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Unquestionably, good organization structure is the strength of a prosperous organization. Nevertheless, success of a formal organization depends on the style of management and the correctly designed structure. The magnitude and dimension in terms of organization structure must be carefully measured. It is prudent for an organization to ensure that there is an efficient flow of information both vertically and horizontally. This can be achieved by following the correct chain of command. Unity in command is also very crucial in delivering the organizational goals. The decisions of the middle level managers should reflect the will of the senior level management. Free flow of knowledge and division of labor depending on the specialty of individuals and departments within an organization boosts standardization of processes and reporting relationships, thus fostering greater output. These can be considered as a foundation of a healthy organization. The following report will focus on investigating the relationship between workforce reduction and organizational health.

Manpower Problem

The number of manpower and job vacancies has increased dramatically over the last few decades. This has been explained as a part of the Unhealthy organizations seen today. Due to the current trends in globalization, many firms are in need of constant restructuring in order to enhance competitiveness. This restructuring has most of time left the companies with excess manpower that is unnecessary. This excessiveness is driven by the need to create and expand departments. This usually leads to minimum workload imposed on employees, thus promoting sub-optimal operations. To deal with this menace of excess manpower, companies opt either for having employees work for less hours in a week or for retrenchment and temporary layoffs. The crucial department of human resource in every organization then needs to involve manpower planning, which will ensure analysis of the current manpower and forecast the firms’ future human resource need to avert the looming problem of excess manpower.

The Meaning of Organization

The term organization refers to the organizational creature itself. It is a social or professional group that has distribution of tasks as the key characteristic aimed at achieving the laid down goals. Additionally, business organization refers to the structure of the organization, which includes the features, worth, value, nature, and ability. Importantly, the process of the organization and operation of key tasks within a business setup requires a lot of discipline. Organization can be viewed in three perspectives, namely process rated, functional perspective, and institutional perspective. The functional perspective deals with the delegation and usage of power within business entities or other organizations. In terms of process, organization is seen as re-organization of the task or actions of a company. Institutionally, organization is described as a goal oriented and purposeful structure.

A Healthy Organization

Most of the working hours of most employees are spend at the work place. A healthy organization makes sure that the working hours of these employees are not put to waste. Firstly, there should be clearly set goals and objectives of the organization. These must be adhered to and incorporated in every activity within the organization. The unnecessary cost arising from unwanted seminars, crisis management meetings, and risk mitigation can be avoided if objectives of the company are well understood and followed. A clearly laid down organization structure is a key to the operation of any healthy organization (Wong, 2001). There is a clear delineation of powers, authority, and responsibility. The vertical and horizontal communication channels are also working effectively in well laid down organization structure. This helps foster discipline when addressing matters relating to enhancement of work.

Additionally, a healthy organization has to have the authority of its key employees minimized. It will help prevent the possibility of abuse of office and power bestowed upon these employees. To enhance efficiency, there should be a distinct report procedure, which would eliminate the possibility of having more than one supervisor. The organization structure needs to be flexible and should take into consideration the future need for change; all the changes should be done in a sequential way that would ensure a smooth transition, hence minimizing the disturbances of performance and output of the organization. All these factors are interrelated, and they should effectively work together to avoid duplication of work, which will help avoid excessive manpower virtually doing the same thing.

Unhealthy Organization

Organizations are usually faced with management challenges. Some of the challenges can be mitigated by middle level organizations, but unhealthy organizations find it hard to cope with certain problems. Attributed to this fact is the inability to delegate duties and responsibilities to different work groups and departments efficiently. This leads to non-directional work activities, which usually incur a lot of extra costs in an organization. To distinguish an unhealthy organization, one needs to look at the management, which would show excess managerial posts in the organization, aimed at rewarding sycophants who maintain the status quo. It usually creates many conflicts in terms of power, and there is a high possibility of abuse of the office these people hold.

An unhealthy organization has many policies that are not followed most of the time. It is not strange to find that the policies are duplications of a single policy that could serve the purpose of directing and organizing the work within an organization. This usually leads to absence of coordination, which even extends to inefficient reporting procedure. One is found to report to several supervisors, some within different specialties. This lack of direction and coordination creates confusion and leads to the subsequent derailment of objective directed activities.

