Monday, January 14, 2008

Funny official matters

















Monday, January 7, 2008

Appraising Performance

There are several reasons to appraise subordinates’ performance. First, appraisals play, or should play, an integral role in the employer’s performance management process; it does little good to translate the employer’s strategic goals into specific employees’ goals, and then train the employees. Second, the appraisal lets the boss and subordinate develop a plan for correcting any deficiencies the appraisal might have unearthed, and to reinforce the things the subordinate does correctly. Third, appraisals should serve a useful career planning purpose by providing the opportunity to review the employee’s career plans in light of his or her exhibited strengths and weakness. And, last but not least, the appraisal almost always affect the employer’s salary raise and promotional decisions.

In reviewing the appraisal tools we discuss below don’t miss the forest for the trees. It doesn’t matter which tool you use if you’re less than candid when your subordinate is underperforming. Not all managers are devotees of such candor, but some firms like GE are famous for hard-hearted appraisals. GE’s former CEO has said, for instance, that there’s nothing crueler than telling someone who’s doing a mediocre job that he or she is doing well. Someone who might have had the chance to correct bad behavior or find a more appropriate vocation may instead end up spending years in a dead-end situation, only to leave when a tough boss comes along.

There are many practical motivations for giving soft appraisals: the fear of having to hire and train someone new; the unpleasant reaction of the appraisee; or a company appraisal process that’s not conducive to candor for instance. Ultimately it’s the person doing the appraising who must decide if the potential negative effects of less-than-candid appraisals on the employee’s long term peace of mind and on the performance of the appraiser and his or her firm outweigh the assumed benefits. They rarely do.

Appraising performance is both a difficult and an essential supervisory skill. The Supervisor not HR usually does the actual appraising and a supervisor who rates his or her employees too high or too low is doing a disservice to them, to the company, and to him or herself. Supervisors must therefore be familiar with basic appraisal techniques, understand and avoid problems that can cripple appraisals, and know how to conduct appraisals.

The HR department serves a policymaking and advisory role. Generally, the HR department provides advice and assistance regarding the appraisal tool to use, but leaves final decisions on procedures to operating division heads. In some firms, HR prepares detailed forms and procedures and insists that all departments use them. HR is also responsible for training supervisors to improve their appraisals skills. Finally, HR is responsible for monitoring the appraisal system and, particularly for ensuring that the format and criteria being measured comply with laws if any and aren’t outdated.

The performance appraisal process itself contains three steps: define the job, appraise performance, and provide feedback. Defining the job means making sure that subordinates agree on their duties and job standards. Appraising performance means comparing subordinate’s actual performance to the standards that have been set; this usually involves some type of rating form. Third, performance appraisal usually requires one or more feedback sessions. Here the two of manager or boss or superior discuss the subordinate’s performance and progress, and make plans for any development required.

The manager generally conducts the appraisal itself with the aid of a predetermined and formal; method like one or more of those described in this section. The two basic considerations in designing the actual appraisal tool are what to measure and how to measure it. For example, in terms of what to measure, we may measure the employee’s performance in terms of generic dimensions such as quality, quantity and timeliness of work. Or, we may measure performance with respect to developing one’s competencies as in the ability to use Java or achieving one’s goals. In terms of how to measure it there are various methodologies, including graphic rating scales the alternation ranking method and MBO.

Developing a good appraisal system

End of the year appraisals are always a matter of heartburn and disgruntlement among employees. It is only very rarely that all employees find the appraisal system fair and reflective of their real performance. For managements too, conducting such appraisals is a matter of trepidation. This is more so for companies that are still to develop a strong performance evaluation system. But appraisals have to be done and they are critical for rewarding and retaining talent. They are also important for attracting talent as good performance evaluation systems help to build the employer brand. This article offers a few suggestions as to how you can develop a sound performance appraisal system.

Here are 10 suggestions for creating and implementing a fair, accurate, and discerning employee review system:

Document everything:
In a good formal appraisal system everything should be written down. A good performance appraisal system should allow for providing supporting documentation so that when action is taken based on the appraisal, the fairness and relevance of the appraisal can be scrutinized and the entire process made transparent. There is already a lot of literature on how to develop a sound performance appraisal system and HR managers would do well to study them before launching any new system.
Set clear goals:
The key idea behind a good performance evaluation system is to reward rather than punish or meet legal requirements, help to lay down and communicate clear performance goals and measure progress, help identify laggards and whether they need any specific help in terms of training and mentoring that can enable them to improve, help identify bosses who are stifling talent or are in some way or the other standing in the way of better realization of an employee’s potential and on the whole lay down a solid channel of communication between employees and the top management. Any good appraisal system should take care of all these goals.
Make the process user-friendly:
The appraisal system should be simple, easy to understand and easy to use. Since a good appraisal system almost always require a participatory approach on the part of the boss and his subordinates, the paper work should be kept to a minimum and as simple as possible. A basic and standardized form is highly recommended as it would enable an open, transparent and uniform appraisal process for all employees. To take care of specific needs of specific departments, standardized forms for particular departments may be necessary.
Allow for flexibility:
Standardized forms and a uniform system can lead to too much rigidity. Hence, allow for flexibility even within the uniform format. This may be especially relevant in small businesses where one person may have several unique competencies and may be looking after several different functions of different types. Have a system that can take care of such situations so that even as it allows flexibility, it also minimizes the risk of arbitrariness.
Make it participatory:
A good appraisal system always allows employees to participate in the review process. Employees must be allowed to give their own self-appraisals by giving them an opportunity in the appraisal form to list their own strengths, weaknesses and goals for the coming year. During the review compare notes and finally try to come up, as often as possible, with an appraisal that has the employee’s consent.
Set achievable goals:
If you own a business it is likely that you will work night and day or for that matter do whatever it takes to make the business successful. But you can hardly expect your employees to have a similar attitude, although there are people who do show as much commitment. So be realistic and set such goals that are achievable. Try to customize goals to individual employees so that each have a realistic chance of meeting those goals. Nothing motivates an employee more than being able to meet goals and being recognized for the success. Goals that are too tough and which most are almost sure to fail to meet can only help to demoralize your staff instead of egging them on to raise their levels of performance. Instead if you raise the bar gradually and in a way such that more people succeed in meeting those goals than fail, over a period of time you will be surprised to find how much people have progressed.
Adjust your business plan:
A well-designed and well-executed performance appraisal process will enable you and your staff to arrive at clear and achievable goals that both you and your staff have agreed to achieve. Adjust your business plan accordingly so that the performance review should end up with giving you a far more workable business plan which will, more often than not, succeed while helping to retain talent by keeping employees satisfied.

Performance Appraisal

The meaning of the word “appraisal” is “to fix a price or value for something”. This is used in finance in terms such as project appraisal or financial appraisal where a value is attached to a project. Similarly performance appraisal is a process in which one values the employee contribution and worth to the organisation.

The objectives of performance appraisal are:

1.To help better current performances

2. To help in development of the employee.

3.To determine training and development needs.

4. To give employee feedback and counsel them

5. To review performance for salary purposes.

Employees across the entire organisation are appraised of their performance. This could be done annually, twice a year, periodically depending the need of the organisation

The various kinds of performance appraisal systems are:

1.Personality based performance appraisal system:

Here the appraiser is supposed to rate the personality traits of the person being appraised.

This is not in much in organisations as it very subjective and judgmental. It could also be biased and prejudiced.

2.Competence based performance appraisal system:

Here the job analysis is used and the employee is appraised for the skills he exhibits. For e.g. if his job entails dealing with the clients then he is judged foe his effectiveness in dealing with them. This enables both the organisation and the employee as to what deficiencies are to be overcome and can be useful in providing training to the employee to better his performance.

Result based performance appraisal system:

This system concentrates on the final results achieved by the employee irrespective of his personality or deficiencies. This is totally related to the job and concentrates on the end results that are more important to the organisation.

The performance appraisal system has to be transparent and the employee should be taken into full confidence. In many cases employees themselves are given a chance to conduct a self-appraisal. Performance appraisal is a case of joint problem solving by the organisation and the employee. However the organisation must also take care of future potential and not get bogged down by current performance.

