Assessment Type: Group Report 2500 (4-/- 10%) words.
Purpose: Students are expected to analyse the provided case and present recommended improvements. This assessment relates to learning outcomes a, b, c and d.
Value: 20% Due Date: Week 10 Submission requirements details: Upload a soft copy of the report- Word Document (.doc or .docx format) to Turnitin on Moodle. Do not submit PDF documents. Topic: The high turnover of consultants Task details: The task requires completing a group report. Students must start the work by reading the following case:
Fiona was sitting in her office reflecting on her day. How did I not see this coming—three tenured training consultants resigning in the past month? How do I explain this to my dad, who successfully built this company? Fiona took charge of the family business, XYZ Training Consultants, two years ago. XYZ is a medium-sized organisation offering management training and leadership development services in Malaysia. The company was founded by Tim Redkin, Fiona's father, in the mid-1990s and employs 80 full-time staff. Tim spent a number of years as a training consultant in Africa and returned to Malaysia to start up his own company.
When Tim first started the company he adopted an open management style. Staff were encouraged to walk into his office at any time to discuss issues. This habit was reinforced by the office structure—Tim's office and the consultants' working space were located on the same floor. Tim and the training consultants shared a common dining area and washroom facilities. This encouraged informal interactions between Tim and the consultants. Issues were resolved as they happened. Friday mornings were sacred at XYZ. Tim would chair a meeting with all of the training consultants and support staff to discuss clients and progress on training, and the meeting would conclude with a brief on the `week ahead'. Consultants were given clear guidelines on Tim's expectations and the clients for whom they were designing and delivering training. Tim encouraged open communication and staff felt they could discuss anything with him.
Tim, Fiona and the training consultants were highly involved in all aspects of the business. They would meet with clients to discuss training content and delivery schedules, market and promote XYZ and its training packages and service and maintain clients' portfolios. Staff participated in determining their work schedules and were always consulted before work was distributed. The personal and family commitments of employees were respected and considered before any work schedules were finalised. Full-time training consultants were provided with competitive salaries when they joined the organisation, granted additional holiday leave, and received above-average merit increases and performance bonuses. Tim even held weekly yoga sessions for staff, to improve their wellbeing.
Tim made all of the decisions concerning recruitment, dismissals and allocation of workload. He did not believe in structured policies and procedures. He felt that written policies and procedures hampered his decision-making power and reduced autonomy. Decisions were based on Tim's personal relationship with each staff member. XYZ had a performance appraisal system in place. Each staff member was appraised by either Tim or Fiona. However, Tim alone made the decisions on who received merit increases and performance bonuses. If you did good work, you were rewarded. XYZ was doing very well and over the past five years the number of training contracts had significantly increased and profits were steadily rising. The training consultants were happy, treated fairly, received manageable workloads and were involved and kept informed on key happenings at XYZ through the Friday-morning meetings.
Unfortunately, Tim was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and decided to hand over his role as managing director to Fiona. Fiona believed that with increased competition and the recent legislative changes, XYZ needed some restructuring. A few months after taking over, she created three departments based on the type of training provided. Each department would have a head of department (HoD) and directly under each HoD would be the training consultants. Each HoD would report directly to Fiona. All training consultants would now meet with their respective HoDs every Friday morning. Fiona did not attend these meetings. Instead, she held weekly meeting with all HoDs. If a consultant wanted to discuss something with Fiona, he or she had to make an appointment and very often Fiona would refer the consultant to one of the HoDs.
Furthermore, a new grading system for training consultants based on their tenure was introduced. No staff member was consulted during this process. This resulted in a hierarchy as follows:
Senior training consultant • + 5 years experience at XYZ Masters degree + professional membership • Above average performance ratings Training consultant • 3-5 years training experience • Masters qualification or enrolled in a professional qualification/masters program Junior training consultant • 0-2 years work experience Degree from a recognised institution Intention to pursue further academic qualifications
Fiona also unilaterally decided to remove the performance bonus and merit pay increase incentives. She replaced these with annual across-the-board increases.
Fiona and the HoDs paid less attention to the performance appraisal results. All three HoDs spent a lot of effort in pleasing Fiona, even if this meant negatively commenting on a consultant. If you were in Fiona's 'good books' and your HoD spoke 'highly' of you, you received better clients to work with, better work schedules and promotions and were consulted before work was allocated. If a staff member challenged Fiona's decision or action, he or she received less-than-appealing work schedules. These included evening classes and full-day Saturday training. This led to situations where some staff members had huge training loads while others were allocated a low training schedule and enjoyed higher levels of work—life balance and could complete their compulsory continuous development courses. Those staff with heavy workloads had little time for professional development. 'How are we expected to learn and publish if we are training non-stop' was a common complaint among consultants?
