Today, the case company experiences a substantial downturn in sales, and I as the HR manager suggest using a performance management system to enhance organizational performance. In this case, it is essential to provide a job description, highlight key behaviors, develop OBM plan, suggest methods to measure performance, inform about standards, provide feedback, and act as a leader, and highlight ethical and legal issues. To support multitasking, interpersonal communication, leadership, and compliance with the company’s standards, OBM plan suggests evaluating the situation profoundly, designing a suitable intervention, assessing the outcomes, supporting change, and determining the effectiveness of performance.
In this case, performance can be measured with the help of KPIs and interviews with supervisors while information concerning changes in any standards can be delivered during meetings and via e-mails. Both constructive and positive feedback has to be frequently provided while the leader has to communicate the vision to the employees and become a role model. Lastly, the major ethical and legal issues that have to be considered are discrimination, dismissal, and privacy, as they may have a negative impact on motivation and question the effectiveness of decision-making.
According to the case study, the company operating in the apparel industry experienced a significant downturn in sales, and the need to avoid bankruptcy resulted in the layoff of sales associates. In this situation, as an HR manager, I recommend focusing on performance management since it tends to have a positive impact on the contribution and motivation of the employees and the financial stability of the company (Rani & Srivastava, 2016). Consequently, the primary goals of the paper include designing a job description and organizational behavior modification (OBM) plan, providing information to the employees, developing a performance management system, proposing methods to deliver feedback and cultivate positive changes, and assessing legal and ethical problems.
In the first place, it is vital to offer a job description that will focus on the main features of the position such as responsibilities, duties, and requirements. In this instance, the major duties of sales associates will be providing cashier services, sales and merchandising, and customer service and care and managing general store activities and operations. The description of the job with all characteristics is presented below.
As a sales associate, one has to enhance customers’ experience by treating them with respect and care and making their visit to the store pleasant, memorable, reassuring, and positive. These company’s goals can be achieved by solving clients’ problems promptly, increasing customer retention by offering loyalty membership, and attracting more customers with the help of colorful advertisements and reduced waiting time.
The major duties include performing cashier activities according to company’s rules, policies, transparency initiatives, and the Code of Conduct.
Sales and Merchandising
The main responsibilities focus on 1) placing products on shelves according to company’s standards; 2) maintaining “sales” area; and 3) managing the stock of the whole store.
Apart from the sales responsibilities highlighted above, the sales associate has to 1) maintain the store clean; and 2) keep merchandise in order and relocate it to designated places.
- Excellent communication skills;
- Punctuality and responsibility;
- Sales skills (Sales frameworks and overcoming objections);
- Previous experience in sales is a benefit;
- Previous experience as a cashier (1 year);
- Being able to operate as a cashier and use the terminal to register sales;
- Education: High School degree is a minimum requirement.
- Competitive salary
- Career development
- Opportunities for learning
- Entertaining corporate events
OBM Plan to Define Key Behaviors
Based on the description and analysis of sales associate’s position indicated above, key behaviors have to focus on being communicative (well-developed interpersonal skills), completing on several tasks at the same time such as cashiering and merchandising (multitasking), initiating contact with customers to increase their retention and sales, and acting according to the company’s standards. These behaviors have an immense effect on organizational performance, but it can be challenging to cultivate them. To encourage this change and resolve corporate problems, the concept of OBM has to be applied. This method is utilized to establish a well-developed action plan to support the development of key behaviors for effective job performance (Abrheim, 2015).
Consequently, the first stage (1) of the plan is to conduct the analysis of the organizational behaviors and determine the ones that do not comply with a position of sales associate. Managers and co-workers can play a defining role in this process, as apart from Key Performance Indicators (KPI), they can unveil new insights concerning employees’ motivation and attitudes (Abrheim, 2015). The acquired information can be used to identify the main problems (2) and see a connection between the issues in behavior and organizational performance (3). These matters can be used as a rationale to underline the need for change for top management and workforce of the company.
The next stage is to design a relevant strategy that can help find a solution to this problem (4). When referring to the case organization, one of the interventions can focus on designing effective objectives that will not only help support this behavior but also will assist the company in enhancing its competitive edge. Along with that, the company has to develop KPIs that comply with corporate strategy, constantly provide constructive feedback to the employees, establish a compensation system focusing on paying for results, and informing the workforce about any changes in standards (Abrheim, 2015). Nonetheless, the subsequent stages of OBM plan should include evaluating the outcomes of the strategy (5), supporting change (6), and assessing the influence of the plan of the overall performance of the employees (7).
