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UNIT 29

Quality of Work Life


The nature of the work environment determines the general health of any organisation. The work environment is considered favourable when the following conditions are present: 1. A good system of employee compensation 2. Job security and satisfying careers 3. Good employer-employee relationship 4. Greater employee participation in management decisions 5. Open communication 6. Excellent facilities for developing employee skills 7. Greater commitment on the part of employees 8. Higher level of job satisfaction 9. Greater motivation and higher employee morale 10. Absence of excessive stress conditions 11. Absence of excessive complaints and grievances 12. Optimum of level conflicts 13. Low rate absenteeism and labour turnover This Chapter focuses attention on the concept of Quality of Work Life which refers to the favorableness or unfavourableness of the work environment. Quality of Work Life (QWL) Meaning In simple terms QWL refers to the extent to which the members of an organisation finds the work environment conducive. It is concerned with improving labour-management co-operation to solve many organisational

problems, achieving the desired level of performance and securing greater employee satisfaction. Definitions Certain definition of QWL are given below: 1. QWL is the degree to which members of a work organisation are able to satisfy important personnel needs through their experience in the organisation J. Richard and J. Loy. 2. QWL is the degree to which work in an organisation contributes to material and psychological well-being of its members Harrison. 3. It is a process of joint decision-making, collaboration and building mutual environment. This helps the organisation and employees Cohan. QWL requires the employees to actively participate in shaping the work environment. This helps the organisation to be effective and also results in improved quality of life at work for employees. Factors responsible for the growing important of QWL The following factors contribute to the growing importance of QWL in recent years: 1. Union pressures Trade unions, these days, are much more aggressive in safeguarding the interest of the employees. They strive hard to get fair remuneration and better conditions of service for the working class. 2. Increase in educational level The level of education of the employees, these days, is quite high. As a result, they except better pay and service conditions. If they find the working environment not conducive, they

dont hesitate to leave their jobs as they are confident of finding better jobs. 3. Increase in job aspirations employees The present-day employees are also assertive in the matter of choosing their career. They dont accept stagnation in their career path. They look for career advancement at every stage and aspire to move to higher positions. 4. Increase in legislative measures A number of laws have been enacted to safeguard the interests of the working class. The Minimum Wages Act, The Equal Remuneration Act, The Employee Provident Fund Act, The Trade Union Act, The payment of Gratuity Act are a few examples. 5. Growing importance of the concept of human resource development The concept of HRD gets greater focus these days. They very fact that the Government of India has created a separate Ministry called the Ministry of Human Resource Development to work for the progress of human resource of the country proves this point. 6. Greater awareness among employees In view of the reasons mentioned. Above, the awareness among the employees has considerably increased. The employees are now sure of what they want and do not give any scope for anyone exploit them. Criteria for Management QWL Human Resource Management experts prescribe the following ariteria to measure the degree of QWL: 1. Adequate and fair compensation The remuneration payable to the employee must be adequate and fair. It must provide the employee a reasonable standard of living and should also be comparable to the pay

of employees doing similar jobs. The capacity of the organisation to pay, the demand and supply of labour, the cost of living and such other factors must be taken into account in determining the fair pay. 2. Safe and healthy working conditions The level of efficiency of the employees is much determined by the physical working conditions in the workplace. Natural lighting and ventilations, pollution-free atmosphere, reasonable hours of work, facilities for canteen, rest room, toilet etc. are the major sapects of physical environment. 3. Opportunity to utilise and develop human capacities The work assigned to every employee must enable him to work to his potentials. Steps must be taken to remove the monotony element of certain jobs. Employees must also have the opportunity to update their knowledge and skill by undergoing refresher training. 4. Better career prospects employees do not generally favour stagnation in their career path. They lok for every opportunity to move superior positions. It is, therefore, the duty of every employer to provide suitable career opportunities for his employees to secure their loyalty towards the organisation. 5. Social integration in the workforce The work environment must be suvh that the employee is able to develop a feeling of self0esteem, openness, trust and confidence. He should be able to mingle freely with his calleaggues and superiors. In the words, the work environment shoul be highly informal.

