Case Study Analysis: Levi Strauss and Co.
At present, firms are pressured by the task of regaining loyalty and commitment from its employees. According to Fortune Magazine, employment is dependent on added value to the organization and as long as employees are “continuously responsible for finding ways to add value”, they have the “right to demand interesting and important work, the freedom and resources to perform it well, pay that reflects their contribution and the experience and training needed to be employable here or elsewhere” (O’Reilly 1994).
Valuing employee has never been born for the notion of altruism. It is a business imperative. However, on a large scale, the rightsizing and restructurings of the last decade have hardly made employees feel valued. Nevertheless, many companies are now realizing that an effective staff is a resource that other companies cannot copy. Valuing of employees actually mean respecting the individuality of each employee and establishing work environments that will enable employees to bring out their full potential and do their jobs with enthusiasm.
The valuing of employees has proven to be an effective tool in the maximization of profits for the company. As employees feel that they are valued, they begin to feel motivated which in turn will improve their performances and generate a better quality of work which of course will be a benefit for the company as it will give the company a competitive edge against other firms. This paper will be doing a case study analysis on Levi Strauss and Company. The paper will be focusing on the initiatives done by the company in maintaining their image as a company who greatly values their employees.
Levi Strauss and Company
In 1853, Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss founded Levi Strauss and Company which is now the world’s largest brand-name apparel marketers with sales in more than a hundred and ten countries. At present, there is no other company with an equivalent international presence in the jeans and casual pants markets. The company’s market-leading apparel products are sold under the brands of Levi’s, Dockers and Levi Strauss Signatures. It was in 1873 when the Levi’s jeans, the world’s first jeans, were born when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada, patented the process of putting rivets in pants to make it stronger. The Levi’s trademark is currently one of the most recognized in the world and is registered in more than a hundred and sixty countries. The company employs a staff of roughly 8,850 people around the world including approximately a thousand people at its San Francisco, California headquarters. As a global corporation, Levi Strauss and Co. is organized into three geographic divisions: (1) Levi Strauss, North America – based in San Francisco headquarters, (2) Levi Strauss Europe – based in Brussels, and (3) Asia Pacific Division – based in Singapore <www.levistrauss.com>.
Human Resource Management
At Levi Strauss and Co., the human management activities are customized in order to fit the various needs of the corporation as well as its employees. The company’s senior management have specified the guidelines of leadership that are necessary to fulfill the following objectives: (1) new leadership behavior, (2) better valuing of the variety of people working in Levi’s, (3) better recognition for individual and team contributions, (4) ethical management practices, (5) timely communications with its employees, and (6) empowerments of employees to act.
The central focus of the human resource (HR) management of the company is to become a truly global company through: (1) HR activities designed to fit local cultural differences in the European, Asian and Latin American countries; (2) career development of employees and expanding the company’s global perspectives; and (3) posting international jobs throughout Levi’s. In addition, the company’s employees also undergo extensive training wherein all of its employees have enrolled in core curriculum classes with topics on the key dimensions of the company’s objectives as well as the company’s values, diversity and ethics and understanding the different backgrounds and lifestyles of people.
Also, the company expresses that they greatly value their employees through facilitating a balance in their employees’ personal or family life and professional or work responsibilities. Other initiatives that express the company’s concern for their employees include the implementation of the following programs: training to make managers and supervisors aware of the issues surrounding work and family, a “time off with pay” program which replaces vacation and sick leaves and floating holidays, expanded child care and elder care leaves for individuals with family problems and financial support to develop existing child-care programs in communities where Levi’s operates.
Strategy against HR Management
Companies such as Levi Strauss and Co. are among the companies that are currently modifying their corporate strategy and aligning them with their human resource management. They have implemented programs that they believe are significant in sustaining their image as an employer who greatly values their employees. The company’s corporate strategy has kept in lined with HR planning through enabling managers, HR staff and their employees to fit individual and local needs. This means that the company’s corporate strategy and their human resource planning all envision one common thing which is to become a global leader through giving great value for their employees.
In businesses, we usually hear other people saying that “the people are greatest asset” of any company. It should be highlighted that valuing employees are the most important resource for any company. As cliché as it may sound, most organizations agree that the way employees are treated and managed has a direct impact on the employee’s productivity. How the employer treats his staff and how much they value the company they work for will have significant impacts on how the company performs. Putting effective employee benefit programs in place is the key in recruiting and retaining the very best employees. Diversity, health and safety, workplace conditions, personal development, work or life balance and remuneration are amongst the issues that responsible employers are concentrate on in order to make sure that they have a happy and motivated workforce.
Conclusions and Recommendations
It is every business’s objective to maximize their profits and lessen their expenses. Levi’s has invested on one of the most important resource that a company could have – its employees. Their corporate strategy has now been aligned with their human resource management which is valuing their employees due to high costs of recruiting and training new staff. It must be noted that losing an employee can be very expensive and high staff turnover can eventually ruin a business. The last thing that businesses need is for its competitors to benefit from the training, knowledge and experience that it has built within its workforce.
It is suggested that employers give their people the opportunity to make their own benefits decisions. This way, employees will take a keener interest in their benefits. The traditional company benefits package often has a rigid “one size fits all” approach; it fails to consider the varying needs of individual employees. In addition, the traditional company benefits package may sometimes be complicated and difficult to manage. Thus, it is greatly recommended that companies like Levi Strauss and Co. implement a flexible benefits package to help reduce costs and provide a greater choice for their workforce. Furthermore, flexible benefits provide additional lifestyle choices along with traditional company benefits such as private healthcare and the company pension scheme which will allow employees to choose the benefits that they want which in turn will motivate them and make them more productive.
It is also important that companies like Levi Strauss and Co. consider some of the following pointers: (1) the main goals of the company’s employee benefits programme, (2) the last time that the company last reviewed their benefits scheme, (3) steps or initiatives undertaken to ensure that the company’s benefits programme underpins their business strategy, (4) knowledge of employees regarding the benefits that the company offers and how they benefits from it, (5) issues like sickness and absence, healthcare and dental care, and (6) the extent of the relevance and significance of the recruitment and key staff in employer’s business and their industry.
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