Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is a public utility company that is aimed at supplying water and power to the city of Dubai. The organization has a high media profile and is particularly famous for its support of Dubai 2021 vision, a strategy aimed at making the city more innovative and sustainable. Human resources management is at the core of DEWA’s approach to excellence, with a large HR department to monitor, evaluate, and manage employee behavior. Nevertheless, despite the thorough HR management strategy in place, the company has been experiencing workforce issues, including increased employee turnover and impaired motivation, in the past few months. DEWA’s HR department is now looking to address the issues promptly and efficiently to avoid problems with employee performance.
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This project aims to explain and evaluate the HR issue faced by DEWA using course concepts and supporting literature. The paper will seek to determine the primary reason for the symptoms indicated by DEWA’s HR staff and to provide recommendations for action to improve the current situation. Addressing the problem effectively will make a positive contribution to the company and will benefit all of its key stakeholders.
DEWA was founded on 1 January 1992, on the basis of two separate public entities, Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department. The company has been the key utility provider in Dubai ever since. Today, DEWA has a complex corporate structure, as it owns seven other companies, including Al Etihad Energy Services Co., Ducab High Voltage Cable Systems, and Data Hub Integrated Solutions, in addition to operating power plants and water facilities (DEWA 15). As of 2016, DEWA had 11 485 employees, serving hundreds of thousands of customers in Dubai each day.
DEWA has strong business ethics that is supported by years of management knowledge and strategy. Due to its active involvement in Dubai 2021 vision, the company strives to continuously improve performance and maintain business excellence in all areas of operations. For instance, in organizational decision-making, the company applies the triple-bottom-line perspective, accounting for financial, social, and environmental implications of strategic actions (DEWA 17). Internal processes are an important part of the company’s strategy, and thus, DEWA seeks to promote efficient HR strategies, supporting the continuous development of its workforce. As shown in DEWA’s Sustainability Report, the company’s internal strategy “focuses on the priorities to create an environment that supports organizational change, innovation, and growth to achieve excellence in our operations, and to create the necessary potential and improvements that should be available in DEWA” (17). Such approach creates a positive environment for employees, thus improving the relationship between the different stakeholders.
The HR department at DEWA consists of several divisions responsible for different aspects of HR management. For example, the HRPA section of the Personnel Management Department is responsible for benefits, pensions, end of service arrangements, and other legal processes, whereas the AC section monitors and imposes working hours, attendance, sick leave, and other daily workforce arrangements. The structure of HR management at DEWA is useful as it separates various HR processes between units, which promotes good organization and structure.
The working conditions at DEWA are generally beneficial for employees. The company seeks to ensure employee well-being and foster positive organizational behavior. Misconduct or undesired behaviors of employees are monitored and controlled using preventive schemes. Supervision occurs at all levels of personnel management to ensure full transparency and improves performance. In addition, workforce characteristics are also subject to regular evaluations and tests that are part of the company’s sustainability strategy. Overall, HR management at DEWA consists of a set of well-organized and focused processes that target working conditions and employee performance.
Despite the strong focus on HR management quality, since July 2017, the company has been facing a developing HR crisis. The symptoms observed by the managers include low motivation, increased turnover, and poor employee engagement. The managers feel as if the employees are not committed to the organization or its goals, and feel that this might impact DEWA’s performance in the future. In response to the problem, the HR department has been collecting information on employee engagement, motivation, and turnover intentions. The results of the internal questionnaire showed that about 15% of employees would consider other employment opportunities and 38% feel that the management does not respond to their needs and concerns effectively. A significant share of employees also reported increased job stress (34%) and limited development and growth opportunities (51%).
These results suggest that, while concentrating on working conditions and workforce performance, the HR management at DEWA did not consider other factors that contribute to worker’s attitudes and behavior. Based on the information provided by the managers, it is possible to suggest that the workers lack some important components of the workplace environment, such as rewards and recognition schemes, job enrichment opportunities, and personal growth. The symptoms outlined by DEWA’s HR department indicate a low rate of job satisfaction, which, in turn, causes low motivation, poor engagement, and predicts turnover intentions.
The HR department of DEWA is concerned with employee attitudes. A recent internal study outlined low motivation and engagement, as well as increased turnover intentions in a significant share of workers. Given that the company’s internal HR processes provide for adequate working conditions, it is most likely that workers are experiencing low levels of job satisfaction. This problem could affect the company’s performance and cause issues with its key stakeholders.
The main stakeholder groups affected by the problem are workers and the management. Workers experience high stress and are not satisfied with growth and development opportunities offered by the company. Moreover, they are concerned about the management’s approach, which does not make them feel valued and important. This affects the workplace environment, causing workforce problems, such as high turnover and poor employee engagement. It is crucial for the management to address the worker’s job satisfaction in order to avoid performance issues. The company’s internal problems might also affect its consumers. For instance, if turnover increases further, the quality of services provided by the company would most likely decrease, as noted by DEWA’s manager.
