Emirates Telecommunication Group Company (or a brand name Etisalat) is a company based in the United Arab Emirates. It operates predominantly in the Middle East, Africa, and across Asia. Etisalat provides telecommunication services to nearly 170 million customers, the Internet access in particular. The company has foreign branches in 16 countries, and there are several problems that appear as a result of its expansion. One of the issues is a lack of professional development among employees. It is hard for the office in the Emirates to control the foreign departments, especially the career of each worker. However, many workers stop any attempts at improving their skills and knowledge in a professional field. The problem tends to cause frequent Internet blackouts and issues with connectivity across the Middle East.
Analysis of the Problem
When an employee starts to work in the company, one tries to show the best skills. Nonetheless, after a certain period of time, the worker understands that one possesses enough abilities and there is no need to develop new skills. There are various factors, which can cause such a condition that is known as a professional burnout. It is a serious problem as a number of affected people grows each year. Telecommunication industry heavily relies on innovative technologies and strategies which advance and update every several years (Yin, Ansari, & Akhtar, 2015). Lack of motivation to improve one’s skills results in a decrease in the company’s performance. As a matter of fact, it creates disadvantages for the organization and customers.
Etisalat has experienced regular blackouts in several countries across the Middle East. Customers typically do not have access to the Internet and TV services that are provided by the company. The interruptions are not a surprising problem for the telecommunication industry because of technical mismanagement and natural factors such as weather. However, the goal of the company during outages is to resolve the issue in the shortest amount of time possible. People with the outdated skills are not able to restore the Internet access (Waddock, Meszoely, Waddell, & Dentoni, 2015). Therefore, a growing number of employees with no desire to advance their knowledge about their area of professional activity is a serious concern. The customers suffer, as a result, and the image of the company might become associated with lack of reliability.
Furthermore, there is a growing problem of communication and cooperation among employees. The workers who are eager to excel at their job cannot find common ground with people experiencing burnout and lack of interest in innovations and research. In other words, employees who want to improve their skills and who do not, cannot communicate effectively, their cooperation becomes meaningless and decreases productivity (Calma, 2013). In addition, workers who are eager to continue self-improvement reduce their desire under the influence of burnout colleagues. Dysfunctional working relationships create an unhealthy environment in the company. In its turn, the atmosphere in the workplace has a significant impact on the functionality of Etisalat.
All of the problems mentioned above are hard to regulate across several foreign countries. The company can effectively and quickly resolve the issue in its homeland; however, it is difficult to implement a single policy across several multicultural states. In order to resolve the problem with lack of self-development, the company has to change its internal culture and create a supportive environment for the employees. At the same time, the change in the organization’s policies and regulations should follow local values in every country, as it will prevent any conflicts. Furthermore, the company also must develop a program to respond to the change resistance among employees.
Creative Ideas for Problem Solving
One of the most obvious solutions to the problem which many companies utilize is a reward system. An employer hires employees based on the level of their qualification; however, one is interested in workers’ development as professionals in the future. Taking into account the rapid advancing of modern technologies and telecommunication equipment, one can state that the current information will be considered out of date in five years, and self-development is essential in this context (Calma, 2013). Some employees might not have a personal interest in learning something new, but the system of rewards can change the situation for the better. A reward should not be financial only; however, financial one is the most popular among employers.
The reason why companies incorporate the usage of bonuses is that money can be used as an external motivational factor. Even if the individual is not interested in self-development, one can appreciate additional finances to one’s salary. It provokes an individual to change instead of continuing the same attitude to work. Habitual lack of challenges creates a too comfortable environment for the employees, and any change is considered as something inconvenient. For the person who has worked in the same way for several years, it might be morally painful to try something new. Prejudiced employees depend on stereotypes and their personal experience without any open-mindedness. It creates additional pressure and resistance to change.
Apart from the monetary rewards, there can be extracurricular rewards, additional training, or any other personal recognition. Many companies utilize some classes or educational programs as the significant reward for employees. In this case, reward can be used not only as a bonus to an accomplishment but also as personal gratitude from the employer (Myszkowski, Storme, Davila, & Lubart, 2015). For many professionals, it is important to feel appreciated and valued for one’s abilities and even more critical than financial bonuses. A job for the majority of people is the only place where they can express their personality (Calma, 2013). If the company recognizes contribution of an individual, it also makes employee feel better as a person, not only as the professional.
