slow down the production process and may increase the costs. (16)

Example: All the trading agents of the stock brokerage houses of FTSE have to be present at the time of trading, if any of the agent is not present at the FTSE trading time Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm the business may have to loose.

Although flexible working practices are advantageous for the employees to request to work in the time slots that are suitable for him but the final decision of accommodating the working hours and timing of an employees is left up to individual managers and it is not easy for the manager to accommodate suitable working time and hours for each and every employee so that some of the employee may not find it fair and loose motivation if they don t get their preferable timing and hours to work. (17)

It is not easier for the small or some medium size business organization to offer flexible working therefore a request for flexible working can be turned down and this would cause a negative impact on the employees. There are chances that employees might feel demotivated. It can also happen in the organizations that offer flexible working practices as if they would not be able to accommodate the request of any employee or several employees to provide them flexible working patterns, the employees might loose motivation and it may cause dissatisfaction to them. (18)

Some times if may be difficult to judge performance of the worker as their working timings are flexible so they keep on changing. It can be hard for the managers to monitor the performance of each and every employee due to flexible working arrangements.

Recommendations to senior management detailing how they might maintain motivation and productivity levels without creating performance management problems.

Motivation:

Motivation refers to the drive that guides and formulates the direction, magnitude and consistency of a person towards work. An individual has to make choices from the given alternates and he makes choices according to the magnitude that he wants to achieve for the time he continue to stick with the choice. (19)

Motivation makes every individual do any work. For example: the drive of hunger makes a person to look for food, the drive of security makes individuals to look for secure environment. That means the drive for achieving any thing makes people work towards the achievement process. (20)

There are several factors that can influence the level of motivation, the factors can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are the factors that are directly related, these are internal factors, where as extrinsic factors are the external factors. (21)

There are 3 very important facts attached to Motivated employees that are highly beneficial for any organization.

(i) Motivated employees always look for better ways to do a job.

(ii) Motivated employees are more quality oriented.

(iii) Motivated workers are more productive.

So its very important for an organization to have motivated workforce to achieve more productivity and efficiency.

Recommendations:

Reward scheme:

There should be a reward for the employee after achieving a target or goal, the reward would make the employee motivated and to put more efforts to meet the target. This includes commissions and bonus payments. It would make the employees to shape up their behaviour positively this would increase their interest to learn and to implement effective working practices. If the reward scheme is based on the productivity it would be very cost effectively. For example a sales or production target would be set, which is not easier to be achieved in other instances but may be achieved in as a resulted of motivated employees.

The reward can be monitory or non-monitory reward but research shows that monitory reward has got a certain advantage over non monitory reward. As more people are attracted to a monitory reward as an extrinsic factor as compared to a non-monitory reward.

Monitory rewards:

If the organization sets a reward on the sales that are over budgeted sales then there would be high chances that employees would be highly motivated to work more and to put more efforts and they would try to raise the sales more than the budgeted sales, provided that the budgeted sales target is a realistic target. (22)

Commission:

Commission is paid according to sales or production, it part of scientific approach to management. Frederick Winslow Taylor was one of earliest researchers of Scientific management, in his book The Principles of Scientific Management he wrote about the findings of his research at Midvale Steele Company in which he proved that wages paid according to time rate and piece rate increase the efficiency of production.

It is recommended to the senior management that it could give commission to employees over the sales or production target as it would motivate the employees to work more to sale or produce higher than the targeted sales or production to get the commission. (23)

Bonus:

Bonus is paid by the company to the employees at a set percentage if the employees show extra ordinary performance to produce or sale over the budgeted sales or production. Bonus can be highly motivated for the employees as it would get them a chance to work more to earn more.

It is recommended to the senior management that it should announce a bonus if the business produces or sales more than budgeted production or budgeted sales. The bonus would get the employees to work more that would certainly increase efficiency. The employees would be motivated without much efforts to produce and sale more and management would not have to put more efforts. Bonus is a great motivational tool if used correctly and senior management should set realistic and achievable targets so that employees could work more with high motivation. (24)

Example:

Lloyds Tsb Bank has a distinction in the UK to open the account in the quickest time in the UK, it also pays commission to its employees who open more accounts and persuade people to deposit large amounts in their accounts. This reward has been highly beneficial for the bank and that s the reason why Lloyds Tsb bank is one of the largest banks in the UK and has over 16 million personal customers and small business accounts.

