Coca cola is a beverage company dealing in manufacturing, retailing, distribution and marketing of non alcoholic beverages. It was initiated in 1886 and it has remained in the market up to this date. It has risen to be the best in the beverage industry facing competition from PepsiCo, Inc. In order for it to stay competitive, there is need to evaluate the appropriateness of its employee development policies and practices in terms of their strategic goals, objectives and the current environment of constant change, which this paper tries to explain.
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Employee Development Policies and Strategies.
The Coca-Cola Company has devised many ways of developing their employees and retaining them. First, they make it their main concern to treat the entire employees well by creating an environment where they can develop their skills, do extremely well in their performance and move towards the betterment of their careers. Secondly, their training and development programs are meant to attract and retain the best talents in the world (Sheridan, 2012). They place more emphasis on employee development plans and management of internal talent. This help the employees discover their talents and know how they can use them in their roles in the company. They also ensure that managers take part in leadership development programs and employee performance management.
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Through the use of employee engagement, the company is able to make its employees feel that they are a part of the company’s success and have a better understanding of their contributions towards the achievement of the companies’ goals. It uses diverse ways of gauging each employee’s level of commitment to the company and their working lives (Sheridan, 2012). For example, the managerial team can have dialogues with employee representatives to get their opinions about the growth of the company, or surveys from the employees.
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The company strives to make their employees enjoy their working life by providing a good working environment and incentives like giving employees discounted gym memberships and on –site exercise classes, free Coca-Cola drinks and fruit. They also provide a staff restaurant which offers healthy food options for all the employees, flexible working hours, learning allowances and a Cycle to Work scheme (Noe, 2013). All these are geared towards motivating the employees. The companies’ employee development is open and all-encompassing, one in which everyone is treated fairly. They believe that having employees from diverse backgrounds, with different life experiences and talents is an added advantage to the company’s growth and development. Therefore respecting and valuing diversity is central to its vision and values. They have employment policies and practices that protect its employees against any kind of discriminations and ensure equal opportunity for all people, regardless of race, age, sex or ethnic background.
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Coca Cola Company has a good communication systems that enables all its employees participate in it. Every year, a global Employee Insight Survey is distributed, seeking employees’ ideas on how the company is running and what is needed for improvements (Noe, 2013). It then tracks the responses from the surveys and the resulting improvement from year to year.
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They have a mentoring program that allows employees to develop their skills. The availability of Coca-Cola University provides an online teaching environment for its employees. This is where they are given short term assignments that give them chances to work in different departments, within the same state or different country (Lam, 2012). Employees are encouraged to pursue higher education programs with reimbursements available for undergraduate and graduate studies at accredited colleges. They are also encouraged to make use of e-learning programs beyond Coca-Cola University, external conferences and training opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills.
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The Company’s Performance and Practices
The company conducts performance appraisals to each employee in order to evaluate the quality of their performances. This is a process within the broader performance management system that connects organizational objectives, daily performances, professional objectives and rewards and incentives (Tarique, 2014). When the company began diversifying, its main focus was on fairness and inclusion. And to ensure this rule was adhered to, it implemented a wide range of monitoring and reporting tools.
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It instituted an annual Pay Equity Study to ensure fair compensation practices among its employees. Assessments on distribution of merit awards, stock options and annual incentives were also performed, this was done after various decisions have been made and before payment of incentives to employees (Broadhurst, 2012). This would help in finding errors or problems and being solved before informing the employees.
The company’s diversity office reviews the selection, hiring and promotion data on quarterly basis and takes a weekly view of all continuing staffing activities to ensure fair selection, sourcing and recruitment of its employees (Broadhurst, 2012). In areas of performance management, the triage method is used to monitor who is receiving better or less scores on their annual assessments and the required actions taken to solve the issues causing the fewer score.
How the company should handle functional areas of human resources.