Normally the immediate supervisor does the appraisal. Some organisations also have a peer group performance appraisal where colleagues rate the performance.

The HR person must also ensure that line managers are properly trained for carrying out the appraisal including interviewing techniques and on how to give feedback. The managers must also be trained to look at the cases objectively outside of their personal opinion of the candidate.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Linking job redesign and scheduling to motivation theory

The guidelines offered for enriching jobs are directly related to the job characteristics model. By following these guidelines in redesigning jobs, especially with employees who seek challenge in their work, are likely to positively influence the employee’s internal motivation, the quality of work performance, job satisfaction, and reduce both absenteeism and turnover.

The enrichment of jobs can also be traced to Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Following this theory, by increasing the intrinsic factors in a job such as achievement, responsibility, and growth employees are more likely to be satisfied with the job and motivated to perform it.

A common theme among the scheduling options of flextime, job sharing, and telecommuting is flexibility. Each gives employees greater discretion over when to come to work, how much time is spent at work, or where the work is done. Expectancy theory indirectly addresses flexibility in the importance placed on liking rewards to personal goals. Employees at present are increasingly concerned about conflicting demands from work and personal responsibilities, a flexible work schedule is likely to be perceived as a desirable reward that can help achieve a better work / life balance.

Job Redesign and Scheduling in Practice

In recent years, job rotation has been adopted by many manufacturing firms as a means of increasing flexibility and avoiding layoffs. For instance, managers at Apex Precision Technologies, a custom-machine sop in Indiana, continually train workers on all of the company’s equipment so they can be moved around in response to the requirements of incoming orders. During the 2001 recession, Cleveland-based Lincoln Electric moved some salaried workers to hourly clerical jobs and rotated production workers among various machines. The manufacturer of welding and cutting parts was able to minimize layoffs because of its commitment to continual cross-training and moving workers wherever they’re needed.

Job enlargement has never had a large following, especially as a motivating device. This may be due to the fact that, while it attacked the lack of diversity in over-specialized jobs, it did little to instill challenge or meaningfulness to a worker’s activities. In contrast, job enrichment has been widely applied in organizations around the world. Millions of workers today perform jobs that have been enriched using the guidelines presented. In addition, these enriching techniques seem to have also guided how team activities have bee designed in many cotemporary organizations.

Flextime has become an extremely popular scheduling option. The proportion of full time U.S. employees on flextime more than doubled between late 1980s and 2003. Approximately 43% of U.S. full time workforce now has flexibility in heir daily arrival and departure times. This is not just a U.S. phenomenon. In Germany 29% of businesses have flexi time for their employees.

App 31% of large organizations now offer their employees job sharing. Despite its availability it does not seems to be widely adopted by employees. This is probably because of the difficulties of finding compatible partner who share a job and the negative perception historically held of individuals that they are not completely committed to their jobs and employer.

In U.S. between 9 million and 24 million people telecommunicate depending upon how terms are defined. This works out to about 10% of U.S. work force. Well known organizations like AT&T, IBM, Merryl Lynch, American Express, Hewlett Packard and a number of U.S. government agencies actively encourage telecommuting. This is also catching up fast in Finland, Sweden, Britain, and Germany.

Job redesign

Frank Greer’s job at the Jeep plant was made up of repetitive tasks that provided him with little variety, autonomy, or motivation. In contrast, his job in the paint shop is challenging and stimulating.

In this article, we want to look at some of the ways that jobs can be reshaped into order to make them more motivating. We now review the job redesign options job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment.

Job Rotation:

If employees suffer from monotony because of same type of job routine over long periods in their work then the management can resort to different alternatives to break the monotony and revive their motivation. One of the alternatives is to use job rotation (or what many now call cross-training). We define this practice as the periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another. When an activity is no longer challenging, the employee is rotated to another job, usually at the same level, that has similar skill requirements.

The strengths of job rotation are that it reduces boredom and increases motivation through diversifying the employee’s activities. It also has indirect benefits for the organization because employees with a wider range of skills give management more flexibility in scheduling work, adapting to changes, and filling vacancies. On the other hand, job rotation is not without its drawbacks. Training costs increase and productivity is reduced by moving a worker into a new position. His or her efficiency at the prior job was creating organizational economies. Job rotation also creates disruptions. Members of the work group have to adjust to the new employee. And supervisors may also have to spend more time answering questions and monitoring the work of recently rotated employees.

Job Enlargement:

More than 35 years ago, the idea of expanding jobs horizontally, or what we call job enlargement, grew in popularity. Increasing the number and variety of tasks that an individual performed resulted in jobs with more diversity. For example instead of only sorting the incoming mail of the department, a mail sorter’s job could be enlarged to include physically delivering the mail to the various other departments or running outgoing letters through the postage meter.

Efforts at job enlargement met with less than enthusiastic results. As one employee who experienced such a redesign on his job remarked, “Before I had one lousy job. Now, through enlargement, I have three!�? Such may be one or two exceptional cases of some skewed thinking personnel. However, there have been some successful applications of job enlargement. The job of a housekeeper in some smaller hotels, for example, includes not only cleaning bathrooms, making beds, and vacuuming, but also replacing burned out light bulbs, providing turn-down service, and restocking mini-bars.

Job enrichment:

How does management enrich an employee’s job? Combining tasks takes existing and fractionized tasks and puts them back together to form a new and large module of work. Forming natural work units means that the tasks an employee does create an identifiable and meaningful whole. Establishing client relationships increases the direct relationships between workers and their clients (these may be an internal customer as well as someone outside the organization).

Expanding jobs vertically gives employees responsibilities and control that were formerly reserved for management. Opening feedback channels lets employees know how well they are performing their jobs and whether their performance is improving, deteriorating, or remaining at a constant level.

To illustrate job enrichment, let’s look at what management at Banc One in Chicago did with its international trade banking department. The department’s chief product is commercial letters of credit essentially a bank guarantee to stand behind huge import and export transactions. Prior to enriching jobs, the department’s 300 employees processed documents in an assembly-line fashion, with errors creeping in at each handoff. Meanwhile, employees did little to hide the boredom they were experiencing from doing narrow and specialized tasks.

Management enriched these jobs by making each clerk a trade expert who was able to handle a customer from start to finish. After 200 hours of training in finance and law, the clerks became full-service advisers who could turn around documents in a day while advising clients on such arcane matters as bank procedures in Turkey and US munitions’ export controls. The results of these changes were great as Department productivity more than tripled. Employee satisfaction soared, and transaction volume rose more than 10% a year.

The overall evidence on job enrichment generally shows that it reduces absenteeism and turnover costs and increases satisfaction, but on the critical issue of productivity, the evidence is inconclusive. In some situations, job enrichment increases productivity; in others, it decreases it. However, even when productivity goes down, there does seem to be consistently more conscientious use of resources and higher quality of product or service. Reduction in productivity can be neutralized by giving proper training before the job enrichment is implemented. Initially the training costs seem higher but over a period of time it benefits the organization.

Employee recognition programs in practice

In today’s highly competitive global economy, many organizations are under severe cost pressure. They’ve responded with layoffs, wage freezes, and increasing employee work loads. Employees, in turn, are feeling overworked and stressed out. This environment makes recognition programs particularly attractive. Why? Because recognition provides a relatively low-cost means to stimulate employee performance.

It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, to find that employee recognition programs have grown in popularity. A 2002 survey of 391 companies found that 84% has some program to recognize worker achievements and that four in 10 said they were doing more to foster employee recognition than they were just a year earlier. A recent study conducted by the Gallup, identified employers recognition as one of the twelve key dimensions that describe great workplaces.

Wipro believes that reward and recognition systems are some of the fundamental ways of improvement motivational level. The company has a unique package called Encore, which is essentially a basket of non-monetary rewards given to motivate employees and recognize excellent work performance. For example, award Feather-in-My-Cap, is an on-the-spot recognition of an effort awarded to a project or project team; Dear Boss recognizes the positives of a good boss, including technical, managerial, and leadership skills. Awards like Mastermind, which notes the most innovation solution or idea in Wipro, and The Wipro Hall of Fame recognizes superlative performers in different roles as well as superlative team performances.

