Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheer Leaders! Organisational Behaviour

Ignoring tell-tale signs of employee depression can have adverse consequences on organisational well- being

Key learnings:

  • Mental well -being is as important an aspect as the physical health of the employee
  • Absenteeism, negative attitudes and unexplained behaviours cost the company in terms of money and healthy work culture

Absenteeism and lowered productivity as a result of physical stress and ill-health are causing a dip in the productivity levels of organsiations. However, depression and state of mental distress cause a lot more than just a drain in productivity levels.

Depressing facts:

Most often, depression is ignored and employees or individuals are told to pull up their socks and get going

  • When an employee is depressed it affects his working pattern and thinking
  • Depressed employees either think or worry too much or remain indifferent to situations and people around
  • Depression costs employers USD 44 billion a year in lost productivity

Absenteeism and presenteesim Organisational losses because of absenteeism are always accounted for. But, many a times, presenteesim causes loss in terms of productivity. Presenteesim as a consequence of depression can be defined as "the people with depression showing up for work but not functioning at anywhere near full capacity. Some examples are failing to return phone calls, turning in poor-quality work, missing deadlines altogether, not following up on new business leads, being paralysed with indecision, inability to face work at all, coming in late, leaving early, or not even returning from lunch, difficulty in getting along with coworkers, withdrawing from the social environment at work."

Sadly, many of us brush aside these things hoping that time will help us overcome difficult situations. Doctors however warn that it is very important to identify signs of depression among employees. Some apparent symptoms are:

  • Diminishing performance
  • Absenteeism
  • More mistakes at work
  • Complaining of disturbed sleep and falling asleep at work
  • Fatigued feeling all the time
  • Losing the cheer factor
  • Minimised concentration
  • Upsetting talk and worrying always
  • Displaying emotions at the drop of the hat
  • Remaining isolated from co-workers
  • Reluctance to join in informal meetings and fun outings
  • Irritability and emotional outbursts

Sometimes depressed individuals spread gloom and the learning and development of the work place can be affected. Any team member's unhealthy attitude can create tensions and affect performance of the entire team.

Role of the employer

When any employee or co-worker exhibits any of the above mentioned signs, managers should address the issue immediately. Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programmes that include mental health and psychological counseling. Research shows that work place depression can cost the organisation millions and experts suggest that employers must encourage their employees to seek professional and medical help.

Helping workers

Learn more and keep employees' informed about depression and how to handle co-workers exhibiting signs of depression.

Awareness is the key here:

Mocking and ridicule can worsen things. All said and done depression is a disease that is curable.

  1. Alert: Depressed people are prone to causing mishaps. An alert work environment can thwart risks. Similarly, suicidal tendencies or tendency to harm own self and others are particularly high. An effective EAP must ensure the best medical aid to such employees.
  2. Be non-judgmental: Managers are not medically certified to deal with depression cases. It is in the best interest of all to refer such employees to the medical team or experts.
  3. Confidential matters: Matters like treatment for depression needn't be discussed with co-workers.
  4. Stay flexible: Help the employee by offering flexi schedules during the time of treatment and allowances so that his absence from work doesn't pinch him financially. By working form home the employee can feel connected without the pressures of office cubicle.

The time to be happy is here Psychologists, say socialisation, being appreciated at work and fulfilled work place often are major happiness factors. These are in all likelihood detriments to depression. Simple stapes like

  • Doing a job you love
  • Pursuing a hobby that can help you feel better
  • Learning new skills
  • Taking professional help to improve at work
  • Creating a work/life balance

Doctors too urge managers and co-workers to eliminate bias against depressed employees. Many times the employee after the treatment puts in better efforts and drives higher productivity. Good managers believe that comprehending their staff's behaviour is as important as understanding their performance.

Timely interventions, medical help and supportive work environment can help employees cope with exhausting situations better and emerge confident and upbeat once again.

Reference: TheManageMentor.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Organisational Change - HR Practices

Best practices in managing organisational transformation.

Key learnings:

  • Organisational change aimed at improving work methods, productivity and business profits must be coherent

  • Enthusiastic leadership, flow of creativity and stability in procedure helps in reaching the goals

Jargons like organisational change and organisational transformation are often used theoretically and in management talk. The term organisational change is used in the context of companies that are undergoing or have just undergone a transformation.

However, organisational change management is not a 'one-month ordeal'. It is a process that involves rearticulating managerial, technical, financial and business aspects.

A McKinsey Quarterly online survey shows that only 38 percent of the global employees consider change as a positive effect on performance. And, 10 percent believe that most of such transformations are unproductive.

