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How to Satisfy the Unsatified Worker

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Comcast: How to Satisfy the Unsatisfied Worker

Comcast Corporation is a publicly traded global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high speed internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast headquarters is in Philadelphia. Comcast applies the latest innovation and technology to entertain, inform and connect people in new ways. As a company uniquely positioned to inform, empower, and inspire, Comcast embraces the opportunity to create conversation and mobilize action. They believe it's not just about moving the business forward; it's about moving people forward. Comcast has gone through many organizational changes and acquisitions like many global companies.

Employees in the call centers feel that with all the changes made the company has lost sight of the employees’ wants and needs. Comcast has a great health benefits package, free cable service, employee engagement activities, incentives, perks and discounts with other companies, and a great financial benefits package. However employees are still unsatisfied because of the things they used to have such as Christmas parties, Christmas bonus, bigger productivity bonuses and a more laid back atmosphere. Employees in the billing department use to receive comp time off and received higher commissions. The Chicago Division Billing call center employees don’t feel that the company gets the input of the employees affected by these changes. With the change of these policies things they used to get commission on they no longer receive. Comcast has gone through a lot of budget cuts and their salaries compared to other companies in their market are much lower.

I work as a supervisor in the Chicagoland billing department within the call center. I started off as an agent on the phone in 2010 and was promoted within a year to my current position as a supervisor. I manage a team of 10-15 agents at a time. Employee job dissatisfaction not only affects the agents but, my peers as well. There is constant discussion amongst both groups regarding how unhappy they are and the things the company could do to make it better. High demands are made and there is very minimum work life balance. The expectations that are made to my peers are unreasonable and the reality is that the amount of work that is given cannot be finished within an 8 hour shift. Because supervisors are salary, they feel that the managers don’t care how they get the work done, just that it is done. When a supervisor falls behind, very little is done by the manager to find out how they can help, but instead accusatory indicating the supervisor has poor time management skills. Recently there was a supervisor shift bid and the requirements of the ranking were done using an unfair measure. Previously, the rankings were done by tenure and performance metrics. However, the last bid was done with tenure and performance reviews. The performance reviews are opinionated and can be biased. They were not told of the ranking requirements until a week before they came out. Employees who had always been at the top were now ranked lower than some of the newer supervisors. Some of the supervisors who performed very well, but had average tenure were even at the bottom. If your manager liked you and wrote you a nice review, you were pretty much at the top. The fallout from the bid resulted in HR focus groups, Employee Engagement investigations and a somber environment. Many supervisors were disappointed and the results still stayed the same. Many felt the focus groups and investigations were a dog and pony show. Currently, the environment is still the same and many feel dissatisfied with their jobs.

Comcast is just like every other company that’s makes changes and cuts to improve the bottom line. There are still activities and benefits the company has to ensure they are making it a great place to work. But the little things that meant so much to the agents and supervisors are no longer done. Not only are employees unhappy about the incentives being reduced, but the goals have been increased. The employees feel that with the market their in, it’s hard to reach these goals. Most incentives are based on reaching said goals and the agents feel that the same people win prizes so why even try. The supervisors feel their job could be more efficient if the company provided laptop computers and the agents feel their existing computers are dated and causes them frustration due to ongoing computer issues they incur on a daily basis. I believe Comcast is a really great company to work for, which is why I am there. I believe with all the different departments there is much room for progression. We are currently in the process of hiring over 150 more agents and 7 supervisors to support the increased call flow we’ve had. I believe with this help it could possibly change the environment. More of the older employees are retiring and the company is getting a new crop of individuals. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Some of the older employees are the ones with the most concerns; however the newer employees bring a certain mindset as well. I believe we have the right people in place to help change the culture and improve job satisfaction. However, we will have to include lower level employees in some of the change processes in order to do so.
Problem Statement Comcast believes in transforming the customer experience, one customer at a time, one employee at a time. However, Comcast is also known for its not so great customer service experience. There are many websites dedicated for the purpose of venting about people’s experiences with Comcast and there all negative. Wikipedia even notes that Comcast has been the subject of criticism and known for its poor results on customer satisfaction surveys. It’s noted that in 2004 and 2007, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) survey found that Comcast had the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or government agency in the country, including the Internal Revenue Service. In 2008 Comcast scored in the bottom five of J.D. Power and Associates annual customer satisfaction survey for the nation’s top 10 largest cable and satellite television providers. There have also been many lawsuits due to customer service issues. I believe the decline in job satisfaction has an influence on the customer interaction. Comcast has a high amount of churn and the churn will increase if they don’t work on the employee experience better. I have previously described some of the issues the company is facing with their employees. However, I am not certain if all the people employed are a right fit for the company. Even still, if the company does not start involving employees at a local level in its processes I am afraid we could face bigger problems such as unions, termination of employment due to poor performance, more employees quitting, increased absenteeism and increased amount of employees on medical leave. I will research “How can job satisfaction improve employee performance and customer interactions?” I will also research if there are other factors that affect employee satisfaction and what is needed to turn Comcast into a more productive company because of satisfied employees. I will look at studies to validate the basis of my findings. Thru my research and writing, my plan is create the preliminary steps and outline for Comcast to become a great place to work and improved customer service through these efforts.

