Workplace Environment and its Impact on Employee Performance in Tertiary Institutions in Cameroon: The Case of Higher Institute of Professional Studies (Hips) Buea
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The work environment which encompasses several factors impacts the way the employees perform their work. A comfortable and all-inclusive workplace environment will boost the employees’ performance hence boosting the organizational performance. The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of workplace environment on employee performance in private university the case of the Higher Institute of Professional Studies (HIPs).
In order to achieve this study objective, simple random sampling techniques were used to sample 30 staffs from the HIPs university by means of a structured questionnaire. Collected data was checked, coded, inputted and analysed in SPSS (21.0) where descriptive statistics, correlation and regression test was carried out to check the relationship that exists between variables.
The results of this study revealed that physical working environment, psychosocial working environment and work-life balance have an effect on employee performance in the Higher Institute of Professional Studies. Based on the regression analysis, it was found the psychosocial working environment (t-value=8.5579) was the factor that had the highest effect on the performance of employees in HIPs followed by the physical working environment.
From the study findings, it was concluded that for an organisation to have a competitive edge over others, it must provide a positive work environment in which all factors that influence employee performance are in tandem with their obligation. Thus, it was recommended that managers should also be counselled on their relationships with their subordinates.
Background to the study
Any organisation’s achievement is strongly linked to its employees ‘ work performance. The quality of the workplace setting of the staff affects their amount of motivation and thus results (Heath, 2006). When staff have the desire to work physically and mentally, they will increase their efficiency (Boles et al., 2004).
They also indicated that having a correct workplace atmosphere helps to reduce the amount of absenteeism and can boost efficiency in the competitive and vibrant company globe of today. The workplace climate in location has a positive and negative impact on the morale, productivity and commitment of employees (Chandrasekar, 2011).
Due to modifications in several variables such as the social setting, data technology and the flexible manner of organising job procedures, the variables of the office workers ‘ working setting have altered over the past centuries (Hansun and Makhbul, 2005).
In an effort to motivate workers, firms have implemented a number of practices such as performance-based pay, employment security agreements, practices to help balance work and family as well as various forms of information sharing. In addition to motivation, the worker needs the skills and ability to do their job effectively. For many firms, training the workers have become a necessary input into the performance process.
The factors of the workplace environment that have been determined include job aid, supervisors support or relationship, opportunity to get promoted, performance feedback, goal setting, workplace incentives, mentoring, coaching and also the physical work environment.
The work environment is the sum of the interrelationship that exists within the employees and the environment in which they work (Kohun, 2002). According to Heath (2006), this environment involves the physical location as well as the immediate surroundings, behavioural, procedures, policies, rules, cultural resources, working relationship, work relation, all of which influence the way employees in their workplace.
The quality of the workplace impacts on employee performance subsequently influences the organisation’s competitiveness. Effective workplace management entails making the work environment attractive, comfortable, satisfactory and motivating employees so as to give the employees a sense of pride and purpose in what they do (Humphries, 2005).
Employees will and are always contented when they feel their immediate environment both physical sensations and emotions are in tandem with their objective (Farh, 2012) and how well employees connect with their organisation’s immediate work environment. Workplace environment influence to a great extent the employee error rate level, efficiency, innovativeness, collaboration with their employees, absenteeism, and ultimately their retention.
The type of workplace environment in which employees operate determines whether or not such organisations will prosper (Chandrasekhar, 2011). The physical workplace environment contextualizes the office layout and the design while psychological factors include working conditions, role congruity, and social support from supervisors. Policies encompass the employment conditions of employees derived from industrial instruments and agreements negotiated with employers and unions along with the human resource policies.
Employees spend fifty per cent of their lives within an indoor work environment which greatly influence their performance capabilities (Sundstrom, 1994). A better physical workplace environment will boost an employee’s performance and ultimately improve their productivity (Challenger, 2000).
Employee performance is the combined results of efforts, ability and perception of tasks (Platt, 2010). Employee’s performance is imperative for organisational outcomes and success. The workplace environment stands out as one of the factors that influence the performance of workers.
It is the key multi-character factor intended to attain outcomes and has a majority connected with the planned objectives of the organisation (Sabir et al 2010). A favourable workplace environment guarantees the wellbeing of employees as well as enable them to exert themselves to their roles with energy that may translate to higher performance (Taiwo, 2010).
The private sector of Cameroon is characterized by high competition. The growth of many private universities has increased the competitive nature of Cameroon within Africa and the world as a whole. In order to grow, private universities need to embrace strategies of keeping the quality of the workplace high as a competitive strategy.
