The History Of The Employee Involvement Business Essay

"Employee involvement means that every employee is regarded as a unique human being, not just a cog in a machine, and each employee is involved in helping the organization meet its goals. Each employee’s input is solicited and valued by his/her management. Employees and management recognize that each employee is involved in running the business" (Apostolou, 2000, p.3).

Having said that employee involvement is very important for the growth of business, therefore organization should provide a positive working environment which reflects mutual trust, team working skills, leadership, being motivated and being responsible to represent the organization. Moreover if the employee involvement is lacking in an organization it may result into poor business performance and employee turnover.

It is important to realize that employee should actively participate in decision making of company. In fact employees become more knowledgeable about the environment and in long run employees are much focused and highly motivated. On the other hand focusing on customer should be priority. Every individual in the organization has customer. It is employee’s responsibility to be involved in getting to know your customer’s need and helping customer achieve their needs.

"We miss Steve jobs. We worked with him and learned a lot from him. We won’t just miss seeing him on the world stage, we will miss the human being who looked us in our eyes and challenged us to do better" (Erickson, Hoddie & Wasko, p.2, 2011). The magic of working with Steve job demonstrated employees getting involved with the team members and working with effective combination of core competencies. It was about the uniqueness in his idea that made Apple different from any smart phone. Steve job was the leader; he would never question your team’s capabilities. In fact Steve Job always trusts his employee, giving them opportunity to do more than what we would on an ordinary day.

To be able to understand the success and the failure of any organization eventually depends upon the people and how focused they are towards meeting their goals and objectives. It is important however to assume the applicability on behalf of company to examine the strength and weakness of their employees. "Organizations that can tap the strengths of their people will be stronger and more competitive than those that cannot. Organizations that regard people as automatons or mere cogs in a wheel will never realize their full potential. In the long run, such companies inefficiencies attract competition, and unless the management philosophy changes, they will disappear" (Apostolou, 2000, p.3).

As Benjamin Franklin quoted once "You tell me, and I forget, you teach me, and I remember, you involve me, and I learn" (Schrebier, p.46, 2001).This statement by famous author Benjamin Franklin emphasize company to engross employee in the success and failure of the company. The organization can help employee achieve this by putting through various training which will help employees gain experience in terms of communicating effectively at all levels of organization and making it equally important for the employee to know their roles in the operation of the company.

This report will provide us with clear understanding of how employee involvement at work place has taken place in different forms. How employee’s involvements can contribute to organization growth and provide maturity to their business. The positive and negative impact at work place which affect decision making process and the liberty to make decision with no top level management.

Traditional forms of Employee Involvement and challenges for Managers

(Reference) participation of employees in the decision-making process has resulted in successful value creation in many organisations (Reference), however the extent to which employees should participate in organisational decision making is controversial with some employers for and employee involvement in decision making and some against it . Some employers are in favor of unions participating with management as equal joint venture partners, while some believe participation of employees is suitable for the organization but to a limited extent. The factors below discuss the various ways employees can participate in decision making process of any organisation.

Participation at Board Level: (Reference) This factor involves employees participating in top level management board meetings on a variety of issues, were it can play a vital role in protecting the wealth and interests of the employee (Reference). The employee representative can present all the problems, concerns and issues of the employees to all levels of management and guide the board members to create incentives, changes and opportunities for employees.

Participation through Ownership: Management of an oprganisation can create and maintain employee participation in organizational decision making by encouraging them to become shareholders of the business along with other incentives such as loans at a low interest rate, financial assistance is available when needed. (Reference) believes this approach will motivate employees to participate in decision making as they have a co owner role and will push them to work hard in an organisation they have a part in. Australian telephone company Telstra have stated they use this approach to encourage employee involvement and

Participation through Collective Bargaining: This refers to the participation of workers through collective agreements and by deciding and following certain rules and regulations. This is considered as an ideal way to ensure employee participation in managerial processes. It should be well controlled otherwise each party tries to take an advantage of the other.

