One: have been part of many teams throughout my many experiences within the job market. One of the most straightforward team experiences I have had was at my job at a call center. The focus of my job, as well as my teammates’ jobs, was to call as many clients as possible for payment of past due bills. Although the phone calls and conversations were not necessarily something that my teammates and I enjoyed doing, our goal was to make and exceed production expectations.
Throughout the organization, every ten or so employees were grouped as a team that reported directly to one supervisor. Each team was evaluated and ranked by their production numbers. Of course, there were keen incentives for the team that succeeded in having the highest production for the month. These production scores were evaluated by simply averaging the production numbers of each team member.
As one would expect, some team members were simply faster than others, however we did not seem to have any free-rider issues. Free-rider problems can become destructive to the team, as one individual is simply not producing or putting forth adequate effort while on the team (Brickley, Smith, and Zimmerman, 2019). The firm worked hard to encourage employees to work hard and make production. It was expected of us. Not only was each team evaluated on their performance and production, but each individual was also evaluated. I believe that this is what prevented any possible free riding within the team. Without this individual evaluation taking place, it would be all too easy for individuals to slack off or not work as hard to meet production targets (Brickley, Smith, Zimmerman, 2019).
This is a very simple example with a very simple solution, and it is not always as straightforward as my experience. There are various types of teams with different objectives and a firm must figure out how to best evaluate these units to ensure that targets are being met (Brickley, Smith, and Zimmerman, 2019). Specific tasks can be assigned within the team, peer performance evaluations can be utilized, and specific production tracking may be employed to guarantee that teams are functioning properly (Brickley, Smith, and Zimmerman, 2019). It is pertinent that an organization analyze if the cost of controlling free-rider issues and monitoring the fair production of a team exceeds the benefit (Brickley, Smith, and Zimmerman, 2019). Supervisors can spend much of their time tracking and checking up on the functioning of a team, when individual production may be a better fit for the job.
In my situation, individual production was being tracked anyway. The teams were formed to divvy up the massive employee base amongst supervisors. However, the formed teams were also utilized as a way to provide incentives and healthy in-house competition. This proved to be very beneficial to the firm’s production numbers and provided a target for each team to focus on. It provided a way for supervisors to track their employees overall progress and made each individual accountable to other members within their unit. However, the individualized attention and evaluations were essential for this architecture to work.
Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2019). Managerial economics and
organizational architecture (6/e). McGraw-Hill Education.
Two: Throughout my career, regardless of what industry I have worked in I find that I love training and being part of employee development. I truly enjoyed being part of the training and development while employed with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA). In the beginning, after completing initial training and licensing requirements, I served as a member of a team that participated in ensuring that other new associates were properly trained on the fundamentals. I also became part of the training team responsible for recruiting team members, team leadership development, and then leadership training for senior leaders.
Evaluations within the organization were based on the individual and team goals based on metrics met for key performance goal and compliance. The team evaluation allowed for teams to work towards a unit goal. The individual evaluations were more of a way to have employees focus on attaining their goals rather than for “determining rewards and sanctions” (Brickley et al., 2016). BCBSGA is a self-cleansing organization, it expects its leaders to coordinate and motivate their teams and those that fail to follow the time-tested system with the required work and self-growth needed will leave the company. My team was responsible for monitoring employees for the first 90 days of employment by reviewing call quality and performance. Feedback would be given performance and employees advised of areas of opportunity that they could develop. Our team maintained a biweekly meeting about employee behavior trends and were we could provide additional training.
By using “measured performance” (Brickley et al., 2016) accessible from the company’s computer system combined with a written promotion guideline has made free-riding nearly non-existent and created an environment that focuses people on achieving results, both personally and through their team. In fact, the ones that attempt to free-ride, since our compensation is based on meeting key performance goals, and compliance, will not earn much of a bonus. Given the company environment, this ensures staff will either contribute or find other means of earning a living.
This system of evaluation has been a good change as it puts personal responsibility on each person along the line. The entry-level people will have to acquire the skills and perform the tasks efficiently, the managers will need to support their teams and recruit quality persons and train them, and directors will be responsible for establishing training programs, assuring compliance with laws, staff recognition, and strategic planning is done. All these measures are the reason why so many are committed to both development process and their own success.
Brickley, J., Smith, C., & Zimmerman, J. (2016). Managerial economics and organizational
architecture (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.