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"The business environment is changing more rapidly and that is increasing the need for managing the speed of change keeping the demands of clients and interests of the employees and organization in view." Vashistha, (2007:7-8)
Above quotation highlights the fact that the world is changing with every passing moment. Everything is changing and most of the changes are appealing and beneficial, but sometimes it is the other way round. In my work, I will explore if it is important to keep an efficient and trained employee rather than replacing him with an inexperienced. My research is important in the sense that it will explore how an effective and learned employee can benefit a company and I will evaluate whether employee is the real asset of a company. As Guerin , (2010:206) says," Needless to say employees are one of the biggest assets a company has."
It is also important because I will discuss some of the ways to retain the employee as it is not an easy task in the fast changing era. "In new Millennium to retain an employee is a tough challenge when the employee has access to the means to compare and contrast his salaries with that of his counterpart somewhere else," says Branham, (2005:154).
The company that I have chosen is a luggage company where I have spent almost four years. The company, Mayes Travel Goods, deals in bags and suit cases etc. We sell quality luggage with an expert's opinion. This company was established back in 1998 with only one small shop and now it has more than five branches across London.
My research will also analyze the role of the employer to retain an efficient employee within organization in order to get the best out of him in terms of loyalty and performance.
1.2 Research questions
The main question that I will try to answer in this proposal is; it is more important to keep a good employee and invest more money on his training and development rather than employing a new one with more energy and enthusiasm? I am also considering researching what are the best ways and methods to polish and develop the skills of the employee to bring more fruitful results in the organization.
Employee retention and training and development are interlinked in the way that no employee wants to see themselves at the same position after spending some time within an organization, he wants to progress and get promotion and for promotion it is necessary to have proper training and development to cope with the new challenges and trends in the business environment. As these two things are interlinked I will try to explain them and link them.
To evaluate whether it is important to retain an existing employee for the betterment of the organization.
To analyze different tools to retain an employee
To determine how employers can motivate the commitment of the employee with the organization.
To examine how much important part can training and development process play in order to keep the employee with the organization?
2 Literature Review
As we research through different works of the people in this field, we come across many definitions of the employee retention; some of them are as below:
"Effective employee retention is a systematic effort by employers to create and foster an environment that encourages current employees to remain employed by having policies and practices in place that address their diverse needs."Â Workforce Planning for Wisconsin State Government, (2005:11)
Â "Employee retention refers to policies and practices companies use to prevent valuable employees from leaving their jobs." Kotler, (2010:133)
So basically that is all about encouraging and trusting the employees as well as providing them with the environment that is flexible and refreshing to make it tempting for employee to stay in the organization.
2.2 Evaluation of the Importance of Retaining an Employee
So keeping good policies and addressing the diverse needs of the employees are really very essential to retain valuable employees. But to hire good and competent employees is also a challenging task. From hiring to grooming them to the extent that they become a valuable commodity is a process that needs a lot of time and funds. After going through this entire process employer cannot afford to lose any of his learned employee. Employees should be, by all means possible, be encouraged to remain with the organization for the maximum time of their career. Talented people can get jobs easily; there are so many opportunities for the talented persons in the world, so it is up to the employers to make sure that they provide good atmosphere for the employees so that he does not switch jobs. To make it happen is sometimes difficult than hiring new and capable staff. As Kaye andÂ Jordan, (2003:121), stated:
Â Studies have found that the cost of replacing lost talent is 70 to 200 percent of that an employee's annual salary. There are advertising and recruiting expenses, orientation and training of the new employee, decreased productivity until the new employee is up to speed, and loss of customers who were loyal to the departing employee.
"Knowledge loss resulting from employee turnover is becoming a critical issue that cannot be ignored," Kaye andÂ Jordan, (2003:109)
As my research will explore if it is important to retain an employee, the above quotes and discussion evaluates that it is important from the aspect that when an employee leaves, he takes valuable knowledge with him about the company, customers, current projects and past history (sometimes to competitors). It is a big loss that all the important data about the customers and their demands are passed to the rivals and competitors. Retaining an employee will ensure that no data loss will occur and it will be fruitful for the organization.
2.3 Analysis of the Tools to Retain an Employee
In my project proposal now let me evaluate the tools and means which are effective to make it possible for the employee to be comfortable, knowledgeable and loyal to the company.
Communication between employer and employee is very necessary in this regard. The more there is communication gap, the more it is likely that employee does not have his interest in the work and hence he can say goodbye to the company any time.
"Communication is the key to success in any relationship. When a lack of communication exists in the organizational setting it has the potential to cause significant problems between management and employees."Alessandra. (2003:135)
So the managers should keep arranging some formal and informal meetings with the employees to keep their interests and loyalties bound to the organization. The manager should also keep them up to date so that they don't feel that they are being left out of the loop.