Literature Review Several studies have been done to link job satisfaction with employee performance. First, let’s define job satisfaction, which is the feeling one feels about their job. Job satisfaction studies can date back as far as 1930. It’s been said that a negative relationship between job satisfaction and job turnover; dissatisfied workers are more likely to quit and look for other jobs (Churchill, Ford & Walker, 1976). This is something I definitely agree with as I indicated in my problem statement. When employees begin to feel unappreciated they lose job satisfaction. Christine Riordan believes that employees should be shown a sense of gratitude to improve job satisfaction. In every workplace and on every team, all people have the innate desire to feel appreciated and valued by others. Leaders of teams—and team members themselves—should work to encourage a culture of appreciation (Riordan, 2013). Riordan’s theory supports my belief that employees need to feel involved in decisions that affect them. Team members feel valued when they have an opportunity to take part in decision-making, problem-solving, and to use their skills to benefit the organization (Riordan, 2013). Whereas Edward Lawler, III believes that you should match the job with the “man”, trying to change employee culture to satisfy some may not always work. Organizations can change their job designs, selection, evaluation, pay, work hours, and leadership styles in order to adapt to the needs of individuals and thereby create working environments that will be more effective, satisfying, motivating, and less alienating. Of course, not all organizations can change all of these aspects in order to create better individual-organization fits (Lawler, III, 1974). I agree that better people selection should be done, to ensure that employees are positions that they want to be in. However, catering to individual needs may not always work; it can become costly as Lawler indicates. Job satisfaction however, can also stem from factors outside of an employee’s feeling about the job they perform. There are many variables that can determine an employee’s feeling about their job such as individual factors which are the employee’s education, intelligence and abilities, personality, their marital status and age. Social factors are very important such as relationships with co-workers, team effectiveness, opportunities to interact with co-workers and how formal the organization is (Mofoluwake &Oluremi, 2013). I definitely agree that social factors can play a big role. Employees need ways to vent and feel engaged. When an employee likes their co-worker, they may like their job more. According to Marty Martin the average full-time employee works 2,080 hours per year...at the office. That doesn't include time the employee puts in at night and on the weekends. Employees spend more time at work than they do at home or with their families. Having a job where you enjoy the people has so much value. Puti Farida Marzuki says job satisfaction of workers can emanate from the nature of the work. Satisfaction can be gained when a worker has an attractive job, a chance for advancement, and a chance to take on more responsibility (Marzuki, 2011). This seems definitely true at Comcast, when there is internal promotion it gives others hope to strive for better and work on their performance. Comcast has a program called Benchstrength, which gives agents and opportunity to excel. The agents act as peer coaches for the new hires. They also have positions as Interim Supervisors. They manage a team until a supervisor is hired or they get the position. This program helps some, but not all. Not all employees want to advance in their current department. Some want to transition to a different area, because they are tired of doing Billing. Comcast does a lot of incentives to get employees engaged and productive. This appears to work some of the time. However, other scholars go on to say that employee rewards do not improve performance, the rewards do, thus not improving job satisfaction. According to John Fossum’s review of a series of papers by Cherrington and his co-workers about the effects of positively and negatively contingent rewards on performance, satisfaction and expectations in differing conditions of reward feedback and interpersonal competiveness. They found that subjects, who were rewarded, regardless of the direction of the contingency, were more satisfied but did not perform better than non-rewarded subjects. But, subjects receiving positively contingent rewards improved performance relatively more than did those receiving negatively contingent outcomes (Fossum,1979). This seems true in my workplace, because Comcast gives out tons of incentives and employees still feel the same sense of job dissatisfaction. It appears that the employees who perform are doing so out of need for employment, ability to move up in leadership or just because of their work ethics.

Analysis Employees at the Comcast Chicagoland billing call center, feel no sense of value at times. Many decisions are made that directly affect an individual, without input from the affected employee. For example when service levels for customer calls were high, the company changed the break times to times that were less impacting on the service levels, but were not conducive to the employees. In addition, their break and lunch times changed daily, adding a sense of inconsistency. Management also cancelled much needed coaching’s and team meetings. These coaching and team meetings, gave an agent a break from the calls and opportunity to ask questions about policy changes, activities and questions about how to handle customer accounts. This also was the time where the supervisor could coach an employee on things needed to improve their performance. Without, this time it became difficult to hold agents accountable and produced a lot of disgruntled employees. Many of the calls that were coming in were from out of state customers. Recently, Comcast streamlined everything to a Division approach. The local billing center previously handled things from a regional level, which were the surrounding areas in Illinois, some parts of Michigan and NW Indiana. The Division approach uniformed processes across a few states such as Georgia and Florida. Many changes came with this shift. Employees felt they weren’t properly trained on the new areas they were handling. The codes in the systems, the policies and the customers were all different. In addition, some of the employees felt the new customers they were handling were very rude. The employees were also use to doing a shift bid every 6-8 months and because leadership was trying to streamline the shifts across the Division, employees were stuck in the same shifts for almost two years. Most employees picked their shifts based on short term needs. This delay in not only having a shift bid selection, but also announcing when it would happen caused some unhappiness as well. When the shift selection finally came many of the shifts were not employee friendly but company friendly. Most of the shifts had only 30 minute lunches as opposed to the 1 hour lunch that employees were used too and needed. As previously mentioned the supervisors had an unhappy process with the shift selection as well. These are a few of the things that have caused the current state of dissatisfaction with local Comcast employees.