Change management

According to change management experts, two factors are critical for any transformation to click. One is vision or goal-the changes the company aspires to bring about. The second is sustainability. The sustainability factor refers to the unwavering energy, commitment and persuasiveness to reach the goal.

Defining the objective

A well-defined and comprehensive objective spells out the goal clearly for all the employees of the organisation. While different departments may have different approaches, the core aim of transformation remains unchanged. This distinctly clear system ensures an upbeat journey that promotes organisational health, participation of every employee and bottom-line profits.

Defining the role and time frame

A well articulated strategy ensures that there is no overlap of roles. It also rules out misinterpretation. Each employee has his defined role that is personal and challenging. Moreover, since the focus is on 'strengths', the definitive goal of 'effectual transformation' is accomplished.

When the time frame is set over a few months, the employees will be enthusiastic. Goals set over three or five years fall prey to dwindling employee interest. In such cases, the leadership of the organisation plays a very important part. For effective articulation of long term goals, involvement of employees and applying fair and apt metrics to track developments, it is important for employees to remain clued in to developments.

Sustaining energy and flow of ideas

Creativity and ideas are advantages that help sustain organisational change. Many a time, organisations discard ideas doubting their practicality. However, innovation is the key to reach people and bring about desired changes.

Most often, ideas from employees or leaders are considered deeply. Mutually inspiring organisations initiate creativity, responsibility and accountability. To encourage an 'idea sharing' work environment, leaders must espouse innovation and sharing thoughts that can bring about radical transformations.

Channelising energies

When leaders of an organisation announce transformation to employees, two extreme reactions are bound to happen. There will be employee totally gung-ho about the transformations and those who will be cynical. It is important to generate positive stimulation and help employees channelise their dynamism. Some companies reward 'ideas champions', while some appoint 'the master blaster'. Such steps energise the staff towards transformation.

"A smaller set of high-impact, briskly moving initiatives is more energising-and thus more sustainable- than a broader set of initiatives moving at a stately pace."

Seeing is believing

Any results of the transformation, however small, must be highlighted to ensure greater participation. Employees usually remain mute spectators to the brainstorming sessions and meetings that are part of the organisational change. The worth of such sessions is usually taken too lightly. However, even a small success during the transformation reaffirms employee faith in the process and the overall vision.

Learning curve

The transformational process is a learning process for leaders, management and employees. Open communication channels, suitable rewards and discipline are extremely important to understand the change. While the transformation aims at bringing about success in the organisation, individual growth and learning cannot be ignored. Experts rightly suggest that organisational transformations which focus on individual strengths create a more involved staff.
In today's highly dynamic market, being a flexible, employee centric and practical organisation is a plus. An organisational transformation is a dynamic process with multiple levels of planning and execution. However, the reengineering and rebuilding process can be an exhilarating expedition if the leadership has commitment and clarity.

Reference: TheManageMentor.


History is full of people who were either blind to their faults and mistakes or refused to acknowledge them, and their pride was their down fall. How different things could have turned out if they would have been humble enough to admit when they were wrong.

What about you? Do you hide your mistakes? Or you take the courageous path of owning up to them? Believe me, most people will respect you more if you do. Sure, some people may rub it in or try to use your humbling for their own advantage, but that’s their problem and does indicate a weakness in your own character.

In the long run, character determines your worth. It’s not the easy successes that prove your mettle, but how you pick yourself up after a fall and try again. By acknowledging and going on in spite of your failures, you’ll also inspire others to not give up.

Failure is a step forward when you learn from it. Failure prepares the way for success by causing you to look hard at your plans and methods. If all those who had eventually succeeded at what they set out to do had stopped at the first failure, we’d still be back in the Stone Age! Aren’t you glad others took the advantage of their failures? Won’t you do the same?

Reference: Hari Nair

Sabbatical Saga- People Management

Taking time off or unpaid leave is now looked upon as a relief variation to the ongoing layoffs

Key Learnings:

  • Layoffs have become more of a norm today, and both the employers and employees are finding the entire process agonising

  • Sabbaticals and programmes like unpaid leave offer benefits to both the employer and the employees

  • The current economic slow turn has seen an increase in the number of employers opting to offer sabbaticals as opposed to layoffs

According to the website yoursabbatical. com, a sabbatical can be defined as "a planned job pause - paid or unpaid - whereby an individual takes time to rest, travel, volunteer, learn a new skill, or fulfill a lifelong dream before returning to work. Eligibility and benefits will also vary from company to company."

With so many layoffs happening, experts urge more and more organsiations to use sabbaticals as an easier alternative to 'distressing layoffs.'

