Students will have various responses to each questions. Some type of “virtual leadership” will probably be necessary – maybe a rotating leader position. The virtual team will probably be selected much as any other team would be selected – based on skills, expertise, ability to collaborate, etc. The accountability is crucial when not face to face. They may email drafts of their work – one person circulates their draft and all edit or provide feedback, etc.
Strategic issues & choices in using contingent workforce
Strategic Issues and Choices in Using Contingent and Flexible WorkersDr. G C Mohanta, BE(Mech), MSc(Engg), MBA, PhD(Mgt) Professor
Role Played by Contingent Workers and Flexible Work SchedulesContribute to meeting the goals of cost control and Product or service innovationCost control objective requires firms to reduce output costs per employeeContingent employment saves companies considerable amounts of money because:- They do not give these workers most discretionary benefits, or- Provide less general amounts of such benefits- Discretionary benefits represent a significant fiscal cost to companies
Cost Control ObjectivesEmployers’ use of well trained contingent workers also contributes through reduced training costsNot all contingent workers know company specific work practices and proceduresCompany specific training represents a significant cost to companiesCompanies that do not employ contingent workers long enough to realize productivity benefits from training, undermine cost control objectivesCompany sponsored training may seem to contradict lowest cost imperative in short term
Factors Increase Short Term CostsCost of training materials and instructors’ professional feesDowntime while employees are participating in training Inefficiencies that may result until employees master new skills
Longer Term Perspectives on Cost ControlContingent work arrangements support lowest cost imperatives in longer term perspectivesProductivity enhancements and increased flexibility should far outweigh short run costs- if companies establish track records of:• high productivity,• quality and• exemplary customer service
Flexible SchedulesFlexible schedules contribute to lowest cost imperativesFlexible employees demonstrate lower absenteeism than employee with fixed work schedules
Product and Service Innovation ObjectiveThis requires creative, open minded risk taking employeesCompanies that pursue differentiation strategies must take a longer term focus to attain their objectivesBoth arrangements should contribute to innovationsCompanies will benefit from influx of new employees from time to time who bring fresh ideas with themContingent employment should minimize problems of groupthink, as all group members view issues
Flexible work schedulesFlexible work schedules promote differentiation strategies for two reasons:First, flexible work schedules enable employees to work when they are at their physical or mental bestSome individuals most alert during morning hours, others most alert during afternoon/evening hours because of differences in biorhythms Second, flexible work schedules allow employees to work with fewer distractions & worries about personal mattersInherent flexibility of these schedules allows employees to attend to personal matters as needed
Contingent EmploymentEmployers justify increased contingent employment with business necessity - cost containment & flexibilityCompanies are trading employee loyalty for reduced costs and greater flexibilityEmployees previously were maintaining employment within their choice companies as long as they wishedMany employees remained with a single company for decades at a time culminating in a retirement bash and receipt of a ‘gold’ watch for long time serviceSuch companies as Ford Motor Company, General Motors, IBM and Lincoln Electric exemplified extended employment
Contingent EmploymentWorkers do not forget past practices that once led to job security and sound retirement benefitsWorkers may not take personal interest in companies’ performance as employment relationship becomes more tentativeWorkers will look for better and more secured employment else where & less loyal to employersCompanies may become victim to reduced employee loyalty, resulting in:- heightened job insecurity among core employees- lower control over product or service quality- higher turnover- compliance burdens and costs and- greater training costs
Contingent EmploymentFirst, both contingent and core workers may develop less loyalty for their employersHiring contingent workers may lead core employees to feel less secure about their statusBecause staffing companies with contingent workers generally represents a lower cost alternative to core employees Consequently, core employees’ loyalties may become diminished, which can translate into lower worker dependability and work quality
Contingent EmploymentSecond, employers can lose control over product or service quality when they employ contingent workers This occurs when companies engage contingent workers on short term basisIt takes contingent workers time to learn company specific procedures and work processesCompanies that do not employ contingent workers long enough will not maintain sufficient control over quality
Contingent EmploymentThird, turnover rates among core workers will probably increase when companies employ contingent workersCore employees may feel uncertain about their job status and this uncertainty will lead to lower loyaltyAbsence of job security and diminished loyalty will increase core employees’ job search activitiesmost qualified core employees may receive competitive job offers that lead to dysfunctional turnover
Contingent EmploymentFinally companies must bear the costs of training contingent workersIn many cases, employing contingent workers can be as costly as employing core workersSavings from not offering contingent workers discretionary benefits is offset by training costsThese costs become less significant for companies that employ contingent workers long enough to realize returns on the training investment through higher productivity and work quality
CaseEveryone telecommutes at your firm. All work is done invirtual teams of four. Divide up into groups of four andrespond to the following questions: How will you organize your team? Do you need a virtual leader? How will you select your virtual team? How will you hold team members accountable?
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