Summary of the Background Information
Holiday Snacks Limited was acquired by the Bermudez Group in 1989. Since then, the Bermudez Group has continuously focused on achieving its vision of becoming the leading snack company in the Caribbean and Central America. Today, in a highly competitive industry, Holiday Snacks has established a distinct taste with products that fuel the party spirit of its youthful consumers whilst also offering healthy snack options. They also continue to pride themselves on reaching every single consumer through their intricate and well-thought-out distribution channels which they developed and have maintained throughout the years.
Holiday Snacks’ “key food processor” is in the Eastern Caribbean. According to the Department of Agriculture, the company also operates in Barbados, chiefly as WIBISCO, and also in Jamaica. WIBISCO is owned by Bermudez and has companies under one group, such as Holiday Snacks, Kiss Baking Company, and a few others. It functions in a way that WIBISCO purchases Holiday Snacks products to be sold in various countries.
As the Caribbean’s premier manufacturer and marketer of snacks, Holiday Snacks Limited has established a distinct taste with well-known snack products such as Tortillaz Chips, Potato Chips, Cheese Sticks, Peanuts, and Cashew Nuts, Cheese Curls, and Cheese Balls. Their competitors are Sunshine Snacks and Mr. Toppers.
Holiday Snack products cater to the young and the old and to those who practice a healthy lifestyle. It is important to consider the reason a customer purchases your product/service and how those reasons could change throughout the year(s) as their needs change.
In order to enhance performance and optimize profits, an organization must champion employee engagement. This is about making the workers passionate and ready to dedicate discretionary effort. There are several ways to prompt the members of staff to do more than they are required, and these include having a competitive reward system in place (Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). Nonetheless, the incentives must be relevant to the expectations of the ordinary members of staff as well as the leaders (ABE, 2017). The views of a diverse range of stakeholders should be sought in regards to the appropriateness of the rewards offered.
For instance, managers should seek to empower instead of restricting and control their employees. Indeed, this is why a flat organizational structure is the best solution for Holiday Snacks. Such a design reduces the number of levels between the top leadership and the ordinary workers (ABE, 2017). It enhances communication as well as the levels of trust, and these are important contributors to employee engagement. They make them feel appreciated, and hence are willing to reciprocate through discretionary behavior.
In addition to creating an egalitarian and flat organization, realizing employee engagement necessitates the institution of best practices. These efforts convince the workers that the company plans on having them in the long-term and that everything is being done to enable them to achieve career advancement. This paper addresses the management competencies as well as human resource best practices that have the probability of enhancing employee engagement. Additionally, the effectiveness of the reward system and the impact that employee absenteeism and turnover rate have on worker engagement will be explored. Ultimately, the value of embedding workers’ engagement in recruitment and selection will also be surveyed.
Task 1: Enabling Employee Engagement Through Human Resource (HR) Practices
By seeking employee engagement, the human resource (HR) department seeks to have a team of workers who confront the status quo, seek ways of improving their performance, and individuals who readily embrace change. Such stakeholders are also accountable for their productivity, and this is unlike the disengaged ones who prefer an environment where duties are responsibilities are indistinct (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). Holiday Snacks’ culture between the 1960s and 1989 was one where stakeholders were hardly held liable for anything (Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). This tradition continued even after it was acquired by the Bermudez Group, and that is why the firm underperformed during the early 1990s (Bermudez Biscuit Company, 2021). Apparently, the acquiring corporation underestimated the impact that the long-established practices would continue having in spite of the change of proprietorship.
The Bermudez Group should have started by assessing the stakeholders of their new acquisition for disengaged and engaged behaviors. Apparently, Holiday Snacks’ employees were self-centered, and this caused a lot of delays in the completion of projects. On their part, the members of the management team were pessimistic about the solutions proposed by the Bermudez Group (Holiday Snacks Ltd, 2021). Their argument was that they have always overcome obstacles and had remained in the business for over 25 years yet there were several other firms that failed. Another sign that challenges abound was that while everyone seemed to readily accept credit, they all failed to take responsibility (Ge, 2020). Such employees would not have been re-engaged purely through monetary incentives.
