Saturday, January 24, 2009

Importance of Employment Relations

Employment or human relations covers all types of interactions among employees such as cooperative efforts, interpersonal and group relationships. The purpose of employment relations it to deal with the people the business employs and the issues arising from their employment. Acquiring, developing, maintaining and motivating staff are all aspects that are covered by the employment relations area. Employment relations are necessary as the employee is the most important part of a business and any troubles that affect them in turn effect the business.

Realising the potential effect that employees have on the business, Companies are providing incentives and programs to keep their employees happy and productive.
‘A happy worker will work twice as hard and more efficient than an unhappy worker.’
Incentives provided for e.g. are (case study) Coca Cola providing twice the amount of shares in their company that the employee purchases, (case study) McDonalds providing employees discount purchases from companies that are connected to McDonalds.
Programs such as employee dinners, lunch, Christmas parties, weekends away are all effective in keeping the employee happy and to build relationships with fellow employees so to work better as a team.

Business managers have come to recognize that their employees are the most important part of a business and through effective management a business can gain the competitive advantage. The skills, knowledge and creativeness of employees is the main potential that a business has over it competitors and thus the realisation that the employee has the most influence over important aspects such as its profitability, competitiveness and adaptability has led to the idea that managing these human resources to develop their maximum capabilities. Human resource management or employee relations is the process of finding the people the business needs, developing their skills, knowledge, talents, careers. Motivating and maintaining their commitment to the business.

The relationship between the employee and the business will vary depending on the businesses culture (How things are done around here) and must be determined wisely as to produce maximum efficiency and effectiveness. E.g. (case study) Shelf packers at the local grocery market packing shelves in groups of two to three people. While packing shelves workers would chat and not concentrate on task at hand. By splitting workers up into each istle each worker could work more efficiently but was unhappy at not being able to talk to fellow employees which led to poor work ethic.

The way in which a business communicates this ‘culture’ to all employees is extremely important as employees must know what the business is about and where it is heading if the business it to be successful in achieving its prime goal.

After WWII and the influx of younger people to the workforce new approaches in human resources were made. The younger workers valued their jobs and were more motivated. Education of employees was considered and came to recognise that a workforce is better educated and skilled.

Completing in secondary schooling and tertiary courses increased thus showing that the workforce was looking for more challenging jobs.
Women’s role in the workforce soon grew with higher divorce rates, women’s rights and laws removing discrimination toward women. Managers soon had to give more consideration towards discrimination and child rearing.

In its simplest form employment relations is described as the effective management of the formal relationship between the employer and the employee. With management realising the potential of this many businesses have created approaches to enhance that factor. Acquisition and selection, development and training, maintenance and motivating, separation of staff. These are all approaches which can be taken.

Acquisition and selection is the gathering of information about each applicant for the position and then using that information to choose the most appropriate person for that position. The chosen applicant must be able to do the job perfectly and thus management must first identify staffing needs.
Training and development is needed for employees as to teach staff to work efficiently and effectively. Training must be continual so skills are not lost and to provide maximum efficiency.
Maintenance and motivating of staff is to keep staff within the business and to work to the best of their ability. A relaxing and friendly work environment, decent wages and benefits are all needed. Without this staff will leave the business and thus require new employees, resulting in more training, poorer efficiency and decreased workload, in result the business wastes needed resources and becomes less productive. Motivating employees is highly important as motivated employees result in increased productivity. The carrot and stick approach in which the carrot is the reward (money/pay rise) and the stick being punishment (demotion/fired) has been widely relied on as a motivator.

Money is seen to be the biggest motivator but in recent years this has been found not to always be the case. Work conditions, time of work, fellow employees all affect motivation.
Separation is the ending of an employment relationship and this comes in many ways. Dismissal is when the employee contract with the business has been suspended due to the employee not doing their job properly or behaving unacceptably.
Redundancy is when the employee is no longer needed and leaves on their own will or not. Retrenchment is when a business is unable to pay their employee and thus they must leave.

Employment relations is a key function in which business must manage to improve their employees and thus lead to improving their business. With good human resource management a business can gain the edge they need. Without good human resource management a business will probably not succeed.

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Impact of Internet on International Marketing Practices

This paper will discuss the impact of Internet on the international marketing spectrum. One way to analyse this issue is through identifying the pros and cons of using internet as a marketing tool, and finally its implication for international marketers, professionals and academics.

Information technology has been the cataclysm for the development of international businesses. One area, which has been given increased attention, is the explosion of international marketing activity on the Internet. According to the international data statistics of 2003, they predict that there will be approximately one billion of active users in the world by 2005, which means more electronic commerce ( These figures demonstrate the attention of international marketing stakeholders.

