Solution Code: 1AEGB
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|I’m pretty satisfied that the HR function in CERA is starting to focus on the right things. We’d made the case successfully that HR isn’t just about paying people and advertising vacancies and trouble–shooting; but it is an important asset in getting this place where it wants to go. We’ve made the case for an ordered, organised and, to some extent, a planned approach to staffing and we’ve made headway in work design, diversity management and looking at recruitment and selection in a more tactical way. As our year drew to a close, the annual round of performance appraisal meetings was getting underway.
Today’s senior executive team meeting was part-celebration, part business. Mark French started off by going over some of the achievements of the company in the last year and talking about plans for expansion to be rolled out soon enough. We’ve been working on various options for this over quite a long period now. Kellie Lincoln and the others added their bits and pieces about achievements and staff performances in their own areas. Jonathon Simon recounted an incident where one of his people had been able to win a fairly sizeable planning consultancy by being in the right place at the right time with one of our clients. This was a relatively inexperienced staff member who was showing considerable promise. Jonathon's story got us talking about the way we manage performance and recognise and reward our people.”
|“Israel, I think you might want to take a look at our processes on this one”, Kellie said. “In my area, I think people sometimes just go through the motions with performance, and there isn’t a great deal of enthusiasm... And once we complete the appraisals, the management of performance, I mean, the way we try to shape the performance of people, is pretty variable, execept where there are gross problems."|
|“A bit tick-and-flick, I think”, added Jonathon. “Basically, in a firm like ours, we know who is doing well and who isn’t; what’s more everyone else knows it too. So, the idea that we need a system to manage performance seems overkill”|
|Rachel added: “And I’m not convinced that the way we’re rewarding people is cutting the mustard. I've read what we say about rewarding excellence on our website. To some extent, that might be true - we certainly look after our best people in a financial sense, paying well above the market and encouraging them to give their best work through challeneing projects, informal recognition and paying bonuses. But I think we have some work to do to really connect performance and reward in CERA in a broad sense. Making it worthwhile for a few isn't enough, Rachel added, looking at Kellie for support.”|
|“Meaning?”, I shot back.|
|“Meaning, that we have some extraordinary talent around here that is critical to what we say is our strategy, but we treat some of them like school children when it comes to doing performance management, and our reward structure doesn’t really get linked up to the quality of performance. It doesn’t distinguish well, if you know what I mean. Having a bonus scheme is fine, but just look at the coverage of it and the way it is administered. And another thing is....”|
|“Sure, but Rachel we need some way of tracking what people are doing and how well they do their work. There’s probably some legal requirements too”, Mark French broke in. “I was talking with Alan Hume from Civils the other day at that Contractor’s Federation thing I went to, and he was saying that they’re close to ditching their system because it is so cumbersome. Paper warfare he called it. Anyway, from the stories he was telling me it sounded like it was pretty counterproductive and a waste of time and money. Israel, is this ringing any bells for you?”|
|“Listening to Mark, I was reminded of something I’d read about how companies around the world are having second thoughts about the way they do performance management, especially, the performance appraisal component, and how they reward people. Companies like Netflix and Amazon were making some pretty radical moves; and some of the big consulting houses were also stirring the pot.
CERA’s performance management system is pretty stock standard – in regard to appraisal, we use a management-by-objectives scheme called Performance Planning and Review (PPR), where each person sets objectives for the year off their position description and last year’s results. There is a mid-year review and a final review. It looks ok on paper, so to speak (though it is in e format), but it isn’t taken very seriously unless something is going wrong. I'd have to say that Rachel and Kellie are probably right - once the results of appraisal meetings come in, that seems to be the end of things in many cases. The crazy result is that poor performers get more attention and good performers can be taken for granted. (Go figure.)
A few years ago Mark had introduced a bonus-type arrangement where areas that exceeded agreed performance goals by certain percentages received such and such a cash reward, which was divided amongst the staff. There was a scale of payments based on the extent to which goals were exceeded. The bonus was allocated to the area and it was then divided amongst the staff, usually based on seniority.
