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An organizations labor force is essential for business growth and development. According to Brown (2014) successful organizations need to attract and retain top employees because by choosing a team one is setting up the organization either to succeed or to fail. In this paper I will write about how important employee reward schemes are towards the purpose of attracting and retaining a formidable workforce at Brookings Institute: one of the leading firms on policy development and research.
I will seek to show the strategies currently being implemented as reward schemes and will recommend further action by expanding the rewards pool to include the provision of support systems for Brookings employees. I will recommend the establishment of a workplace child development center that can help women employees balance their work and motherly duties. I will also argue for the award of funding for private research to develop and sharpen key personnel skill and also to generate new knowledge. I will then give an argument in support of setting up a recognition system.
Brookings Institute organizational profile
Brookings Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization founded in 1916 as the Institute for Government Research. Headquartered in Washington, DC with regional offices in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, its mission is to conduct detailed research which leads to new innovative ideas for solving societal problems locally, nationally, regionally and also globally. Brookings research agenda and the recommendations given by its experts are rooted in open-minded inquiry. Brookings employs well over expert scholars and over 600 administration staff from different backgrounds who represent diverse points of views. Brookings conducts research in government foreign policy issues, economic issues, human development issues, governance and metropolitan policy issues that pose a threat to state security and its people.
The work environment at Brookings Institute encourages employees in both research and non-research positions to have an impact on problems facing society. Brookings emphasizes individuality while promoting institution-wide collaboration, and fosters collegiality amongst staff in all departments and at all levels. Brookings values employee diversity and welcomes all employees to the organization bearing in mind that such diversity within the workforce enhances the relevance and substance of its work. At Brookings, employees have opportunities to engage with thought leaders and scholars, participate in professional development programs and attend Brookings events. Brookings provides generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings. Brookings core values are Quality, Independence and Impact.
Brookings Institute’s current Total Rewards Model
Brookings provides its employees with Medical and dental benefits which includes prescription drugs, vision and dental care. Brookings offers reimbursement and saving accounts for the health care of dependents. At Brookings, there is a wellness program that emphasizes improving health and disease prevention. Brookings also provides an internal Retirement plan that presents employees with an opportunity to save and build a retirement income. This plan comprises of a 12% employer contribution after 2 years of employment and employee savings options. Employees also get financial counseling, tools and resources at no cost.
Employees of Brookings have a Discounts Program which enables them to get discounts on Brookings publications, Consumer Electronics Purchase Program, AT&T Mobility Discounts, and Microsoft Home Use Program. Employees also get tickets at work, which offers an array of discounted theme park, show, and movie tickets among others. Employees at Brookings get a 5 weeks annual leave, 10 paid Holidays, 15 days of sick leave.
Brookings offers Educational Benefits to their employees. This allows them to continue their education while working. Assistance is up to $3000 per financial year. At Brookings employees also get Financial Security Benefits in the form of Employer-paid group life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, short and long term disability coverage and optional life benefits. They also get free legal resources. Brookings Institute provides pretax Transportation and parking options for its employees.
Family-friendly Benefits also make up the current Total Rewards Program at Brookings. This benefit provides confidential employee assistance program and health advocate program that helps with any health benefit issues including, resolving medical billing problems and other insurance-related concerns Brookings institute also provides opportunities for employees to connect through the provision of on-site Cafeteria, Sports Leagues, Networking Groups, Staff-Speaker Series and much more. At Brookings Institute there is a fully equipped research library where professional librarians offer custom literature searches and bibliography development, fact-checking, alert services, and both individual and group instruction. At the library employees get access to a large collection of books and journals in print and digital format (Halpin, 2016).
Brookings Institute’s Workplace Segmentation
Research positions at Brookings are given to scholars who have Ph.D. or other advanced degree qualifications. These scholars are published in their fields and their research is peer reviewed. Such scholars have extensive experience in academia, government or policy-making organizations both in public sector as well as private. There are well over 300 research fellows at Brookings, all of whom are high obligation and high income personnel. Research support positions are given to research assistants, analysts and associates whose background can range from a Bachelor’s degree with limited work experience to a master’s degree with related research experience. There are more than 500 research assistants at Brookings (Halpin, 2016).
Non-Research Positions are occupied by a large pool of employees who perform a variety of management, operational and support services. Opportunities for experienced and entry-level professionals exist within Brookings business units. These positions can include communications, development, finance, Information Technology, human resources, and facilities maintenance. There is more than 600 non-research staff at Brookings (Halpin, 2016).
Brookings Institute’s Organizational Capabilities and Employee Competencies
Brookings Institute is arguably the best think-tank in the world. To attain such a standard Brookings invests in the best workforce that money can buy, especially for Research Fellows whose expertise in their field of scholarship is much valued among their peers. Brookings Organizational Capability gives it a competitive edge amongst policy research institutions and organizations. This capability is reinforced by the fact that Brookings core values includes Quality, independence and impact which suggests that Brookings does not compromise in what they do, they simply have to be the best by doing the best with the best minds.
