The term refers to the favorableness or unfavourable ness of a total job environment for people (Davis and Newstrom 1985). QWL programs are another way in which organizations recognize their responsibility to develop jobs and working conditions that are excellent for people as well as for economic health of the organization. The elements in a typical QWL program include – open communications, equitable reward systems, a concern for employee job security and satisfying careers and participation in decision making.
Many early QWL efforts focus on job enrichment. In addition to improving the work system, QWL programs usually emphasize development of employee skills, the reduction of occupational stress and the development of more co-operative labor-management relations. Vigorous Domestic and International competition drive organizations to be more productive. Proactive managers and human resource departments respond to this challenge by finding new ways to improve productivity. Some strategies rely heavily upon new capital investment and technology.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Others seek changes in employee relations practices. Human resource departments are involved with efforts to improve productivity through changes in employee relations. QWL means having good supervision, good working conditions, good pay and benefits and an interesting, challenging and rewarding job. High QWL is sought through an employee relations philosophy that encourages the use of QWL efforts, which are systematic attempts by an organization to give workers greater opportunities to affect their jobs and their contributions to the organization’s overall effectiveness.
That is, a proactive human resource department finds ways to empower employees so that they draw on their “brains and wits,” usually by getting the employees more involved in the decision-making process. NEED FOR BETTER QUALITY OF WORK LIFE: Job specialization and simplification were popular in the early part of this century. Employees were assigned narrow jobs and supported by a rigid hierarchy in the expectation that efficiency would improve. The idea was to lower cost by using unskilled workers who could be easily trained to do a small, repetitive part of each job.
Many difficulties developed from that classical job design, however. There was excessive division of labor. Workers became socially isolated from their co-workers because their highly specialized jobs weakened their community of interest in the whole product. De-skilled workers lost pride in their work and became bored with their jobs. Higher-order (social and growth) needs were left unsatisfied. The result was higher turnover and absenteeism, declines in quality and alienated workers. Conflict often arose as workers sought to improve their conditions and organizations failed to respond appropriately.
The real cause was that in many instances the job itself simply was not satisfying. A factor contributing to the need for better QWL was that the workers themselves were changing. They became educated, more affluent (partly because of the effectiveness of classical job design), and more independent. They began reaching for higher-order needs, something more than merely earning their bread. Employers now had two reasons for re-designing jobs and organizations for a better QWL: ? Classical design originally gave inadequate attention to human needs. ? The needs and aspirations of workers themselves were changing.
One option was to re-design jobs to have the attributes desired by people, and re-design organizations to have the environment desired by the people. This approach seeks to improve QWL. There is a need to give workers more of a challenge, more of a whole task, more opportunity to use their ideas. Close attention to QWL provides a more humanized work environment. It attempts to serve the higher-order needs of workers as well as their more basic needs. It seeks to employ the higher skills of workers and to provide an environment that encourages them to improve their skills.
The idea is that human resources should be developed and not simply used. Further, the work should not have excessively negative conditions. It should not put workers under undue stress. It should not damage or degrade their humanness. It should not be threatening or unduly dangerous. Finally, it should contribute to, or at least leave unimpaired, workers’ abilities to perform in other life roles, such as citizen, spouse and parent. That is, work should contribute to general social advancement. The modern interest in quality of work life was stimulated through efforts to change the scope of people’s jobs in attempting to motivate them.
Job scope has two dimensions – breadth and depth. Job breadth is the number of different tasks an individual is directly responsible for. It ranges from very narrow (one task performed repetitively) to wide (several tasks). Employees with narrow job breadth were sometimes given a wider variety of duties in order to reduce their monotony; this process is called job enlargement. In order to perform these additional duties, employees spend less time on each duty. Another approach to changing job breadth is job rotation, which involves periodic assignment of an employee to completely different sets of job activities.
Job rotation is an effective way to develop multiple skills in employees, which benefits the organization while creating greater job interest and career options for the employee. Job enrichment takes a different approach by adding additional motivators to a job to make it more rewarding. It was developed by Frederick Herzberg on the basis of his studies indicating that the most effective way to motivate workers was by focusing on higher-order needs. Job enrichment seeks to add depth to a job by giving workers more control, responsibility and discretion over how their job is performed.