The challenges related to changing nature of work and work place environment occur in every organization. These changes require skilled, motivated and knowledgeable workforce with employees who are ready to adapt to the new changes and remain focused on the future of the company, and for this to happen all the departments in the company should work towards a common goal (Azulay, 2012). The organization should emphasize its role in ensuring that policies and programs ease the continual development of its staff.
The managers should work with non management staff to evaluate and provide feedback on their skills and interests and select training and development activities that match their career development objectives and requirements. Managers should always be informed of current policies and practices that support employee development due to changing nature of work and the working environments as well (Kaye & Giulioni,2012). After a learning activity, they have to make a follow up program to ensure that what was learned is incorporated into new skills and acquire knowledge.
The employee on the other hand should take initiative to assess the skills and interests and seek development activities that match their needs. According to Azulay (2012), employees with upgraded skills work to their full potential since they are prepared to deal with the changing demands of the workplace. They also have better career satisfaction which increases their morale to work and productivity.
The human resource department is mostly about employing, retention or dismissal of its employees. Its major functional areas include employee training and development, perfoming appraisals, career planning, health and safety, job classifications, working conditions and unions (Noe, 2012). It should put more emphasis on employee training and development since it adds up to all the other functions. Most employee development and training programmers fall under specific categories like management development, Career development, basic skills, professional skills, Technical training and supervisory skills. Career development has more benefits to both the company and individual employee since it is the continuous attainment or refinement of skills and knowledge coupled with career planning activities. Job mastery skills are those that are necessary to successfully perform one’s job. Professional development skills are the skills and knowledge that are beyond the capacity of the employee’s job description, although they may indirectly improve job performance.
The Philosophy of Human Resource managements authorize career development and growth of employees in every organization. By providing the employees with the current information and the future trends about the company, it will help them make realistic career development goals (Kichharr & Guttmann, 2011). This sense of responsibility for managing one’s career contributes to development of self-confidence which improves the employees self esteem and finally leading to better productivity. This explains how career development increases employee motivation and productivity.
Skill development is mainly attained when one is working in a given environment and contributes to learning opportunities leading to employee’s career satisfaction. This will trigger the need for one to search for more knowledge and experiences about that specific career, and that is what is needed most in a company, employees who are yearning to further their studies to improve their skills (Azulay, 2012).
The function of career planning and development clarifies the match between the organizational and individual goals. It helps the human resource department to attract top staff and retain valued employees (Azulay, 2012). This is because the company commits itself to offer career development activities to its employees with attractive remuneration packages. It will also reduce costs when the organization uses its own staff talent to provide career developments opportunities within the company.
The company should ensure that they have a couch to help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses, interests and values by maintaining an open, effective communication and continuous encouragement (Kirchharr & Guttmann, 2011). It should have an advisor who will provide organizational information, resources and the facts about the company to the employees by helping them develop reasonable career goals based on their departments’ needs and individual development plans and understand the current opportunities and limitations in the company.
It should have an appraiser who will evaluate each employee’s performance in a transparent and fair manner and relate this to their potential opportunities. This can be done by providing feedback in a way that fosters development, conduction performance appraisals that define their strengths, weaknesses and career development needs. Also by relating their current performance to their future potentials in a realistic manner, and using individual development plan as a tool for continual feedback and development. The company should also have referral agents who will help employees meet their goals through contacts with people and resources by helping them formulate development plans and consulting on strategies and providing opportunities for exposure, visibility and experience such as task forces (Kirchharr & Guttmann, 2011).
Ways to improve Employee Development
Employee development can be improved in many ways depending on the nature of the business and the demand of the products or services. One way is providing mentoring or coaching programmers in the company. The companies must ignite the managers’ passion to couch and mentor their employees (Azulay, 2012). It would be cheaper to use its own staff rather than employing a coach from a different organization. This provides demonstrated benefits around the quality of work, problem solving and communication skills.
