Describe the functional and dysfunctional aspects of Webster’s culture and reward systems. The current culture is family-like, with close ties between Webster and the Community. Employees refer to Webster as “Poppa Webster. ” * Functional aspects: * “First-class place to work” – pg A3 quote * “Webster maintained excellent relations with employees. ” * Great, nationally known products made people proud to work at Webster. You can tell Webster fabrics from a mile away…” * Shared goals and inspiring, which makes working at Webster “rewarding and productive” * Able to attract top talent. “Webster’s employees came from several areas of the United States” (pg A5). One reason: working conditions better than its competitors * “Challenging work and opportunities for advancement. (pg A4) * The fact that everyone liked to work for Webster allowed for no unions to form, which was an economic advantage of the firm * Dysfunctional aspects: * Employees felt loved by the company, which led to a sense of entitlement and safety, with a lack of understanding that their value came from doing good work * Ex: everyone gets good feedback anyway no matter what * “The expectations that if you’re loyal to the company, it would be loyal to you. Pg A5; one should be rewarded based on their quality of work, not merely loyalty, so that Webster can remain competitive * Withdrawing from this creates a lot of pain amongst the organization * On the flip side, lack of effective punishment mechanism * Although PAS is capable of tracking each employee’s career and development, it currently is not being used properly. * Lack of solid metrics, Lack of use of data * “Lax in our evaluation of performance” *
PAS data was “hopelessly biased, because of the managers’ tendency to give everyone good ratings. ” – pg A7 * Contributed to the incredibility of the data “Many subordinates remain ‘in the dark’ as to how they are actually perceived by their bosses. ” – pg A13 Part 2: How could the culture have been used to better manage the restructuring? Give more “Voice and Choice” and create shared goals: Before doing firings, ask employees how they want process to happen, so that they feel it’s a fair process. * Keep better numerical performance measures, so that there’s specific evidence for the changes made by management. * Have better metrics, and make sure quantitative data is used. “However, little weight was given to (quantitative data). – pg B2 * Have “Papa Webster” explain company’s economic situation in front of the entire workforce, thus making the employees feel informed and esteemed * Instead of having one set team working on this process, it would have been useful to exchange or refresh team with new people, voices, and different hierarchies. “Eventually one begins to play God. ” – pg B4 * “In several cases Webster dismissed the wrong people but refused to rehire. ” (pg B5). This is an example of anchoring bias and saving face: once you’ve gone down a path, you don’t want to admit fault. Advice: Have cases reviewed by different individuals.
How could the culture and reward system be transformed to both enhance the motivation of the workforce and allow for the emergence of a more competitive firm? * Choice over task creates feeling of autonomy: as in the case of Russell Brown, Webster should have listened to employees’ preferences. “It was as if (Russell Brown) had wanted the burden lifted. ” – pg B1 * Motivation audit to see how motivated employees are at different points in time; Let people define their goals * People become aware that safety in salary/benefits is tied to economic success of company, and isn’t guaranteed. Monthly or quarterly briefings for people about the state of the economy, to give employees a chance to gain an insight into the economic situation * Better set rewards, providing benefits people actually want (unlike Russell Brown, who was promoted without desire) through a motivation audit * Better feedback via: * A more effective PAS system (better metrics, and management using these metrics) * Monthly or quarterly appraisals to limit the impact of the availability heuristic, which is exacerbated by larger periods etween performance intervals. This can also feed into a representative heuristic. * Synopsis assessments: incorporate several people’s viewpoints into feedback or appraisal as opposed to valuing superiors’ perceptions higher than employee’s perceptions: “correcting the employee’s misperceptions. ” (pg A13). * Make sure promotions and demotions are based on hard facts and appraisals, and communicate this supporting evidence to the employees create understanding.