Reduction of Additional Manpower and Elimination of Vacant Positions

Human beings are the most valuable assets of an organization, and their service cannot be underestimated. However, nowadays, in most organizations, there is an urgent organizational necessity to cut down on operational costs created by excessive employees. Several techniques can be applied to reduce the manpower. These include: use of jigs and fixtures, application of automated machines, use of auxiliary fittings utilized on the machines, and use of material handling systems and conveyers. These are the mechanization solutions to manpower reduction. Additionally, there are mitigating measures that make sure that needs of the employees are well taken care of. If there is a need of deployment of other areas, the excess manpower can be partially retained. This needs good communication. There are also other ways of dealing with excessive workforce, including temporary layoffs, reduction in working hours, flexible wage system, and early retirement schemes. Retrenchment as a solution to excess manpower is very serious decision, and it should involve a professional and careful communication procedure to avoid severe economic implications. The following figure shows these solutions to excess manpower.

Adopted from Wong (2001).

To ensure efficient output increment fostered by optimum working conditions, there is a need to cut down on the workforce of companies. There are several steps that should be followed so as to solve the excess manpower problem while maintaining the healthy organization. Firstly, there is a need to freeze organizational and re-organizational activities within an organization so as to ascertain the work and asset of every individual present in the organization structure. Moreover, there is a need to identify process duplications and overlaps within the organization. This would enable the management to eliminate the vacant positions in the organization as well as foster harmonization of processes and activities of different departments. This would ensure a smooth running of the activities. If there are any job vacancies within an organization, it is wise to re-evaluate the importance of recruiting externally and use the already excess manpower to fill these new positions. In restructuring focused on elimination of excess manpower, the target should be on middle level layers. Their roles in an organization are usually supposed to be done by the higher supervisors, who may assume other unnecessary personal roles due to the absence of work. Thus, the middle layers need to be removed from the organizational structure. It is also recommended to standardize job titles within an organization as well as to eliminate the discrepancies usually created by these titles, which usually reflect the salaries. If a position stays vacant for more than one year and work is still progressing well, such position needs to be removed (Wong, 2001). Besides, it is advisable to speed up the training process of recruits, which usually takes much time running to several months. This training period should be slotted to be less than a year so that the vacancies are filled immediately. According to Wong (2001), in describing various jobs, there is a need for standardization of these job description requirements, which would see a replacement of the traditional job descriptions with simplified and brief job specifications. This would help people easily identify their roles in the workplace, which would increase efficiency that would cut down on the costs. Simplified job descriptions would also ensure that duplication of vacancies is not created. Due to the well-spread corruption in recruitment processes, it would be better to freeze the creation of new positions until the top management feels there is a need to create positions for employees with a new set of skills that are not readily available on the firm.

In conclusion, an effective workforce reduction would see a smooth workflow and better coordination among different employees, supervisors, departments, and organization on the whole. It would lead to clear departmental responsibilities and effective recruitment process. Besides, job level layers would be reduced due to the deletion of the middle layers from the organizational structure. Due to an expected reduction in the number of employees by 15% to 20% of the original number, the financial costs will be also reduced to a great extent. A clearly laid down organization structure is a key to the operation of any healthy organization, as this structure ensures that there is a clear delineation of powers, authority, and responsibility. The vertical and horizontal communication channels are also effectively operating in a well laid down organization structure. In an unhealthy organization, on the other hand, management is usually flawed. It shows the existence of excess managerial posts in an organization, aimed at rewarding sycophants who maintain the status quo.

As much as human resource is one of the most valuable assets in an organization, excess of manpower is one of the most challenging burdens. Therefore, to ensure efficient output increment fostered by optimum working conditions, there is a need to cut down on the workforce of companies. In dealing with excess manpower, several methods are used. These include: temporary layoffs, reduction in working hours, flexible wage system, and early retirement schemes. Retrenchment is rarely used as a solution to excess work force problem, because of its seriousness and demand for effective communication prior to its execution and after in order for a company to avoid severe economic implications. 

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