Eastman Kodak Company is a global commercial, a printing company that was incorporated in 1901. It was founded by George Eastman and his friend Henry A. Strong in the in 1888 as an imaging company, starting with Brownie camera as its only product (Weber, 2013). This is one of the oldest multinational companies that are flourishing in the market up for more than a century with its products being consumed widely all over the world. Although the company has diversified business lines, for more than 80 years the company has maintained a dominant position in the photographic film. It provides advanced technology in digital imaging science as well as software, deposition, and material science. Eastman Kodak, generally referred to as Kodak, operates through seven segments that include software and solution, consumer and film, Eastman Business Park, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, advanced Material 3D Printing and Packaging, Advanced Material and 3D Printing Technology and Printing Systems. The Headquarters for Eastman Kodak Company is in Rochester, New York (Agarwala, 2008)
Customers and products
The company has dramatically diversified its products that come from its seven production segments and product lines. These products include commercial printers, computer printers, digital cameras, printer papers, Film cameras, photographic films, medical diagnostic equipment and slide projectors (Agarwala, 2008). The digital camera brand which is the oldest business line and the main activity of the company is the most diversified with various product lines such as Kodak professional digital camera, Kodak consumers digital cameras, Kodak DC cameras, Digital camera accessories, and Kodak DVC series cameras. As a result of this wide range of products, the company has many customers all over the work that includes organizations, individuals agencies as well as states. Its products are of high quality accounting for its vast growth in the market due to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Eastman Kodak Company is an international company that has invested its branches in more than 24 countries including United States, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Russian Federation, Singapore, Japan, Italy , Canada, German and Spain among others. Due to its vast operations, the company makes an average net income of US$ 17 million and has total assets of US $ 2.198 billion (Curme & Rand, 2009). It’s a public company that has more than 6000 employees who are employed directly in its various branches all over the world and more than 10000 people who indirectly depend on the company as the source of their livelihood.
“We build a world-class diverse culture and result oriented production based on our six key values,through which we can grow more rapidly than our competitors through provision of our customers and consumers with solutions to capture,process,store,output ,recognize and celebrate achievements and communicate their images to people and machine anywhere,anyplace and anytime. Also, we will deliver our competitive advantage by offering our customers and consumers cost-effective,and differentiated solutions they want, when they want and with flawless quality in our consumables, systems,sevices and hardware” (Weber, 2013).
The role of human resource in fostering Kodak’s mission statement
The attainment of Eastman Kodak’s mission is highly depended on the contributions of human resource. There are many ways through which the human resource fosters the organization’s mission statement;
Management of an organization’s culture- Kodak’s human resource understands that social dysfunction can derail the achievement of the organization’s mission and strategies. To avoid this, it creates and diverse culture through the hiring of skilled employees from different backgrounds. It also ensures that an organization’s culture is based on quality production and continuous change, that fosters innovation and creativity to be able to maintain a competitive niche in the market. In doing this, it encourages the organization’s mission.
Hiring of qualified personnel- Kodak human resource policy does not only advocate for a diverse workforce but also skilled personnel who can drive the organization’s mission and attain its vision. The hiring of skilled staff facilitates creativity and innovation which brings up new production methods leading to cost-effectiveness and diversification as stated by the mission statement (Weber, 2013) .
Human resource planning-The Eastman Kodak’s human resource department invests heavily on an annual basis in human resource planning. This is the process of identifying the current and future human resource requirements that are needed to achieve the organization’s goals. The department of human resource recognizes on an annual basis the human resource needs that are required to achieve the strategies and goals for the organization. This involves forecasting the human resource demand, manpower gaps, and actions needed to accomplish the mission for the organization.
Human resource reward system- In order to increase creativity and innovation in the organization, which is crucial to achieving diversification, growth, and solutions to consumers and customers needs, the human resource offers a competitive reward system that motivates the employees to explore more into technology and come up with great ideas that are for the benefit of to the organization. In doing this, the company has been able to come up with various company brands as well as product lines that has maintained its competitive position as stated in the mission statement.
Alignment of the HR strategy to the organization goals.
Human resource training-The HR strategy for the organization advocates for annual and continuous training of employees in all its branches worldwide for effective and efficient production. This is in the alignment of organizations goal of delivery of quality and cost-effective products.
Human resource planning-The HR policy is also aligned with the organization’s goals through human resource planning. The plan identifies the current and future human resource needs of the organization to determine the gaps in workforce and actions required (Boudreau & Berman, 2011). This is intended to ensure that the organization’s workforce is committed to the achievement of the organization’s goals.