Since the employees of the private sector are the key resources and as well the greatest expense of any organisation, the long term benefits of a properly designed and user-friendly workplace environment should be factored into initial cost consideration (Smith, 2011).
To continuously improve workplace conditions, special attention to a performance culture that values every single employee and promotes a sustainable work-life balance should be embraced (Wright, 2001). Private Universities have to create a workplace environment where their employees take pleasure in their work, believe, their output is appreciated and rewarded appropriately enabling them to reach their potential.
Statement of Problem
There are many variables affecting employee efficiency in organisations. The workplace environment plays an essential role in workers’ performance and productivity in any organization (El-Zeiny, 2013). The workplace environment in the majority of organisations is unsafe and unhealthy.
These include poorly designed work stations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire emergencies and lack of personal protective equipment. People working in such an environment are prone to occupational diseases and it impacts an employee’s performance. Providing a healthy workplace climate improves organizational employee performance (Shikdar & Shawaqed, 2003).
In addition, psychosocial factors that are the nonphysical aspects of the workplace such as the working conditions, social support from supervisors, role congruity, communication and reward system also impacts negatively on worker’s performance. The organisation of work-life is also now a major consideration in the public sector as they attempt to spur exceptionally high performance (Smith, 2010).
To institutionalize the right practices in the work-life balance, the right policies and programs need to be put in place. Inadvertently, an unbalance between workplace environmental factors and employee’s needs, abilities, and expectations are being manifested in different public sectors promoting diverse reactions.
It has been noticed that many enterprises both in the public and private sector fix their persuasion to employee productivity enhancement through the acquisition of skills while research has shown that about 86% of the performance problems reside in the workplace environment of the organisation (Taiwo, 2010). This is the same situation being faced by both the public and private sector of Cameroon.
This notwithstanding, many organisations in Cameroon are experiencing high labour turnover, absenteeism, and huge losses caused by employee negligence due to workplace environmental conditions. This indicates that perhaps other work environment factors are responsible and need to be studied to establish how they influence employee performance.
There is important evidence that productivity advancement in most organisations has not kept pace with the growths developed in the nongovernmental sector (Kilefer and Mendonca, 2006).
The difficulty is that encouraging local workers is not an easy task in the midst of a poor working environment (Wright, 2001) and managers cannot do much to resolve the issue because of the organisations civil status laws. How local managers can inspire their staff is considered to be one of the big challenges of public management (Behn, 1995).
The above situation can adversely affect the productivity of private Universities and for that reason needs immediate attention. It requires a completely diverse method than what was used some years back to retain and motivate workers. Currently, workers wellbeing and confidence are regularly consistent with respect to efficiency in the work environment.
In the private sector, there is cut-throat competition; the employer is faced with the challenge of attracting, retaining and motivating the employees. These employees are faced with a myriad of problems in relation to their work environment. This is especially in terms of the working hours, mobility at the workplace and compensation.
In order to reach their organizational peak performance, private tertiary institutions must be able to create a workplace environment where employees are motivated to work. Boles et al. (2004) state that when employees have a physical and emotional desire to work, then their performance shall be increased.
This study is designed to examine the impact of the working environment on employee’s performance at the Higher Institute of Professional Studies. This is the private institution that operates in Buea with an estimated population of 150 students and 30 academic staffs. The problem identified which made to undergo this research is based on the physical work environment which mostly affects employees’ performance.
The institute is located in an area of 0.01 acres which is small compared to the number of students and employees. This resulted in a lack of enough offices for employees to do their work effectively, noise which causes discomfort depending on the task they are given and the environment of the place they are working.
It therefore important for employers to know how their work environment impacts greatly the performance level, motivation level and engagement of the employees both positively and negative and it may affect largely on both the physical and psychological well-being. Therefore, specifically, this study investigates the effect of the working environment and the performance level of employees in the organisation.
The objective of the Study
To analyse the extent to which the working environment has an effect on employee’s performance in an academic institution
- To examine the effect of the physical working environment on staffs’ performance in HIPS University
- To examine the extent to which psychosocial working environment has an effect on staffs’ performance in HIPS University
- To examine the extent to which work-life balance has an effect on the performance of staffs in HIPS University.
- To suggest measures to improve the working environment in an organisation.
Main Research Question
To what extent does the working environment affect the performance of employees in an organisation?
Specific Research Questions
- To what extent does the physical workplace have an effect on the performance of staffs in HIPS University?
- To what extent does the psychosocial factor have an effect on staffs’ performance at HIPS University?
- To what extent does work-life balance have an effect on staff’s performance in HIPS University?