Metal (Private) Limited is a company that is involved in manufacturing customized metal components for aerospace and defense industries. The company has partially automated the processes and the employees working with these production facilities have to have high skills that are related to the area.
The project is looking to identify the main reasons for the employees to leave the company; when the reasons are known, appropriate steps can be taken to mitigate the issue and make sure that the desired outcomes are reached in line with the needs. This will allow them to reduce the actual employee attrition levels.
The study has to collect primary and secondary data; primary data is collected from the employees, and the study takes a qualitative and quantitative mixed approach. Qualitative interviews were held with the General Manager, Human Resources Manager, Factory Manager and five of the workers. For the survey, a structured questionnaire was used and the data was collected from 20 employees.
The study identifies that the main factor driving employees from the company is the nature of the work; this remains monotonous. The employees do not have any say in the development of the work environment as well. The company has no performance appraisal method so the level of performance of each employee is not known. Thus, naturally, the employees are dissatisfied with the work environment. However, there are very good relationships between the peers and the superiors.
Retention of the employees is vital for the organizations; when the employees leave, the knowledge and the experience they have is lost to the organization. It is important to note that the cost of recruitment as well as training could increase if the right kind of talent is not recruited to the organizations (Taylor, 2000). On the other hand, if the employees are retained, this shows that they will be able to enhance the benefits and maximize the results that they will achieve for the organizations in the future. This shows that employee retention is a vital part that will improve the overall profitability of the organizations in the future ((Sauber, Snyir and Sharifi, 1991).
Antoncic and Antoncic (2011) have been able to identify that the role of intrapreneurship is vital for employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees will stay in the organizations for which they are working. This, in other words, indicates that the employees have to be provided with empowerment so that they will take steps to improve the overall work levels. This will eventually assist the employees to grow within the organization. Thus, the employees should have the power to use their knowledge and work in line with the needs of the organization. This will improve the overall employee satisfaction levels that will benefit them in the future.
Govaerts, Kyndt, Dochy and Baert (2011) have been able to identify that learning plays a very important part when the employee retention is considered. When there is the opportunity for the employees to learn, it shows that the growth within the organization is one of the important aspects that drives the results and ensures maximum outcomes are reached. Thus, the ability to progress is one of the most important tools that will contribute towards the employee retention according to the study. The findings in this context are important to identify what factors actually contribute to the employee retention.
While there are many researches that have been conducted in the context of employee retention on a global scale, research that is accessible in the Sri Lankan scale is rare. This is partially due to the fact that the companies may consider this to be a highly sensitive area of work and they might not be willing to divulge information related to the organizations and employee motivation levels. It is important that Sri Lankan companies identify as to what motivates their employees to stay with the company for a longer period of time. The findings from research in this area can be used to implement appropriate solutions in improving the employee retention capabilities affiliated with the companies. Thus, the companies will be able to benefit from research of this nature and will be able to improve the overall employee retention capabilities they have.
The purpose of the study is to identify as to how Metal (Private) Limited will be able to retain their employees. The company is in an industry where the quality requirements are very high and the skills associated with this remain specific. This indicates that they have to have the right employees in place who will be able to carry out their duties in line with the needs. The study seeks to identify the appropriateness of the methods that the company is currently using for the purpose of retaining the employees with the company.
The project outline can be indicated as follows:
- Chapter 1 – Introduction
Covers the introduction and the purpose of the research in detail.
- Chapter 2 – Orientation
Covers the related concepts and the literature, as well as the main objectives and the significance of the study.
- Chapter 3 – Methodology
Covers the main areas affiliated with the methodology of the study; these include discussions related to what methods are used, what field material is used and what kind of respondents participate in the study.
- Chapter 4 – Presentation of the findings
This chapter will indicate what has been found through the study, and this will be presented in a way in which the details can be clearly identified.
- Chapter 5 – Conclusion
This is the concluding chapter that will indicate as to what the study has identified and how any issues can be changed after considering the overall impact of these areas.
2.1 Literature overview
Employee retention is an area that has been considered to have a very high level of importance; this is because when the companies lose employees who have the experience, the companies will find it difficult to maintain the required quality levels of the operations. This is due to the fact that the employee skills play a very important role in the preservation of the quality and the management of reaching the required results (Kundu and Lata, 2017). The employees will stay with a company provided that they are satisfied with the quality of the services they would receive.
