1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Most managers of human resources have the view that the employees are the greatest asset of the organization among the production variables (man, machine, money and materials resources) of the organization. Ironically, man is also seen as very problematic to deal with. Man is a rational being very consequently exhibits series of impeditable behavior. Even since Fredrick Winslow Tailors systematic study of management techniques, considerable research have been on the behavioural aspect of organization and members of what can motivate them.
Every business organization has a profit motive and profit is the outcome of productivity. The higher the productivity, the lower the unit cost of production which translate into more profit which of course is most desired by organizational members. An individuals joins a firm in the hope that he would receive a good and adequate medication, free from occupational hazard and most importantly satisfy his own needs or personal goal or objectives. Unilever Nigeria Plc like any other organization has one of the greatest challenges of its human resources, managers as that of influencing employees towards achieving organizational objectives. Because of the profit maximization interest of multinational companies aligned with the declining revenue acting from investment Unilever has places, its own remuneration packages, working environment, fringe benefit like meal subsidy, medical facilities, transport allowances, pension and gratuity benefit etc aimed at motivating staff, increase their satisfaction and enhance their performances.
The productivity of employees is determined by aninordinatelevel, on the environment in which they work. Work environment involves all the aspects which act and react on the body and mind of an employee. Under organisational psychology, the physical, mental and social environment where employees are working together and there work to be analyzed for better effectiveness and increase productivity. The major purpose is to generate an environment which ensures the ultimate ease of effort and eliminates all the causes of frustration, anxiety and worry. If the environment is congenial, fatigue, monotony and boredom are minimized and work performance can be maximized. Work has an economic aspect as well as mechanical aspect and it has also psychological aspect. Effective work environment encourage the happier employee with their job that ultimatelyinfluence the growth of an organisation as well as growth of an economic. The concept of work environment is an actual comprehensive one including the physical, psychological and social aspects that mark up the working condition. Work environment performs to have both positive and negative effects on the psychological and welfare of employees. The work environment can be described as the environment in which people are working. Such as, it is very wide category that incorporates the physical scenery (e.g. noise, equipment, heat), fundamentals of the job itself (e.g.workload, task, complexity) extensive business features (e.g. culture, history) and even extra business background (e.g. industry setting, workers relation).
The issue now is what is the relationship between employee’s good health and safety on productivity?
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Lack of health and safety policies for employees in organization like Unilever Nigeria Plc leaves them exposed to high risk work hazards resulting in injuries which affect morale towards work, levels of teamwork spirit, and consequently, employee commitment towards work has deteriorated, this manifest itself in the form of lack of initiative and existence of counter productive work behaviours.
Poor health-worker performance in low and middle income countries is particularly exacerbated by human resources (HR) shortages that reached critical levels in many resource-poor settings, especially in construction/manufacturing companies in Nigeria has been a major concerned in these countries health sector.
Although there is no conclusive evidence concerning the relationship between health outcomes and the number of human resources (HR) available for health care, it is clear that qualified and motivated human resources are essential for adequate health service provision. Low performance can be determined by poor knowledge to perform a given work, poor working condition and poor communication between employer and employee and employee themselves. Determinants of poor performance can be influenced in a variety of ways, The 2006 World health report describes three levels to influence workforce performance this include job-related interventions that focus on individual occupations, support-systemrelated interventions and interventions that create an enabling environment and focus on managerial culture and organizational arrangements. To improve the performance of health care, supportive working environment is needed. This encompasses more than just having sufficient equipment and supplies. It also includes systems issues, such as decision-making and information-exchange processes, and capacity issues such as workload, support services and infrastructure. Although it is logical to link poor performance to poor working conditions, there is limited documentation showing how poor working conditions influence health provider productivity, competence and responsiveness.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
To establish ways in which employee’s health and safety management systems and teamwork can be used to enhance employee commitment to Unilever Nigeria Plc. In order to investigate the research proposal, the researcher will guide by the following objectives;
i) To examine the commitment of the management of Unilever Nigeria Plc towards employee health and safety (EHS)
ii) To examine how employee health and safety and teamwork affect employee commitment.
iii) To establish ways of implementing employee health and safety policies in Unilever Nigeria Plc.