Brookings has for 100 hundred years built a corporate image and reputation that has the backing of strong financial, strategic and technological capabilities. Brookings institutional capability is also affirmed by the fact that the work environment at the Organization is collegiate and as such has experts in virtually all fields of academic knowledge. This gives Brookings a holistic approach to research and scholarship. The collegiate work environment is testament for Brookings employee competency because Brookings engages experts in all fields of inquiry who have the best skills within their pool of academia or research.
To get the best Brookings Institutes conducts headhunting activities in centers of higher education and also in competitor organizations. Brookings employee reward schemes offer great incentives that draw the best talent to it. Brookings also offers good compensation to its employees; usually the compensation is better than their main competitors. Brookings offers some of the best pay packages for any think-tanks around the world.
Recommendation for changes in Brookings Institute’s Current Total Rewards Program
Brookings current reward programs facilitate employee career development through it Education Benefit program. While this is a good strategy for attracting and retaining top talent it may be lacking because Brookings research is usually done for clients such as governments. To further encourage employee retention, Brookings needs to have a research fund that can help individual researchers to conduct research based on their interest and not necessarily the clients. Individual research can lead up to the creation of new innovative ideas for social, political and economic transformation. These ideas can be patented and franchised to Organization who alleviate against emerging conflicts in governance, economy and society at large. (Richardson, 2016)
Brookings must consider the erection of an on-site child development center for children between 6 weeks and 12 years of age and also the provision of part time care. Today’s Organizations have the need to ensure that they maintain gender parity in their recruitment processes. This means Brookings has hired women within the organization; as such they need to make sure that the work environment is considerate of women’s biological needs. Women who conceive and deliver babies usually get a maternity leave but when they resume work they require an enabling environment to work and also to nurse their babies. It would be proper to ensure that such women can come with their child to work because there is a child development and care scheme at the workplace. Such a measure will curtail absenteeism among working mothers at Brookings. Such clinics and care services also have lactation rooms where these women can nurse their babies. (Meyers, 2003)
Brookings employs a great number of research specialists, more than 300. The work that each specialist handles is technically different from others because of academic differences among the researchers. Because of this fact, every research work has its own value and cannot be equated to any other. The larger pool of researchers and the variegated research fields it is almost impossible to recognize employee achievements (Buren, 1999). This, however, does not mean that employees cannot be recognized for their input through a rewards and recognition system. Brookings Institute must develop and implement a program for recognition of employee’s achievements. This program will be more like the Nobel Laureate Awards scheme where researchers are recognized for their individual contributions to human development within their study fields. The failure to recognize employees and teams whose work exceeds expectations for excellence usually has adverse effects on employee morale and overall levels of engagement. This usually compromises the standard of quality in service delivery. (Eisenberger, 2016)
Justifications for the Recommendations of change
Research is an expensive undertaking, especially for scholastic individuals in academia, government or private corporations. Scholars are usually in a continuous state of searching for funding for their research proposals. Funding is usually hard to come by because many organizations, which could fund such researches, have their own set of priorities and agendas for research. By funding individual research, Brookings will definitely attract the best skill set for its own client research.
Today organizations can be sued for illegal termination of employment and this can lead to massive losses through the remittance of compensations awarded by courts. New working mothers may require huge amounts of time to adjust to the new circumstance of being a working mother. Sometimes this may require travelling between work and home frequently every day. This may negatively impact the work output of such mothers, and so building a child care clinic at the workstation could be a really welcome idea because it allows new mothers a good environment to adjust to being a working mother, it saves them from losing their jobs and it also helps the organization avoid unnecessary legal costs. (Meyers, 2003)
Every operational unit of human social engagement cannot survive without a code that rewards exceptionally good work and punishes bad work. Modern organizations use this carrot or stick strategy to encourage high levels of employee engagement. When good work is recognized there occurs a ripple effect that drives productivity upward. This is because other employees become motivated to work harder and better so as to get the reward next time. This is positive competition among workmates and it is good for organizational success. When there is no recognition employees may become lax in their engagement hence this leads to a drop in productivity. Total reward schemes that recognizes employee professional achievement is good for business. This is why Brookings Institute needs to institutionalize it to stay ahead. (Brown, 2014)
Risks of non-implementation of the new programs
By failing to inculcate the above mentioned recommendations for change, Brookings will risk losing some, if not all, of its key research personnel. Brookings will also be compromising its value of quality because the loss of personnel means that most definitely something will change in production and development.
Also Brookings risk losing high profile clients who have created some working relationship with the lead researcher who might have left Brookings because the organization has failed to institute the changes here before mentioned. By losing clients, Bookings will be losing revenue and income. It is also important to note that if Brookings fails to recognize their experts for their professional achievements in their work then they might choose to join other competitors who might be offering more recognition.