Thus, the companies are seeking ways of maximizing the employee satisfaction levels so that they will stay with the organization. Ensuring that the employees are satisfied will allow the organizations to benefit by improving the quality levels and reducing the costs of recruitment as well as training activities (Hellawell, 2012). The employees have knowledge, and retention of the employees will allow the organizations to ensure they retain the knowledge. This will lead the organizations to perform in line with the expectations of the customers. Thus, the organization will be able to meet the market needs appropriately (Sauber, Snyir and Sharifi, 1991).
There are many issues that could lead to employee dissatisfaction; these issues will have to be identified and appropriate steps will have to be taken to mitigate the negative influence of these issues. This will ensure that employees could be retained with the companies and the overall performance levels are maximized. However, the factors that are affiliated with the employee dissatisfaction could be organization specific (Basterretxea and Albizu, 2011). This is why the organizations have to work to identify these specific factors and make sure that they provide better solutions to these problems.
As identified previously through the study by Govaerts, Kyndt, Dochy and Baert (2011), the learning and growth remain two of the key areas where the employees will benefit. It is important to provide the employees with the chance to gain the required knowledge through these methods. Thus, the company has to make sure that they work towards optimizing the learning and the growth chances of the employees. This will contribute to successful achievement of the beneficial results and maximize the employee satisfaction levels (Bagga, 2013). This shows that learning and growth remain important areas for the organization to achieve the needed results.
The role of the supervisor also remains important specifically in the case of the frontline employees. This is due to the fact that the frontline employees will need to be able to work to reach an appropriate set of results that will benefit them in the future. The supervisor will have to provide the employees with the resources needed and work with them. They can guide the employees with the intention of reaching the required outcomes (Pasha, 2014). All these aspects will eventually contribute to reaching the beneficial results in the future context. This is likely to maximize the benefits for the parties.
The employees are naturally exposed to a certain level of stress at work; however, if the stress levels are high and the employees cannot cope with the stress, it is likely that they will not be able to do their work. Thus, the work environment has to be developed in such a way that the employees are exposed to appropriate levels of stress that will actually allow them to enhance the productivity and achieve the needed levels of benefits thereof (Downs, 2015). Thus, management of the stress and ensuring that the employees are exposed to only manageable levels of stress remain important aspects.
When the employees are empowered, it is likely that they will be able to perform in line with the needs of the organization. They have to be provided with the resources as well as the authority to act in line with the best interests of the organization (Marks and Huzzard, 2008). This will make sure that the employees will identify the best course of action when there is a problem and would take the appropriate steps to solve these issues. Such outcomes will eventually improve the responsiveness of the organizations and make sure they meet the requirements of the markets (Taylor, Murphy and Price, 2006). This shows that the empowerment remains another area of importance.
The overall work culture has to be supportive for the employees to achieve the needed results; having an appropriate work culture will allow the employees to identify as to what type of action they should take in order to reach the right results in the future (Standing, Standing and Kordt, 2016). It is important to note that the overall work culture plays a very important role in creating a friendly environment for the employees to work in. This will naturally lead the employees to stay longer with the workplace and ensure that they achieve long-term results in the future.
Thus, the above discussion shows that there are many areas that are important for the organization and they have to ensure that the employees are satisfied in all these areas. Such an approach will ensure that they will be able to reach the intended future results and maximize the benefits for all the parties involved. The eventual requirement is to make sure that the organizations will retain the employees (Taylor, 2000). This will allow them to be able to reach their performance targets in line with the needs they have. This will maximize the benefits achieved in the long run.
The employees are generally committed to an organization provided that they are looking to work with them in the long run. This will make sure that the organization will be able to achieve the right results in terms of the performance (Taylor and Poyner, 2008). It is also important to note that the employees will seek to improve themselves so that they will be able to meet the performance targets that are expected from them (Alcock, 2008). Thus, the overall organizations will be able to work in line with the needs and the expectations of the market and ensure that desired outcomes are provided.