Carol Sladek, a principal in Hewitt Associates' work/life consulting practice, says, "It's a longer-term solution than just saying, 'OK, today we're in trouble. We need to eliminate jobs.' Sabbatical is a good alternative- especially in an economic downturn."

Why sabbaticals?

Apart from doing away with layoffs, the benefits of offering sabbaticals are many. Employers look at it as one way of retaining their valued employees, re-engaging them, reduced turnover and no re-hiring costs. Despite the downturn, employers are optimistic of better days ahead. And keeping in mind this optimism, employers are in support of sabbaticals.

Sadly, many organisations are still unaware of all the benefits a sabbatical programme has in store. According to Hewitt Associates, 'only 4% of employers offer unpaid sabbaticals'. The primary reason for these dismal figures is the refusal to let go, whether it is leave or the employees. Also, many fear the loss of star performers. Will they ever return back or look for greener pastures?

To state, sabbaticals are an essential part of work/life balance and understandably helpful in the grim economy too. Hiring new set employees is financially precarious as the cost of replacing an employee is almost twice the salary. Given these restraints, employers are opting for unpaid time offs also known as sabbaticals. Sabbaticals initiate and promote 'cross training' amongst the rest of the employees. For instance, replacing the employee who has taken off implies that another employee assumes more responsibility and new learning of the job.

Sharon Klun, director of work/life initiative, Accenture, sabbaticals like the ones at her firm "could be a tool to help get companies through a bumpy economy."

Companies that offer sabbaticals

It is not surprising that most companies that offer sabbaticals have been featured on 'companies we want to work for', 'fortune 500 companies' and the 'best places to work for'.

Accenture has been one of the forerunners in espousing 'sabbaticals' as a great way to rejuvenate, reconnect and retain employees. With already a large number of work/life programmes in its kitty, Accenture came up with sabbaticals or unpaid leave after an employee survey revealed a massive appeal for the same. 'Future Leave' as the sabbatical programme is known at Accenture offers 'time off' that can extend up to three months and can be availed once in every three years.

The upshot of this programme is employees use this time off to learn new things, dedicate time to family, volunteer to help the needy or some even take a trip to the Himalayas. Rejuvenating is the key here. Since, the entire programme is unpaid for, the employees set aside some amount from their salaries every month. Once they have sufficient amount to fund their 'sabbatical' they take time off. The employees are enthusiastic about funding their sabbaticals. In addition to this, Accenture conducts 'personal engagement surveys' to comprehend how well these initiatives work in ensuring a fair and commendable existence.

At Deloitte, sabbaticals can be extended up to five years and during the unpaid leave period the employees have access to mentoring, small work projects and training at low costs. This is to ensure that the employees are not completely detached from the organisation. They believe that with these initiatives the "highly valued individuals, can re-enter the workforce and we would be at the top of their list to get them back, rather than leave the firm, get disconnected and not come back."

Sabbaticals, what it offers the employer and the employees'?

Let us list in short the benefits of a sabbatical to the organsiations:

  • Talent pool: Since the high performing employees stay on the payroll, the organisation retains talent, knowledge, expertise and also cuts re-hiring costs.

  • Attracts future talent: Organsiations with work/life balance initiatives are almost on every talented individual's wish list. Thus it helps in attracting potential talent.

  • Fulfilled workforce: The entire workforce is happy with such initiatives and the cross training involved is a learning process for employees.

  • Since it is seen as an alternate to layoffs employees, future employees and clients are happy. The repute of such organsiations are higher especially during tough times.

  • An encouraging workplace attracts and retains talents, commands greater credibility amongst clients and stakeholders and is seen as a whiff of fresh air in the market.

Sabbaticals for the employees:

Helps them rediscover themselves , relearn and paves way for deeper introspection
  • With this kind of awareness and refreshment, employees are better equipped mentally and physically to take on challenges at work once they resume work.
  • With sabbaticals, the commitment and loyalty of the employees towards the organsiations are deepened
  • The benefits of a sabbatical are manifold, from new passion for work, better creativity, and most importantly higher commitment of the workforce. Taking a sabbatical needn't be treated with trepidation; it is just another way to learn.

    Kathie Lingle, Director of a global human resources association sums up the response to pressurising work environments as "Smart organisations are looking at how to keep people whole and sane with them."

    Sabbaticals maybe the answer!

    Reference: TheManageMentor.

    Are Talent Leaders Only Using Half Their Resources?

    Peter Weddle, CEO of HR and employment specialty publisher Weddle's LLC, said American workers - including talent managers - are struggling to achieve career success with half their brains tied behind their backs.

