Dealing with disengaged employees

The major lessons to be learnt from this case

There are various lessons to be learnt in this case. To start with, disengaged workers are usually unproductive and often lead to loss of customer loyalty. On the other hand, engaged employees are usually highly productive and provide good services to customers. The causes of disengagement can either be behavioural or economical. Disengaged workers are costly to an organization in numerous ways. Thus, it is essential to try available ways to deal with disengaged employees but sometimes, the best choice if to fire the worker. Further, poor management practices are a major cause of workers disengagement. Also, disengaged managers have an adverse impact to the performance of workers. It is thus important for managers to establish good relationship with all workers and establish ways to respond to individual performances. More importantly, organizations should focus on preventing employee disengagement through establishing ways to discover ‘mental absence’ in workers and try to fix the problem before disengagement takes place.

How training and re-training can be used to better engage the retail employees when;

(a) They are new

Training and retraining can be used to better engage new retail employees through effective on-boarding process. This is a process in which new employees learn the culture of an organization (Macey et al, 2011, p. 1). From the first contact that an organization has with new employees, the retail organization can imbue the employees with values and goals of the organization. As Macey et al, (2011, p. 1) noted, this can be done through formal training of the employees, focusing on organizational values as well as the skills required to do the work. This process can be reinforced through offering the new employees with informal opportunities for interaction and through continuous retraining. This will enhance better perception of the new employees towards the organization, increase their focus on organizational goals and hence, increase their engagement (Macey et al, 2011, p. 1).

 (b) After they have been with a retailer for a while

Training which is meant to engage employees who have stayed in the retailer for a while needs to focus on building effective communication among the employees and between employees and management, enhance trust with the management and cultivate the employees to think systematically (Champion, 2008, p. 13). For an effective training process, the management should first consider surveying the employees in order to understand the specific skills that each will need to learn. This will help to match the match the training with the preferences and requirements of each employee. It is essential to make the training sessions enjoyable through building interactivity into the training programs. More importantly, the employees need to be allowed to express themselves as unique individuals during training (Macey et al, 2011, p. 1). The training process should be made continuous. Generally, this will help to foster sense of belonging and creates meaningful opportunities to contribute, to learn and to grow for the workers and thus, increase their engagement.

Supervision style that is most likely going to motivate retail employees

The most suitable supervision style that would motivate the retail employees is the democratic style. In this style, the management includes employees in the process of decision-making and problem solving, though it retains the ultimate say in the final resolution (Pinnow, 2011, p. 51). This style increases employees’ engagement and participation, hence increasing job satisfaction, morale, efficiency and productivity. Thus, the democratic style is likely to be the most effective in motivating the retail workers.

Impact of reducing labour costs at a percentage of sales from 10% to 8 percent

It is not good for the retailer to reduce labour costs by cutting down sales commission from 10 percent to 8 percent. As Thomason et al (2001, p. 189) explains, compensation motivates employees to work hard and to strive for higher levels of productivity. As such, reduction in compensation will create mistrust of the organization among workers, decrease their morale, increase turnover rate and subsequently, reduce overall organizational productivity. Therefore, it is not advisable for the retailer to reduce labour costs by cutting down workers’ commission.

Suggestions for improving labour productivity in retailing

The productivity of the retail business can be improved in various ways. First, it can be enhanced through improved ways of worker’s motivation while focusing on gaining their engagement and loyalty United Nations, (2006, p. 126). Secondly, the retailing productivity can be improved through training of staff to improve their knowledge and skills as well as through adapting improved recruitment and selection process. Thirdly, it can be enhanced through investment in advanced equipments and technology. The fourth option is to create a system that will respond to employees’ issues effectively. This will help to reduce frustrations, increase job satisfaction, increase workers’ efficiency and increase overall productivity (United Nations, 2006, p. 126). Finally, the retail’s productivity can be enhanced by fostering open communication within the organization which will allow workers to make suggestions for updating office policies and streamlining procedures.

The pros and cons of cross-training a disengaged employee

There are several merits of cross-training a disengaged employee. To start with, training makes a disengaged worker experience change in routine hence reducing boredom (Sunley, et al, 2011, p. 145). Secondly, it provides a chance for a disengaged employee to raise issues affecting him or her and to make suggestions for improvement. According to (Sunley, et al, 2011, p. 145), training makes the disengaged workers to feel valued since the employer is using time and resources. The cross-training process can help to identify candidates for higher level jobs. Generally, a well designed training for disengaged employee help to increase job satisfaction, reduce employee turnover rate, increase customer loyalty and organizational productivity (Sunley, et al, 2011, p. 145).

As well, there are various demerits associated with training of a disengaged employee. First, it is costly to an organization to implement an effective cross-training program (Sunley, et al, 2011, p. 145). Secondly, there is usually less productivity during the course of training. Further, if poorly implemented, the cross-training program can have several adverse impacts on the disengaged worker. According to Sunley, et al (2011, p. 145), it can kill employee’s morale especially if they feel that he or she is likely to lose job. It can also lead to resentments if the worker feels that the training is likely to increase his or her responsibilities, but for the same pay. If poorly implemented, training can cause the disengaged worker to lose sight of key responsibilities, leading to confusion. Generally, if poorly managed, cross-training can result in less productivity, customer dissatisfaction and even possibility of costly mistakes (Sunley, et al, 2011, p. 145).

The labour related functions could be outsourced by an auto dealer

There are various labour related tasks such as handling of dealership website leads, third leads generated by advertising on TV, radio, direct mail, incoming sales calls, inbound calls, and database mining of past sales and service customers among others (Sundararajan, et al 2011, p. 18). The reasons for outsourcing include cost saving, achieving better control of the outsourced functions, need to focus on core competencies, avoiding distractions and push by company politics. An auto dealer may outsource any or all of the aforementioned functions depending on the skills and abilities of the staff.


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