Participation through Suggestion Schemes: Encouraging your employees to come up with unique ideas can work wonders especially on matters such as cost cutting, waste management, safety measures, reward system, etc. Developing a full-fledged procedure can add value to the organizational functions and create a healthy environment and work culture. For instance, Satyam is known to have introduced an amazing country-wide suggestion scheme, the Idea Junction. It receives over 5,000 ideas per year from its employees and company accepts almost one-fifth of them.

Participation through Complete Control: This is called the system of self management where workers union acts as management. Through elected boards, they acquire full control of the management. In this style, workers directly deal with all aspects of management or industrial issues through their representatives.

Participation through Job Enrichment: Expanding the job content and adding additional motivators and rewards to the existing job profile is a fine way to keep workers involved in managerial decision-making. Job enrichment offers freedom to employees to exploit their wisdom and use their judgment while handling day-to-day business problems.

Participation through Quality Circles: A quality circle is a group of five to ten people who are experts in a particular work area. They meet regularly to identify, analyze and solve the problems arising in their area of operation. Anyone, from the organization, who is an expert of that particular field, can become its member. It is an ideal way to identify the problem areas and work upon them to improve working conditions of the organization.

Employees can participate in organizational decision making through various processes mentioned above. However, there are other ways such as financial participation, Total Quality Management, participation through empowered teams and joint committees and councils through which they can contribute their share in making the organizations a better place to work.

Impacts of Employee Involvement in the Workplace

The impact of employee participation/involvement is multifaceted and diverse. Determining the most effective employee involvement strategy is determined by specific organizational goals. Different organizations entrust their employees the responsibility to carry out important duty with respect to their qualifications. Some organizations train their employees to accept responsibility and duties delegated to them. According to Webb & Webb (1999), some organizations give their employees rewards and recognition for performing their duty diligently. All these methods improve and strengthen the communication between the employees and the top management of an organization. Listed below are factors that have been outlined by relevant researchers, scientists and doctors in this field that are potential positive and negative impacts of Employee Involvement to all stakeholders within an organization.

Teamwork: Participation in the decision-making process gives each employee the opportunity to voice their opinions, and to share their knowledge with others. While this improves the relationship between manager and employee, it also encourages a strong sense of teamwork among workers. The expression of viewpoints opens dialogue between co-workers, with each worker bringing their individual strengths to a project. It is also a good way to gather information about the employees as to how they work in a team environment, and where training may be necessary, all of which leads to an increase in effectiveness, and ultimately an increase in good teamwork and performance.

Employee Commitment: A major reason employee involvement has grown is because it has been shown to increase employee commitment to their organizations. By involving employees actively in decision making, company leaders affirm the value of their employees. Employees more naturally develop deeper commitments to organizational and departmental objectives when they help set them and are involved in achieving them by offering input and making decisions that affect success.

Better Ideas: Customers also benefit when companies seek employee input. Front-line employees that interact directly with customers or clients often have more insight into customer concerns and feedback. When company leaders create an environment that encourages employees to share ideas and to get involved in decisions, they often get more informed perspectives with regard to what customers want. When top managers make all critical decisions on their own without employee involvement, their ideas are limited to their perception and past experiences.

Manager-Employee Boundary: One potential challenge of encouraging employee involvement is the risk that the line of distinction between the management level and employee level becomes blurred. Though managers may value employee involvement, a disciplined structure with clear reporting lines have long been vital to stability in organizations. Allowing employees to share ideas and make decisions without having them push the envelope and try to take on responsibilities that are reserved for management levels is a real risk.

Communication Complexity: More lines of communication and the potential for inconsistent decision making are disadvantages with employee involvement systems. When more employees have input and decision-making ability, more communication is necessary to make certain that decisions are consistent across the organization. This consistency is critical to brand recognition and consistency. Managers may have a hard time monitoring decisions and activities with employee involvement to protect against negative consequences and to restrict the potential for chaos.

Insufficient Knowledge: While the capacity to make more decisions is laudable, it can also have negative effects. Employees who don't have sufficient knowledge about various business decisions can undermine the company's success or cause interrelation conflicts. Insufficient knowledge may be as a result of lack of training or a simply that an employee isn't competent at a task he's been assigned. For example, a team leader in charge of sales who feels the need to contribute to how the IT department operates may make poor decisions in that arena. This sales team leader may also conflict with the IT department employees.

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