ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT AT UPS 11
Managing Change at UPS Effectively
Organization development is a field that seeksto improve the working environment in order to exploit the fullpotential of employees and managers (Cummings & Worley, 2013).Examples of organization development include actions such as creatinga good relationship between employees and their managers, solvinginterpersonal problems within the organization, and job enrichment.Human behaviorists developed the concept of organization developmentafter it emerged that employees are human beings first, and thensources of labor second. As much as employees enter into a contractthat stipulates they will compensated for the services they provide,they are still human beings who desire a socially fulfilling workingenvironment. This paper is a proposal for an organization developmentplan at United Parcel Services Inc (UPS). The plan assumes theposition of an organization development practitioner and outlines aplan for change at the organization and how the company can achieveit.
United Parcel Services Inc (UPS)
United Parcel Services Inc (UPS) is the biggest parcel deliverycompany in the world. It specializes in the delivery of letters,parcels, and freight. Over the years, the company has beat theexpectations of analysts because as recent as two years ago, it wasunderperforming. In the recent rankings of the top 500 companies, UPSfeatures at number 48 (fortune.com, 2016). In the just completedfinancial year, UPS raked in revenue of $ 48 Billion. The after-taxprofit stood at $4 Billion, making it one of the most profitablecompanies in the USA. The nature of operations at UPS relies so muchon human resources. A company that bases its success on 320, 000employees should not be complacent when handling issues regardingemployees. If disgruntled, they could bring the company down to itsknees.
Objectives of the Organization Development plan
If an organization development program is to beeffective, there is need for a specific set of objectives beforehand.As the organization development practitioner at UPS, my key objectiveis to improve the performance of employees at the company. Currentfinancial records point towards a successful company but then thereis always room for development. Financial success alone should not bethe ultimate measure of the good relationship between employers andemployees Job satisfaction and the team spirit are other indicatorsof a successful organization. The organization development plan seeksto increase employee performance by increasing the level ofinter-personal trust among employees because they need to feel theyare part of a family rather than being members of a large workingorganization.
Increasing the level of employee satisfactionis a key objective in this plan. Depending on the findings of theresearch on the terms of employment at the company, the plan willcome up with numerous redemption recommendations including conflictsolving methods, and better problem-solving approaches.
Other objectives include creating anenvironment of trust within the organization, devising means throughwhich employees can solve their own conflicts, and creating anenabling environment for every employee to participate in theplanning process. These objectives will seek to reduce the stressthat comes with working in an unfulfilling job. The ideas take intoaccount the fact that employees need more than just a salary fromtheir place of work they need gratification and a feeling ofimportance as well.
Doing Research on the employee situation at the company
Prior to coming up with a blueprint that aimsat achieving the objectives of the organization development plan,there is need to establish the state of affairs at UPS. Theorganization development practitioner needs to know where the companystands before he or she can recommend appropriate steps to increasethe performance of employees. Some practitioners may opt to usesurveys in order to establish the truth from the employees. Accordingto Cummings and Worley (2013), diagnosis is the most important stepof organization development. It involves studying the system and theorganizational behavior of the company in question. In instanceswhere it is possible, the practitioner can draw up questionnairesthat require employees to anonymously say how they feel about thecurrent situation at their workplace. However, for the purposes ofthis assignment, the views of employees will be drawn from crediblelabor platform on the internet.
Indeed.com (2016) is an online platform thatseeks the views of its members regarding the pros and cons of thevarious workplaces they have ever worked before. Among the views arethose from current and former employees at UPS. The common trend inmost of the responses by employees of UPS is that they feel they arebeing overworked. One goes to the extent of saying that any jobposition below the rank of management is a death sentence.
The company sets high targets, which contravenesafety standards, most of which consequently reduce the morale of theemployees. The pressure that comes with the job has also ruinedseveral marriages and in some instances, led to stress-relateddiseases. Part of the reason for the high stress levels is the lackof job security because the company hires and fires on a daily basis.
