HI6006 Competitive Strategy Editing Service
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ASOS or AsSeenOnScreen is a London based Retail Company having over 4000 employees and has been operational for about 18 years. It is an online shopping company offering clothing choices for men and women. This website sells over 850 brands, ships its products to over 200 countries, and operates 24/7 (ASOS, 2018).This report analyses the problems that this company is facing on its business front and sees that the main issues faced by the company is the lack of job satisfaction among the workers and low level of financial Performance from the workers at the warehouse. This company also depends on reactive sales and uses email and social media promotions to boost sales. In the following sections of the report, a detailed review of the literature has been carried out to measure the problems and the analysis method by the use of a theory, which is optimum for this situation. Qualitative analysis has also been used and based on the results of the analysis recommendations have been made.
There exists significant literature on the problem of job satisfaction and employee performance, which show that there are several factors responsible in causing job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is basically an employee’s general attitude towards his job and it depends on several factors which go beyond monetary compensation. The recent study by Saranya (2014) shows that these factors include whether the job is challenging and involves responsibility, whether it has opportunities for promotion, whether managers are impartial and participative, whether the line of thought to ensure job protection is innovative and creative, ease of communication, if the salary and the perks are attractive, whether there exists freedom in the work situation and whether facilities like healthcare, cafeteria, uniform and more. These measures act as incentives for employees and drive them towards higher production. Inability to provide these leads to dissatisfaction, which directly lead to lower output (Jonsson 2018). Specific work environment is crucial for workers to achieve specific targets and on reaching these targets, which act like yardsticks to performances it is very important that the workers receive appropriate compensation. His work concludes showing that the grievance handling and promotion policies are the ones where maximum dissatisfaction lies from the side of the employees and the most efficient way to raise production is by making the job ranks of the workers higher as higher the rank more is the satisfaction and the workers become more keen on delivering higher production. Another study conducted in the medical institutions of Pakistan by Aleem, et al. (2014) analyzed 200 autonomous medical institutions to find out what factors influence job satisfaction as it had been seen that the citizens do not trust the treatments provided at government hospitals as much as private medical institutions. The statistical analysis of the data showed that apart from pay, the factors like job security and safety, promotion, conditions of work, job autonomy, and relationship among the co-workers as well as with the supervisor and the nature of the job. Job satisfaction in turn has been a significant determinant of job performance because it has a direct impact on commitment, absenteeism, productivity and performance and the level of retention of employees. Enhancing job satisfaction leads to a reduction in the hiring costs as job dissatisfaction leads to rise in the cost of recruitment, training and selection, discouragement among existing employees and a reduction in the rate at which the organization can grow or has the potential to grow. The effect of dissatisfaction among employees effect the efficiency of the organization and satisfying employees turns out to be one of the most important functions of management. Bakker and Demerouti (2014) analyzed the job demand and resources (JD-R) model into a theory. The reasons as to why some employees burn out whilst others are enthusiastic about their work has been answered by the impact of job stress and the impact that motivation has on the people. The job design theory is a significant contribution in this domain. Its original definition was a set of constraint and opportunities, which were structured in a manner and assigned to the employees as responsibilities and tasks, which affect the employees’ experiences and accomplishments. This theory attempts to see which job characteristics make people feel satisfied with their job and give them the motivation to reach the organizational goals (Bakker 2015). However, this definition has changed over the years and it now stands for the process and outcome of how work is enacted, experienced, structured and organized. This is a broader definition and it includes more dynamic and emergent roles, contrary to a mere emphasis a static job description that is comprised of fixed tasks assigned by the management. The authors were inspired by the job stress and the job design theories (Demerouti 2014). Whilst job design theories have usually ignored the role of job stressors or demanders, job stress models have mainly ignored the potential of job resources to motivate. The JD-R theory has reverse casual effects, which show that while on one hand bored and burnt out employees have higher job demands over time the ones who are engaged mobilize their job resources to stay engaged. Bakotic (2016) conducted his study on 40 Croatian companies of large and small sizes and surveyed their employees. The relationship between job satisfaction and organizational performance has always had a positive correlation as per prior researches. The results from his study reflect a clear link between the job satisfaction of the employees and their organizational performance but the intensity was weak. A further in-depth analysis showed that the connection between these two factors is stronger when reversed (Wingerden, Bakker and Derks 2016). Hence, the study shows that job satisfaction determines organizational performance but not the reverse.
