Effective Methods of Personnel Development Essay

Effective Methods of Personnel Development


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The current paper puts forth that the development of an enterprise’s workforce is a long-term effort, which encompasses the company’s efforts to manage the individual’s performance effectively, to looking at the equity of its compensation and benefits package, and even covering its organizational development efforts - Effective Methods of Personnel Development Essay introduction. The development of an employee is an aggregate of all of these initiatives.


Performance Management


Traditionally, employee performance has been evaluated solely by supervisors. Recently, however, organizations have realized that supervisors see only certain aspects of an employee’s behavior. For instance, a manager might see only 30% of his staff’s behavior; the rest is observed by customers, peers, and support staff in other parts of the organization. Furthermore, the staff might behave differently around her supervisor than around other people. Consequently, to obtain an accurate view of the staff’s performance, these other sources should provide feedback. The buzzword for using multiple sources to appraise performance is 360-degree feedback (Gruner, 1997). Sources of relevant information include supervisors, peers, subordinates, customers, and self-appraisal. According to Conway and Huffcutt (1997), there is often very little agreement in the way that two supervisors evaluate an employee or that a supervisor and a peer might rate an employee. Interestingly, supervisors whose self-ratings agree with others’ ratings tend to be better performers than supervisors whose ratings are not consistent with others’ (Witt, 1996).


Communicating appraisal results to Employees. Perhaps the most important use of performance evaluation data is to provide feedback to the employee and assess his or her strengths and weaknesses so that further training can be implemented. Although this feedback and training should be an ongoing process, the semi-annual evaluation might be the best time to formally discuss employee performance. Furthermore, holding a formal review interview places the organization on better legal ground in the event of a lawsuit (Field & Holley, 1982).


Normally, in most organizations a supervisor spends a few minutes with employees every six months to tell them about the scores they received during the most recent performance evaluation period. This process is probably the norm because most managers do not like to judge others; because of this dislike, they try to complete the evaluation process as quickly as possible (Field & Holley, 1982).


Furthermore, seldom does evaluating employees benefit the supervisor. The best scenario is to hear no complaints, and the worst scenario is a lawsuit. In fact, one study demonstrated that dissatisfaction and a decrease in organizational commitment occurs even when an employee receives an evaluation that is “satisfactory” but not outstanding (Pearce & Porter, 1986). Finally, in the “tell and sell” approach to performance appraisal interviews, a supervisor “tells” an employee everything she has done poorly and then “sells” her on the ways in which she can improve. This method, however, accomplishes little.


Motivating and Developing Employees


Motivating workers well in these times of change demands a balanced combination of emotional and intellectual levers. Any manager should learn to use and combine as many needs, factors, modes of reinforcement, and outputs into their message as may be necessary to motivate their employees. A manager can become a good motivator by knowing two things well: first, which tool or level of motivation will work for each and every employee, and second, how to motivate and communicate effectively with the use of positive reinforcement. Management practices which can serve as effective reinforcers include self-esteem work shops, flexible work arrangements, customized benefits packages, individual and team performance-based reward systems, among others. Each of these was discussed individually in the course of the paper. Each employee is different thus their motivating factors vary from one and other (Ridley, 1999). The manager’s task should be to locate motivational factors of each individual or group in order to develop a motivational environment. This will assist the manager in creating a better working environment enhancing productivity and job satisfaction (Gerstner, 2002).

Leaders and managers are the ones that provide motivation and vision to any organizational undertaking. The person should posses the capabilities, abilities, and skills of a leader in order to create a motivating, working environment (Gregersen et al. 1998). Only in having such effective and motivational leadership can the organization be assured of a healthy, sustainable, and committed workforce.


Membership motivation results from a favorable inducements-contributions balance.  Employees must perceive a continuing favorable balance if they are to remain members.  The motivation to perform represents a much more complex psychological contract between the individual and the organization involving perceived alternatives, perceived consequences of these alternatives, and individual goals (March & Sharipo, 1987). Organizations have no choice but to provide membership motivation if they wish to remain organizations.

It is imperative that organizations revisit these motivational theories and decide on which ones are most apt in their peculiar context. These theories are recapped below:


Process theories explain the operation of motivation, or the factors that influence an individual to choose one action rather than another.  Process theories are subdivided into cognitive and non-cognitive approaches.  Cognitive theories see behavior as involving some mental process.  Non-cognitive theories see behavior as caused by environmental contingencies.  The major cognitive theories are equity theory, goal-setting theory, and expectancy theory.  All of them focus on perceptions of the outcomes that flow from behavior.

Equity theory suggests that motivated behavior is a form of exchange in which individuals employ an internal balance sheet in determining what to do.  It predicts that people will choose the alternative they perceive as fair.  The components of equity theory are inputs, outcomes, comparisons, and results.  Inputs are the attributes the individual brings to the situation and the activities required.  Outcomes are what the individual receives from the situation.  The comparisons are between the ratio of outcomes to inputs and some standard.  Results are the behaviors and attitudes that flow from the comparison, but other standards of comparison, including oneself in a previous situation, seem equally probable (Adams, 1965).

Goals setting theories argue that employees set goals and that organizations can influence work behavior by influencing these goals.  The major concepts in the theory are intentions, performance standards, goal acceptance, and the effort expended.  These concepts are assumed to be the motivation.  Participation in goal setting should increase commitment and acceptance.  Individual goal setting should be more effective than group goals because it is the impact of goals on intentions that is important.  In goal-setting theory the crucial factor is the goal.  Tests of the theory show that using goals leads to higher performance than situations without goals, and that difficult goals lead to better performance than easy ones (Maczynski, & Koopman, 2000).  Although participation in goal setting may increase satisfaction, it does not always lead to higher performance.