The other way is by practicing job rotations within the organization. This provides an opportunity for employees to move to different positions and learn new skills and information about the organization. Job promotions can also motivate employees to work harder in developing their own needs and the companies’ demands at large, and with these they may also develop new skills. By stretching assignments and projects to employees will also play a role in developing them since they working ahead of the demands of the company, this is done by identifying that special assignment that might exist in the company in the coming months and identifying a team that work as a cross-functional team in dealing with the issue or need. Another way for employees to learn critical elements about a company is by introducing job shadowing programs (Kaye & Giuliuni, 2012). The employee will be able to learn new skills while outside their areas of specialization. By providing employees with opportunities to take part in volunteering programmes, having presentations in team meetings or joining diversity committees, this provide job enrichment as well as learning new skills .
The companies should deal with the short- projection of learning and development needs. In the past, what one learned in school was valuable for years, but currently, knowledge and skills can become obsolete within months, which necessitate the need to learn rapidly and regularly. Organizations are therefore required to make learning and development a continuous process (Noe, 2012).It is the responsibility of the company to teach their employees to own their career development by helping them identify their areas of interests since the growth and development of one’s talent is vital to ones success, ability to be innovative and the overall productivity.
By providing flexible learning options to its employees, a company should emphasize the importance and the need of engaging in more learning and development activities. A company should also build trust in its organizational leadership. The managers should lead by example by being honest, open and transparent about their personal contributions to learning and development (Azulay, 2012). This will encourage the rest of the employees to follow the initiative as well. All the above mentioned are currently in use at the Coca-Cola company only that they have to well implemented into their programs to maximize the opportunities to improve their productivity.
Finally the company should be able to match different learning options and styles to suit different employees. The workforce at moment has five generations and the company must restructure how employees learn and the tools and activities they use to match their preferences and expectations (Noe, 2012). For example millennial group may need the use of computers and video games or retreats as their learning activities. This should be modified in the Coca-Cola Company for it meet its performance objectives.
Change management is an attentive planning and sensitive implementation of new ideas in consultation with, and involvement of the people affected by the changes. When making changes in an organization, use of psychological contract is of good use. This refers to the relationship between an employer and its employee concerning mutual expectations of company’s inputs and outcomes (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012). It’s a balance between how the employee is treated by the employer and what the employee puts into the job. This can applied beyond the employment situation to human relations and the wider society. Qualities like respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness and objectivity characterize the psychological contract.
Nudge theory is another method used to initiate changes in an organization. It is a concept that helps in understanding how people think, make decisions and behave. It helps people improve their thinking and decisions, manage change, identify and modify existing and helpful influences on people (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012). The manager has a responsibility to facilitate and enable change; it must therefore involve the people.
In connection to that, Coca-Cola training and development programs are focused in reducing the gap between the organizational needs and consumer needs. They encourage their employees to further their studies either through the Coca-Cola University or other learning institutions with reimbursement of their tuition fees. They use social learning theory in their training and development programs. It provides their employees with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that lead to more effective job performances. The development process is a joint responsibility between managers and employees (Azulay, 2012). The process includes determining the employee development needs, agreeing on the development methods and couching.
They should prepare their employees change management program by using Kotter’s eight step change model. The first step is increasing the urgency of the changes. This is done by inspiring the employees to make objectives that are real and relevant to company’s demands at the moment (Harvard Business Review, 2011). The second step is building the guiding team by getting the right employees for the right jobs and with the right emotional commitment, levels and skills for the job. The next step is communicating to all affected by the changes, in a manner that will influence them to accept the changes. This is followed by empowering actions by removing any obstacles and enabling feedback from the employees and rewarding any progress or achievements. The next step is setting aims that are easy to achieve and initiatives that can be accomplished in a given period of time. Determination and persistence on the ongoing changes should be encouraged by highlighting the achieved goals and the future goals. Finally, the managers should ensure that the changes are retained in the organization by reinforcing the value of successful change through job promotions, recruitment of new change leaders and making the change part of the organizational culture (Harvard Business Review, 2011).
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