John Lewis Partnership card is a John Lewis subsidiary and it announces Bonus for each year. The financial year of John Lewis starts from 1st April each year and it announces the Bonus each year. It has announced 15% Bonus for the year 2009/2010. That has motivated all the employees and this makes employees to work hard for the betterment of the organization. (25)

Non-monitory rewards:

Non monitory rewards are the rewards that are not evaluated in monitory terms. It could be Leniency, days off, formal and informal appreciation, certificates and honours of appreciation. Although non-monitory rewards are not evaluated in monitory terms but it can be very motivational for the employees and highly beneficial for the organization as it does not cost much to the organization.

Verbal appreciation:

Some times simple verbal appreciation can do wonders and it is probably the easiest non-monitory reward. Verbal appreciation is a practice in which a member from the senior management appreciates efforts of his subordinates with words of appreciation. It is not necessary to be in a formal manner, it can be in an informal manner but it boosts the moral of the employees and they feel that they have been given importance and their efforts have been recognized by the senior management. I makes the employees work hard and try to be consistent to gain the same type of attention from the managers. It often refers to the Maslow s need theory in which Abraham Maslow proposed hierarchy of need in which he mentioned Esteem as one of the needs. Esteem refers to self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect by others. If these needs of an employee are full filled he would feel more motivated and verbal appreciation could be useful to give respect that would help the person gain more esteem. (26)

Example:

John Lewis partnership card is a John Lewis subsidiary of John Lewis plc. It gives a partner status to each of its employee and invites all of its employees for annual general meeting. It encourages employees give suggestions for the improvement and encourages them for participation in the management. This practice is highly motivational for the employees and make them feel special so they put a lot of their efforts to achieve organizational goals.

Certificates of appreciation:

Certificates of appreciation is given to appreciate the efforts of the employees which boosts the moral of the employees and makes them feel affiliated with the organization. It motivates the hardworking employees and recognizes their efforts in a formal way.

I would recommend the senior management to offer certification of appreciation to the employees for their outstanding performances. This will make their distinct effort appreciated in a formal way so the employees would try their best to achieve the success to gain certification of appreciation.

Punishment:

Punishment can also be an effective motivational tool if used correctly. It works just opposite to the reward system but it actually motivates employees to avoid certain practices as the fear of punishment is helpful to shape the behaviour of the employees to achieve desired organizational goals. As a threat to cut in wages for being absent from work would motivate employees to be to be punctual. Punishment can be as low as a criticism from the senior managers to as high as suspension from work.

I would recommend senior management to have punishments but punishments of a smaller level such as wage cut on being absent or positive criticism for improvement might improve the working standards. The fear of punishment would bring out the best of the employees and they will get motivated to work with quality and consistency.

Cognitive approach:

Goal-setting .

This theory of goal-setting is related to the theory that an individual would some times have a drive to achieve a goal if it is clearly stated. This end state can be a reward or a punishment. Goal setting just makes it easier for some of the employees to emphasise on specific direction and he knows what he has to achieve prior achieving. So its better for the organization to set such goals which are achievable for the employees and motivational for them and the end state should be of interest to the employees. One of the most important aspect of goal setting is the clear description of the goal. All the employees related to the goal, should be explained the goal correctly and they ways to achieve it efficiently. Its better to do quantitative and qualitative analysis for the employees, as if the organization wants achieve a high sales this month, then the employees must be told the exact number of sales that the organizations wants them to achieve. The consequences of the of end state would play a vital role to attract them towards the desired result.

I would recommend the senior management to set realistic goals and also mention the way to achieve the goals. Most of the employees would find it easier to work towards clearly stated goals, it would motivate them as they would know prior about the end result and how to achieve it. Setting of goals should be by discussing with the employees and brain storming with them. Brain storming with employees would make them feel that they are special part of the organization and the goals which they would suggest would be then easier and motivational for them to achieve. (27)

Setting competitions:

Setting healthy competitions between employees would motivate them to win the competition as some people are motivated to win. The employees would think that they are under observation and would try their best to be successful under competition. Competition can create stress and stress can increase performance. Competitions are very exiting for many people and they work with zest zeal to succeed them.

