Table of Contents
Executive Synopsis Introduction FTL: The instinct for survival References
It is evident from the case study of Fastening Technologies Ltd (FTL) that the company has been experiencing a difficult period. Under the globalization regime, the overall corporate climate has grown intensely competitive, which may be a contributing factor. However, the corporation also appears to be experiencing organizational difficulties. Managing human resources in such a way that the business can achieve its declared mission and objectives is one of the greatest obstacles to the organization's success. In this age of cutthroat competition, every firm strives to make its aims and mission crystal obvious to all of its employees, so that their performance can be judged in relation to those objectives. The personnel must be motivated to accomplish these objectives. Consequently, the company's ineffective handling of industrial relations is extremely evident.
Maintaining strong employee relations requires recognizing employees as empowered participants in attaining the organization's strategic objectives. Not only do employees feel appreciated, but such actions also serve to motivate and improve employee-employer relations. The simplest definition of motivation is the provision of motives. Managers' lack of positive motivation frequently results in the automatic provision of negative motivation. Motivation can be defined as an individual's state of mind that reflects the intensity of his or her inherent predisposition to exert effort toward a specific behavior. Motivating/demotivating elements impact how an individual applies his or her efforts towards a goal. The dedication, level of motivation, and attitudes of employees are revealed by their actions. Behavior comprises all overt and covert, vocal and nonverbal acts. This impacts the overall effectiveness of the individual and the effectiveness of the organization. At FTL, Steve attempted to formulate a vision and mission statement, which were printed on posters and widely disseminated throughout the company; however, the employees appeared quite confused and uninterested in the mission statement, which appeared to be the key ingredient in realizing the vision. This strategy indicates a lack of strategic concentration in the policies executed by FTL.
FTL: The instinct for survival
It is evident that FTL has endured several crisis-like situations in the past and emerged much stronger and leaner, but the times are now shifting. Survival of the fittest is currently the de facto standard in the business world. Previously, the Asia-Pacific area was not considered a manufacturing powerhouse, but China has now established itself as a formidable place for conducting industrial activities at exceptionally low labor costs. Since adopting a more open and liberal approach under Chairman Deng Xiao Ping's premiership, China's economy and the standard of living of its population have experienced extraordinary growth. China's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) allowed businesses from all over the world to operate in China during the era of free trade. The combination of these events and FTL's organizational shortcomings led to the decision to relocate some manufacturing operations to China.
During Anders' leadership, the company appears to have maintained healthy financial figures. However, after Anders van Hoy left to head a different division of Global and was succeeded by Gunther Schmidt, signs of fatigue began to appear on the horizon, and FTL began to feel pressure to maintain its profit margins. The holding company of FTL, Global, also opted to relocate the engineering centre to China, where labor costs were significantly lower. In reality, Global was ecstatic with FTL's performance throughout its first few years of operation following the acquisition. But as the UK economy entered tough times and the market for automobiles and white goods plummeted, FTL came under pressure. After three years of mounting losses, the parent company Global lost patience and removed the Managing Director, paving the way for a young, inventive Dutch engineer, Anders van Hoy, to turn the company around. Within twelve months, Anders was able to make the company significantly leaner and recruit a group of young, motivated engineers and managers to help turn the business around. A large number of senior employees were let to retire early in order to bring in new talent. Alistair Scott was similarly sophisticated in his implementation of HR techniques. Anders was able to write a turnaround tale with the help of Steve Davidson as Operations Manager and Phil James as Quality Manager. Ford, a well-known name in the automobile industry and a client of FTL, at one point appeared unwilling to do business with the company. However, Anders and his team were able to restore Ford's faith, and FTL also got the prestigious Ford Q1 award. His leadership style and vigor generated excitement among his squad. It is stated that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A team is also comprised of individuals with varying levels of ability, qualification, and motivation. A cohesive group of highly motivated and well-organized members may do wonders for an organization's growth. On the other side, a group of employees concerned primarily with their work and their own rewards may be detrimental to the organization's interests. Undoubtedly, an organization can function with the leader issuing orders to his or her subordinates and the subordinates carrying out the assigned tasks. However, a fundamental downside of this form of operation is that the employee does not experience a sense of belonging to the firm and, as a result, may not provide value and originality to the task. After completing his or her portion of a task, an individual cares the least about the end outcome. A team, however, facilitates the networking of individuals through the sharing of ideas and suggestions. This not only aids in maintaining the team's level of knowledge, but also improves the ultimate product and service. Even though the team worked long hours in this instance, the satisfaction of their results and the favorable comments from Global made the effort worthwhile. This collaborative spirit, however, vanished when Anders returned to the company's headquarters, and the ripple effect left the business in disarray.
