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Among the most important company stakeholders are the employees. They are the key drivers to and determinants of organisation success. Their efforts and willingness to work is reflected in the level of satisfaction which eventually transfers to customer satisfaction. Therefore, it can be suggested that employee job satisfaction is directly related to customer satisfaction and business success.
Similarly, the declining performance of DrainFlow is associated with the division of work which does not enhance employee satisfaction. The organisational behavior depicted in the company is poor in a business environment that is characterised by several competing firms.
The dissatisfaction is intensified by the fact that the employees are not properly developed to fit in their jobs. In fact, this is the key strategic issue that the management should resolve in order to sustain the business in the competitive environment. In as much as the company is determined to improve its performance, employee satisfaction must be enhanced through appropriate motivation incentives.
Employees and job satisfaction
The declining performance of DrainFlow is directly related to employee and customer dissatisfaction. Indeed, when the employees are faced up with customer complaints they have to engage in emotional labour. They are trained for specific tasks and are therefore challenged by any service request outside the scope of their training.
They are not in a better position to engage in employee-customer interaction which is essential for customer satisfaction. Since job satisfaction is as a result of workers perception of how well the work provides the things that are viewed important, DrainFlow employees have a negative perception as a result of the many complaints imposed by customers. Hence, job satisfaction is a key issue that the company should address in order to enhance customer satisfaction.
Much of the literature on job satisfaction suggests a positive impact on job performance (Saari & Judge, 2004; Caldwell & Liu, 2011). Job satisfaction reflects positive attitudes of the employees which are effectual to performance. In most cases, performance is defined to include important behaviors such as organisation citizenship behaviors which are managed to improve performance.
Indeed, the relationship between job performance and job satisfaction is perceived in both complex and less complex jobs. Job satisfaction is predictive of performance and the connection is even stronger for service jobs. Literature have revealed that dissatisfied workers are more likely to leave their tasks or be absent than satisfied employees (Saari & Judge, 2004, p.398).
Job satisfaction is correlated with absenteeism and employee turnover. Job dissatisfaction is also related to withdrawal behaviors such as lateness, grievances and unionization. Essentially, workers performance is giving back to the firm from which they attain their satisfaction.
Another important factor relating to job satisfaction is personality or personal traits. Literature has revealed that job satisfaction remains unusually stable due to workers personality rather than other variables (Caldwell & Liu, 2011, pp.77-78). Personality factors such as negative affectivity and locus of control are directly related to job satisfaction.
Locus of control is the belief employees hold about the extent of control they have on the job while negative affectivity is the employees propensity to negative emotions despite the situation. These correlate to job dissatisfaction because DrainFlow employees lack control and largely feel negative which result in off-putting perceptions about their jobs.
Emotional labour is a factor contributing to job satisfaction and job performance as it is the degree of manipulation of employee outward behavior or inner feelings to display the proper emotion in response to occupational norms. Performing emotional labour leads to emotive dissonance that is harmful to workers psychological well-being.
It is associated with outcomes such as burnout and job satisfaction. Suppressing emotion in the workplace is related positively to overall work stress and negatively to job satisfaction. Since the interaction between the employee and customer is the key to service experience that influences customer perceptions of service quality, it becomes imperative for employers to manage employee emotional expressions in order to ensure service quality.
Enhancing job satisfaction
From the case study, Lee notes that job dissatisfaction in DrainFlow is as a result of poor job design. Basically, job design impacts on workers motivation, commitment to organisation, job satisfaction, turnover and absenteeism. According to job characteristic theory, five core dimensions lead to three critical psychological states which result in work related outcomes.
The central scopes consist of skill multiplicity, assignment identity, assignment inference, sovereignty along with feedback. The psychological states eventually lead to positive outcomes like internal motivation, job satisfaction, higher performance and low turnover.
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The case of DrainFlow suggests that the company has not focused on the core dimensions thus indicating job dissatisfaction. All work is specialized and the employees do not have a variety of skills. For instance, the order processors have no idea about plumbing while the plumbers cannot understand the ordering procedure.
Task identity is not reflected in DrainFlow as no single employee can complete the entire process. The workers lack a substantial degree of autonomy or freedom to make own decision about their tasks. For instance, the order processors are required to stick to a standard form set by the company.
This has evidently denied them the chance to add their own ideas and better understand the request made by the customer. The design for DrainFlow jobs does not allow employees to get feedback about the tasks and learn how effective they are at work. Lack of these core dimensions has denied employees the chance to feel responsible, view their work as meaningful and acquire knowledge of results.
Through job enlargement, DrainFlow employees can feel more satisfied with the tasks they perform. This will enable the employees to do a variety of tasks that they feel comfortable with. For example, order processor can also be involved in the billing process whereby the customer requesting an order through a specific staff will certainly communicate with the same staff during the billing process.
The stress that the billing staffs get in explaining issues that were initially irrelevant will be eliminated. In another perspective, every successful order will create customer loyalty as the customer is able to trace the specific line of staff in future. Obviously, the employee will become more satisfied when he/she feels useful to the organisation and the customer.
From the issues described in DrainFlow case study, employee satisfaction can also be increased through job enrichment. This will enable the employees to have more control over their own tasks. As the consulting company noted in their survey, one problematic area is on the employee satisfaction with the task they are asked to do.
With more control of own task, the employees will no longer follow the rule of the book but will make comfortable decisions on what to do. In addition, they will similarly be ready to seek necessary and relevant support from their colleagues. In the long run the relationship between the employees will improve and probably increase the satisfaction with coworkers.
The use of financial incentives
The issues in DrainFlow suggest that the interest of the contracting parties is in conflict as a result of non-verifiability of employee effort. It follows that the organisation will aspire to fight the emerging hazard by designing incentive that seeks to achieve goal equivalence with their workers.
