Category Archives: Public Relations

How to Deal with Difficult People

How to Deal with Difficult People

One of the ways I have grown in the understanding of conflicts is that they provide one with the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Learning how to manage conflicts is critical in both personal and professional life. In the workplace, learning how to manage conflicts is a key leadership skill. Organizational leaders deal with conflicts involving employees or customers on almost daily basis. In addition, employees must learn to deal with conflicts before they escalate to levels requiring management intervention. Employees who are good at resolving conflicts are likely to become leaders in the future since it is a key leadership skill. Another way I have grown in the understanding of conflict and conflict resolution is that one can either apply negative or positive ways of resolving a conflict. An example of a positive way of resolving a conflict is through empathy. A negative aspect might be getting judgmental, which may aggravate the situation.

One can apply various strategies to improve day-to-day interactions at work. One of the ways of growing in my ability to understand and manage difficult interpersonal relations is by being a key listener. Listening is important since everyone wants to be heard. Parties in a conflict cannot achieve any progress unless one of them feels acknowledged. In listening, one should focus on what the other person is saying, rather than focusing on what to say next. Another way of dealing with difficult people is responding with empathy. This involves showing that one understands the feelings of another person. For instance, one can inquire in a friendly way why the other person refuses to talk. This would most likely open up communication. Empathy can help in dealing with a judgmental people, argumentative people, hostile people, and even those who refuse to talk.

When dealing with difficult colleagues, it is important to learn how to wait or be patient. When am argument occurs, it is not right for one to insist that they talk about it there and then. Giving the other person time before talking about the issue enables them to reflect on the issue and the actions they have taken. It is therefore important to learn not to respond immediately a conflict ensues. If the other party refuses to talk, one can emphasize on the need to solve things later. The disarming technique is another important way of managing difficult interactions at work. This technique involves agreeing with the other party on what they are saying. The disarming technique involves establishing the truth as per the other person’s perspective or point of view. Even when the other party is criticizing, there could be an aspect of truth in their criticism. Recognizing such aspects will encourage the other person to soften.

The key points to remember are to actively listen and to be empathetic. Listening makes the other party feel significant. Listening sends the message to the other person that one is interested in solving the problem. This makes them more reasonable in addressing the problem. Being empathetic is another key point to remember. Empathy is a crucial step in addressing almost all types of conflicts. Empathy is about showing that one understands the feelings of the other person.

Case: Listening at Different Levels

Response to Rochelle R. Asanti: Collaboration

Response to Rochelle R. Asanti: Collaboration

Collaboration is critical in various aspects of life – not only in solving conflicts but also as a way of achieving great results through teamwork. As you highlight in your post, collaboration enables people to succeed in particular situations. A good example is in a work situation where there might be need for collaboration among various departments in order to achieve the set objectives. There are some aspects concerning collaboration that I may add at this particular point. Collaboration involves developing creative solutions that in one way or another satisfy the other party’s interests. It also reflects selflessness on the parties involved. In collaboration, the parties involved moved out of their comfort zones or give up some things in order to preserve relationships. It is a win/win situation where each party gives up something in order to ensure the other party is satisfied.

The collaborative strategy calls upon the parties involved to invest a lot of time (Rothwell, 2012). This helps in developing understanding and testing assumptions. If the parties do not wish to maintain long-term relationships, then collaboration may not be the most effective strategy. Collaboration is key in building relationships, developing trust, and in fostering respect among parties. In a collaborative environment, parties should address issues facing them directly. They should also do so in ways that express their willingness to let the other party achieve what they need too. From the above, it is clear that the collaboration strategy is appropriate in high value relationships. The goal is for both parties to win.

Related: Case: Listening at Different Levels

The situation you encountered involving the adamancy of some department leaders to support the new model would best be solved through a collaborative model. The reason I feel that collaboration is the best strategy is that there is need to develop long-term relationships with the other departmental leaders. While the collaborative model will definitely help in creating a win-win situation, it also helps in establishing cordial relationships between the parties involved. The solution you implemented to the problem in your department fits the collaborative model. Brainstorming ideas and writing them down as ‘posters’ for later discussion is an excellent way of ensuring collaboration or input of all the parties involved. It expresses the collaborative conflict style in action, whereby the leaders show cooperation and assertiveness in looking for a solution.

The idea of evaluating the points on various posters is a good way of solving conflicts by working together with the others involved. The collaborative approach you used enabled all parties to focus on solving the particular problem. In other methods, however, the focus may not be on the particular problem. For instance, in the accommodative approach, the focus is about the needs of other parties. Conversely, parties in a competing model focus on championing their own interests. According to Lussier (2015), the major advantage of the collaborative model is that it provides parties with the best solutions to their problems or conflict. In other words, it yields the greatest satisfaction to all parties concerned. Collaboration encourages parties to engage in constructive conflict. In the end, the parties reach solutions that satisfy everyone. It is interesting to note that the collaborative method enabled all parties to reach an agreement easily on the way forward. The use of other approaches such as the competing approach would have intensified the conflict among the various individuals.

