Job design is the process of defining how work will be performed and what tasks will be required in a given job by taking into considerations the skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback of the employees.
These considerations will greatly help in redesigning the appropriate job for the employees – such as job enlargement, job enrichment, self-managed work teams and flexible work schedules. Hence, making work a happier place whilst motivating them to work productively and efficiently while working.
The best practice chosen would be having self-managing work teams. A self-managed work team is a team that is able to manage itself in their productivity, innovation, quality, customer service as well as profitability. All these are means of adding value to businesses in helping them prosper. This practice involves a small group of employees whose members are tasked to manage their daily activities without any one authoritative figure or supervision, avoiding the top down hierarchical system and autocratic bosses. These teams share a same goal and is a closely-knit society, driven to achieve business objectives.
Flexible work schedule refers to giving employees some say in how their work is structured. And as sourced by Emily Douglas (18 May 2018), Ramadhan at work: How can HR support staff, HRD Mag, the article shows how an organization counters the problem of exhaustion and the decrease in Muslim employees’ productivity due to insufficient breaks to perform their daily routines.
Aga Khan Development Network has around 25% of Muslim employees and works on a 24-hour manufacturing operation. And during Ramadhan, exhaustion, lost in productivity and breaks are often an issue for Muslims employees which may affect the productivity of the business. Hence, in order to solve the issues whilst respecting the Muslims, Mr Rahim Kabani, head of Human Resource of the company, decided to get feedback from his Muslim employees regarding their concerns during Ramadhan, by approaching them and speak to them personally.
It turns out that one of the main concerns the Muslim employees faced, were not being able participate in the congressional prayers to mark the end of Ramadhan, during their weekend shift and they would not want to miss on the celebrations, festivals and the religious prayers. Hence, employees working after the morning shift were asked to come slightly earlier to allow the Muslims to go and pray before 11am.
Other concerns include not being allowed to perform their daily routines when fasting during Ramadhan. However, as it was not feasible for all the Muslim employees to do so all at once, the company tries their best to accommodate to the Muslim employees while operating the company normally, by giving them frequent breaks of 1.5 hours split across the day. Some other practices of the company to accommodate to the Muslim employees during Ramadhan also include passing on information of the nearby mosque with its prayer times etc.
A self-managed work team helps achieve the HR function job design because schedules and goals are set by the team members themselves. In the company, GE (General Electric), a team of technicians realized that at the pace they were working, they would not be able to meet the company’s goal at the end of the year. Thus, without being directed by a supervisor or enticed by bonuses, the team opted for a self-managing approach. This allows them to pick their own rules and responsibilities, giving flexibility to the employees. In the end, they were able to meet the goals of the business at a more productive pace. This definitely achieves the objectives of the HR function to increase productivity of the group, satisfy the needs of individual employees such as having the satisfaction from the job as well as having interest in what they are doing at work.
By accommodating to the Muslim employees’ concerns, the Human Resource Department of Aga Khan Development Network managed to redesign jobs for the Muslim employees during Ramadhan. This results in an increase in Muslims employees’ productivity at work as the flexible work schedule made for them help motivate them to do their work more efficiently and effectively.
Hence, allowing the company to meet their objectives which were to maintain a productive business and respecting their Muslim employees during Ramadhan.
Conflicts resolved internally: When a business encounters difficulty with the satisfaction of the employees and staff retention, self-managed work teams are useful to help resolve this problem. Individuals find greater satisfaction in their employment when tasked with these responsibilities and are able to overcome emotional difficulties that arise as they are more empowered to come up with a solution within their own teams.
Flexibility: With self-managed teams, individuals tend to have far more flexible roles. People who are tasked with the role of a ‘manager’ for a certain assignment can also be a team member of importance that isn’t a ‘manager’ for another assignment. Having such a dynamic shifting of responsibilities allows for personal growth and development as the team members get to experience different levels of accountability within the organization.
Weaknesses include a cohesive self-managed work team which may create a sense of trust in the team, where team members are likely to conform than raise objections that may upset other team members. This may lead to lower productivity and lesser innovative ideas. In addition, with many perspectives, it may be slower for everyone to come to their consensus and agree on an idea.
However, despite being able to achieve its objectives to accommodate and redesign jobs for their Muslim employees during Ramadhan, the flexible work arrangements made for them has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The strengths include the increase in employees’ morale and commitment to the organization, as well as promoting a happier, loyal and more productive workplace for both the employers and employees of the company etc. And from the article, when the employer accommodates to the Muslim employees, their productivity rate increases due to a healthier work environment.
