The role of management in an organization, especially employee management, is crucial and determines the performance and success of the organization. It is thus essential to measure and address employee apprehension towards any change of scenario within the organization. This paper addresses employee management methods to bring about a change in their perception of a new scenarios as desirable and motivating. This involves bringing a strong shift from an intuitive stance of opposing change that stems for inertial comfort in the current setup.
This paper is centered on the decision of a hotel owner to change the target clientele of the hotel from international tourists to the high-end market. The five star hotel ‘Walkerhill’ is located in the suburbs, quite far from the International airport and has this disadvantage over its competitors in terms of location. However this change would possibly be met with resistance from employees and managers, many of whom have worked for about 10 years. This paper puts forth approaches and methods to amiably change the perception of employees and managers at two levels – the group level and at an individual level. The objective is to convince them to adopt the changes in full trust and enthusiasm and make the new setup a successful and high-performance driven one.
The next two sections discuss methods that can be employed at a group level. The first section concentrates on interpersonal behavior in the organization. It suggests how manager and employee groups can be amiably convinced about the necessity for change by acquiring their trust and involving them in the decision making process, while keeping the change in place.
The second section emphasizes on the importance of a good team and processes that help in bringing about the change productively. The third section addresses coping up with organizational change at the individual level. It describes how the owner and management can communicate with the employees to reduce apprehensions and stress about the impending change and make them comfortable.
The fourth and last section describes the role motivation plays in bringing about a positive change and high performance within an organization. Organizational changes if implemented as a drive to seek higher goals that require increased challenges, positive change in atmosphere and a renewed recognition of individual performance and achievement, can transform the common apprehension into an openly received change.
Group level Interpersonal Behavior in the Workplace
To convince the management, the owner must be able to communicate his ideas, logic and perceptions clearly. The owner might face some difficulty in bringing this change, since the managers have been around for long, and probably know their trade well as much as hold a strong affinity for their experience in the setup. However, there is an amicable possibility for this change.
One of the things that the owner can do is gain the trust of his managers. However, it cannot be a calculus-based approach to trust or an identification-based approach – it has to be brought through organizational citizenship behavior. Specifically, the owner has to make sure that each member of the management is treated fairly. For instance, with this issue he must give each and every one a chance to voice out his/her opinion regarding upgrading the hotel and explain why he or she is against it. This will let them know that even though the owner’s ideas may be in conflict with those of the management, the owner still values their knowledge and respects their position as managers.
Once they all get their chance to share their thoughts, the owner should then explain his side, but without apparently competing with his managers about the better plan, as this will only create friction, in the form of substantive conflict and it will be even more difficult to convince the management to upgrade the hotel. Instead, the party should negotiate or bargain, and try to find a common ground. Since everyone has had his/her side heard under this approach, they can address the questions surrounding the issue of why upgrading to a 5-star hotel might be a bad idea, and what can be done to turn this around, to compensate for or resolve it.
Lastly, the owner should try to control his emotions when explaining his side. No matter how harsh or how blunt the management may be, regarding his decisions as “unnecessary”, the owner must remain emotionally stable. The same goes for the management—if one of them suddenly starts raising his voice, he should be calmed down before proceeding with the meeting. They should also be reminded of their positions—they are managers, not owners—and should respect the owner’s authority over them. The owner himself should not push his weight around.
Group Processes and Work Teams
At Walkerhill, we value good teamwork, since good teams are more productive. To accomplish this, most productive teams must be assembled to maximize the value of their productivity.
A highly productive team must be assembled that offers maximum productivity. There are no absolute set of rules to follow in assembling a good team, since every situation is different and no two minds think alike. However, through case studies we will show guidelines in building a good team.