References

Lussier, R. N. (2015). Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications, & Skill Development. Los Angeles, California: SAGE.

Rothwell, J. D. (2012). In mixed company: communicating in small groups. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

Case Study : Mediating a Dispute

Case Study : Mediating a Dispute

It is important to engage Fred and Sally in order to resolve the ensuing dispute. Griffith and Goodwin (2013) identify three approaches that mediators can adopt in resolving disputes among employees. These approaches include the evaluative, facilitative, and the transformative approach. In the evaluative approach, the mediator engages communication between the various parties involved in the disagreement. The mediator has a bigger role to play in that he/she offers solutions to the parties involved. In the facilitative approach, the mediator enhances the communication process but allows the various parties to develop possible solutions to the problem. The transformative approach focuses on enhancing cohesion between the parties in the long term. A facilitative approach can be effective in solving the dispute between Fred and Sally.

The first step will involve establishing the cause of the dispute. There are various issues contributing to the dispute between Fred and Sally. They have differences in their personal approach to work. Fred follows a methodical approach while addressing problems. On the other hand, Sally follows her instincts while solving problems. Sally is also a go-getter. They have poor communication, which is also contributing to the problem. Fred and Sally also hold different values and cultures. It is worth noting that most people hold succinct ideas about what they term as fair, which is part of the personal value system. There are also values that are largely shared by the community. Shared values give a sense of natural justice.

An informal mediation can help in resolving the ensuing dispute. Thus as Joe, I would first engage Fred and Sally separately to brief them on the situation at hand. Individual meetings with Fred and Sally are key in the negotiation process. Individual meetings can enable Fred and Sally to put across their perspectives of the dispute without unnecessary interruption. My role as the mediator is to establish a common ground, and thus encourage Fred and Sally to open up their concerns. My major aim here is to ensure that Fred and Sally agree to participate in mediation. This is by convincing them that participating in the mediation will be for their own benefit, including enhancing their reputation in the organization. It is worth noting that mediation has cost benefits to the organization as well as improving efficiency. Quick resolutions help in reducing employee absence, reducing litigation, and reducing the number of resignations.

Related : CASE STUDY: THE RIGHT RESPONSE

It is important for the mediator to observe the principles that guide the mediation process. Roche, Teague, and Colvin (2014) identify three key principles that the mediator should observe during the process. The first principle involves ensuring confidentiality among all parties in a dispute. Confidentiality protects those involved and encourages them to talk freely. The second principle is voluntary participation and willingness among the parties to seek solutions to the problem. Participation in seeking a resolution is based on good faith among parties. Forcing Fred and Sally to participate in the mediation process may not yield benefits since although they may participate, both may refuse to iron out the issues of concern due to lack of commitment. The third principle discourages the application of representation in the mediation process (Roche, Teague, & Colvin, 2014). Fred and Sally should look for a resolution themselves, as this is what constitutes mediation.

Once the parties develop a positive mindset towards looking for a solution to the dispute, it is now time for the mediator to take the next step. In this step, I would talk with Fred and Sally individually inviting them for talks or meeting at a particular place. I would remind them that the meeting would help iron out issues between them and thus improve their performance. I would emphasize on the need to attend the meeting since it would help them develop good working relationships and achieve their set goals. As Joe, I would avoid condemning any of the parties with regard to the ongoing dispute. Blaming one party may not yield positive benefits. According to Griffith and Goodwin (2013), the mediator should make an invitation instead of giving a command to the parties involved in the dispute.

The mediator should note that the parties involved may still be hesitant to attend the meeting. For instance, Fred or Sally may claim that the only solution to the current stalemate is for them to go back to their previous roles within the organization. As the mediator, I would urge them by saying that there are possible alternatives to the problem they may have overlooked. As such, it is important to give dialogue one more chance. I would be a bit persistent in calling on Fred and Sally to the meeting, but insist it is for their own benefit. The mediator should also anticipate issues concerning trust to be raised by the parties (Roche, Teague, & Colvin, 2014). In this case, it is important to assure the parties that these issues will be resolved during the meeting. The goal of the mediator should be to offer hope to the parties that the meeting will yield a resolution.

The mediation environment may influence the effectiveness of the process. It is the role of the mediator to create a favorable mediation environment. According to Griffith and Goodwin (2013), the various factors to consider include the location, time, and the seating arrangement. The appropriate time to hold a meeting is when the parties have more energy. However, this can be influenced by the work schedules of each party. The location for the meeting should be neutral. A neutral location will be any other location apart from my office or any of the parties’ work area. The location should be free from distractions. I will use a square seating configuration while addressing the parties. This seating configuration portrays the mediator as neutral (Griffith & Goodwin, 2013).