In NIIT, there is a practice of naming a conference room or office or training room after the name of the most outstanding employee of the year. The naming is done ceremoniously, the employee’s family is invited, a cake is ordered; and all the employees assemble for the felicitation. At Federal Express, rated one of the best work workplaces, employee can get one of FedEx’s 500 aero-planes named after his / her child. RPG managers give certificates to employees to facilitate small achievements and the good work done by them.

Two of the most popular methods of recognizing employees are by giving gift certificates and cash rewards. The most common reasons for giving an award are length of service and exceptional performance. In 1998, Price-water House had a “Thank You Store�? for employees to select gifts and thank you cards for supervisors, managers, and office assistants. Johnson & Johnson has peer-to-peer recognition programs, where employees submit nominations on behalf of other employees, teams or oneself. All nominations are reviewed for a Merit Award and all Merit Awards are reviewed for the Chairman’s Award. The Eureka Award at HCL Comnet is for the entrepreneurs who come up with the best business idea. The Value Creator Award is the most coveted and sought after among the awards given in appreciation of extraordinary individual initiative and innovation.

Gotcha recognizes top performers and ranks them on merit. Special vacation packages are given to employees who excel in their targets. Eicher uses a mix of monetary and non-monetary rewards. The financial package helps in sustenance and basic needs fulfillment. The non-financial part helps in recognition and fulfillment of higher order needs. In the non-financial part, Eicher offers perks like study leave, trips, special training, challenging project opportunities, and flexible timings based on individual need.

In India many companies like Larsen & Toubro, HLL, P&G, Century Enka and others encourage suggestion from employees on cost savings, energy conservation or quality improvement or increase in sales. The suggestions are periodically reviewed and few employees may get one time cash rewards based on he quantum of savings their suggestions can generate. This cash rewards system on suggestions is mostly up to junior management level.

Some companies allow executives to make their own mix of salary packages. Some perquisites are offered on a use-or-lose basis. They cannot be monetized, this is to restrict monetization of perks which otherwise would increase cash outflows to unacceptable levels. In the year 2000, HICOM introduced three awards for employees who were nominated as ‘best leader’, ‘best motivator’, and ‘best employee’. In the same year, the company also introduced the new idea of appreciating subordinates through flower-shaped cards. In addition, the HR department put a big wallboard titled ‘initiatives.com’, which was filled with information on the initiatives taken by the employees in the workplace and the appreciation of their initiatives. The management as a policy honors an employee who completes five years of services in HICOM with a gold plated appreciation plaque.

In spite of its increased popularity, critics argue that employee recognition programs are highly susceptible to political manipulation by management. When applied to jobs for which performance factors are relatively objective, like sales, recognition programs are likely to be perceived by employees as fair. However, in most jobs, the criteria for good performance are not self-evident, which allows managers to manipulate the system and recognize their favorite employees. When abused, this can undermine the value of recognition programs and lead to demoralizing employees.

Management by objectives - MBO and role analysis

Management by objectives is a process by which management at different levels and their subordinates work together in identifying goals and establishing objectives consistent with the organizational goals and attaining them. Performance is measured against objectives and deviations are discussed. Superiors and subordinates review the existing objectives and establish the fresh objectives for the new time span after the deviations are discussed.

MBO is essentially a method of self-evaluation. Goal-setting is a highly participative process with self-established role prescriptions. Here job analysis would not cover all the activities of tasks performed by the superior and subordinate under MBO. Role analysis should be undertaken covering the task performed by employee under MBO programs.

Role Analysis

Edwin B Flippo felt that analysis should e extended to include various roles played by an employee in view of the criticism leveled against job analysis. A role would consist of the total pattern of expected behavior, interactions and sentiments for an individual holding an assigned job. The concept of role is something more than the job. Generally, the job incumbent is expected to play different roles while discharging his duties. An example of this is a manager is expected to play the role of protector of the interests of his subordinates. Similarly, the subordinates are expected to maximize the productivity/sales/profit. Sometimes the employees are expected to play informal roles which would not be included in job analysis.

A boundary spanning job is one whose incumbent is commissioned to deal with some significant element of the outer environment. Role analysis of personnel holding boundary spanning jobs provides a good example of potential value in the making of personnel decisions. In his position the incumbent of credit officer’s job of a bank has to deal with different types of borrowers with different backgrounds. Likewise the incumbent of a personnel manager’s job has to deal with trade union leaders or regional and central unions, government officials, police officers, managements of various organizations and management associations. Such roles often need verbal skills, sensitivity to the values of external people and personnel, public relations, counseling and conciliation skills and extra ordinary inter-personal relations.
These different roles of the employee, conflict with each other and that conflict is called role conflict. Employees have to play different roles, in addition to just performing their duties, as listed in job description. Hence, it is felt, that job analysis can’t cover all these activities of the personnel. It should be extended to role analysis. The job designers should take the emerging concept of role analysis into consideration in designing or redesigning the jobs.

MBO with regards to HR forms the basis for performance appraisal and at the end of the specified period performance evaluation. The superior in setting up the objectives tries to include all possible roles of the incumbent. MBO is a broader term for an organization and even overall strategy for short term and long term formulated by the directors also covered by this. In this article we have discussed the MBO in relation to superior and incumbent in heir work related area.

Re-Tooling Your Employees for Change

Re-Tooling Your Employees for Change©
Suzanne Simpson, Ph.D., C.Psych.

Change is a fact of life. Successful organizations must have employees who can adapt to changing market trends, new technologies, new ways of doing business, an increasingly global market and heavier demands for higher levels of skills and education. They must constantly strive to meet and exceed customer expectations, while doing more with less. Managing change and assisting employees to adapt to change is therefore a must for any organization to survive in the long term.

If you don’t know where you are going how will you know when you get there?

A plan is needed to manage change. A plan is simply a road map designed to provide direction to where you want to go. The first step is to determine your "destination", or the vision and goals for your organization. Defining your organization’s vision and goals will involve addressing questions such as: what type of business will your organization be doing; how much business will you have; how will the work be organized; what kind of service should your customers expect; what values must be in place to achieve your goals? Once these questions are answered, it is then possible to determine how the organization is going to achieve that vision.

What Kind of Employees Will be Needed to Achieve the Vision?

Employees are the key to making the change a success. Unless employees are equipped to participate in the change, your goals likely won’t be achieved. The next step therefore is to determine the “ideal” employee group needed to achieve your vision and goals. A number of questions will have to be addressed:

• How many and what types of employees will be needed?
• How adaptable must they be? Will they need generalist or highly specialized skill sets?
• Will special educational, certification or licensing requirements have to be met?
• Will they operate independently, or as part of a team?

How do my current employees measure up?

Having defined your "ideal" employee group, the next question to ask is how your current employees measure up. To be successful, this must be done in a very systematic way. The needed skills, competencies, knowledge and educational requirements must be clearly defined, and your current group of employees evaluated against these requirements. This can be done through an employee skills inventory completed as a collaborative effort between employees and their managers.

Getting from Here to There

The results of the employee skills inventory can be used to create individual action plans for addressing any gaps in skills identified. Options include:

• Do Nothing
• The employee is judged to precisely meet the requirements defined in your "ideal" target organization.
• Train/Develop

The employee has some of the skills to meet the goals of the organization, but there are gaps to be addressed through training, development or coaching.

Re-Assign

The employee may have many of the skills needed to meet the organizational goals but is in the wrong job, or the employee’s current job will no longer exist in a re-designed structure, yet the employee is valued and capable of contributing to the organization’s success.

Offer Support Tools

Some employees may require additional resources or new equipment to perform to their full potential.

Release

The gap between current skills and future requirements may be so great that it cannot be resolved through the means identified above. Therefore it may be necessary to release employees. This, however, should be the option of last resort. Many organizations that have used large scale employee cuts and lay offs, in some cases indiscriminately, have put themselves out of business, since no talent pool was available to bring them back to profitability. This option also sends the message to employees that the organization cannot be trusted. Finally, replacing the employee with a new hire can be much more costly than anticipated. Hiring the right person the first time has been estimated to cost between $10,000 to $30,000. If a mistake is made the cost will be much greater. A lot of retraining can be done for $10,000.

