The employees of any organization determine to a large extent whether that organization achieves success. Organizations which invest in the welfare of their organizations tend to experience growth. The employees in these organizations are usually committed to the mission and objectives that the organizations pursue. On the other hand, companies which fail to attend to the needs of their employees struggle in their efforts to achieve success. Lululemon Inc. is one of the companies that have realized the important role that proper employee management plays in facilitating growth. This company has developed a diverse workforce that is able to attend to the varying needs of the different markets that the company serves. In this paper, a summary of Lululemon Inc. is offered and a look at some of its human resource issues is offered. The paper also provides recommendations that the company could implement so as to enhance the productivity of its employees.
Lululemon Inc. company profile
Lululemon Inc. is one of the largest companies in the sports apparel industry. The company primary mission takes the form of a manifesto. In the manifesto, the company makes it clear that it is committed to tackling mediocrity. It invites its customers to join it in improving their lives. Lululemon has adopted a mission that is rather different. The primary mission that most companies pursue is the maximization of profits. Instead of pursuing this mission, Lululemon focuses its efforts on improving the lives of its customers. One of the factors that have allowed Lululemon to pursue its mission is the range of products that the company avails to its customers. As mentioned already, the company is a key player in the apparel industry. Yoga apparels are the main product that the company makes. In addition to this product, Lululemon also offers wellness services which have allowed it to enhance the quality of the lives of its clients. Leisure wear and sports apparel for high performance are the other products that Lululemon provides to its clients.
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Internal strengths and weaknesses
The internal structure of an organization is among the factors that influence the direction that it takes. There are certain issues within Lululemon’s internal environment that have shaped the company’s operations. Some of these have served as strengths while others have been weaknesses. The diversity of its workforce is one of the strengths that Lululemon enjoys. Since it has operations in different markets, the company has created a workforce that reflects the demographic profile of its markets. The diverse workforce has allowed the company to attend to the wide range of needs of its different markets. The workforce also enables the company to obtain industry insights that allow it to gain an edge over its competitors. The diversity in Lululemon’s workforce helps to explain why the company has continued to enjoy growth in the different markets in which it has operations.
The legal challenges that the company has been facing serve as its main weakness. There have been numerous instances where the company has been taken to court by disgruntled employees. These legal battles can be blamed on the differences between the company’s culture and the personal values and desires of the employees. It appears that the company has failed to align its mission and culture to the values of its employees. The legal battles have resulted in reduced employee morale and satisfaction.
Opportunities and threats in the external environment
No company operates in a vacuum. All companies function in environments which possess factors that a company has little or no control over. There are various forces in Lululemon’s external environment that have served as either opportunities or threats. The chief opportunity that the company could exploit for growth is globalization. Thanks to globalization, new markets have opened up. Lululemon could exploit this opportunity by establishing a presence in the new markets. While it has provided Lululemon with an opportunity for growth, globalization can also serve as a threat. As a result of globalization, the company has been exposed to new cultures. It may encounter difficulties as it seeks to navigate the new cultures and attend to the needs of new markets. The company needs to proceed with caution to ensure that the new markets provide opportunities and do not pose any threats.
Performance management policies and practices
In an effort to enhance the performance of their employees, most organizations have developed policies and practices. These policies stipulate the standards and code of behavior that the employees need to abide by. The practices create a culture that allows employees to align their values and work to the overall mission and objectives of their companies. Lululemon has established a number of practices and policies in a bid to promote employee productivity. The self-setting of goals is among the policies and practices. Lululemon encourages its employees to set personal goals and works with them toward the achievement of these goals. In addition to setting goals that concern their work at the company, Lululemon also urges its employees to set objectives that concern such personal issues as their health and wellness. This company is clearly committed to the holistic development of its workforce. Lululemon has also developed a tool for evaluating the performance of its employees. This tool is grounded in such pillars as community engagement, efficient use of resources, partnership and service quality. Lululemon is undoubtedly a firm whose operations are based on strong values and principles.
Effective performance management systems
For organizations to achieve success, they must put in place systems for managing the performance of their employees. There are several features that constitute effective management systems. Fairness is among these issues. Organizations need to treat all their employees fairly especially in disciplinary matters. This enhances trust and creates a friendly environment. Continuity is yet another feature that an effective system should possess. The system should make it possible for managers to continually monitor the performance of their employees.
In addition to the features mentioned above, clear guidelines are the other feature that should form part of performance management systems. Organizations need to ensure that guidelines are laid down to help employees understand what is expected of them. A good performance management system ought to align itself to the values and beliefs of an organization. This ensures that there is harmony and that no conflicts arise between employees and the management. The inclusion of all these features allows an organization to effectively manage the performance of their employees.
Lululemon’s performance management system
Lululemon understands the need to institute a system for managing the performance of its employees. Evidence for this can be found in the fact that the company has established an elaborate system for enhancing the performance of its workforce. The main feature of this system is the focus that the company places on the welfare of its employees. Lululemon allows its employees to pursue their personal goals (Dalziel, n.d). The company provides the employees with total freedom as the employees are allowed to abandon the company to pursue their personal goals. The company hopes that the atmosphere of freedom that it has created will enhance the performance of its employees.