This study aims to fill the gap in literature by the use of qualitative methods. The question to be addressed is what causes the dissatisfaction and low productivity in the market for the retail brand ASOS as this is the major business problem that this company faces.
ASOS has an employee strength that crosses 4000 and the company has been operational for the past 18 years however the warehouse is operated by a separate company, Global Logistics XPO with a strength of approximately 3000 members with a 24/7 operational site. This company also runs the distribution centre (Taris and Schaufeli 2015). The workers here have shown low job satisfaction and low performance. Their key performance indicator is picking up of 160 items per hour on an average, which prevents them from drinking water, or taking a break for the washroom. The company, to give the workers a way to identify which products is to be picked up, provides hand scanners to them and this scanner tracks the hourly performance of the workers (Schaufeli and Taris, 2014). A qualitative analysis has been carried out where the floor manager, three pickers and a packer had been interviewed for 30 minutes and from the analysis of the transcripts, results and insights have been derived. The analysis has been summarized in table 1. All those interviewed had the same thing to say about the hand scanners being faulty and that they would break very easily (Taris, Leisink and Schaufeli 2017). This would lead to wrong identification of the shipment to be picked and in that case, the pickers would have to go over and pick up the correct shipment, which would be time consuming. Moreover, the size of the warehouse was also very big so the pickers have to move a lot to take the shipment from the aisles to the packers. The packer complained about shortage of equipment faced by him. Young employees could still keep up with the pace of the work and its hourly targets but the ones that were a little older would have to be working constantly without any breaks to drink water or to use the restrooms (Carlson, et al. 2016). The nature of the employment was temporary in nature and the workers would be selected on a roster basis. Due to the absence of a fixed shift timing the workers would sometimes be informed about their shifts a night before which would be very inconvenient for them. This kind of work condition created a lot of stress among the workers thus affecting their mental health. Some of them were on anxiety medication and that in turn slowed down their pace and hence resulted in the low performance (Atmojo 2015). This undesirable work environment also led to many workers leaving the job. Of all the employees interviewed, every one of them was trying to look for other jobs with either better working conditions or more permanent in nature. To top it all the management was not very concerned about the employees and their needs. They would only get involved when there would be a fall in the production or other issues regarding delivery but would not really be keen on addressing the problems faced by the employees. This further reduced the level of satisfaction among the employees and thus their performance fell (Murphy, et al. 2016).
the isles I pick from with the hanging clothes are a bit dark, so I might grab the wrong thing.
The whole work area for packing is set up really well
The size of the warehouse is another thing the workers must pick from so many isles at once
I used to get really worked up. It used to get to me and I used to have panic and anxiety
Nature of Employment
just casual and hired through another company
more hours or a more permanent role
I’m one of the casuals hired through the third company
I’m one of the permanent staff members
the machines break (hand held scanners). Sometimes I don’t read the scanner right or it sends me the wrong way.
the scanners not working
I manage to meet my KPIs and do okay so long as the scanners are working
The tables are high which helps my back, and everything is in reach. Sometimes I run out of packing tape. the machines not working
the scanners themselves, often they don’t work, aren’t charged or there is a technical failure
some of them are a bit meaner than the others. rude and don’t care about you unless you mess up
when I told management what I was going through they didn’t seem to really care
but upper management doesn’t seem to really care
change the software. split the pick and have people only work one side of the warehouse.