    "Career success begins with a good understanding of who we are as individuals. Our characteristics, believes, principles, values, all of that you have to know before you can figure out what you're passionate about. The problem is that information doesn't come to us intuitively," Weddle explained. "We have to work at understanding what that unique person inside us is all about."

    He said the challenge is that every person/worker has a preferred way of thinking about thinking about things. Creative people rely more on the right hemisphere of the brain and seldom use the left. Analytical people rely on the left hemisphere and seldom use the right. Thus, we end up only using half of our inherent talents.

    His book, Recognizing Richard Rabbit: A Fable About Being True to Yourself, attempts to make it easier for the average worker to find out who he or she is, what he or she is trying to become and how to tap into inherent talents. Encouraging the reader to use creative energy to try and answer those questions, the book also offers a self-interview to explore the analytical side of the brain and reason through questions that may reveal what a person values, believes in and hopes to leave behind as a legacy at work.

    Some of the questions include: Does the significance of doing something truly different influence how you feel about it? Are you affected by what you will have to accomplish in order to make a difficult change in your life? And can you really change the circumstances that affect your day?

    The book's premise is based on research done by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Weddle said during the course of his research, which involved thousands of interviews with high- and low-profile workers, Csikszentmihalyi found that no matter what workers did or how long they'd been doing it, people often had optimal experiences when they were confronted with a meaningful challenge and then stretched to their limits and beyond to meet that challenge or accomplish a goal.

    "The single greatest milieu in which that kind of goal stretching occurs is at work," Weddle said. "Recognize yourself in both dimensions of your life. Of course you want to be authentic in your personal or social relationships. You want to be authentic with your family and friends. If you do that, you experience an emotional state called joy. That's only half the story. If you're equally authentic and passionate about who you are, and you bring that person to work, you will experience a cognitive state called happiness.

    "The bottom line is, be joyful, but be happy too. Don't forget that work is just as great an opportunity to express your own true self as the rest of your life is. HR people talk about work-life balance as if work has to be balanced with all the good things that happen in life. That's true, but it's also important to balance your life with all the good things that can happen at work.

    "The fundamentals of our economy may be in trouble, but the fundamentals of our character are not," Weddle said. "This is the very moment when working strong is just as important as living strong. If you can do that in this environment, you can do that anytime. And that will serve you well for the rest of your working life."

    [About the Author: Kellye Whitney is managing editor for Talent Management magazine.]

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Managing Rumors

    HR leaders are reporting that economic fears are prompting more employees to eavesdrop and gossip about the impact on potential job losses. Transparency, communication efforts and decisive action are needed to ease uncertainty, experts say.

    Eavesdropping and gossip are on the rise in U.S. workplaces as the recession continues to raise employee fears of potential job losses, a new study suggests.In a poll of 494 HR professionals, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents said they've had to deal with an increased number of eavesdropping incidents in the last 12 months as a result of the uncertainty about the U.S. economy.

    Examples of such incidents include employees lingering outside conference rooms or near the HR leader's door to catch wind of possible layoffs or terminations.

    Also in the survey, half (54 percent) of HR professionals reported an increase in gossip and rumors about downsizings and layoffs among their employees, and about the same percentage (53 percent) said they had to address those rumors in the year between October 2007 and October 2008, when the study was conducted.

    "What this clearly tells us is that we need to step up good communications in organizations and that's where HR can really show its leadership," says Steve Williams, director of research for Alexandria, Va.-based SHRM. "The more transparent you are, the less likely you'll get gossip around the recession" and people lingering around other people's desks and offices, trying to hear something."

    We're seeing these incidents across the board, in all industries and in companies of all sizes," he says. "No company is immune. Fear is fear and gossip is gossip. It's happening everywhere."

    Striking though the increase in eavesdropping and rumors may be, "it's perfectly normal to expect employees to pay much more attention to what is happening, or may happen, with their employers in difficult economic times," says Mark Hyde, whose self-named consulting firm is located in Rochester, Minn.

    "Of course there will be gossip and rumors; expect it," he says.Without supplying any statistics,

    Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based employee-assistance provider ComPsych, says his company has been getting significantly more calls in the last couple of months "from employers concerned about how employees are reacting" to the plunging market and economy.

    "People are trying to get information in ways that are, shall we say, less than direct," says Chaifetz.

    "We're hearing about people trying to get into closed-door meetings or people looking at other people's mail. Employers have to be very mindful, right now; very careful that they don't let information out prematurely.

    "Make sure, if at all possible, any difficult decisions are not discussed in e-mails or written communications," he says. "Leaks of information, especially at a time like this, could be cancerous in an organization."

