One of the main management challenges involves implementation of effective strategies of through which the workplace performance can be enhanced. Due to the continued effort by organizations to ensure that the employees make a significant impact in the workplace, human resource management studies have increasingly emphasized on the approaches such as reward management, team empowerment, job satisfaction, strategic planning, and participative management. In this essay, a comprehensive evaluation is carried out with an aim of determining whether the employee involvement and participation has a significant impact in the workplace. The arguments developed in this article are based on the understanding that the modern trend of incorporating the employees in the decision making is reasonable and undisputable in every organizational setting (Gospel & Pendleton 2010).
Many organizations are still ravaging in the stressing conditions whereby the departments of human resource management have to prove their increasing value through performance in these organizations. However, these leaders continue to battle in the effort to justify that their existence in the organization is fertile. William et al. (2011) argue that maybe one of the reasons for the straining routine in the management activities by these human resource managers has been based on the fact that they have failed to express their performance in the economic terms. However, it is hard to deny the fact that through a study of the best approaches in employee involvement, the organization can be able to induce a significant impact to its improvement and progress as this article proves
In many instances, managers clinging to the participation human relation hypothesis are convinced that the simple involvement is just for the sake of involvement. Their main argument is attached to the perception that as long as there is a feeling of participation by the subordinates coupled with being consulted, there will be a satisfaction of their egoistic needs. In addition, the managers are drawn to the assumption that this trend will also eventually result in cooperation of these employees (Lashley 2001).
Employee involvement and job satisfaction are some of the issues that have continuously received persistent attention from organizational and industrial psychologists, sociologists, and management scientists. By the time that the initial study was undertaken by Locke in 1976, there were numerous studies that had already been carried out on the relationship between the employee participation and the overall impact to the organizational success (Anne et al. 2008).
According to Anne et al., (2008), employee involvement or participation is perceived to be the process that results in sharing of the influence between the management and subordinates that are otherwise not equal in the organizational hierarchy. Through participatory management, the manager’s involvement is balanced with those of subordinates when it comes to processing of the information and the endeavors of making critical decisions. The initial study of the employee participation and its impact on the workplace success can be traced back to the French and Coch in the year 1945 (Anne et al. 2008). In their study, these authors initiated a rationale of efficiency and productivity. This rationale was developed with the assumption of existence of a strong connection between the employee participation in the decision making and the outcome in the workplace. These outcomes were detailed to include increased productivity and job satisfaction. Cindy and Roberts (2011) support this argument by explaining that through the decision making participation, the job performance is improved as well as the motivation to the employees. This perception on the employee involvement has however been ignored until the recent past that has been characterized with the emergence of major works on employee involvement. These major works have as a result significantly impacted the academic and most importantly; the business environments.
In a different but similar approach to the participatory management, Taylor (2005) has focused on the evaluation of the approach and how it affects the outcomes in the organization such as the work outcomes and the organization’s performance. The impacts have been cited by Murray et al. (2002) to include job satisfaction, product quality, and productivity, together with the development of advanced and superior relationships with the employees (Murray et al. 2002; Dickens and Niel 2006). Ackers et al. (2006) add that the best way to enhance an improvement in the productivity would be through the striving for the managers and employees shared goals. By ensuring that the workers are incorporated in the effort develop the mission of the organization together with development of the procedure and policies, there is a high likelihood of the workers improving on the communication coupled with increasing the satisfaction and morale.
Job satisfaction has been emphasized as an approach that is in line with employee participation research. In the previous studies, the employee participation has been portrayed to have a positive relationship with the productivity, satisfaction, and performance Daniels (2006). Anne et al. (2008) on the other side perceives the profit distribution to effectively be enhanced when combined with the participation of the employee in the process of management.
In the study on the new workplace evolution, Brown et al. (2009) observes that high involvement of the employees in the workplace ensures a high likelihood of developing the positive attitudes and beliefs connected to the employee involvement. Brown et al. (2009) adds that these practices are renowned for generating the category of decretory behavior through which the increased performance is enhanced. In the simple terms, the employee conception, designing, and implementation of the workplace processes should be drawn towards the employee involvedness. Brown and colleagues hence argue the critical importance of the employee involvement in the contemporary business world. For instance, Gallop organization embarked on the engagement study in the business units of 35 organizations. As the result, it observed a positive association between the employee involvement and performance in various sections that included the productivity, profitability, and satisfaction to the customers. The employee involvement breadth was observed to be substantial based on the fact that more than half of the organizations units had a score that was above median when it came to the performance (Konrad 2006).