Human Resource Practices
There are a number of HR practices that have the tendency to significantly influence employee engagement. They include job enrichment, training and development, and strategic compensation (Nekula and Koob, 2021; WIBISCO, 2021). Apparently, some of the factors which motivate the employees are also important in nurturing their passion, and commitment, and encouraging them to dedicate discretionary effort (Sklair, 2012). Nevertheless, they apply rather differently depending on what is desired. If the aim is engagement, the management must not only convince the members of staff that their responsibilities are meaningful but also trigger an emotional commitment toward work. Engaged employees have the tendency to be persistent both in their personal as well as the firm’s goals.
After the management of Holiday Snacks noted that individuals have varied perspectives about work, it started targeting job applicants who were likely to prefer a challenging environment. According to Kosaka and Sato (2020), such individuals seek to stretch their limits, and in the process of improving themselves, they benefit their employer as well. They volunteer and also avoid engaging in improper conduct (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). Consequently, careful recruitment and selection result in a scenario where the members of staff are largely committed to advancing their careers and improving their organization.
Failure to provide the workers with accurate and concise information undermines their disposition, and hence their ability to contribute optimally. Starting from the mid-1990s, Holiday Snacks came up with a strategy of orienting the employees in a manner that helped them understand how their job contributed to the sustainability of the organization (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020). Since then, there have also been several skills development initiatives, and it has been determined that such efforts have had a positive impact on levels of satisfaction, job performance, and individual self-efficacy (ABE, 2017; Joubert and Roodt, 2019). Regular training and development initiatives help avert ambivalence and inspire optimism among the employees.
In order to recover from years of insolvency, Holiday Snacks needed to make the workers view their responsibilities more broadly than they did before. Indeed, succeeding in this endeavor tends to encourage the willingness to accomplish duties that are beyond their normal job descriptions (Breaugh, 2021). This is what employees’ engagement entails, and therefore, job enrichment was part of the reason Holiday Snacks managed to overcome past challenges.
It was found worthwhile to set challenging goals which aligned with Holiday Snacks’ strategic objectives. Realizing them necessitated having an engaged team of employees who could work with minimal or no supervision (Staudt et al., 2010). This process of designating both individual and organizational goals and attempting to continually improve service delivery is referred to as performance management (Racine, 2021). It has enabled the organization to realize its workers’ true potential.
While a competitive salary is indispensable, leaders who ignore the other important factors fail to achieve employee engagement. The mere act of increasing salaries may compel workers who are unwilling to challenge the status quo to remain, even though their service delivery hardly improves (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). The Bermudez Group introduced the practice of strategic compensation at Holiday Snacks, and this included the pay-for-performance initiatives (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020). By doing so, the employees became proactive, started to enjoy their job, communicated effectively, and welcomed corrections (Nekula and Koob, 2021). In essence, the behaviors which lead to an increase in revenue were incentivized.
Task 2: Management Competencies Facilitating the Re-Engagement of the Employees
The management competencies which facilitate employees’ re-engagement are classified into themes. These include support for employee growth, monitoring direction, as well as integrity, and interpersonal style (Kosaka and Sato, 2020). The competencies falling under the first one are empowerment and autonomy, feedback and recognition, and development. When the Bermudez Group acquired Holiday Snacks, it called on the leadership to devise ways of convincing the workers that their capabilities are trusted to the point where they can be involved in decision-making and problem-solving. Doing so did, in fact, help many of them to progress in their careers (Dun & Bradstreet, 2000). Managers who praised and genuinely rewarded their followers for good work have always accomplished a lot more than those who barely recognize the success of their juniors.
The theme of monitoring direction incorporates guiding and rewarding, clarifying expectations, as well as instituting effective management of resources and time. Over the years, managers at Holiday Snacks have been committed to offering advice and help to the workers, and requests for guidance by the latter are addressed as efficiently as possible. The employees understand what they are supposed to do because objectives and goals are clearly defined and explained (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). According to Staudt et al. (2010), teams where leaders are aware of the workloads and make arrangements for extra resources outperform those where these factors are ignored. There are clear benefits in having procedures and making sure that processes are followed to the letter.
