Problem Solving Assignment



This paper investigates a business scenario in which a student takes an internship in a small mechanical watch making company in Switzerland which faces the challenge of shortage of workers. Labor turnover occurs when the number of available workers is less than the number of skilled workforces required. When a company has a shortage of employees, the available employees are overloaded and work for long hours. Therefore, this will result in many mistakes which in turn affect productivity negatively.

The manufacturing industries face a serious problem of labor turnover. As the problem of unemployment persists worldwide, many jobs in the manufacturing sector remain unfilled due to the specialized workforce required. As a result, manufacturers are working closely with the educators and other associations to find a solution to the unfilled skills gaps. Labor turnover affects the working culture and learning environment of any organization negatively. For a small manufacturing company, for instance, the watch making company in Switzerland, labor turnover poses a serious challenge since it results in a loss of productivity, reduced profits, and deteriorated quality of services.

Research carried out in Australian hotels on both labor and skills shortages indicated that high labor shortage in the hotel industry is a result of low wage levels as well as low employee satisfaction. Therefore, employees leave the industry to look for other opportunities. However, the hotel industry in Australia does not have the capacity to attract and retain quality employees. Deductively, there are some solutions for tackling labor turnover in organizations; they include offering higher wages, improving management skills, having open communication between the management and the workers, motivating workers through perks and providing a pleasant working environment.


An internship is an opportunity offered by employers to students to help them shape their careers. Moreover, internship enables students to practice what they learned in school in the real world. Through this, students can build a valuable experience that makes them stronger candidates for jobs after school. This paper investigates a business scenario in which a student takes an internship in a small luxury mechanical watch making company in Switzerland. In this scenario, the student is confronted with different operational problems. This paper investigates the problem of the lack of employees in the company and its effects on the overall business operations. A systemic shortage of employees occurs when the overall number of new job openings exceeds the existing skilled workers. When a company has a shortage of employees, the result is that the few workers in the company are overloaded with work. However, overloading results in workers making mistakes and hence affects the company operations negatively. The right management skills can help a company to solve the problem of employee shortage. Notably, the company can give out raises to the available workforce as a way of motivation. The company can also consider hiring new workforce if it can afford. Moreover, the management can talk to the staff and address its causes of turnover ratio and encourage them to contribute more to the company and hence result in increased productivity.

Literature Review

From a variety of available research, labor shortage results when the number of available workers is less than the number of skilled workers required. Vavra (2011) connotes that labor shortage in the manufacturing industries is an existing situation which has extended over a period. As unemployment remains an issue in many countries, many jobs in the manufacturing sector remain unfilled. Research by Vavra (2011) has shown that manufacturers are working with educators as well as other associations to find a solution to the problem of unfilled skills gaps in the manufacturing sector. There exists sufficient evidence surrounding the issue of reduced workforce in the manufacturing sector. Specialized training is required in manufacturing industries to prepare students for real-world experiences. It will enable students to be better prepared for their career in the manufacturing sector and hence contribute to continued advancement. In today’s scenario, the world is working towards sustaining economic growth and steady growth of business organizations. Based on research carried out by Vavra (2011), an employee is an important asset to any organization since he or she contributes to the sustainability of the organization. In today’s world, labor turnover is seen as a downbeat aspect by any industrial house. Employee turnover has direct negative impacts on the production of an organization and hence affects its profits in the long run; there is a wide array of academic literature on the subject. Labor turnover also affects the working culture and the learning environment of any company negatively. According to research conducted by Winterton (2004), employers should maintain their employees with high level of motivation. Employee turnover affects both the financial and nonfinancial aspects of the manufacturing companies. Turnover poses a great challenge to small manufacturing companies and hence results in reduced productivity, profitability and quality.

Davidson and Wang (2011) carried out a similar research on employee turnover and skill shortages in Australian hotels to establish its causes and consequences. According to their research, the labor shortage is a major concern of the Australian hotel industry. A variety of available literature indicates that hospitality jobs are distinguished by high employee turnover since many workers leave the industry for other opportunities. The International Society of Hospitality Consultants has identified labor and skill shortage as a major problem facing the hospitality industry and in particular the Australian tourism industry. Davidson and Wang (2011) in their study identified the major causes of labor turnover in Australian hotels as low pay level and low worker satisfaction. Some available literature indicates that the conditions in the environment are setting impact the hotel labor market. Hospitality literature acknowledges the hotel turnover can enhance the quality of labor and creativity through removing lazy employees. The push factors present in hotel industry present a bad image of the industry jobs, and hence the industry does not have the capacity to attract and retain quality employees (Arekar, Desphande, & Sherin, 2016). However, many hotels do not view their employees as assets but instead, view them as liabilities. Research by Van Dierendonck et al. (2016) has shown that many hotels have adopted the outsourcing strategy so as to ease the shortage of labor.