The weaknesses on the other hand include the risk of burning out for the Muslim employees and may result in unfairness to non-Muslim employees who have to report to work earlier to cover for their Muslim colleagues etc.
Hence, to ensure that everyone will stand to gain from a decision, it is important to always measure the strengths and weaknesses before making one.
Diverse workforce refers to organizations with a wide range of individuals of different characteristics and experiences which include race, religion, ability, gender etc. And companies now embrace it as it helps in broadening its skill base whilst being competitive and innovative.
On 17 May 2018, Ikea Canada raised the Pride Flag, a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride. By doing so, it showcases IKEA’s devotion to an inclusive environment which stands up for the rights of all sexual orientations and gender identities. To foster inclusivity, IKEA Canada announced a partnership with Price at Work Canada with a vision where people can achieve their full potential at work and provide a service to foster a workplace culture that recognized employees as a part of a diverse and effective workforce. ?
This article talks about how different companies such as 3M Singapore’s safety and graphics business group, Fragomen and CGG implements different mindsets of diversity in their environment.
One of the best practices that is being seen in the article is the fact that all the companies named supports the mindset of hiring people that possess the skills needed and not just solely judge them based on their nationalities and background. It is mentioned in one of the paragraphs where it says that “Our door remains open to foreign professionals, especially those with the skills needed for the business to transform”.
One example will be that one of the companies hired Mr Swaminathan from India, which took initiation in assisting colleagues who are unable to cope with the stress that they are facing. Another best practice that is mentioned in the article is that the company should be conscious of different viewpoints from different standpoints and take into account all of it so that there will not be any biases, employees treated unfairly, and good ideas not given a chance.
With accepting the LGBT community, it achieves IKEA’s objective of equality, creating a workforce where all co-workers feel welcomed, respected and appreciated for who they are. They also believed that they have the right to be themselves at work.
By having this practice implemented in companies, they will be able to achieve their objectives of moving the industry, up the value-add ladder as a whole, by developing new technology and expertise, with the strength of a diverse team as professionals from different countries tend to have different mindsets and perspectives.
Firstly, according to a survey, LGBT employees who hide their identity in the workplace experience a high level of stress and anxiety which results in health problems and work-related complaints. By accepting the LGBT community, it will lead to an improvement in health, job satisfaction and, work commitment. Also, they will have a better relationship with colleagues.
Secondly, the negative public image discrimination would be kept away which will attract customers who will be eager to do purchase from IKEA where ultimately, be able to gain a larger market share.
Lastly, GBT workers who are expressive of themselves tend to remain in their position and it will draw strength from a variety of talent. With this, it will reduce costs on recruitment and training. In addition to that, it will increase creativity, which will lead to innovation and new ideas for IKEA.
IKEA has to put in effort into creating a culture that promotes dignity and respect amongst existing employees to avoid tension. However, existing employees or talented employees may decide to leave if their personal prejudices prevent them from working with their LGBT colleagues. Also, the investigation of employee complaints regarding negative attitudes and harassment can take up a considerable amount of management time.
English is not the first spoken language for every country in the world, therefore, this may cause miscommunication, frustration and other issues when our local employees are unable to communicate freely with the foreigners. Thus, by hiring employees who speak different languages, it makes it possible for the company to work on a global basis which helps them in opening doors for business.
Besides, companies will benefit from the HR practices as employees will be able to learn to be flexible to creative ideas. They tend to focus on facts when it comes to decision-making. They look beyond traditional ways of thinking and work with facts to remain objective which helps in making important decisions for the company. It is also mentioned in the article that by having diversity in the company, the international workers are able to fill in the gaps where locals may be lacking in.
The employers around the world are making moves to diversify their companies. However, the transition to a diverse workplace can be difficult initially because of the prejudices people have towards foreigners. Locals may create conflicts when there are differences in cultures and they may be disrespectful to one another. It takes time and a lot of effort for employees from different parts of the world to bond with locals and therefore, makes the process of achieving goals as a team difficult.
To succeed in transitioning to a diverse workplace, the company has to come up with bonding sessions or activities to apply principles of equality and diversity in the workplace. All employees must be treated equally and be given the same set of opportunities regardless of their race, age, gender, culture or anything else that might be discriminated against.