    Chaifetz also stresses the need to move quickly when making hard choices, such as whether to go through layoffs or a restructuring, and to "be direct, open and honest in your communications."

    "Once you make that decision to lay people off, get that out there as a clear plan," he says. "If additional layoffs will be necessary down the road should the economy continue to worsen, communicate that as well. The best way to combat gossip in a company is to move decisively and quickly."

    Sometimes, combating the problem with proper preparation, quick decisions and open and effective communication is easier said than done, says Megan Slabinski, executive director of Menlo Park, Calif.-based The Creative Group.

    "Sharing information quickly and candidly can prevent employees from speculating, but there are times when confidential conversations among top officials are necessary," she says.

    When private meetings must be held, "take those closed-door consultations away from public view to eliminate the buzz of what's happening. Go off-site if you can."

    Chaifetz warns, however, that too many off-site meetings and out-of-the-ordinary gatherings by senior leaders can also give rise to fear and speculation. When announcements are made, Slabinski says, companywide conference calls, state-of-the- state meetings or brown-bag lunches are suggested. "HR really needs to pull people together at that point and open its door," she says.And while open communication "can't be possible for all things," says Williams, "it's the perception of communication that is important." The best way to create and convey that perception, he says, is to tell employees "why certain things can't be communicated at that particular time.""Be honest. Tell the truth. People tend to think those in management are evil, holding back information ... . In so many cases, that couldn't be further from the truth," Williams says.

    "Often, management simply doesn't know why something is happening or how long it will last. Sometimes, simply saying you don't know something or the reason behind something, but are willing to address it," takes the sting off what could be perceived as malicious silence, he adds.By the same token, everyone from the top down should be on the same page when employees come asking, says Hyde."Many companies make the mistake of overlooking the front-line supervisors and only inform senior management about what is going on," he says.

    "The front-line leaders need to know something since they ... have the best opportunity to stomp out any bad rumors."Even worse, when some of the front-line leaders inform their employees they have no idea what is happening with senior management, it makes things worse and fear heightens," Hyde says.Lastly, says Slabinski, companies shouldn't be afraid to discipline the "bad apples as soon as possible."

    "Employees who are at the heart of gossip or who are caught eavesdropping and then spreading rumors need to be told to stop," she says. "If their behavior persists, it's perfectly acceptable for HR to address the problem in a punitive way," such as verbal or writing warnings, or worse.The spreading of bad information, however it's done, "stifles productivity and adds to stress in the workplace," Slabinski says. "HR leaders are completely in their rights" to discipline these culprits.

    [About the Author: Kristen B. Frasch became the managing editor of Human Resource Executive in August of 2000 after more than 20 years of experience in business and consumer journalism, 14 spent as an editor and writer for various Philadelphia area newspapers.]

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Improving returns on talent

    How should companies approach and formulate a talent strategy focused on better returns.

    Organisations have worked over the years towards efficiently managing and monitoring returns on capital and assets. This has been an important role for the CEO and top management in years of boom and downturns.

    However, there remains a great deal of ambiguity over the idea of managing talent as an asset. While organisations commit huge investments in talent and incur heavy costs on it, rarely do CEOs have visibility on the returns on talent employed (ROTE).

    Investments in talent

    An organisation makes multiple investments in acquiring and utilising its talent effectively. These are:

    Time and effort: The man-hours spent by HR managers and others in an organisation in recruiting and managing talent adds up to quite a lot. And this has a cost attached to it.

    Operating costs: The largest human resource costs in a company are in the areas of recruitment, training, staff welfare, travel for HR-related processes and so on.

    Overall employee costs: This is an aggregation of cost to the company (compensation and benefits) of all employees. These costs are a part of the profit and loss statement of companies and normally tend to increase over time.

    These spends directly hit the bottom line of the company. In times of downturns, organisations look at cutting down these spends to reduce costs. Although obvious and intuitive, this approach to improve ROTE has limited benefits and could prove counterproductive in the long run. Considering that any recessionary or slow growth phase is likely to be followed by a phase of rapid growth and expansion, a reduction in talent investment has to strike a balance between short-term pressures and long-term imperatives.

    An alternative approach

    Companies’ top management have always, knowingly or unknowingly, strived towards improving returns from talent. Their concern and need is to find more comprehensive ways of doing so. But what comes in the way is the absence of a common understanding of what constitutes talent, what kind of returns to expect and what levers must be used to improve ROTE.

    Talent constitutes not merely employee numbers but also their capabilities. Hence, ROTE may be defined as the value gained in terms of contribution to business results through effective utilisation of talent and its capabilities while optimally managing talent costs.

