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Human Resource specialists are closely involved in most aspects of employee turnover and play a key role in the organization, interrelating between employees and all other executives (Mankin 2009, p. 211). Human Resource specialists are involved in the organizational decision-making process, liaising with employees and with senior leadership at all levels of the association as an aspect of personnel recruitment, selection administration and, termination (Mankin 2009, p. 215). Wielemaker & Flint note that this unique position gives Human Resources a clear overview of the personnel within the organization (2009, p. 230). In this paper, I will discuss the human resource management's role in improving employee performance and motivation. My case study will focus at the Airports of Mauritius Co. Ltd
The Airports of Mauritius Co Ltd. (AML) is a public company that was incorporated in May 1998 and started its operations on April 1999. The Government of Mauritius constitutes the major stakeholder of AML. AML is the sole owner and single organization that runs Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. It owns, manages, and operates airport facilities. Among its operations AML provides flight information, passenger services and facilities, lounges, shopping and catering facilities, immigration, duty free shopping, food and beverages, health services, information counters, foreign exchange and banking services, lost baggage service, VAT and duty refund, customs related formalities and, postal services. Additionally, it provides telecommunications, data services, and airport information technology. Further, it designs, finances, operates and constructs the passenger terminal of the airport and also participates in the duty free travel retail market. The company's headquarters is located in Plaine Magnien, Mauritius.
Human Resource Development covers several aspects pertaining to empowering and enabling human resources in a company. In the past, HRD was interpreted as the managing of people in an organization with focus on training, payroll and other features that were intended to keep employees contented. However, the current line of HRD focuses on enabling and empowering employees to become capable of actualizing their potential and fulfilling their aspirations. This move in the way employees are handled has taken place due to the existing idea that employees are sources of competitive advantage and not simply workers satisfying their job obligations. The current paradigm shift in HRD addresses employees as assets and value creators based on Resource Based View of the company. This trend has emerged in the Strategic Human Resource Management field. In the case of AML, HRD covers several tasks across the company. These range from training and recruiting, pay-roll and evaluation of employees to the inspirational and leisurely factors of employee development (Balakrishnan & Srividhya 2007, pg. 13).
Additionally, HRD in AML undertakes roles that go beyond worker satisfaction and instead, the concentration now is on guarantying that workers are pleased with the working circumstances and execute their tasks according to their potential. This has led to the HRD administrator and the workers of the HRD division becoming associates in the company's progress instead of just another operating line. Further, the HR supervisors now regularly communicate with their junior supervisors and the individual employees to make sure that high levels of job satisfaction are attained.
Human Resources Development theory is a concept for the development of human capital within a company/organization through the enhancing of both the individual and the organization to achieve performance improvement. Kirkpatrick states that, "The capacities of individuals depended on their access to education" (2006, pg. 58). The same statement relates to companies themselves, but it needs a much wider field to encompass both areas.
Human resource management has evolved in nature over various times throughout history; one of the changes being the change in names which mainly resulted from the change in socioeconomic activities throughout history. This evolution began with industrial welfare to recruitment and selection, acquisition of other personnel activities, industrial relations, legislation, flexibility and diversity then to information technology in the current age.
Industrial welfare was the foremost type of human resource management. The factories act, in 1833 declared that there ought to be male factory inspectors. Later in 1878 legislation was passed to standardize the duration of work for women and children by having 60 hours per week. It is during this time that trade unions begun to be formed. The welfare workers association was created, which was later changed to Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Recruitment and Selection process started when Mary Wood started engaging girls during World War 1. During this time, personnel development increased because of government initiatives meant to encourage the use of people. It became necessary to have a welfare member of staff in munitions factories and was encouraged in explosive factories. Acquisition of other personnel activities took place during the 2nd world war. In this stage the center of attention was on recruitment and selection. Later on it encompassed aspects of training, discipline, improving morale and motivation, joint consultation and wage policies and health and safety. This led to the establishment of a personnel department with trained staff.
Employee Performance is a procedure used for instituting a shared workforce comprehension about what an organization is to achieve at every work level. This includes aligning the organizational objectives and aims with the employees' competency requirements, agreed measures, development plans, skills, and delivery of results. A lot of emphasis is placed on improvement, development and learning in order to generate a high performance workforce and to attain the overall business strategy (TV choice productions 2004).
Managing employee performance can be a difficult task especially where an organization lacks well constituted measures that set to achieve the set objectives. In AML, employee performance management process sets up the basis for excellence by: carrying out regular discussions during the performance cycle which comprise such things as assessment, coaching, feedback and mentoring; identify clear development plans that affect the process; concentrating on setting up clear organizational goals and expectations through the employment of actions, results and behaviors; and linking the organization's strategic plans and missions with individual employee objectives. The employees have a clear concept on their contribution towards the achievement of the overall business objective.
Effective employees are a combination of productive work environment and good skill sets. Many factors influence performance of employees that managers require to be conscious of and must work to improve all the time. To obtain maximum employee performance managers need to offer employees with the tools necessary for success. Some of the factors affecting employee performance at AML are motivation, managerial standards, employee evaluation and commitment. Motivation can take the form of the prospect of getting involved in organizational projects, financial incentives, direct participation from management into employees' daily tasks and a career path that results to management. Effective motivation creates a productive work force. Contrastingly, lack of motivation or motivating factors leaves employees searching for explanation to give for their minimal performance or low output.