During the meeting, I would start with a small talk about the need to develop positive work relationships. I would then suggest some ground rules to take effect during the meeting. For instance, the parties should use respectful language while communicating. Another possible rule is the need to give each a fair chance to voice their opinions (Griffith & Goodwin, 2013). Thus, when one party talks the other party should listen and give time before responding. I would also remind them that although the decisions to be made are not legally binding, they are expected to stick to the agreement reached. As the mediator, I would act independent. During the meeting, my key role would be to develop new ideas that can help in developing a resolution. Another role would be to examine the perceptions of each party towards the dispute. Key things to avoid include focusing much on the history of the dispute, defend legal rights, or counsel any of the party.

The mediation process involves each party telling their part of the story. Once they tell their story, the mediator examines the underlying issues (Griffith & Goodwin, 2013). The mediator ensures the parties follow the ground rules. It would be my role to help move the discussion forward. One way of doing this is by asking open-ended questions. I would then uncover the interests of both parties. For instance, Fred’s interests are working using a methodical approach, while Sally follows her instincts. They also hold different values and cultures. Next, I would frame the issue. This is by asking Fred and Sally how they can use their different work approaches to improve their outcomes and reduce risks. Sally and Fred may then develop various options concerning the issue. For instance, Fred may suggest that Sally should give him enough time to solve problems. They may also suggest that each should solve problems along a particular line or in particular days. I would evaluate the various options and then make a final statement about the issue. The final statement is a suggestion of the way Fred and Sally should handle their work.

There are various challenges that one can face in the mediation process. The main challenge is failure by both parties to agree on possible options (Raines, Kumar Pokhrel, & Poitras, 2013). Another challenge may arise when the mediator misunderstands the dispute between the parties. Distrust between Fred and Sally may be a key challenge in reaching a resolution. Inadequate preparation on my part can hinder the dispute resolution process. Partisan perceptions can negatively influence the process. This is characterized by being over-confident and judgmental by any on the parties involved in the mediation process. Lastly, false impressions by Fred or Sally can negatively affect the mediation process. My key strengths in the mediation process are patience, credibility, adaptability, and initiative.

References

Griffith, D., & Goodwin, C. (2013). Dispute survival toolkit: Tools for resolving dispute at work (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson. (ISBN-13: 9780132741057).

Raines, S. S., Kumar Pokhrel, S., & Poitras, J. (2013). Mediation as a profession: Challenges that professional mediators face. Dispute Resolution Quarterly, 31(1), 79-97. doi:10.1002/crq.21080

Roche, W. K., Teague, P., & Colvin, A. J. (2014). The Oxford handbook of dispute management in organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution

Looking back at the conflicts I have had over the last few years, it is correct to say that I took an interest based relation approach to resolving the disagreement and conflicts by being courteous and non-confrontational focusing on the main issue rather than the individual. However, it is worth noting that the interest-based approach was mainly based on the conflict itself. For the larger part of the resolution, I hand the tendency of collaborating with the disagreeing party. Collaborating with the other warring party helps to create a win-win situation and strives to make sure that both parties are fully satisfied. Through discussion of all issues, we have successfully merged insight over and over again, and this brings the sense of usefulness to all warring parties. Honestly, some of the outcomes of the conflicts were not satisfying, but I will admit most of them were satisfying (Lansford, 2008). The win-win strategy is not always a win situation considering that some parties may feel that their complaints are not fully satisfied and they are forced to compromise and settle for a lower outcome. If taken a more interest-based approach in resolving them, the outcome of the results would have been more satisfied by ensuring that all parties involved play a significant in arriving at the answer to the conflict and to make sure that all needs of the conflicting parties are prioritized. Additionally, to be a good conflict manager I need to develop important skills such as being compromising, competitive, collaborative as well as accommodative.

Conflict management is a process that requires perseverance and understanding to be in a position to listen to other people’s views and opinion to arrive at a decision. Understanding that people come from a different cultural background and do things differently are key is to finding a solution to a problem. To learn more about others cultures, there is the need to study other tribes as well as integrating with them to learn them better (Kerwin, 2010). According to the scriptures, accommodating and telling a brother or a colleague of his or her sins in private; if he listens to you, you have won him or her over. Therefore, interest-based conflict resolution strategies such as collaboration are biblically accepted.

Related: Case: Listening at Different Levels

Classmate discussion response

I think the approach that is the most consistent with a biblical worldview is accommodation. We as humans and sinners often try to negotiate our faith or what the Bible says to do or not do to satisfy our sinning nature. Because of this selfishness, John 3:16 says Christ Himself had to die on the cross to accommodate for us – He put our needs above His own. In Philippians 2:3-6 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage”. He calls us to put others before ourselves as well.

Response 1

Accommodative conflict management style may seem the best since it involves giving the other party what he or she wants. This strategy is always applicable in a situation where one party wants to keep the peace or perceives the issue as minor. Despite the Bible commanding us to treat our brothers as we would like to be treated, accommodating will eventually lead to dissatisfaction of one party since they have to compromise and give up of their complaints (Brown & Hoopla digital, 2011). Exercising humility requires all the conflicting parties to find common ground rather than giving up on their complaints because of the needs of others. Humans are sinners and will eventually commit sins over and over again despite being accommodated.