Challenges and Impacts facing Swiss Watch Company Interns

Inadequate work

One of the main reasons for taking up internship programs is the search for valuable job experience. However, in most cases, this has proved to be quite contrary to what is expected. Most interns end up facing countless frustrations due to lack of these experiences. These culminate from not receiving unavailability of duties befitting their scope and in other cases just from inadequate staff to take up the mentorship program and nurture these promising interns. A perfect example is the Swiss watch company. Due to inadequate staff reported in the Swiss watch company, the interns often complain of being handed too much work about their scope and understanding of production processes. During the periods the company is faced with low sales output, the intern is faced with the problem of idling in the company as the few employ available will assume all the responsibilities. These interns are considered liability to the company during these financial off-peaks. Also, they waste a lot of valuable time that they could make some dime from companies that pay and values the services offered by the interns (Sweitzer & King, 2013). Companies should hire considering their volumes of work.

Insufficient Directions

Another problem is a lack of direction. The interns in the Swiss watch company suffer from unclear directions in the line of duty due to inadequate personnel. Fewer qualified staff always implies that there is not enough personnel available for consultation in case of misconception and lack of clarity in an assigned duty. Interns would always find it very difficult to report to the occupied boss for directions constantly. Instead, they fumble about to figure out the solutions in areas they clearly any knowledge. In return, the whole production process experiences extreme faults that affect the sales volume and sales return. This problem could be solved by the Human Resource Management through recruiting the required number of interns that suit the company size and assigning the interns a training officer (Antiel et al., 2013). The interns upon recruitments should be given their duty rosters to provide them with the necessary directions.

Poor Supervisor Feedback

In other occasions, interns suffer from insufficient or lack of enough feedbacks from their supervisors at all. This problem emanates from a poor perception of interns by their supervisors. For example, an intern would want to be informed of the kind of the project they are working on, but the supervisor simply ignores it as not so crucial and pressing matter that would add value to the company. Sometimes the supervisors ignore to provide those feedbacks due to the amount of work they are faced with considering the understaffing cases they are faced with as is the case of the Swiss watch company. This challenge lowers the esteem of the interns as they consider themselves surplus to the required staff of the company. In the end, it translates to poor and dismal work output by these info-deprived interns. There should be good communication between the supervisors and their respective interns.

Being left out 

The majority of interns feel left out by the company during meetings and serious work discussions. This challenge faces the interns taking their programs at the Swiss watch company which faces inadequate personnel. These interns are faced with loads of work to cover for the fewer number of employees in the company. However, when it comes to matters of addressing serious issues affecting the management team of the company, they are locked out of such meetings and discussions. The HR management consider these meetings confidential therefore depriving the interns of clearances to attend them. Also, these meetings tend to be nebulous, and interns could further confound them. However, the interns who are faced with too much company duties always fail to understand the confidentiality, and they conclusively feel left out on purpose. In return, they feel demotivated and loses the drive to perform at their normal picks for the company (Nunley et al., 2016). The interns should be informed of the gravity of such meetings.

Inadequate or Lack of Compensations

Sometimes interns are not compensated as agreed in the interview for the program. Instead, they are offered stipends in the form of lunch and transport reimbursements. The interns of Swiss watch company who are tasked with doing a load of duties to cover for the inadequate personnel feel the greatest pinch from this misdoings. As a result, they feel unappreciated and unwilling to perform with utmost good faith. At such instances, they would start considering signing for different organizations that would appreciate the services they offer (Lee & Chao, 2013). This challenge can be easily overcome by the HR management through allocating the agreed compensations to the interns to boost their morale and realize better work output.

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In conclusion, labor turnover is a serious problem which results in a loss in productivity, reduction in profits, deterioration of the quality of services, and reduction in efficiency. Therefore, employers should prevent employee turnover by providing a pleasant working environment for the employees. Also, the employer should also give perks as a motivation to the workers so as to make them stay in the organization. Notably, labor turnover is a serious problem to the manufacturers and poses a great risk to their businesses. The problem of labor turnover can be solved through various ways, for instance, having an open and transparent communication between the management and the employees; this enhances job satisfaction since the workers feel more involved in the business operations.  Through open communication, management can address various issues affecting the organization, for instance, a labor shortage. Moreover, improving management skills is also critical as it results in the right management of the workforce which helps in identifying specific issues affecting workforce and their solutions. Decreasing employee turnover is a win for both the employees and the organization. Markedly, long-standing employees bring the much-needed experience and knowledge to the production process. Also, the company also reduces the costs which are associated with talent leaving the industry. Organizations should view employees as assets other than liabilities to ensure employee retention. Organizations should invest in the recruitment of appropriate workers so as to reduce the effects of labor shortages. Notably, organizations should create competitive working conditions by offering higher wages so as to attract the appropriate employees.

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