Does globalization of the American food culture change global health?

Nowadays, with this huge amount of international travel,  import, export, the internet and social media we seem to become more global than ever. Globalization is defined as a world with a homogenous society, dominated by American culture. Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonalds are imbedded into our daily lives and could be declared as symbols of the American fast food industry. Globalization seems to cause changes in food preference over the world. One can wonder to in what extent local societies are influenced by this new food culture, that also result in an increasing amount of Western diseases. Is globalization a cause of chances in global health? How are children affected by these food habits?

The documentary ‘Way Beyond Weight’ portrayed shockingly how children deep in the inlands of Brazil are wining and crying for more Coca-Cola and chips. These children are overweight and some even diabetic at the age of 11. They refuse to eat fruit and did not recognize a cucumber nor kale. Scholars in the documentary identified this issue as a global pandemic of obese children. The main question asked in the documentary was who is to blame for this global pandemic. Causes given are the food industry, the parents, advertising agencies and the government. In the documentary, globalization is pictured as a negative occurrence due to its huge and negative impact on global health. According to Caprio (2008) globalization can affect obesity through promotion of travel and migration, trade of high-fat products and food marketing.

One can wonder that if these children around the world are already this obese and even diabetic, what the world would look like in 50 years. Before, a child with type 2 diabetic was rare but nowadays it is much more common. It seems like the problem is too big already to stop, especially with several multinationals with so much power. The change needs to come out of these corporations but one can wonder if that will ever happen. Governments could also have great positive influence, though they seem to be reluctant and probably influenced (or under pressure?) by the multinationals.

There are many aspects to globalization, but in terms of food cultural there seems to be occurring a problem so big that it cannot be turned around anymore. Globalization is often seen as a positive occurrence, but in terms of health it can be concluded it is not.  The main question is how this will develop further, taking into account the extent to which children already are influenced. Societies seem to adopt the same cultural identity in terms of food, all leaning towards the American culture. It is sad to realize that in the end, the most innocent people of our world, children are the ones that are influenced.

Reference list:

Caprio, S. et al. (2008). Influence of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture on Childhood Obesity. Diabetes Care, 31, 2211-2221. doi: 10.2337/dc08-9024.

Nisti, M. (Producer) & Renner, E. (Director). (2012). Way Beyond Weight. Brazil. Retrieved on March 16th from http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11987/Way-Beyond-Weight

World Health Organization. (2016). Global report on diabetes

The picture is part of the documentary Way Beyond Weight.

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The war on talent – Retaining valuable employees

Nowadays, the ability of a company to retain talented employees seems to be challenging. From a company’s perspective, retention is an interesting concept to invest time in as it can decrease dysfunctional turnover, meaning strong performers leaving the company voluntarily. Turnover comes together with high costs and the hassle of a new recruitment process that needs to be started. Furthermore, keeping the right employees enables the organization to get a competitive advantage. The ability to retain valuable employees comes together with finding out what actually motives employees. Research shows that both intrinsically satisfying and extrinsically factors are involved in creating a work environment in which an employee is motivated (Heathfield, n.d). Therefore, both these factors will be explored. Financial incentives, non-financial incentives, company culture and recruitment & selection are factors that could positively influence an employee’s motivation and consequently its decision to stay at a company.

Financial incentives
A current trend seen in HR lately is a desire to promote equal pay, especially done by public sector unions and women (Gilmore & Williams, 2013). Even though this might seem a fair approach towards payment, in terms of motivation and retention this might not be the most successful one. On the contrary, financial incentives linked to performance of the individual employee is more and more often implemented by companies. Financial incentives help to get a good overview of an employee’s performance, as this way of payment will be monitored carefully and is not difficult to carry out for a company. However, research shows that a payment of 10-15% is necessary in order to motivate employees, (Harter & Smidt, 2002) implying that a strategy with lower payment will not be successful. Overall, if the company sets up a clear form of measurement for individual employees it seems that financial incentives can help in the retention of employees, if the amount is high enough.

Non-financial incentives
Non- financial incentives, such as development and recognition, should not be forgotten as intrinsic motivation of employees. Roberts (2014) stated that employees value personal development higher than career progression. However, the word ‘personal’ should be looked at carefully, suggesting that this means something else to every employee. Providing employees with the opportunity to learn and to develop could improve their intrinsic motivation to work for a company and therefore their decision to stay. In addition, the opportunity for employees to develop increased the loyalty of the employee towards the company (Roberts, 2014).  Recognition could be another non-financial incentive, for example rewarding an employee of the month. Recognition is an important factor in terms of motivation.  Furthermore, it can be a competitive advantage over other companies, as it is more difficult to match than financial incentives.

Company culture
Evaluating the company’s culture and communication could be a strategy in retention. Clear communication and transparency could be beneficial in terms of the motivation of an employee because it he could feel more part of the company and recognized more. Employees want to feel like they contribute to the company and to be taken seriously. This requires a specific management style, which is focused on appreciation of the employee’s work and mutual respect. These factors could improve the relationship between managers and employees. Research shows that employees hired in firms emphasizing on interpersonal relationship stayed 14 months longer than in companies that emphasised on work tasks (Sheridan, 1992). Furthermore, managers should monitor the employee´s motivation and satisfaction to continuously work on retention. To sum up, in order for the employee to be motivated and satisfied at the job, it is important to be recognised and respected. A company culture and management style focused on these aspects is required for this strategy.

Recruitment and selection
A retention strategy which might not be usual is analysing the recruitment & selection process of the company. Retention of employees could start from the beginning of employment, when looking for a good match with the right employee. According to Morgeson (2013), recruiting via employee referrals usually leads to new hires with lowest turnover rate. In addition, recording recruiting methods and sources can help in the long term to analyse which employees decide to leave the company. Another aspect in recruitment is providing a realistic job description and a description of the company culture in order to match expectations. When the job matches the employees’ expectations there is less reason to be dissatisfied. Overall, recruitment as retention strategy contributes to the idea that the focus of retention should not so much be on retaining employees a while after the employment, or when several employees left already but starting to find out what motivates employees right during the recruitment & selection process.

Conclusion
To conclude, after looking at several strategies it is clear that there is not one strategy for every company or a quick solution. In order to be successful in retaining employees, the motivation of an individual employee should be considered from the moment an employee enters the company and continued during the employment. Organizations should not put their main focus on retention of employees, but they should consider the fact of recruiting the right talent in the first place and finding out their motivation at the start of their deployment. It seems like combining financial, non-financial incentives combined with a pleasant company culture and good communication could motivate employees. However, focus should be on the individual employee, as everyone has a different motivation to work.

 

Reference list
Foot, M. & Hook, C. (2001). Introducing Human Resource Management. Essex, UK: Pearson Education.

Gilmore, S. & Williams, S. (2013). Human Resource Management. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Heathfield, M. (n.d.). What is employee motivation? Retrieved on 29-10-2015 from: http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossarye/g/employee-motivation.htm

Morgeson, F. (2013). Reducing Turnover Through Hiring – Improve Employee Retention Through Recruitment, Selection and Onboarding. Retrieved on 30-10-2015 from: http://www.healthcaresource.com/img/documents/nahcr-reducing-turnover-morgeson-0214.pdf.

Roberts, H. (2014). Development is key to staff retention, according to research. Retrieved on 29-10-2015. Retrieved from http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/development-is-key-to-staff-retention-according-to-research

Sheridan, J. (1992). Organizational Culture and Employee Retention. The Academy of Management Journal, 35,1036-1056