The Turnaround at Ford essay
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The case is a decision-making dilemma by the management on whether to offer the same salary to two recruits with different qualifications. Their gender differences may be a discriminating factor. There is the dilemma of different reactions due to lack of promotion of employees who have worked for the company for a long time.
The case brings in the issue of gender discrimination based on sex. The female employee will feel she gets a lower salary because of her sex. This will demoralize her, as she will have the feeling that her presence in the company is not appreciated. Klempner (2008) asserts that being on the same level of employment; the male employee will feel superior to the female co-worker because of the higher salary. This will lead to conflicts between the two, as there will be confusion over delegation of duties and power. The male candidate may have a conflict of interest in looking for better salaries in the other companies and this may lead to a conflict of interests. He may not do his best work. The female, knowing of her status, would work harder to maintain her position in the company since she does not have alternative options. It would also demoralize the employees in the company. According to Flamand (2010), having been working for the company for a long time, they would expect to be the first considered in case of promotion. The junior employees will feel neglected for not getting the new job. This will lead to conflicts between the new and old employees. There will be the problem of acceptance by other employees. Communication among them will be hard, and it will take a long period before they develop good working relations. The recruits will also feel discriminated by other employees. It will be hard for them to give orders and administer change in the company.
The management should offer them the same amount of salary, in this case $135,000, to retain the qualified employees and to avoid the chances of conflicts between the two employees. This will ensure the company maintains good corporate goodwill with the community since the female employee is from the area. It will also reduce the chances of a feeling of superiority by the male candidate. Having the same salary in the same position will encourage cooperation and they will appreciate each other better than if one had a higher salary. It should provide a provision for promotion in case of exemplary performance to motivate them to work hard. This will help reduce the feeling that the female employee is being discriminated. Since the female candidate has grown in the area, she will have support from the community, and this will be a bad impression. The company should also set clear distinction on their roles and duties to avoid conflicts between them. On acceptance by the existing employees, the management should encourage communication between them through the organization of free forums of interactions and involvement in decision-making. The recruits should not make decisions without consulting other employees since they are new to the company. This will encourage acceptance and teamwork, which would lead to great company performance.
The management will have to explain the terms for employment that were present at the time of the interview. Since the woman did not meet all the requirements but had acceptable qualifications, her salary had to be set lower than the male candidate who had all the required qualifications. The management could also tell her that they took her as the second best candidate for the job, which justifies the difference in the salaries.
Planning for the Future at East Coast Bank
The case addresses the issue of labor turnover, surpluses and employee morale. The high labor turnover could be because of lack of motivating and hygiene factors at work. With the highest turnover among the tellers, poor salaries, recognition, advancement and poor working environments could cause it. The high costs of training and recruitment is due to increased labor turnover and the lack of promotion. Brum (2007) asserts that the company could minimize the training and recruitment expenses by preparing the employees for the top jobs. Some are leaving the company due to job insecurity and lack of advancement. The company should promote the best candidates within the company, instead of hiring people from outside. This will reduce the training and recruitment costs.
According to the transition matrix, the teller and loan officer’s positions are over staffed. With an average of 15 tellers and 4 loan officers at each of the branches, some are obsolete, and there is a lot of idle time wasted by these employees. Most of the tellers are idle since bank activities are not always at their peak throughout the year, yet they are paid. The loan officers also have idle time since loans are advanced to customers at intervals and not all the time. The ideal number would be two per branch. They should also consider the activity level of each branch to decide the ideal number.
The management should establish the causes for labor turnover. These could be low salaries, lack of motivation and opportunities for advancement or poor working conditions. Through interaction with the employees, the management could get to know their problems. If its lack of involvement, then the management should ensure that, they are consulted in making decisions that affect them. If it is low salaries, the management should ensure that employees are paid depending on their skills and level of output. If it is advancement, the management should provide equal opportunities for promotion to provide them with more challenging jobs and responsibilities. These tactics give employees the morale to work harder in the company and reduce the high labor turnover, which leads to labor shortages.
