Toyota"Design elements of an effective employee relations program involve coach and counseling, analysis of employees concerns, effective communication and interaction strategies and performance management. In both companies, Ford and Toyota, these strategies play a crucial role allowing the companies to create positive climate and morale, maintain high productivity levels and effective performance (Mullins, 2004. Toyota Home Page, 2007. Ford Home Page, 2007).
In both companies, the aim of coaching and counseling is to focus heavily on helping employees develop skills and abilities, and in the process provide the supervisor with an excellent opportunity to recognize workers for improved performance. If managers are to really succeed at coaching and counseling, they must be in close working relationships with their employees. The managing coach and counselor will almost continuously monitor employee performance in order to help the employee make appropriate performance adjustments (Mullins, 2004. Toyota Home Page, 2007. Ford Home Page, 2007). When workers see the nature of this relationship with the coach/counselor, they sense that performance is going to be measured and likely measured precisely. Employees expect praise for learning and performing well, an upgrading in task assignments as the coach /counselor spots improvement, and eventual freedom, or autonomy, at work as they prove themselves. The existence of a quality person serving in a coach /counselor role relative to the worker helps convince the worker that performance improvement will not go unrecognized and, therefore, unrewarded.
Employees concerns influence employee relations and require careful analysis of the companies’ management. Fears and threats should be eliminated in order to improve corporate morale and performance. Job security really depends on employee performance, not on length of service or length of employment contract, for example. If employees and the organization are not productive, success for the organization will not be realized. Employees can be sensitized to the contingency relation between performance and organization survival by pointing out the numerous dramatic cases of organizations that have failed to boost worker productivity and performance, in light of growing competition, and have subsequently had to close their doors. Emphasis can be placed on the performance-job security link by granting long-term employment contracts, or such things as guaranteed annual income, only to those whose performance deserves these arrangements (Robbins, 2004).
Effective communication and interaction ensures effective performance and high morale. In both companies, people are taught how to avoid feelings of inferiority and how to stand up for what they believe in. Communication and training almost invariably helps increase one’s confidence level (Robbins, 2004). Self-image building can come in various forms, most of which are beyond the scope of this book–but may involve something relatively simple like getting workers to improve their physical appearance through better dress and grooming.
The philosophy of Ford and Toyota is that employees must sense that performance pays off, that it will yield desired positive outcomes. The stronger the perceived correlation between performance and desired rewards (positive outcomes), the stronger the motivation. To sense a strong