Workplace cooperation: The path to sustainable growth

by Miel Feria, SERDEF Media Bureau

(first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday Biz, March 11, 2013)

dr gatchaian

In the age of globalization and the advent of BPOs, entrepreneurs have no choice but to adapt to the fast-changing market and the ever-increasing level of competition from around the world. To ensure sustained success, entrepreneurs should inspire confidence among their employees and foster effective partnerships with them. As frontline employees have firsthand knowledge of the customer’s needs, the trick is for management to find a way to utilize this knowledge.

This is where Workplace Cooperation (WPC) is useful. Employers must adopt an open attitude in order to learn from its frontline people.  In return, the workforce feels empowered and grows in motivation, efficiency and dedication.

As a preview to the 2nd National Symposium-Workshop on Workplace Cooperation for Quality and Profitability on March 21-22, 2013, Dr. Miflora Gatchalian, former faculty of the UP College of Home economics, and current chief executive officer of Quality Partners Company, Ltd. (QPCL), briefly discussed Work Place Cooperation in a recently-concluded forum at the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation (Serdef).


5 steps to WPC

For a company to truly implement the concept of WPC, Dr. Gatchalian mentioned five steps towards quality which she calls the SUGOD cycle:

1. SURVEY and introduction phase. In this phase, the company is introduced to the concept of WPC and later asked to assess their quality practices.  The result will show the area where the company needs to improve.

Dr. Gatchalian stresses the need for the survey since quality is a state of mind.  She cites cases of companies she studied where the survey results did not show a common understanding of quality. When disparity occurs, differing views have to be reconciled, which brings the company to Phase 2.

2. UNITE and reconcile these conflicting views. The process starts with the management apprising the employees of the current business situation. Both parties then refocus the corporate vision, mission, policy and goals. It is also at this phase that the management and the employees re-formulate the Quality Policy of the company.

3. GROW in skill through the conduct of different training and other capability-enhancing programs to address the needs identified in Phases I and II.

By this time, both management and employees are aware of the current level of quality practice in the company and have arrived at a consensus on the level they want to achieve. With all these plus the provision of necessary training and skills, the company is ready to implement Phase four.

4. OPERATIONALIZATION of programs for sustainable workforce engagement to achieve WPC. With tools and techniques for quality and service improvement in place, the company is ready for the last phase of the cycle.

5. DEVELOPMENT of approaches for continued quality and productivity improvement.

Dr. Gatchalian further emphasized that, for the Sugod cycle to be successful, there are prerequisites to be met. Among these, the most essential is the level of commitment the management and the employees feel towards the success of the enterprise, which is why leveling of expectations is crucial.

“It is important that everyone should agree on the present level of quality practice, the level that they want to reach, and determine the actions to be taken to get there,” Dr. Gatchalian says.

In the end, effective partnership between management and employees, will spell the difference between success and failure of an enterprise as well as the company’s ability to adapt to changes.

Dr. Gatchalian, a member of the International Academy for Quality, concludes: “The journey  to  excellence   is  a never-ending  quest  and  must  start with  having  knowledge  and  goals!”

*The 2nd National Symposium-Workshop on Workplace Cooperation for Quality and Profitability will be held on March 21-22, 2013 at the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries, UP Diliman Quezon City, tel. 9287076 to 79.)

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