Performance management is the means by which managers ensure that employee's activities and outputs are in line with the business goals (Miner 2005, pg. 29). Performance measurement is the Processes involving managers, individuals and teams based on shared understanding, which define performance and contribution expectations, assess performance against those expectations, provide for regular and constructive feedback and inform agreed plans for performance improvement, learning and personal development. According to Miner (2005 pg. 30), "performance is measured in terms of productivity, job satisfaction, turnover and absenteeism. Motivation refers to reasons that underlie behavior that is characterized by willingness and volition. Intrinsic motivation is animated by personal enjoyment, interest, or pleasure, whereas extrinsic motivation is governed by reinforcement contingencies. Motivation involves a constellation of closely related beliefs, perceptions, values, interests, and actions. Motivation within individuals tends to vary across subject areas, and this domain specificity increases with age.
Motivation in workers determines work output and the stability of the working relationship strengthens with time and experience. Traditionally, managers considered intrinsic motivation to be more desirable and to result in better working outcomes than extrinsic motivation. In general, employees appear to enter the work environment with high levels of intrinsic motivation, although motivation tends to decline as they progress and interact more with others within the workforce. Research suggests that motivation can be manipulated through certain instructional practices, although studies demonstrate both positive and negative effects. The use of rewards may either encourage or diminish motivation, depending on the type of rewards and the context in which they are given. Employers and the management of AML work hard to provide their employees more autonomy or control over their own work by allowing them to make choices and use collaborative or cooperative working approaches. In addition, the management works to create a supportive working environment with respect to goal structures, attributions, and external evaluation. There are several challenges to assessing motivation, especially in workers.
Several theories have been put forward on the subject of motivation and how it influences people in general. Examples of these theories are Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, Herzberg's two factor theory, and Theory X and Theory Y. Under Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, there are several opportunities that the management of an organization can use to to motivate employees. Some of these opportunities employed in AML are through compensation packages, management style, company events, and job design. Some examples under physiological needs include rest breaks, providing lunch breaks and wages which, are enough to purchase basic needs essential for life. Under safety needs, the company provides retirement benefits, a safe working environment, and job security. Under social needs the company creates a sense of community through social events and team-based projects. Esteem needs recognizes the achievements of employees and through this the company makes employees feel valued and appreciated. Offer job titles that convey the importance of the position. Self-Actualization is achieved by providing employees a challenge and the opportunity to reach their full career potential. However, not all people are driven by the same needs - at any time different people may be motivated by entirely different factors. It is important to understand the needs being pursued by each employee. To motivate an employee, the manager must be able to recognize the needs level at which the employee is operating, and use those needs as levers of motivation (Wong 2007, pg. 6).
Today's environment has placed increasing pressure on organizations both in government and industry to accomplish more with less. Meeting this challenge through higher productivity is possible if the individual workers can be properly motivated. Herzberg's two-factor theory is probably the most widely known and accepted approach relating directly to job satisfaction. Herzberg addresses the problem of job satisfaction in terms of those factors which cause satisfaction (motivators) and those which cause dissatisfaction (hygiene). This information then becomes the basis for evaluating an individual's job and making the changes necessary to increase worker motivation. The Herzberg approach to job enrichment is only a theory and is not without its critics. The basic development of the theory is presented along with some of the evidences used to test the theory. Weaknesses levied against the theory by its critics are also considered. In conclusion, a properly implemented job enrichment program can produce far reaching benefits for an organization. Herzberg's approach can and has been successfully implemented, but it has also suffered some dismal failures. Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory is generally felt to be overstated. As a result, it is recommended that other approaches to job enrichment be investigated along with Herzberg's approach before implementing any job enrichment program (Holzknecht 2007, pg. 17).
Theory X Theory X assumes that the average person: Dislikes work and attempts to avoid it. Has no ambition, wants no responsibility, and would rather follow than lead. Is self-centered and therefore does not care about organizational goals. Theory X assumes that people work only for money and security. Theory X - The Hard Approach and Soft Approach Under Theory X, management approaches can range from a hard approach to a soft approach. The hard approach relies on coercion, implicit threats, close supervision, and tight controls, essentially an environment of command and control. The soft approach is to be permissive and seek harmony with the hope that in return employees will cooperate when asked to do so. However, neither of these extremes is optimal.
The hard approach results in hostility, purposely low output, and hardline union demands. The soft approach results in ever-increasing requests for more rewards in exchange for ever-decreasing work output. The optimal management approach under Theory X probably would be somewhere between these extremes. However, McGregor asserts that neither approach is appropriate because the assumptions of Theory X are not correct. Theory Y the higher-level needs of esteem and self-actualization are continuing needs in that they are never completely satisfied. Theory Y holds, the firm can do many things to harness the motivational energy of its employees: Decentralization and Delegation - If firms decentralize control and reduce the number of levels of management, each manager will have more subordinates and consequently will be forced to delegate some responsibility and decision making to them. Job Enlargement - Broadening the scope of an employee's job adds variety and opportunities to satisfy ego needs. Participative Management - Consulting employees in the decision making process taps their creative capacity and provides them with some control over their work environment. Performance Appraisals - Having the employee set objectives and participate in the process of evaluating how well they were met (Williams 2004, pg. 111).