Its general result is a role enrichment that encourages growth and self-actualization. The job is built in such a way that intrinsic motivation is encouraged. Because motivation is increased, performance should improve, thus providing both a more humanized and a more productive job. Negative effects also tend to be reduced, such as turnover, absences, grievances and idle time. In this manner both the worker and society benefit. The worker performs better, experiences greater job satisfaction and becomes more self-actualized, thus being able to participate in all life roles more effectively.
Society benefits from the more effectively functioning person as well as from better job performance. THE HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT’S ROLE: The role of human resource department in QWL efforts varies widely. In some organizations, top management appoints an executive to ensure that QWL and productivity efforts occur throughout the organization. In most cases, these executives have a small staff and must rely on the human resource department for help with employee training, communications, attitude survey feedback, and similar assistance.
In other organizations, the department is responsible for initiating and directing the firm’s QWL and productivity efforts. Perhaps the most crucial role of the department is winning the support of key managers. Management support – particularly top management support appears to be an almost universal prerequisite for successful QWL programs. By substantiating employee satisfaction and bottom-line benefits, which range from lower absenteeism and turnover to higher productivity and fewer accidents, the department can help convince doubting managers.
The policies and practices of the department also influence motivation and satisfaction indirectly. Rigorous enforced safety and health programs, for example, can give employees and supervisors a greater sense of safety from accidents and industrial health hazards. Likewise, compensation policies may motivate and satisfy employees through incentive plans, or they may harm motivation and satisfaction through insufficient raises or outright salary freezes. The motivation and satisfaction of employees act as feedback on the organization’s QWL and on the department’s day-to-day activities. FACTORS AFFECTING QWL:
QWL programs can be evaluated on the basis of following points: [pic] A) FAIR COMPENSATION AND JOB SECURITY: The economic interests of people drive them to work at a job and employee satisfaction depends at least partially, on the compensation offered. Pay should be fixed on the basis of the work done, responsibilities undertaken, individual skills, performance and accomplishments. The appropriate salary should be agreed upon by the employee and the employer. The Government of the Republic establishes each year the rate of minimum salary; the employer should not pay less than that to the employee.
Job security is another factor that is of concern to employees. Permanent employment provides security to the employees and improves their QWL. JOB SATISFACTION Job satisfaction is the favourableness or unfavourableness with which employees view their work. As with motivation, it is affected by the environment. Job satisfaction is impacted by job design. Jobs that are rich in positive behavioral elements – such as autonomy, variety, task identity, task significance and feedback contribute to employee’s satisfaction.
Likewise, orientation is important because the employee’s acceptance by the work group contributes to satisfaction. In sort, each element of the environmental system, can add to, or detract from, job satisfaction. B) HEALTH IS WEALTH: Organizations should realize that their true wealth lies in their employees and so providing a healthy work environment for employees should be their primary objective. Safety measures should be taken in the organization while working. The safe work environment provides the basis for the person to enjoy working.
The work should not pose a health hazard for the person. The employees’ should be aware of the risks and rights of the organization. C) PROVIDE PERSONAL AND CAREER GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES: An organization should provide employees with opportunities for personal/professional development and growth and to prepare them to accept responsibilities at higher levels. D) PARTICIPATIVE MANAGEMENT STYLE AND RECOGNITION: Flat organizational structures help organizations facilitate employee participation. A participative management style improves the quality of work life.
Workers feel that they have control over their work processes and they also offer innovative ideas to improve them. Recognition also helps to motivate employees to perform better. Recognition can be in the form of rewarding employees for jobs well done. REWARDS SATISFACTION AND PERFORMANCE: A basic issue is whether satisfaction leads to better performance, or whether better performance leads to satisfaction. Which comes first? The reason for this apparent uncertainty about the relationship between performance and satisfaction is that rewards intervene as shown in the figure below.
MOTIVATION: Motivation is a complex subject. It involves the unique feelings, thoughts and past experiences of each of us as we share a variety of relationships within and outside organizations. To expect a single motivational approach work in every situation is probably unrealistic. In fact, even theorists and researches take different points of view about motivation. Nevertheless, motivation can be defined as a person’s drive to take an action because that person wants to do so. People act because they feel that they have to.
