Management Review


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Recruitment and retention of employees has become a major issue in many organizations. A large percentage of the organizations experience high employee turn over. There are various causes of high employee turn. First, lack of proper interpersonal relationships in the organization leads to high employee turn over. This is because the employees are not able to relate well. Also, diversity issues lead to high employee turn over. Organizations that do not manage diversity well face high employee turn over .Most of the organizations have been affected adversely by high employee turn over.

For example, the organizations have had low productivity. This is as a result of low productivity in the organization. They have also had high production costs and other costs. This is because the organizations use a lot of funds recruiting new employees and trying to retain employees. Like private organizations, public organizations like government institutions face high employee turn over. As a result researchers developed emotional labor to help manage high employee turn over in the public service. The concept of emotional labor can be applied in HRM functions like the recruitment and retention of employees in the public service. This paper analyzes recruitment and retention of public employees. It also applies various concepts of emotional labor to the recruitment and retention of public employees.


Emotional labor refers to a kind of emotional regulation where employees are required to depict certain emotions when working to achieve organizational goals. The employees are required to display specific emotions as part of their work. Emotional labor was first developed by Arlie Hochschild a sociologist. Arlie defines emotional labor as the regulation of feelings so as to develop both public facial display and bodily display. Since then many people have developed new definitions for emotional labor. Though the scholars define emotional labor differently, the definitions are common as they assume emotional labor entails controlling emotions to ensure they are inline with organizational display policies regardless of whether they affect the persons inner feelings (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

In this case, organizational display policies refer to the kind of behaviors the workers are expected to show. Arlie has differentiated emotional labor and emotional work. Emotional labor refers to an action that the employer requires. On the other hand, emotional work refers to the kind of action. In addition, Arlie argues that to perform emotional work one needs to improve his or her emotional labor. In emotional work, the employees are required to suppress their inner feelings so as to display the work related emotions that are allowed in the organization. Moreover, Arlie has also defined emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence refers to the skills that are required to manage ones emotions. Managing emotions is not easy and employees are required to have the right skills so as to manage them. For instance, the employees should be able to understand themselves and control. They should also be able to use active listening and conflict resolution skills. In addition, the employees should be able to work with other people (Wharton, 2009).

Further, Arlie argues that there is a great difference between emotional work skills and cognitive skills. Cognitive skills entail the use o knowledge to analyze problems and make the right decisions. Emotional work skills involve analysis of problems and making decisioms using emotions. Emotional labor is common in jobs that involve communication between the employees and the citizens. In this case, the employee is expected to show “emotive sensing”. The employee should be able to identify the emotional state of other people and use the information to develop alternatives to respond to the situation. Also, the employee should be able to analyze his or her feelings and compare them with those displayed by other people. They should also be able to judge how the alternatives chosen will affect other people and select the best alternative (Wharton, 2009). Lastly, they should be able to behave appropriately. They can either express their emotions or hold them back. Most organizations do not list emotional labor in the job description, but they only list cognitive skills that one should have. This is because most of the organizations have not understood the benefits associated with emotional labor. The organizations see emotional labor less significant compared to work (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

Most of the organizations like civil service are developed on formal descriptions. The organizations only state the tangible elements of a job, but not the intangible element. Though most organizations have introduced reforms, the organizations have not noticed the importance of emotional labor. This has led to elimination of emotional labor from job descriptions posted and performance appraisal in the organization. It has also led to elimination of emotional labor in reward systems used in the organization. The inclusion of tangible elements in the job description has forced sociologists to develop methods to measure different skills. The sociologists have not developed methods or systems to measure emotional labor (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

The emotional labor can be applied in various areas of human resource management. For instance, it can be applied in the recruitment and retention of public employees. There are various human resource management functions like recruitment and retention of employees. The functions play an important role in the organization. Recruitment involves attracting qualified people, screening them and selecting those who qualify for a particular job in the organization (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

. Most of the organizations find it hard to recruit new employees due to lack of recruitment skills and procedures. The organizations rely on other organizations that offer recruitment services. In this case, the organizations outsource their services to recruitment firms. The recruitment of public employees has become a major problem for many organizations. First, the organizations have found it hard to get the right employees to fill various posts in the organization. This is because the organizations do not have the right system or procedure to follow when recruiting new employees. Most of the organizations depend on traditional methods when recruiting new employees. This has in turn led to recruitment of unqualified employees and affected the organizations productivity.