6. Constitutional protection The employees should get constitutional protection under QWL. They should have freedom of speech and should be able to challenge the actions of the employer on any matter. 7. Proper balance between work and personal life Under QWL the employee shoud be able to pay attention to his work and domestic responsibilities. His Family life should not be strained because of overtime work, frequent business travel, transfer etc. 8. Social relevance of the employees job The work of an employee is not seen as a mere economic activity under QWL. The employee must be conscious of the social implications of his job. He should, therefore, avoid doing anything that is detrimental to the interests of the society of which he is a part. Measures to Improve QWL The following measures may be adopted to improve QWL: 1. Pay and Stability of Employment Pay has always been an important determinant of job satisfaction. Various factors such as the credentials of the employee, the ability of the employer to pay, the cost of living index, tax rates etc. must be taken into consideration in determining the pay. Stability of employment depeds to a lare exten on the willingness and ability of the employee to update his work knowledge and skill in tune with the demands of the employer. 2. Reduce/Eliminate Occupational Stress An employee who is unable to cope with work pressure undergoes stess. Certain amount ofstress is essential for performance. Excessive stress may be detrimental to the mental adnd physical health of the employee and may adversely affect

performance. The employer, therefore, must do his mite to help the employee, undergoing stress, to come out of it. Counselling may provide relief in most cases. 3. Employee Health To enable the workers overcome monotony and fatigue, such measures as flexible working hours, flexible lunch and interval breaks, five-day week etc. may be adopted. 4. Participative Management It is believed that encouraging workers to participate in the decision-making process improves QWL. When employees have a say in management decision, they work with greater commitment and involvement as they are also partiers to the decision. Such a commitment may not be expected if the management tries to thrust its decisions on the workers. 5. Participative Management It is believed that encouraging worker to participate in the decision-making process improves QWL. When employees have a say in management decisions, they work with greater commitment and involvement as they are parties to the decision. Such a commitment may not be expected if the management tries to thrust its decisions on the workers. 6. Recognition QWL is certainly influenced by the preparedness of the management to recognise employees showing god progress. The recondition may come in the form of tangible and intangible benefits. Tangible benefits may be in the form of bones, commission, profitssharing and so on. Intangible benefits may come in the form of greater decision-making authority. Better designations etc.

7. Harmonious SupervisorWorker Relationship Cordial superiorsubordinate relationship gives the employee greater confidence to undertake his tasks. Obviously, the employee will lose self-confidence if his superior tries to find fault with him always. In an organisation where the superior-subordinate association is smooth the QWL will certainly be good. 8. Grievance Procedure Grievances are bound to arise in a workplace. If such grievances are not properly redressed it will affected QWL. The employer must, therefore, establish a certain procedure for the effective handling of grievances. 9. Adequacy of Resources AN employee will be able to attain his goal only if the organisation makes available the necessary resources materials, tools, machines, money and manpower. Paucity of these resources will affect performance and also QWL. 10. Seniority and Merit in Promotions Employee promotions are generally linked to seniority or merit or both. If any other criterion is used for promotion it will be considered unfair and will lower QWL. 11. Employment on Permanent Basis Jobb security is important for every employee. If the employees are appointed on casual, temporary or contract basis, it will give them a feeling of insecurity. For the employees to have a feeling of security and for a better QWL, employees must be appointed on a permanent basis. Benefits of High QWL An organisation with a high Quality of Work Life may enjoyed the following benefits:

1. Higher production and productivity AS the quality of work ife in the organisation is high, there is no reason to restrict ouput. Not only will there be an increase in the quantum of output but also in the inputoutput ratio. 2. Greater job satisfaction AS the employees get all that they want, they are bound to have greater job satisfaction. 3. Low rate of absenteeism There cannot be a valid reason for the employee not turning up for work. This is sure to bring down the rate of absenteeism. 4. Low rate of labour turnover The employees are happy with their job and with the conditions of employment and therefore may nt be prepared to leave the organisation. they may not try for job elsewhere as their present job gives them all that they want. This will certainly bring down the rate of labour turnover. 5. Greater motivation Employees have greater motivation to work. They know that all their efforts will be appreciated and suitably rewarded. 6. High employee morale The job attitude of the employees of the entire organisation will be positive. As the inter-personal relationship is good, the employees are in a position to work as a team. 7. Reduction in complaints and grievances When the QWL in the organisation is high, the employees have nothing to complain about. 8. Reduction in stress conditions Employees do not feel the work pressure in an organisation with a high QWL. As a result, they do not experience stress conditions.

9. More loyal workers IN view of high QWL, the employees are sure to be more loyal towards their organisation. They may be ready to undertake any task to show their loyalty to their employer.