Human resource management (HRM) is a policy or internal integrated function of an organization that focuses on recruiting, managing, and ensuring the activities of people who work in the enterprise. The company’s human resource management strategy is the primary direction of management’s actions towards staff. The concept includes a set of criteria, principles, methods, and forms of organizational behavior aimed at implementing a strategy for the firm’s effective functioning and development. The organization’s approach provides a direct link between its aims and mission, policies, and specific activities that should be subject to the strategic objectives.
The human resources management system operates in the specific conditions of any enterprise’s environment – internal and external. Such circumstances include the quality and economic people’s living standards, labor market conditions, the state of the country’s economy, and the impact of the world environment on the state and other social and economic processes. Depending on the nature and degree of influence of these factors, the need to develop a strategy for managing the organization’s human resources is determined. The specific principles, rules, and objectives of working with personnel are also taken into account. They are designed according to the type of organizational strategy, productive and human capacity, international requirements, and standards arising from the globalization of the economy and other processes of the world community. These factors determine the strategy and policy of human resources management.
In the contemporary world, the economy is characterized by such qualities as volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. For this reason, companies in which employees can capture and react to transformations in the external environment and make decisions quickly will benefit. It cannot be achieved with outdated methods of management; thus, several new ones have been developed, among which Results Only Work Environment has gained popularity.
Results Only Work Environment
The main directions in modern technologies of personnel management are issues of its development, as well as the improvement of incentive systems. Personnel is the leading and the most crucial resource of the organization. The established order of enterprise management, its style can preserve, increase this asset, or turn it into a liability. Managers are direct participants in the process, but practice shows that many of them understand the motives and incentives of workers, and hence can forecast different outcomes.
Results Only Work Environment or abbreviated ROWE is a system developed by American consultants Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler for various companies (Daisley, 2019). Under ROWE, workers do not have a schedule to go to the office, and they appear at the workplace when they want or when they need it. The manager sets the employee a clear task, describes what result he or she expects, and by what date. After that, he or she gives the subordinate complete freedom. The main mission is to do work, when, how, and where to do it is the employee’s decision. They go to meetings and conferences in these conditions exclusively at will. As a result, there was an increase in productivity, growth in employee participation in the firm’s affairs, a rise in job satisfaction, and a decline in staff turnover. Leaders of the units manage the results of the work, not people. It does no matter how long a person works, he or she can regulate the number of hours necessary for solving the task – the payment is for the result, not the time.
The authors initially questioned the traditional forty-hour workweek established in the majority of workplaces. They believe that such time frames and commitments to go to work harm human productivity. Constant control by the employer, routine, and monotonous work do not inspire employees, but only exhaust them. Moreover, in the current context of rapid and continuous economic development, this approach seems outdated. First, Thompson and Ressler applied this strategy in their company BestBuy – an American company with an extensive network of consumer electronics stores. According to their calculations, productivity increased by 35%, and staff turnover in some departments decreased by 90% (Daisley, 2019). Later, the strategy was successfully applied at Gap, the world’s second-largest retail clothing supplier.
Many advantages can be identified in this strategy for managing human resources. The main one is the achievement of a balance between the personal and working life of an employee. In this case, an individual should not sacrifice family relations and his or her interests in favor of the working schedule. Moreover, such a strategy allows taking care of the preferred daily routine for employees – while some can be more productive at night, others, on the contrary, show the best results in the morning. It also solves problems such as a doctor’s appointment on weekdays or addressing urgent issues for which most people have to miss work.
Achieving a balance with personal life, the lack of a rigid framework, and job satisfaction is beneficial not only for workers but also for the organization. Employees do not often have a desire to look for another place of work where the schedule will be more suitable. In this way, ROWE can reduce staff turnover across organizations significantly. The high turnover rate does not allow the formation of a stable and harmonious team, so the firm’s corporate spirit will be at a low level. This, in turn, can affect the efficiency of tasks completion, competitiveness, and the organization’s stability. On the one hand, personnel retention is not always a negative phenomenon. New employees bring with them fresh ideas that are necessary for success. On the other hand, if the best workers leave, it is a severe problem that should be solved. In such a situation, the Results Only Work Environment will be the right decision.
There are a few essential and complex aspects of this strategy that can be considered as disadvantages. Relying entirely on employees is not always possible. Staffing is critical to the success and efficiency of the company. It is crucial to organize the personnel in such a manner that there not too much of them, but they are also not overburdened. Only if the demands of the employee and the employer coincide, cooperation will be useful. Moreover, competent human resource planning is vital in this respect.
