I lots of severe symptoms. At Zn, we

 I
used to work as a HR intern at an electronics contract manufacturer company
called Zn. It was established a few decades ago in China and has many
subsidiaries worldwide. It is financially successful; however, it has
some organizational behavior problems. As we know, motivation is a force that drives people to behave
in a certain way. Three components about motivation are intensity, direction
and persistence. According to Essentials
of Organizational Behavior,
Intensity indicates a person’s effort, but great effort does not lead to
success without the right direction. Motivated people insist on pursuing their
goals and exert their efforts in the direction that benefits the organization
(Robbins, & Judge, 2017). However, many employees in at Zn had low
motivation. Like employees at many famous companies, employees at Zn suffered
from extremely long working hours and were exhausted mentally and physically. I
heard some employees work seven days a week. When there was high demand in
production, employees were required to work more than 60 hours a week, which is
completely higher than the working hours in Western countries. In some European
countries like German, employees work just 26.37 hours on average (Snyder &
Jones, 2015). Although Chinese government mandates the monthly overtime working
hours to be 36 hours, most companies exceed the legal limit (Yang, 2017).

Working extremely long hours not only reduces employees’ motivation but is also
detrimental to employees’ physical and psychology well-being, and might cause
lots of severe symptoms.

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At Zn, we worked from early
morning till night so skipping lunch was very normal and even managers did not
eat lunch until afternoon. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people
have the nature of fulfilling their biological and instinctive needs. Maslow claimed
that workers will only be motivated when their physiological and safety needs
are achieved (Robbins & Judge, 2017). However, in Zn, poor working
conditions did not fulfill employees’ lower level of needs, so it turned out to
be high turnover, which undermines efficiency, and productivity. Employees
under such conditions became less motivated and less productive. Thus, if not
fulfilling the physiological need, employees tend to have low motivation
towards their jobs.

           
    Besides, work-life conflict has become a hot topic in
most organizations. Employees no matter they have children or not are concerned
about their work and life balance. For employees who have children, they need
to spend time taking care of their families. Single workers also need time to
fulfill their social needs and have higher demand to travel. Work-life conflict
can also occur when a person is spending time with his or her family but the
mind is still on work. At Zn, employees
also faced work and family balance problems, which brought a huge issue to the
organization. Most of employees came to work because they could not find jobs
with decent salaries in their hometown. Some of them left their parents,
husbands or wives, and children at home. Such inflexible working schedule left
workers no time to stay with their families. The research designed by Kossek
and Ozeki claims that high levels of work-family conflict associated with less
job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Kossek, Baltes, & Matthews, 2011).

I heard some employees cry in the workplace and go back to work immediately.

Thus, many employees encountered role conflict and emotional dissonance.

Although they were not satisfied with their work and were not happy, they hide
their true emotions and were positive towards their managers and clients. At
Zn, employees chronically suffered from job stress. They put huge effort into
their work to support their families. Some had to work 8 to 10 hours a day to
get the basic wage which was much less than they thought. It’s not hard to say
that those employees worked for long time but got low pay would have low job
satisfaction, and high job stress.

            In order to increase employees’ motivation,
employers can take the core job dimensions as reference and make changes based
on these dimensions. Core job dimensions include five aspects, which are task
identity, skill variety, task significance, autonomy, and feedback (Robbins
& Judge, 2017). For most employees working in the plant, work is structured
and boring. Their daily job duties can be dealing with small pieces of
electronic devices. As a result, the job lacks skill variety. I watched a TED
talk before, the guest speaker raised an example about a 12-step project.

Hiring 12 employees and letting them take responsibility for each step has a
high efficiency, but hiring one employee and letting him finish all the steps
by himself creates much more job satisfaction. The reason is that the whole
experience leads to realization of task significance. Workers at Zn are just
like the 12 employees in the first presumption. They have no chances to witness
the whole process. According to the core job dimensions, employers should
increase the skill variety as well as illustrate the task significance of the
job to the employees (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Moreover, as mentioned,
Maslow’s hierarchy clearly states that one must first satisfy physiological and
safety needs in order to pursue needs in higher level. If employers want to
motivate their employees, they can help employees by satisfying their basic
survival needs. For example, Zn could give employees lunch break or provide
lunch for them. With the guarantee of the basic needs, employees will pay more
attention in pursuing higher satisfaction, which will definitely motivate them
to work hard.

            To help employees balance work and life, Zn should
introduce family friendly benefits including flextime, on-site childcare and
paid time leave. For example, NestlePurina and Amazon permit employees bring
their dogs into the office (Robbins
& Judge, 2017). What’s more, many employees left their children at home
because of long working hours as well as overload. Thus, they could not give
their children enough care and support. If their children are getting sick or
having emergencies, workers will need to leave work early or even absent to
work. Hence, it will negatively affect organization’s productivity. To address
this problem, Zn should make policies such as on-site childcare in helping
employees balance their responsibilities between jobs and families, which could
bring Zn higher worker satisfaction, productivity, and more profits in the long
term. I have discussed about how tough it is for employees to work in Zn,
whether in the workplace or life stress.