In addition, the organizations find it hard to get the right people due to lack of proper advertisement strategies in the organization. The organizations do not advertise the job posts using the right method and this leads to minimal applications and hence the organization gets the wrong people. Many organizations do not allocate enough funds to advertise the jobs and these forces the organizations to spend less on external advertising. This in turn influences the kind of employees the organization employees. In some cases, the organization is forced to use a lot of money recruiting new employees if the employees recruited at first do not deliver (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

There are various steps that organizations can follow when recruiting new employees so as to overcome the challenges resulting from poor recruitment. The first step is job analysis. The human resource is supposed to analyze the job before advertising it. In this case, the human resource is supposed to take time to determine if the roles given in the job description are right or if they need to be changed. If the roles stated are not inline with the job, the human resource manager should change them before posting the job. Job analysis is important as it allows one to get detailed information about the job being posted before it is advertised and the participants recruited (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

After analyzing the job, the human resource manager should produce a job description. A job description provides basic information about the job. It states the role of the person being recruited, the title of the job. In addition, the job description should give information about the person who held the post before and the new responsibilities for the candidate being recruited. A job description is important to the organization and the applicant. First it guides the applicants when applying fir the job. It also guides the organization during selection process. For instance, it enables the recruitment officers   get the right applicant. It also helps them ensure the recruitment process is fair. Most of the organizations do not give the right information when advertising a job and this leads to poor recruitment.

The recruitment process is always flawed as the officers do not have correct information about the job. When posting the job description, the company should indicate the physical characteristics and mental characteristics that the applicant should posses so as to qualify for the job. Additionally, the company should indicate the qualities and attitudes that the applicants should have. The human resource managers play a crucial role in posting the job. Organizations that use the right strategies when posting the job description find it easy to do. On the other hand, organizations that lack proper strategies find it hard to post the job description (Fisher & Ashkanasy, 2000).

The next step after job description is advertising the job. The organization can use different methods to advertise their jobs. For instance, the organization can use the internet to advertise the jobs. They can also use print media and visual media to advertise the job. The organization should ensure the advertisement is clear so as to get the right applicants. After advertising the job, the human resource managers should select and screen the best candidates. The selection process should be non discriminatory. The human resource managers should ensure all the applicants in the organization undergo similar test and screening. This will help ensure equality and get the right employees. The recruitment process involves various types of communication.

For instance, it involves face to face communication. The method the human resource managers use when selecting the employees determines how the selection process would be. For example, good communication leads to good outcome in the recruitment process. Emotional labor is applicable in the recruitment of employees in the organization. Though emotional labor plays an important role in recruitment of employees, most public organizations have not implemented it. The concepts of emotional labor can be implemented in various areas of the recruitment of public employees. For instance, it can be applied in developing a job description. Most of the organizations state the cognitive skills that an applicant should have when stating the job description. The organizations do not include emotional labor in the job description. The organizations have employed the concepts of job description that resulted from engineering approach of scientific management. In this case, the job description posted by the organization is designed to depersonalize job in the organization and separate it from the employees. This enables the organization to treat employees as interchangeable objects. For instance, an employee having A skills can do the job so long as he has skills B (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

The organization does not state whether the applicants should have emotional labor skills like ability to smile and interact with employees well. In this case, the organization selects applicants who have the right skills stated in the description of selection process above. The human resource manager does not consider other qualities that differentiate the applicant from other applicants. In some cases, this can lead to discrimination as employees who have emotional labor skills are not selected.

The public employees recruited interact face to face with customers and other people. Most public organizations require the employees to display behaviors that do not affect the emotions of the customers or the public. They are required to suppress their feelings even if they affect them so as to avoid hurting the other person. Though the public employees have cognitive skills and able to solve problems, they might find it hard to control their emotions. This is because the public employees do not have the right emotional skills. For instance, the employees might not be able to identify the emotions depicted by the clients and hence end up hurting the client. They can also find it hard to understand their emotions and suppress them. This in turn affects the overall goal in the organization as the employee displays behaviors that are unwanted. Additionally, the organizations end up employing unqualified employees due to lack of emotional labor details in the job description. Recruitment of public employees should involve emotional labor. The organizations should ensure the job description includes the emotional labor demand. This will help the organization achieve its goals effectively (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1994).

Apart from recruitment, organizations find it hard to retain public employees. A large percentage of public organizations   experience problems related to employee retention. The organizations have recorded a high employee turn over for the last two decades. The composition of staff in public organizations has changed. This is due to various acts that govern employment in many countries. For instance, the organizations have been forced to employ minority employees and other employees. The equal employment act has contributed a lot to diversity in the organization. The equal employment act allows organizations to employ different types of employees. For example, the organizations can employee employees who are disabled. In addition, the organizations can employ minority employees. Though the organizations   have benefited a lot from a diverse workforce, they have also faced various problems as a result of diverse workforce (Dana, 2005). First, the organizations have had a high employee turn over due to lack of proper strategies to manage diversity. The organizations do not have diversity training programs to train the employees. Diversity training programs help organizations train employees how to accept other cultures including their belief and values. It also helps organizations train their employees how to live together without stereotyping and discrimination. Lack of diversity training programs in the organization has affected the relationships between the employees. For example, it has led to poor interpersonal relationships among the employees. The employees in the organization find it hard to interact with other employees. This in turn results to conflicts and hence poor working conditions which force some of the employees to leave the organization (Dana, 2005).

