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QUALITY OF WORK LIFE AS HR STARTEGY – AN ANALYSIS

Friday, 25 November 2011 05:56
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Today’s workforce consists of literate workers who expect more than just money from their work.

In the modern scenario, QWL as a strategy of Human Resource Management is being recognized as the ultimate key for development among all the work systems, not merely as a concession. This is integral to any organization towards its wholesome growth. This is attempted on par with strategies of Customer Relation Management.

Strategy and Tactics

Over the years, since industrial revolution, much experimentation has gone into exploiting potential of human capital in work areas either explicitly or implicitly. Thanks to the revolution in advanced technology, the imperative need to look into QWL in a new perspective is felt and deliberated upon. Major companies are tirelessly implementing this paradigm in Human Resources Development (some call it People’s Excellence).

Globalization has lowered national boundaries, creating a knowledge-based economy that spins and spans the world. Major economies are converging technologically and economically, and are highly connected at present moment. The new global workplace demands certain prerequisites such as higher order of thinking skills like abstraction system thinking and experimental inquiry, problem-solving and team work. The needs are greater in the new systems, which are participative ventures involving workers managed by so-called fictional proprietors

Men Counted

In simple terms, all the above requirements can be easily achieved by providing improved quality of work life to the workers available on rolls.  Workers are often referred to as teams or groups in general parlance and whatever they do go to the credit of the teamwork.

The concept of teamwork has evolved from the organized toil that has its own social dimensions.  Good teams can hardly be imported from outside.  They usually occur as an indigenous incidence at the workplace and nurturing the same over time is the responsibility of management.  Here, it may also be discerned that the composition of available workers in no more a local phenomenon as in the past.  Mobility is caused by migration beyond culture barriers and isolation, relocation and globalised deployment

Money Matters

For good QWL, cash is not the only answer.  Today, the workers are aware of the job requirements of job as also the fact that the performance of the same is measured against the basic goals and objectives of the organization and more importantly, wages are paid according to the larger picture specific to the industry and the employer’s place in the same.

The increased share of workers in wages and benefits through legislation as well as competitive interplay of superior managements in various fields of industry and business on extensive levels has reshaped the worker’s idea of quality of work life.  Moreover, other things being equal, the employers are increasingly vying with their rivals in providing better working conditions and emoluments

Non economic – ‘Job Security’

The changing workforce consists of literate workers who expect more than just money from their work life.  Their idea of salvation lies in the respect they obtain in the work environment, like how they are individually dealt and communicated with by other members in the team as well as the employer, what kind of work he is entrusted with, etc.  Some of these non-economic aspect are: Self respect, satisfaction, recognition, merit compensation in job allocation, incompatibility of work conditions affecting health, bullying by older peers and boss, physical constraints like distance to work, lack of flexible working hours, work-life imbalances, invasion of privacy in case of certain cultural groups and gender discrimination and drug addiction.

Teamwork

Teamwork is the new mantra of modern day people’s excellence strategy.  Today’s teams are self-propelled ones.  The modern manager has to strive at the group coherence for common cause of the project.  The ideal team has wider discretion and sense of responsibility than before as how best to go about with its business.  Here, each member can find a new sense of belonging to each other in the unit and concentrate on the group’s new responsibility towards employer’s goals.  This will boost the coziness and morale of members in the positive environment created by each other’s trust.  Positive energies, free of workplace anxiety, will garner better working results.  Involvement in teamwork deters deserters and employer need not bother himself over the detention exercises and save money on motivation and campaigns.

Boss Factor

Gone are the days when employers controlled workers by suppressing the initiative and independence by berating their brilliance and skills, by designing and entrusting arduous and monotonous jobs and offer mere sops in terms of wages and weekly off.  Trust develops when managers pay some attention to the welfare of the workers and treat them well by being honest in their relations.  The employer should keep in mind that every unpaid hour of overtime the worker spends on work is an hour less spent with the family.

Involvement and Communication

Multi-skilling and exposing workers to different lines of activity in the unit indirectly leads to the greater involvement and better job security of worker in the organization.  The employer too, can make use of the varied skills to any altered situations of restructuring and other market adaptations.  Thus, the monotony of work life can be alleviated.  The employer, armed with the depth of cross-trained human resources, need not go hunting for new talent and thus save on the unspent pay packets, which can be spent usefully on the amenities for workers.  No doubt, rivals should be envying him for this edge.

Influences

Overwork is tolerated in emerging industries unlike government departments as part of the game and work culture.  This is so, what the soaring competition among the tightly contested players.  The point is empowerment of workforce in the area of involvement. All said and done, the workers are considered as the invisible branch ambassadors and internal customers in certain industries. It is already high time the older theories of industrial relations should be unlearnt.

 

QUALITY OF WORK LIFE:( QWL)

Friday, 25 November 2011 05:54
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Quality of Working Life can be defined as “The quality of relationship between employees and the total working environment.”

QWL is a process by which an organization responds to employee needs for developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at work. QWL is “The degree to which members of a work organization are able to satisfy important personnel needs through their experience in the organization” by J Richard and J Loy.

The basic purpose is to develop work environments that are excellent for people as well as for the economic health of the organization.

“When organizations have addressed the issue of quality of working life, they have always achieved great productivity breakthroughs" __ Jerome M. Rosow.

A better quality of work life for employees leads to a higher productivity for the employer.