After some time, staff realised that the performance appraisals were a 'waste of time'. Being in Fiona's good books earned better work schedules and opportunities for training and promotion. Those training consultants with heavy workloads had little time to impress Fiona and were often heard complaining in the staff canteen. These 'overworked' consultants were angry and many started calling in sick; they also began using older training packages and/or spent less time in preparing training packages that met the client's needs.
In addition, Fiona decided to refurbish and rearrange the office. This resulted in a new office layout. Fiona and the HoDs now all had private offices on the ground floor, while all training consultants, irrespective of their grade, were located in an open-plan office on the third floor. Canteen facilities, washroom facilities and coffee machines were separated—one for 'management level' and one for 'consultants'.
Staff were often heard complaining that they were sick and tired of Fiona and her new rules: 'We work hard, and we need some recognition around here.' The weekly yoga sessions ceased, as Fiona felt that it was a waste of time and several consultants were so overworked they no longer had time for yoga.
Moreover, many consultants felt that the new grading system differentiating consultants on work experience was very unfair. Many junior training consultants entered XYZ with high academic and professional qualifications, worked as many hours as tenured consultants but were paid far less. Also, 'selected staff' who had family commitments, young children or ageing parents were not given evening or Saturday training.
At the same time, tenured consultants were unhappy because although they earned higher salaries, they no longer had time for professional development. This led to resentment between employees. For the first time at XYZ, client feedback on training was negative, customer complaints increased and consultants called in sick on scheduled training days. Furthermore, arguments and back-biting among staff became a common practice.
Within the first two years of Fiona taking over, 50% of tenured consultants had resigned; in addition, 60% of new recruits resigned within the first year of working at the organisation. XYZ was no longer an attractive place to work.
When done, students must write a report that addresses the following questions
1. Apply employee engagement theory to identify and discuss the motivational elements that existed in the old organisational environment and which elements were removed in the new environment under Fiona's leadership. 2. Using organisational justice and equity theory of motivation, explain and analyse the training consultants' behaviours. 3. Reflect on instances where Fiona's leadership may not be suitable by considering findings from contemporary research and by looking at cultural, ethical and/or social concerns that may limit the effectiveness of this leadership style. 4. Discuss numerous immediate changes that Fiona should make to improve staff engagement and motivation at XYZ? Responses must be supported by relevant organisational behaviour theories.
The work should be in the format of a business report as you would submit to the CEO or management of any business, in a professional style. The report must contain: • Cover Page Executive Summary Table Of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Sections and Sub Sections Covering Question 1 (You Must Choose Suitable Headings) 3. Sections and Sub Sections Covering Question 2 (You Must Choose Suitable Headings) 4. Sections and Sub Sections Covering Question 3 (You Must Choose Suitable Headings) 5. Sections and Sub Sections Covering Question 4 (You Must Choose Suitable Headings) 6. Conclusion 7. List of References That Align With Approved Referencing Format 8. Appendices as required
The report will be marked based on the criteria listed in the assessment rubric. It is very important to note that research is a key criterion that will influence the mark you earn. Research is considered appropriate when students develop the report by using peer-reviewed journal articles. While using a minimum of sixteen (16) journal articles is expected, students will only achieve a top mark in their research component when they use between twenty (20) and twenty eight (28) research sources. Please note that many of the references you use must come from peer reviewed journal articles and that these articles should not be the same as the ones provided in the textbook and tutorials. Furthermore, please note that using WIKIPEDIA and other online encyclopedia is not allowed and may result in being given a fail grade for the work. If you need help in finding suitable sources for the work, please seek assistance by booking an appointment with a librarian.
The assessment's length is 2500 words (+/-) 10%. The word count excludes the cover sheet, table of contents page and references.
o The assessment must be Harvard (Anglia) referenced, typed Arial 12 font and 1.5 spaced. o Referencing is only considered adequate when the sources that are used in the work are acknowledged both in-text and in the references list.