Overall, relying on the concepts of OBM plan is beneficial for the case organization. Firstly, it offers a well-established framework of actions, and the management has a clear understanding of the sequence of steps. Simultaneously, it unveils new insights regarding strategies to enhance the financial performance of the company, as HR department has a clear understanding of the required qualities during recruitment and training (Abrheim, 2015). Furthermore, it has a positive impact on employees’ motivation and commitment since sales associate has a well-defined vision, direction, and career path to pursue.
Measure Employees’ Performance and Inform about Standards
As it was stated earlier, measuring the ability of the employees to meet organizational standards is a way to understand the changes that have to be made. One of the recognized approaches is assessing KPIs since they provide numerical data and ease the comparison with industry and organizational standards (Abrheim, 2015). To evaluate the work of sales associate, it is essential to rely on KPIs such as the number of sales, positive feedback from clients, and targeted sales vs. actual sales. Along with that, interviewing managers, supervisors, and co-workers can help discover novel insights of employees’ motivation, attitude, commitment, and communication skills (Abrheim, 2015). These aspects have to be used in a combination, as otherwise, it will be impossible to identify the key problems associated with employees’ behaviors.
At the same time, it is of paramount importance to inform the employees about any changes in performance standards, as the lack of knowledge may not only damage company’s financial projections but also lead to conflicts between different levels of subordination. The news can be delivered to the workers electronically via company’s intranet and verbally by organizing meetings (Abrheim, 2015). Taking advantage of these different methods can help the workforce understand the actions that are expected from them.
Ways to Provide Feedback and Encourage Positive Changes
Another critical component of HR practice is finding effective approaches to provide feedback to the employees. Before delivering any type of feedback (positive and constructive), HR manager has to analyze the situation (1), identify problems (2), design solutions (3), and monitor the subsequent changes in performance (4). The steps highlighted above are essential when proving constructive feedback while the HR manager has to be honest, communicative and eager to help and suggest ways to improve the current situation (Omer & Abdularhim, 2017). It can be organized monthly or quarterly. Apart from the constructive feedback, it is critical to provide positive feedback to the employees weekly since positive reinforcement has an advantageous influence on organizational performance and employees’ commitment (Wei & Yazdanifard, 2014). In this case, awarding employees for achievements and relying on performance-based compensation can be used as methods to sustain behavioral changes in the organization.
Despite a substantial impact of the employees on the financial performance of the company, there are several ways that leaders can utilize to reinforce positive behavioral changes. In the first place, it is critical to ensure that organizational goals, values, and standards are understood and delivered clearly. These ideas can be distributed during individual, feedback, and group sessions. Simultaneously, practicing responsible human resource management is also of paramount importance (Abrheim, 2015). In this case, the leader can share his/her experience with the employees during training sessions, become a role model, and support the employees’ desire for development and growth.
Legal and Ethical Issues
The management of the company has to consider different ethical and legal issues that may incur as consequences of performance management system. For example, the issue of privacy and monitoring is still under a vehement debate. Today, to measure employees’ performance, companies use a diverse range of recording tools such as videotaping, e-mail usage, and activity history on the Internet (Yerby, 2013).
These matters lead to lawsuits related to the unreasonable firing of the employees and not informing them about monitoring procedures. For example, The New York Times terminated “over twenty employees for sending inappropriate and offensive e-mail messages” (Yerby, 2013, p. 47). Nonetheless, this problem can be avoided by informing the workers about the recording procedures. Another matter is discrimination, and Wal-Mart case is one of the examples of this problem. For instance, in 2001, several female workers of the chain filed a lawsuit by claiming that apart from their excellent performance, they were not promoted (Crofoot, 2011).
Another ethical issue is unreasonable dismissal, and one of the examples of this case is the fact that some organizations do not provide effective feedback while firing employees without giving them an opportunity to correct their mistakes. To avoid this problem, the management has to discover alternatives to dismissal and focus on performance improvement (Stacho & Stachova, 2015). All ethical and legal issues described above have a negative impact on the atmosphere in the organization, question the effectiveness of managerial decision-making, and make the company less attractive to potential workers in the labor market. In turn, they decrease motivation and commitment of the employees while negatively affecting financial performance.
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