It is almost impossible today to pick up a newspaper of news-magazine without finding a reference to quality of work/working life. In the search for improved productivity, manager and executives alike are discovering the important contribution of QWL. QWL entails the design of work systems that enhance the working life experiences of organizational members, thereby improving commitment to and motivation for achieving organizational goals. Most, often, this has been implemented through the design of jobs that afford workers more direct control over their immediate work environment.

According to J. Lloyd Suttle, Quality of work life is the degree to which members of a work organization are able to satisfy important personal needs through their experiences in the organization? More specifically, QWL may be set into operation in terms of employees perceptions of their physical and psychological well-being at work. It includes virtually every major issue that labor has fought for during the last two decades.

Major Issues in QWL

Jerome M Rosow, president of the Work in American Institute, has identified seven critical factors which will affect the quality of work life during the years ahead. These are pay, employee benefits, job security, alternative work schedules, occupational stress, participation and democracy in the workplace.

Pay

QWL must be built around an equitable pay programs. In future more workers may want to participate in the profits of the firm.

Benefits

Since workers are now better organized, educated and vociferous, they demand more from the employers all over the world-apart from the pay-in the form of social security and welfare benefits as matter of right which were once considered a part of the bargaining process.

Job Security

Conditions in the work environment must be created by the employer which will give all the employees freedom from fear of losing their jobs. A system must be created in which there are healthy working conditions with optimum financial security. The points stressed above are essential to improve the QWL in organizations.

Alternative Work Schedules

With a view to tackle job boredom, modern organizations have been experimenting with several forms of alternate work schedules such as four-day work week, flexi-time and part-time work. Compressed work week is a work schedule in which a trade is made between the number of hours worked per day, and the number of days worked per week, or order to work the standard length hours-four days, 10 hours each day or three days, 12 hours each day are examples of the QWL schedule. In India this is being implemented by a few companies successfully.

 

Inflation

Friday, 25 November 2011 05:50
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Inflation is one of the most dreaded and misunderstood economic phenomena. We know that the prices of commodities will, over time, rise and fall, responding to the pulls and pushes of demand and supply. A failure of a particular crop or a flash fashion for a certain kind of clothing can cause the price of that crop and the cost of that kind of clothing to rise, just as an unexpected glut in the production of onions will cause the price of onions to fall. These price movements are nature’s way of signalling to consumers that they should consume less of the commodity facing shortage and more of the goods in glut and to producers to produce more of what is in short supply and less of what is available in plenty. To even out these ebbs and flows of prices would be folly, as we know from countless examples of misdirected government interventions.

Inflation has little to do with these changes in relative prices of goods and services. It refers, instead, to a sustained rise in prices across the board, that is, a phenomenon where the average price of all goods is on an increasing trajectory for some stretch of time. Of course, this may be accompanied by changes in relative prices. For the common person, there is something threatening about the phenomenon of inflation, especially on those occasions when the rise in prices of goods is not matched by an equivalent increase in the price of labour.

Rising inflation is one of the major problems of the world today .The Reserve Bank has been battling inflation for the last 20 months. It had announced its 12th rate hike in18 months ,a period in which it raised interest rates by 350 basis points .But efforts to control inflation have been ineffective, in fact , inflation rates have consistently exceeded predictions. RBI is now expected to increase rates again in its monetary policy review ion October 25.So,the problem is how to manage /curb inflation which started from food and had a spiralling effect and is now prevailing in almost all the sectors hampering domestic growth.

We are aware that whenever inflation comes, it comes with the positive as well as the negative effects. So , what is important is we must give it time to subside and meanwhile, we must learn to survive with it.

How to Survive Inflation?

Tips to avoid the negative effects of inflation are only suggestions and don’t constitute any legal advice, therefore you’re free to use your own judgment depending on circumstances, to be more prepared to face inflation effects you need to be aware of those effects, so if you haven’t done so, please read some of them above, here are some tips:

•    Be wise when holding cash, whether in your home or in your savings account, if you’re earning 5% interest on the money you have in your bank, and inflation rate is 10% then you’re in reality losing 5% and not earning anything.
•    Be careful when buying bonds, high inflation rates completely destroy the value of long-term bonds.
•    If you have a variable-rate mortgage, fix it if you can find a good deal, have a low fixed interest rate or 0% interest if you can find one.
•    Invest in durable goods or commodities rather than in money.
•    Invest in things that you're going to use anyway and will serve you for a long time.
•    Invest for long-term capital gains, because short term investments tend to give deceptive results or sense of making profits while in reality you’re not making profits.
•    Learn about bartering which is trading goods or services without the exchange of money (it was very popular in hyperinflation times).
•    Manage wisely your recurring monthly bills such as (phone bills, cable TV...), it would help to reduce them or eliminate some of them.
•    Same goes with ephemeral items (movies, restaurants, hotel rooms...) they’re not bad if you spend money on them in moderation.
•    Ask yourself, do I really need these things I’m spending my money on? Think how much and how often you will need something before buying it.
•    Use the money saving tips such as: you need to reduce your consumption of things that are rising rapidly in price (eg, gas) without having to reduce your consumption of goods that are rising less rapidly or even falling in price (eg, clothes).
•    Buy only what you need, especially objects that have multi-tasks, and are considered durable goods.

The conclusion from all this is:  You don’t have to live cheap, just live smart!

 


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