The task of HR planning is to provide achievement of the organization’s goals taking into account the human factor of the enterprise – employees – their number, qualifications, productivity, costs of hiring them, and others. One more aspect, which is closely related to this process, is job design. It implies deciding on tasks and responsibilities that are included in a particular work. During job design, the manager relates the organization’s requirements to the employee’s competence. In this way, under the ROWE system, the manager, while establishing the tasks, must know what workers are capable of and be sure of their reliability. To perform this task, the manager needs to make a job analysis. In this process, he or she assesses the peculiarities of the job and determines what skills are necessary to perform it. The analysis is useful for training employees, and the future evaluation of their effectiveness.
One more shortcoming is that only employees with a high degree of self-organization work well. Self-organization is the activity and feature of the individuals related to the ability to organize themselves. It is manifested in the purpose, action, the criticality of assessment of the results, sense of duty, and many other aspects. Thus, self-organization, as a personal quality, is based not only on knowledge and activity characteristics but also on will and assessment. It becomes the most critical skill for survival in today’s world, where only those who can organize themselves and their surroundings effectively succeed.
It also should be noted that heads of units should act for subordinates as a coach. When implemented in the company, the Results Only Work Environment strategy significantly changes the role of the department’s head. He or she should not just control employees, their presence at work, but show flexibility and evaluate the results rather than the process. Moreover, in such situations, the head becomes an intermediary between the client, the superiors, and the employees. He or she should understand the essence of all the processes taking place in the department and be able to answer both sides’ emerging questions. That makes the head a leader, not just a boss, and that requires many efforts.
Alternative Flexibility Programs
In 2001, IT executives from the United States gathered in Snowbird, Utah, to work out a plan: how to make the products that their companies create more in demand (LeMay, 2018). As a result, the Agile Manifesto, a suggestion of flexible software development methodology, was developed. The basis is the belief that the staff member will not work responsively by force. He or she feels no responsibility for the result but will if a worker receives the autonomy. In that case, the employee responds to colleagues and a client.
Under this principle, circles are formed for each task, instead of permanent units. Sometimes it happens spontaneously: the job and the list of necessary specialists appear on the corporate site. If people are ready to work on it, they declare themselves in the circle. Employees can participate in multiple teams, but only if they are overloaded on another project. There are two levels of circles – one poses challenges, and the other solves them. The first is an external one, which includes owners and CEO (LeMay, 2018). The second level of the circle is internal – company’s teams. For the exact work process, there is still a manager-mediator between the two sides. He or she brings to the second level circles the tasks prepared by the outer one. At the same time, employees are not required to be multi-task, as each new team solves only one problem.
Advantages of a method are next:
- It is easy to divide the work into modules and establish interaction with the customer, taking into account all the requirements.
- The efficiency of work is increased because all specialists perform their part of work in parallel, no one waits for others.
- The customer participates in the project from the beginning. Employees better understand what the client needs.
- It is possible to solve complex problems in which the requirements for the final result are continually changing.
Any work is much more efficient when the schedule is organized reasonably, according to employees’ and employers’ needs, without contradicting the current laws. To ensure such an organization, the flex time plan was suggested. Flexitime or flexible working hours – is a form of labor organization that establishes a scheme of work with employees’ self-regulation of the start, end, and duration of working hours during the day.
When the flexitime regime is set, the employees, by agreement with the employer, receives the opportunity to regulate one or more positions of the labor process independently: the beginning of the workday, its end, or hours worked during the day (MacDougall, Bagdasarov and Buckley, 2019). At the same time, the worker cannot change the total number of working hours established by the organization for his or her position for a specified period.
The advantages of this regime are similar to ROWE’s benefits. They include the ability to work when the employee is more productive, not when it is obligatory. Moreover, it is an opportunity to address personal issues that are difficult to solve on weekends. At the same time, shortcomings include a lack of confidence in the quality of work and dependence of efficiency on the employee’s self-organization.
Working from Home
Working from home (WFH), which is also called telecommuting, flexible workplace, and other names is also one of the flexibility programs (Bernardino, 2017). The number of people working from home is continuously growing all over the world. With the development of Internet accessibility, the dynamics of the popularity of remote work will increase globally. Some industries, such as freelance, owe their existence to this regime. This format provides flexibility, allows young parents to care about their children, saves time and money spent on trips to the
Bernardino, A. (2017). Telecommuting: modelling the employer’s and the employee’s decision-making process. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.
Daisley, B. (2019). The joy of work: 30 ways to fix your work culture and fall in love with your job again. London: Random House.
LeMay, M. (2018). Agile for everybody: creating fast, flexible, and customer-first organizations.Sebastopol:O’Reilly Media.
MacDougall, A. E., Bagdasarov, Z. and Buckley, M. R. (2019) ‘Watering the organizational Landscape: meeting employee needs through HRM Flexibility’, in Sims R. R., Bias S. K. (eds.) Human resources management issues, challenges and trends: now and around the corner. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing Incorporated, pp. 81-103.