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Question 1

How
would you define and measure individuals’ productivity and contribution to the
team’s overall result?

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“The
achievements of an organization are the results of the combined commitment and effort
of each individual.”

-Mr.
Vince Lombardi (Head coach,
Green Bay Packers football team).

Not
only in team sports but also in organizational success, the importance of a teamwork is undisputable. In
the book ‘The Wisdom of Teams’, author (Katzenbach
& K., 1993) defines a team as ‘a small number of people with
complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, to achieve goals,
and to an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’ Even
though ‘a Team Leader’ is the one who drives the team, it is individuals’
commitment and efforts that result in a performance of a team. Therefore, it is
essential to take individual’s productivity and contribution under
consideration.

            Productivity is the driving force
behind a company’s growth and profitability. Employee
productivity is an assessment of the efficiency of a worker. Productivity may be evaluated in terms of the output of an
employee in a specific period of time. Typically, the productivity of a given
worker will be assessed relative to an average for employees doing similar
work. Because much of the success of any organization relies upon the
productivity of its workforce, employee productivity is an important
consideration for businesses. Productivity is linked to employee morale. When
employees are happy at work they have more motivation, which increases
productivity. Poor morale causes employees to be disengaged.

‘Organizational culture’ and ‘Leadership style’ are two of
the reasons behind individual’s productivity. Out of these two, organizational
culture is the one which affects individual productivity the most. Basically,
culture is a way of thinking & problem-solving strategies. There are
different dimensions and aspects of a culture proposed by Prof. Hofstede. When
a team consists of people from different cultural backgrounds, consistency in
the way of thinking and problem-solving strategy could hardly be seen. And
these differences of opinion and working styles were noticeable while working
in a multicultural team during an exercise of ‘Ling He Simulation’. The simulation was challenging owing to the fact that
the LingHe Corporation (LHC) was based in China, and had working culture and
hierarchy in contrast to that western companies.  Further, this simulation was designed
to fail, like a real-world problem, time was a
critical constraint in achieving the goal. Out of 7 team members, 6
members were from India and 1 was from China. Coming from a country with a
collectivistic culture, (IDV of China: 20) (Hofstede,
n.d.), it was difficult for our colleague to be very effective in a team
of people with a more individualistic culture
(IDV of India: 48) (Hofstede, n.d.).
Initially being a very critical thinker and an active team member, later he
became more passive and ‘an alienated follower’ as simulation advanced.
Ultimately, he was unable to contribute to the team with his full potential.

Another team member has a different experience. During the Time out of time and reflection session, we got to know
about where the team was lacking and what
was the scope for improvement. As a
corrective action team appointed a coordinator to conduct the decision-making
process and a timekeeper to ensure to
come up with a decision every 4 minutes, to adhere to time limitation of the
exercise.  Every member presented their
opinion on their choice of feasible measures, voting was conducted. This solved
the incumbency problem due to lack of decision making and due to the 4-minute constraint,
the members were focusing more on communicating the merits of their choices
rather than engaging in criticism of others opinion.

To reduce this negative effect of cultural diversity on
individual’s effectiveness, the team
should go through all the 5 stages of team development thoroughly which will
build a strong bond among the team.
Members should become tolerate enough to consider different perceptions of
other team members. This aspect of team building was experienced and learned in a team exercise of ‘Lego Tower
building’. Every team member should be aware of the fact that they can see only
their side of the tower. Team members must trust their colleagues and encourage
them to contribute to the team. So that through mutual trust and support,
individual effectiveness will definitely increase.

Along with ‘Organizational culture’, ‘Leadership style’ affects
an individuals’ effectiveness a lot. If a leader adopts ‘Command & Control’
style of working, he might become a good ‘Manager’ but not a good ‘Leader’. And
a good leader should have a capability to combine these two qualities
accordingly. It is equally important for a leader to know about team members’ strengths
and weaknesses. The leader is the
one who focuses on people and gives them a vision through which he believes in
them and expects the best from every single individual. When former U.S. President
John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time, he
introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor. He asked him what he
did at NASA. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” This is
the vision a leader should give to his team to achieve Excellence.

