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This paper is going to critically analyze the problems and challenges that Dr. Jack Perry a practicing dentist with an established sole practitioner dentist in Cromwell, Ontario. By all means the business is not badly off especially because in Cromwell there’s lack of any meaningful competition; the existing ones are offering no formidable competition. The practice seems to be growing financially recording an impressive annual growth of 15%.
According to the Ontario Dentist Association, Dr Perry is offering very competitive salaries to his employees who mostly are near the top of the second quartile. The staffs are also entitled to an annual 3 paid weeks holiday and are awarded cash bonuses in recognition of their hard work at the annual staff party. The employees also are happy because of the flexibility of the job environment where they have enough time to be with their children.
However despite the fact that Dr. Perry offers a very attractive salary, “easygoing demeanor” and an atmosphere to match, there exists various challenges that are keeping the morale of the employees low. This paper is going to analyze these challenges with an intention of determining exactly where the problem lies and offering solutions that Dr. Perry could utilize to ensure that the growth of the company is realized.
Causes of the current problems
The first cause of the current problems that are facing this clinic is the lack of a clear and defined vision. A vision can be defined as picture of a “preferred future”. This enables the company to know not only where it is at but where it is going as well and how it is going to get there. (McGregor, D.1960)
The first cause of the problems bedeviling the organization lies squarely on Perry’s inexperience in managing people. Dr. Perry is indeed a very brilliant doctor who emerged on top of his class in the year 2001. But this is the only thing he seemed to excel in. In his own admission, he lacks the acumen and the expertise to manage employees besides managing a business entity. By all means he has at least been able to retain most of his employees, and even though he has been attending seminars on staff motivation he lacks a clear-cut program on how and when to implement what he has been learning.
Another problem identified is that he seems to rely so much on hearsay of what is ailing the organization including from very new employees like Sandi who are bound to give wrong and biased analysis of the situation. (Pfeffer, J.1994)
Dr Perry seems to be relying so much on monetary tools to retain his employees not exploring the wide range of options in employee motivation and retention.(Pfeffer, J. 1994)
The company seems to lack clear-cut goals or mission of its existence and if they exist it is the Dentist himself who knows them. The employees don’t seem to have been incorporated in making inputs on the direction where the company is headed and are only privy to issues affecting them without any regard to the company as whole. (David S. et al)
The Dentist has not been able to separate himself from the company and employees seem to focus on the profits he is making as a person rather than looking at the whole picture, meaning that there exists a communication barrier within the organization rank and file. Indeed the only time the “management” meets its employees is once a year when performance is reviewed, a long time indeed. (David S. et al)
Staff morale is very low which is an indication of some serious latent problems that need to be quickly addressed; otherwise the business like the other three will “loose steam” and will eventually remain static and close down. The employees seem to work for the sake of it and if not for the remuneration offered probably they would not be “hanging in there.” The job doesn’t seem to excite them at all even though it pays well, what brings boredom in most cases at work places are repetitive tasks which remain unchanged for a long time. (David S. et al)
For any organization to operate optimally all people should work as a team. This is not what is happening at this particular clinic where employees have different employment terms; some are permanent while others are temporary, and can be replaced at very short notices. The doctor only meets with them informally once in every year to discuss the job aspects and appraisals including the salaries. Once a year meeting is hardly enough.
Recommendation for Change and implementation plan
As can been seen from this particular organization, it is a sole proprietorship. And true to the character of a sole proprietorship, the first and the major obstacle to the growth and prosperity of this company is the proprietor himself. He doubles up as the dentist, human resource manager, supervisor and most probably the accountant of the company. While he is very qualified in his own field of dentistry it would be very important to create a management position to be filled in by a Human Resource manager who will be in charge of the of the practical management of the organization which would include recruitment, retention, remuneration, training and appraisal. (Pfeffer, J.1994)
The first task the human resource manager would have is to draw up the organizational chart. It shows the structure of the organization in regards to the positions within the organization and the relationships within specific ranks. The charts are most effective way of communicating information about the organization, its employees and the enterprise in general. This will also build up a communication channel where employee/management input and feedback program can be established. (Pfeffer, J.1994)
The organizational chart also provides the manager with the specific information of each department providing the basis for future planning, budgeting and modeling of the work force. The chart will make it easier to collaborate certain important personnel and structural decisions especially when linked to budgeting tools that enable the manager plan easily. (McGregor, D.1960) Such organizational charts can be very helpful in communicating operational information down to the employees and receiving feedback on the same.
The organizational chart will pave way for the development of an organizational structure, which shows how people are arranged in the company and their specific responsibilities. (McGregor, D.1960)
After designing the organizational chart and eventually the organizational structure the other important aspect that now should be addressed is the drawing up of the company mission. A company mission usually comes second to the company vision or dream. The vision defines where you are going and how you are going to reach there. The mission statement on the other hand helps the user understand how the dream will become reality.
Thus the mission identifies the goals that must be accomplished within a specified period of time. In the mission statement necessary significant factors are identified which will facilitate the achievement of the major outline goals. Such factors would include product or services that will be provided, who is to provide what, and the quality of people required to provide such products or services. (McGregor, D.1960)
After developing such a mission statement with the help of Dr. Perry, it is important to communicate it first to the respective heads of departments and in turn all the employees who will be expected to take ownership and contribute to its achievement.
