Organizational structure. Employee relations. Mediation process. Job classifications. Compensation. Training and development. Work incentives and motivation. Employee assistance concepts.
These concepts - taken for granted in the American work scene - are lacking in the Soviet Union as that country tries to shake off the shackles of communism and move toward a free enterprise system.Making the transition won't be easy, according to Zara H. Frendt, human resources director at the Franklin International Institute, a West Valley City time management company, who recently spent 18 days in the Soviet Union exchanging ideas on employees and businesses.
The delegation of 21 people from the United States and three foreign countries was sponsored by the Citizen Ambassador Program of People to People International, a program started in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was the only person from the Intermountain Area or the southwest invited.
People in the Soviet Union know they are in dire economic straits and are looking toward America for help, Frendt said. She encourages American business to foster exchange programs and bring some Soviet businessmen to this country to show them how businesses work.
Frendt said Americans are getting a good idea of the problems the Soviets are facing, both political and economic, and they won't be easily solved. The people have been under their restrictive system for decades and it will take many years for major changes.
In human resources, Frendt said one of the first problems the country faces is high unemployment. In socialized countries, everyone is considered employed. In America, businesses are concerned about efficiency, productivity and time management. In the Soviet Union, the only concern is keeping the people working so they can support the government, which supports them, Frendt said.
For the Soviet Union to have a productive economy, they must learn how to discipline employees, have employee counseling and how to fire employees when necessary, she said.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in changing the Soviet Union's economic system is apathy. "Even the young workers don't see how they can make a difference in the long run. Ending the economic strife is so far down the road they are saying `why try?"'
In the past, the Soviet Union was only concerned about the technical aspects of a person's employment, not the human side of working, Frendt said. But now, they are doing what is innovative to them, such as conducting controversial personality tests and even doing some palm reading for selecting employees.
Bringing Soviet businessmen to the United States to learn about American business practices appears to be the best way to help them overcome their economic problems, she said.