better understanding of people
need to change how they work with allocating the shifts. permanent roles and a better allocation of shifts and notifications
more of the packing equipment
put more money into the scanners to make sure they don’t break, the policy for picking needs to change to be less per hour. The company needs to revise their culture
Workers stressed and tired
Staff break room
Management do not care about employees
Low employee retention
“We get good breaks though, every couple of hours they call them fatigue breaks. But I noticed some people don’t take them cause they’re trying to keep up with their work. I think they should take them though. Other than that, just avoid the management, keep your head down and do your job”
Make job permanent
Management should be more concerned about the employees
“XPO needs to put more money into the scanners to make sure they don’t break, the policy for picking needs to change to be less per hour XPO needs to put more money into the scanners to make sure they don’t break, the policy for picking needs to change to be less per hour”
To sum up it has been seen that the company ASOS has been facing business problems, which concentrated on the lack of job satisfaction among its employees and this, led to the low performance of the employees. The equipment were not well maintained and would have frequent breakdowns and malfunctions the hand scanners in particular. The nature of the job was temporary in nature and thus bore low incentive to work hard. The company also not directly looked after the warehouse, instead Global Logistics XPO took care of the functioning of the warehouses and the managers there did not pay much attention to the needs and complaints of the employees. The work was also one, which involved heavy labour and swiftness, and this was challenging for the part of the labour force, which was not very young, and they therefore had to work during their breaks. All these factors were reasons behind the lack of job satisfaction among the employees and as the previous literature had stated, if the employees are unsatisfied with their jobs, then their outputs would be low and this low output would be a sign of a low performance. However, the hand scanners that would often malfunction were instruments to measure the performance of the employees. Since they would have issues in their functioning they were also a reason behind the low performance as the instrument would wrongly detect items and this would lead to the workers working double but not getting the correction of the machine’s mistake recorded as a part of their hourly performance.
It can therefore be recommended that the managers pay more attention in satisfying the workers and that would naturally boost the output. By only concentrating on increasing output by increasing sales target, the company will not gain any benefit but by paying attention to solving all the issues faced by the employees, the performance of the employees and therefore the output of the company would rise. This would include providing incentives and promotion opportunities as theory has said that the higher the level of job the more in the job satisfaction. Providing job security to the employees will also play a very crucial role in raising the performance of the employees. Additionally providing security and healthcare services to employees and adjusting the targets, which have been set very high for ASOS would hugely benefit in the performance of the employees, as they will not feel over, worked and will be more prone to work harder. Incentives will enhance the performance as the employees have something extra in return of their additional hard work. The work should be administered in a more efficient manner by assigning sectors to each worker instead of having everyone all over the warehouse, which is very big in size. This way the production will be higher as less time will be spent in walking from one aisle to another. The packers should be placed in the middle and ample resources should be provided as the packers complained about the resources being exhausted from time to time. Since all the workings are handled by the XPO the company, ASOS should also step in and get itself involved in the administrative decisions and planning.
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FM1: Well I’m one of the permanent staff members and I have been working here maybe a year now. At first, I thought it was all good, the pickers have these hand-held machines that tell them where to go and the packers have a good floor area with tables at OH&S (occupational health and safety) standards with a soft floor mat. At first things went well and then I started to realise the workers just weren’t meeting the KPI’s (Key performance indicators). I tried talking them through it, you know the hand-held scanners gives me an average of how much they do per hour. Most of them were falling behind before they even started. Upper management told me to get each worker who failed their target to come into the office and talk them through how to pick or pack faster. Over the months I’ve realised it just isn’t realistic. The workers are stressed and tired. They have some good reasons as to why they can’t pick or pack fast enough, but upper management doesn’t seem to really care. It’s been hard you know. I don’t like telling people off or firing people because they can’t meet the expectations. The other issues are the scanners themselves, often they don’t work, aren’t charged or there is a technical failure. The size of the warehouse is another thing the workers must pick from so many isles at once. I guess the conditions of the warehouse, like the environment is okay it is all OH&S standards. But the expectations are too high, and it really feels like an us versus them, like managers versus the labour hire casual staff. This mentality seems to come from the top down and I don’t like it. I was taught to manage people properly, to consider their needs and foster a team environment. Not fire them for having no sleep because they have children, or they took time off to take care of their family or get their time off because they worked overtime. It’s just a work ethic I don’t agree with.
PICK1: The environment? Yeah, I guess it’s okay. Like the staff break room is pretty good. I don’t know what you mean?
Interviewer: how are your working conditions? Do you like your tasks and job role?
PICK1: Oh yeah. I’m fast at what I do but that’s cause I’m young and fit. I can get a good pace going in the warehouse. I wouldn’t want to be older though I don’t think the other older people can really keep up. I’m liking running every shift, but things just flow for me. Except for when the machines break (hand held scanners). Also, sometimes I don’t read the scanner right or it sends me the wrong way. Sometimes the isles I pick from with the hanging clothes are a bit dark, so I might grab the wrong thing. But I meet my targets it’s just sometimes their wrong cause I’m going so fast (laughs). We get good breaks though, every couple of hours they call them fatigue breaks. But I noticed some people don’t take them cause they’re trying to keep up with their work. I think they should take them though. Other than that, just avoid the management, keep your head down and do your job (laughs)
Interviewer: What do you mean by avoid the management?