Integrity and interpersonal style are about demonstrating a positive attitude to work, and hence being an exemplar to the followers. A survey of employees at Holiday Snacks has indicated that in spite of what may have happened in the past, they consider their leaders worthy of emulating. They are also impressed by the regularity with which meetings with employees are held, and this makes it possible to address the most pertinent issues as they are discovered (Joubert and Roodt, 2019; WIBISCO, 2021). They feel that genuine concern and care are being demonstrated by those in positions of authority.
High performers are often frustrated if they are obstructed by excessive bureaucracy. Supporting that category of workers calls for allowing them to undertake their responsibilities in the manner they are most comfortable with (Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). Low performers ought to always be encouraged to leave their comfort zones. It is probable that they are unaware of the capacity they possess, and there have been cases where once unproductive individuals ended up surpassing expectations (Sklair, 2012). The lesson, in this case, is that nobody should be disregarded irrespective of their current level of output.
Workers start to realize that there are opportunities for progression once the management begins to allocate extra-role duties to them. Although Holiday Snacks did this in the early 1990s, the employees were hardly encouraged to complete training courses, and challenging tasks were largely avoided (Holiday Snacks Ltd, 2021). By so doing, the leaders were sending mixed messages and the confusion ended up perpetuating the turnover rate that had existed before 1989 (Racine, 2021). Fortunately, these setbacks have since been addressed, but there is still significant room for improvement.
The current management of Holiday Snacks shows noteworthy consideration for their workers’ personal lives. This is important as it makes everyone feel like being part of the team (Breaugh, 2021). By recognizing their problems and actually allowing them to voice their concerns, the leadership has learned a lot and has made improvements that matter to their workers. Those who have been with the organization for decades attest to the fact that in the past, the executive made assumptions about their aspirations (Bermudez Biscuit Company, 2021; Ge, 2020). There used to be a lot of mismatches, and hence the workers lacked the room to dedicate discretionary effort even if they chose to do that.
Task 3: Effectiveness of Motivating and Engaging the Employees Through a Reward Strategy
Financial rewards are important, but they are not sufficient enough to prompt and maintain employee engagement. Between 1989 and the early 1990s, part of the massive investment the Bermudez Group made in Holiday Snacks was in facilitating remuneration. Indeed, the salary increase for some of the workers was over 50% and far beyond the market rate (Racine, 2021). Nonetheless, the kind of behaviors that would be interpreted as emanating from engaged members of staff was hardly noticeable (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). Absenteeism and egocentric attitude continued, and Nekula and Koob (2021) argue that the Bermudez Group had started to consider reselling or even abandoning Holiday Snacks completely (Bermudez Biscuit Company, 2021). A number of Members of the Board of Directors convinced the rest of the team to give their new acquisition a chance.
It was proposed that the reward strategy be overhauled, and this solution worked. Albrecht and Anglim (2018) assert that rewards do encourage desirable behaviors as well as motivate the workers into performing optimally. If they are incorrectly executed, nonetheless, they can hurt productivity. Therefore, the management must determine beforehand which acts should be rewarded, when this appreciation ought to be done, as well as how compensations should be tailored to fit the expectations of every individual (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). While most organizations, for instance, focus on annual bonuses, this is actually an outdated approach, and it had not worked at Holiday Snacks.
It is imperative to have strategies that facilitate rewards throughout the year, and not just at the end of the trading period. The idea is that when the workers are offered something they really want and in an efficient manner, their levels of motivation are sustained and they constantly strive to surpass their previous performance (ABE, 2017; Kosaka and Sato, 2020). If, however, there is a significant delay in recognizing the employees as such, a significant number of them lose interest in having these awards (Breaugh, 2021). When this happens, they feel ignored and could resent working at the organization or become pessimistic about their career prospects.