Evaluation of the Issue
Motivation is the essential course concept that applies to the present case, as motivation is among the critical symptoms identified by the managers. Unmotivated workers present a threat to the organization as they do not contribute to the company in a way that is expected (Valcour). Lack of motivation is also connected to employee engagement, which was also among the symptoms outlined by DEWA’s HR managers (Valcour). Finally, research shows that there is a negative correlation between motivation and turnover intentions (Sajjad et al. 89). Therefore, finding the reason behind low motivation and addressing the core problem will help to reduce the symptoms that affect DEWA’s workforce.
Based on the information about the company’s HR approaches and processes, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory appears to be appropriate in resolving the issue. The key provision of Herzberg’s theory is that there are two different sets of factors affecting employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their job. The first set of is called Hygiene factors, which include working conditions, such as company policy, salary, workplace quality, and other factors responding to employees’ basic needs (Konopaske et al. 109). Significant gaps or failures in these aspects cause employee dissatisfaction (Konopaske et al. 109). In the case of DEWA’ working conditions are adequate; the company strives to attract well-skilled workers by providing a competitive salary and ensuring that all internal work processes run smoothly.
However, according to Herzberg’s theory, accounting for the factors influencing job dissatisfaction does not increase job satisfaction, which depends on a different set of factors. As shown by Konopaske et al., factors improving job satisfaction in employees are called motivator factors and include rewards and recognition practices, achievement, career advancement opportunities, and personal growth (109). Although the HR department of DEWA has been working hard to enhance the company’s workforce, there is no efficient individual rewards scheme in place. The HR processes such as attendance checks and performance evaluations are aimed at identifying failing or slacking workers, and little recognition is given to diligent and productive employees. Therefore, whereas the company has catered for the hygiene factors, there is currently no system in place to ensure that the motivator factors are also evident in all departments. Improving employee job satisfaction based on Herzberg’s recommendations would help to increase motivation and engagement, while at the same time reducing turnover.
Given the complex structure of the organization and the limited information about its internal processes available to the public, two recommendations will be provided. The first recommendation is for preferred action. This option would be rather time-consuming and expensive, but it is more likely to yield good results in the long term. The alternative recommendation is suitable for targeting the problem fast, although it will need additional control mechanisms to maintain effectiveness.
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Based on Herzberg’s theory, it is crucial for DEWA to ensure that the following factors are accounted for (Konopaske et al. 109):
- work itself;
- career advancement;
- personal growth.
To determine employee’s current attitudes to these aspects of the job, it is necessary to perform a thorough study of the workforce. Each employee should grade his or her satisfaction in the outlined aspects of the job. Based on the results, DEWA’s HR department should analyze the performance of management across various units and departments. Whereas some managers and supervisors might need training on rewards and recognition processes, other units might suffer from low job enrichment and thus would need changes to work routine.
The main aspect of preferred action is to treat every unit separately. Indeed, the organizational structure of DEWA allows suggesting that the issues causing low job satisfaction will vary depending on the department and work kind. The HR department should seek to work closely with managers and supervisors to ensure that they understand the main problems of their teams and units and are tackling the issues effectively. Although such approach is time-consuming and rather expensive, it offers an opportunity for a significant organizational change that will resolve DEWA’s current HR crisis and prevent similar issues in the future.
Alternatively, DEWA could apply Herzberg’s theory throughout the workforce without targeting particular units. For instance, establishing rewards for attendance and performance could increase worker’s commitment to work, whereas job rotation opportunities within each department could help to improve workers’ satisfaction with the job itself (Konopaske et al. 109). Increasing the share of internal recruitment is also important, as this would help to generate advancement opportunities. Finally, the company could offer regular seminars for workers that could help them to learn new skills, thus contributing to personal growth.
Although this alternative does not take into account the differences between units and departments, it could yield positive results fast by addressing all of the motivator factors outlined by Herzberg. To track the changes in motivation, turnover intentions, and employee engagement, it is also crucial to introduce a regular evaluation scheme. Performing regular employee satisfaction surveys would be useful in tracking the company’s progress in resolving HR issues and is thus an efficient control mechanism.
On the whole, DEWA is a profitable company with strong vision and commitment to serving its stakeholders. However, the organization’s continuous strive for excellence caused the HR department to put more efforts into organizing and structuring HR processes rather than responding to employees’ needs and concerns effectively. Hence, the organization has been experiencing various symptoms of low job satisfaction, including high turnover, low motivation, and decreased employee engagement. By applying Herzberg’s theory, it was possible to determine that the company’s current HR approach does not address motivator factors that determine job satisfaction. The alternatives suggested in the report would be useful in resolving the HR crisis faced by DEWA as well as in creating a balanced and motivating HR management strategy.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Sustainability Report. 2015, Web.
Konopaske, Robert, et al. Organizational Behavior & Management. 11th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2014.
Sajjad, Asif, et al. “Impact of Motivation on Employee Turnover in Telecom Sector of Pakistan.” Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 1, 2013, pp. 76-92.
Valcour, Monique. ” Motivating People Starts with Having the Right Attitude.” Harvard Business. 2017, Web.