Group Trends

Finally, the individual skills inventory results can be analyzed for group trends to determine where there is a common need. This will allow the organization to put in place cost-efficient action and training programs to address common needs among employees.

Managing the “Fear Factor”

Change of any sort can be stressful. It is important therefore that employees be kept up to date about the change underway, and be treated with respect and dignity. Present the change in a positive light and point out the benefits for both employees and the organization. The aim is to come out of the process a better organization, prepared to meet the challenges of the future and to achieve the organization’s vision and goals.

Using Employment Tests

Caveat Emptor

Well – developed and valid tests can contribute greatly to an employer’s ability to predict success on the job. On the other hand, tests that do not meet accepted professional standards can prove costly in terms of the effort of replacing workers who fail to perform, the stress created for all concerned, lost reputation and most importantly lost productivity on the job.
Employment tests are coming under increased scrutiny as potential barriers to employment for groups protected under Human Rights and Employment Equity legislation. Employers must be prepared to demonstrate that their employment practices do not discriminate against such groups. Employers, therefore, must be prepared to demonstrate that the tests they use are reliable, valid and non-discriminatory and based on generally accepted standards for testing.

There are hundreds of extremely well-developed tests, however, there are many that do not meet generally accepted standards for test development and validation. Many of these tests have wide distribution and high powered marketing networks, and to the untrained, the tests "look like" they could do the job. Often, more effort has gone into packaging these tests, than conducting the proper research to ensure that they meet at least minimum standards for validity and reliability. Unfortunately, while there are widely accepted standards for test development and application (e.g. Guidelines for Educational and Psychological Testing, Canadian Psychological Association, 1987), there is no regulatory body which reviews tests or serves as a consumer protection group to ensure that tests meet required standards.

Validity and Reliability

The bottom line is that it is a "buyer beware" situation. If your organization is thinking of using employment tests to screen applicants, or to assess employees to support employment decisions, consider carefully how the test was developed. The organization producing the test should be able to demonstrate that it is reliable, valid and non-discriminatory. Reliability, in layman’s terms, is the extent to which a test yields stable and consistent results. Validity refers to the extent to which the test actually measures what it was intended to measure. For example, for a test claiming to measure "sales ability", the test producer must demonstrate that there is a strong and defensible relationship between test scores and sales success. Finally, there should be evidence that the test is non-discriminatory – i.e. it is equally valid for all groups protected under Canadian human rights and employment equity legislation in comparison with majority groups.

Finding Help

All of this is not meant to scare employers from the use of employment tests. Rather to provide a warning that should tests not meet generally accepted standards, they could have the exact opposite effect to what was intended – the wrong person hired, or the wrong employment decision made. Testing is a highly complex field. If there is uncertainty as to whether a test or an assessment programme meets the required standards, seek the assistance of an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. They are the only group who have the training and the qualifications necessary to evaluate whether a test meets appropriate standards and will do the job you want it to do. In addition, if the Psychologist is Registered by their province, they are bound by the standards set by regulatory bodies within their province to ensure that their clients use defensible testing practices.

The marketing intelligence system

The internal records system supplies results data, but the marketing intelligence system supplies happening data. A marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources which managers use to obtain everyday information about developments in the marketing environment. Marketing managers collect marketing intelligence by reading books, newspapers, and trade publications; talking to customers, suppliers, and distributors and meeting with other company managers.

A company can take several steps to improve the quality of its marketing intelligence.

A company can train and motivate the sales force to spot and report new developments.

Sales representatives are positioned to pick up information missed by other means, yet they often fail to pass on that information.

The company must “sell�? its sales force on their importance as intelligence gatherers. Sales reps should know which types of information to send to which managers. Grace Performance Chemicals, a division of WR Grace, supplies materials and chemicals to the construction and packaging industries. Grace sales reps were instructed to observe the innovation ways customers used its products to suggest possible new products. For example, some customers were using Grace waterproofing materials to sound proof their cars and patch boots and tents. Seven new-product ideas emerged in total, worth millions in sales to the company.

A company can motivate distributors, retailers, and other intermediaries to pass along important intelligence.

Many companies hire specialists to gather marketing intelligence. Service providers often send mystery shoppers to their stores to assess how employees treat customers. Mystery shoppers for McDonald’s discovered that only 46 % of its restaurants nationwide met internal speed-of-service standards, forcing the company to rethink processes and training. Retailers also use mystery shoppers; Neiman Marcus employs a professional shopper agency to shop at its stores nationwide. It finds stores that consistently score high on the service have the best sales. Typical questions their mystery shoppers report are: How long before a sales associate greeted you? Did the sales associate act as if he or she wanted your business? Was the sales associate knowledgeable about products in stocks?

A company can network externally

It can purchase competitors’ products; attend open houses and trade shows; read competitors’ published reports; attend stockholders’ meetings; talk to employees, dealers, distributors, suppliers, and freight agents; collect competitors’ ads; and look up new stories about competitors. Software developer Cognos created an internal Web site called Street Fighter where any of the firm’s 3000 workers can submit scoops about competitors and win prizes.

Competitive intelligence must be done legally, ethically, though. Procter& Gamble reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar settlement to Unilever when some external operatives hired as part of a P&G corporate intelligence programs to learn about Unilever’s hair care products were found to have engaged in such unethical behavior as “dumpster diving.�?

A company can set up a customer advisory panel.

Members might include representative customers or the company’s largest customers or it’s most outspoken or sophisticated customers. Many business schools have advisory panels made up of alumni and recruiters who provide valuable feedback on the curriculum.

A company can take advantage of government data resources

The 2000 US census provides an in-depth look at the population swings, demographic groups, regional migrations, and changing family structure of 281,421,906 people. Census marketer Claritas cross-reference census figures with consumer surveys and its own grassroots research for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Dow Jones, and Ford Motor. Partnering with “list houses�? that provide customer phone and address information, Claritas can help firms select and purchase mailing lists with specific clusters.

A company can purchase information from outside suppliers

Well-known data suppliers include the AC Nielsen Company and Information Resources, Inc. These research firms gather consumer-panel data at a much lower cost than the company could manage on its own. Biz360 has specialized databases to provide reports from 7,000 sources on the extent and nature of media coverage a company is receiving.

A company can use online customer feedback systems to collect competitive intelligence

Online customer feedback facilitates collection and dissemination of information on a global scale, usually, at low cost. Through online customer review boards or forums, one customer’s evaluation of a product or a supplier can be distributed to a large number of other potential buyers and, of course, to marketers seeking information on the competition. Currently existing channels for feedback include message boards, threaded discussions forums that allows users to post new and follow up existing posts; discussion forums, which are more like bulletin boards; opinion forums, which features more in-depth, lengthy reviews: and chat rooms. While chat rooms have the advantage of allowing users to share experiences and impressions, their unstructured nature makes it difficult for marketers to find relevant messages. To address these issues, various companies have adopted structured systems, such as customer discussion boards or customer reviews..

Some companies circulate marketing intelligence. The staff scans the Internet and major publications, abstracts relevant news, and disseminates a news bulletin to marketing managers. It collects and files relevant information and assists managers in evaluating new information.

In India the market intelligence is collected from the same sources like retailers, dealers, customers etc., There are not many professional companies in India like U.S for gathering market intelligence but a few companies are able to give market reports in the form of surveys. Some marketing consultants are also able to provide market intelligence information in addition to market research companies. Super markets which are fast coming up in Indian metros and cities are also good sources of information for the marketing managers.