Apart from lack of diversity training, the high employee turn over is as a result of poor management policies. Organizations use different types of management policies to govern activities in the company. The kind of management policies used to manage the organization can affect the working environment in different ways. For instance, it can affect employee benefits and incentives offered to the employees. Good management policies lead to good working environment and this makes it easy for the organization to retain employees (Guy, Newman &Mastracci, 2008).

On the other hand, poor management policies lead to poor working environment and this force the employees to leave the organization. Organizations offer different types of benefits to employees. Employee benefits are considered as indirect methods of compensating employees in the organization. The employees are supposed to receive certain benefits apart from their salary. For example, the employees can receive education benefits, employee incentives and health compensation. They can also receive retirement benefits and savings. Organizations that offer employees the right benefits find it easy to retain their employees as the employees are satisfied with the management policies. In addition, organizations that do not offer employee benefits to their employees find it difficulty to retain their employees (Dijk &Brown, 2010).

The emotional labor concepts are applicable in retaining of employees. The concepts affect various things that are used by the organization to retain its employees. For instance, it affects compensation of workers, job satisfaction etc. Arlie argues that failure to include emotional labor in the job description affects compensation of the public service employees. This is because the employees are selected on the basis of cognitive skills, but not emotional labor skills. This makes it hard for the organization to recognize the emotional labor skills the employees have. This in turn affects the employee benefits the employees get inform of compensation. This in turn forces the workers to leave the organization. In addition, the emotional labor affects job satisfaction in the organization. Most studies have shown that there is a correlation between emotional labor and job satisfaction. The researchers argue that emotional labor helps reduce the levels of stress among the employees and hence job satisfaction.

For instance, it helps improve interpersonal relationships between employees and their clients and also their interaction. This is because the employees have the right emotional skills. For example, they are able to analyze the emotions of the customers and also understand and control their emotions. They are also able to look for the best strategies to handle the issue without hurting the person. This helps ensure the relationship and communication between the two parties is clear. Employees who do not have the right emotional skills experience high levels of stress as they find it hard to interact with the client well as they lack skills. This forces the employees to leave the public organization because of stress from the job (Dijk &Brown, 2010).

The emotional labor acts as a guide in developing various policies in the organization. For instance, it guides organizations in developing or improving compensation policies. In this case, the organizations incorporate emotional labor skills in their job description and compensation of employees. The organizations compensate the employees who show emotional labor skills. In addition, the organizations ensure the recruitment process developed is inline with emotional labor skills (Dijk &Brown, 2010).


Public service jobs involve interaction and communication with the clients. The public employees use verbal communication to communicate with the customers. They also use non verbal communication. Most of the public employees find it hard to interact and communicate with the customers due to lack of emotional labor skills. Emotional labor refers to the management of emotional behaviors that are shown by employees in the organization or while working. The employees show different types of behaviors and the behavior displayed depends on the kind of job the employees perform. Some of the public employees are required to show positive behaviors and negative behaviors where necessary.

For instance, police officers show negative and positive behaviors when working. Emotional labor is applicable in many areas of human resource management as it helps organizations achieve their goals. For instance, it is applicable in recruitment and retention of public employees. Most organizations face various challenges that result from employee retention and recruitment. For instance, the organizations have high turn over due to lack of proper strategies to retain employees. Also, the employee turn over results from diversity issues in the organization.

The organizations might have diversity training program and makes it hard for employees to work together. In addition, the turn over can result from management policies that affect compensation of employees in the organization. Also, the organizations have found it hard to recruit employees who have both cognitive skills and emotional labor skills. This is because of the recruitment methods that are currently being used in the organization. The organizations only list the physical qualities and education qualities that a person should have so as to qualify for the job. The selection is done according to the job description and only candidates having qualities that match the qualities in the job description are selected. This leads to selection of candidates who do not have emotional labor skills.

Hence, makes it hard for the employees to work well with other people as they are unable to manage emotions. It also affects employee compensation as the employees having emotional labor skills are not compensated. It also leads to leads to increase in stress among the employees due to poor interpersonal relationships. The emotional labor can be used to design compensation policies and recruitment systems in the organization.


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Dijk,P.A.,&Brown,A.K. (2010).Emotional labor and poor job results. Journal of management and organization, page 101  115

Dana,T.(2005).Motivation in the organization. Journal of applied management and entrepreneurship.

Fisher, C., D., & Ashkanasy, N.,M.(2000).  Emotion problems in employees life. Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol 27, Issue No.3.

Guy,M.E.,Newman,M.,&Mastracci,S.H.(2008).Emotional Labor. Putting the service in public service.M. E. Sharpe

Wharton,A.,S.(2009).The Sociology of emotional labor. Annual Review of Sociology

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