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This project will discuss issues pertaining to organisational behaviour as observed in the organisation named CADET UNIFORM SERVICES, based out of Toronto, Canada. The organisation at the moment has been acquired by Cintas Corporation Ltd, but this project will essentially follow the roadmap of Cadet Uniform Services from when it began in the year 1974 and will discuss ideas of motivation, leadership, organisational culture, organisational structure, team effectiveness and the human resources practices followed by the organisation.
Cadet Uniform Services was founded in the year 1974 by Quentin Wahl in Toronto, Canada as a spin off to his father's dry cleaning business. The company provide many services to its customers like picking up, cleaning and delivering customer uniforms as well as providing inventory control and management services. The services which is the most important part of any organisation in Cadet Uniform Services was handled by customer services representatives more commonly known as customer services representatives in the company lingo. These were employees of the company who were given complete freedom of action and authority which was absolute in all respects which gave them the ability to act as individual entrepreneurs.
In the year 1995, Cadet was the third largest uniform services in Canada with annual revenue to the tune of US $30 million and had an annual growth rate of about 20%.The reason behind the stupendous growth and the outstanding [performance of the company was a belief in quality that was instilled in Wahl while he was working with his father's company.
Cadet annually picks up, cleans, processes and returns seven million uniforms for more than 3,500 customers at prices which are 5% lower than those that were charged in the year 1985. The profit margins of the organisation exceed industry norms. Cadet enjoys 10-12% lower per unit costs than competitors and the wages of its employees are at least 20% higher and often times double the industry averages. This unending commitment towards quality and efficiency has led to an astounding customer retention rate levelled at a rate of over 99%.
The question that this project would like to propose is how is that an organisation such as Cadet has been so successful and maintains a relationship with its customer's that is so strong that it amazes the complete industry and has set new ground in customer service.
This assignment would answer this question by analysing the organisation Cadet Uniform Services in terms of organisational behaviour concepts and would try to co-relate its business effectiveness by using suitable models and theories in the subject.
But before we try to answer the proposed question we must look at the way Cadet carries out its business and to understand the workings of such a complex entity we must start with the mission statement.
Mission statement, what really does this mean, according to me it's a very important and an integral part of any corporation and shows what the firm stands for, its ideals and vision and all the values that it operates its business by. It's a representation of the enterprise's purpose of existence.
It guides the actions of the organisation, gives it a sense of direction, it provides the basic framework within which the company's strategies are formulated. Looking at Cadet's mission statement here it says "doing the job right the first time, every time", what does this tell us about this particular organisation, customer centricity is the main focus of this establishment, the mission statement in itself is so powerful that it conveys the message to the customer that we are here to service you to the best of our abilities and u can bank upon us to get it right the first time and every time. Customer services representatives the backbone of Cadet's structure were mainly responsible for such a performance that ensured that the mission statement of the organisation stays true to its word. Such commitment to service and quality represented far more than a slogan or a one-liner concocted by the public relations department, but it was a spring board to a way of doing business and a way of leading and was in fact a philosophical and cultural foundation that guided the activities of its employees.
The purpose of organisational structure is effective division of work among the employees and co-ordination of their activities which maximize the organisations capabilities and ensures smooth running of the entity.It creates a framework of order and command through which the activities of the business are controlled, directed, planned and organised. It also gives the organisation the advantage of flexibility ensuring that it can mould it functions in order to respond to the changing business environment and conditions.
Traditional managerial control is absent from the workings of Cadet, it has a very peculiar and interesting organisational structure in which the employees are given complete autonomy, the control is given to the employees on how to best serve the customers which ensures excellent customer service. In my opinion the model which cadet follows can be called Hierarchy-Community Phenotype Model which says that the firm is no longer only a place for people to come and work and go home but gives them a sense of belonging and identity making sure that the firm has become their village and their community where they belong and grow together where their affective and innovative needs are being taken care off.
Edgar Schein defines organizational culture as:
"A pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems."