Employee recruitment and retention
Another important task that the human resources manager will have is to develop comprehensive employee recruitment and retention program. The success of the business is “hinged on the process of selecting and retaining the right staff”. (McGregor, D.1960) The most important organizational resource is a talented member of staff who continues to develop in his/her skills. To select the right staff is not usually an easy undertaking and would involve various steps. In relation to Dr Perry’s dentistry, the steps I would recommend would take stock of the employees who are still in existence. If the clinic is anticipating growth then it should also look into various ways of not only recruiting new staffs, but retaining the ones who are there as well.
A team recruitment process that entails the incorporation of the employees who are already there is the best option for future recruitment processes. (Susan M.H.). A team recruitment exercise has several advantages and involves four specific steps:
- Definition of the manpower required.
- Finding and attracting quality candidates to respond to the requirements stipulated.
- Interviewing and short-listing the most qualified personnel and inducting or orienting him/her into the business.
This four-stage process will include in all the stages the various employees already employed. These employees can be involved either as agents, contributing evaluator, or a sponsor. (Susan M.H.)
Employee as an agent in the recruitment process
This is one of the best methods of employee recruitment and retention where in-house experienced employees are involved in the recruitment process. This program with a “modest recruitment incentive” will serve the company well because it works towards encouraging first an employee’s perception of his/her relationship with the company and secondly will enhance a positive public relation. Employee’s perception about the company is boosted when a candidate recommended by them is considered, and will increase their morale when they know they are contributing towards the bigger organizational picture. (Susan M.H.) Such employees also posses the experience and understanding of the various roles and as such will introduce candidates that suit the requirements. The employee here should be incentified with a certain amount after the recruitment of a particular candidate then the balance paid after the candidate successfully finishes the probation period. This will encourage peer support. (Susan M.H.)
Employee motivation and retention
What is hindering the growth of the company is the low morale that the employees are exhibiting. Dr. Perry has been paying his staff members competitively and has been doing quite much towards the endeavor of motivating the employees. It is critical to observe that despite the fact that the employees are low in morale the turnover in the organization is nil. Probably what is keeping them around is the good salary and other monetary benefits that they get, other wise they would “jump ship” at the slightest opportunity. (David S. et al)
The most valuable asset for the organization is a motivated workforce whose needs should be met at the workplace. “Motivated employees are happy, committed and productive”. (David S. et al) Different people have different needs and therefore are not necessarily motivated in the same way. Dr. Perry’s only strategy as it seems depends so much on salary given and the rewards at the end of the year. While they may be attractive they are not sometimes the right motivators. (David S. et al)
Motivation in most cases is about being able to communicate effectively, working together enthusiastically, working towards common goals, knowing and building working relationships with each other, supporting each other for the common good of the person and the organization at large. (David S. et al) Motivation involves the creation of working places that are enjoyable to be in, because they provide various avenues for growth and gives meaning, direction and support to everything we do. (David S. et al)
It is important for the management to note that the majority of workers have 3 sets of goals that they want to achieve from the jobs they hold. When the management is able to identify and meet these needs then it stands a very good chance to reap from a motivated workforce. (David S. et al) The three needs include:
- Equity: to be accorded respect and to be fairly treated in such areas as pay, job security and other benefits
- Camaraderie: To develop and retain quality inter-employee relationship
- Achievement: Have a sense of pride in the employer, his/her own job and the achievements. (David S. et al)
For the workforce to remain enthusiastic, all the above three goals must be met. Dr. Perry is only meeting the first one neglecting the other two. It is worth noting, “ one goal can never be substituted for another, and thus money cannot substitute for achievement and camaraderie”. (David S. et al) The most important aspect of a sound motivation policy is ensuring that the employees are provided with a sense of security where they are not afraid of loosing their jobs when their performance falls below expectation.
One thing that is clear in Doctor Perry’s scenario is that employees are afraid of loosing their jobs. This can be seen by the retention of temporary staff members who can readily be disposed with in a very short notice. This situation is obviously demoralizing not only to the temporary staff but to the permanent ones as well. The best thing that could be done in this situation is to assess the organizations staff requirements then have all employees permanently employed. Initially, this might be a little bit difficult because it will increase the total payroll budget but will be compensated later when the company has achieved the right employee motivation. (David S. et al)
When organizations work as team with common goals and aspirations, the company is set to achieve greatly. Teamwork will enable each member of the organization to participate and contribute bringing out the strength in everyone. This will greatly boost a sense of ownership that will make the employees give their best. (Ancona, D., & Caldwell, D.2000)
Many single proprietorship companies face great challenges both in recruiting and retaining their employees. Motivation plays a major role in ensuring that the employees are always delighted with what they do. For a company to retain its best work force, it has to invest in the training, development and retention programs that will enhance the employees’ capabilities. Salary alone should not be the sole item that a company relies on to motivate its employees. (Pfeffer, J.1994)
Ancona, D., & Caldwell, D. (2000). Compose teams to assure successful boundary activity:The Blackwell handbook of principles of organizational behavior. New York: Blackwell Press.
David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer: Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation: Retrieved on 26th March 2008 from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/5289.html
McGregor, D. (1960): The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill,
Pfeffer, J. (1994): Competitive Advantage Through People. Boston: Harvard Business School Press,
Susan M. Heathfield: Use Your Team for Recruitment: A Retention Strategy Retrieved on 26th March 2008 from, http://humanresources.about.com/od/employeeretention/a/teamrecruitment.htm