Uses of job analysis

A comprehensive job analysis program can be used as a foundation and as an essential ingredient for all the functions and areas pf personnel management and industrial relations. A brief description of uses of job analysis is as follows:

Employment

Job analysis is useful as a guide in every phase of employment process like manpower planning, recruitment selections, placement, orientation induction, and in performance appraisal as it gives the information about duties, tasks and responsibilities etc.
—————————————————————
Job Grade: Middle Management
Job Title: Credit Manager
Age: Between 35 and 45 years
Sex: Preferably male
Educational Qualification: B.E. (Industrial Engineering) or B.Sc., Ag., with post-graduate diploma or degree in Bank management.Completion of CAIIB is an additional qualification.
Training received: Should undergo training on the job/off the job for a period of one year.Experience:Experience as credit/field officer in a commercial bank for about five years.
Physical specification: Normal height (above 5’-5�?)
Social specification: Member of social organizations
Extra-curricular activities: Should have participated in sports/games at the district or inter university level.
—————————————————————
Organization Audit

Job information obtained by job analysis often reveals instances of poor organization in terms of the factors affecting job design. The analysis process, therefore, constitutes a kind of organization audit.

Training and Development Program

Description of duties and equipment used is of great help in developing the content of training and development programs. Needs of training and developing are identified with the help of job description. Further the training programs are also evaluated with the standards of job analysis.

Performance Appraisal

Instead of rating an employee on characteristics such as dependability there is now a tendency towards establishing job goals and appraising the work done toward those goals. In this type of appraisal, a job description is useful in defining the areas in which job goals should be established.

Promotion and Transfer

Job information helps in charting the channel of promotion and in showing lateral lines of transfer.

Preventing dissatisfaction and settling Complaints:

Job information can be used as a standard in preventing and settling complaints related to work load, nature of work, work procedure, alteration or revisions of job description etc.

Discipline

Job information can be used as a standard when discipline is being considered for standard performance.

Restriction of Employment Activity for Health Reasons and early Retirement

When employees are unable to maintain the standard job performances due to old age or health hazard they may opt for early retirement or the organization mat retrench their services. In such cases, job information is helpful to the employee and their supervisors to think objectively. In some other cases some mutually satisfactory rearrangements of subsidiary duties might make it possible to retain older employees whose intelligence, general experience, reliability make them valuable assets. Job information becomes as standard in this situation also.

Wage and Salary Administration

Job analysis is the basis for job evaluation. Basically wage and salary levels are fixed on the basis of job evaluation which takes into consideration the content of the job in terms of tasks, duties, responsibilities, risks, hazards etc.

Health and Safety

Job Description provides the information about hazardous and unhealthy conditions, accident prone areas etc.

Induction

Job description is a standard function as the employee is provided with the information about the job.

Industrial Relations

A job description is a standard function to solve industrial disputes and to maintain sound industrial relations. If any employee attempts to add or to delete some duties from the ones listed in job description, the standard has been violated. The labor union as well as management is interested in such violation. Controversies often result, and a written record of the standard job description is valuable in resolving such disputes. Despite these uses, job analysis is also a target of criticism.

The central role of strategic planning

Successful marketing requires companies to have capabilities such as understanding customer value, creating customer value, delivering customer value, capturing customer value, and sustaining customer value. “Marketing Insight: Views on Marketing from Chief Executive Officers�? addresses some important senior management priorities in improving marketing. Only a handful of companies stand out as master marketers: Procter & Gamble, Southwest Airlines, Nike, Disney, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Marriott Hotels, and several Japanese (Sony, Toyota, Canon) and European (IKEA, Club Med, Bang & Olufsen, Electrolux, Nokia, Lego, Tesco companies. Many Indian companies are also on the list.

These companies focus on the customer and are organized to respond effectively to changing customer needs. They all have well-staffed marketing departments, and all their other departments—manufacturing, finance, research and development, personnel, purchasing—also accept the concept that the customer is king.
Creating, providing, and communicating value requires many different marketing activities. To ensure that the proper activities are selected and executed, strategic planning is paramount. Strategic planning calls for action in three key areas. The first is managing a company’s businesses as an investment portfolio. The second involves assessing each business’s strength by considering the market’s growth rate and the company’s position and fit in that market. The third is establishing a strategy. For each business, the company must develop a game plan for achieving its long-run objectives.

Marketing plays a critical role in this process. At Samsung Electronics America, Strategic Marketing could be considered a religion. When Samsung executives, engineers, marketers and designers consider new products, they must answer one central question: “Is it wow?�? If “wow�? is the company mantra, then the high priest of “wow�? is the company’s vice president of strategic marketing. His realm includes marketing, advertising customer and partner relations, research, the consumer information center, and B2B and B2C commerce. He is responsible for crafting marketing strategies that reach across five different divisions: consumer electronics, information technology, telecom, semiconductors, and home appliances. Unlike many other companies, such as Sony, in which each division has its own marketing strategy, Samsung unifies strategy for all five divisions. In most companies there is a vice president of CRM [customer relationship management] that doesn’t even talk to the person in charge of TV advertising. We’re threaded holistically from global marketing in Korea to the last three feet of the sale. That last three feet is where the “wow�? needs to kick in—when the consumer is still an arm’s length away from the product, either literally, in the store, or online.

To understand marketing management, we must understand strategic planning. Most large companies consist of four organizational levels: the corporate level, the division level, the business unit level, and the product level. Corporate headquarters is responsible for designing a corporate strategic plan to guide the whole enterprise; it makes decisions on the amount of resources to allocate to each division, as well as on which businesses to start or eliminate. Each business unit develops a strategic plan to carry that business unit into a profitable future. Finally, each product level (product line, brand) within a business unit develops a marketing plan for achieving its objectives in its product market.

The Marketing Plan is the central instrument for directing and coordinating the marketing effort. The marketing plan operates at two levels: strategic and tactical. The strategic marketing plan lays out the target markets and the value proposition that will be offered, based on an analysis of the best market opportunities. The tactical marketing plan specifies the marketing tactics, including product features, promotion, merchandising, pricing, sales channels, and service.

Today, teams develop the marketing plan with inputs and sign-offs from every important function. These plans are then implemented at the appropriate levels of the organization. Results are monitored and necessary corrective action taken. The complete planning, implementation, and control is shown.

SWOT analysis

The overall evaluation of company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats is called SWOT analysis. It involves monitoring the external and internal marketing environment.

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT (OPPORTUNITY AND THREAT) ANALYSIS
A business unit has to monitor key macro environment forces like demographic-economic, natural, technological, political-legal, and social-cultural and significant micro environmental factors like customers, competitors, suppliers, distributors, dealers that affect its ability to earn profits. The business unit should set up a marketing intelligence system to track trends and important developments. For each trend or development, management needs to identify the associated opportunities and threats.

A major purpose of environmental scanning is to discern new opportunities. In many ways, good marketing is the art of finding, developing, and profiting from opportunities. A marketing opportunity is an area of buyer need and interest in which there is high probability that a company can profitably satisfy that need. There are three main sources market opportunities. The first is to supply something that is in short supply. This requires little marketing talent, as the need is fairly obvious. The second is to supply an existing or service in a new or superior way. There are several ways to uncover possible product or service improvements: by asking consumers for their suggestions by asking consumers to imagine an ideal version of the product or service. Another way is seeking the opinion of consumers by asking them to chart their steps in acquiring, using and disposing of a product (consumption chain method). The third source often leads to a totally new product or service.

Opportunities can take many forms, and marketers have to be good at spotting them. Consider the following,

  • A company may benefit from converging industry trends and introduce hybrid products or services that are new to the market. Example: At least five major cell phone manufacturers released phones with digital photo capabilities.
  • A company may take a buying process more convenient or efficient. Example: Consumers can now use the Internet to find more books than ever and search for the lowest price with a few clicks.
  • A company can meet the need for more information and advice. Example: Guru.com facilitates finding professional experts in a wide range of fields.
  • A company can customize a product or service that was formerly offered only in a standard form. Example: P&G Reflect .com Web site is capable of producing a customized skin care or hair care product to meet a customer’s need.
  • A company can introduce a new capability. Example: Consumers can now create and edit digital “iMovies�? with the new iMac and upload them to an Apple Web server to share with friends around the world.
  • A company may be able to deliver a product or a service faster. Example: FedEx discovered a way to deliver mail and packages much more quickly than the US Post Office.
  • A company may be able to offer a product at a much lower price. Example: Pharmaceutical firms created generic versions of brand-name drugs.