By failing to support its researchers to do their own private individual research, Brookings will lose out in generating key knowledge that could be essential for a problem that is not yet properly understood. Because the research outcomes from these private inquiries may have some value for society, Brookings will be losing out on possible future streams of income. Patents can be sold to third party organizations that will then use it to initiate social, economic or political change.
Opportunities offered by the new program for Brookings Institute
Attracting and retaining top talent that is critical to the advancement of Brookings business and research strategy. Women today provide a much formidable labor force and research has showed that women have a tendency to retain one job for a very long time. Because of this, organizations are finding it hard to not employ women (Meyers, 2003). However, the employment of young vibrant women will most definitely bring about abstention from work due to maternity leave. New working mothers also require work/life balance and flexibility in working hours. It is therefore necessary to provide new and young mothers working at Brookings with child care clinics and child development programs within the work environment that will allow the mothers to bring their children along to work. (Heaton, 2016)
It is also important to attract and retain top talent among the pool of male researchers. Brookings competitors are always looking to pry away key talent personnel from Brookings, as does Brookings to those competitors (Halpin, 2016). There is high demand for key experts among think-tanks, and this has even led to some researchers working as independent consultants. It is of utmost importance that Brookings retains its talent pool and also attracts new top talent. By doing this, Brookings will retain its reputation as the market leader in research and policy analysis because the quality of work that Brookings must produce has to be the best. To retain the best talent pool, Brookings will be financing individual research by its research personnel. This will benefit the personnel because it will be helping them not only develop their skill and knowledge but also it will produce new knowledge that can be instrumental in driving social change. It is also essential that the expert pool gets recognized for their valiant effort in research and development initiatives for Brookings and for themselves. (Heaton, 2016)
Metrics for Evaluation of the new program
A monitoring and evaluations team (M&E) will be very central toward the overall execution of the new total rewards programs. The M&E team will conduct risk assessment of the project and report to the implementation committee for further action. They will also do a SWOT Analysis, Cost-benefit analysis; Stakeholder’s Analysis and also to develop an activity and resource schedule for the entire project. The M&E team will ensure that the laid down procedures are duly implemented. Evaluation will be done in a quarterly system which will inform the audit of the rewards program achievements and milestones.
A general evaluation will be carried out at the end of a financial year to determine if the programs annual set goals and objectives have been achieved. The information generated from the general evaluation and program audit review will be used to determine program viability in the long-term. The review of the program will take into consideration all matters and issues that have been raised during the implementation period of the program strategies. Depending on such data the reward programs will be strengthened as the challenges are dispelled with and an annual strategy for the upcoming financial year is set (Strassheim, 2016).
Timeline of Implementation
The formulation of the Action Plan is the first and most important step in the designing of the new rewards strategy program. In this phase we have to select the best implementation tools which will be needed to fully implement the project. In it we will have to analyze the human and fiscal resources that will be required at every stage going forward. The plan will also make reservations for the team selection, oversight, monitoring and evaluation while also developing a logical framework for implementation through the use of log frame matrices, schedules and other tools. Before the implementation works begin a risk assessment will be done to determine the risks involved and how best to solve them. In this phase we will also do a SWOT Analysis, create a contingency plan for expected risks and challenges. A cost-benefit analysis will also be done and an outcome assessment will also be done. In this phase we will also develop a viable communication and lastly we will come up with a tentative project budget and launch date. (Strassheim, 2016)
Summary and Conclusions
In this paper I have labored to demonstrate how total reward programs influence organizational policy by strengthening employee-employer relationship. Total reward programs are programs initiated by an organization in order to increase employee job satisfaction to ensure that valued employees of a firm do not quit on it. Modern day organizations face multiple challenges but the greatest challenge is posed by losing talented employees. Employees consider a variety of things before deciding to choose their employer. Key among these things, the employee will consider the compensation package coming with the job.
It is important for organizations seeking the best skilled labor to operate with compensation figures a little more than regulation market standards. Apart from compensation, employees also consider the non-cash benefits such as medical cover; dependents support availability, working environment suitability, performance and recognition system, development and career opportunities that come with a certain job description. A good reward strategy programme must combine the best bits of all these variables because the main aim of the total reward program is to attract top talent from outside one’s organization while at the same time retaining the organization’s key personnel.
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Richardson, A., Audretsch, D. B., & Aldridge, T. (2016). Motivating Entrepreneurship and Innovative Activity: Analyzing US Policies and Programs. In Essays in Public Sector Entrepreneurship (pp. 5-66). Springer International Publishing.
Eisenberger, R., Malone, G. P., & Presson, W. D. (2016). Optimizing Perceived Organizational Support to Enhance Employee Engagement.
Langwell, C., & Heaton, D. (2016). Using human resource activities to implement sustainability in SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 23(3), 652-670.
Howlett, M., & Strassheim, H. (2016). Matching Policy Tools & Their Targets: Beyond Nudges and Utility Maximization in Policy Design.
Fraussen, B., & Halpin, D. (2016). Think tanks and strategic policy-making: the contribution of think tanks to policy advisory systems. Policy Sciences, 1-20.
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