While customer is still the king, the employees today are seen as the facilitators to satisfy the king. Because, in order to produce goods that satisfy the increasingly demanding customers today, companies have to come out with better and improved products.
To beat the competition and to establish themselves as the market leaders, companies need a three-pronged approach. Good quality, good service, and low prices; and to achieve all of them, employees are becoming the most important entity today. Now, the employer who manages the employees best, and keeps them happy, wins over the competitive market.
What is it?
Employees have historically been bossed around and told what to do. After all, they aren't the ones who decide things in an organization. But that was the old autocratic leadership style. Now they are encouraged to take a larger role in decision-making. They are also encouraged to come up with suggestions to help the company do better.
There are several levels of participation that companies allow employees in. Some stick to the basics and allow the employees a suggestion box, wherein employees can discuss their grievances and suggest ways for the company to improve in the future. Other, more democratic organizations help train and motivate employees, so that they work more efficiently.
The newest buzzword in the job market, though, is career planning. Most organizations see career planning as an effective way to retain their best talent and reduce attrition and dissatisfaction.
In career planning, employees have a say as to what they expect from the company in their employment period. Indeed, they are having an increased influence in the production of goods, effective delivery of services, and employment agreements of the company.
What is its importance?
It is a welcome change from the point of view of the employees from the old autocratic system. It gives them a chance to be heard within the company. It also gives them an opportunity to put forth the suggestions that they feel, will benefit both themselves and the company.
With a democratic style of management, employers are trying to make the employee's job less monotonous and more rewarding. It makes them feel satisfied when the suggestions they make are implemented and creates a better environment due to improved satisfaction.
The chain goes thus: A good employee makes a good product. A good product is one that the customer buys. A product which a customer buys, is the one which makes the profit.
But for participative management to work effectively, it requires good, motivated, and talented employees, who are capable to bring forward positive suggestions that will help the organization improve. This is perhaps the only constraint in its universal acceptance.