Labor surplus could be addressed through retrenchment or transfer of the surplus employees to the areas that experience labor shortage. While retrenching them, the company should consider the age, skills and output of the workers. They could also encourage them by providing fair compensation and other benefit schemes. They should also give free training on how to use the large compensation to make them feel appreciated by the company. It could also train the surplus employees in different fields of the company that have labor shortages and transfer them in relation to their skills and abilities. Heathfield (2012) affirms that this will make the employees feel part of the company and will give them the morale to work harder.
The lower level of management, which includes the tellers, has the highest labor turnover of 33%. Since they are involved with the daily operations of the company, the problem should be taken into consideration and addressed properly.
The management should encourage communication with the employees to understand their problems and address them. They should be considered in decision-making since this makes them feel appreciated in the organization and boosts their morale. Their jobs should also be made challenging through the provision of equal opportunities for promotion. This will make them work towards the organizational goals and remain in the company, reducing labor shortage. Labor surplus should be reduced by regular audits to get the viability of each position in the company. If a position is rendered obsolete due to factors such as advancement in technology, then the position should be removed. Labor should also be compared to the level of output and the size of the company to get the ideal number of people with the required skills to do the jobs. This could be done through hiring of skilled labor.
The Turnaround at Ford
Ford is experiencing losses due to a shrink in the market and the high operating costs due to the high number of employees. In an effort to reduce labor costs, Ford is introducing downsizing strategy that will retrench the old employees who receive high salaries and recruit others who will get lower ones. It is also working on balancing the level of output to the market demand to reduce the wastage of resources.
The retention of eligible retirement workers, poor labor strategy regarding the hourly and permanent workers and the reduction in the company’s market has led to the increased labor surplus in the company. Since the market has reduced, the company has a lot of idle time, which is being paid for. These employees are also paid a lot of money compared to the benefits they bring to the company.
Ford used buyouts and attrition to reduce the feeling of job insecurity by the remaining employees. It also wanted to reduce the number of employees quickly without making them feel rejected and used by the company. Ahlstrom (2006) confirms that by giving them the huge compensation, most of the employees would take up the offer without complains. The company is used to give a positive impression in the market so that it is not considered bankrupt and unable to pay its employees. The employees used these to reduce the instance of strikes since the retrenchment had good packages to cater for their survival after losing their jobs. It was the personal decision of some of the employees, apart from those who were eligible for retirement, to take the offer of retrenchment. The reduction in the employees’ salaries might not motivate them towards achieving the organizational goals since they may feel that their input is not receiving an equal reward. These strategies would help Ford achieve its goal; however, they would not completely solve the problem. Since the problem included the shrinking of the market, Ford should have developed a research and development strategy that would discover the reasons for the demand reduction of its products. If it was the quality of the product, then it should have changed their models to suit the market demands. If the problem was poor marketing and promotion strategies, then Ford should have introduced e-marketing and other promotional activities to increase the awareness of its products.
The disadvantages of buyouts and attrition are that the company may lose some of the most competent and skilled employees. The company’s secrets also risk leaking out to their competitors, as the competitor’s company may hire some of the employees. This will lead to unfair competition, as the other companies will have a higher chance of winning the market due to combined ideas. The remaining workers may be demoralized due to the departure of the people they used to work with and recruitment of new employees. It may take them a long time to get used to each other and cooperation will be disrupted. According to Hames (2011), the company will also have to incur training and recruitment costs before they recruit new employees. Other methods of addressing the labor surplus include contract employment where the company hires workers during the peak season and lays them off during the recession period so that it does not pay them even when the company is making losses. The company could also outsource which is the collaboration with other organizations to perform a set of activities.
A Case of Age and Gender Discrimination
In this case, the company is solving a wrong problem using the wrong methods. The decrease in sales is not connected to the number of female or elderly employees. It is evident that employees, who were fired, were good performers and had experience in their jobs. Though it is true that young people have the energy to work, they do not have the skills for improving the quality of output and decisions making. The changes in the society attribute women as equal to men and it will be an infringement of their rights if they are sacked based on their gender. The management’s reason for dismissing the elderly workers is their inability to adapt to the changes. This is not a justifiable reason as they could be trained. Tomei (2001) affirms that every company needs to balance the employees based on gender, as this will create a good impression and appreciation for women. In some countries, gender balance is one of the factors considered by the Government before they award tenders to the companies.