Quite evident from the above definition it can be concluded with ease that organisational culture can also be termed as "feel" of the organisation. It's all about how the firm organises itself, forms it's own rules and procedures and beleifs that shape up the aforesaid culture. There are many type of cultures, to name some Power culture, Person culture, Role culture etc. but the culture which relates closest to Cadet's culture has to be the Task culture which emphasizes on a team based approach to complete a particular task. It was identified by Charles Handy. It draws resources from different parts of the organisation to form study groups, working parties and different committees to take on problems, initiatives and projects as in when they arise and also to suggest possible solutions to unforeseen and future problems.
The customer service representatives worked as a team to ensure that the commitment and quality to service was always the number one priority of the organisation. Customer service representatives more fully understood the level of commitment necessary to maintain the company's quality and service standard's than the managers who were less directly connected to the process thus reinforcing the culture of employee entrepreneurship and teamwork.
Simply stated motivation is why people behave in a certain way, the question it proposes is "WHY PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO?" It can also be described as the direction and persistence of action. Why people choose a particular way of action in preference to others and why they must continue with certain behaviour, often over a long period and in the face of difficulties and problems.
To put it more scientifically motivation can be described as a working force or a driving force within a person by which he/she attempts to achieve a certain goal in order to fulfil some need or expectation.
Performance= function (ability-> motivation)
Along with ability motivation can also be looked at from the viewpoint of a combination of many ingredient's which are necessary for an employee to work to the best of his ability. The components responsible are the level of skill which an employee possesses, knowledge of how to complete the task, feelings and emotions, and also conditions and the working business environment which is not under the persons control.
There are many theories on the subject of motivation which try to explain the workings of the employees in an organisation. But motivation as a subject is so complex that there is no ready-made solution or single answer to what motivates people. The usual approach to the study of motivation is through understanding of internal cognitive processes - that is what people fell, and how they think. There are two major groups in which these theories can be placed, namely content theories and process theories.
Content theories explain the specific things that would actually motivate the person at work. These theories are more concerned with identifying the person's need, their strengths and the goals they pursue in order to satisfy those needs. The theories mainly emphasize on the nature of needs and what motivates.
Process theories identify the relationship among the dynamic variables that constitute motivation. These theories more focus on how behaviour is initiated, directed and sustained. Process theories emphasize on the actual [process of motivation.
Now looking at Cadet's success as a business enterprise it can easily be deduced that the exceptional performance of the firm is because of the excellent commitment to quality and service of the employees of the company known as customer service representatives. Now it would be interesting to understand that how it is that these employee's or customer service representatives do such a good job, what is the thing that actually motivates them to perform the way they do and always come out with flying colours. Before we look at the actual plan of motivation which was followed throughout Cadet Uniform Services, I would like to discuss one particular Process Theory which according to me resonates most closely with the way this organisation carries out its business and motivates its employees. The name of this theory is the Expectancy Theory. Below is a diagrammatic representation followed by a brief discussion of the theory.
INDIVIDUAL EFFORT -ïƒ INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE -ïƒ
ORGANISATIONAL REWARDS -ïƒ PERSONAL GOALS
Effort- performance relationship= Expectancy
When people develop a perception of the degree of profitability that the choice of a particular action will actually lead to the desired outcome, this is termed as expectancy. It is the relationship between a certain course of action and its predicted outcome.
Performance- rewards relationship= Instrumentality
Instrumentality can be defined as a perception of employees whether they will actually get what they desire after performing tasks which had been required of them.
Rewards- personal goals relationship= Valence
Valence refers to the emotional orientations people hold with respect to the outcomes or the rewards after performing the task.
The expectancy theory says that the employees of any organisation can be motivated if they believe that there is a positive co- relation between efforts and performance, the performance expected will result in a favourable reward, the reward will satisfy an important need and the desire to satisfy the need is going to be strong enough to make the effort worthwhile.
When looking at this model of expectancy theory, we can easily co- relate this to the practices adopted by Cadet Uniform Services to motivate their customer service representatives and below is a discussion of the aforesaid.
Quentin Wahl states "the aim is to put in place systems that allow people to be motivated and to utilize fully their abilities. All I'm doing is making it possible for them to do their jobs. And they respond by doing their jobs better than anyone else in the industry." This level of motivation was achieved through both monetary and non-monetary rewards and consequences.
