The article
aims to understand why high performance work system are important for an
organization to function in an efficient manner that helps the organization in
generating shareholders wealth. Employee engagement and satisfaction
are the two main drivers for an organization to achieve its set goals in a
timely and efficient manner. This essay will talk about how high performance
work systems lead to better management of employees which in turn helps the
organization in achieving efficiency. Lets look at a few companies that have
established work systems that have helped them in obtaining superior results.

 

The tech firm Full
Contact every year offers its employees a paid vacation of $7500. The
company has only one rule, the employees actually have to travel somewhere and
can’t do any work or answer work related calls or messages. The company feels
that employees that return from a vacation are in a better state to work and
are pushed towards achieving the goals of the company. This policy makes the
employees feel that their hard work is being recognized. American Express is another organization that has been rated one of
the top workplaces in the world. The company provides its employees paid leaves
and health insurance. They also provide their employees options of on-site
recreational activities like on site gym and cafeteria at its headquarters in
New York, they give their employees an option to work from home as long as
there is no dilution in the quality of work. The social media giant Facebook has been rated one of the best
places to work. They provide their employees with perks like gourmet food
courts, on site-doctors, chiropractors, laundry and dry cleaning services,
bikes to commute around campus, and four months of paid parental leave for
mothers, fathers and same sex couples. Southwest Airlines has been the most
profitable airlines in the past three-decade in the United States of America,
the company every year uses its retained earning to share them more equitably
with their employees than growing the airlines. It is known for providing the
best customer service and it builds this by engaging employees in successful
ways. So it is possible, we can design a successful company by listening to the
employees and by engaging them in decision-making as well as provide high
quality service. Both Amazon and Microsoft have been known for setting ruthless
performance measurements. But in order to grow further even Amazon had to bring
in the concept of high performance work systems. Earlier
it used a Rank and yank approach, which meant rewarding the top employees and
firing the poor performers but then it, started a training program called Pivot
which gives a chance to the employees to visit an in house counselor before
finally quitting the job, so that they don’t feel demoralized and dissatisfied.
The employees of an organization are the intellectual assets, which can attract
and develop powerful and strategic decision-making that helps the organization
to succeed.

These are just few examples of companies that have focused
on promoting employee engagement and satisfaction using high performance work
systems in order to get superior results. It is important for all organizations
whether small or big to have work systems that motivate their employees to
work. Even for companies that are just starting up, it will be very helpful if
they inculcate this culture within the organization from the start.

 

How
to achieve Employee engagement?

 

Profit is one of the main reasons a company enters into a
business. Employee engagement helps companies in achieving their goal of
generating profits. It is important as it improves the performance and productivity,
which in turn will lead to higher revenue and better bottom line. For ensuring
employee engagement it is important for employers to have the right work
environment, challenges and incentives for its employees. Employee engagement
can depend on several factors like:

 

Defined
Purpose

A purpose is like a vision, which helps employees
understand what the company does, who they work for and what are they expected
to do.

 

Employee
Recognition

It is the responsibility of the manager to evaluate and
reward employees for superior performance, this motivates employees to work
harder

 

Manager
and Employee Relationship

It is important to maintain a good reputation with the
employees and gain their trust. It makes employees feel more secure and can
lead to better performance.

 

 

Relationships
with Peers

Friendly relationships with colleagues can bring in a
sense of team spirit, which can lead to employee engagement.

 

Remuneration

Employees should be paid on the basis of their performance
or as per industry standards. This practice can help keep the employees
motivated

 

Growth
Opportunities

Sufficient growth opportunities should be available to the
employees. These opportunities allow employees to learn new skills and keeps
them engaged

 

It is important for every manager to understand what
motivates his/her employees. He should ensure that he provides them with an
environment that helps both the employees and the organization to achieve its
goals.

 

High
Performance Work Systems

 

HPWS is not a one size fits all model, it is a combination
of HR practices bundled together for maximizing employee knowledge, skill,
commitment and flexibility.

It is a framework that aims at creating an environment in an
organization where the employee has greater involvement and responsibility.
HPWS helps the organization to understand what kinds of jobs are needed by the
organizations; it also helps them in designing these jobs and identifying the
right candidates for these positions. FW Taylor developed a scientific model of
organization, this model aimed at finding the right jobs for the workers and
rewarding them with adequate compensation. He believed that unions wouldn’t be
created if the employees were paid well.

 

There are four principles of High Performance Work Systems
namely:

 

1)      
Egalitarianism:
Employees should feel like a part of the team, the aim of this
principle is to eliminate the power and status differences among the employees
at different level and promote teamwork, which leads to productivity.

2)      
Shared
Information: This principle encourages employers to share important
information about the company with the employees and invite productive
feedback; this helps in creating a peaceful and healthy work environment in the
organization and also makes the employees feel that they are part of the
organization.

3)      
Knowledge
Development: This principle aims at promoting skilled development of
employees; the manager should encourage and promote their team members to learn
more skills so that they can provide more value to the organization.

4)      
Performance
reward linkage: Employees should be given incentives and targets that
motivate them in order to get better results. Performance based rewards give
the employees a feeling of being important as their contributions are
recognized.

 

 

The companies should create HPWS revolving around the key
business of the organization, the system should help in establishing work
environment that promotes teamwork, and it should also benefit from the unique
skill sets of all employees. The system should promote decision-making among
employees and should also provide work that is more meaningful.

 

Lets now look at theories, which will help organizations
in developing high performance work systems:

 

Hawthorne
Effect

The Hawthorne effect, named after Henry A Landsberger
aimed at increasing the productivity of an employee by singling them out in
order to make them feel important. According to the theory people perform
better when someone is observing them.

 

Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs

This theory was coined by Abraham Maslow, which said that
the organizations should aim at meeting he basic needs of the employee so that
they are motivated to achieve higher level needs. The hierarchy is made up of 5
levels:

 

Physiological:
Basic needs to survive like food, shelter and water

Safety:
Personal and financial security that ensures well being

Belonging:
Need for friendly relations and family

Esteem: the
need to be confident and respected by everyone

Self-Actualization: The
desire to achieve your highest potential

 

According to this theory these needs should be fulfilled
in the same order to get best results for the organization.

 

Hertzberg’s
Two-Factor Theory

Frederick Herzberg developed this strategy; he found 2
main factors that influence employee motivation and satisfaction:

 

Motivator
Factors: These are factors that satisfy and motivate employees in
order to make them work harder. These factors aim at ensuring that employees
enjoy their work and feel that they are recognized in thr organization. They
should also feel that they are progressing in their careers.

 

Hygiene
Factors: These factors if absent can lead to lack of motivation
and dissatisfaction among the mployees.