The above discussion about the organization and the performance aspects indicates that employee retention is highly important to maximize the organizational performance levels. This will allow the organization to be able to achieve the needed outcomes and eventually benefit from them. This will improve the overall profitability due to the fact that this contributes to reduction of the costs as well (Nguyen, Taylor and Bergiel, 2017). Thus, the organization will be able to benefit from these outcomes and ensure that they achieve the needed long-term results in the future.
2.2 Case Study –MCS
Metal Component Services Lanka private Ltd. (MCS), is a company specializing in manufacturing customized metal components for aerospace and defence industries. Customers of MCS engage in critical operations, and therefore the demand for quality is very high. MCS is a quality-driven business. MCS is an ‘AS 9100:9009’ and ‘ISO 9001:2008’ certified company and operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in ‘Katunayaka’, Sri Lanka. MCS generated an Rs.1.5 billion turnover in 2016, being the only manufacturer in the country which exports customized metal components to the EU. 110 employees are working in the factory out of 150 total employees in MCS. The MCS HR manual (2014) categorized manual and machine operatives as blue-collar staff. The blue-collar employees play a vital role in the organization as they operate CNC machines and the frontline of the manufacturing process.
2.2.2 Research problem
Given the increased reliance on technology and the diminishing number of people with a manufacturing background, retention of staff is vital for the success of the business. Noe et al., (2012) state that retention is a voluntary move by an organization to create an environment which engages employees for the long-term and further explained that retention rates among employees are related to retention rates among customers. Despite being a reputed manufacturing company, MCS has been experiencing a serious issue with high and increasing voluntary turnover (VTO) in the blue-collar category for the last six quarters although the company accepted turnover is 1.5% per quarter. Table 1.1 indicates blue-collar VTO of MCS.
During an initial inquiry with the management, it was revealed that due to the high VTO of blue-collar employees, MCS is unable to achieve required quality and targeted production volumes. Furthermore, it has affected the cost of new recruitment and training. The MCS strategy to maintain the expected VTO is a thorough interview process to ensure the selection of the best candidate. Three weeks of introduction training is then followed by a six-month on-the-job training. MCS offers an above market average salary and performance-based incentives. Regular performance evaluation provides opportunities for career development and identifies the training requirement. In addition, MCS maintains a good counselling and grievances managing system.
Even though the above strategies have been implemented, the VTO of blue-collar employees is still high. This indicates that the management of MCS is unaware of the effectiveness of the current strategy and the causes of high and increasing employee VTO of the organization.
2.2.3 Purpose of the project
The purpose of the research is to critically analyze the effectiveness of current employee retention strategies and the root causes for high VTO of blue-collar employees. This will be assessed according to the perception of both management and the blue-collar workers, and also to recommend strategies to improve current retention strategies.
2.2.4 Significance of the project
The high rate of VTO disturbs day-to-day operations and also negatively impacts the quality and productivity of the organization. It also increases the operational cost in terms of recruitment and training. Reducing VTO and retaining the experienced employees is beneficial for shareholders and management. The organization benefits by the improved quality of the product and increased productivity resulting in improved profits which increase the dividend of the shareholders. Customers will be benefitted by high quality and on-time delivery. With the findings and recommendations of this project, MCS management will be able to improve employee retention strategies.
2.3 Research Questions
The following questions are intended to be addressed during this research work:
- What are the current strategies for blue-collar worker retention at MCS according to the perception of the management?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current retention strategies for blue-collar worker retention according to the management and blue-collar staff of the company?
- What are the root causes of high VTO of blue-collar staff according to the blue-collar workers?
- How can the strategies be improved to achieve the accepted VTO of blue-collar workers?
3.0 Research Methodology
The research could be either explanatory or exploratory; in cases where the facts have to be identified and related, an explanatory approach is suitable. That will explain a certain scenario and indicate as to how the different aspects are linked with each other. However, an exploratory approach towards the study seeks to identify the reasons in-depth. This will, in general, allow providing the appropriate insights on how the parties will be able to work and achieve the needed outcomes (Malhotra, 2005). Thus, the explanatory approach is not suitable in this instance due to the fact that the study has to identify the insights with regard to what factors would assist employee retention.