A customer service representatives pay was directly proportional or related to the satisfaction level of the individual customer being serviced by them. If a customer was happy and satisfied by the services being provided by the customer service representatives, then the particular employee would be rewarded with increased income and bonus. However if the customer was dissatisfied or unhappy with the services being provided and left the company, the customer service representatives could expect commensurate negative consequences. This direct relationship between customer satisfaction and the corresponding pay was indeed a tremendous motivator for all the employees. This also shows us that money is and always will be a major motivator for any concern. It just depends upon every employees personal circumstances and the satisfaction they derive from it, and money is a universal motivator which always makes people tick.
The power of motivation via non- monetary means can never be underestimated. They are the rewards that are used in the organization to motivate employees without direct payment of cash. They can also be free services provided by the organisation or can be in the forms of recognitions awarded to deserving employees in the workplace to create a positive working environment or atmosphere for the employees. In the case of Cadet simple activities were organised for the employees such as Quality Kids Day, which provided the employees with the opportunity to share the ideas of quality with their children and also Zero Defects Day, at which the plant closed early for the day to organise a barbeque for the employees if the targets of the firm had been met earlier than the given schedule. All these and more of such activities ensured that Cadet Uniform Services was a good place to work at and ensured that the employees were a happy bunch and liked coming to work because of the environment that had been created because of such informal activities.
Also Quality awards received by the company from its customers was displayed in the cafeteria and acted as a symbol of pride for its employees. The biggest benefit of all such recognitions was that it was sort of a tribute to all the team members for working so hard and delivering outstanding and exceptional customer service to its clients and they acted as tools for reinforcing the company's goals and culture.
Another example of a non- monetary motivation tool was the freedom that was given to a customer service representative of Cadet to do one's job as one sees fit. Control over one's work environment can be a major and a tremendous influence on how motivated is one to work.
The unique and sustaining quality of individual tools employed by Cadet were not about the individual tools being utilized but rather a very interesting combination and interrelatedness of the tools. The ingredients of Cadet's culture and motivational tools were mutually supportive of each other. Cadet always ensured that the combination of the motivational tools being utilized, both monetary and non- monetary supported one another, and the consequences resulting always acted in unison rather than in conflict. The best motivational tool that was used in my opinion was the complete and absolute autonomy that was given to the customer service representatives to do their job as they saw fit and making them aware of the targets expected and also the consequences for not meeting their individual goals, this ensured that the customer will always be provided with the best service in the industry and the qualiy is something that they can always be sure about.
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Human resource management is a coherent approach to the management of the most valued asset of any organisation- its employees and in the case of Cadet its Customer Service Representatives . It is essentially the backbone of any organisation and as we know people make the company so, the promotion of good human relations within any organisation is an integral part of the process of management and of organisational structure.
In simple words human resource management simply means employing people, developing their skills and enhancing their abilities, utilizing their services and maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the organisational requirements.
In particular case of Cadet's hiring policy we are closely going to look at the hiring practices which were followed by the organisation to get their workforce or customer service representatives which ensured the excellent commitment to customer service and follow the steps which made sure that only the best people are hired for the role which had so many demands and requirements. We are also going to have a look at the training and development practices which were followed to ensure that the customer service representatives were up to the mark and without doubt the best in the industry.
Potential customer services representatives were scrutinized with utmost care by the existing team members, rather than relying solely on the evaluation of a person by a human resource manager or a line manager. Team member were entrusted with the responsibility for examining and analysing the qualifications and the inherent commitment towards quality and service of all potential employees. The above method was used because Cadet's current customer service representatives understood more fully the level of commitment necessary to maintain the company's quality and service standards, more even than the managers who were less directly connected with the process. In addition it reinforced the culture of employee entrepreneurship and teamwork, that has always served as the basis of outstanding customer centricity as a focus for Cadet to carry out its business.
Training and Development:
This is a very important organizational activity aimed at bettering the individual performance of employees and of groups to ensure optimal organisational performance. It has three main components training, education and development. Training is the activity that is focused upon and evaluated against the job that an individual currently holds. Education is the activity that focuses upon the jobs that an individual may potentially hold in the future. Development is the activity which focuses upon the activities that the organisation employing the individual, may partake in the future. This is the one function which in my opinion is almost impossible to evaluate.