Training and development is another essential area on which human resource managers should focus their attention when performing management duties. In light of the changing global economy, which necessitates a suitably skilled labor force, the majority of countries around the world are currently conducting reforms of their education and training systems, incorporating vocational streams and providing students with apprenticeship training. In a similar fashion, firms begin to recruit fresh talent from universities and institutes and prepare them for employment in the company. FTL has also recruited recent college graduates for apprenticeships. In truth, when a new college graduate prepares to leave university with a degree and diploma in hand, he/she is brimming with energy and ideas, but has little knowledge of how things operate in a realistic industrial setting. When the industry engages these young graduates as regular employees, they are frequently unable to match the company's expectations. This is detrimental to the organization as well as the individual's morale and motivation. Therefore, it was determined that training provided in colleges/institutions through only theoretical study is insufficient for skill acquisition and must be reinforced by training in the actual working environment. Therefore, it is believed that providing students with practical training immediately following the conclusion of the course or in their final year of study helps to prepare them for the suitable position. In this approach, the organization/demand industry's for trained labor is addressed, and the individual enters the company with a positive attitude and strong morale, which is sure to benefit both sides. The broad aims of apprenticeship training are as follows:
To give industry- and job-specific training to the students. To enhance the proficiency of recent graduates To provide a better match between college/institution acquired capabilities and industry needs, hence speeding the school-to-work transfer. To increase engagement of industry in the formal education and training system To establish a coherent system of occupational credentials To offer the industry with skilled and trained laborers.
FTL did have a practice of hiring engineering apprentices each year, but the majority of these graduates departed the company after completing their training since it was unable to provide them with viable employment options. This was a major failure on the company's behalf, as it was unable to utilize the services of these well-trained young recruits. Possibly as a result of this, the bulk of FTL employees today are considerably beyond the age of 40. Though Anders and Steve were skilled at identifying talent and providing brilliant apprentices with the opportunity to further develop their abilities and expertise through a post-apprenticeship training program, they were unable to pass on the tradition to subsequent managers.
Occasionally, the company's policies appeared incomplete, confusing, and demotivating. For instance, it was determined that the bonus distribution was not sufficiently motivating for the staff. If the reward system is executed consistently and subjects are integrated into the mainstream, it can do wonders for the organization's greater good (CIPD, 2005). FTL has invested much in training. The Dale Carnegie leadership and management development program was available to both senior and middle managers. A local institution also offered an in-house supervisory management course designed to train shop floor employees in approaches such as statistical process control and Total Quality Management. But for a long time, deserving and eager workers lacked access to training opportunities. Training was paid a high emphasis, although it was not organized methodically. In the absence of a structured training plan, managers frequently resorted to a non-systematic and biased selection process for trainees. Consequently, some employees complained about the lack of such chances.
The process of performance evaluation is a another murky area in FTL's management of human resources. The evaluation interview documentation did not serve its intended function. Managers occasionally signaled the need for training for a particular employee, but the suggestion was not always followed. Some managers were also deemed insufficient for evaluating the training's benefits. Performance management was defined by Michael Armstrong (2006) as a "systematic process for improving organizational performance by developing the performance of individuals and teams." It is a method for obtaining better results from the company, teams, and individuals by defining and controlling performance inside an agreed-upon framework of planned objectives, standards, and competency criteria. This strategy emphasizes effective people management and uses employees' performance to provide proper feedback and appreciation in order to help employees realize their full potential. Similarly, Baron and Armstrong (1999) define performance management as a process that helps to the successful management of individuals and teams in order to attain high organizational performance levels. As a result, it provides a shared knowledge of the desired outcomes and a strategy for leading and developing people that will ensure their achievement. In addition, they emphasize that it is a strategy that encompasses all of the organization's activities within the context of its human resource policy, culture, style, and communications systems. Depending on the organizational setting, the nature of the strategy can differ from organization to organization. ’
The purpose of performance evaluation is to evaluate and improve the human resource. The primary evaluation (i.e., evaluative) objectives of performance appraisal are as follows:
Providing subordinates with feedback and informing them of their position in the performance management mapping. Creating a database for the HR department to use in making placement, salary, and promotion decisions, etc.
Similarly, the developmental goals include the following:
Individual and organizational strengths and weaknesses are identified Subordinate counseling, coaching, career planning, and motivating Developing amicable labor relations.
However, FTL appears quite lost in terms of achieving these aims. After Anders moved for Germany, the company's progressive initiatives ran into trouble due to the absence of a coordinated approach among managers. Although Steve continued the human resource strategies introduced by Anders, within three years Steve began to question Alistair's professional competence. Alistair was from a heavily unionized background, and despite his good intentions, he seemed distrustful of collective bargaining and employee relations techniques. Initially, there was no trade union presence at FTL, but in later years, employees initiated such movements to bring distracting policies to the attention of management. After such relocations began, and as his disputes with Steve grew, the situation became a bit more complicated. Alistair had to relocate to Germany to join Anders' team at the European headquarters.
Catherine, who succeeded Alistair as HR manager, appears to be quite confident that gaining the trust of employees contributes to the enhancement of the organization's culture. She believes that employee relations procedures, particularly communications, may be enhanced. She contracted ACAS to conduct a poll of employee opinions on communication. The poll revealed that 47% of information communicated to employees is obtained through word-of-mouth. The HR manager then organized regular team briefings, and the company had an annual all-hands meeting to discuss the previous year's performance and future objectives. Catherine was also concerned with the training timetable and structured training plan. Catherine worked diligently to enhance the company's training and development administration. The company was able to get the "Investors in People" designation due to a tremendous amount of effort. That was indeed a moment of pride for Steve and his FTL crew. The prize was presented for the first time to a company in the south of England. However, the selection criteria for training must yet be refined.
Organizational issues precipitated another