Based on my reply and discussion above, I deserve to get a B considering that the answer presented above has thoroughly touched almost everything in the discussion board. Therefore, the answer presented has significantly contributed to the discussion and the ideas and concepts presented are substantive, provides good insight on collaborative conflict resolution and the role of cultural sensitivity in the conflict resolution. Moreover, the answer presented provides insight into the challenges associated with collaborating resolution strategy as well as presenting the best way to become a conflict manager and becoming cultural sensitive.

References

Brown, D., & Hoopla digital. (2011). Conflict resolution. United States: Simply Magazine.

Kerwin, L. B. (2010). Cultural diversity: Issues, challenges and perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Lansford, T. (2008). Conflict resolution. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

 

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

Case Study: The Right Response

Situation 1

Question 1

In this situation, the appropriate responses on the communication continua would be:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Ignore feelings Empathize

Question 2

In the first communication continua, Joe might take more interest in actually hearing and finding out more about what Tina has been going through. It is obvious that Tina wants this because she opens up to share despite them being personal issues. It would be in both their interests for Joe to inquire more about the issue considering it definitely plays a major role in Tina’s behavior lately. After listening and finding out more information about the issue, Joe could move ahead and recommend a solution that will help Tina with her personal life as well as at work such as counselling to help her get through what she is going through by having somebody to talk to confidently and letting out any issues she may have. This will help her be in better shape for work and handle customers well.

For the case of the second response, Joe could better help Tina by empathizing with her situation. Considering that Joe had suspended Tina shows he is her boss which must have made it very difficult for Tina to even share her problems. Getting to the point of talking about one’s personal problems with their boss is normally the last resort which tells us things were really bad for Tina. Joe may empathize with Tina by saying that he understands how difficult being a single parent can be and appreciates the effort she makes to show up on time at work every day. Joe could even offer Tina a few days off to get herself together so that she is in better shape for work. This will make Tina feel appreciated and encourage her to work on her issues in order to give her best at work.

Related:  Case: Listening at Different Levels

Situation 2

Question 1

In this situation, the most appropriate response would be:

Absolute Conditional

Question 2

In this situation, it must be made clear that Tina’s behavior is acceptable without being rude and acknowledging her personal issues. Joe may say that he understands why it may be difficult to handle customers especially when one has their own things to deal with since they can be very demanding at times. However, he will make it clear that Tina should never handle customers the way she did again and that a repeat of the same could have much bigger consequences than just a three-day suspension. To help her not feel like there is too much pressure on her, Joe could move the conversation to the extreme conditional end by saying that Tina could sometimes ask for help from fellow colleagues to handle customers if she felt she was not in the right shape to do it. This would be much better and acceptable unlike her previous behavior.

Situation 3

Question 1

The appropriate responses that Joe should engage here are:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Superiority Equality

Question 2

Here, Joe should first listen attentively to Tina’s reasons before trying to find a solution for her behavior. Joe could ask questions like, ‘what made you react that way?’ ‘Do you think you would have reacted differently under different circumstances?’ Such questions would help understand further what the real issue is then try to find solutions (Griffith, 2013). Joe could ask, ‘What do you think we can do to avoid this next time?’ This will give Tina an opportunity to contribute in developing a solution rather than Joe working on one alone.

Another suitable approach would be to help Tina understand that we are all human hence vulnerable to emotions which may at times get the best of us. Joe should avoid saying things like ‘why are you the only one with problems?’ This may make Tina feel hurt and extremely damaged beyond fixing. Instead, Joe could say, ‘We all make mistakes, but it is how we chose to fix them that matters.’ This will send an equality message that will make Tina feel understood, supported and able to make things right again.

Situation 4

Question 1

The appropriate response in this case would be:

Evaluative Descriptive

Question 2

In this situation, Joe may say ‘doing such a thing would be wrong’. This would be evaluative because of the lack of reasons or facts behind the decision (Gibson, 1991). Tina may leave the office but without an understanding of why what she was asking was wrong and start thinking Joe only wants to punish her more. Instead, Joe could say this:

Tina, personnel files are there for a reason. They help monitor the progress of an employee and the process of progress also involves some mistakes that unfortunately one must be held accountable for. Your recent disciplinary action is a reminder of a mistake that you did but it is not an identity of who you are or your performance at work. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes and try our best not to repeat them. Removing the record form your file may make you feel better but it is not the solution. From our conversation, it is clear that you understand why you behaved the way you did and the solution lies there.’

Situation 5

Question 1

The appropriate responses in this situation would be:

Solution giving Problem inquiry

Evaluative Descriptive

Question 2

Considering Tina is asking how she can perform her job better shows that she identifies her areas of weaknesses. Before Joe can answer her about performance deficits, she should be able to give those she has identified in herself personally. Joe could ask her questions like, ‘What are the areas that you have noticed need more of your effort? ’This will be an inquiry into the problem which will make Tina open up about her weaknesses before Joe can point out other performance deficits. Once this is covered, Joe can move on to solution giving part of the communication. In this part, instead of Joe taking over the conversation, he could make it a discussion by saying something like: ‘What steps do you think we can take to overcome these deficits?’ This will involve Tina in the process of finding a solution hence making it easier for her to actually apply the solutions she comes up with on her own than those given to her. Once Tina has given her solutions, Joe could give his feedback and also add more solutions to the list. This will show he was attentive and also supports Tina’s desire to do better in future.