The introduction of financial incentive as part of workers compensation should encourage the more highly geared employees to set forth extra effort to the level where marginal value added equals the marginal cost of the extra work. Literature suggests that ‘small’ rewards are most likely to exert a negative impact on behavior while the high powered incentives will have the standard price impact (Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2005, p.1000).
In that understanding, the vague idea about implementing the cash rewards proposed by Lee requires specific considerations to make it work better. The overall objective of the financial incentive is to reclaim the lost job satisfaction. Therefore one way to make the system better is to allocate the rewards according to the motivation needs of the employees.
It is evident that satisfaction of specific employees will be impacted differently by the financial incentive. Since order processors and billing representatives get lower salary when compared to the licensed and assistant plumber, they should be allocated higher rewards. The specific and relevant way to do this effectively is to increase their salaries before any other incentive is put in place.
In addition to that, for every completed order, all the employees involved in the process should get a commission reflected as a percentage of the total pay of that order and distributed according to the position the individual holds in the company. The importance of this approach is to encourage team work as the employees involved with each order will be willing to contribute to the overall success.
Such financial incentives have several advantages relating to the employees and the organisation at large. Salary raises and cash bonuses can be win-win experience for employees and DrainFlow if they are distributed effectively. In countries like United States where a big number of people spend more than their earnings, extra income will always be useful. Indeed, everyone can use extra income in some ways and so giving it to the employees offer practical and tangible benefits.
Financial rewarding is a way of demonstrating to employees that the company values their work and their contribution. Unlike other motivation incentives, financial incentive is a solid expression of esteem which uses the same currency that drives the company daily operations. Besides, financial incentives increase the likelihood of an employee staying with the organisation and this will allow DrainFlow to retain experience and knowledge base. This also provides the employee with a measure of familiarity and stability.
Other aspects of financial incentives nonetheless include a reduction in productivity and work satisfaction. Evidently, wrongly devised incentives can have counterproductive effects as they may encourage employees to ‘game’ the organisation to their advantage by multitasking or by involving in rent-seeking behaviors in order to leverage the subjective evaluations of their managers.
In settings where final results are the consequence of the joint contribution of many employees, utilizing financial incentives may dilute individual performance as a consequence of free riding.
Recent evidence suggests that job satisfaction and employee motivation are intrinsically correlated to their relative pay while the demoralizing dispersion and variability of rewards is likely to affect work attitudes in a negative fashion (Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2005, pp.997-1014).
In some ways, financial incentives also undermine team work and collaboration, reduce workers innovation and risk-taking as well as emphasize the power asymmetry between workforce and management.
Not counting the financial incentives, DrainFlow can establish staff training and development as a way to enhance job satisfaction. Training is an indispensable way of motivating employee. For instance, the order processors who find it difficult to assess the technicalities of a plumbing request would be more satisfied if they were trained on the basics in plumbing.
Assistant plumbers would be more satisfied if they were developed to work on more technical plumbing problems. In fact, there is need to give the employees opportunities for development and self-improvement to meet the requirements and challenges of the tasks ahead.
The reward system assessment
Evaluating the effectiveness of a financial reward system is an important aspect and involves a comparison of the costs against the desired results. The best plan for assessing DrainFlow reward system begins with establishing the objective. In this case, the expected outcome is job satisfaction and thus the company can use workforce surveys as the source of information. The best assessment will include the following practices.
- Comparing measurement of important criteria used before the implementation of the financial reward incentive against measurement of the same criteria after the implementation.
- Considering whether any other variables not included may have influenced the results being observed.
- Searching the management literature in order to see how effective the reward initiative have proved in other firms operating under similar conditions.
- Measuring outcomes over time before the implementation of the reward system and in several periods of time after execution.
DrainFlow will observe changes in labour turnover and business key performance indicators such as employee attitude, employee productivity, customer complaints and overall business profitability. As noted, the best way to measure the effectiveness of the reward system is to compare the condition of these variables before the implementation against their conditions after the implementation.
A structured training program will be more suitable for DrainFlow since the success factors of the entire business are similar. The company needs to identify the skills, abilities and knowledge that are necessary for a successful employee. There should be a focus on the specific demands of specific tasks when determining the necessary KSAs. For a service business, it will be important to focus on the individual characteristics. However, the personality traits useful for service responsibility and emotional labour include:
- Extraversion – the ability of an employee to interact with others
- Anxiety – the way an individual responds to the world around
- Tough-mindedness – how an individual deals with problems at cognitive level
- Independence – how an individual acts (whether he/she pushes ideas on others or give in to people)
- Self-control – how an individual will control his/her urges (the ability to inhibit actions or have to act out)
Enhancing job satisfaction through employee motivation incentives is important for improving business performance. Job dissatisfaction in DrainFlow is a result of poor job design that denies the employees the autonomy, task identity and feedback necessary to motivate them. Therefore, redesigning the job to accommodate this dimension is a big move towards job satisfaction.
More important is the provision of motivational incentives like cash rewards and staff training which benefit both the firm and the employees if implemented properly. The effectiveness of the reward system should as well be facilitated through the identification of the best candidates to fit in specific jobs.
Caldwell, S. D. & Liu, Y. 2011. Further investigating the influence of personality in employee response to organisational change: The moderate role of change-related factors. Human Resource management Journal, Vol.21 (1), pp.74-89.
Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. 2003. Income and well-being: An empirical analysis of the comparison of income effect. Journal of Pubic Economics, Vol.89 (5/6), pp.997-1019.
Saari, L. M. & Judge, T. A. 2004. Employee attitudes and job satisfaction. Human Resource Management, Vol.43 (4), pp.395-407.