3 Training and development As a Means to Retain an Employee
"Training and development is the field concerned with organizational activity aimed at bettering the performance of individuals and groups in organizational settings. ..." A.Noe. (2003:213)
"Training and development is a process dealing primarily with transferring or obtaining knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to carry out a specific activity or task."Craig. (1996:192)
It is important for the existing employees as well as for new recruits so that they get familiar with all the necessary procedures and equipment used in day to day activities. So basically it is an attempt to brush up on current or future employee's capabilities by multiplying an employee's potential to perform better through learning.
3.2 How Training and Development lower Employee Turnover
My research will assess the role of training and development; how can it motivate the employee's morale so that he remain with the company and keep performing better and better. Training and development can be initiated for a variety of reasons and keeping an employee loyal and attached to the organization is one of them. Though it needs a lot of funds according to numerous surveys done in this field, but it is unavoidable to make the employee get familiar and comfortable with the atmosphere. When the employee feels heat from within the organization, then he thinks of leaving.
"Training an employee to get along well with authority and with people who entertain diverse points of view is one of the best guarantees of long-term success of the organization. Talent, knowledge, and skill alone won't compensate for a sour relationship with a superior, peer, or customer." O'Malley, (2000:54)
The right employee training and development, at the right time, benefits the employer with increased productivity, knowledge, loyalty, and contribution. With the right approach towards training and development, the employer can secure a return on his investment.
3.3 Training and Development Approaches
As employees don't want to be at the same position, they want to grow in the organization; employers need to find out the best training and development approaches to tailor the employees' trends and inclinations.
Face to face meetings encourage the employees and strengthen the bond between them and the employer. It boosts the morale and motivation of the employee. The employee gets pat on his back as appreciation in face to face meeting that makes them devote their time wholeheartedly for the betterment of the organization, Lawson, (2002) observes.
As it is the objective of my research to evaluate whether it is important to retain an existing employee for the betterment of the organization, hence it is quite obvious that to retain an efficient employee is necessary to minimize the loss that hits the organization as a result of high employee turnover. And to adopt proper training and development approaches can guarantee that the employee get along well with authority and with people who entertain diverse points of view and ultimately it provides him with the environment that is friendly and comfortable that tempts the employee to be with the organization for longer period.
My purpose of analysing the research work of different people is to determine the role of training and development in retaining the employee. So the above discussion assesses that T&D can help the employee building a relation of trust and confidence with the employer and colleagues. T&D also enables the employee to get promotion and reward in the form of pay rise etc. so he continues working for that company.
4 Research Methodologies
In this part of my work I will discuss process of research, methodological approach, research strategy and data collection methods and I will link this discussion to my topic.
4.1 Research Philosophies
In this kind of research, the researcher is external, objective and independent of social actors. The researcher is independent of the data and maintains an objective stance. Data collection techniques most often used highly structured large samples measurement.
"Working with an observable social reality and that the end of product of such research can be law-like generalizations similar to those produced by physical and natural scientists" (Remenyi et al.1998:32)
As, in this, researcher does not count on human beings for the data, I will not go for this philosophy while doing my research because I need to ask questions to the staff and managers (human beings). My research needs communication with human beings not with machines.
Interpretivism advocates that it is necessary for the researcher to understand differences between humans in our role as social actors. This emphasizes the difference between conducting research among people rather than objects such as trucks and computers. The term 'social actors' is quite significant here. (Gill, J. and Johnson, 2002)
In this research philosophy, researcher is socially interacted and subjective. He focuses upon details of situation and tries to assess the reality behind these details. Researcher is part of what is researched and cannot be separated so will be subjective. He takes small samples, not too small, but investigates in depth. In my research I will choose this one because I want to be subjective, keep the views of people in mind before concluding, and give proper significance to 'social actors.' I will ask questions to my colleagues in the form of interviews and questionnaires and without adding any unwanted interpretation from my side I will present the analysis of the data to answer the research questions.
4.2 Research Approaches
"In the broadest sense of the word, the definition of research includes any gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge". Becker, (1998:17).
So basically we, in the process of research, find data related to our topic and then analyse it for the advancement of knowledge. For my research I will read the work of other people who have worked in the same field and analyse it with reference to the data collected through questionnaires (from my colleagues and managers in the organization).
Inductive research is based on inductive thought or reasoning which transforms specific observations into general theory. Here theÂ researcher'sÂ thinking goes from the specific to the general. And deductive research is based on deductive thought which transforms generalÂ theoryÂ into specific hypothesis suitable forÂ testing. In this case the researcher's thinking runs from the general to the specific. (Saunders,2009)
My research will explore the objectives in inductive way. The researcher has developed a hypothesis on the basis of observation while being in a company for some time, this hypothesis will be tested and proved right or wrong on the basis of collected data from interviews and questionnaires from the colleagues.
"Deciding what research methodology to use for a study is a challenging endeavour and portends difficulties if the most appropriate methodology is not selected." Achenbaum, (2001:13).
As it is really important to choose an appropriate methodology for a successful research, so in this part of my research I will compare and contrast the general differences and similarities of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Also, I will identify the strengths and weaknesses of each research method and adopt the one which is most appropriate for my research.