Age and gender discrimination should not be practiced at work. The law provides for specific ages of retirement for different occupations. Before the attainment of this age, the employees should be treated equally and are allowed to sue the company for any unjustified dismissal. The law also provides that both men and women have equal rights, and no one should be discriminated based on gender. Women can sue the company for unfair dismissal. The company has discriminated elderly and female employees. This is both discriminatory treatment and discrimination impact since those workers were unfairly fired. According to Psych Central News Editor (2009), the plaintiffs can prove this unjustified act since the case proves that they were capable of doing their jobs and even had exemplary performance in the recent periods. The sacking of employees aged 40 or older was unfair since they had not attained their retirement age.
The company would have to provide evidence of the employees’ inability to adapt to changes in order to prove that its act was not discriminatory. It can prove this if the employees were resisting the company’s policies. It would be easier to provide the defense based on age and not gender. This is because the elderly people are used to the old routine and it would cost the company more time and money to train them. They are also slow in doing their activities compared to the young people. As the VP of marketing, I would convince the CEO on the importance of retaining the older employees as they are good at decision-making. I would also discourage him from the attitude against women, as they are capable of working as hard as men are. I would do research on the reasons for the fall in sales and address them. I would also encourage the use of e marketing to increase the coverage of the company’s advertisement. Gender sensitivity also encourages cooperation among the employees and exploits their abilities. It would be monotonous for the employees if they were only male or female. This provides a poor working environment. The company will also lose their goodwill in the community, and this would affect the sales. The VP should also place the women in positions they can handle rather than in the old fields. Workers of all ages should be involved into decision making, since their mixed thoughts and skills can help the company make wise decisions.
Quality of Customer Service at Michael’s Coffee and Desserts
The case is about the importance of employees` training. The main goal of the coffee and desserts is to provide quality services, yet its associates are high school and college students who have less experience in providing quality services. That is why it is important to train employees on how to provide the best services. Though it would be costly to train all employees, the long-term goals of the management will be achieved. Preparing the junior employees for the management level is also a motivation to the employees to work hard for the promotion. In the end, it reduces the expenses of having to train and orient new recruits.
Training is required since the employees are mainly students who may not be experienced in providing high quality services. The firm also requires managers that are used to the company policies and who have experience in working in that environment, hence it is important for the junior employees to be trained for the management positions. This also saves the long run costs of the firm to have to train new recruits and induce them to the policies and activities of the firm. Guerin (2003) asserts that for a coffee place, the customers are comfortable with employees they are used to; hence, the preparation of the junior employees for the top job helps the firm retain its employees. It also boosts the morale of the employees, as they are able to advance in their areas of specialization.
Michaels should set the goals of the firm, rules and regulations that should be followed by the employees. He should then find out those who are willing to go through the training process and get all the necessary resources needed to carry out the activity. He should also carry out a cost benefit analysis to find out if the program will benefit the firm in achieving the company`s goals. If the resources to run the program are unaffordable, then the training should not be done as this may lead to bankruptcy and liquidation of the company.
The challenges that may arise in setting up the program include some employees` resistance, the criteria for choosing the employees to be trained and the attitude of different employees who may be of higher qualifications. Some employees may miss the training and neglect it since they do not understand the importance of going through the training. Some employees may feel neglected if they are not chosen for the training program. This will lead to conflicts among them and will jeopardize their cooperation. Due to the difference in age and qualifications, some of the employees may not be comfortable of going through the training with people of lower positions. According to McNamara (2010), these challenges can be addressed through educating the employees about the importance of training. The company should ensure that the employees are trained in shifts such that all those interested are able to attend. They should organize different training sessions for those in the same age group and the same level of qualifications.
The management can evaluate the effectiveness of the training program through the company`s outcome, such as increased sales, changes in the employees` behavior, the employees` attitude towards their job and their reaction during the training. The management can compare the level of sales before and after the training. If the sales increased, then the training was effective, if they reduced, then the training was ineffective. They can also look at the behavior and attitude of the employees towards the job. If they become hard working and devoted top their jobs, then the training was successful. The management can also look at their behavior during the training. If they missed the training or were reluctant to attend, then the training was ineffective.
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