Talking in the specific case, pertaining to Cadet strategy which was followed for training and developing their new employees and existing customer service representatives is as follows:
Both new hires and established customer services representatives were given unending opportunities to learn new skills that could significantly enhance their existing capabilities to better service the customers. An education centre offered updated materials for the employees on quality and service issues. The organisation actively encouraged the customer services representatives to seek outside education and knowledge and would often reimburse the cost of such educational pursuits. The only stipulation that was there was for the employee was that the customer service representative was supposed to share their newly acquired knowledge with other employees through a summary of the individuals experience which would be beneficial to the work of other customer service representatives and in turn also helped in increasing the organisational performance and activity. This encouragement to such educational endeavours could also be seen as a motivational factor which gives the impression to the employee that he or she is an integral part of the organisation and the firm is willing to invest in them when it comes to monetary terms and gives them the added confidence to do their job better than they were doing and instils a sense of belonging for the organisation, which in turn is an added mutual benefit for both the customer service representative and the organisation, paving the way for a win- win situation for both the parties. This can be explained as such because due to better training and knowledge the customer service representative does his job well and the firm reaps the rewards amounting from better and increased organisational activity and output, after just investing a trivial amount of capital in the training, education and development of the employee.
Additionally customer service representative also had the choice of being trained in other areas of the business, depending upon being able to find an employee willing to trade positions within the organisation. The advantage that this poliy gave to the employees was greater job flexibility, variety, and both personal and professional growth opportunities. It also helped the employees, by increasing their industry knowledge and expertise and the requirements for success in this industry.
A Quality Awareness Board comprising of employees from different business areas and functions and also having customer participation was formulated, which essentially carried out the task to orient new hires to the company's quality and service commitment focus, and provide an on-going "process mapping" exercise which focuses in key areas relating to tasks to be carried out to increase the business effectiveness and make sure that the day to day operations were smooth and efficient. This process mapping lead to significant increase in sales and was credited with maximizing the firm's profit.
Cadet mastered their processes by the introduction of ECR forms where ECR stands for error cause removal. These Error Cause Removal forms were routinely used by the customer services representatives and other employees to identify any inefficiency in the total delivery process. Such an ability which helps in identifying and rectifying a problem was the direct off shoot of the employees training and development function.
Cadet Uniform Services, an organisation that inculcates excellent commitment towards quality and customer service, in doing so has created shared mind-set between employees, employer and customer. In 1993, Cadet was among the five companies awarded a Certificate of Merit in the Awards For Business Excellence, by the Canadian government. How did this all come about? This is the question that this project has tried to shed some light on and in doing so, also explained the basic theories and models of Organisational Behaviour by analysing the different processes and functions which are the major components of such a complex undertaking, Cadet Uniform Services.
Quentin Wahl envisioned a business with a mission statement of "doing the job right the first time, every time". This simple one-line shaped such a successful business that knew no- bounds and was a tremendous show. This slogan was the backbone of the organisation, which helped in directing and focusing all of the energies towards customer service and quality, which were only possible because of the customer service representatives which is the main ingredient in the organisational structure, they were given absolute authority and traditional managerial control was absent from the workings of Cadet's functions allowing the employees to do their job as they saw fit giving them more confidence to do it right the first time and every time.
The organisational culture which is so very important in any firm's working also played a major role, Task culture was adopted by Cadet's employees in which every team maintained and helped other teams to maintain the commitment of quality and service towards customers.
Motivational strategy developed by Cadet needs special mentioning as they used the expectancy model with monetary forms and non- monetary ways to motivate their employees to the level of such excellence that surpassed the industry's average in every regard and helped people to make more money and ensure a happier customer.
All of this would have never been possible if it had not been for the hiring policies followed by Cadet, which made sure that only the best people work for the firm and always maintain their standard of quality and service and the training and development practices made sure that these levels of commitment and excellence would only go forward and raise the stature of Cadet Uniform Services to being the best the industry has ever seen.
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