Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) are a business approach that can aid firms in attracting and retaining top personnel. Flexible work arrangements can help employees achieve a better work-life balance, contributing to higher employee satisfaction, fewer unscheduled absences, higher retention, better individual performance, and more corporate productivity (Ray & Pana-Cryan, 2021). FWA is a variation from the traditional working experience regarding where or when a job is completed. COVID-19 pandemic tested the business world’s ability to adapt to changing work environments as there was a desire to implement flexible working strategies inclusive of all employees.
Modern organizations’ most prominent flexible work arrangements include flex options, telecommuting, and a compressed work week. Flex options entail varying an employee’s schedule on a regular or non-regular basis while the staff still completes the required 40 hours per week (Berman et al., 2019). Telecommuting entails routinely working one or more days per week at a location that is not the regularly assigned place of employment. A compressed workweek is a scheduling approach that allows employees to complete a conventional 40-hour workweek in less than five days in one week.
These flexible work arrangements foster increased productivity by emphasizing working with a personalized schedule based on work and family commitments. Berman et al. (2019) claim that the transition to a greater work-life balance among US company-based employees has accelerated the growth of flexible work arrangements where employees choose different work schedules to meet family and personal needs (p.291). The primary reason for this phenomenon is the need to have a balanced life regarding career progression and family which relies heavily on flexibility in the workplace.
Flexibility in the workplace significantly impacts a healthy work-life balance as it leads to increased employee engagement, job satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, managed work stress and prevents burnout, which is the leading cause of decreased productivity (Mache, Servaty, & Harth, 2020). Flexible working arrangements are particularly beneficial to people with major life commitments, such as parenting, as they have a sense of freedom to complete work requirements and take care of their personal engagements outside the workplace. Employers can increase productivity and maintain a healthier workforce by creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance in its programs.
Vroom Expectancy Model
In the expectancy theory model, people will select how to behave based on the outcomes they expect as a result of their actions. This depicts how employees make decisions based on what management anticipates. The organization will set attainable goals for employees and provide their desired incentives, such as advancement possibilities, pay raises, and bonuses. Employees will be motivated to work extended shifts to meet the goals (Osafo, Paros, & Yawson, 2021). An example of Vroom expectancy theory is where the manager tasked the staff with generating an engaging video advert during an advertising campaign.
The quality of the advert would dictate the bonus they received as a reward. The advert would be designed and delivered within the expected timeline as the employees were keen to present the end task in anticipation of the bonus. The staff were motivated as they designed the video advert as they knew their efforts would benefit their stipulated bonuses (Abdul Rehman, Sehar, & Afzal, 2019). The manager rewards the marketing team when an advertisement campaign performs well; thus, the staff work hard to generate the best design idea to earn the bonus.
In the second example, XYZ food company used the Vroom expectancy model when selecting a new vendor for your company for supplying raw materials. The manager instructs that employees will receive bonuses at the end of each quarter based on the quality of food provided. The vendor selection process is crucial for company growth; thus, all staff must be involved in decision-making since they will handle the procurement process. The employees do not have all the information regarding the best vendors in the industry, but the company policy dictates the selection process. The staff gives good suggestions regarding the best vendor through a yes or no questionnaire to achieve the best possible food delivery. The employees select the best available vendor to interact with most staff members to plan the best delivery schedule for the staff to receive their bonuses.
The expectancy theory of motivation was apparent in the finance department of a company I volunteered for. At one time, the supervisor at the workshop emphasized the timely delivery of draft accounts as the basis for upgrading the payroll. The employees would work hard to receive the yearly salary upgrade, thus leading to the increased efficiency of the finance department. There would be no late bank reconciliations or salary delays that would affect the scheduled delivery of the draft accounts to the supervisor. The pay rise motivated staff to work during weekends as they anticipated the salary reward.
Job motivation is the primary driver of employee engagement and productivity in an organization. Employees have different needs and thus have different motivational factors. (Berman et al., 2019), the most prominent motivation features entail pay rise, opportunities for progression, pay rise, and bonuses (p. 215). These extrinsic rewards are the foundation of employee engagement; thus, human resource management teams need to identify the rewards that are commensurate with the employees’ workload. Abraham Maslow’s classic hierarchy of human needs offers a great guide to supporting employees by listing individual needs such as psychological, safety, belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. Although employees want several different rewards, money is the priority as it greatly impacts how staff interact with the job. It is prudent to pay employees fair salaries while setting realistic performance goals.
Training and Development
The phrase, ‘You will always find some Eskimos ready to instruct the Congolese on how to cope with heat waves’ by Polish Writer Stanislaw Lec is a caution to individuals who do not separate fact and fiction in their guidance. The quote entails a concept where people feel qualified to guide a specific subject but are not necessarily qualified to give their advice. The interference in this development of providing good advice by trying to force one’s view on people erodes the objective of helping them gain more knowledge.