There are qualitative aspects as well as quantitative aspects involved with the study; there is the management side of the facts as well as the employee aspects. Thus, the study should use a balanced approach that will manage both of these aspects appropriately (Guha, 2003). There is qualitative information which assists understanding the issues in-depth while quantitative information will assist in the identification of the issues in general and the significance of the issues affiliated (Hannabuss, 2007). This naturally indicates that a mixed research approach that has qualitative as well as quantitative elements is likely to be helpful in the context of eliciting the required insights.
In this instance, we are using the case study approach; this is appropriate due to the fact that the study is using a single company. The study will thus provide information related to this single entity alone. While the findings of the study might not be generalized in all contexts, it is vital to ensure that they provide a set of useful insights that can be applicable in the context of the other companies as well (Woodside and Wilson, 2003).
3.2 Data collection
The study has to collect primary as well as secondary data; the primary data is the data that is exclusively collected for the study purpose (Malhotra, 2005). On the other hand, the secondary data is collected for a different purpose and is made available for the study.
3.2.1 Primary data
The study is a mixed study; it is important to note that a mixed study has to have methods for collecting qualitative as well as quantitative data. Thus, the study collects data using a set of surveys and interviews. The surveys would use a structured questionnaire for the purpose of data collection while the interviews using semi-structured interview guides are suitable for the respondent.
Surveys are conducted amongst the employees; out of the employee population of 110, 20 respondents are randomly selected. If any party disagrees with the survey, alternatives are also selected randomly after those who disagreed are removed from the sample. Thus, the random sample should be able to provide information that is relevant and unbiased in nature. This shows that the primary data for the study remains relevant and useful to provide appropriate insights about the study area.
The interviews will allow identification of the different aspects in-depth. This is useful to identify the reasons and how these aspects impact the eventual employee retention capability of the company. Thus, the insights related to these aspects remain highly useful in the context of the study explanations. These insights are obtained by using the semi-structured interviews; where required, this allows further probing to identify the real reasons behind the responses provided.
3.2.2. Secondary data
This is collected from the documents that are available within the company. The policies of employment and other such aspects would indicate as to how the company is trying to motivate the employees and make sure that they continue to improve the employee retention potential. The study also carries out an employee satisfaction survey and the results should also indicate as to how the employees have been satisfied with the company and if they seek to really leave the company. The exit interviews of the employees also provide useful insights in this area.
The study is developed in compliance with all the required ethical guidelines; the study has a low ethical risk compared with Australian national research risk categories (Australian Government, 2007). All the respondents are clearly informed of the purpose of the study. The information collected from the respondents was kept confidential. Only the information that the respondents consented to provide will be revealed as a part of the study. The information will be maintained with the researcher only until the study process is complete. The respondents can opt out of the study at any stage associated with the information collection. Even after providing the information, they can consider cancelling their engagement. There are no intrusive procedures or physical harassment used in the study and there are no minors and others who are socially vulnerable also being used.
4.0 Findings and analysis
This is the section that indicates the findings of the research; the study has quantitative as well as qualitative aspects that need to be discussed in this context. The study first discusses the secondary findings in place and will then discuss the qualitative information. The final section will highlight the quantitative findings section.
4.1 Analyzing the data
4.1.1 Root causes for the high VTO
The company does not have a clear policy framework that indicates how they retain the employees. The company would evaluate the performance of the teams and does not relate this to the individual employees. It is also important to note that the company does not link the salary increases and the bonuses with the employee performance. They provide increments and the bonuses in line with the seniority of the employees. The company also does not provide any career planning and guidance facilities to the employees so they can progress within the company. Thus, there is a clear lack of policy framework in place.
22.214.171.124 Employee satisfaction survey results
The employee satisfaction should indicate to what extent the employees are satisfied. The scores were obtained based on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest level of satisfaction.
Figure 4.1 – Employee satisfaction levels
Source: MCS, 2017
It can be seen that the employee satisfaction levels with the job that they are performing has been reducing over the past few years. It is clear that this has been noted by the company irrespective of the fact that they have not taken any clear steps to solve the problem. Thus, this is an area of worry and the issue has to be solved in the appropriate context.
126.96.36.199. Exit interviews
This is another aspect that will indicate the reasons that trigger the employees to leave the company. The information that is gathered in this context remains useful to know what triggers people to leave the company. The following chart indicates the main details.