When it comes to the second response communication continua, Joe should consider why Tina has chosen to come to him for this issue instead of going to somebody else. Being evaluative in responding to Tina would make her feel ignored n like she is a bother to Joe. Joe could say something like ‘you just work on whatever you feel you need to work out.’ That sounds like somebody trying to get rid of you because that response does not hold any useful information. This may make Tina get discouraged and loose interest in wanting to better her performance at work. Instead, if Joe applies the descriptive part of this continua, he could say something like:

Tina, there are various things that cause performance deficits with the main ones being motivational deficits and discrimination deficit. In motivational deficits, an individual possesses necessary skills but feels no desire to perform them. An example is socialization. One can have good people skills but have no desire to socialize with others. This can be overcome by addressing the roots of the issue and identifying why the desire is missing. When it comes to discrimination deficit, individuals have the necessary skills, are motivated but cannot discern when to use them (Cohen, 1980). For example, anger management is a skill but some people may fail to notice when they get angry hence fail to apply this skill. Therapy can help with most discrimination deficits. I believe you will work out your issues Tina, and with my help you will become a better employee that I know you can be.’

This descriptive response actually gives Tina information she can work with. It shows Joe cares and is ready to help her in her journey to better herself.

References

Cohen, S. (1980). Aftereffects of stress on human performance and social behavior: a review of research and theory. Psychological bulletin, 82.

Gibson, D. C. (1991). The communication continuum: A theory of public relations. Public Relations Review, 175-183.

Griffith, D. B. (2013). Conflict survival kit: tools for resolving conflict at work. New York: Pearson Higher Ed.

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

Question

Description: After carefully reading Case #7 “A Performance Appraisal Snafu” (Snell, 2013, p.750-753), students will be required to review the case and develop an alternative Appraisal Form (and an entirely new evaluation system if they choose).  Cases will be broken into several parts, all which will revolve around the “What, Why and How?” of the case (e.g. the paper will develop the what (position statement), why (the argument) and how (the student’s action plan and proposed Appraisal Form/System).

Embedded within the “what, why and how?” aspects of the paper will be:

  • A detailed overview of the “role of human capital” in the case, specifically addressing the shortfalls of the current system;

  • A detailed overview of the role of “compensation” (e.g. current policies and procedures) and details on why the current system does not motivate employees;

  • A proposed NEW performance appraisal form (or a completely new form and accompanying motivational system); and

  • A professional and articulate tone throughout

Answer

Case Review – Creating an Alternative & Motivating Performance Appraisal

The role of human capital

The main driver of economic development in advanced and developing countries is human capital. Modern economists think of natural resources as playing the most important role in economic development. Availability of natural resources places a country in a better economic position than those countries without. However, this is not sufficient for economic development. The combination of natural and human resources is what steers economic growth higher.  For every organization, human capital is instrumental in achieving the set goals. Until artificial intelligence is built, human capital remains to be the key in achieving anything in the world.  A company’s employees have the information, knowledge and skills that are paramount for success. Human employees have good judgment and can make tough decision when required, things that robots cannot achieve. It is therefore important that organizations, value and motivate their employees given they are the cornerstone of economic growth not just for the company but also for the country (Marimuthu, Arokiasamy, & Ismail, 2009).

Mr. Marcus Singh, an American citizen by nature has been working as a research economist in the office of research and evaluation in the city of Newport, Oregon. His ten years experience makes him good at his job which is why his supervisors think of him as an above average employee. One challenge is that there is not much activity owing to the small size of the department and the close relationships between employees and the management.  It is quite hard to carry out formal evaluation of employees due to their close relationships with their senior. Every organization should have a formal employee evaluation in order to find out every employee’s performance and how their combined performance help the organization achieve their goals and fulfill their objectives. The department’s heads had adopted an informal way of running business due to their closeness with their juniors. Failing to evaluate employee performance is likely to make it hard to determine how the raises, bonuses and promotions would be determined.  This would clearly take a toll on the company’s finances. The major fuel behind any company’s growth and success is the human capital.  It is however challenging to manage human capital. In the case of this company for example, introducing performance appraisals after the concept was abandoned some time back has clearly brought tension.

