Opening Case: Do We Need Incentives?
(1) The primary purpose of an incentive plan is to motivate employees to work harder and to reward them for their good performance. An incentive can influence employees to become more productive and efficient workers.
Considering the information about HiQuality Furniture Manufacturing that can be found in the case, it could be inferred that implementing an incentive system can help resolve the major problems and needs of the production department employees. Most of them do not produce a high output because there is nothing to motivate them to produce more. Everyone receives the same amount of salary regardless of performance level. In situations like this, employees tend to lose interest to work hard. They also have a tendency to feel unappreciated for doing a good job. Offering an incentive plan is a reflection of how much the company cares for their employees and values their hard work. If an incentive plan is implemented, the employees will develop a positive working attitude and become more enthusiastic towards their jobs. They will strive harder to provide an outstanding performance. Hence, productivity and efficiency will increase, which in turn would reduce cost. Although an incentive plan involves preparing a higher budget for salaries, it will result in higher productivity which would financially benefit not only the employees but the company as well.
(2) First, George Sims and the supervisors need to set performance standards, i.e., the level and quality of output that all employees should meet. They also need to determine what is considered as performance that is beyond the standard level and quality of output. It is also necessary to decide on what kind(s) of incentive(s) the company will provide considering the salary budget. How the performance will be monitored and evaluated is also a concern they need to address.
Comprehensive Case: Health Care Responsibility is Shifting to the Employees
(1) The costs of health care are rapidly rising because of the current trends. The aging baby boomers are a large part of the labor force. Since they are not getting any younger, they need to take care of their health more than ever. Many employees are also feeling stressed over their jobs. When job stress builds up, it results in burnout which puts their health at risk. Overstress also triggers unhealthy habits such as overeating and smoking tobacco which could develop into a chronic disease if not avoided. Due to the demands of their jobs, many employees also have no time to exercise which negatively affects their health as well.
(2) Wellness programs allow employees to manage chronic health conditions. These programs also encourage healthy behavior. Wellness programs that were developed recently encourage active participation of employees in health care by making them in charge of their health care costs. This kind of setup motivates them to change their unhealthy behavior and habits, resulting in reduced health care costs. As a result, the productivity and quality of life of employees improve.
(3) The government is one of the major players that affect health care cost. Health programs are currently established to attend to the health care needs of those who are not covered by private insurance such as children, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor. The pharmaceutical companies and health care facilities (e.g., hospital) also contribute to the rising health care cost as they introduce new treatments and drugs. The medical practitioners such as doctors also have an effect on health care costs. Specialists require higher doctor’s fee and developments on guidelines for medical practices contribute to the rise of health care cost.