Implementing the Reward Strategy Successfully
Holiday Snacks has implemented a reward strategy that has benefitted both the company’s bottom line as well as the employees’ welfare. This has happened because the stakeholders have been consistent, and the plan has been organization-wide (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020). It seems as if the policy has been paired with relatively clear objectives. If this is sustained, Holiday Snacks will retain its share of the market and continue increasing its revenue. The employees will perceive the company as one to which they can dedicate the rest of their career lives. At that point, they tend to have been adequately engaged, and their performance is likely to be increased in a significant manner.
For the employees to plan on remaining with the organization on a long-term basis, the management must utilize creative ideas. While financial rewards seem to be easy options, there are several nonfinancial incentives that are more effective than offering people more money (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). According to Ge (2020), the best solution is to communicate with the employees and ask them about the kind of incentives these potential recipients would prefer. It is through the receipt of something that one actually wanted that an individual is prompted to keep on refining their skills.
Holiday Snacks has notably improved the manner of interaction between the stakeholders. This has been worthwhile with respect to the achievement of common as well as individual goals (Nekula and Koob, 2021). Because organizational communication tends to be culturally dependent and highly contextual, every company should customize this process as much as possible (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). The most important thing is to convey the message that these important stakeholders are recognized and that there is a decisive effort to involve them.
An engagement strategy is successfully delivered when the management knows the people who are to be most affected by it. It is advisable that Holiday Snacks not only get their input during the beginning of the process but also review the effectiveness of the approach on a regular basis as well (Racine, 2021). In essence, it must be committed to implementing and improving the reward system, and the latter should be based on the measurement of the impact it is having on workers’ performance (ABE, 2017; Kosaka and Sato, 2020). It is when the workforce feels recognized and appreciated that individuals are motivated and become committed to enhancing their productivity.
Task 4: Impact of Absenteeism and Turnover on Employee Engagement
By the time an employee has adopted the habit of absenteeism, they are already disengaged. They most probably started by being withdrawn and doing the bare minimum of what was expected of them. They are also poor communicators and hardly participate in meetings (Racine, 2021). The management ought to take note of these indicators and have the problem addressed during those early stages. If these signs are ignored, such employees ultimately quit their jobs or are relieved of their duties due to poor performance (ABE, 2017). In an organization where there is a high turnover rate, even those who would have otherwise been motivated and focused tend to disengage.
The management has noted that absenteeism tends to increase the amount of workload their dedicated employees have. This is because those who are devoted feel the urge to complete projects on schedule and hence are compelled to assume the duties of their frequently absent peers. Breaugh (2021) and Joubert and Roodt (2019) have found that there is a notably high correlation between overworking and reduced productivity. All other factors held constant, for instance, output for individuals working for 40 hours per week is a lot higher than that of those working for above 50 hours a week (Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). The moral of the employees would be further lessened by the realization that their withdrawn colleagues are treating them with contempt, and that the team is not really working towards common goals.
It takes a significant amount of time for individuals to learn to trust each other and to start communicating with ease. Their efforts to nurture team spirit are significantly undermined when the turnover rate is high (Joubert and Roodt, 2019). In such a situation, time and effort are wasted in the workers’ endeavor to accommodate new hires (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020). High performers are bothered by such interruptions, and the frustrations could trigger a sense of detachment and emotional absence (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). Repeated challenges of this nature ultimately change their attitudes, and they become pessimistic about the sustainability of the company (Ge, 2020). It is a disempowering feeling and the once punctual members of staff may begin to miss deadlines.
There are several tools, other than the mere observation of indicators, which could be utilized in determining the level of employee engagement at work. The most commonly used is the anonymous Pulse Surveys, and it consists of scientifically driven and automated questions (Nekula and Koob, 2021). They are designed to help uncover the kind of mindset the members of staff have towards their company, the teams they work with, as well as their duties and responsibilities (ABE, 2017; Racine, 2021). Quizzes are thematically grouped, and this is meant to cover a wide range of aspects pertaining to engagement (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). Had Holiday Snacks utilized this instrument, its corporate practices and behaviors would have been aligned with the mission in a few months following the acquisition by the Bermudez Group.