Expectancy theory supports the contention that people choose the behavior they believe will maximize their payoff.  It states that people look at various actions and choose the one they believe is most likely to lead to the rewards they want the most. This theory has been tested extensively. It has been found that expectancy theory can do an excellent job of predicting occupational choice and job satisfaction and a moderately good job of predicting effort on the job.  Expectancy theory implies that the anticipation of rewards is important as well as the perceived contingency between the behaviors desired by the organization and the desired rewards.  The theory also implies that since different people desire different rewards, organizations should try to match rewards with what employees want (Maczynski, & Koopman, 2000).

The way in which the social environment is interpreted is strongly influenced by the cultural background of the perceiver. This implies that the attributes that are seen as characteristic or prototypical for leaders may also strongly vary in different cultures (Hartog, et al., 1999).  Hunt and Handler (1999) propose that societal culture has an important impact on the development of superordinate category prototypes and implicit leadership theories. They hold that values and ideologies act as a determinant of culture specific superordinate prototypes, dependent on their strength.

Culture is a very critical factor to consider when drafting motivational programs or initiatives for employees and in judging which style of leadership is most apt. This is particularly true for organizations which intend to go global and who are bent on sending expatriates to their satellite offices offhshore. The research in this area mentions three elements attributable to the leadership styles of different cultures; a stress on market processes, a stress on the individual, and a focus on managers rather than rank and file employees. As a result there is a growing awareness of need for a better understanding of the way in which leadership is enacted in various cultures and a need for an empirically grounded theory to explain differential leader behavior and effectiveness across cultures (House, 1995).  Culture profiles derived from Hofstede’s  theoretical dimensions of cultures, yield many hypotheses regarding cross-cultural differences in leadership.  Hofstede’s dimensions of culture are: uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity-femininity, individualism-collectivism, and future orientation.  High uncertainty avoidance cultures, with the resulting emphasis on rules, procedures and traditions may place demands on leaders not expected in low uncertainty avoidance cultures (Hartog et al., 1999).

Research indicates that leadership exists in all societies and is essential to the functioning of organizations within societies. Because individuals have their own ideas about the nature of leaders and leadership, they develop idiosyncratic theories of leadership.  As such, an individual’s implicit leadership theory refers to beliefs held about how leaders behave in general and what is expected of them.  This type of attribution process provides a basis for social power and influence (Weathersby, 1998).  In recent years, decision-making models in business organizations have emerged as a significant factor in the determination of the organization’s success or failure.  Organizations require that individuals carry out job assignments dependably, make creative suggestions, and carry out self-training (Katz, 1958).  However, the organization does not obtain all these behaviors simply through hiring the employee. The right or optimal match between leadership style and motivational programs will thus lead to sustenance, if not an increase in employee’s productivity. In these times of cutthroat competition and dynamism across industries, HR practitioners ought to look more profoundly into the implications of motivational theories, and attempt to draft programs that leverage on these.
Organizational Development
Shared vision. An important aspect of visioning is its notion of being shared vision. “Some studies indicate that it is the presence of this personal vision on the part of a leader, shared with members of the organization, that may differentiate true leaders from mere managers” (Manasse, 1986 in Murphy & Constans, 1987). A leader’s vision needs to be shared by those who will be involved in its realization. Murphy & Constans (1987) applied the concept of a shared vision to previous studies of policy makers and policy implementation; he found that those studies identified gaps between policy development and its implementation and concluded that this gap also applies to current discussions of vision. He stressed the need for the development of a shared vision. “It is rare to see a clearly defined vision articulated by a leader at the top of the hierarchy and then installed by followers” (Murphy & Constans, 1987, p. 587).


Valuing human resources. Leaders go beyond the development of a common vision; they value the human resources of their organizations. They provide an environment that promotes individual contributions to the organization’s work. Leaders develop and maintain collaborative relationships formed during the development and adoption of the shared vision. They form teams, support team efforts, develop the skills groups and individuals need, and provide the necessary resources, both human and material, to fulfill the shared vision (Murphy & Constans, 1987).


Promoting Employee Retention
Turnover includes the arrival of new employees and the departure of existing employees, but most research on turnover focuses on leaving rather than on entering the organization (Price, 2001). Turnover can be classified into two categories: voluntary and involuntary turnover. Voluntary turnover occurs when the employee terminates the employment relationship (Price, 1997). Involuntary turnover is when the employee wants to stay but the employer decides to terminate the relationship (Dess and Shaw, 2001). Price (2001) found that most turnover is voluntary and is, therefore, potentially avoidable and controllable, costly, and disruptive to an organization. Wiley (1993) thought that voluntary turnover could be caused by a number of factors including poor job feedback, job dissatisfaction, unmet job expectations, performance problems, situational constraints, socialization difficulties, greater degree of job stress, and a lack of career advancement opportunities. Intention to leave is a key predictor of actual leaving and most of the time is accurate when the time horizon of the prediction to leave is short. Level of job satisfaction plays a major role in virtually all turnover.



It is critical for any company to be able to draft the most apt development strategies and methods for personnel development. To carry this out, the Human Resources Department should be aware of their demographic characteristics – which is critical input to gauging what their motivations are. Uitimately, the effectiveness of these strategies will increase workforce productivity, allowing more contribution to the company’s coffers.



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