Figure 4.2 – Reasons for employees leaving
Source: MCS, 2017
In order to identify the above results, 35 exit interviews that have taken place within the past two years have been evaluated. It can be seen that the main reason that prevents the people from staying with the company is the work-related stress; this is one of the key issues that the company might have to look into and solve fast. It is also clear that 28% of the employees have stated that they are empowered to a lower extent. This is another reason for them to leave the company. It is further important that another 20% of the employees have left the company due to the fact that they have low chances of growth. One of the areas that have contributed least to this is the role of the supervisors. One of the employees stated:
“This is one of the best companies to work if we consider people; however, when we think about the work, the reality sets in so boring and workload is tedious! Even nice bosses are helpless!”
4.1.2 Current strategies and their strengths and weakness
The primary data collection section has two aspects; qualitative data as well as the quantitative data that are collected for the given purpose. The study will consider these aspects separately to identify as to how the different aspects have contributed to the employees leaving the company. The study has conducted three types of interviews; with the general manager, with the HR and the production mangers, and with the workers. With the managers, the interviews were held individually and with the workers, the interview was held as a group interview. The contents of the interview were analyzed separately and they are discussed under each type of interview. Full interviews are attached under the appendix section.
188.8.131.52. View of the general manager
The general manager is of the view that the blue-collar workers are a very important part of the company and they have to be treated fairly. He believes that in general, they are treated with respect and fairness.
“We believe that all blue-collar workers (we don’t even use that word here) should be treated equally. This is our policy and we want to treat them fair”
He has identified retaining the employees to be a problem even though he did not specifically mention why. He believes that changes need to be made in the case of the identification of the performance levels of the employees.
“If we identify the best performing employees, that means we will be able to treat them better; for instance, pay higher salaries. Currently, we do not pay any such workers higher salaries because we cannot identify as to who is doing better with their work.”
The general manager highlights that when the company knows who is performing at the best levels, they should be able to treat these employees better. This will lead the company to achieve better results in the future contexts.
Thus, the general manager’s comments indicate that the top management is of the view that treating all the blue-collar workers equally is fair and a good thing. They are of the view that the workers as well as the other parties will be able to benefit from these aspects. It is important to identify that the top management believes, however, that this has to change and the new performance appraisal system will allow them to identify the best employees and then work with them effectively.
184.108.40.206. Views of HR and factory manager
The discussion with the HR and the factory manager was very interesting as both of them have almost similar ideas. They identify that the work that the employees are assigned with has been very monotonous and they cannot really use their creativity. This, according to them, is the main problem.
“I believe that the employees are highly unsatisfied with the work; this is because the work is monotonous; they do not have much creative things that they can use in the work context.”
The factory manager indicates that they have tried to solve this by re-adjusting the teams; however, he is of the view that they have not actually done a full-scale analysis in the work areas and that should improve the overall work contexts. The following statement indicates the details.
“The work teams have improved the work efficiencies; however, I believe that with a full workflow analysis and bottleneck analysis, we will know which areas are choking the employees.”
Both of these parties have indicated that they believe that they treat the employees fairly and the future changes to the performance appraisal system will result in the company being able to identify the employees with the best skills. This will improve the overall work context.
“We intend to retain the best employees working with the company and ensure they will be able to perform at a higher level, and this is done through a performance appraisal system. This will benefit all the parties and specifically allow the best performing employees to stay with the company in the long-term.”
The interviews that have been held with the parties also indicate that while they believe that the current system is fair, the employees face issues in terms of the workload and the empowerment aspects. These have to be improved in order for the organization to be able to achieve the results. The operations department has made an attempt on their own to develop teams and eventually work to reduce the stress levels of the employees; however, it is very clear that this has not worked in the past.
220.127.116.11. The view of the employees
The interviews with the employees indicate that they are very satisfied with the superiors as well as the peers; they believe that they receive the best assistance from them to perform their duties.
“It is the superiors and the work teams; they blend well and work to achieve the unified results. The needed goals and the objectives are very clear and the employees can, in general, work to achieve them.”
They have also indicated that the main problem is the nature of the work with which they are affiliated; the work remains monotonous in nature and the employees are not able to change anything. They merely need to comply with the work norms.
