Providing prompt, quality customer service in an on-line environment is essential to its success; thus, the types of information systems needed must focus on this. Amazon.com needs computerized, real-time information systems for the following activities: tracking key performance indicators; gathering information from employees related to amount of orders received and processed, sales trends, inventory-related issues, and deliveries of merchandise; and identifying and diagnosing problems. One of the factors related to the company’s success is its fully computerized, 1,300-by-600 foot warehouses that contain about 3 million books, CDs, toys, and houseware items. Using complex picking algorithms, computers initiate the order-picking process by sending signals to employees’ wireless receivers, telling them which items to pick off the shelves in which order. Computers also generate data on misboxed items, chute backup times, line speed, employee productivity, and shipping weights. Amazon’s warehouse efficiency and cost per order filled is so low that one of the fastest-growing and most profitable parts of its business is using its warehouses to run the e-commerce operations of Toys “R” Us and Target.
To create a strategy-supportive system of rewards and incentives, a company must emphasize rewarding employees for accomplishing results, not for just dutifully performing assigned tasks. Focusing employee attention and energy on what to achieve rather than on what to do makes the work environment results-oriented. In any job, performing assigned tasks is not equivalent to achieving intended outcomes. Diligently showing up for work and attending to job assignments does not guarantee results. Specific performance targets must be established for each organization unit, every manager, every team, and perhaps for every employee. Rewards must be based on the achievement of these targets by the specified time.
Make sure ideas and suggestions of employees are valued and respected
Create a work atmosphere where there is genuine sincerity and mutual respect among all employees
State strategic vision in inspirational terms to make employees feel they are part of something worthwhile
Share financial and strategic information with employees
Have knockout facilities
Be flexible in how company approaches people management in multicultural environments
Approaches: Motivating People to Execute the Strategy Well
Examples: Motivational Practices Lincoln Electric Rewards productivity by paying for each piece produced (defects can be traced to worker causing them). Highest rated workers receive bonuses of as much 110% of their piecework compensation. Google Employees are provided with free food, unlimited ice cream, pool and Ping-Pong tables, and complimentary massages. Employees are allowed to spend 20% of their work time on any outside activity.
Examples: Motivational Practices Xilinx New hires receive stock option grants. CEO responds promptly to employee e-mails. During hard times management takes a 20% pay cut instead of laying off employees. JM Family Enterprises Benefits for employees include: a great lease on new Toyotas, cruises in the Bahamas on the 172-foot company yacht, office facility has a heated lap pool, a fitness center, and a free nail salon, and professionally made take-home dinners.
Examples: Motivational Practices Nordstrom Pay salespeople higher than prevailing rates, plus commission. “Rule #1: Use good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.” Amazon.com Hands out Just Do It awards to employees who do something they think will help Amazon without getting their boss’s permission; the action has to be well thought through but doesn’t have to succeed.
Examples: Motivational Practices W. L. Gore Employees get to choose what project/team they work on; each team member’s compensation is based on other team members’ ranking of his/her contribution to the enterprise. Amgen Employees get 16 paid holidays, generous vacation time, tuition reimbursements up to $10,000, on-site massages, a discounted car wash, and the convenience of shopping at on-site farmers’ markets.