Creating HighPerformance Work
HPWS – combination of HR practices, work structures and process to maximize employee knowledge,
skills, commitment, flexibility, and resilience.
It is basically a way to unlock human potential.
The key thing here is synergy: the combined effect is greater than if each of the HR practices, work
structures and processes were applied individually. This is because the principles are interrelated parts
that complement one another to achieve the organization’s goal!
4 primary principles:
1. Egalitarianism and Engagement
- Eliminates status and power differences in the work environment (for example,
managers don’t have extra perks, all the employees in the organization get the same
- Increases collaboration and team work
- Increases productivity (people who may not have wanted work together in the past
may do so now). There’s a more collaborative and helpful environment. There’s
mutual involvement to reach organization’s goals. People are more likely to work
together horizontally and vertically
- Increases employee loyalty and trust (employees find that the organization values
- Requires structural changes to move power downward and empower employees.
- Structural changes, moving power downward, and empowering can be done through:
a. Employee surveys
b. Suggestion systems
c. Quality circles
d. Employee involvement groups
e. Union management committees
- Employees are given more control and influence in decision making (REMEMBER
AUTONOMY? Basically they have more autonomy), which can be done through job enrichment (CHAPTER 4), job enlargement, and self-managing work teams (the
team makes their own decisions, no one has to approve of it).
- Giving employees power to act on their own enhances employee engagement
(engaged employees are consistently high performing, enthusiastic, employees who
constantly look for better ways of doing things).
- Increases employee involvement.
2. Shared Information
- Giving information to the employees about plans, strategies, position and required
performance and goals. This is done so that employees can do what they need to do
on their own accord (Take actions on their own).
- Employees become more cooperative to changes, share ideas more often, and are
more committed. There is also increased problem-solving and decision making.
Employees are more empowered.
- Employees feel like the organization trusts them, so they are motivated to do
something with the information given.
- Also increases employee involvement (because they can act on their own, share
their ideas and opinions).
- It is moving away from when people would guard and control information.
3. Knowledge Development
- Investing in employee development
- Done through mentoring, coaching, and training to develop the KSAs of the
employees but needs to be done in real time on the job (they need to have current
information when training to enhance their KSAs on the job). Involving employees in
real problems leads to deeper learning and they become an active agent in their own
learning. This also helps them apply their new and developed KSAs.
- Selective recruitment (CHAPTER 6) is also necessary (best when done using
behavioural interviews) and then training and development (CHAPTER 7).
- Meant to develop employee problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and also provide
emotional development (controlling emotions in a stressful environment). This is so
that they can act on their own. 4. Performance – Reward Linkage
- Align the interests and goals of the organization and the employees
- Reward employees for their performance
- There should be a clear linkage between behaviour and rewards.
- Promotes fairness when done well, which leads to more trust. More trust leads to
- Also leads to employees performing better and doing the right thing. They do things
on their own too because they know what the goals are and what the rewards will be
if they achieve it.
- Involves employees because they that their behaviour can lead to rewards.
There 4 principles are complementary. If you invest in one, another principle will increase in the
For example: 1. If egalitarianism is increased, shared information will increase (equal power
equates equal information will be shared).
2. Performance – reward linkage would lead to knowledge development (people would know
that their reward can come through their behaviour and would develop their KSA’s for the
betterment of their behaviour to get the reward).
There are numerous amounts of links between the different principles not just the two
ANATOMY OF HPWS
Trends in work design, HR practices, leadership roles, and IT shows what HPWSs look like
(Read through and understand, but he didn’t cover this in class. The figure at the bottom is
WorkFlow Design and Team Work
- Focus on key business processes that drive customer value – then create teams that
are responsible for these processes
- Can help to establish a work environment that facilitates team work, takes advantage
of employee skills and knowledge, empowers employees to make decision and
provides meaningful work
- For example, FedEx redesigned its delivery process to give truck drivers the
responsibility for scheduling their own routes and for making necessary changes
quickly. Because the drivers have detailed knowledge of customers and routes,
FedEx managers empowered them to inform existing customers about new products
and services. They now fill a type of sales representative role. The drivers also work together as a team to solve any problems that slow delivery. In this way, the second
point (can help establish… see above before the example) works.
Complementary HR Policies and Practices
- HR practices that encourage skill development and employee involvement leads to
higher performance and satisfaction.
a. Staffing Practices
- Broad and intensive in terms of prospective employee search, in order to get the best
talent out there.
- Recruiting the best employees reduces the risk of hiring the wrong people, expenses
on intensive training, severance, and rehiring.
- Behavioural interviews help to find engaged employees.
b. Training and Development
- Focuses on ensuring that employees have the skills so that they can take on greater
responsibility in a high-performance work environment
- To link employee performance and pay, HPWSs include some types of employee
incentives (linking pay to achieving goals for quality and training). Other
organizational incentives include profit sharing, gain sharing, and employee stock
ownership plans that focus employee efforts on outcomes that benefit themselves
and the organization. Another way is to pay based on the skills employees have,
called skill-based pay.
- Remember you guys asked me why egalitarianism is darkened for skills-based pay
(in fact it’s darkened for all)? I gave you an explanation that was wrong (helping
people out implies shared information but that’s not marked. So what the hell is going
on?) Well, some companies implemented an all-salaried workforce (no more hourly
pay). Additionally, the open pay plan means that everyone knows what everyone else
is making (WOOT NO MORE PAY SECRECY)! In this way, compensation systems
are used to create egalitarian environments that encourage employee involvement
Management Processes and Leadership - Success depends on changing the roles of managers and team leaders
- They are now coaches, facilitators, and integrators of team effort. They share
responsibility with employees.
- There are also fewer layers in organization in comparison with a non-HPWS
- Need timely and accurate communications.
- Sharing and communicating information is vital for business performance.
- For example, the tracking system used by FedEx allows employees to monitor each
package, communicate with customers, and identify a