The High Turnover of Consultants: Case study
The report aims at highlighting the different aspects of employee engagement and management style over the retention rate of the staff. The case study explains the variance in the leadership traits of Tim and Fiona.Kahn model is explained to elucidate about the motivating factors in an organization that increases employee engagement and reduces attrition rate. However, Fiona’s method of management demonstrated that the employees got demotivated and reduced their job involvement. The behavior of the trainer consultants demonstrated that organizational injustice lowered their motivational level. Organizational justice and equity theory of motivation are directly interlinked. As the workers recognized that injustice is done while compensating and distribution of workload, and there exists no organizational justice, the workforce grew increasingly dissatisfied and attrition rate increased. Fiona exhibited autocratic leadership traits, whereby no team member was consulted during decision-making process. Due to rise in autocratic behavior, unjustified compensation, and demotivating factors the trainers started leaving the organization and business got adversely affected. It is recommended that Fiona immediately change the style of management and involve the staff in the matters of taking decisions. Application of flexible working hours, growth opportunities and social gathering could prove to be effective for engaging and motivating employees.
Guest (2014) defined employee engagement as the extent to which the staff is involved and completely absorbed in their job. Human beings are the greatest assets of the company and retaining the individuals for a longer duration of time increases the productivity at work. In this global era, the method of working is changing drastically. Every establishment desires to retain the best talent of the industry and gain competitive advantage in the market. An engaged employee is more dedicated towards their job responsibilities and demonstrate improved performance (Bedarkar and Pandita, 2014). The report aims at identifying the issues related to employee engagement and motivation at XYZ Training Consultants services and elucidating Kahn model of employee engagement.
Hansen, Byrne and Kiersch (2014) proposed that Kahn explicated about employee engagement as the phenomenon that relates individuals preferred self with the task at the workplace to enhance their performance. The scholar stated that according to the framework, employees are engaged at three levels with job, viz, physical, cognitive and emotional. These stages are associated with different psychological state of the human beings, which include meaningfulness, availability and safety. All the three situations affect the level of employee engagement at the workplace. The individuals are more attached and involved with their jobs, if the persons get a psychologically safe and meaningful environment and thereby physically available.
According to Saks and Gruman (2014), meaningfulness outlines positive attribute in which the employee perceive it to give greater return on investment when the person demonstrates better performance. Safety in the workplace ensures that the staff is able to show their own self without any fear or other adverse consequences over their status, career or self-image in the company. Availability defines the prospect, whereby the workers have access to necessary emotional, physical and psychological resources. Breevaart et al., (2014) propounded that relation with colleagues, job enrichment and work-role fit are the positive constructs of the job.
Figure: Kahn Model of Employee Engagement
(Source: Anitha, 2014)
According to the Fiona’s case study, it is quite evident that Tim the founder of XYZ training consultancy, had introduced and implemented various strategies to enhance employee engagement at the firm. However, the successor believed that with changing times, these methodologies incurred higher levels of losses, thereby leading to change in the staff engagement framework. The employees were encouraged to follow open door policy in the organization without any discrepancy in levels of the designation. Even the management used to sit with the employees at the same floor and shared common dining room. To augment the level of employee engagement, the owner directly chaired the meeting on Fridays, discussed, and accepted ideas of improvement from all the training consultants. Furthermore, incentives and promotions were directly associated with the performance level and feedback from the clients. This step greatly influenced and motivated the employees to achieve the set target and go beyond their designated means to satisfy the clients. Tim even held yoga sessions for promoting healthy lifestyle and enhancing co-worker relationships. According the Kahn’s model of Employee Engagement job enrichment, relation with co-workers and supervisory approach has significant impact on workers (Bedarkar and Pandita, 2014). The evidences and instances of the case study verify the fact, where it is elucidated that Tim did not follow autocratic supervisory role, rather inspired and used participative form of leadership to motivate the employees.
However, as seen in the case study when Fiona over took the consultancy service, number of changes were introduced that adversely affected the employee engagement level. Less attention was given to the performance of the workers and performance appraisals were removed from the system. Moreover, promotions were based on the amount of tenure served in the company rather than on skills and abilities of the persons. Furthermore, workload balance was disrupted and few of the individuals were loathed with tremendous pressure at job (Nicholls, 2017). Even the seating arrangement was changed to different floors and open communication system was eliminated, consequently lowering the employee morale, diminishing the staff attachment with the company and the job. Therefore, the demotivating factors as per Kahn’s model and the case study are imbalance in work-life balance, tremendous pressure; closed-door policies are hindering the employee engagement levels at the company.
