High Performance Working Model

08/12/2020 1 By indiafreenotes


  1. Work Design:

High Performance Work Systems generally start with a new work design.

  1. Total Quality Management (TQM) and reengineering are important components in new work designs.
  2. In HPWS, instead of separating jobs into separate units, the focus is on the key business processes that drive customer value and creating teams that are responsible for the processes.
  3. Employees are given liberty to alter their work schedule.
  4. Advanced communication systems are employed in effective HPWS.

In HPWSs, the various components of HRM stress certain important activities.

  • Work Flow:
  1. Self-managed teams
  2. Empowerment
  • Staffing:
  1. Selective recruiting
  2. Team decision making
  • Training:
  1. Broad skills
  2. Cross-training
  3. Problem solving
  4. Team training
  • Compensation:
  1. Incentives
  2. Gain sharing
  3. Profit sharing
  4. Skill-based pay
  • Leadership:
  1. A few layers
  2. Coaches/Facilitators
  • Technologies:
  1. HRIS
  2. Communications

By redesigning the work flow around key business processes, companies are able to establish a work environment that can facilitate teamwork, utilize the skills/knowledge effectively, empower employees and provide meaningful work.

  1. HR Practices:

Work design, quality management or reengineering alone or in combination cannot bring in any desired change unless they are supported by adequate HRM elements. An environment of high performance and satisfaction is possible only when work resigns are combined with relevant HR practices to encourage skill development and employee involvement.

Staffing Practices:

  1. HPWSs generally start with highly directive recruitment and selection practices.
  2. Recruitment is broad as well as intensive to get the best pool of candidates to choose from.
  3. Organizations compensate the expenses and time invested in selection by selecting the skilled individuals Capable of learning continuously and working cooperatively.
  4. Human Resource Information System is extensively used to compile an inventory of talents to enable the HR managers select the people with specific skills needed.

Training and Development:

  1. Training focuses on ensuring that employees have the needed skills to take higher responsibility.
  2. Beyond individual training, a training certification process is established to make sure that intact teams progress through a series of maturity phases.
  3. Teams are required to certify their abilities to function effectively. Teams are certified only after effective demonstration of knowledge and skills in areas such as customer expectations, business conditions and safety.
  4. Skills must be continually updated.
  5. Certified teams are required to review their competencies periodically.


  1. In HPWS, there are alternative compensation systems.
  2. To link pay and performance, employee incentives are included.
  3. There are incentives for goal achievement and even training.
  4. Incentive schemes such as gain sharing, profit-sharing and employee stock ownership schemes are common in HPWSs.
  5. Scanlon plan, Rucker plan and Improshare are used in HPWSs to elicit employee suggestions and reward them for contribution to productivity.
  6. In some companies there are skill-based pay plans. Paying employees based on the number of different skills they possess, it is possible to create both a broader skill base among employees and a more flexible pool of people to rotate among interrelated jobs.
  1. Leadership Role:

Leadership issues assume importance in every level in the HPWS. To support the HPWS environment, to bring changes in the culture and to modify business process, the role of leadership plays an important role.

  1. Many companies have found that the success of any HPWS depends on first changing the roles of managers and team leaders.
  2. Fewer layers of management and focus on team-based work culture bring in substantial improvement in productivity.
  3. In HPWS, managers and supervisors are seen as coaches, facilitators and integrators of team efforts.
  4. There is no place for autocratic leadership style in a HPWS. Managers always share responsibility for decision making with employees.
  5. In HPWS, the term manager is replaced by the term team leader.
  6. In many cases leadership is shared among the team members.
  7. Some companies rotate team leaders at various stages in team development.
  8. HPWS allows individuals to assume functional leadership roles when their particular expertise is needed most.

4. Information Technology:

  • Communication and information technologies are important components of HPWS. Technologies of various kinds help creating a system for communicating and sharing information which is vital to any business.
  • IT in service sector is used to help employees monitor its service, communicate with customers and identify and solve problems quickly.
  • Computerized system helps budget and track the employee time spent on different projects. Information needs to be about business plans/goals, unit and corporate operating results, hidden problems/ opportunities and competitive threats.
  • HPWS cannot succeed without timely and accurate communications.
  • Information technologies need not always be very high-tech as the best communication occurs face to face.

High performance work system (HPWS) is a specific combination of HR practices, work structures and processes that enhances employee skill, knowledge, commitment, involvement and adaptability. The key concept in HPWS is the system. HPWS is composed of many interrelated sub-systems that complement one another to attain the goals of an organization, big or small.

Generally, companies try to blend the important competitive challenges (adapting to global business, assimilating technology, managing change, responding to customer needs, mobilizing and developing intellectual capital and reducing costs) and the employee concerns (managing a diverse workforce, recognizing employee rights, accepting new work attitudes and balancing work and family demands) to attain competitive advantage.