The reality, however, was that revenue generated or keeping under budget were the main targets, and everyone knew this. As problematic as that was, it was at least a known metric that was reasonably objective. But areas like Rachel’s and Susumu’s didn’t really get a look in. So, extraordinary performers in their areas got practically zip bonus, while top performers in Kellie’s, Jonathon’s and even Lane’s areas could earn significant additional money and prestige. One of the effects of this was reported pretty forcefully in the recent pulse survey: people said that they sometimes adjusted their effort or their work accordingly. Others reported that the misalignment was causing tension in the workplace, some of which was not seen (or not wanted to be seen) by managers.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to throw the baby out etc, but it would be worth looking into”, I replied, looking carefully at Mark to try to read how serious he was being. “I think we’ve all been around long enough to know that performance management generally gets an almost universal bad rap. I’ve heard that some places are looking at other options, though perhaps not abandoning it altogether” (I didn’t want to encourage revolution at year’s end).
|But how would we open this up without scaring the troops”, Jonathon countered. “There is a connection to reward now, but as Rachel says, it may not be well-crafted. Besides, people are used to it, even if they don’t put a lot of store in it. I think the graduate level people probably find the system we have now more useful. I think another factor that’s at work, at least in my area, is that we expect a lot compared to what we pay. I know we pay above the market, but the reality is that our people do a lot more for their pay than their peers in some of the other consultancies; and a whole heap more than their colleagues in government. Even though the apprasials seem to stall at the end of the yeat, it is at least something that people can hold on to - you know, have some certainty about.”|
|“I’d have to agree with what you’re all saying from my sense of things. Maybe we should look at this in the New Year”, Susumu broke in. "Anyway, I’ve got some quotes for the Christmas Party that I’d like to run by you before we finish...”|
|Holding his hand up toward Susumu, Mark spoke: “Hang on people. Can we talk over some options before we move on, please? It seems to me that measurement is a weakness in our system, as well as the link between performance results and bonuses. I’m sure there are other issues with managing performance more broadly, but let’s focus on these two areas first up....”|
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HRM Case Study
One of the key problems that CERA is facing is associated with the conflict of expectations between the employee and the employers. The employers have certain expectations from the employees and sometimes, such expectations are not fulfilled. On the other hand, the employees seek motivation and financial rewards in exchange of their services. Therefore, both of the concerned stakeholders of an organization often faces situations where fulfillments of the individual objectives are assessed. The concern of the employers is to ensure the motivation of the employees in such a way that the common objectives of the organizations are met in a time bound manner.
To achieve organizational human resource goals, an ideal business entity should be well equipped with highly skilled professionals which can efficiently determine the factors related to employee satisfaction. When varied team orientations are analyzed and customized reward schemes are implemented, it contributes for the overall productivity and competitive spirit of the company. As explained in (Martin, 2010), it is required to clearly define all kinds of rewards associated with an organization and give them a proper shape as per organizational characteristics. Moreover, rewards can be transactional as well as relational. Transactional rewards come in the form of financial reward schemes and hence considered as tangible in nature. But, relational reward schemes are intangible in nature and are executed in the form of increased job responsibilities, recognition as well ownership of tasks or projects. Therefore, CERA should integrate all these components in its comprehensive reward scheme as required by the organization in different situations.
Rewards schemes vary as per changes in internal and external environment of an organization (Armstrong, 2005). An organization’s working culture, products & services and technological environment etc. constitute the internal environment. On the other hand, factors such as competitive pressure, economic conditions and demographic specifications etc. fall under external environment. Therefore, the total reward scheme or bonus scheme of different companies vary significantly. But, the ultimate goal of such efforts is the achievement of organizational objectives and properly addressing the individual goals of the employees. Therefore, it is a fundamental requirement to discuss with the employees during the formulation and implementation of such policies. Efficient communication and discussion about the collective approach of the reward process is a crucial point (Martin, 2010). Hence, it is a requirement for CERA to conduct productive interaction sessions with the employees in regular time intervals.
While formulating the reward schemes, it is required to properly link the individual & group rewards with the relevant skill sets of the employees and the level of achievements. Within the organization, each of the employees needs to be assigned personalized goals and objectives and attainment of them should be an important criterion while determining the proper beneficiary of these awards. Thus, target fulfillment should be an important component to be considered for CERA while delivering the bonus schemes.
Happy and satisfied employees contribute significantly for the growth of an organization. When the needs are fulfilled, they work for the completion of the common goals with better orientation. So, the reward scheme formulated by CERA is aimed towards employee satisfaction and overall growth. As mentioned in (P. B. Turnbull & Blyton, 1992), the traditional reward processes may not be able to satisfy the employees. The regular financial reward schemes extended within certain time intervals are very common in corporate environment and therefore, they are unable to motivate the employees. Therefore, the need of new and innovative initiatives is realized by many leading organizations. As a part of new initiatives, the organization should consider about fulfilling other types of needs as explained in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Another idea is to address the personalized requirements of an employee and extending the bonus schemes accordingly.
When the expectations of employees and employers are fulfilled to a certain extent, it helps in developing an atmosphere beneficial for the whole company. The efficient and performing employees should be entrusted with more responsibilities and greater authority. Additionally, the achievements and time bound completion of the assigned tasks are also factors to be considered with due importance. Therefore, the bonus scheme of CERA should not be scrapped and should be implemented by considering all the relevant factors discussed above.
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