4.2 Qualitative researchÂ explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through such methods as interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participants. As it is attitudes, behaviour and experiences which are important, fewer people take part in the research, but the contact with these people tends to last a lot longer.
4.3 Quantitative researchÂ generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. Davies, (2003:49).
4.4 Features of Qualitative & Quantitative Research
"All research ultimately hasÂ
a qualitative grounding"
"There's no such thing as qualitative data.Â
Everything is either 1 or 0"
The aim is a complete, detailed description.
The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.
Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for.
Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for.
Recommended during earlier phases of research projects.
Recommended during latter phases of research projects.
The design emerges as the study unfolds.
All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
Researcher is the data gathering instrument.
Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data.
Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects.
Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.
Subjective - individuals' interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant observation, in-depth interviews etc.
Researcher seeks precise measurement &analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys, questionnaires etc.
Qualitative data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized.Â
Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail.
Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter.
Researcher tends to remain objectively separated from the subject matter.
Table 4.2 comparison between qualitative and quantitative research Malterud, K. (2001:183)
As there are some pros and cons attached to each method, I tend to use the mixture of both the methods to collect and analyze data in the best way possible to make my research a success. As in quantitative method there are chances we may miss contextual details but we can get data to test hypothesis efficiently. On the other hand qualitative method is time consuming and researcher observes subjectively but data is rich. It is recommended for the early phases not for the latter whereas quantitative is good for the latter. So I will use the mixed methodology to cover the beginning as well as the end. I will use questionnaires and interviews to find data.
The proposed research will focus on its own objective that is to explore the importance of retaining an employee and the ways to do it. Then the researcher will select the group of trust worthy colleagues to collect data. He will design questionnaires in simple words to get unbiased information from them. Data collection and analysis will be done manually as the volume of the data is not that big.
5 My Work in the Context of Validity, Reliability and Generalisability
Now in my research work I will discuss reliability and credibility and how it can be applied to the proposed research. I will begin with the definitions of these terms:
Joppe, (2000:11) defines reliability as:
â€¦The extent to which results are consistent over time and an accurate representation of the total population under study is referred to as reliability and if the results of a study can be reproduced under a similar methodology, then the research instrument is considered to be reliable.
We gather from the above definition that reliability is the consistency and accuracy of our measurement. In this, the instrument measures the same way each time it is used under the same circumstances and condition with the same subjects. In other words, it is the repeatability of the measurement. And if the other researchers perform exactly the same experiment under the same conditions, the result would be the same as before. My research will be reliable according to the above definition.
Kirk, & Miller (1986) defines this as follows:
Validity determines whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are. In other words, does the research instrument allow you to hit "the bull's eye" of your research object? Researchers generally determine validity by asking a series of questions, and will often look for the answers in the research of others.
In other words is our research producing the desired results? In its clearest sense, this refers to how well a piece of research actually measures what it promised, or how well it reflects the reality it claims to represent.
My work is reliable and valid in the sense that it shows that each time the research was done by different researchers it brought out the same result i.e. it is really important to retain the efficient employee to make the organisation flourish better and cut the extra cost to recruit and train the new employee frequently. And my work will also cover all the aspects and analyse all the data which a reader can expect before reading this piece of research i.e. I will evaluate the work of the researchers who think that keeping good interaction with the employee and giving him training to cope with new trends make it comfortable for the employee to remain with the company for maximum time of his career.
6 Ethical implications
There are a number of researchers who describe the system of ethical implications that the contemporary social research establishment have created to try to protect the rights of their research participants. As Clifford & Marcus (1986) emphasized that research must respect the autonomy of participants, must be fair in both conception and implementation, and must maximize potential benefits while minimizing potential harms.
As I am still an employee of Mayes Travel Goods (my case study organization), so it is not difficult for me to contact the staff or the managers to do my research. I have respected their autonomy while asking them the questions to complete my research.
I will ask their consent before interviewing them and recording their interviews. And I will make sure that the information given by them does not go to third person (confidentiality will be maintained).
I will try to build the trust while conducting interviews or gathering data through questionnaires. I will ensure them that their information will not harm them or affect their job. I will be honest in the sense that I will not add anything from my side into their data and will try to be objective.
6.1 Data Access and Project Management
As it has been mentioned that I am still a part of the company and most of the data will be based on interviews and questionnaires from the colleagues, so it is easy for me to access them. I have spent a long time (almost 4 years) with them which gives me advantage of being close to them so they can trust me and will not hide anything from me.
To ensure this research meets time constraints I have designed a project plan to provide clear direction into the tasks that need to be done during the research project.
The research will commence in mid October 2010 and will take approximately 4 months to complete (Oct 2010 - Feb 2011). I will make sure that I collect the filled in questionnaires from the colleagues within four weeks time then I will have enough time to analyse the data provided by them. If I continuously address this project plan then I will be able to complete all the tasks by the mid of Feb 2011.
This research does not need a lot of funds as all information will be provided by the colleagues. It will cut the extra cost of travelling as anyway I always go to the shop and see my colleagues there.
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