The task of achieving employee engagement is daunting, and this is because people have nuanced emotions and complex needs. The process of estimating the most reliable solution does, therefore, call for intuition as well as the search and analysis of credible pieces of information (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020). There is no universal solution to the particular problems being faced by individual organizations (Joubert and Roodt, 2019). In essence, it is upon the internal stakeholders to coordinate their efforts toward creating an environment that is conducive to everyone’s advancement (Kosaka and Sato, 2020). Assuming such an approach would make the workers enthusiastic exerting discretionary effort in everything they do.
Task 5: Embedding Engagement into Recruitment and Selection Strategies
Employers often make the mistake of perceiving worker recruitment and selection as processes that are entirely separated from employee engagement while they are, indeed, inextricable. They are the initial opportunities that the management has to shape the future organizational culture as they prefer (Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). The new employees tend to be receptive as they have no past experiences with the company (Vermooten, Boonzaier, and Kidd, 2019). It is harder to impact skills after they start to become pessimistic and distracted than is the case before they even realize that there are difficulties at the place of work.
The organization must commence by recruiting and selecting the right people. It is imperative to consider how the individuals being chosen will cooperate while completing assignments and projects (Sklair, 2012). Therefore, they should share relatively similar work philosophies, and their approaches must also be compatible with Holiday Snacks’ goals of achieving efficiency, growth, and sustainability (Akhter, Kayani, and Tahir, 2020; Racine, 2021). The company needs self-starters and individuals who are committed to not only advancing their careers but also delivering services in a manner that will have a lasting effect in the firm.
The selection must be completed with the view that getting hired is the start of a long-term engagement between the employee and the company. The management should not wait until it is absolutely necessary to recruit a new worker because doing this is coupled with the temptation to pick anyone (Ge, 2020; Sklair, 2012). If the right candidate is not found, the solution is not to settle on the unqualified but to continue the search efforts. It, therefore, calls for patience, dedication, and the willingness to invest the time necessary to constitute a winning team.
Besides taking time to find the most fitting candidates, Holiday Snacks should institute a worthwhile onboarding system. This eases the challenges associated with the integration of the employees into the organizational culture (ABE, 2017; Staudt et al., 2010). Indeed, the way this process is completed tends to have an influence on how engaged the new stakeholder ultimately becomes (Črnjar, Dlačić, and Milfelner, 2020). When someone recalls their past experiences with their employer, such memories should evoke the kind of motivation that is needed more than they are required to.
The new workers should be oriented on a timely basis and be particularly briefed on the procedures and policies of the organization. Breaugh (2021) argues that individuals have the tendency to be eager to start their productive activities soon after hiring. Knowing that their efforts count towards the daily successes of the company gives them a noteworthy level of contentment. It is in the backdrop of such feelings of fulfillment that their engagement emerges (ABE, 2017; Albrecht and Anglim, 2018). They actually become resolute become the motivation to improve on performance is intrinsic and not dependent on the promises of the leaders.
Focusing on employees’ satisfaction does not necessarily result in enhanced levels of performance. They could, for instance, be happy to work in an environment without the pressure to discharge their duties effectively. Lack of accountability may be what prompts them to cling to and actually prefer the status quo. This could have been the case at Holiday Snacks during the first few years after it was acquired by the Bermudez Group. The latter implemented a reward strategy that was based on the presumption that once the workers were delighted, they would feel indebted and hence be prompted to dedicate discretionary effort towards helping the organization to succeed. At first, this did not happen because individuals have varied perspectives about work.
Over the recent years, Holiday Snacks has seen remarkable improvement, and this success is partly attributed to the employees’ change of mindset. They are not just happy to work for this refreshment company, but are also willing to significantly contribute to the organization’s accomplishments. Indeed, it is noteworthy that they have been helping the management to overcome the barriers to the desired growth. There is a high probability that such managerial practices as empowering the workers, providing room for career growth, and allowing feedback is the basis for this favorable outcome. Since employees are still quitting their jobs, nonetheless, it is imperative for the company to convince them that their progress can still be achieved at Holiday Snacks.
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