Another problem with changing the existing standards and values is resistance to change. Many companies do not understand how significant environment in the organization is. Any change, even the smallest one, causes disapproval at first. People tend to criticize innovations and doubt potential benefits (Sternberg, 2006). However, there are three possible ways to reduce resistance or prevent it completely. One of the ways is reward, which is discussed above, the second one is to inform the personnel before the new policy is approved, and to show the effectiveness of the change (Guesalaga, Pierce, & Scaraboto, 2016). In many instances, people are afraid and remain critical about something new, especially when it concerns the way employees have done something for several years in a row. However, it is also strongly suggested to inspire workers to contribute their personal opinion about the problem.
If the company incorporates a new code of conduct and other internal regulations without prior notifications or any other information, employees will be shocked. In order to create an agenda for the change, the employer has to inform employees about upcoming innovations and new principles regarding behavior and conduct in the office. The company might implement some courses or presentation to make employees aware of the policies. Furthermore, information before the application of new regulations is useful because workers can actually see the new rules which they have to follow. Surely, the company has all the right to shift to a radically different strategy without any preparation; however, it will affect people significantly (Berg, Taatila, & Volkmann, 2012). The workers will not be able to work in the company with the new rules without knowing them.
In addition, lack of preparation shows no appreciation in regards to the opinion of the employees. In other words, the company seems to make decisions with no acknowledgment of the needs or preferences of employees. It can cause serious structural and regulatory issues, as many of the workers will ignore employer and one’s interest (Calma, 2013). The prior notification is also beneficial because it creates a period of time for adaptation and necessary adjustments without any penalties or other ways of punishment. The regulations should be supported with a relative mean of punishment which will serve as a preventive measure against violations. Nonetheless, it is necessary to consider the fact that people make mistakes under a stressful condition of learning something new and applying it immediately.
Therefore, people need time for the adjustment period and to understand the goals of the changes, as well as the methods it uses. Some regulations might require additional education. It means that the employer hires a team of professionals and managers who can convey relevant information. Workers will have questions and they need reliable and definitive answers which can clarify the situation. Typically, companies do not have a department responsible for the education, and that is why it hires professionals outside the company (Zander et al., 2015). Furthermore, people outside the company can evaluate a team of workers without any personal prejudices; it helps to avoid conflicts of interests, also it increases the effectiveness of the newly established policy.
The employer also has to have in mind a possible situation of firing some of the personnel who cannot accept rules and comply with them. Some employees might be too out of touch with reality, and they will see the necessary change as something irrelevant and unnecessary (Bain, Walker, & Chan, 2011). Hence, these people will not change their attitude and feel the need to react accordingly. Instead of wasting resources and money on the employees who do not want to cooperate, the organization will fire them, unfortunately. Then the company will hire workers who are better suited for the jobs and regulations. Surely, educational degree and professional experience are important factors for the company; however, it is also vital to be able to collaborate with the employer and colleagues in order to increase the performance of the company.
Every solution to a particular problem has to be evaluated after it is incorporated. It is necessary to understand that an issue which Etisalat experiences cannot be solved in 24 hours, instead, it will take several months, considering the size of the company and its foreign departments. In order to see how effective the new strategy and solutions are, it is useful to use audits, evaluations, and reports which might reveal the flaws of the method. As stated above, it is better the inspections are conducted by an external group of people who do not have personal or professional bonds with the employees. It will make the report more reliable and objective, compared to the internal reports. Some of the employees do not express any willingness to share their real thoughts, especially negative ones, with the manager, supervisor, or employer.
Etisalat also can hire a team of professional teachers and organize educational courses for the professionals who are eager to learn something new. A good professional spends personal time to become a better worker (Giannopoulou, Gryszkiewicz, & Barlatier, 2014). It might put a severe strain on one’s performance, personal life, and accomplishments. In order to avoid any damages to the private life of the valuable worker, the company can provide necessary educational agenda for its personnel. In this case, people will not have to spend their personal money to become a better professional. Instead, the company might take care of it because it will receive certain benefits from it. It is an expensive step; however, it is reasonable to suggest that the company as big as Etisalat can afford that.
In conclusion, Etisalat operates across 16 countries and it makes it difficult to resolve problem which is related to the lack of self-development among employees. In order to resolve the issue, the company has to encourage and motivate people in their attempts at advancing professional skills and learning something new. In fact, the company should implement a system that recognizes the effort and ability to develop new skills to the advantage of the company. The changes in internal culture might cause controversies and disputes regarding their necessity; however, it is important to create the system of rewards, inform, and education employees about the change.
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