I would like senior managers to organize healthy competition among the employees from which they can choose the employee of the month or the most productive employee so that others could get motivated to show better performance to win the competition.

Frederick Herzberg's theory:

I would also like to recommend Frederick Herzberg s two factor theory as it can be very useful for performance oriented motivation for the organization. As Herzberg stated that there are certain intrinsic or extrinsic factors which increase the satisfaction for an individual. The presence of these factors increase productivity and increase the quality of work. There factors result in a happier workforce, which is very important for any organization.

(i) Motivators: Motivators are the factors which give positive satisfaction.

(ii) Hygiene factors: Hygiene factors are the factors which do not increase motivation but if they are not there it would result in demotivation. (28)

Recommendation for Hawthorne effect:

The Hawthorne study has proved that it needs more than scientific approach for the organization as it needs human behaviour approach. It must be realized that man is not a machine so it must not be treated as a machine, each individual must be treated with respect and each individual must feel his affiliation with the organization. I I would recommend the senior management to be courteous to the employees and it pay attention to all the employees so that employees could feel the sense of affiliation with the organization and they should feel that they are given importance and they considered an integral part of the organization. (29)

Example:

In post world war II era the emergence of more insurance company took place and initially they had good profits but later their profits started to drop gradually mainly because their employees were not treated properly, they were handled according to scientific approach and they were paid commission on the insurance policies sold. Later due to the falling profits insurance companies started motivating employing by non-monitory rewards, one of them was the to increase the sense of affiliation with the employees. Employees were observed and their performance was measured which was very motivational for them and increased profits.

Summery

The increased use of flexible working practices, cross functional teams and matrix structures can be a performance management minefield for middle managers.

It is widely accepted that Finance Industry is the backbone of an economy and one of the key indicator for the economic growth or decline. Over the years finance Industry has evolved and progressed rapidly and the study of Organizational Behaviour has helped managers to general innovative and effective Organizational management practices that have helped the industry to grow and prosper. The study of Organizational behaviour has built a positive bridge between the conventional management and modern management techniques. The employees are considered as the most important part of the organization and management is working to motivate employees for efficiency.

A satisfied work force is considered to be the most powerful workforce and quality of work quality of life are balanced. The management has been trying to reduce the gap between senior level managers and lower level managers. As we know that finance industry is a service industry and it is labour intensive so more emphasis is being put on labour to increase the productivity. The study of individuals and then the combined study of the organization is helping the businesses in the finance industry to prosper and grow beyond horizons.

It has been observed that all the successful financial institutions such as Barclays Bank, HSBC or Santander have worked very closely with their staff for the job satisfaction of the staff. They have used flexible working practices and motivation as tool to shape their staff as productive and efficient staff and so far they have been very successful in this.

It can be easily concluded that organizational growth and success is based on the employees it has and middle level management plays a vital role in it. The staff is the most important asset for the Organizations in the finance industry if dealt correctly it could be very beneficial for the organizational growth.

Refrences:

"Flexible Working Practices Boost Business Success." Leadership & Organization Development Journal. February-March 1997. (14-18)

Graham, Baxter W. "The Business Argument for Flexibility." HRMagazine. May 1996. (10-13)

Kirrane, Diane E. "Wanted: Flexible Work Arrangements." Association Management. November 1994. (3-7)

Leveen-Sher, Margery. "Flexibility Is the Key to Small Business Benefits." Washington Business Journal. February 16,1996.(10-11)

Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) (2005b) Women in the IT industry. Towards a business case for diversity. Interim report. London: HMSO. (9)

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and AXA (2006) Absence minded: absence and labour turnover 2006. London: CBI. (8)

John R Schermerhorn, Jr, James G. Hunt, Organizational Behaviour (1-4), (25-29)

Wagner & Hollebeck, Organizational Behaviour-securing competitive advantage (19-25)

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