     Zn could also
increase the skill variety to motivate employees. Skill variety refers to the
range of abilities required during working, which can be increased by adding
more job missions to one position thus create overlaps between each position.

(Robbins, & Judge, T, 2017). For example, one employee who used to assemble
only one piece to a new phone now can be responsible for assembling more than
one piece. By doing so, employees can also realize what they really contribute
during working, which provides opportunity for them to recognize the task
significance. The second way to motivate employees is to ensure their basic
needs have been satisfied. Zn can provide employees with more favorable working
conditions like redecorate the workplace. Working long hours can cause
ergonomic problems and exhaustion, so Zn could redesign the machine or improve
the lighting. According to an article by MBA at University of North Carolina,
“exposure to natural light improve mood and energy, greatly impacting focus and
productivity.” Making an effort to create a more favorable workplace will help
employees feel more comfortable and be more productive. As stated,
family-friendly policies are very important for Zn to implement, I came up with
three major solutions. First, Zn should reduce overtime hours for employees
while protecting workers pay to ensure they have time being with their family
members (spouses, children, parents). Only when workers are devoted family
members could they contribute more to Zn so that it can have higher profits.

Secondly, Zn can set up an onsite child-care center. It is a popular feature
for an organization to implement. What’s more, it has positive effect on
workers. While employees are working on the supply chain, they can work without
any burden because they know their children are taken well care in few steps
away. Finally, I suggest Zn to allow paid leaves for employees. Most employees
seldom go home for children because they cannot afford doing so. If they leave
one or two days, their family will face financial problems. Thus, if Zn can
provide paid leaves for its workers, such as parental leaves, workers then can
combine work and family responsibilities. In long term, workers can generate
higher productivity and job satisfaction.

      To reduce
job stress, the company can lighten the standard and requirement of each job
position. For example, they can reduce the units needed for a single day, thus
reduce the burden of labor. Fewer job load can provide employees with
opportunities to rest themselves and reduce stress. The company could also
provide meditation or yoga for their employees so they could rest their minds
for a while. From my personal experience, working long time without small rest
reduces productivity because our minds may run very slowly and prevent new
ideas coming up. Thus, it is important for employees take a rest from their
work.

            To conclude, Zn mainly has three
organizational behavior problems that are low motivation, job stress and
work-life conflict. Employees lack of motivation because of work overload;
workers have trouble balancing responsibilities between work and family; most
of the employees are experiencing high level of job stress. Therefore, by
applying core job dimensions, reducing work overtime limits as well as
implementing family-friendly policies, could Zn increase the overall employees
job satisfaction, motivation and productivity.

            To
implement change, I will use Kotter’s 8 steps for leading change (Robbins, & Judge, 2017). To create
urgency, CEO should give a speech, highlighting the severity of the problem.

Long working hours, work-family conflict and job stress could cause company
huge health costs, high turnover and reduced productivity in the long run. The
director of human resource should also speak up for employees and discuss the
new initiatives with executives. To form a powerful coalition, human resource
department should liaise with directors of other departments. The director
should communicate the new vision with people who have high personal power in
the organization and get their support. To create a vision of change, members
of the change coalition should inspire their followers about the new vision.

The company could change the mission statement to show that their financial
performance could not be achieved without improving employees’ well-being. The
new initiatives will be written into employee handbook and company’s website.

HR will send out the survey to know about employees’ ideas and suggestions. To
communicate the vision, the HR department should prepare a comprehensive plan
including executive summary, change and implementation plan and present to
stakeholders. To empower action, HR will verbally praise people who support the
change and will reward them. HR will establish employee committee to illustrate
the results from the survey and speak up about employees’ ideas. To create
quick wins, all departments involved will hold a celebration party together. To
build on change, HR will continue to change systems, structure and policies
that don’t align with the vision. Department leaders will continuously state
the new vision and goal to followers. To make it stick, CEO and managers will
articulate the
connections between new initiatives and organizational success. Employee
committee will be given permanent (non-voting) role at board meetings to ensure
continued sensitivity to employee welfare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Kossek,
E. E., Baltes, B. B., & Matthews, R. A. (2011, September 01). How
Work–Family Research Can Finally Have an Impact in Organizations. Retrieved
December 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255172/

 

Robbins,
S., & Judge, T. (2017). Essentials of organizational behavior (14th ed.).

New York, NY: Pearson.

Snyder,
B., & Jones, S. (2015, November 17). Americans Work Hard, But People In
These 15 Countries Work Longer Hours. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from
http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/chart-work-week-oecd/

 

Yang,
G. (2017, August 05). China Employee Working Hours and The Things You Cannot
Skip. Retrieved December 15, 2017.

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