Goldenberg and Tang (2005) investigated what leading technology companies have to offer now they are emerging from the dot-com bust. They found the following (see Figure 11.2a to d).
Microsoft (Redmond, Washington) offers:
• Paid leave for volunteering
• Whale watching trips
• Contemporary lunch menus
• Extensive sports facilities
• Branded coffee shops
Figure 11.2a Microsoft
Electronic Arts (Redwood, California) offers:
• Paid Christmas holidays
• Onsite chiropractor
• Games coupons
• Some sports facilities
• Extra cash for working late
Figure 11.2a Microsoft
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Figure 11.2b Electronic Arts
Source: http://jobs.ea.com/pljb/ElectronicArts/United States applicant/index.jsp
Figure 11.2c Google
Figure 11.2c Google
Google (Mountain View California) offers:
• Engineers paid time for working on pet projects
• Communal bikes
• Running trails
• Restrooms with robotic features
These examples provide some clues about the working environment of each of these companies and in doing so some insight into the dominant internal culture and expectations of the workforce. In each case there is evidence to suggest how important it is to make the working environment an enjoyable and in some cases fun place to be. Employees are provided with opportunities to engage in stimulating activities during their working hours, which potentially not only assist them to focus on their individual tasks and responsibilities but also to facilitate team building. It is likely, however, that each company has a slightly different culture and working environment.
1 What types of individuals are each of these companies trying to recruit?
2 This mini case study examines four case companies and includes online clips from the online recruitment pages (see Figures 11.2a to d). What are the key criteria you think each organsiation is conveying to its target audience when recruiting new personnel? (You will need to visit the web pages for each of these organisations and then try to determine the value proposition being communicated from the perspective of potential employees.)
In addition to creating the right culture a company needs to consider the characteristics of the working environment and ensure that processes, technological infrastructure and systems are effective and efficient. In the online trading environment it is often extremely difficult to achieve a long-term sustainable advantage over the competition and as a result the working environment can be very demanding. For example, in Internet marketing organisations, there are two important variables that influence customer satisfaction: the speed and accuracy of service delivery; and sustaining the technical reliability of all online systems. The significance of these variables does mean that it is important to ensure that the human resource management processes within an organisation are focused on continually investing in upgrading employee skills to ensure they are capable of fulfilling their job roles to a standard that exceeds that which is achieved by competition. It is also important to understand what causes certain employees to consistently achieve high performance standards within the organisation and then determine how effective management of these factors can contribute to sustaining a market lead over competition.
This section has considered elements of the trading environment and how these factors can be affected by the online trading environment. A key conclusion that can be drawn is that it is becoming increasingly important for businesses trading online to understand the trading context as competition intensifies and expectations of stakeholders intensify. The next aspect of B2B commerce to consider is the potential of online markets and how businesses trade electronically.
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