A way to build a good team here is to incorporate healthy acceptance of changes required for a new setup that caters to a different clientele, that is, the shift from serving tourists to a high-end market. We must incorporate this attitude into the leaders of the hotel, which means this kind of training must start with the managers. We believe change of attitude is infectious, so changing a negative minded manager into one with a positive mindset towards the hotel’s changes isn’t just adding a positive mind but eliminating one negative mind and adding a positive mind.
An example we would like to use is to convince the managers that instead of changing our clientele from tourists to the high-end market, we are adding or broadening our market to increase/diversify our target market. This approach may also assure the employees that we are not abandoning our tourist market. A positive manager is far more impactful than a positive employee.
However, the manager of the team can’t influence the team much if the managers and the employees are not close. The levels of bonds between the team members are called group cohesiveness. To strengthen the level of group cohesiveness, we like to use two determinants of cohesiveness: group size and history of success. We like to minimize the size of each team so the teams can work to their full potential.
We can’t put a specific number of individuals per team because the need of minimum number of individuals is different for each department. Of course, we would not be hesitant to add more individuals to a team if needed. By minimizing the number of members needed to perform at a high grade, we can cut the labor cost and limit the level of social loafing because smaller groups eliminate social loafing.
We also believe that competitiveness is good to have within the organization. To promote this, we would have a chart indicating which teams had the best performance compared to ones in similar departments. In addition, the winners would be rewarded for their hard work. The reward system would reward monthly/annually and individuals/teams. A 360 degrees approach would be applied to the feedback collection system in order to incorporate feedback at all levels within the organization to help it run more efficiently.
Coping with Organizational Life: Stress and Careers
In the hotel’s situation, we can raise the issue about the stress in terms of individual level. Usually, people do not like change. Some people feel scared when they face some change in their life. In the hotel’s case, the managers and employees were being asked for a big change by the owner of the hotel. As is the common psychology, the managers and employees did not like the change. They wanted to keep the same conditions in the hotel’s operation.
In this situation, we can suppose that the managers and employees would have got some psychological pressures such as fear, uncertainty, overload, and heavy responsibility from the sudden request. We can also suppose that they would have suffered from a lot of stress by the pressures. We recognize that the owner should deal with the issue about the managers and employees’ psychological pressures and stress. In short, the owner should consider how he can relieve the managers and employees from the psychological pressures and stress, so for them to accept the new change without any resistance.
As a key solution of the situation, we can think of the owner’s effective communications skills. The effective communications skills should include the following key points: a reasonable basis for the change, a positive and successful prospect from the change, and vast benefits for managers and employees.
As the reasonable basis for the change, the owner can suggest a few examples such as decrease of the foreign tourists, or increase of the demand of the domestic high –end market. In the respect of the positive and successful prospect from the change, the owner can also represent several examples such as upgraded brand image of the hotel, more effectiveness in hotel’s operation, and increase of the profits. In the respect of the benefit for managers and employees, the owner can suggest a few promises such as more improved work environment, higher valued position for the managers and employees, and wage raise.
Through those effective communications skills, the owner would indicate the positive aspects for the change, and, through those positive aspects, he would gradually relieve the psychological pressures and stress existing within the managers and employees. As the result, we can expect that the mangers and employees would accept the change without any resistance.
Motivating People to Work Towards a Change
One consequential factor in making the employees of an organization accept a change and increase performance in the new scenario is motivation. Once the managers are open to the change, the next step is to cascade the motivation, benefits and ownership of the change down to the employees. This can be done at various levels through a combination of different approaches.
The first step towards motivating employees to perform at a maximum level of creativity and be a valuable asset to an organization is to ensure that their basic needs are being met. The change should be perceived as enhancing the facilities that meet their lower and rudimentary needs, like good salary for personal needs, an environment that is physically and psychologically safe to work in and is conductive to social affiliation and professional bonding. Once an employee finds that these things are in place, and a change will only enhance these factors, maximized performance, desire for success and recognition of accomplishments come naturally.