Solutions

Comcast has a lot of issues and things to work on to improve job satisfaction. A major area that can help is by doing better training. Trainings are rushed and not sufficient enough to handle the calls the agents deal with. Ongoing communication, when an employee is in the loop and knows what is going on, they feel a part of the organization. Whenever there is a decision that affects the agent and supervisors leadership should make them aware along the way. Being change agents really affect how the message is delivered. Create more employee engagement-if an employee is emotionally committed, they will perform better. Allow employees to be involved in some of the decision making. By doing surveys and focus groups employees will feel more valued and they will feel a part of the decision. Understanding the goal is to decrease turnover, however you have to know when to cut your losses. As Lawler stated you need to match the man to the job. Rewards and incentives may not always make a person happy and if an employee is not willing to do the job you may have to manage them out the business.

Reflection
Although it may seem like all the perks being taken away have made the employees unhappy, it drills down to ensuring employees are engaged and involved in decisions. Rewards are not always the answer. In reflection, Comcast isn’t a bad place to work, they just have to learn how to communicate decisions better and ensure they are doing things not only in the best interest of the company, but in best interest of the employee. Employees can then feel more satisfied about their jobs.

Works Cited
Churchill Jr., G. A., Ford, N. M., & Walker Jr., O. C. (1976). Organizational Climate and Job Satisfaction in the Salesforce. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 13(4), 323-332. http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast50 Doboga, M. (2013). It's Not Easy Being a Federal Best Place to Work. Public Manager, 42(2), 6-8.
Fossum, J. A. (1979). The Effects of Positively and Negatively Contingent Rewards and Individual Differences on Performance, Satisfaction, and Expectations. Academy Of Management Journal, 22(3), 577-589. doi:10.2307/255746
Lawler III, E. E. (1974). For a More Effective Organization--Match the Job to the Man. Organizational Dynamics, 3(1), 19-29.
MARTIN, M. (2013). To Drive Performance, Manage the "Whole Employee". Contract Management, 53(10), 10-11
Marzuki, P., Permadi, H., & Sunaryo, I. (2012). Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction of Workers in Indonesian Construction Companies. Journal Of Civil Engineering & Management, 18(3), 299-309. doi:10.3846/13923730.2012.698889
P., A., & H., A. (2013). Job Satisfaction, Organizational Stress and Employee Performance: A Study of NAPIMS. IFE Psychologia, 21(2), 75-82.
Pouchová, L. (2011). WORK MOTIVATION AND SATISFACTION IN THE CONTEXT OF ECONOMIC CRISIS. Scientific Papers Of The University Of Pardubice. Series D, Faculty Of Economics & Admi
Riordan, C. (2013). To build high performance, remember the power of 'Thank you!'. HR Specialist: Compensation & Benefits, 8(6), 5
Schuler, R. S. (1977). ROLE PERCEPTIONS, SATISFACTION AND PERFORMANCE MODERATED BY ORGANIZATION LEVEL AND PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING. Academy Of Management Journal, 20(1), 159-165. doi:10.2307/255471

Schwartz, R. M. (1977). Work Performance and Satisfaction. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 31(1), 139.

Wanous, J. P. (1973). A CAUSAL-CORRELATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE JOB SATISFACTION AND PERFORMANCE RELATIONSHIP. Academy Of Management Proceedings (00650668), 427-433. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.1973.4981513…...

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...MAN3240 APP ORG BHVR BLENDED 517646 CASE 3 -Repairing Jobs that Fail to Satisfy Karel Tucker When you write, make sure you touch on the following points: Although it's clear employees are not especially satisfied with their work, do you think this is a reason for concern? Does research suggest satisfied workers are actually better at their jobs? Are any other behavioral outcomes associated with job satisfaction? First let's compare the two types of employees:- Satisfied Employees are those who can't wait for work again the next day, they love their jobs and are passionate about it and perform well on the job Dissatisfied Employee hates the very thought of getting up to face work again the next day and complains constantly about their jobs, they create a very high turnover and are usually not good at what they do. So managers have to look out for theses tell tale signs and address them as soon as possible to avoid potential problems because they are less motivated to achieve the organizational goals; this is what is happening at Drain Flow. In the long run this will affect customer service and satisfaction and reduced job performance and loyalty. According to Hawthorne's theory happy workers are productive workers, satisfied employees the ability to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Drain Flow surveys reflects customer dissatisfaction:- * 40% of the total survey respondents felt that their experience was not good while * 30%...

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