Quality of Work Life Improvement Techniques


Managing human resources is a highly complex and competitive task in modern organizations. Human resource management demands mastery over many areas, including psychology. The most difficult issue of employee management is their ever changing behavior. In spite of a number of behavioral theories developed by experts in the field, many turn to be ineffective in new situations. The emphasis on employee performance for the achievement of organizational goal is not a fresh idea. It has been recognized and practiced since the Hawthorne experiment conducted by Elton Mayo in 1924. (Makamson).

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Modern organizations have realized that achievement of organizational goal is more possible by group effort rather than by that of managers alone. Considering this, professional managers are directing their organizations to a new world where employee satisfaction and performance are the main concern. Organization Development (OD) is one of the various approaches towards this end. In recent times, organization development concepts and techniques have been enriched by methods from related fields to cerate a new programmatic thrust known as Quality of Work Life (QWL).

Quality of Work Life. Why so important?

For many decades, managers are using numerous techniques to ensure high employee performance and increased productivity. “(QWL) is viewed as an alternative approach to the control approach of managing people. The QWL approach considers people as an ‘asset’ to the organization rather than as ‘costs’. It believes that people perform better when they are allowed to participate in managing their work and make decisions”. (Chapter 18 Quality of Work Life: Chapter Summary).

An organization that understands and meets its employee needs and grievances is more likely to flourish than one which does not.

Techniques to improve quality of work-life

QWL is an approach by which an organization responds to employee needs for developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at work. Therefore, the entire program should aim at converting an unfriendly work atmosphere to a friendly one. It should be created in such a manner that everyone working with the organization should feel a sense of belongingness, freedom and commitment. In the present day organizational atmosphere QWL has become a competitive advantage, which boosts the employee high performance through the use of their full potential. QWL implementation calls for a flatter and leaner organization in which employee involvement is highly advocated. Following are the commonly QWL practices: (Glasser et al).

Fair compensation and work security

Provision for fair compensation is the basic need of every human being. The fair reward for their work is the basic motivating factor for any employee to be satisfied with his employer and work. Compensation should be in conformity to the qualification, responsibilities undertaken, work done and accomplishments. Job security is the second most important factor, which concerns employees. One with permanent employment is more relaxed and balanced life when compared to one who does not have.

Health is wealth approach

The organization should pay utmost attention to the health of its employees to ensure full utilization of their potential. Modern organizations have realized that human capital comprising of emotional, intelligent, and social elements is of paramount importance in achieving its goal. Moreover, human capital is the only active element in an organization. All other resources remain passive and unproductive in the absence of the human element. Thus, origination should aim at improving the work environment in such a way that employee health is of primary importance.

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Career growth opportunities

Present day employees are looking for not only fair pay and a happy environment, but also greater possibilities for their career and personal growth. No one likes to work for an organization, which does not encourage career growth because modern competitive job market demands high qualities and professionalism to excel and prosper.

Flat organization

“A flat organization is a slimmed-down organization structure, with fewer levels between top and bottom than a traditional bureaucracy, which is supposedly more responsive and better able to cope with fast -moving change”. (Business Definition for: Flat Organization).

A flat organization allows the employees to participate in the decision making process and contribute their innovative ideas since there is a smaller number of layers in the hierarchy. It accelerates the pace of communication flow and response from the top management so that decisions and actions are quick. Employees from a flat organization are more committed to and satisfied with their organization than those to the conventional organization structure.

Workers’ participation in management

This is, in fact, the most popular method seen in the organizations for quality of work life. It refers to any arrangement which is designed to involve low cadre employees (workers) in the important decision making within the workplace. This allows for workers’ involvement in the initiation, formulation, and implementation of decisions. This creates a feeling of belongingness among the employees, which in turn positively contribute to high morale and enhanced productivity.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Although TQM is a customer oriented approach, it tries to involve the employees in the continuous quality improvement process with senior managers. TQM is a method by which management and employees can become involved in the continuous improvement of the production of goods and services. It is a combination of quality and management tools aimed at increasing efficiency and business. This allows the employees to take part continuously in the decision making process and have a voice in the management of the firm.

Job Design

An improper and unscientific job design creates problems like work overload, excessive working hours, isolation. This will eventually cause stress in the work place. When employees stress level increases, their performance will be endangered, and organizational efficiency will be threatened. QWL program, therefore, starts with proper job design which involves job rotation, job enlargement, deciding working hours and work breaks etc. Job rotation allows the employees to be free from monotonous work and to work in any positions of similar when there is a shortage of workers. (Job Design: What is Job design).


Flextime allows an employee to select the hours/days he or she will work. The work time convenient to the employee should in no way inconvenient to the employer. This allows many to strike a balance between career and personal life. Many firms have introduced this facility as an opportunity to attract a talented work force. This creates a feeling of freeness among the employees, and they will try for the better of their organization.

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Compressed work

A compressed work schedule is a working arrangement wherein the worker, instead of working for five days in a week, works the required weekly hours during four/three days. It provides extra time to employees to spend on studies or professional development, and with family.


Telecommuting is using a remote place rather than an employer’s work place to perform the same work. It is advisable for works which extensively use computers, telephones, facsimile machines and other remote devices. Energy conservation, preserving the environment, enhancing family values are some of the benefits of this technique. Studies conducted earlier reveal that employees seem to be better when they are allowed freedom of work and decision making. However, inabilities to keep deadlines, procrastination etc are the major threats of this method.

Quality circles

Quality Circle may be defined as “A small group between three and twelve people who do similar work, voluntarily meeting together regularly for about an hour per week in paid time, who are trained to identify, analyze and solve some of the problems in their work, presenting solutions to management, and where possible, implementing the solutions themselves”. The concept of quality circles is based on the simple recognition of the fact that, given the right environment, people do want to work. They want to improve both themselves and their organization and, provided they are compensated fairly, gain considerable satisfaction from recognition of their talents and creativity. Creation of various Quality Circles across the organization participating different employees belonging to diverse position can develop a culture of Quality consciousness. (Kumar).

Team building

“Team building is the process that develops cooperation and teamwork within a work unit.” (Rogers). To build an effective team, its members should have a common goal, have respect for one another, and be motivated to use the strengths of each member to achieve their membership. Working in a team enhances the negotiation skill, sociability and a feeling of belongingness among the employees.

Fun at work pace

This is a growing trend among the modern organizations to improve the quality of work life. The life at the work place is becoming good-humored and people are becoming more and more fun-loving. Fun at the work place is believed to reduce stress and resultantly improves the quality of life.

The above list of quality of work life programs is not common to all organizations. Rather, each origination has its own policies and programs to introduce QWL in the organization. However, many of the above mentioned are commonly adopted by businesses across the globe.

Works Cited

Business Definition for: Flat Organization. BNET: The Go Place For Management. 2007. Web.

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Chapter 18 Quality of Work Life: Chapter Summary. ICMR Case Studies and Management Resources: Asia’s Largest Online Collection of Management Case Studies. 2007. Web.

Glasser. et al. Improvement in the Quality of Worklife and Productivity: A Joint Venture Between Management and Employees. National Technical Information Service. 1976. Web.

Job Design: What is Job design. CCOHS: Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. 2008. Web.

Kumar, Anand. Quality Culture and Institutional Culture: A Proposal. PLA Notes. 2001. Web.

Makinson, Edin Lee. The History of Management. Management Guru. 2000. Web.

Rogers, Cathy. What is Team Building. Wise Geek. 2008. Web.

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