In ‘Autocratic’ leadership style, a manager keeps the hold
of power and authority with him. If he does not consult subordinates for inputs
and just expects them to obey his orders, team members will perform just to
suffice the minimum requirement. As they become ‘Alienated followers’, their
true potential will never be explored. Even though this leadership style is
effective in Armed forces, this will not work in a business environment where
employees expect to have their opinions heard. If the animosity of team members
keeps on increasing, eventually it will engender a strong resistance to a top
management, which is the biggest reason for Project failure in 82% of the cases. (Leliaert, 2000-2017)

On
the other hand, if a leader is of ‘Collaborative mindset’ who takes
subordinates’ opinions into consideration, offers support and trust, team
members will feel appreciated and will try to give their best. If enough power
and authority are given to individuals, they will use their full potential and
will always do more than what is expected. In this context, HR plays an important role by providing a framework which creates an
environment where individuals are encouraged to develop their work and
contribute to a team’s result. This framework is also ideal for evaluating the
individual and the team because it creates uniformity and a level playing field
for all members.

Measures of worker
productivity can give important insights into how workers perform and how
workplaces should be organized. Direct measures of productivity are used to
study a range of questions, such as the effects of incentives on workers’
productivity, the influence of peers on behavior, or the accumulation of human
capital on the job. For these and related questions, it is important to select
appropriate performance measures. This choice is critical, as relying on
inappropriate measures can lead to the design of inefficient incentives, poor
employment contracts, or wrong policy conclusions. It is commonly stated that
what gets measured gets managed, so it’s important to consider ways to quantify
and measure performance. Some of the criteria to measure such productivity and
contribution of the individual are as
follows:

Attendance

It’s important to look
at whether a team member shows up to work and team meetings or not. The basic
aim of the meeting is to communicate the
project progress and to gather ideas in
one place so that everyone can contribute, and the best possible solution can be achieved.  Team performance is better when it
accompanied by greater participation in setting performance targets. Poor
attendance is an indication that they’re
likely not showing their full potential. Lack of motivation could be
responsible for such situation. But it is very important to understand actual
reason behind such situation. While workload could be the possible reason. If
we relate this situation with company simulation on last class, Top managers
and middle managers were so busy handling their team some of the team were not able to attend meetings conducted
by the top or middle manager.

Initiative

The initiative is difficult to measure but it is easy to recognize. The initiative can be a member suggesting a new
process, self-motivated, helping nature towards other team members, dealing
with problems immediately before reporting back. If we can relate it to our
class work, during company simulation top managers have to take initiative to
deal with the customer. there was a
situation where they had refused two of the clients and those clients were
against the company. In that situation, it is very important to take
initiative and handle them while other top managers were busy in other
important work and time was playing a critical
role in that situation.  

Question 2

How could management recognize (and possibly reward) both the
team and its members in a fair way, that reflects individuals’ different
contributions?

Recognizing and
rewarding individuals and teams is one the core activities of Human resources
operations. Nowadays, it is virtually impossible
to avoid working in a team. In an organization,
it is likely that an if not a part of an official team, an employee will be a
part of a functional group. Companies are assigning more and more
responsibilities to teams, rather than individual employees or departments, and
collaboration is seen as critical to getting good work done. Every
employee working at your workplace – from a simple technician to a richly
experienced manager expects you to recognize his/her work and appreciate the
efforts he/she puts in day after day for the success of your business. Employee
recognition and rewarding is a process through which employers or business
owners make a conscious effort to reward and award your employees not just to
acknowledge their work but also to motivate them to continue with the same
passion. Before discussing ways to recognize and reward, it is important to
understand the difference between them.

            Recognition is a discretionary
act—when an employee A decides to recognize employee B for their positive
behaviors, their personal effort, and any contributions they have made. This
recognition might come in the form of a social posting, an e-card, a physical
note or greeting card, a verbal “thank you,” etc. Within the context of a
Recognition program, the recognition will ideally align with a company core
value such as Teamwork or Putting the Customer First, but there is no concrete
metric associated with it. Recognition is mostly an intangible expression of
acknowledgment and valuing of an individual or team. Recognition that is linked
to a reward is called monetary recognition; recognition with no reward is
considered non-monetary. (WorkStride, 2015)