The quote can be directly referenced to training and development in organizations. Training and development with the objective of individual growth are vital in helping employees acquire additional skills that help them advance in their careers (Rodriguez & Walters, 2017). However, business leaders guide the organization in training to make the organization more effective without aligning the employee development to business measures; thus, no improvement can be linked to the program. Implementing training for the wrong reasons such as trends or a desire not connected to a business goal, is detrimental to the organization as it shows the manager is not qualified to guide ways to improve an organization’s productivity. Companies make extensive investments in training their personnel. They invest in recruiting individuals who are a good fit for the company’s needs and in the workers’ human capital once they are hired (Berman et al., 2019). Recruiting competent managers who align business goals with training and development can significantly impact employee performance.
Business ethics is an essential aspect of business as it promotes integrity among a workforce and helps the organization gain trust from key stakeholders. Berman et al., (2019), concerns about ethics violations have prompted organizations to provide ethics training to employees and managers (p.364). Training regarding ethics is vital in organizations keen on cultivating a good public image in this internet age where brand integrity is key to growth (Grigoropoulos, 2019). Organizational ethics entail standards by which customers judge a company to determine whether to be loyal to their products.
People inherently desire to be liked by others as it’s a normal human feeling to have existential relationships. Supervisors love to be appreciated by others as their likeness acts as a resource that can be used for influencing purposes. Liking someone entails enjoying a relationship with that individual regardless of organizational position. Supervisors strive to be desired, as dislike leads to a lack of positive response from employees. Staff who dislike their manager focus on running from their supervisor, thus limiting their productive collaboration towards a common objective (Adonis, 2017). Management greatly influences employees who work harder for supervisors they like than those they dislike. Management likeability entails meeting objectives through the actions of others, which is the core of management. This probability of a supervisor being intensely disliked and productive is minimal as subordinates fear the management; thus, there is little feedback regarding projects.
A manager’s likeability affects employee loyalty; thus, supervisors must pursue the chance of being liked. Talented employees rarely work for a manager they do not like being around, thus leading to issues in productivity. Elite staff have a range of employment options; thus, a manager’s likeability determines whether a person will remain loyal to an organization or switch employers. The choice to stay at an organization depends on the supervisor’s relationship with the staff.
Managers love to be liked as it inspires employees to perform at peak levels as likeable supervisors get the best out of subordinate staff. Likable leaders create a positive emotional environment in the workplace that favours staff as they enhance performance (Moore, 2021). Workers who are sociable, appreciative and trustworthy are deemed favorable by staff who work harder and are more innovative than working conditions fostered by disliked supervisors. A manager disliked by subordinates is an ineffective leader as the demoralizing behavior is detrimental to organizational performance.
Each end-of-year report triggers debates due to the performance appraisal process, including feedback, ratings and goals for the next financial year. Berman et al. (2019) employee appraisal is one of the most difficult management issues as it is both important and problematic (p. 376). This talent management process directed by human resource management teams has received a lot of criticism, but many organizations still incorporate the process. The appraisal process is expensive in terms of managers’ preparations, employees’ time, human resource reporting and opportunity costs.
Understanding the potential issues associated with the process is prudent before revising an organization’s performance appraisal process. Most appraisal processes do not evaluate actual performance, which should be based on output quality and value. Human resource managers tend to assess employees’ personal commitment, which is not a factor contributing to performance. The appraisal process is not data-based since it relies on the memory of managers; thus, most assessments are subjective. In addition, they lack effectiveness metrics as they do not measure the process’s contribution to these goals.
Abdul Rehman, S., Sehar, S., & Afzal, M. (2019). Performance appraisal; application of victor vroom expectancy theory. Saudi Journal of Nursing and Health Care, 02(12), 431–434. Web.
Adonis, J. (2017). Is it important for employees to like you? The Sydney Morning Herald. Web.
Berman, E. M., West, J., Bowman, J. S., & Van Wert, M. R. (2019). Human Resources Management in Public Service: Paradoxes, Processes, and Problems (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Grigoropoulos, J. E. (2019). The role of ethics in the 21st-century organization. International Journal of Progressive Education, 15(2), 167–175. Web.
Mache, S., Servaty, R., & Harth, V. (2020). Flexible work arrangements in open workspaces and relations to occupational stress, need for recovery and psychological detachment from work. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 15(1), 1-11. Web.
Moore, M. G. (2021). You’re a leader now. Not everyone is going to like you. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Osafo, E., Paros, A., & Yawson, R. M. (2021). Valence–instrumentality–expectancy model of motivation as an alternative model for examining ethical leadership behaviors. SAGE Open, 11(2), 215824402110218. Web.
Ray, T. K., & Pana-Cryan, R. (2021). Work flexibility and work-related well-being. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3254. Web.
Rodriguez, J., & Walters, K. (2017). The importance of training and development in employee performance and evaluation. World Wide Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development, 3(10), 206-212.