In today’s global market, companies are dealing with competition in every industry. it is best to develop a competitive advantage is by making human capital their competitive weapon and leverage it on other companies.  It is important to focus on strategies that raise the productivity of employees. In order to achieve long term sustainability and survival, and achieve the company’s goals, companies are supposed to optimize their workforce by designing and implementing comprehensive human capital revitalization programs. The best way to achieve this is by investing their resources to make sure that employees attain skills, knowledge and competencies required in order to be effective in their line of work.  The current global markets are dynamic and it is important to ensure that employees are conversant with the complex and rapidly changing environments.  The management in Singh’s company should capitalize on their employees. This means that they require regular training  programs in order to be up to date with the changes in their industry. Carrying out employee evaluation cannot be entirely fruitful if their skills are not refined on a regular basis. After executing training programs, it is possible to have a reliable performance appraisal that covers all the necessary areas.

Marcus Singh and his fellow employees have been working in the same department for over a decade.  The small size of the office of Research and Evaluation does not encourage growth. There are minimal experiences that expose and challenge an employee to do and be better. Such an environment can be discouraging and probably make an employee content with the small size affairs of the office. Mr. Singh’s supervisors have always rated him as an above average employee. This could be the case given that his routine in the office is the same and does not open his mind to challenging and complex possibilities in the future. From the information provided, Singh does not have a performance target and this has probably not earned him a promotion in the last 10 years.  Singh represents the employees in the company. Despite their close relationships with their superiors, they seem to have little motivation.

Many companies have responded to the numerous changes in the global market by embracing the notion that human capital gives the competitive advantage and enables the company to grow. This is what Victoria Popelmill should enforce in the department. Developing human capital is part of the overall efforts of achieving high and cost effective performance. Hence, it is important for companies to invest in employee satisfaction as a way of ensuring improved performance. Human capital is therefore a key element in improving a firm’s employees and assets so as to increase productivity and gain a competitive advantage.             The major aspects of human capital include education, training       and other professional initiatives that enhance skills, abilities, knowledge and social assets of employees. The rapidly changing business environment requires companies to strive towards gaining competitive advantage by using dynamic business plans that utilize innovativeness and creativity.  This is very essential for long term sustainability. There is no doubt that human resource is vital in helping a firm stand against its competitors.

The two major components that human capital focuses on are individuals and organizations.  Furthermore, there are four key elements of human capital.  These are flexibility and adaptability, development of organization’s competencies, enhancement of individual abilities and individual employability. These attributes determine individual and organizational outcome.  From the individual level, the importance of human capital is tied to the ability to increase performance and productivity.  From the economic perspective, human capital focuses on reducing transaction costs and giving a firm competitive advantage especially when a firm has its own specific resources that rivals cannot copy. Having a unique human capital gives firms incentives to invest their resources in management and focus on reducing risks and capitalizing on productive potentials. For competitive advantage to be achieved, the skills and competencies of employees should be enhanced (Grimsley, 2017).

By reintroducing performance appraisals in the company, Victoria Popelmill has taken the right steps towards giving the company competitive advantage.  This step started by transferring Singh from the unit of Industrial Development to the newly created office of Research and Evaluation. Other employees in the company were also reshuffled to work in different units. This would challenge their skills and ensure that they can work in any given unit whenever they were required. Popelmill has a responsibility to steer the department towards economic growth. As a result, she has the authority to make any changes that she deems fit for the department and the company in general. The employees had stayed in their former units for some time and therefore they were never challenged enough. In the case of Mr. Singh, Mr. Garth Fryer rated him below outstanding probably because he had minimal training in the skills required in the new unit. This represents the whole company considering that all unit heads received a note saying that their initial employee evaluation methods were not acceptable.

The employee evaluation exercise probably left so many employees feeling unappreciated and unmotivated. This move created tension in the units since the employees were not satisfied. This means that Victoria Popelmill has a lot to do in order to achieve maximum productivity from the employees.  Training and performance enhancing initiatives should be developed to ensure that all employees are motivated. This will surely increase their productivity and enable the company to achieve its goals without exceeding transaction costs. Refining their skills will also enable the employees to set personal targets so that they receive bonuses, raises and promotions when they deserve (Russell Reynolds Associates, 2017).

Overview of the role of compensation

The company should be able to manage compensation so that it can influence the employees positively. It is important to realize the various elements of compensation that inspire and influence employees and direct their attitudes towards achieving the goals of the organization.  Compensation plays a vital role in aligning employees work with the objectives of the company. For the longest time, the four Ms namely, man, machine, material and money have been major contributing factors to success in business. Man is the most important of them all contributing to efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Issues such as lateness, laziness, unsafe actions, poor training, absenteeism, alcoholism, incompetence and substance abuse can have adverse effects on organizational objectives. Efficient employment practices are vital towards achieving the goals and objectives of the company by ensuring that the workforce is on the path of productivity. Effective business management requires employing the right kind of employee for the right job. The company should adopt a fair compensation system in order to makes sure that maximum productivity is achieved (Coker, 2015).

Compensation includes all forms of rewards and pay that are given to employees for their good performance. It also includes perks benefits, cash rewards, and services. It is important to ensure that employees are aware of the total compensation. The significance of this is to make sure the intentions of putting forth the compensation are clear and ensure that talent is attracted and retained. The company should apply the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in order to know what would be a source of motivation to the employees so that they can have better performance.  The theory requires the management of an organization to consider the level of needs of its personnel in developing a compensation strategy that ensures that they perform better.

