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The case study has outlined several problems that are presently being faced at the Wally's Wonder Wash (WWW) Company. Due to a lack of structure and dysfunction in managerial system, the firm fails to optimise the organisational performance. This impacted on the productivity of its employees, the working environment and their level of motivation. WWW has planned in its strategy to expand in the next two years but to achieve this target it has to handle the actual problems. With the help of HR, WWW will build a stronger base for further growth. The shortcomings include the lack of training of staffs, the mistreatment of attendants which has resulted in an unpleasant working environment and absence of feedbacks. Correspondingly, the monetary rewards are very low, while non monetary one is absent in the company. With respect to technical work, attendants have to handle an enormous workload and employees have to cover long working hours. The same concern arises for the high turn over cost of the past year. Hence this report will evaluate the problems faced by the firm and propose retention strategies for WWW to be more vibrant in this dynamic environment.
The first major problem identified is that the employees of WWW are unable to maximise their competences and skills in their works. This can be attributed to a lack of training at the time of recruitment and inability to handle customer complaints. Staffs are given brief training and have to learn on the job. Negative criticisms of clients are partly due to the incompetent performance from the part of employees. The aim of WWW to an unequalled labour force, and to reduce or even totally bump off customer complaints can only be achieved through re-engineering the company's structure and processes. To balance this shortcoming, training could be given to employees.
Firstly, training allows brainstorming, where basic technical issues can be solved. Besides, it is an important component when dealing with customers. For employees, particularly new recruits, it is imperative to give basic training on how to deal with customers and principles of customer care. Thus training could be customized and segmented to new recruits, existing employees and refresher courses. It can also be argued that the mistreating of attendants has worsened the situation, consequently leading to frustration of the employees thus devolving on customers. To circumvent this situation, training both in technical and customer care is the best ways to minimise this problem. Moreover serving staffs will support newcomers with their acquired expertise and specific skills which is instrumental to the long-term success of employees. Hence it implies that training will reinforce the employee's sense of value to the firm (Wingfield 2009, 177) and ensure good performance that eventually lead to customer satisfaction.
It can be inferred that ill-treatment of attendants has a spill-over effect on the working environment of WWW and its sales outcome. The finding of a study states that companies often underestimate the benefit of a positive work atmosphere. The scholars assert that business outcome can improve by 30% simply with the positive work environment shaped by the manager (Support and Engagement are the Keys to Retention 2009, 7). With respect to the issue mention above, participative management is recommended to WWW. This encourages the involvement and contribution of all members of the organisation, as well as harnessing their sense of responsibility (ref book). So it is believed that it can only enhance the working environment producing a high level of satisfaction and motivation. This will also lead to an improvement in both quantity and quality of sales outcome as manager will understand how to empower employees in their job so that they discharge their duties efficiently (ref book).
In addition, it was observed that WWW does no team building exercises that hamper team-spirit. The participative management style could generate team-building in the firm. It is fundamental to allow networking among employees for both part and full time employees. Integration and greater interaction will strengthen team spirit, a necessary component to boost morale (Boodhoo 2005, 1). These exercises have the advantage to spot group leaders (Boodhoo 2005, 1). Wally can therefore supervise and curb the repulsive environment reigning within the organisation by ensuring that staffs having the required competencies and management styles motivate the other employees.
Regarding the assessment of performance, it was noted that the firm provides no feedbacks or performance review. The drawback at this juncture is notably that feedbacks usually helps in improving the performance of employees, as their weaknesses can be identified and they can progress where it is necessary. Owing to this setback, the company could do a quarterly performance appraisal so that mentoring and coaching could be provided. Strengths will be highlighted to boost their motivation and keep the drive going. This would also help them to overcome their weaknesses, comply with the regulations and help in maintaining a relationship with them (ref book). It would result in a constructive criticism and may even be a way to reward hard workers. Bonuses and perks could be introduced.
Moreover, front-liners could be rewarded for suggestion of solutions proposed for real problems faced daily. To foster high levels of engagement, WWW can also introduce nonmonetary rewards and recognition programs for managerial grades. In the Maslow hierarchy model, once a level of satisfaction is achieved, the person moves up the ladder. For those in the lower spectrum, monetary rewards may be preferred compared to those who want self-actualisation (Greene and Burke 2007, 122). As Smith (1997, 44) rightly pointed out "Rewards punish those employees who do not receive them". That is why to ensure the effectiveness of these measures, employees must draw the line between performance and rewards. Employees who will be rated based on level of performance will be rewarded accordingly.
Another matter to deal with is that the promotion opportunities are limited. Attendants are promoted to the rank of specialists whereas managers are chosen with either group of serving staff. This may not the best approach in the sense that WWW faces direct competition and when promoting internally, competences and skill remains more or less within a narrow sphere. It limits thinking and chances of getting the right person for the job diminishes. Additionally when recruiting externally, even if this exercise will incur additional cost, the company will have wider choices of candidates. Innovative and fresh ideas coupled at times with candidates have many years of experience may change the landscape. Higher salary offered should not be regarded as a cost instead, this should be viewed as an investment (Recruitment and Training n.d.). It is often said that new brooms always sweep cleaner which is analogous to new employees trying to optimise their ability to do the required tasks.