According to the views of Osabiya (2015), organizational justice outlines the worker’s perception about equality and fairness within the firm and the individual’s reaction against that insight. The author added that human resource management practices are becoming complex day by day and retaining the best resources of the industry within the company is a hectic job. Organizational justice theory aims at maintaining transparency within the brand, thereby promoting fair performance appraisals and withholding the talent. Whitman et al., (2012) highlighted that organizational justice is broadly classified in to three segments, viz, procedural, interactional and distributive. The procedural justice encompasses the methodologies that allocate the payments, incentives and bonuses to the workers. If the employee recognizes that the procedure through which the performance is measured is accurate and reward given is fair, the procedural method is considered to fair. Distributive justice outlines how the staff perceives their rewards and bonuses with that of others in the same designation or job. Gelens et al., (2013) identifies interactional justice as the phenomena where the person relates with other staff of the firm.
Kurtessis et al., (2017) propounded that perceived justice is very important in the workplace as the behavior of the individuals are significantly affected by it. Performance assessment is a crucial parameter to estimate and evaluate the growth the workers in the firm. Performance management approach is identified as the vital construct that motivates the employees to work efficiently and effectively. As seen in the case study, the training consultants of XYZ consultancy services were deeply motivated during the tenure of Tim. The owner promoted the staff and offered incentives based on regular performance appraisals. Moreover, the workload of the employees was equally distributed based on their skills and competencies and financial and non-financial incentives were given according to the merit. The training consultants under Tim perceived the organizational justice as fair and worked sincerely to bring success to the firm. However, during Fiona’s tenure, the performance appraisal system based on merit was discarded and promotions and incentives were distributed in accordance to the personal relationships with the Head of the Department. Furthermore, the training consultants felt that Fiona did not reward their hard work and sincerity fairly and with time, the genuine training employees were loathed with excess work or less-appealing work routines. Therefore, the training consultants under Fiona perceived organizational justice unfair, prejudiced, and started quitting the job.
According to Al-Zawahreh and Al-Madi (2012) equity theory elucidates that an employee’s motivation level in the organization depends on their views about fairness, justice and equity at the job. The scholar added that a worker is more motivated when, the person recognizes higher level of organizational justice at the workplace. The inputs of equity framework considers number of hours worked, responsibilities of the employee, loyalty of the person, flexibility demonstrated by the person, and enthusiasm at the job. The output includes bonus, pension scheme, salary, stock options, recognition, performance appraisals, flexibility at work, greater work-life balance and holiday allowance. Greenberg and Colquitt (2013) highlighted that the employees compare their inputs and outputs with that of other workers and if found imbalance, and then are demotivated to work.
Figure: Equity theory
(Source: Greenberg and Colquitt, 2013)
While comparing and analyzing the training consultants behavior and situation in the XYZ consulting company, it is evident that the genuine employees who did not belong to the good books of Fiona, were not treated properly neither remunerated like others. It is obvious that the trainers who defied or challenged Fiona’s decision were unfairly compensated and thus the consultants become resilient and discontent with their jobs. Based on the constructs of equity theory it can be derived that the unfair treatment under Fiona lead to demotivation of the trainers in the firm.
Iqbal, Anwar and Haider (2015) defined leadership as the capability of the individual to influence, inspire and motivate the other persons towards a certain direction so that these people work willingly to achieve certain group objective. The leaders and their leadership skills plays a vital role in the success of the company. The leaders influence the workers and channelize their perception towards the accomplishment of the company goal. An effective leader should be able to establish good interpersonal association with the employees to gain their trust and motivate them. Democratic form of leaders exhibit participative leadership qualities, whereby the employees are given equal rights in decision-making process. The democratic managers attempt to collaborate with every person in the organization, irrespective of their designation and value their opinion for developing the company (Nanjundeswaraswamy and Swamy, 2014).
Tim demonstrated democratic form of leadership, which is evident from the fact that the owner conducted sacred meeting on Friday mornings, where each training consultant was given opportunity to place their opinions about work schedules and methodologies. Furthermore, the owner believed in open working culture, where the staff was allowed to interact with Tim directly and any time the individual perceived. Besides, the founder of the company exhibited transformational leadership as well. Nanjundeswaraswamy and Swamy (2014) states that transformational leaders encourage and motivate the personnel to bring a revolutionary innovation in the company to shape a successful future. The approach Tim adopted to influence the employees revealed that the individuals were constantly inspired to bring out their best in the job.