To evaluate opportunities, companies can use Market Opportunity Analysis (MOA) to determine the attractiveness and probability of success

1.Can the benefits involved in the opportunity be articulated convincingly to a defined target market(s)?

2.Can the target market(s) be located and reached with cost-effective media and trade channels?

3.Does the company possess or have access to the critical capabilities and resources needed to deliver the customer benefits?

4.Can the company deliver the benefits better than any actual or potential competitors?

5.Will the financial rate of return meet or exceed the company’s required threshold for investment?

Some developments in the external environment represent threat. An environmental threat is a challenge posed by an unfavorable trend or development that would lead, in the absence of defensive marketing action, to lower sales or profit. Threats should be classified according to seriousness and probability of occurrence. To deal with them, the company needs contingency plans that spell out changes it can make before or during the threat. Once management has identified the major threats and opportunities facing a specific business unit; it can characterize that business’s overall attractiveness.

Process of job design and analysis

Jobs can be analyzed through a process, which consists of six basic steps. These steps consist of collection of background information, selection of job to be analyzed, collection of job analysis data, developing a job description, job specification and employee specification.

1.Collection of Background Information:

Background information consists of organization charts, class specifications and existing job descriptions. Organization charts show the relation of the job with other jobs in the overall organizations. Class specifications describe the general requirements of the class of job to which this particular job belongs. The existing job description provides a good starting point for job analysis.

2.Selection of Representative Position to be Analyzed:

It would be too difficult and too time consuming to analyze all the jobs. So, the job analyst has to select some of the representative positions in order to analyze them.

3.Collection of Job Analysis Data:

This step involves actually analyzing a job by collection of data on features of the job, required employee behavior and human requirements.

4.Developing a Job Description:

This step involves describing the contents of the job in terms of functions, duties, responsibilities, operations etc.The incumbent of the job is expected to discharge the duties and responsibilities and perform the functions and operations listed in job description.

5.Developing a Job Specification:

This step involves conversion of the job description statements into a job specification. Job specification or job requirements describe the personal qualities, traits, skills, knowledge and background necessary for getting the job done.

6.Developing Employee Specification:

This final step involves conversion of specifications of human qualities under job specification into an employee specification. Employee specification describes physical qualification, educational qualification, experience etc. which specify that the candidate with these qualities possesses the minimum human qualities listed in the job specification.

Job analysis information:
The job analysis provides the following information:

Job Description

  • Job Identification: Job title, location, Job Code, short name, Department and unit.
  • Job Summary: Brief job contents its, authority, responsibility, hazards etc.
  • Relation to other jobs (Relation with Superiors, peers, subordinates)
  • Supervision /taken location in the hierarchy.
  • Machines tools, and Equipment used.
  • Material ad forms used.
  • Conditions of work. Location of work, owing hours, posture standing, stetting, walking –speed, accuracy, health hazards, occupational diseases etc.
  • Hazards (accident hazards)

Job Specification

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Training
  • Judgment
  • Initiative
  • Physical Skills.
  • Physical Effort.
  • Responsibilities
  • Communication skills
  • Emotional Characteristics
  • Unusual sensory demands such as vision, small, hearing etc.

Large organizations may use their internal expertise of senior HR managers to specify and quantify the above listed skills so as to standardize various jobs in the organization. This may be a pre requisite for fixing up designations, positions and pay scales and other employee related, matters. In case of medium and small firms, they may use outside expert help on determining the above. A systematic approach in this regards by whatever the size of the organizations will be in the long term benefits for the organization and give clarity to their HR policy and resultant productivity.

Job description

Job description is an important document which is basically descriptive in nature and contains a statement of job analysis. It serves to identify a job for consideration by other job analysts. It tells us what should be done, and why it is to be done, and where it should be performed.

Characteristics of Good Job Description

Earnest Dale developed the following hints for writing the job description:

1.The job description should indicate the scope and nature of the work including all important relationships.

2.The job description should be clear regarding the work of the position, duties etc.

3.More specific words should be selected to show (a) the kind of work, (b) the degree of complexity, (c) the degree of skill required, (d) the extent to which problems are standardized, (e) the extent of worker’s responsibility for each phase of the work, and (f) the degree and type of accountability. Action words such as analyze, gather, plan, confirm, deliver, maintain, supervise and recommend should be used.

4.Supervisory responsibility should be shown to the incumbents. Brief and accurate statements should be used in order to accomplish the purpose.

5.Utility of the description in meeting the basic requirements should be checked from the extent of understanding the job by reading the job description by a new employee.

The Content of Job Description

The job description normally contains the information on the following lines:

*Job title

*Organizational location of the job.

*Supervision given and received.

*Materials, tools, machinery and equipment worked with

*Designated of the immediate superiors and subordinates

*Salary levels: Pay, DA, other allowances, bonus, incentive wage, method of payment, hours of work, shift, break.

*Complete list of duties performed separated according to daily, weekly, monthly and casual, estimates time to be spent on each duty.

*Definition of unusual terms

*Conditions of work: Location, time, speed of work, accuracy, health hazards, accident hazards.

*Training and Development facilities

*Promotional chances and channels

*Model of Job Description is given.

Major Steps of Job Description

Job analyst has to write the job description after consulting the worker and the supervisor. After writing the preliminary draft, the job analyst has to get further comments and criticism from the worker and supervisor before preparing the final draft. The following modes may be used in writing job description

(a)Get the questionnaire filled in by the immediate supervisor of the employee.
(b)Job analyst has to complete the job description form by observing the actual work being done by the employee.
(c)All the information pertaining to the job should be secured from the worker.

The job analyst has to finalize the job description and write the final draft by using any one or a combination of two or more of the above methods. The job description should be reviewed and updated after the final daft is prepared.

Keeping the Job description Up-to-date

Job requirements have been undergoing continuous change. The job analyst have to secure the information about the change as and when it is reported or when a grievance is ventilated claiming that a given job should be reclassified into a higher group or class carrying the higher rate of pay. The job analyst has to check the information that is received and he has to change the job description accordingly.

The other important sub-system of job analysis is Job Specification (example given under)
(a)Job Grade: Middle Management

(b)Job Title: Credit Manager

(c)Reporting to: Regional Manager

(d)Definition of Job Purpose: To be a link between the branch managers and regional manager in appraising credit proposals

(e)Definition of Job Duties:
1.Receiving credit proposals processed by field officers at the branch level with specific remarks of the branch manager.
2.Evaluating the proposals from the lines of technical feasibility, commercial viability, financial soundness etc.
3.Securing additional information required from the applicant.
4.Visiting the industry/field before taking final decision.
5.Making final decision and informing the same to all parties.

(f)Additional Responsibility Requirements:
1.Representing the bank in district development committees
2.Maintaining sound employee relations in his department.

(g)Extent and Limits of Authority
1.Finalizing the projects requiring the loan up to Rs. 30lakhs.
2.Finalizing the projects owned purely by private limited companies.

(h)Salary: Rs. 4,500 per month (Pay Rs. 3,500 + DA Rs. 300 + HRA Rs. 700)

(i)Working Conditions.

In this article we have given what all to be included in the job description with an example. In practice the concerned HR manager has to prepare such information sheet for each and every job with appropriate pay scale. Working conditions can include seating arrangement, mode of transport local or inland, welfare measures, designation, scope for higher responsibility etc.

Corporate and division strategic planning

Corporate or Company headquarters establish the framework by preparing statements of mission, policy, strategy, and goals, within which the divisions and business units prepare their plans. Some corporations give their business units a lot of freedom to set their own sales and profit goals and strategies. Others set goals for their business units but let them develop their own strategies. Still others set the goals and participate in developing individual business unit strategies.

All corporate headquarters undertake four planning activities:

1.Defining the corporate mission.
2.Establishing strategic business units.
3.Assigning resources to each SBU.
4.Assessing growth opportunities.