From the views of the employees, theappropriate diagnosis for the employee situation at UPS is that thecompany is more task-oriented more than it is people-oriented. Thecompany does not care about the welfare of its employees as long asthey reach their targets and profits keep trickling in. It is truethat some lazy employees could be whining just for the sake of it,but then, when several employees come out to say the same problemsabout the company, it implies that the issues are real. Furthermore,some of the complainers worked at the management level hence rulingout the possibility of playing the victim card as is common with lowranking employees. Now that the problem is established, it is easierto develop a development organization plan that is relevant to thecurrent situation at UPS.
Identifying the Relevant groups to take part in the planned Change
Based on the diagnosis, the managers seem tobe the sources of employee problems at the company. They set hightargets for their juniors and fail to create a worker-friendlyatmosphere. It would therefore be imprudent to fail to include themin the planned change. Inclusion of managers in the organizationdevelopment plan will show them how big a role they have to play ifthe organization is to offer job satisfaction to its employees. Inaddition, involving managers makes it easier for the plan to beimplemented. Unlike when all the ideas are generated from lowerranking officials, the managers will feel that they are part of theplan and hence strive to see that the findings of the organizationdevelopment are implemented to the letter.
The organization development plan will alsotarget the low ranking employees because from the revelations, itappears as though they have unresolved issues with their terms ofengagement. The plan seeks to create a good working relationshipbetween the management and employees hence the reason it is importantto make the employees a priority in this case. The plan is like acollective bargaining between the employees and the management andhence, it would be unfair to fail to recognize them in the plan.
The aforementioned groups are the majortargets but that does not mean the rest of the company is irrelevantin this plan. For instance, there is need to include the executivesbecause any major changes in the organization must first get theirapproval. Employees from outsourced companies are also worthconsidering because they are a part of the team by virtue of beingcontracted.
Trust is necessary between the managers andemployees in order to have a fulfilling working environment for all.Employees need to understand that together with the managers, theyare working towards the same goals. All decisions made by themanagement are not aimed at vilifying the employees, but seek toachieve the company’s goals and objectives. In this regard, thereshould be no bad blood between the two groups because they are alldoing their jobs.
However, the employees can only trust theirmanagers if they are assured that the managers have their interestsat heart. Managers can show their commitment to employees byinvolving them in decisions that affect their work environment. Atthe same time, managers should be considerate of employees whilemaking decisions will also go a long way in fostering trust.
Managers need to trust employees if the twogroups want to build trust. Employees are at UPS by virtue of beinggood at their jobs and therefore, it is not fair when managers treatthem as a bunch of lazy people. Managers should trust employees toperform their duties without necessarily micromanaging them.
In addition, managers should also stopoverworking them. As one former employee notes, employees at UPSrarely have time for their family and friends because they workthrough to the weekend. Any growing dissent among employees willalways create a rift between them and their managers. Employing morepeople to ease off the pressure on the current employees will helpbuild trust between managers and employees. In addition, it will showthat the managers do care.
Investing in Employees
According to Richards (2012), a company thattakes time to invest in its employees will motivate them to invest inthe company as well. Employees will feel that they are part of thecompany if they realize that it went out of its way to focus on theirpersonal development. Among the ways, that the company can invest inits employees is through training. Training not only increases theprofessional skills of employees, but also makes them more productivein the company. Through training, the company kills two birds withone stone in that it increases the morale of its employees and givesthem skills to be more productive in their work. Looking at theoverall cost of training employees, the company stands to gainmonetarily and in terms of productivity.
UPS can also invest in its employees byallowing them to own shares in the company. Better yet, the companycan give out some of its shares to its employees on a loan basis.Through share ownership, the employees not only work for the company,but also own part of it. According to human behaviorists, people tendto be more encouraged when they are working in a company that theyown as opposed to working for someone else. In that breathe the partownership of the company by employees will make them more responsiblein their approach to official duties. Part ownership will also assurethe employees that the company has faith in them and therefore,increase their morale to work harder.