The employees were of the view that if the company works to improve the overall work environment, they will do so by changing the nature of the work and listening to the employee ideas. They are of the view that the employees have many points of view to express and the company needs to listen to the employee points of view.
The study clearly indicates the main strengths and the weaknesses associated with the discussion. The following are the main strengths and the weaknesses associated with the company.
- The company has a very strong work culture that assists the employees to be highly satisfied with the work environment.
- The company rewards the employees in an adequate manner that allows the employees to be satisfied with the work that they carry out.
- The company provides the required training for the employees so that they will have the required skills.
- The company has an appropriate set of leaders who will allow the employees to perform and eventually achieve the results.
- The management does not know who the best performing employees in the company are.
- The nature of work is not appealing to the employees; this is because the work is monotonous.
- The employees are stressed out with the workload; this impacts the work and the life balance they have.
- The employees merely have to comply with the work requirements; they cannot provide their ideas and points of view about the issues.
Analysis of survey data
The findings of the study can be summarized as shown in the following table. This shows how many responses of each number have been received for each of the attributes. This is useful to analyze the level of agreement that the respondents have indicated with each of the attributes.
Table 4.1 – Attributes and agreement frequencies
|Strongly disagree||Disagree||Neutral||Agree||Strongly agree|
|The quantity of my work is enough to keep me busy but not too much to over-burden me||10||5||3||2||0|
|There is sufficient variety at work to maintain my interest||12||6||2||0|
|I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day||8||10||1||1||0|
|I have all the materials and equipment I need to do my best every day.||0||1||2||8||9|
|I know what my manager thinks of my performance||0||1||2||7||11|
|The relationship with my manager enables me to be open when discussing work problems and concerns.||0||1||7||9||3|
|I have friends at work||0||0||3||4||13|
|My manager keeps me informed about what is going on||0||3||2||5||10|
|I have opportunities to innovate and work on my own initiative||13||7||0||0||0|
|My company / manager seems to care about me as a person||0||0||0||9||11|
|I am free to choose my own method of working||5||12||3|
|Working relationships in my team are good||0||0||3||10||7|
|I am consulted and my opinions seem to count||9||11||0||0|
|I have had opportunities to learn and develop myself during the last few years.||1||7||3||5||4|
|My job is very secure||0||0||0||10||10|
|I have the opportunity for a continuous career||0||0||2||9||9|
Source: Research data, 2017
This section should show how the quantified information will indicate as to which areas the employees are satisfied and dissatisfied about. For this analysis, based on the level of agreement, a score is assigned. The highest level of agreement is indicated by 5.00 while the lowest is indicated by 1.00. This allows identification of the average satisfaction for each of the attributes.
Table 4.2 – Attributes and average scores
|The quantity of my work is enough to keep me busy but not too much to over-burden me||1.85||I have opportunities to innovate and work on my own initiative||1.35|
|There is sufficient variety at work to maintain my interest||1.5||My company / manager seems to care about me as a person||4.55|
|I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day||1.75||I am free to choose my own method of working||1.9|
|I have all the materials and equipment I need to do my best every day.||4.25||Working relationships in my team are good||4.2|
|I know what my manager thinks of my performance||4.45||I am consulted and my opinions seem to count||1.55|
|The relationship with my manager enables me to be open when discussing work problems and concerns.||3.7||I have had opportunities to learn and develop myself during the last few years.||3.2|
|I have friends at work||4.5||My job is very secure||4.5|
|My manager keeps me informed about what is going on||4.1||I have the opportunity for a continuous career||4.35|
Source: Research data, 2017
Quantitative results also confirm the results that were established from the qualitative outcomes. The employees have to comply; they cannot innovate or change the system. This makes the employees a part of the machines. The employees cannot select their own work methods. The work stress is high and the overall workload remains high. There is no variety of work. However, the employees receive the training needed and have very cordial relationships with the team members and the superiors. This is a positive aspect in the work environment.
4.1.3 Strategies for improvement
The company has to be able to improve the overall work performance and eventually achieve best results in the long-term. Thus, the following work strategies will assist them to reach these targets and eventually benefit from the outcomes.