Defining the Corporate Mission:

An organization exists to accomplish something to make cars, lend money, and provide a night’s lodging, and so on. Its specific mission or purpose is usually clear when the business starts. Over time the mission may change, to take advantage of new opportunities or respond to new market conditions. Amazon.com changed its mission from being the world’s largest online bookstore to aspiring to become the world’s largest online store. eBay changed its mission from running online auctions for collectors to running online auctions covering all kinds of goods.

To define its mission, a company should address Peter Drucker’s classic questions. What is our business? Who is the customer? What is of value to the customer? What will our business be? These simple-sounding questions are among the most difficult a company will ever have to answer. Successful companies continuously raise these questions and answer them thoughtfully and thoroughly. A company must redefine its mission if that mission has lost credibility or no dlonger defines as optimal course for growth.

Organizations develop mission statements to share with managers, employees, and (in many cases) customers. A clear, thoughtful mission statement provides employees with a shared sense of purpose, direction, and opportunity. The statement guides geographically dispersed employees to work independently and yet collectively toward realizing the organization’s goals.

Mission statements are at their best when they reflect a vision, an almost “impossible dream�? that provides a direction a direction for the company for the next 10 to 20 years. Sony’s former president, Akio Morita, wanted everyone to have access to “personal portable sound�? so his company created the Walkman and Portable CD player. Fred Smith wanted to deliver mail anywhere in the United States before 10:30 A.M the next day, so he created FedEx.

Good mission statements have three major characteristics. First, they focus on a limited number of goals. The statements, “We want to produce the highest-quality products, offer the most service, achieve the widest distribution, and sell at the lowest prices�? claims too much. Second, mission statements stress the company’s major policies and values. They narrow the range of individual discretion so that employees act consistently on important issues. Third, they, define the major competitive spheres within which the company will operate.

Industry

Some companies will operate in only one industry; some only in a set of related industries; some only in Industrial goods; consumer goods, or services; and some in any industry. For example, DuPont prefers to operate in the industrial market, whereas Dow is willing to operate in the Industrial and consumer markets. 3M will get into almost any industry where it can make money.

Products and Applications:

The range of products and applications a company will supply. St. Jude Medical aims to “serve physicians worldwide with high-quality products for cardiovascular care�?

Competence

Competence is the range of technological and other core competencies that a company will master. Japan’s NEC has built its core competencies in computing, communications, and components to support production of laptop computers, television receivers, and handheld telephones.

Market segment

The type of market or customers a company will serve. For example, Porsche makes only expensive cars. Gerber serves primarily the baby market.

Vertical

The number of channel levels from raw material to final product and distribution in which a company will participate. At one extreme are companies with a large vertical scope; at one time Ford owned its own rubber plantations, sheep farms, glass manufacturing plants, and steel foundries. At the other extreme are “hollow corporations�? or “pure marketing companies�? consisting of a person with a phone, fax, computer, and desk who contracts out for every service, including design, manufacture, marketing and physical distribution.

Geographical

The range of regions or countries in which a company will operate is its geographical range.. At one extreme are companies that operate in a specific city or state. At the other are multinationals such as Unilever and Caterpillar, which operate in almost every country in the world.

Defining the Business

Companies often define their businesses in terms of products. They are in the “auto business�? or the “clothing business.�? Market definitions of a business are superior to product definitions. A business must be viewed as a customer-satisfying process, not a goods-producing process. Products are transient; basic needs and customer groups endure forever. Transportation is a need: the horse and carriage, the automobile, the railroad, the airline, and the truck are products that meet the need.

Companies must redefine their business in terms of needs, not products. Pitney-Bowes Inc., an old-line manufacturer of postage meters, is in the process of doing just that. With old-fashioned paper mail under siege, Pitney–Bowes, a U.S. company, can no longer afford to be defined by its main product,, even though it currently holds 80% of the domestic market and 62% of the global market. The company is redefining itself as a leading service provider in the much larger mail and document management industry. With its wealth of engineers, cryptographers, and even workplace anthropologists, as well as 2,300 patents and several labs, Pitney-Bowes is well positioned to help companies organize their communications. In a new series of ads in business publications such as Fortune, Pitney–Bowes is spreading the word about its new mission. For instance, one ad boasts that “we can generate remarkable changes across your entire business, including a sizeable increase in profits.�?

A business can be defined in terms of three dimensions: customer groups, customer needs, and technology. Consider a small company that defines its business as designing incandescent lighting systems for television studios. Its customers group is television studios; the customer need is lighting; and the technology is incandescent lighting. The company might want to expand. It could make lighting for other customer groups, such as homes, factories, and offices; or it could supply other services needed by television studios, such as heating, ventilation, or air conditioning. It could design other lighting technologies for television studios, such as infrared or ultraviolet lighting.

Large companies normally manage quite different businesses, each requiring its own strategy. General Electric classified its businesses into 49 strategic business units (SBU). An SBU has three characteristics:

1.It is a single business or collection of related businesses that can be planned separately from the rest of the company.
2.It has its own set of competitors.
3.It has a manager who is responsible for strategic planning and profit performance and who controls most of the factors affecting profit.

The purpose of identifying the company’s strategic business units is to develop separate strategies and assign appropriate funding. Senior management knows that its portfolio of businesses usually includes a number of “yesterday’s has-beens�? as well as “tomorrow’s breadwinners.�? Yet it cannot rely on impressions; it needs analytical tools to classify its businesses by profit potential.

Techniques of data collection for job analysis

TECHNIQUES OF DATA COLLECTION FOR JOB ANALYSIS

There are several techniques that can be used for the purposes of collection of data. The important among them are:

1.Interviews
2.Direct observations
3.Maintenance of long records
4.Questionnaires
5.Critical incident technique etc

In practice, these techniques may be used individually, or in possible combination.

Interviews

There are two types of interviews which can be used for collection of data for job analysis, viz., individual interviews (with groups of employees who do the same job) and supervisory interviews (with one or more supervisors who are thoroughly knowledgeable about the job being analyzed) The interviewer has to collect accurate and complete data and information by creating favorable attitude among employees and supervisors. There are several basic attitudes and techniques that will serve to secure maximum of accurate and complete information. These attitudes and techniques will also help to reduce the natural suspicion of both employee and supervisor toward the interviewer. Important among them are:

*The interviewer should introduce himself so that the workers know him, who is, and why he is there?

*He has to show a sincere interest in the worker and the job being analyzed.

*He should not try to tell the employee how to do the job.

*He has to try to talk to the employees and supervisors in their own languages.

*He should not confuse the work with the worker.

*He has to do a complete job study within the objectives of the programs.

*He has to verify the job information obtained by consulting the other employees doing the same job.

Direct Observation

Direct observation is particularly useful in jobs that consists primarily of observable physical activity like draftsman, mechanics etc. One approach to this method is by observing the worker on the job during a complete work cycle. In this process, notes should be taken regarding all the job activities observed. The next stage is interviewing the worker and getting the additional information from him. The other approach is to observe and interview simultaneously.

Maintenance of Long Records

In this technique the workers are asked to maintain and keep daily records or list of activities they are doing on that day. For every activity he engages in the employee records the activity in the list given. This technique provides comprehensive job information and it is much useful when it is supplemented with subsequent interviews.

Questionnaires

Many companies use job analysis questionnaires to secure information on job requirement relating to typical duties and tasks, tools and equipments used etc.

Critical Incident Technique

The above techniques are useful for the purposes of gathering data, for making recruitment and selection decisions. In most cases, the utility of the above techniques unchecked and as such they are not entirely scientific.

The critical incident technique for job analysis is especially useful for scientific analysis, and selection research. In this technique, incidents are short examples of successful or unsuccessful job behavior. After many incidents are collected they are classified into behavioral categories. These categories describe specific desired job behaviors and can be useful in recruitment and selection decisions. Further more the categories also include, a list of the specific behaviors that make the difference between effective and ineffective performance on the job. They, therefore, specify precisely what kinds of performance should be appraised. It is also useful for testing the effectiveness of the job description and job specification.

The job analysis information, thus collected is useful to the personnel department to prepare the forms detailing as job descriptions, job specification and job standard.

The above information of this article has given the guidelines and the concerned authority or manage can use them to suit their organizations and obtain information or data.