PICK1: Oh, you know some of them are a bit meaner than the others. Some are really nice and it’s like they care about you even though you’re just casual and hired through another company. Then others are rude and don’t care about you unless you mess up.
PICK2:It’s okay I guess. It’s just a job. I come here to work for my kids and put food on the table. I used to get really worked up because it is a fast-paced environment and you must pick a lot in an hour. It used to get to me and I used to have panic and anxiety. Then I saw my doctor and he gave me a prescription I feel a lot better, but I have slowed down some. My psychologist told me I need to disengage from work and just leave it at work. The psych has given me some good coping skills to manage this job. It has really helped a lot. But when I told management what I was going through they didn’t seem to really care. My team leader didn’t really care either. He just hides unless the KPI is low. Then the shift managers don’t really seem to know where the team leaders are and they kind of micro-manage you if you start asking questions about the scanners not working. It’s all a bit much. I keep applying for jobs elsewhere because it isn’t work the risk to my mental health. I just focus on my kids and making sure they’re alright.
PICK3: I’m one of the casuals hired through the third company that helps provide workers for the warehouse, Transline. They really need to change how they work with allocating the shifts. I hate getting a text message the day before a shift only to find its been cancelled or extended heaps. One time they messaged at night to say the shift was cancelled and then again in the morning to say come in. It was a bit confusing like they (Transline) don’t know who many people they need to roster. Or maybe it’s the managers tell them the wrong thing. Who knows. Other than that, I manage to meet my KPIs and do okay so long as the scanners are working properly. I get along with everyone and I don’t mind the work.
PACK1:The whole work area for packing is set up really well. The tables are high which helps my back, and everything is in reach. Sometimes I run out of packing tape, I guess if more supplies were stored under the table that might help. Otherwise the job is pretty easy, bit repetitive but easy. The only time it messes up is if the pickers have picked the wrong items. Then it takes a bit of time to get it right. I guess that’s from the machines not working every now and again, but it only happens a few times a shift.
Are you happy in your job:
FM1: Well like I said I like managing people and I really enjoy a job role where I can make a bit of a difference. I get that sounds silly but I like to foster a team and get them performing to their best. I can’t do that here the expectations are too high, people leave all the time, so the team is always changing, and I just don’t agree with the work ethic. I have been thinking about applying for other jobs, maybe somewhere else in the company, moving away from XPO and working for ASOS directly? I’m not too sure
PICK1:Oh yeah, I like it. I like that its fast otherwise I’d be bored. I like the people I work with and we have some fun racing each other for fastest picker. My team leader seems okay and I got the nice manager too. So, I enjoy it here.
PICK2: Like I said now it’s just a job to me. If they fixed the scanners I might stay, if they lowered the picking rate and put a good coffee machine in (laughs). Like I said I am applying for jobs elsewhere because the casual nature of it isn’t right for me with my kids.
PICK3:I’m happy, would be happier for more hours or a more permanent role. Knowing your hours exactly for the week would be good too.
PACK1: Happy enough, I’ve been here several years now, and I know what to do so I’m happy. I get along with everyone and they can be a really great team. They just need to fix the tech (technology).
Is there anything else that you would like us to know:
FM1: Sure, here’s what needs to change. XPO needs to put more money into the scanners to make sure they don’t break, the policy for picking needs to change to be less per hour. This would help the pickers to relax a little and would reduce the amount of people that quit or get fired. People need to be able to claim time off and time they are owed because they worked. project management needs more meeting about actually managing people. The company needs to revise their culture because right now it’s not a good one.
PICK1:I think they should change the software for how we pick. Like split the pick and have people only work one side of the warehouse. Then the whole order could come together at the packing end. This would speed picking up as you’re only dealing with half the floor.
PICK2: It would be good if they had a better understanding of people and their lives. More consideration for working parents, permanent work, flexible times. Those sorts of things.
PICK3:Like I said more permanent roles and a better allocation of shifts and notifications. Don’t message me the night before to say a shift is cancelled.
PACK1: It would be good if the packing station tables had more of the packing equipment. Like I said I’m always running out of tape (laughs)