- The company should form employee committees and allow them to provide suggestions that will allow the organization to change the work environment.
- The company should allow job rotation to take place; this will break the monotonous cycle and make sure that the employees will be able to identify the total work process.
- The company should introduce the overall changes to the work environment and provide training so the work efficiencies will improve, reducing the stress from the work.
- Easier approaches for doing the work should be identified; this will also reduce the work pressure on the employees.
- The performance appraisal system is an important aspect of the overall work improvements; this will benefit all the parties and allow the company to identify the best performing employees.
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Appendix 1 – Survey questions
|Strongly disagree||Disagree||Neutral||Agree||Strongly agree|
|1||The quantity of my work is enough to keep me busy but not too much to over-burden me|
|2||There is sufficient variety at work to maintain my interest|
|3||I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day|
|4||I have all the materials and equipment I need to do my best every day.|
|5||I know what my manager thinks of my performance|
|6||The relationship with my manager enables me to be open when discussing work problems and concerns.|
|7||I have friends at work|
|8||My manager keeps me informed about what is going on|
|9||I have opportunities to innovate and work on my own initiative|
|10||My company / manager seems to care about me as a person|
|11||I am free to choose my own method of working|
|12||Working relationships in my team are good|
|13||I am consulted and my opinions seem to count|
|14||I have had opportunities to learn and develop myself during the last few years.|
|15||My job is very secure|
|16||I have the opportunity for a continuous career|
Appendix 2 – Interviews
- What are the current strategies for blue-collar employees? Have they changed in the past few years? If so, how and why?
There has been no change; we are in the view that the blue-collar employees are a necessary part of the operations and we continue to treat them as an important part. We provide them with bonuses and increments as we do to the rest of the organization. We provide them with the best of health and safety and train them in their work areas.
- What are the biggest challenges within the organization or organizational site retention (e.g., location, lack of teamwork, not welcoming newcomers, consumer demographics, or rural locations)?
It is to identify the right people and recruit them; then we have an issue to retaining the employees we have selected. For the slightest of the issue they face, they tend to leave the organization with minimum notice. We intend to solve this issue in the long run to make sure that we achieve the needed results.
- What sort of vision have you given to the operational management?
We believe that all blue-collar workers (we don’t even use that word here) should be treated equally. This is our policy and we want to treat them fair. We know that they are all working hard and we have to make sure that we look after them well.
- What can you improve with the current employee retention strategy?
We intend to identify those who are working better; this is not to discriminate them; this is to make sure they receive the best possible treatments based on the performance. Based on the fact that we identify the best employees, we can treat them the level best and this will benefit the company as more employees are satisfied.
- How does it affect high voluntary turnover to the business in a competitive environment?
If we identify the best performing employees, that means we will be able to treat them better; for instance, pay higher salaries. Currently, we do not pay any such workers higher salaries because we cannot identify as to who is doing better with their work. We can also use them to treat the others. So that the others will be satisfied with the needs they have. This is another approach that will benefit all.
HR and Factory managers
- In your opinion, how does staff turnover affect the organization (e.g., how does it affect consumers, long-term staff and business)? Why?
When the employees are leaving, we have to replace them. This is a problem due to the fact that we cannot immediately replace them. There are set of skills they have to have. So, we need to recruit and train the employees. This is a major problem for the organization and eventually the costs will increase. Recruiting the employees have to make sure that the right employee is selected.
When the employees leave, we face quality issues; this is because that the employees with experience and the skills are required to perform the duties of the organization. If the employees do not have these qualities, that means we will not be able to achieve results in a sustainable way. Then we will also face production delays due to these issues.
- What methods for reducing turnover has the organization tried?
We believe we are providing the employees with fair treatment; we treat them equally. But this does not seem to satisfy the employees all the time. We identify the areas they have problems with and provide them with training. This is another method that will allow us to improve their skills. We are hoping that these steps will contribute to reducing of the employee turnover.
On the production side, many complain about the workload; we have tried to assign the work to work teams and improve the employee skills by training them better. These are some of the important steps that has to be taken to improve the overall training quality. We have also tried to improve the production capacity by investing in machines etc. But we are yet to do a total system analysis and identify how we will be able to reduce the stress that is placed in the employees.