            Rewards are the items, gift cards,
cash, or perks such as time off or discounts earned through receiving
recognition or achieving your goals within an incentive program. Simply handing
out rewards is not recognition, as it doesn’t have any value to the employee
beyond the dollar amount. Many companies make this mistake, and waste a lot of
money in the process. (WorkStride, 2015)

            Many times, the recognition is worth
far more than the reward component to the recipient. Yes, even salespeople
enjoy being recognized! They are extremely competitive and love to see their
names up on a leaderboard or earn a badge and words of congratulations from
colleagues. So just remember in structuring your recognition, incentive, and
rewards programs that you should take all three into consideration and test out
different combinations. You might find you are currently throwing away money by
offering too many expensive incentives and rewards, and not enough recognition
(which is free!). (WorkStride, 2015)

            Individual recognition is a great
way to boost the individual efficacy and satisfaction of your team members.
When individual team members go above and beyond expectations, it’s a good idea
to recognize and appreciate their hard work. Doing so validates their
dedication and effort, and motivates them to continue at the pace they are
going.  But improving team performance is
also a constant issue for managers. In a team-oriented environment, employers
must pair individual employee awards with collective team recognition in order
to effectively motivate teams. Balancing individual and team recognition can be
a tricky situation. Excessive focus on individual performance can undermine
teamwork and create a competitive environment. On the other hand, only rewarding
teams can cause top performers to become demoralized, especially if they feel
like they are carrying the team. It is
important to be aware that employees will do what they are being rewarded for. Rewarding and recognizing individuals on a team and hoping
for your team members to work together as one is a classic example of rewarding
A while hoping for B. While, team-based
rewards do not recognize individual differences and contributions, which can
often encourage free riding or social loafing. This can ultimately lead to a
reduction in team cooperation and team failure. Because of this, excellent or
high performing employees tend to self-select or sort themselves out of
organizations that offer team-based recognition/reward programs. There is a
need to balance both team and individual performance recognition, while encouraging a cooperative culture.

The following
strategies can be adopted to counter the precarious situation:

·      
Encourage employees to recognize peers: Recognition from superiors isn’t the only form of
recognition that matters, or motivates. Knowing that your team thinks you’re
doing a good job is important to keeping people engaged. Team members should be
encouraged to recognize each other for a job well done. The management should
use a few minutes at the beginning or end of team meetings for team member to
recognize their fellow team members who have gone above and beyond. (CEB Blogs, 2010)

·      
Follow good and
consistent recognition rules: whether you are recognizing your team as a whole or recognizing
individuals that are performing well, it’s important to have a plan and
recognize consistently across the team. Consistency within a team is important,
but it is also important for recognition and reward practices to be consistent
across teams in the organization to avoid negative reactions from high
performers. (Critical Metrics, 2017)

·       Conduct
team and individual reviews: the pressure of an individual review may
cause a team to crumble because each member may start playing “every man for
himself.” Working in team reviews, where the team is brought in collectively to
chat about their progress and exchange feedback may continue to encourage
teamwork rather than individual effort. Conducting a 360-degree feedback survey
is another way for team members to individually recognize one another, and also
offers managers to the opportunity to give individual recognition and feedback. (Critical
Metrics, 2017)

·       Capitalize
on “spill-over” effects: recognizing a single team member seems to
have recognition spill-over effects, i.e., positive and contagious effect on
all the other members in the team. This counters the conventional wisdom that
leaders should avoid singling out and recognizing individual team members
because such practices could breed competition or resentment among team
members. More frequent recognition is likely to have more continuous,
contagious, positive effects.  Managers are
advised to be mindful of the potentially negative consequences of recognition
programs. though individual recognition can help promote positive reactions
within the same team, it might incite more negative reactions in other teams.
When implementing such a recognition system, it’s best to roll it out to all
teams at once. If you recognize one high-performer in each team, you will avoid
those negative consequences. (Kirkman, 2014)

Choosing
how to recognize your team isn’t a black and white affair. It may depend on the
team dynamic and the personalities that make up your team. We have found that
recognition is often an important key driver of both engagement and intent to
leave, so it is important to make sure it is done right. Further, zoning in on the
right way to recognize your employees can be a cheap (often free) way to
positively impact several important organizational outcomes.

            

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