Introduction: Telone, formerly known as PTC is the pioneering and largest telecommunication company in Zimbabwe. Through the PTC Act it had been enjoying a monopoly until this was successfully challenged in Dec 1995 by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe then opened up the industry by licensing three mobile telecommunication networks namely Net One, Econet and Telecel. Since inception in the early 1900s, Telone has been training all its telecoms engineers at the Telone training centre facility.
Immediately after training the engineers would be deployed to man the various telecom exchanges throughout the country. With the massive investment in telecoms industry in the early 90’s, Telone was training on average 90 trainees per year who underwent the 2 year course. Upon completion the engineers would be bonded for a period of 2 years. Problem briefly: With the opening up of the telecommunications industry, Telone has been experiencing a high engineering staff turnover of as high as 50 per cent immediately after completion of the bonding period.
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Background information on the issue: The advent of competition in the form of licensed mobile networks on the one hand, and fixed telecoms companies operating under license soon depleted Telone’s stranglehold on market share. The liberalisation of the industry opened up a lot of job opportunities for IT and Telecoms engineers. The competition’s strategy was to penetrate the industry as quickly as possible. To this end, they put together an attractive HR package. They then simply turned to Telone to poach their highly trained engineers.
In response, Telone seemed to keep training more and more engineering staff to replace the ones leaving. Even for a company as big as Telone, this type of strategy lacked sound Human Resources judgement as it was treating symptoms as opposed to solving the real problem. Area needing Improvement: Three main areas were identified through exit interviews. It emerged that the engineers were moving in search of: ??? Higher salaries offered by competition ??? Exciting job content and challenge. The engineer job within Telone was seen as mostly reactive, repetitive and therefore monotonous. Opportunities for promotion were slim as engineers felt that in Telone you could only work your way up to a certain point and get stuck. Implications in the problem: Engineering is seen as critical area for any IT and Telecommunication Company to succeed. The staff turnover has seen a loss of a lot of young and energetic key personnel as well as key engineers with many years of experience. This obviously strengthens the competition in terms of human resources. Telone’s competitive advantage will be weakened in the areas of service provisioning, service delivery and service assurance.
And yet these are the areas that form the core processes, which have to be kept at a high standard for the company to be regarded as performing well. Key objectives to consider: To address these issues there is need to set objectives that are aimed at reducing staff turnover to less than 5 percent per year from the current 50 per cent. Because the industry is characterised by rapid changes in technology, challenges are will always be available for engineers seeking a challenge. The threat of high mobility of labour in the industry will always be there.
It will be prudent to factor in a percentage of staff turnover to be expected per year. This loss of staff is part of corporate life, and it’s not inherently unhealthy. What will be important will be to put in systems that will ensure that if staff choose to leave then they should leave for the right reasons. Recommendations: For the problem areas identified, it is recommended that the following Human Resource Ares be addressed: ??? Human Resource Planning ??? Recruitment and Selection ??? Rewards and Job enrichment Human |Resources Development A brief explanation of the areas follows. Human Resources Planning: There is need for a strategic human resources plan to enable the organisation to align resources to corporate strategy. It will support the corporate mission, vision, values and strategies. The human resource is the most important asset of an organization. The planning of human resources is an important function as it ensures adequate supply, proper quantity & quality as well as effective utilization of human resources.
Human resource planning is the process by which a management determines how an organization should move from its current manpower position to its desire manpower position. Through planning a management strives to have right number & the right kind of people who have the right skills, displaying the right attitudes and behaviours, at the right place, at the right time to do things which result in both the organisation & the individual getting long time benefits. Benefits of Human Resources Planning:
A comprehensive strategic HR plan will ensure that you have: ??? the capacity to deliver on strategy ??? a succession planning process that is strategically linked ??? identified and minimised capability risks ??? HR practices are consistent across the organisation ??? skill development and training policies and practices are linked to strategy ??? are able to monitor progress towards goals. Recruitment and Selection: An organization is known by the quality of its people so recruitment and selection is crucial. An overriding objective is to recruit and select the right candidate.
The candidates can be chosen from internal staff or recruited from outside the organisation. Here, there is an opportunity to choose loyal staff. Through the recruitment process the aim is to attract suitable candidates. Recruitment is described as, “the process of seeking & attracting a pool of people from which qualified candidates for job vacancies can be chosen. ” (Byers & Rue) In recruitment sources should match the position to be filled. With the advent of the internet, many companies have seen online recruitment as viable and have been forced to revisit past recruiting practices.
The selection process will involve choosing the person best suited for a given job from a pool of candidates, resulting from the recruitment process. An attempt is done here to get a “fit” between what the applicant can and wants to do, and what the organization needs (knowledge, skills, and abilities). A good ” Placement” will be done when the right person if fitted to the right job. The following table gives examples of what the person and company will offer and expect from each other for there to be a good fit. Person-Organisation Fit: Individual |Organisation |Goals |Objectives and strategies | |Values |Values | |Interests |Culture | |Expectations |Structure and management | |Knowledge Skills Abilities |Rewards |
Rewards: Employees should be seen as a strategic resource in which the company has invested and therefore expects a return, and not as a cost. Through market pay surveys, Telone can benchmark salaries against industry standards so that the company offers competitive salaries. It is important to note however, that people rarely leave for reasons of money alone. You would have to offer really loads of cash to achieve that. They look at intangibles as well.
Research has been done on what contributes to an employees’ well being, and there is general agreement that there are 4 drivers of satisfaction being opportunity, Job security, Leadership and, fair reward and recognition. Job Enrichment: The major objectives of job enrichment are to improve job satisfaction, motivation, and work effectiveness of employees. It’s important here for the employee to realise meaning at work, experience personal responsibility and to obtain more information about the results of his/ her work efforts. Human Resources Development:
The objective of Human Resource Development is to provide programs which orient, train, and develop the employees of Telone by improving the skills, knowledge, abilities, and competencies necessary for individual and organizational efficiency and productivity as well as personal career growth. Human Resource Development can be formal such as in classroom training, a college course, or an organizational planned change effort. Or, Human Resource Development can be informal as in employee coaching by a manager. Healthy organizations believe in Human Resource Development and cover all of these bases.
The focus of all aspects of Human Resource Development is on developing the most superior workforce so that the organization and individual employees can accomplish their work goals in service to customers. Risks of HRD: In developing a well trained workforce, there is always a risk: ??? Employees may become more attractive to competition and can be poached for their new skills ??? Employees may demand more salaries or promotion citing their marketability ??? HRD can be costly to implement ??? While doing it production time is affected Benefits of Human Resources Development:
Some of the benefits that HRD will bring to the company are: ??? The engineers will be geared towards the growth of the organisation ??? The employees will be more productive ??? Motivation levels can be raised ??? Create a culture, sense of belonging and model behaviour ??? Aid in succession planning ??? Keep abreast of changes in the environment e. g. technological changes will require training Conclusion: It has been realised that the HR areas identified do have their individual benefits that they will bring to the company to solve the staff turnover problem.
If all are implemented we expect overall benefits in terms of high productivity, high staff morale, a greater sense of belonging to the company and hence loyalty. To top it all we will manage to reduce the staff turnover, which was the symptomatic problem. By so doing, the company will have managed to create a competitive advantage with its Human Resources, and therefore can compete favourably. References: Noe R. A. , Hollenbeck J. R. , Gerhart B. , Wright P. M. , 2006. Human Resource Management Gaining a Competitive Advantage, McGraw Hill, 5th Edition Bratton J. , Gold J. , 2001.
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