Active employee Participation
This concept involves creating effectivecommunication channels for employees at all levels of theorganization. Based on the testimonies of former UPS employees on theonline platform, it is clear that employees do not have a means toair out their grievances. Instead, they are left with no other choicebut to harbor hard feelings deep within them. For instance, theemployee whose wife left him because apparently he spends too muchtime in his workplace will harbor feelings of bitterness towards thecompany’s management. Unless the company sets up a system throughwhich such cases can be discussed between employees and managers,there will always be bad blood between the two groups. The companyshould create a policy in which employees can approach theirsuperiors without fear of victimization.
Creating an open door policy will motivateemployees to share ideas with their immediate managers. This way,part of the decisions will emanate from the employees themselvesunlike in the current practice whereby the management is responsiblefor making all the decisions. Sometimes it is surprising how someemployees can come up with brilliant suggestions to often recurringproblems.
Unlike managers, employees are in touch withthe reality and therefore they stand a better chance of knowing wherethe shoe pinches the most and what can be done to end the situation.Prior to making major decisions affecting the welfare of employees,it would be prudent for the management to at least ask for theirinput before going ahead to implement them.
Team building activities within UPS will alsoensure employee involvement in the company affairs. Such activitiesare also responsible for creating a team spirit within theorganization, something that is synonymous with many successfulfirms. Team building activities could take the form of a company funday whereby all employees engage in play activities. The managementshould not look at it as a time-wasting venture, but something thatwill improve the productivity of the employees in their variousfields. Recognizing significant occasions in the personal lives ofemployees is another way of creating a team spirit through employeeparticipation.
Implementation of the organization developmentPlan
UPS should set up a taskforce that will see theimplementation of the organization development plan to the letter.Quite often, good ideas fail to increase the productivity of acompany due to lack of proper implementation frameworks. Somecompanies pay humongous sums of money to behavioral scientists butthen end up not implementing the resultant organization developmentplan in its entirety.
In order to ensure the full implementation ofthe organizational development plan, UPS should set up a stricttimeframe upon which the responsible parties should have completedthe task. If the taskforce fails to deliver within the stipulatedtime, they should be replaced or face disciplinary action.
Unless the company is strict about theimplementation of the plan, the recommendations therein might notlive to see the light of day. Even then, the company needs to ensurethat there is adherence to the recommendations long after theirimplementation. Consistency is managing adherence is needed becausesometimes managers tend to drag their feet whenever pressure toimplement new ideas eases off.
UPS can measure the effectiveness of thisorganization development plan through income gained and employeesatisfaction. In matters revenue, the company can compare the changesin returns before and after the implementation of the plan. Tomeasure employee job satisfaction, the company can preparequestionnaires regarding the same. Some of the aspects that UPS cantest in its questionnaire include the employee’s attitude towardstheir work. In order to achieve this, the company will need to comeup with questions that are carefully orchestrated by behavioralscientists.
In conclusion, organization development is aconcept that seeks to increase employee productivity by making themfeel valuable in the company. Although United Parcel Services Inc.ranks 48 in the fortune 500 list, the company has a long way to goregarding how it treats its employees. They complain of beingoverworked and mistreated in their workplaces. Some attribute theirfailed marriage to the stressful working conditions at UPS. Among thesteps, that UPS should take to institute organization development isinvesting in its workers. When workers feel that they are part of thecompany they will work extra more. The company should also come upwith an articulate implementation plan that befits this organizationdevelopment plan.
Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2013).Organization development and change.Cengage learning.
Fortune.com (2016). UnitedParcel Service. Retrieved from<http://beta.fortune.com/fortune500/ups-48> accessed August 7,2016.
Indeed.com (2016). Workingat UPS. Retrieved from<http://www.indeed.com/cmp/UPS/reviews> accessed August 7,2016.
Richards, F., (2012). EightSteps for Organizational Development Interventions.Chron. Retrieved from<http://smallbusiness.chron.com/eight-steps-organizational-development-interventions-14144.html>accessed August 7, 2016.