In the process of managing its operations, the company can influence the structural design of compensation within the organization. The company has its policies deeply rooted into the appraisal strategy which is critical towards appreciating the performance of the employees and achieving the goals and objectives of the company. The company utilized peer appraisals at one point. The hallmark of maintaining competitive advantage in the industry is embedded on the evaluation of the workforce. This also validates the compensation process. The company’s workforce appreciates and gains faith in the company’s compensation strategies. The company uses performance appraisals to determine the remuneration and compensation rates for the employees. When designing a compensation strategy, the most important factor to consider is uniformity. This is the foundation upon which the strengths of all employees are maximized. Before a better performance evaluation strategy was adopted, the company was overcompensating employees because they were evaluated unfairly. This was taking a toll on the company considering the limited resources that everyone in the industry is looking forward to grab.

It would be so easy to manage the problems facing the organization by a reliable compensation strategy that is mainly based on performance appraisal. The company was using a compensation strategy that was stinking with bias.  By eliminating the evaluation strategy, effectiveness in decision making will be achieved.  As noted from the case, performance evaluation was enforced in order to determine the level of employee performance. This performance is what would in turn determine if they get bonuses or not. The limitation of this procedure is that performance evaluation strategies were not efficient.  Mr. Singh was initially rated as having outstanding performance and his supervisors also thought he was an above average employee. When the second evaluation was conducted, he went a step lower and was rated below outstanding by the same head. This happened while his other colleagues maintained their outstanding performance. It is clear that the evaluation strategies applied were not satisfactory.

When the evaluation is the key of getting compensation, it is important that the company adopt a reliable and solid performance appraisal. This ensures that everyone is confident in the process and it eliminates the chances of having biased results. It is very important that a company motivates and appreciates all employees. As for Mr. Singh who had worked for the company for at least a decade, it would be important that the company to recognize and appreciate his efforts. His fellow colleagues Jason Taft was rated outstanding even though he was younger that him and he had little experience. While it is not ideal to have a compensation strategy that pays attention on experience and age, a company should find a way to encourage, motivate and appreciate its most loyal employees. The company management should therefore build a performance appraisal strategy that is unquestionable. It is very important to have the most valuable asset of the organization, the human capital to have faith in the system.

The company can involve the employees in making of such a strategy in order to ensure that the needs of the organization and those of the employees are featured in the evaluation strategy. When the employees are satisfied and compensated fairly, the goals and objectives of the company will be achieved with much ease. By the end of the day, the implications that an evaluation strategy has on employee satisfaction and company financial success should be addressed. The management of the company should consider redoing the evaluation process and use the resources available to address the contentions within the organization.

The basis of performance appraisal is the criteria that determine performance at all levels and Fryer and his fellow unit heads should have been given the opportunity to present their ideas rather than repeating the whole assessment process. It is important to make sure that the available options are evaluated to determine whether they can be improved or not. The whole purpose of the evaluation process should have been communicated and understood by all.  This would have ensured that everyone was content with the process and aware of what the company was seeking to achieve. If the process was done positively, Mr. Singh would have probably been content with the results and work harder towards ensuring that he does better in future.  It is important to make sure that employees draw encouragement and feel challenged by situations that do not work how they anticipated. It would have been a source of motivation for Mr. Singh and his fellow employees if they fully understood and supported the process. As such, the management should be concerned about improving the appraisal strategy and the level of performance of the organization in order to achieve a unique compensation strategy.

It is important to note that the peer performance appraisal strategy has economic advantage in that employers are provided with multiple ways of meeting the needs of their employees.  In some instances, some employees can see themselves as having additional attributes than their peers can see. However, the peer performance appraisal has one major disadvantage. The process can be marred by personal conflicts and therefore fail to reflect the genuine employee performance. In addition to this, employees and their supervisors could differ in opinions and this might end up ruining the process. Employees might be misguided and give false information that might negatively impact the performance appraisal method employed. It is therefore important for the company to design and implement a performance appraisal strategy that reflects the productivity of the workforce without leaving loopholes for bias. This will ensure that the compensation method applied is efficient so as to ensure that the company does not lose any money.  Employees should be trained and taught the essence of having performance appraisals determine their compensation. If they can have positive attitude towards the process, it is unlikely to have tension in the organization. This is so essential in ensuring that the company retains competitive advantage and achieves growth.

Proposed new performance appraisal

Like many other organizations, the office of Research and Evaluation seeks to succeed even in the current environment that is dominated by competition. This means that it is time that the management ditched the old unproductive techniques and adopts new unique methods. It is misleading to think that the old methods can change and produce better results. For many years, employees and managers have been concentrating on the same thing; the appraisal process. This means that there is no room for reflecting on new ventures and taking risks. The main focus should be on improving employee performance in real time rather than just going through the same repetitive appraisal processes that do not yield much.  In order to make tangible changes, the management should understand that the world of performance evaluation is also evolving and new methods and needs that ought to be fulfilled are coming up.