    The concept of "talent value chain" provides a comprehensive model to view the processes through which talent is employed and utilised

    An organisation’s strategic goals along with a well-defined organisational structure are the starting point of the talent value chain. Each link in the talent value chain is a talent lever. Specific actions and initiatives under these talent levers are identified and planned leading to development of a "talent strategy".

    Like business strategy, talent strategy addresses the key challenges a company is facing and hence, necessitates a careful examination of business challenges and objectives. It also needs to be adapted and changed to suit changing business environments and goals. Such a talent strategy ensures optimal and appropriate utilisation of talent and hence leads to an improved ROTE.

    However, an appropriate and well-articulated talent strategy is rarely found to exist in organisations and hence improved returns on talent seem to constantly elude them. Let us examine three different business scenarios to illustrate the approach that an organisation can use to develop its talent strategy.

    Downturn/low growth: An organisation struggling with a downturn or slow growth in its industry is faced with the challenge of optimally managing its assets and costs. Such an organisation should, therefore, employ its talent levers in a manner such that they address this strategic challenge.

    In workforce planning, the organisation’s focus should be on optimal utilisation of talent through re-deployment or reducing existing manpower. Similarly, recruitment should either be frozen or highly selective. High performing, valuable employees should be identified from the less productive ones based on performance differentiation. This would help identify both talent which the company must strive to retain and manpower which can be released without a significant impact on company productivity.

    Rewards too can be selective. Only those who contribute significantly should be rewarded. Policies should be reviewed to enhance centralisation, wherever possible. Potential development and retention should be geared towards the best-performing talent. Thus, this approach helps improve ROTE through managing costs, optimal utilisation of talent and high involvement of top management.

    Rapid growth: Any organisation operating in an environment of rapid growth will look to capture a large share of business. This obviously translates into a key strategic challenge — talent acquisition and development.

    In such a scenario, talent strategy is not so much focused on differentiation, as in a downturn/low growth situation, but on the speed of ramp-up for building employee numbers, their skill development and retention across levels.

    Rewards and benefits are liberal and aimed at retaining a large mass of the employee base to maintain high productivity levels and build capacity. High degree of delegation for decision-making is dispersed across the management hierarchy to provide control and authority at key positions in the organisation to facilitate quick turnarounds.

    ROTE is enhanced through improved skill base availability, development of skills in line with business requirements, and building and maintaining talent capacity. Hence, the talent strategy and initiatives are geared towards enabling the firm to successfully meet growth targets.

    Global expansion: As organisations grow and evolve, they are likely to look at global expansion for higher growth. In such a scenario, strategic objectives change dramatically. This necessitates the redesign of the organisation structure and roles and also needs a drastic shift in talent strategy.

    The talent strategy in such a scenario is focused on shifting from known practices to redefining talent practices to make them relevant to a global, geographically dispersed entity. Hence, it will focus on redefining recruitment practices to successfully recruit in new geographies, establishing a new employment brand and company identity, adoption of global practices, global

    standardisation of policies and practices and compliance. These become the key areas to improve ROTE in an international, multicultural context.

    Formulating a talent strategy

    A structured and sound methodology to formulate and deploy a talent strategy is described in figure 2. The initial phase is primarily to understand the strategic objectives and ensure that there is an appropriate organisation structure, with clearly-defined roles, to support the achievement of company goals.

    This is followed by an assessment of the processes in each link of the talent value chain. During this phase, a company may discover a complete absence of a process or gaps in the processes. These constitute the areas of improvement or new initiatives which are necessary to achieve company objectives.

    These improvement areas/new initiatives are then prioritised depending on the strategic challenges and goals of the company and the presence of supporting systems/processes. This leads to a talent strategy defining specific steps or initiatives along each link of the talent value chain (talent levers). Based on this, a detailed implementation schedule can be developed with specific initiatives and timelines.

    This approach, while simple and easily implementable, can provide disproportionate returns on talent employed. It provides a framework that can be used to ensure that an organisation’s talent is aligned towards achieving its strategic objectives. With such alignment, companies can maximise their ROTE in any industry or economic scenario and gain an advantage over their competitors.

    Reference: Business Standard ( Article by: Sona Rajesh & Amit Bajpayee)

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Bowling Out The Oddballs - Organizational Behaviour.

    Key learnings:

    • Impossible-to-get-along-with seniors are a top reason for attrition
    • But getting along with them is now becoming a professional requirement

    Among the top reasons why employees leave organisations are impossible-to-get-along-with seniors. An effective way to address this issue is to inform seniors how their demeanour affects retention and employee morale. A practical way to deal with it is to equip employees with the art of dealing with tough bosses! The article outlines when equipped with a set of tactics, employees will find it easier to work with the toughies.