However, if they are motivated they make the positive choice to act for a purpose – because, for example, it may satisfy some of their needs. E) WORK LIFE BALANCE: The Work – Life balance must be maintained effectively to ensure that all employees are running at their peak potential and free from stress and strain. Organizations should provide relaxation time for the employees and offer tips to balance their personal and professional lives. They should not strain employees’ personal and social life by forcing on them demanding working hours, overtime work, business travel, untimely transfers etc.
The standard limits on overtime, time of vacation and taking of free days before national holidays have been separately stipulated. The differences regarding the working time have been established for the persons less than 18 years of age, pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and the person raising the disabled child. F) FUN AT WORK PLACE: This is growing trend adopted by today’s organizations to make their offices a fun place to work. QUALITY OF WORK LIFE – THE HUMAN IMPLICATIONS: “One cannot do right in one area of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in another.
Life is one invisible whole” – Mahatma Gandhi How true and difficult is to paraphrase the profound truth contained in the words of one of the greatest human beings of the modern world. The harsh reality of modern life is that Quality of Work Life (QWL) has taken a beating because most of us are working harder than ever. On average people in the developed countries spend an astonishing 14 to 15 hours a day against the accepted 8 to 9 hours. What is very disturbing is that the trend is on the rise. Burn out; stress leading to health hazards is the natural offshoot.
The concept of lifetime employment or job security through hard work has been on a decline since more and more people are on short-term contracts and lack security of long-term employment. Although traditional work structures seem to be dissolving, this hasn’t necessarily resulted in more flexibility for the workers. Employers, by and large, are still reluctant to absorb employees on a permanent basis before they have ‘proved their worth’. The psychological pressure on the employee is tremendous and their lives are characterised by a pronounced conflict between professional and private lives.
Lesser employees doing greater work make the work monotonous and gruelling for the employee. The implication of all this is that it leaves the worker with less and less time for interests, family and leisure time in general. It is not uncommon to see people who aspire to have work and personal life in synchronisation. The work life balance has become the buzzword for the present generation. Thus in an ideal world, most people would like their output assessed by the results they achieve at work and not by the hours they spend slaying away at their desk. Thus, in turn, would leave them free to pursue their personal interests outside work.
Only a handful of employees have understood this intrinsic desire of employees and have turned it into a competitive advantage. Occupational Psychology assumes a key role as it contributes to work models but also with the thorough study of factors underlying the work/life balance. The study of work and family life is a relatively recent field. They argue out a case for alternative work models. Workplace flexibility is increasingly becoming important both for the employers as well as the employees. A good fit between people’s personal and work roles can go a long way in resolving conflicts.
In fact researcher’s claim that by helping to manage employee’s work/life conflicts the company actually increases “psychological availability for work” of an employee. This is at least true of some learning organisations that are open to such novel HR practices. They look at flexible work arrangements as an opportunity for more efficient recruitment, decrease in staff turnover and absenteeism. Very importantly it helps them to project an improved corporate image. TOP TEN WAYS FOR IMPROVING QUALITY OF WORK LIFE (By Judy Worrell & Brian Ward) The following ten tips are designed to get one thinking.
They apply as much to the CEO as they do to the front line worker: 1)Having a personal vision of who you want to be and what you want to do – keep in mind that if you do not have one for yourself, you will likely become part of someone else’s vision! 2) Test out one’s own personal vision with that of your organization’s – in how many ways do they support each other? Ask questions to better understand your organization’s mission, vision and values. 3) Learn, and keep on learning – go to training sessions and in-services, enroll in college courses, read books.
Know why, not just how. 4) Buddy-up – find ways to share the load with other team members. Sharing the load makes work easier to manage and less stressful. 5)Share your successes – this allows you to learn from the successes of others, as well as giving you a boost when you need 6)Get it off your chest – talk things over with your buddy, friend, supervisor when things trouble you, don’t keep it bottled up inside. 7)Find joy in being of service to others – think about how the person you are serving is better off as a result of your work, and rejoice in that knowledge. ) Take time for breaks – pay particular attention to the need to refresh body, mind and spirit. 9) Try out new ideas – to innovate is to grow. By using your creativity and innovation life becomes exciting and fulfilling. 10) Have fun at work – laughter is the best medicine, but use only appropriate humour. Damaging someone else’s self-esteem for the fun of it is no laughing matter. ———————– Quality of Work Life (QWL) Job Satisfaction Job Security Competency Development Health & Well being Work & Non-Work Balance