The third component of the SWOT analysis is opportunities. Unlike the first two components (strengths and weaknesses) opportunities are external rather than internal. This means that the factors considered being opportunities are not controlled by the company and consist of analyzing outside sources. HR looks at factors such as the industry and markets for potential prospects, whether it is: market growth, business expansion, or internal strategies (Clardy, 2013). A company may be looking at competitors’ management styles or business strategies that they do not currently exercise. More specifically, the human resource department may assess a company’s opportunities as a way to satisfy more employees needs, discover new management strategies, and notice new methods when dealing with HR dilemmas. The following chart looks at the connection between a company’s strengths and weaknesses matched with their opportunities (Community Tool Box, 2013):
Use the company’s strengths to achieve opportunities
Use opportunities to overcome the company’s weaknesses
Human resource departments can look at other companies’ departments as a way to find new opportunities to satisfy their own employees. This can be accomplished through creating a friendly, healthy, and welcoming work environment or culture and by offering unique benefits to employees. The human resource department can be creative by offering benefits such as paid vacation time, medical benefits, and offer health training classes or gym membership. Employees will see the unique offerings and may be drawn to the company. Using Google Corporation as an example, the HR team can develop an environment with everything at the fingertips for the employees. Google offers amenities and benefits such as (Google, 2013):
· Large and colorful cafeterias
· Gym facilities on location
· Kitchens for employees to use
· Educational classes
· Gaming rooms
· Travel opportunities
The company needs to look at the budget and variety of amenities it wants to offer its employees before trying to copy another company like Google. Google has such a large variety of amenities because they expect their employees to work longer hours, therefore giving them the convenience of everything within the company’s building. Google also wants to give employees the opportunity to interact with one another away from their work. When employees have close relationships they feel more comfortable in the work place and excel in their positions.
The culture of the company can cause employees to be uncomfortable in their work environment, therefore causing them to quit the company. Companies have the opportunity to change their work environments to adjust to the company’s culture and mission. The work environment starts with the basics such as the layout of the desks, offices, and cubicles. HR should look at how the company wants to be laid out and if the executives want to have private offices or be placed within the mix of desks and cubicles with lower level employees. The feeling of the higher-level employees earning their own office may be a perk to the position. But if they are mixed with the other employees, there may be a more open environment to the company.
The diversity within the workforce may also contribute to the company’s culture. Within the last two decades more and more human resource managements are increasing their workforce diversity as part of their overall strategy (Alcázar et al, 2013). If the company is a multinational corporation, hiring a diverse group of employees will allow the company to relate to clients all over the world and expose the employees to diversity as a way to better help them excel personally. When assisting clients, employees will be able to relate to them more if they know about the client’s culture, which can be discovered through a large pool of nationalities and ethnicities within the workplace.
With the opportunity of the culture, environment, and benefits offered to the employees, the satisfaction level will rise. If there are lots of amenities that cater to a wide range of employees, then employees will not complain that their interests or needs were not met. HR may want to consider creating a survey regarding the employee’s satisfaction and the culture of the employee annually to see where changes need to be made or if any employees have suggestions on additional opportunities the company should consider. A company wants to have high employee satisfaction in order to (Aghazadeh, 1999):
· Decrease employee turnover rates
· Increase employee loyalty
· Have the company be even more successful
Take away points:
When it comes to the company’s culture and environment, HR needs to take the time to compare with other companies and discover new opportunities that will create a more stable and welcoming culture. Companies will notice through productivity levels and through their employees’ satisfaction levels if the culture is welcoming and comfortable for employees or if more changes need to be addressed. Employee satisfaction levels will reflect on their involvement in the company’s culture as well (Light, 2004). When the culture gives opportunities to individuals, whether it’s moving up the corporate ladder or being involved in important decisions, employees will feel they are of importance to the company. The company’s culture also should have a connection with their overall mission. Employees should feel comfortable and safe in the work environment. Companies can create a more diverse community within the company, which will expose employees to different situations dealing with nationalities and religions that may help them deal with conflicts, especially if the company is an international company. It is very important for the human resources department to continue to receive feedback from the employees to gather insight on the company’s culture and environment.
Lastly, HR needs to work closely with the employees to offer them a wide variety of unique benefits. Compensation is not always the top priority for employees regarding their benefits. HR has the opportunity to look at other companies when creating their benefits policy. If the human resources department can develop policies that can cater to their employees on a more personal level, then employees will appreciate the time and effort the company is putting into the policies. HR ought to realize that sometimes the simple satisfaction the employee receives from their job is enough of a benefit.
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Community Tool Box. (2013). SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing
Google (2013). Benefits. http://www.google.com/about/jobs/lifeatgoogle/benefits/.
Light, J. N. (2004). The relationships and effects of employee involvement, employee
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