However, Fiona lacked democratic or transformational leadership qualities. Instead, Fiona demonstrated autocratic leadership traits in the behavior, which limited the effectiveness of leadership quality portrayed by Tim. According to the opinions of Bhatti et al., (2012), autocratic or authoritarian leaders control all the management decisions, and give very little importance to their team members. Additionally, these individuals take decisions based on their personal beliefs and opinions and rarely accept advice for the other individuals, leading to lowering of the employee morale, reducing organizational commitment and demotivating the team members. Fiona’s authoritarian nature was evident from the fact that none of the trainers was consulted prior to the changes such as elimination of yoga classes, restructuring of grading system and performance appraisal system. These modifications enraged the training consultants and erratic workload and unfair remuneration schemes infuriated the employees. The decisions made by Fiona showed no alignment with cultural developments or ethical consideration due to unfair compensation schemes. Fiona should have considered the social consideration while incorporating the changes and included the opinions of the senior trainer consultants in the decisions. As the new owner did not include the advises of the consultants, the employees became increasingly discontent and rise in attrition rate was observed, which affected the success of the organization.
Fiona should take active participation proposing appropriate recommendations for engaging more staffs and ensuring employee motivation. Presently, the company might be struggling with employee attrition and if the above-mentioned aspects are not considered employees may tend to shift towards different companies. The recommendations of the changes will be backed by employee organisational behaviour theory.
Holding Social gatherings: It could keep the staffs engaged within the organisation. Conduction of annual functions, picnics and celebration of the company’s birthday are some of the ways of conducting social gatherings. It would allow the employees to break free from the monotony of the daily life. In social gathering employees can interact freely with one another and in this regard Fiona could felicitate the performers by giving prizes. The suggestion is in relevance to Elton Mayo theory which states that who regarded workplaces as social environments. According to the author employees are motivated more by joking, sharing friendly conversations other than only probing for financial interest (Miner, 2015). It would not only result in creating a positive working environment, but would reflect upon enhanced work motivation which is presently lacking in the company.
Fringe Benefits: Application of fringe benefits would not only motivate the employees but it would enhance the zeal of employees for working harder. The fringe benefits could be provided to employees by giving away financial benefits, arranging holiday trips upon fulfillment of targets, health benefits, introducing employee of the month award, bonus on special occasions, double pay for employees working in holidays etc. The suggestions are in relevance to the Herzberg theory of motivation. In accordance to the theory the presence of intrinsic factors ensure extra satisfaction amongst the employees (Alshmemri, Shahwan-Akl and Maude, 2017). If the employees get extra rewards and benefits, it would automatically have a positive impact on overall employee performance.
Merit based promotional opportunities: Instead of only considering the experience of employees, Fiona should prioritise the merits of employees while given promotional and growth opportunities. Every employee should be given the equal opportunity of showcasing their talent and their hard work should be recognised accordingly. Every employee should be in same page and promotions should be given to employees based on performance. This suggestion is in relevance to the ERG theory which prioritizes growth opportunities (Lazaroiu, 2015). The theory states if employees see there is an opportunity for career growth they tend to stay engaged within the working environment and carry out their job responsibilities in a proficient manner.
Flexible working hours by promoting a work life balance
Fiona should ensure flexible working conditions for the employees so that the employees can maintain both personal and professional life. If employees are given a personal space they would tend to stay more motivated in the organisation. This is in relevance to the love and belonging stage of the Maslow Hierarchy of needs where employees tend to spend quality time with their loved and near ones irrespective of any work responsibilities (Lee and Hanna, 2015).
The report deals with the issues of employee engagement, staff motivation and its influence over attrition rate. It highlights and connects the theories of staff engagement, and leadership with the case study, where there is stark difference in management style of Tim and Fiona. Tim is the founder and owner of the XYZ Training Consultants, who believed in open door working and communication culture in the firm and encouraged all the employees to participate in the of growth of the brand. However, Fiona did not perceive the method fair and changed the approach drastically, which adversely affected the growth of the company. Kahn model of employee engagement propounded that motivating factors such as work-life balance, relation with co-workers and fairness at job inspired the staff and increased their job engagement. However, Fiona did not motivate the workers appropriately. Organizational justice and equity theory of motivation illuminates that the staff who perceive the company is fair, and justified in their acts, are more motivated at work.
According to the case study, under the supervision of Fiona, the employees recognized the remuneration scheme to be unfair and prejudiced, thereby demotivating the workforce. Autocratic leadership style followed by Fiona decreased employee morale and increased their grievances, leading to rise in turnover rates. It is advisable for Fiona to introduce change in the management style immediately and follow democratic form of leadership. Furthermore, it is recommended that employees are treated with respect and their opinions should be valued during decision-making process. Additionally, Fiona should fairly remunerate their staff and encourage flexible working hours with opportunities for growth.