Another step that motivates people is the urge to fill the gap between differences of outcomes and efforts in a job and turn relationships into equitable ones where ratios of outcome/input are similar between their colleagues and co-workers. This factor can be employed to increase motivation at two levels. One is by showing that the change put the employees at par in benefits with employees of other luxury hotels, who may be enjoying more remuneration for the similar responsibilities. The second approach is to introduce transparency in the organization so that employees are aware of roles that are fulfilled responsibly and achieve a good outcome/input ratio, thus stimulating them to model it.
The hotel should have a very transparent scenario for rewarding and growth that makes the employees aware that a good performance is visible and appreciated at the top-most organizational level. The employees feel motivated to increase effort to enhance performance and are confident of being recognized and rewarded. This also recursively adds to the atmosphere of the organization and keeps people happy, which in turn also enhances motivation and appreciation of a conductive setup.
One important approach to making employees work towards a new scenario is setting new goals and making them recognize the challenges of a higher goal level. Combined with a reassurance in the possibility of attaining the feasible yet possibly difficult end, goal setting enhances performance strongly by inducing a desire to reach a goal and feel competent while realizing self-efficacy. Difficult tasks and high goal commitment together maximize performance as opposed to low commitment. To achieve this specific, high performance goals need to be defined. Goals should be difficult yet feasible. This should be combined with feedback, which facilitates in gauging goal attainment. And lastly, this should be allowed time as it takes some time to reach and sustain performance at the new level.
A new scenario brings about new job responsibilities. Jobs should be designed as to increase the motivation and performance of the employees. Each role should be designed as to appear inherently appealing. Jobs can include more number of tasks at the same level of responsibility and skills (horizontal loading) or with higher levels of skills and responsibilities (vertical loading). The new role should make people feel that they are doing meaningful and valuable work.
Meaningfulness of a work is impacted by skills variety, degree to which a task requires responsibility from beginning to end (task identity) and task significance , as to the impact it has on others. Responsibility for outcome of work is determined by autonomy the employees have in determining their own task plan, schedule, etc. Knowledge of the actual result of activities is driven by feedback. This gives the employees a measure of their growth and development. All these together result in employee motivation, performance and satisfaction.
An organization operates successfully as a function of the employees’ motivation, committed performance, sense of ownership, growth and satisfaction. While any organization constantly changes and evolves during its life, a sharp change almost always accompanies with employee insecurity and apprehension. Thus it requires foresight, planned and calculated effort to assuage the employee mindset and make it welcome the changed scenario as positive. This requires employing various methods at group and individual levels to make the benefits of change apparent.
It is important to involve the employee as a part owner of the change and be a proactive participant in the action plan for the change. This also helps the top decision-makers and owners see details that may have been overlooked in planning the strategy to meet change.
The organizational modifications can be brought about successfully through adopting productive processes and forming productive teams. Good teams come with a good degree group cohesiveness and healthy competition.
Changes come with employee stress and insecurity, which need to be specifically addressed by the top-level management. An organization needs to show the employee it cares, and the key to this is effective communication. Measures need to be taken to overcome individual stress.
Lastly, a positive atmosphere is a predecessor of good performance. The rudimentary needs like comfort and security of employees should be enhanced so that they can concentrate on achieving success and maximizing their level of creativity. Awareness of the organizational roles and at par rival-organization roles gives employees impetus to fill the gap in the ratio of outcome versus input. A positive variation inspires positive traversal.
An organization that is transparent and rewarding inspires employees to expect reward for personal effort and makes them go that extra mile. Well defined, challenging yet achievable goals ensure high employee commitment. In addition job roles defined to increase the skills levels used, ownership of a task life and marked by impactful tasks augment the meaningfulness of the work. Autonomy in choosing the action plan for task enhances sense of responsibility. Additionally, feedback enhances measure of goal attainment thus resulting in an employee’s professional growth. All of this together contribute to the performance, satisfaction and motivation of the employees and result in low absenteeism and turnover.
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