According to Konrad (2006), the employee involvement is observed to incorporate three interconnected components: the emotional, cognitive and the behavioral aspect. The cognitive dimension of the employee involvement is observed to mainly entail the employee perception and belief on the organization, the organizational and working conditions. The emotional component is mainly drawn towards addressing the issue on the feelings of the employees towards the three factors coupled with evaluation of whether their attitudes towards the leaders and organizations are positive or negative. The employee involvement behavioral aspect is mainly perceived to be drawn towards understanding the value added aspect for the organization. This aspect is mainly perceived to incorporate the flexible effort that the employees employ to their work in the form of the brainpower, extra time and the energy allocated towards the firm and the task.
The impact of job satisfaction in the workplace
According to Veersma and Swinkels (2005), job satisfaction is perceived to be a positive or pleasurable state that results from the job or experience. Alternatively, Cindy and Robert (2011) perceive job satisfaction as the difference between what is valued by the employees and what is provided by the situation. Cindy and Robert’s (2011) perception is based on the understanding of job satisfaction as a feelings to a certain situation facets. As Veersma and Swinkels (2005) observe, these explanations unfolds the understanding of the job satisfaction as the efficient orientation of the employee towards the duties that are occupied in the workplace. Historically, the employee involvement and job satisfaction have mainly focused on the significance of coordinating the human relationship in the workplace in the effort to ensure that productivity is enhanced coupled with human capital development. Emphasizing on the importance of human motivation and its effect on the productivity and satisfaction in the workplace, Veersma and colleague most importantly praise employee participation as the approach through which influence can be shared among the individuals that would otherwise be perceived as unequal hierarchically (Veersma and Swinkels 2005).
In their article on employee empowerment law, Lewis and colleagues (2011) uphold the importance of employee satisfaction in the workplace. However, they are highly concerned by the lack of enough practices to prioritize on the job satisfaction. This is mainly due to the fact that they have hardly been able to understand the important opening ahead. As a result of the employees being satisfied, there impact will be realized through increased productivity, creativity, and commitment to the employers.
The high employee participation in the workplace
Various studies have targeted development of the numerous management practices through which the high employee involvement and performance in the workplace is enhanced. For instance, William et al (2011) explains that selection of the right management practices range from selection of the appropriate employees for the specific roles, embarking on the appropriate skills and training development, embarking on the organizations that are team-based, payment on the incentive basis, and job security. In every generalized category, there are various particular practices that are developed. For instance, the payment on the basis on the incentive can be in the form of programs on gain-sharing, contingent-performance payment to the employees or even employee ownership. The development of the training program can target the existing and future skills development, interpersonal and technical skills, experienced employees, and fresh hires. These choices enhance the development of high employee participation in a coherent set that is steady across the organization coupled with reinforcement which is perceived to be a management major challenge.
In the effort to clearly unfold the understanding of the employee involvement, Konrad (2006) has identified the interconnected principles that ensure the effectiveness in the workplace. These principles are inclusive of information, power, rewards, and knowledge (Cohen, 2006). Cohen (2006) starts by explaining the power as the employees’ entitlement and ability to make the critical decisions in relation to the performance and their working lives quality. With the power, the employees are capable of working under little level of influence. Therefore, to maximize on the employee participation, this power has to be pushed down to the employees that are capable of carrying out the critical decisions.
Konrad (2006) insists that effectiveness can be enhanced when the forums are created for the employees development and sharing ideas in an approach that enhances improvement of the firm performance. However, this approach has to ensure best ideas are utilized from the employees. For instance, an employee suggestion in a large Midwest US manufacturing plant is described as influential and beneficial to the overall organizational success. This organization has a unionized labor force amounting to more than 1000 workers. Through the power system, the organization was able to generate various resourceful ideas from the employees. These suggestions and recommendations were in return able to save this organization US$8 million within the first four years of employee involvement (Konrad 2006). This implementation was enhanced by the review board that jointly involved the managers and the employees in the assessment of the every suggestions and detailing of recommendations (Konrad 2006).