- Which have been the most effective? And which have been least effective?
We cannot really identify as to what is most and what is least effective; we believe that the employees leave because they face stagnation and they have a monotonous job. We have to re-design the job cycles and allow the employees to lay a more empowered role. This will reduce work stress and allows to retain some of these highly productive employees in the long-term.
The work teams have improved the work efficiencies; however, I believe that with a full workflow analysis and bottleneck analysis, we will know which areas are choking the employees and then we will be able to take the right actions to reduce the impact and increase the overall outcomes attached with the system in the future.
- What has been tried to improve the situation (e.g., new recruitment strategies, teambuilding methods, enhanced training efforts, or other strategies)?
As I have mentioned, we have not really tried any of these strategies; what we have identified is that we need to stop the best performing employees from leaving the company. So, we are looking to develop a performance management system in line with the needs of the organization.
Well, we have tried building teams and working in line with the teams; this has actually improved the overall work efficiencies. But we are looking to develop a performance appraisal system so that we will know who are working better. This is better than treating all the employees the same. This will benefit all the parties in the future context.
- What are the changes that may have influenced retention?
I believe that the employees are highly unsatisfied with the work; this is because the work is monotonous; they do not have much creative things that they can use in the work context. The work is highly laid out and this means that the employees are a part of the machines. This is why that the employees are not satisfied with the work contexts.
We have to manage the work with the employee satisfaction; we have been automating the systems and this has increased the machines in the system. Thus, we have increased the number of machines and reduced the employees. What this has done was to make the employees a part of the machines and their task has been very monotonous. This is an issue that the parties have to work to overcome.
- What retention strategies such as specific training, staff reviews, coaching, or planning and evaluations have been implemented? Do you think the use or lack of use of these strategies hurt retention? If so, how?
The organization is currently developing retention strategies; the past strategies have not worked and that is why the level of employees leaving the company has increased. I have full faith in working to identify the best performing employees and allowing them to have higher benefits will be the best approach that will contribute to retaining of the employees in the future.
In the past, we have tried many different approaches and the statistics show that they have not worked. We intend to retain the best employees working with the company and ensure they will be able to perform at a higher level, and this is done through a performance appraisal system. This will benefit all the parties and specifically allow the best performing employees to stay with the company in the long-term. It is actually that we have not experimented with many strategies that is responsible for these issues and we need to rectify that in the future.
- What can you improve with current blue-collar employee voluntary turnover?
We believe that there should be organization-wide changes taking place; the employees and the organization has a very cordial relationship. But the work is stressful and the employees are powerless to actually use their ideas and creativity. So, we have to actually change the ways to improve the employee contribution and allow them to provide their ideas to improve the overall acidities. This will benefit all the parties.
I will work with the employees and get their ideas to work; this will improve the systems as well as the employee motivation. Thus, the employees and the company will be able to work in a close contact and achieve the needed results in the future.
- How did you first decide to take a job in this company?
Many of the respondents were satisfied with the salary and the reward systems; they also believed that the training is helpful and they will be able to grow within the company. These are the aspects that have driven them to take up the job.
- What do you like most about your job here?
It is the superiors and the work teams; they blend well and work to achieve the unified results. The needed goals and the objectives are very clear and the employees can, in general, work to achieve them.
- What are some of the things you find to be less positive?
It is the work stress; then we are doing a job that cannot be changed by us; we are simply not empowered. So we have to just comply with the instructions given and perform the job. Then, the company does not identify the best employees and treat all the same. This is another issue area.
- How much do you feel you can still grow on the job? Is that the kind of challenge you want?
Very low; we have gained the skills we need and perform our daily tasks. So, there is hardly any room for us to grow in the future and benefit from the growth.
- How about the people you work with? How well are they able to provide the support you need?
They support us very well; the peers and the superiors all work together and there is least amount of complains about such issues.
- How do you feel about the work you do here day-to-day?
That is very stressful and the nature of the work is the main reason that the employees are leaving the company.
- What makes you to retain in the organization?
Just empower the employees and listen to their ideas; they also can provide useful information about changing the work environment. Listening to the employees will allow the organization to improve the general work environment and solve some of the long-lasting questions that they have.