Sales force motivation

Leading the sales force involves motivating them to achieve and even surpass their sales quotas. Motivation is intrinsic, i.e. it comes from within the person. Yet, it is the task of the sales manager to motivate his/her sales team. This involves creating a climate in which everyone gives his/her best performance.

While one aspect of creating a congenial climate is creating territories with sufficient challenge, the other aspect is even the leadership style and the compensation package. Sales managers have to be people who are also task oriented. They have to be team builders and team leaders. They have to be good listeners and exhibit empathy while demanding the performance.

Sales force compensation is an important tool to motivate the team. This compensation has two parts:

1.The Monetary.
2.The Non-Monetary

But it’s the power of money, or what one can do with money that makes it a powerful tool in motivation. Money helps an individual acquire status in the society besides enabling him/her feel more secure. Money ceases to have this value and that’s where other non-monetary incentives come in.

The Monetary compensations plans are

Straight salary

The most common form of salary is home fixed monthly salary. And hence he/she can plan living accordingly. The firm knows its financial commitment and that even the non-selling jobs like information gathering and customer service get adequate attention. The salesperson will not necessarily put all his/her efforts in selling fast moving items.

This form of compensation is useful in capital goods, industrial consumables and spares and project marketing, where either the sale is a one time (as in project) or is one which takes a long time to close, but once the customer has bought and adopted it, the salesperson has to only follow payments and collect repeat orders (as in case of consumables like chemicals or packaging material, etc). Servicing customers and ensuring higher levels of customer satisfaction becomes the subsequent call objectives.

The limitation of this method is that it can breed complacency in the sales team. It can create piggy back riders and salesperson may not necessarily complete the sales call norm nor may work for market development. Hence, straight salary plans have serious limitations in sales force motivation. This is also explained by the fact that both high achievers and non-performers take home the same income every month and thus, this plan may fail to create a motivational climate in the sales team.

Commissions Only

The reward should be commensurate to one’s efforts. Hence, another approach is to compensate sales people with commissions only. This method ensures high that high performers are rewarded adequately and that selling cost is linked to the sales revenue. In commissions basis sometimes the salesperson takes a fat income home and sometimes nothing. For, the ultimate sale is a function of a host of variables, most of which are beyond the salesperson’s control. Further, this method will foster a trend of pushing fast moving items to only a select customer group, who may have a positive feeling towards the salesperson. Further, the salesperson may not put in the effort for higher price, realization, even though an opportunity may exist. The some firms now link the commissions not only to sales but also to the price realized. Higher the price realized the commission.

Combination Plans

The above two methods of compensation are sought to be overcome through combination plans. In these plans, basic salary is given and they plan the monthly living. The firm may even add another part to it, viz. fringe benefits like motorcycle or a car or a paid holiday, club holiday etc. for high achievers. The plan responds to market conditions and a salesperson’s abilities. It ensures that non-selling jobs, prospecting, market penetration and slow moving items get the salesperson’s adequate attention. It also satisfies the salesperson’s desire for some stable monthly income. However, these plans fail to motivate seniors within the team. They may find that youngsters earn the same money as they do. It may also generate a “contract labor�? attitude among sales force and this can come in the way of creating winning teams. The salesperson may not feel a part of the organization. Flight to other greener pastures is not rare, particularly if achievers do not perceive a career growth in the organization. To adequately reward and challenge individual’s potential, the sales manager also uses non-monetary incentives like contests, sales meetings and conventions at holiday resorts and training. Sending Sales executives abroad for international trade fairs and exhibitions also act as a good non monetary incentive. Larsen & Toubro is one such company which not only participates in such exhibitions abroad but regularly sends members of the sales team beyond certain level of seniority to such international exhibitions.

Selection and design of handling system

Materials handling systems are expensive to purchase and operate. The expenses are those of initial costs, labor cost for operating the material handling equipments and maintenance and repair costs. The indirect expenses are those resulting from damaged or lost materials, delays in material deliveries and accidents. Since these expenses are quite substantial, greater attention of management is needed to the design and selection of materials handling systems.

Since the pattern of flow of material in a plant definitely affects the materials handling costs, it is vital that the design and layout of buildings must be integrated with the design of the materials-handling system. Hence, the selection and design of the materials handling system should be done along with the development of the layout as each one affects the other.

For example, if overhead cranes are to be used, the structure of the building must be strong enough to support the operation of these services. If heavy loads are to be transported on trucks, floors must have adequate support to withstand these loads. Aisles or gangways must be wide enough to accommodate fork lift trucks that will travel through the areas carrying the loads. Adequate floor space has to be provided in the layout for fixed position handling devices such as conveyors.

Steps to be followed in the selection and design of materials handling systems are:

1.Identification of the appropriate systems.
2.Review of design criteria and objectives of the handling system.
3.Collection of data regarding flow pattern and flow requirements.
4.Identification of activity relationships between departments.
5.Determination of space requirement and establishment of material flow pattern.
6.Analysis of material and building characteristics.
7.Preliminary selection of basic handling system and generation of alternative systems considering feasibility of mechanization and equipment capabilities.
8.Evaluation of alternatives with respect to optimal material flow, utilizing gravity, minimum cost, flexibility, ease of maintenance and capacity utilization.
9.Selection of the best suitable alternative system and checking it for compatibility with the layout.
10.Specification of the system.
11.Procurement of the equipment and installation of the system.

Job analysis

Need for Job Analysis

Procurement (for personnel/human resources) is the first operative function of personnel management, which can be subdivided into various sub functions like human resources planning, recruitment and selection. Management should determine the kind of personnel require for a job and the number of persons to be employed. The organization should also find out the right man for the right job in right time. The knowledge of the job is essential to perform these functions.

In addition, establishment of the scientific standard in advance is essential to compare the applicants with the job and to select personnel. This standard stipulates the minimum acceptable qualifications, skills, and qualities required for adequate job performance. Stipulating the standard requires the knowledge regarding job design, study of the job duties and responsibilities, requirements of the job human abilities etc. Job analysis is needed to know all these functions and to perform various functions of HRM.

Job Terminology

Description of technical terminology is highly necessary in order to facilitate the study of a job analysis. So, it is desirable to define the terms related to job analysis like task, position, job, occupation, job analysis, job description, job specification and job classification.

Task

A task is an action or related group of action designed to produce a definite outcome or result.

Position

A position is a group of similar tasks and responsibilities assigned to one individual. The term is used in this narrow technical sense to facilitate more precise discussion of the job analysis technique.

Job

A job is “a group of positions that are similar as to kind and level of work.�? In some instances only one position may be involved, simply because no other similar position exists. For example, in the small firm the position of personnel manager also constitutes a job since there is only one personnel manager position in the organization. Further, there may be six employees, “all of whom are classified under the same title, yet each performs slightly different work.�? Likewise there may be five or six cashiers in a large commercial bank branch who may do different work.

Occupation

An occupation “is a group of jobs that are similar as to kind of work and are found throughout an industry or the entire country.�? Occupation is a category of work found in many firms.

Job Analysis

Job analysis is defined as “the process of determining, by observation and study, and reporting pertinent information relating to the nature of a specific job. It is determination of the tasks which comprise the job and of the skills, knowledge, abilities and responsibilities required of the worker of a successful performance and which differentiate one job from all others.�?

Job Description

A job description is “an organized, factual statement of the duties and responsibilities of a specific job.�? In brief it should tell what is to done, how it is done and why? It is a standard of function, in that it defines the appropriate and authorized content of a job.

Job Specification

A job specification is “a statement of the minimum acceptable human qualities necessary to perform a job properly. In contrast to the job description it is a standard of personnel and designates the qualities required for acceptable performance.

Employee Specification

Employee specification is a statement of minimum required employee qualifications, namely physical, educational, work etc, which represent the possession of minimum acceptable human qualities (as specified in job specification) by the prospective employee necessary to perform a job.

The above clearly outline what are the inclusions to be made in Job Analysis and how to categorize the same for each job. The concerned personnel or HR manager may initiate an internal system for quantifying the Job analysis and differentiate various positions. This is made on the basis of individual company needs and may not be a standard formula.