But, nowadays, the successful companies go beyond simply balancing these requirements; they create work situations that combine these demands to get the best out of the employees to meet the short-term and long-term needs of the companies. E.g., Google, Toyota etc.

  1. Shared Information:

In the past, organizations did not bother to supply information about the organizations to the employees and employees were also not interested to ask for information. But, nowadays, sharing of information between the managements and employees is highly critical.

  1. When employees are given timely and useful information about business performance, plans and strategies, they are more likely to offer suggestions to improve the business.
  2. Sharing of information leads to better cooperation in effecting major organizational changes.
  3. Employees feel more committed to new courses of action if they have adequate information from the management.
  1. Sharing of information results in the shift from the mentality of command and control to focus on employee commitment.
  2. Relationship between management and employees improves by sharing information.
  3. Employees are more likely to be willing to work to attain the goals in a culture of information sharing, and
  4. Employees will know more, do more and contribute more when information is shared.
  1. Knowledge Development:

Information sharing and knowledge development coexist. As organizations compete through people, they must concentrate and invest in developing employees.

Knowledge development takes place through many activities:

  • Selecting the best and brightest candidates available in the labour market
  • Providing opportunities to all the employees to sharpen their knowledge continuously
  • Training to improve the employees’ technical, problem-solving and interpersonal skills to work either individually or in teams
  • Arranging for the right environment to learn in ‘real time’ on the job, using innovative new approaches to solve real problems
  • Making employees aware of the firm’s progress and
  • Displaying vital statistics of the firm including production and cost of production
  1. Performance-Reward Linkage:

The personal objectives of employees and the organizational goals of management, naturally, cannot go hand in hand. Employees, by nature, pursue outcomes that bring in personal benefit to them and not necessarily to the organization as a whole.

When the goals of employees and that of the organization are aligned through some means there will be benefits both to the employees and the organization. It has been found that when rewards are connected to performance, employees pursue outcomes that are mutually beneficial to themselves and the organization.

  • When rewards are connected to performance, supervisors need not have to constantly watch to make sure that employees do the right thing.
  • Appropriate performance-reward linkage makes people to go out of the way to make certain that co-workers are getting the help they need, systems and processes are functioning are functioning efficiently and customers are happy.
  • Connecting rewards to organizational performance also ensures fairness and tends to focus employees on the organization.
  • Performance-based rewards ensure that employees share in the gains that result from any performance improvement.
  1. Egalitarianism:

In HPWS, conflicts among managers, employees and labour unions are increasingly being replaced by more cooperation approaches to managing work. Present day employees feel that they are a part and parcel of the organization, not just workers.

  • In an egalitarian environment where everyone is treated alike, status and power differences are eliminated.
  • There will be more of collaboration and teamwork.
  • When people work together as a team without inhibition, productivity improves.
  • Egalitarian environment ensures employee loyalty.
  • Empowering employees in HPWS give them more control and influence over decision-making.
  • With decreasing power distances, employees can become more involved in their work and their quality of work is improved simultaneously.


Now it is your turn to design a High-Performance Work System (HPWS). HPWS is a set of management practice that attempts to create an environment within an organization where the employee has greater involvement and responsibility. Designing a HPWS involves putting all the HR pieces together.

A HPWS is all about determining what jobs a company needs to be done, designing the jobs, identifying and attracting the type of employee needed to fill the job, and then evaluating employees’ performance and compensating them appropriately so that they stay with the company.


At the same time, technology is changing the way HR is done. The Electronic Human Resource Management (e-HRM) business solution is based on the idea that information technologies, including the Web, can be designed for human resources professionals and executive managers who need support to manage the workforce, monitor changes, and gather the information needed in decision making. At the same time, e-HRM can enable all employees to participate in the process and keep track of relevant information.

For instance, your place of work provides you with a Web site where you can login; get past and current pay information, including tax forms (i.e., 1099, W-2, and so on); manage investments related to your 401(k); or opt for certain medical record-keeping services.

More generally, for example many administrative tasks are being done online, including:

  1. Providing and describing insurance and other benefit options;
  2. Enrolling employees for those benefits;
  3. Enrolling employees in training programs; and
  4. Administering employee surveys to gauge their satisfaction.

Many of these tasks are being done by employees themselves, which is referred to as employee self-service. With all the information available online, employees can access it themselves when they need it.

Part of an effective HR strategy is using technology to reduce the manual work performance by HR employees. Simple or repetitive tasks can be performed self-service through e-HRM systems that provide employees with information and let them perform their own updates.

Typical HR services that can be formed in an e-HRM system include:

  1. Answer basic compensation questions.
  2. Look up employee benefits information.
  3. Process candidate recruitment expenses.
  4. Receive and scan resumes into recruiting software.
  5. Enroll employees in training programs.
  6. Maintain training catalog.

Organizations that have invested in e-HRM systems have found that they free up HR professionals to spend more time on the strategic aspects of their job. These strategic roles include employee development, training, and succession planning.