Information is another principle in which enhances evaluation of the business output quality, profitability, revenues together with the customer responses. To the managers, the main challenge involves creation of an information system through which the employees are fed with the timely and relevant data to their specific work processes. Through this data, these employees are hence able to manipulate the personality either through withholding or expending effort. If the managers are able to make the firms operations more transparent, then there is a high likelihood of the effective employees making a contribution to its success. Windbichler (2005) upholds transparency as an important aspect that enhances the development of the connection between employees performance and their actions; a move that enhances the development of the engagement cognitive aspect. Therefore, transparency is perceived to be essential when the employees have to see what they have been doing. Based on the comments generated by Ricardo Semler; a CEO in charge of a 900-employee organization in the Brazil, high employee involvement matters a lot in any organization. The information from the employees is thus able to generate frequent, frank, and brief reports on the progress of the firm.
Knowledge is another principle of employee involvement that is perceived to enhance decision making by the employees. Through improvement of the employees’ knowledge, Osteroh and Frey (2006) cite a commitment to the training and growth. For the high involvement approaches, training is perceived to be an important aspect. This is based on the fact that as the employees make significant decisions, they importantly need to have the abilities and skills through which they can be able to make the right decisions. For instance, in the Saturn plant of the General Motors, the employees are approximately exposed to 500 hours of orientation training. In the same organization, an organization wide objective is established detailing the need for each employee to receive approximately 100 hours of additional training on annual basis. On average, the employees in this firm have continuously been exposed to 146 training hours; a trend that dates back to 1991. The reason for heavy reliance on training in this branch has mainly been based on the fact that the designing of the work process is heavily reliant on the use of the skills and knowledge of the employees. The skills and knowledge is utilized in the competitive building of the cars in the United States either through reducing the costs or by raising the organizational productivity as a way through which the differences can be portrayed. The only way through which this difference can be made has been through the mobilization of the knowledge, commitment, and skills in the workforce. In addition, this difference from the competitors has been enhanced through designing of organization and work systems in ways through which the increased productivity and quality can be enhanced.
After understanding the principles detailed above, it should importantly be noted that the reward aspect of the employee involvement equation imply ensuring that the employees are rewarded for expending the discretionary effort in enhancing the improved performance of the organization. As a major element of the equation of the employee involvement, the rewards on the performance ensure the employees utilization of information, power, and knowledge in the development of a successful firm.
The connection of these principles is perceived to be important when it comes to ensuring that the employee involvement yield positive benefits. For instance, one plant implemented the gain sharing approach to ensure that the employees earned $4.000 bonus over a period of four years for the suggestion that resulted in saving the firm US$10 million. This bonus as a result inspired considerable effort in the employees. According to the suggestions by the managers and supervisors in the plant, many improvements were being implemented with the employee initiating the changes with an aim of reaping the benefits that resulted from the consequent cost savings.
In the Semler firm, the employees benefited from the distribution of the after-tax profits (23 percent) that was realized from every division. Based on the fact that the employers make a substantial gain on the business unit performance rewards, extra efforts tends to be employed in learning the multiple tasks and meeting the targets. In addition, these employees are basically eager to see the results of the efforts from the monthly revenue statements. On the other side, the base compensation in Saturn is tied to between 90 and 96 percent of the average in the industry. The difference can be made up by the employees through achievement of a target approximated at 90 training hours annually for every employee. In addition, the achievement of the negotiated targets for cost, quality, schedule, volume, and profitability qualifies the workers to receiving the bonuses. By the year 2005, these bonuses were approximated at $2,000 on annual basis for every employee (Konrad 2006).
This article has detailed the importance of the high employee involvement to ensure impact is enhanced in their workplace. Through training, the skills and knowledge are built in these employees to be implemented in the effective decision making process in the firm. By having a comprehensive knowledge of the effect of their actions on the business performance and rewarding of the employees contribution to the firm performance, the result is a win-win scenario for the management and employees. This is based on the perception that as these employees continually enjoy working in highly involving working environment, the managers on the other side continue to reap the benefits.
From this essay, it is openly observed that the high employee participation system will require collaboration between the employees and management with an aim of virtually remaking the whole organization.