The HR strategy is aimed at absorbing into workforce talented and skilled personnel.This is with the alignment of the organization’s goal of producing diversified products that can be achieved by creative and innovative employees.
The human resource strategy of Eastman Kodak company ensures that there is the creation of diverse workshop and development of a culture that accepts and celebrates diversity. This is aligned with the organization’s goal of a positive and different culture for productivity.
Common HR challenges faced by Eastman Kodak Company
Kodak has for long been known for employee high employee retention and payment of high salaries and benefits, especially in the late mid and late 1990s. However, this has changed, and the org has been experiencing various human resource challenge. This includes;
Low wages and salaries- the organization which was once known for offering competitive salaries and wages leading to high employee retention is now facing a challenge of low salaries compared to market wage scale. This has majorly been contributed by management’s strategy of cutting wages and salary expense to increase companies profits and its financial muscle. As the salaries have been pushed significantly down. Besides, an attempt to comply with Paid vacation Time,401k plans, Affordable Care Act, Health insurance and other benefits at the same time harmonizing this with budgetary allocations and profit estimations, the company has opted to cut down the cost making them less competitive (Agarwala, 2008).
High employee turnover –due to the low wages and salaries and poor working environment and terms, the company has been experiencing high employee turnover (Boudreau & Berman, 2011). Most of the experienced employees are leaving the company and moving to even other small technology companies that are offering higher salaries and more competitive benefits.
Embracing change with ease and grace- Being a leader in the imaging industry for a long time in the past, the organization is threatened by emerging companies and changes in technology. This has made the employees and the department less secure and anxious about the expected changes and hoe to embrace it.
Low employee morale and job satisfaction- the work moral has been reducing especially due to the low wage problem. This has resulted in low job satisfaction among the employees accounting for the high turnover rates.
Strategies to overcome these challenges
Offering competitive pay and benefits- this strategy will address the problem of low wages and salary and employee turnover. The organization should understand that low wages do not reduce the operational costs or increases companies profitability but instead increases the costs and decreases profitability through reduced moral that leads to low productivity. Offering competitive pay and benefits will also boost employee morale and job satisfaction.
Provide a progressive career path- employees are likely to be less motivated and satisfied with their job if they stagnate in one position for too long. They may even search for another job where they can advance. Providing an opportunity for career growth through promotions will lead to motivation, job satisfaction, and low turnover rates. Career path does not only need to be upward movement but can also be lateral or even earning of additional responsibilities in their current jobs (Kappel, 2017). The increased motivation and low turnover rates will result in productivity and profitability of the organization.
Enable employee balance of life and work- employees are not only interested in companies that pay good salaries but also ones that are concerned with their lives.Offering flexibility in their working schedule can offer greater motivation even that offering high salaries.To increase motivation, job satisfaction and the high turnover rates in the Kodak company, the human resource department should offer flexible starting times, flexible;e ending times, and core business hours.This will make work more fun than too formal. It is also essential to involve them in important decisions that affect their lives, as well as their jobs.
How the strategies will make the organization more competitive.
Offering competitive pay will not only lead to increased production but will also attract a skilled and talented person who can foster creativity and innovation in the organization. This will lead to product differentiation as well as new products in the market making the organization more competitive (Agarwala, 2008).
Offering a clear career path and flexibility in the balance of works and life will lead to increased employee motivation and job satisfaction which translates to increased productivity, Increase in production makes the organization more competitive.
High employee retention as a result of competitive pay and clear career path will help reduce the cost associated with vacant posts and another hiring cost such as the cost of advertisements and interview. This will make the organization more cost effective making it more competitive.
The future of Eastman Kodak Company is highly dependent on the nature of human resources in an organization, the human resource strategies and the ability to solve any human resource challenges.This is because the human resource is a very fundamental department in the success of any organization. To reduce the high rate of employee turnover, low morale, and job dissatisfaction, as well as low wage challenges, can be solved through offering competitive wages and benefits enabling employee balance of life and work as well as providing a progressive career path. This will lead to improved motivation, job satisfaction, and retention that will result in creativity, diversification and increased productivity that will make the organization more competitive.
Agarwala, T. (2008). Strategic human resource management. Arth Anvesan, 71.
Boudreau, J. W., & Berman, R. (2011). Using performance measurement to evaluate strategic human resource management decisions: Kodak’s experience with profit‐sharing. Human Resource Management, 30(3), 393-410.
Curme, H., & Rand, R. N. (2009). Early history of Eastman Kodak 43(9), 1647-1652.
Kappel, M. (2017, August 9). 5 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel
Weber, G (2013). Kodak’s framework and assessment tool for implementing TQEM. Environmental Quality Management, 3(1), 19-30.