iv) To put in place a system of getting the employers to comply with the employee health and safety policies.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study will resolve the following questions:
a. How committed is the management of Unilever Nigeria Plc to employee health and safety?
b. How do employee health and safety and teamwork affect the commitment of employees towards their work?
c. Can the employee’s health and safety be implemented by the management of the organization?
d. What is the best alternative means of getting the employers and employees to comply the implementation of employee health and safety?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will help the management of Unilever Nigeria Plc revise the human resource policies in the organization to cater for health and safety of the employees. The study will provide teamwork for the implementation and consolidation of employee’s health and safety policies in Unilever Nigeria Plc. The study will help boost teamwork and the commitment of employees towards organizations. Unilever Nigeria Plc is a monopolist in the electricity distribution industry in Uganda and hence the results of this study will be representative of what happens in that industry.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There are many manufacturing firms in Nigeria but for the purpose of this study, the researcher chooses to study two industries in Nigeria, they are Unilever Nigeria Plc and PZ Industries Ltd because they are the leaders in the manufacturing at most needed things in Nigeria for (example) soap, cream, perfume and omo and so on. In these industries, they have different department which are:
a. Marketing department
b. Personnel department
c. Administrative department
d. Accounting department
e. Sales department
f. Purchasing department
g. Safety and health department
Among all, I have discussed two department namely safety and health department and marketing department.
Employee Safety and Health Department: Safety, health and environment make sure that workers are in a safe hand by making sure that any worker who is injured will be given a adequate treatment immediately.
Marketing Department: They ensure that the goods being manufactured in these industries are sold out to the masses in a very good price.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The following factors limits or hinders the study of the project and the possible means to overcome these problems were explained in the project work. However, the researcher while conducting the research work experienced financial problem couple with time factor. Again it was not easy to travel to all states for firsthand information. Most of the findings are based on the experiences from Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba, which of the purpose at this study has been taken as a proper representation of the state in the country.
More to that, most of the workers interviewed do not keep up to date statistic or record of data needed, whereas, some employees of Unilever Nigeria Plc were reluctant to provide the researcher with the needed information due to fear and ignorance of the research work. At the preliminary library research carried out by the researcher, it was discovered that the way up to date, material literature on the employee’s health in the country could not be found easily. Above all, lack of handy transport facilities renders the researchers movement limited to just the Unilever Nigeria Plc cited in Aba, Abia State.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Employee: An employee is somebody /person employed for wages or salary, a person working for another person.
Safety: The state of being safe, that is free from danger or harm.
Employer: A person who employs others, an employer is a person who employs others and paid them either wages or salary.
Health: The state of being well, being free from sickness. It an employee is healthy, he can perform his/her job effectively.
Productivity: Output efficiency and yield from employee protection at work place.
Management: A special process entailing responsibility for effective economic planning and regulating of the operations of an entry in fulfillment of a given purpose of tasks.
1.9 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF UNILEVER NIGERIA PLC
Unilever Nigeria Plc corporate mission, which is to add vitality to life, is the very heart of Unilever. We seek to ensure that when people choose our brands, they are choosing vitality. The journey to achieve this began back in the 19th century. Unilever Nigeria Plc is a public liability company quoted on the Nigeria stock exchange since 1973 with Nigeria currently having 49% of equity holding.
Unilever Nigeria Plc was incorporated as Lever Brother (West Africa) Ltd. On 11th April 1923 by Lord Leverhulme, but the company’s antecedents have to be traced back to his existing trading interest in Nigeria and west Africa generally, and to the fact that he had since the 19th century been greatly involved with the soap business in Britain. Unilever Nigeria Plc started as a soap manufacturing company, and is today one of the oldest surviving manufacturing organization in Nigeria.
After series of merger, the company diversified into manufacturing and marketing of food, non-soapy detergent and personal care product. It brought in Lipton Nigeria Ltd in 1985, Cheesebrough Ponds Industries Ltd. in 1988. The company changed its name to Unilever Nigeria Plc in 2001.
Over the years, it has been a socially responsible and responsive organization that takes strategic action for the improvement of communities and environment in which it operates. The company has made provision for assistance in held of health, education/ children welfare and potable water/hygiene as part of its social responsibility programme in the Nigeria communities.