In fact when the employee turnover rate for the previous year is considered nearing around 65% for attendants and 20% for the customer specialist, we can insinuate that employees are not motivated to stay in the company. The reason behind might be because the company offer no prospect and there is no clear career path. Boe (2010, 8) claims that most employee "wants to grow personally and professionally". So intelligent managers should rather encourage and accommodate this need by providing a wide range of opportunities and promotions which will be incentivising to stay with a company (Boe 2010, 9). What was also noted is that no manager left WWW. This might be due to their high salaries and annual raise. However, it can also be inferred that they are not resourceful and lack both leadership, communications skills as well as a clear vision since subordinates are quitting. Therefore, WWW is recommended to re-structure the system, process and procedures.
Full times employees at WWW are bound to face work overload since they have to work about 45 hours weekly. It will inevitably lead to burn-out and stress conditions with poor mental acuity. According to Australian labour law, the standard working week in Australia is 38 hours. However in the New South Wales, it is clearly stated that employees working hour should not exceed 40 hours (National labour law profile: Australia 2002). In both cases, WWW is exceeding the standard working hours thus breeching the law. The firm can propose shorter working hours and cater for two teams on a roster system. It was established that flexible working hours can have a long lasting impact on employee satisfaction, particularly if they have a long commuting time to the workplace (Conner and Ulrich 1996, 39). Besides, the firm should consider that staffs have to deal with personal issues and problems the like childcare, sickness of a relative and so on (Pallone 2009, 16). At WWW they are paid only for 2 days in acknowledgment to severe illness due to extreme work condition. WWW could also pay them overtime for the extra 5-7 hours they are working.
However, money incentive is not the only factor that will reinforce productivity (Gberevbie 2008, 157). Working long hours insinuates that employees experience fatigue and this consequently affects their work competence. In fact the attendants at WWW are given too many responsibilities. Having wrongly done the task allocations, the attendants have to clean the interior and exterior of vehicles and do additional task like washing and folding towels, lifting heavy barrels of cleaning compounds and waxes, performing light maintenance and repairing work on the machinery. The firm could limit the job to specific tasks so as to ease this situation. Staff could rather get specialised in their jobs and clear job description would give greater output. That is, each employee could be allocated the task they are best at. For instance maintenance and repairing could be done by one team, the lifting of heavy barrels or washing and cleaning by another. Concerning the supplementary tasks like washing and cleaning, it could be outsourced to another company.
The last problem faced at WWW is that employees see the grass greener at competitors Company. The salary is higher and there are mores scopes at entry level job in the area. Money, when considered as a means of reward, can to some extent motivate workers since they are being remunerated for their merit, job efforts, difficulty and performance. Regarding WWW, attendants are paid $12 per hour for starters while custom service specialists receive $15 per hour and the salaries eventually rise for both. Conversely, the Government of Australia is adamant that firms should pay a minimum wage of $14.31 per hour (What are the minimum pay & conditions for any employees? 2010). So, it highlights that WWW is again not abiding to law. Besides, attendants shared equally the customer tip pool while custom service specialists received individuals one. This is unfair since those attendants who have put fewer efforts will still receive the tips of staffs who have worked hard.
Concerning managers, next to their salaries, they receive a performance bonus on yearly evaluation without any clear guideline. This is again unreasonable and a very unprofessional approach for appraising performance that will eventually include some biases. There is obviously no clear predefined structure regarding rewarding system. Money is viewed as an extrinsic rewarding system. (Ref 319, book). Extrinsic motives are specifically for people who are driven by factors such as desire for tenure, promotion, and merit rewards (Albers-Miller, Straughan and Prenshaw 2001, 250). However, Henzberg (date, 139) believes that intrinsic job rewards tend to be more motivating. These motives are driven by factors such as altruism, personal or professional enrichment or satisfaction (Albers-Miller, Straughan and Prenshaw 2001, 253). Additionally, to give balance at WWW, they can introduce both extrinsic and intrinsic motives to satisfy both parties.
Altogether, WWW is advised to convert its weaknesses into strengths so as to give the organisation a source of competitive advantage. Companies need to ensure that they acknowledge the importance of HR to motivate and retain employees. It was noted that the implementation of retention strategies will allow a company to have fully engaged employee who will lead to a healthier organisation and is therefore a win-win situation. The company is recommended to address training of staffs to boost their motivation and improve their competence. Despite being a costly investment in the short-run, it will without doubt generate revenue in the long run. Moreover, by changing its managerial approach and adopting the participative management, WWW make sure to be handling problems and will therefore eliminate customer complaints. This might even generate positive word-of-mouth which is a significant source of advertising, bearing in mind that WWW faces fierce competition. Moreover, the firm should increase wages and decrease the working hours of staffs so as to be able to boost their enthusiasm while ensuring excellent delivery of services.Engaged employees are known to stay longer and contribute in a more meaningful way. WWW should also make sure that task allocation is clearly done so as to encourage dynamism and effectiveness of staffs. Lastly, feedback and performance appraisal should be done regularly so that staffs improve on their weaknesses and rewards can be given fairly. Researchers affirmed that "workplace behaviour will not change unless there is both opportunity and incentive to apply new skills and demonstrate enthusiasm" ("How to" for workplace impact 2009, 35). Hence WWW should allocate equal importance to all factors highlighted above.