The other feature of Lululemon’s performance management system can be found in its recruitment strategy. The company’s slogan is “attract the best, repel the rest” (Dalziel, n.d) This slogan indicates that the company recruits the best talent while rejecting those who lack the qualities needed to thrive in its environment. Lululemon actively looks for individuals who will contribute to its culture. It does not desire employees who will merely embrace the culture that is already in place. Instead, it seeks individuals who wish to generate new cultures that hold the potential to promote the growth of the company (Dalziel, n.d).
Measuring employee engagement is another feature of the system that Lululemon has put in place. The company conducts annual surveys in an effort to gain insights into their level of satisfaction (Stoller, 2012). The company also maintains contact with its employees even after they have left the company. This is done through exit interviews which allow employees to offer feedback regarding their experiences at the company. Lululemon also measures the performance of its leaders. The performance of the managers is measured based on the performance of the employees that they manage (Stoller, 2012). Since a manager’s performance is pegged on the performance of their employees, each manager has an incentive to ensure that all their employees are productive. Overall, the performance management system that Lululemon has adopted places great emphasis on individual empowerment and engagement. The company genuinely wishes to promote the wellbeing of its employees and it does this by supporting its employees in their pursuit of personal objectives.
The key strength of the system that Lululemon has put in place for performance management lies in the focus that it places on individual employees. This system is centered around the employee instead of the organization. This company is willing to sacrifice its own growth for the sake of the development of its employees. The fact that it maintains contact with employees even after they have left further indicates that Lululemon values its employees. The main weakness of the system is that it could derail progress. It is possible that the company’s employees could abandon their duties at the organization and instead focus their energies on their personal goals. There is a need for Lululemon to ensure that even as they pursue their personal goals, the employees are able to remain committed to their obligation to the company.
Recommendations for improving performance management system
Enhancing employee engagement and retention
While it is true that Lululemon has derived some benefit from the performance management system that it has put in place, there are various measures that it can adopt to improve this system. The implementation of these measures will allow the company to enhance employee engagement and retention. Instituting financial controls is one of these measures. Financial controls have been shown to be effective in allowing companies to successfully engage their employees and enhance retention (Simons, 2013). Lululemon needs to remind its employees that financial accountability is required at all times. This will allow the company to tackle such issues as fraud which could hamper growth. In addition to setting up financial controls, the company could also institute performance measures. Essentially, these measures evaluate the productivity of employees (Simons, 2013). Having assessed the productivity of an employee, the company can then issue rewards based on performance levels. This promises to boost morale and motivation among the employees.
In an earlier discussion, a mention was made of the focus that Lululemon places on the wellbeing of its employees. The company needs to place even greater emphasis on the personal aspirations of its employees. It is understood that the promotion of the personal goals of employees enhances productivity and commitment (Scott & Davis, 2015). If the company truly desires to enhance employee engagement and retention, it needs to keep encouraging its employees to pursue their personal aspirations and objectives. This will go a long way in creating an atmosphere of freedom and personal fulfillment.
Networking is yet another element of performance management systems that enhance organizational growth (Scott & Davis, 2015). Lululemon needs to establish links between its employees and key players in the industry. For instance, the company could facilitate the efforts of its employees to join professional bodies. This will enable the employees to establish connections that will allow them to achieve their personal goals and stay committed to the company. Management innovation is another measure that Lululemon could combine with such measures as networking to boost employee engagement and retention. Essentially, management innovation concerns the adoption of fresh ideas by the management of an organization (Walker, Damanpour & Devece, 2010). Through management innovation, organizations are able to adopt the latest trends thereby improving the performance of their employees.
Aligning performance management system to organizational goals
In the discussion above, the measures that Lululemon can adopt to enhance the retention and engagement with its employees have been explored. As it implements these measures, the company also needs to adopt measures for aligning its performance management system to the goals that it has set. It was mentioned earlier that the primary goal that the company wishes to achieve is to work with its clients to tackle mediocrity. This goal can be achieved through the adoption of a number of measures. The first of these measures concerns performance evaluation and measurement. It is recommended that organizations which wish to build their performance and capabilities should adopt performance evaluation measures (Grafton, Lillis & Widener, 2010). The performance measures allow an organization to determine if its operations are in line with its overall goals. For instance, since Lululemon wishes to tackle mediocrity, it could develop a tool for measuring the level of customer satisfaction.
Today, technology continues to play an important role in driving the operations of organizations. For Lululemon to ensure that its performance management system is aligned to its overall goals, it needs to embrace technological innovation. It has been shown that technological innovation is a vital driver of organizational performance (Camisón & Villar-López, 2014). Lululemon could adopt technological innovation in its marketing campaigns. Instead of relying on traditional media, the company could embrace social media to promote its products and mission. The adoption of modern technology will play a significant role in propelling Lululemon to the top of the apparel industry.
In conclusion, Lululemon remains a key player in the apparel industry. This reality can be attributed to the human resource management policies and practices that the firm has adopted. The company is committed to promoting the personal wellbeing of its employees by supporting their personal goals. The company also holds its managers accountable for the employees in their charge. While the system that the company has put in place has been effective, some improvements can be made. These improvements include placing emphasis on financial accountability and embracing modern technology. As it implements these improvements, Lululemon will be solidifying its position of dominance in the apparel industry.
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