    The art of getting along

    A typical response when stuck with an eccentric boss is to quit. But given the economic low, job-hopping is a luxury few can afford. This however does not mean employees have to put up with poorly- behaved seniors. Moreover, organisations must and can avoid losing talent to poorly- behaved seniors. In short, if working with tough bosses is an occupational hazard then dealing with them is a professional skill! Here is how employees can be equipped with this skill.

    As one behavioural expert says, "The first step to skills or competencies updation is awareness". Therefore, in dealing with tough seniors employees need to be aware of the different behavioural traits of the eccentric! Seniors can be categorised as under:

    The lion: These seniors believe in roaring! Their modus operandi is based on a belief that much can be accomplished by shouting and creating a commotion. They also use intimidating non-verbal gestures such as staring and hand- on- hips to get their job done. A study reveals that such aggression manifests in those who are either impatient or like the spotlight to be on them for both right/ wrong reasons.

    Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

    • Listening to them without arguing
    • Keeping one's ego aside. These seniors are likely to shout at their subordinates anywhere which can be embarrassing
    • Following their instructions to the 't'. The best way to deal with impatient seniors is to give them few reasons to complain

    The chameleon: Another impatient lot are seniors who want a number of jobs done simultaneously. Although they are not rude they have little tolerance for those who fail to execute their orders. But following too many instructions while ensuring quality is tough, at times even impossible and these seniors do not realise that. In passing instructions and orders they are seldom considerate about their subordinate grasping what and how things need to be done. These seniors are also a forgetful lot -a consequence of attempting to get much accomplished. So at times they will retort with, "When did I ask you to do this?

    Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

    • Making notes of all their instructions and sending them an e-mail about it
    • Keeping them posted of the progress on tasks on a daily basis
    • Taking them through the to-do list to reconfirm whether what is on it still needs to be done!
    • Documenting any communication with them

    The Peacock: These seniors hide their shortcomings in their feathers. They are too vain to admit that their position is not a result of hard work and the right competencies but sheer luck! Working with them becomes a challenge because they are poor decision- makers, talk a lot but do little and are least inspiring. The only advantage is, they are not harmful or conniving.

    Effective ways of dealing with such seniors include:

    • Fanning their false prestige by listening to all they have to say
    • Talking to them about tasks and assignments in terms of deliverables and timelines
    • Spelling out the benefits or consequences of decision -making at meetings and informal encounters

    The fox: These seniors become difficult to deal with because they hit below the belt. Insecure in their positions they believe everyone is a threat and are plotting constantly to frame and fire people. Thankfully, they are a minority but unfortunately they are difficult to identify. Employees get to know of such seniors through others. When identified here is how one can manage around them:

    • Documenting every piece of communication
    • Keeping them posted of every move made
    • Sharing ideas and suggestions only when an audience is around
    • Talking about what happened at work with colleagues and other co-workers

    Also, "being honest and acting with extreme care is the best policy when dealing with this type of boss," recommends an expert.

    The serpent: The most dangerous of the lot are seniors who believe fear motivates employees best to perform optimally. Employees dread them because they:

    • Fire people for invalid reasons
    • Threaten employees constantly with punitive consequences
    • Induce guilt in employees to get work done

    According to experts, "The attrition rate of this boss is highest because of the fear and psychosis he creates" and the best way to deal with them is to leave before they can sully one's resume and reputation.

    Working with seniors with eccentric behavioural traits is not easy but definitely easier than giving up without trying! Moreover when it comes to building and maintaining employee relationships a bit of their onus is an employee's too. In using the above-mentioned tactics to identify who their seniors are, employees can work around a strategy to work with them better.

    Reference: TheManageMentor

    Customer Satisfaction and HR - HR practices.

    HR is crucial to improve customer satisfaction-surprising but true.

    The adage 'customer is king ', signifies the importance and value of customers. Customers are crucial for a business and a customer friendly culture drives a company's profitability. No longer is the sales team alone expected to determine customer satisfaction. HR too plays a major part in ensuring customer satisfaction by hiring the best talent and training them to serve customers effectively. An analysis on 800 Sears Roebuck stores in 1999 revealed that an increase of 5% in employee attitudes increased customer satisfaction by 1.3%.

    The Workforce Optimas Award winner, NCCI Holdings trained its customer service representatives in insurance data software products because a survey conducted by them revealed that its customers wanted assistance to use their products. Consequently, there was a significant increase of 33% in the customer satisfaction rating.