As noted from the case, the company’s management is fixated on following the old evaluation strategies that are not operational anymore. Some of these strategies do not challenge employees to be more productive. In order to achieve employee satisfaction, the management should consider paying attention to the needs of their employees rather than relying on the information they obtain from annual or semiannual meetings. They should pay more attention on their attitudes, behavior and other unspoken attributes that can be more informing instead of waiting for them to say their needs out loud. Some of the information that can be obtained from unspoken acts can be so informative. They should delve into research and come up with new appraisal strategies that enable them surpass their competitors.

It is already challenging to do business. Internal and external operating environment are the major factors that challenge revenue growth and corporate performance. In order to achieve profitability in the competitive global market economy, everything about employees should be managed impressively. Human resource is one of the main factors of production since it calls for professional handling of people’s thoughts, emotions and feelings to maintain high productivity levels. High productivity is as a result of long term employee motivation. A motivated employee is a huge asset for an organization that maintains and strengthens revenues and business growth (Accel-team, 2017).

There are several measures that the company can take in order to ensure that employees are fully motivated.

  1. Clear communication about goals and expectations. It is important to make sure that all employees are a part of the compelling future. They should be informed of what is expected of them and the goals that should be achieved. Targets are effective and meaningful in motivating employees but they should be intertwined with larger organizational ambitions (Rick, 2011).
  2. Encourage open communication- employees should be encouraged to present their thoughts and opinions openly. They can do so through team meetings, surveys and suggestion boxes. They should be encouraged to express their perspectives ideas without fearing criticism. In order for the organization to grow, employees and their superiors should be open-minded. This means that everything about effective listening should be put into practice and employees’ concerns are addressed in the best way possible.
  • Creating a positive working environment- this is achieved by encouraging employees to share their ideas and work as teams. This will also be done by ensuring that the tools required to achieve the organization’s goals are available. Leaders should always be available whenever they are required to solve problems at the work place.
  1. Setting goals- leaders should help their employees set and follow through their professional ambitions. This does not only benefit the employee but also raises their productivity. When all employees are performing their best, the company achieves growth and the revenue generated also increases.
  2. Provision of incentives- other than just giving employees salary increments, team and individual incentives should be given to individuals and teams that perform well. Financial incentives include cash rewards, shopping vouchers, and gift cards among others. Non financial incentives include vacation days, parking space or compressed working weeks.
  3. Provide constant feedback on positive things- when employees are aware that they are performing well, they will keep doing it or even be better at their job. A little recognition can boost an employee’s morale and steer them to do better. While it is important to impart a sense of accountability to employees, it does not mean that they should be negatively criticized and blamed. When they are wrong they should be corrected but better still when they improve their performance they should know that someone is watching and is appreciative of their progress.
  • Sharing information and numbers- employees should be informed about the company’s progress and achievements so that they can see how their efforts contribute to the big picture. When employees are informed about major activities and issues in the company, they get a sense of belonging and they feel worthy of their positions. Hope and trust should be observed during communication.  A manager should always be strategic while delivering any bad news. Employees’ sense of ownership is established through transparency.
  • Profit sharing- a profit sharing program where an employee or a team gets compensation for helping a company achieve a certain milestone should be established. This encourages team work and goal setting. This ensures that employees are always giving their best performance at all times.

Performance appraisal form

In order to solve the current problems, employees should be informed about the essence of having a performance appraisal. A positive reinforcement should be put in place to ensure that employee satisfaction in the dynamic sector is attained. The recommended performance appraisal is shown below.

 

References

Rick, T. (2011). 20 tips to improve employee engagement and performance. Torben Rick. Retrieved 24 February 2017, from https://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/performance-management/20-tips-to-improve-employee-engagement-and-performance/

Coker, D. (2015). The Importance of Compensation Plan in an Organization. The HR Digest. Retrieved 24 February 2017, from https://www.thehrdigest.com/the-importance-of-compensation-plan-in-an-organization/

Accel-team,. (2017). Employee motivation. Motivation in the workplace- theory and practice. Accel-team.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017, from http://www.accel-team.com/motivation/

MARIMUTHU, M., AROKIASAMY, L., & ISMAIL, M. (2009). HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON FIRM PERFORMANCE: EVIDENCE FROM DEVELOPMENTAL ECONOMICS. The Journal Of International Social Research, 2(8), 1-8. Retrieved from http://www.sosyalarastirmalar.com/cilt2/sayi8pdf/marimuthu_arokiasamy_ismail.pdf

Grimsley, S. (2017). What Is Human Capital? – Importance to An Organization – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. Study.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017, from http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-human-capital-importance-to-an-organization.html

Russell Reynolds Associates,. (2017). Human Capital: Leveraging Your Company’s Greatest Asset | Russell Reynolds Associates. Russell Reynolds Associates. Retrieved 24 February 2017, from http://www.russellreynolds.com/newsroom/human-capital-leveraging-your-company%E2%80%99s-greatest-asset