The usage of Internet as a medium international marketing brings along many benefits to international marketers. Some major advantages are mentioned below:

Firstly, the net acts as a gateway to global opportunities. It allows companies, specially small and medium enterprises to position themselves globally at low cost. In addition, it alleviates the red tape regarding the prospect of doing business globally, consequently avoiding the regulations and restrictions in export countries, which normally companies should abide by if they physically enter the market ( Paul, 1996). Furthermore, low cost can also be associated with the elimination of intermediaries because Internet connects end-users to producers directly. Moreover, the global advertising costs which was considered as a barrier to entry, is now reduced as internet permits to attain the target audience cheaply ( Eid & Trueman, 2002).

Secondly, it provides accessibility. Companies which use internet for their international operations are able to increase their hours of business through email and customer ordering and interactive communication (Eid & Trueman, 2002). Although the different time zones which exist, they have increased their opportunities by providing 24 hours access for their branch offices and consequently this results in an increase in the number and potential international customers (Paul, 1996). In addition, the one to one interaction allows marketers to build strong and sustainable relationships with their customers, which as result enhance the brand loyalty (Arnott & Bridgewater, 2002).

Thirdly, the net contribute to an appropriate form, place and time utility which create a competitive advantage to the marketeer . Instead of exasperating the customers with the different types of marketing approaches, the choice is given to the customers to decide when, where and what they want. All the company’s products are provided on the net which increase the chances of trial, purchase and repurchase (Paul, 1996).

Fourthly, the net enhances advertising effectiveness. Through Internet advertising media, it is possible to achieve all advertising purposes across all possible market segments. All concerned parties can create, transmit and access advertisements on the net through a computer and appropriate software ( Paul, 1996). However, the effectiveness of the advertisement will depend on a well design and effective marketing of the site (Hamill, 1997). Moreover, Poon and Jevons(Eid & Trueman, 2002:57) argued that hard selling and push promotion strategies are not effective on the internet.

Lastly, the net improves market intelligence, market research and analysis. Studies show that the success to enter new market is systematically to gather, analyse accurate and timely information. The Internet provides up to date information on customer contact, potential market opportunities, technical reference materials which help managers to identify shifts in product and customer trends (Hamill, 1997). Ultimately, it enables managers to capture the right product and market opportunities, from which they can mold an appropriate marketing mix relative the customers’ needs (Paul, 1996).

As there are benefits of using Internet for international marketing purposes, so there are some disadvantages as well. The following shows two main constraints that affect international marketing.

One important issue concerning Internet marketing is security. As millions of people access the net everyday, Copyrights and proprietary information can be target of computer hackers and viruses. Moreover, there is also the risk that they can access the internal computer system and find out classified information (Paul, 1996). Another security issue is the financial transactions that occur over the network. By using unencrypted package, computer hackers can view the credit card number of the purchaser and cause terrible financial damages. Nevertheless, statistics show that the Internet crime rate is on the decreasing rate due to an increase in security features (Palumbo & Herbig, 1998).

One another major limit for the use of Internet as tools for international business is the structural constraints. In order to make proper use of Internet as tool for export, it is dependent on the absence of structural constraints. These constraints can take the form of computer literacy, culture, language; ownership of Pc’s which affect the efficacy of internet –based international business strategies. For instance, all the parties involved in this particular type of transaction should be computer literate and have access to equipments. Secondly, the Internet network should be easy and affordable to access. Thirdly, regulations that impede access to Internet should be removed. For example, in china, only those who register to the public security Bureau and employees of foreign companies can have accessed to internet ( Samjee, 1998).

The above discussion on the pros and cons of Internet on international marketing affect profoundly the major international marketing stakeholders in three aspects. Firstly, international marketers should consider Internet as cost-effective tool for export and if it use appropriately can be a competitive advantage for the company. Secondly, the internet-based businesses bring up some important issues to international marketing educators. The traditional teaching of fundamental international marketing like barriers to internalization, importance of intermediaries, country screening is no longer valid. The internet requires a different radical strategic approach to this new cyberspace environment (Hamill, 1997). Lastly, international marketing educators need to ensure that their students are familiar and understand the strategic implication of Internet in order to prepare them in this new cyber world characterized by international electronic commerce.

Hence, if a business is considering internationalizing, it should consider Internet as an option. Even than there are some risks associated with its use, the benefits may outweigh its disadvantages if it is use appropriately.

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