    Customer satisfaction and loyalty can take the company ahead even during a downturn. Southwest Airlines boasted of profit in the fourth quarter of 2001 despite the sudden decrease in air traffic due to the September 11 attacks. Kmart on the contrary was declared bankrupt because it could not provide a customer friendly environment like Walmart.

    According to Michael DeSanto, a consultant for Walker Information, the cost of acquiring a new customer is equal to 5 times the expenses incurred for serving an existing customer. All these instances reiterate the need to build a strong customer relationship.

    HR's Initiative

    In order to drive customer satisfaction to an enviable level HR should concentrate on smart hiring practices and employee development.

    Hiring the budding star performers

    To build a customer friendly culture HR should hire only such employees who are capable to reinforce customer satisfaction. According to Ron Zemke, president of Performance Research Associates, a consulting firm, a successful customer service representative is one who is an optimist, flexible and able to manage stress and criticism. He should be able to strike a balance between his interests and that of the company and the customer.

    Scrutinising a potential candidate should begin from the time he appears for the interview. The candidate's body language and attitude before and during the interview might give some cues about his capabilities.

    Probing situations the candidate may have encountered during his earlier work experience during the interview helps to identify the candidate's abilities and attitude. Patrick Wright director of the Centre suggested this probing technique for Advanced HR Studies at Cornell University to Whirlpool.

    Talent+ Inc, another HR consulting firm helped Ritz-Carlton in restructuring their hiring system. Previously, their customer complaints reached an all time high of 27%. After the new system was introduced, the complaints dropped to an amazing 1% in the year 2000.

    According to the company's managing director Lisa French, the new system appraises the prospective candidate's traits. This is done through open-ended questions in the interview and a comparison of their traits with those of well-known personalities in the same field.

    Training the budding stars

    On being recruited, a candidate should be trained to establish customer relationships. To serve the customer better one needs to understand his needs. For this the employee should be aware of the different personality traits and their behavioural patterns. The Meyers Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire is an effective tool in identifying personality types.

    Effective communication skills need to be imparted. Further developing the voice tone of the employee and his body language take the lead here. Research shows that 55% of the total impact of an employee's interaction with the customers is by body language and 38% by his tone. In particular, employees serving customers telephonically need to improve their listening skills, as it is difficult to comprehend the same over the phone. Listening to the customer attentively and restating it concisely shows the kind of attention a customer is given.

    The people at Rosenbluth differ here also. They insist that their employees speak in an amicable manner to customers. Words like 'certainly', 'it's been my pleasure' put the customer at ease and display the employee's zeal to serve.

    Building customer loyalty through employee loyalty

    Employee allegiance is crucial to build customer satisfaction and loyalty, because customer and employee satisfaction run parallel.

    According to Michael DeSanto, new employees feel good about their company when they have the opportunity to acquire new skills and move up the corporate ladder. Once an employee stays with the company for about 3 years he gets restless if nothing new is happening.

    Similarly, new customers feel thrilled by the attention showered on them by the company. Over the years, regular customers used to attention, however begin to feel neglected and explore new avenues.

    An organisation that does not acquire the loyalty of the customer or employees might be left in lurch. The two are interdependent. If the employee is happy then the customer satisfaction is also high.

    One touch solutions at Captain D's

    Captain D's proves that HR's role is detrimental in the restaurant industry where customer service is crucial.The HR initiatives taken by Captain D's to lower their staff turnover, increase customer service and thereby increase their profitability is commendable. Shoney's Inc, started in 1947, provides family dining at Shoneys' and Captain D's chain of restaurants spread over 20 states with 550 franchises.

    According to Matt Gloster, vice president of administration for Captain D's, around 8000 employees are trained in all the aspects of restaurant business every year. An uphill task because employees are spread over 20 states and training them from recipes to business operations is an arduous task. The wide geographical spread made a simple thing like communicating a change in the recipe of a dish a complicated process during training sessions. The problem was that the changes have to be communicated to all the branches and thereby requiring to reproduce the same data a number of times.

    OneTouch solution, an application software that has a video and two way voice and data application was introduced to allow the employees to communicate with the trainer.

    The solution can be applied to PC or non- PC environments so Captain D's and Shoneys used it at all places in the restaurant. This ensures that groups or individual employees attend the training sessions. The training programmes introduced the employees to different topics and a quiz ensured that the trainees comprehend the programme.

    Top managements know the developments in the restaurants when they access the data stored by Matt Gloster. Moreover, they can easily update the training programmes by downloading them. OneTouch also helped the restaurants to maintain a productive workforce by training the employees to multitask.

    Captain D's thus improved its productivity and customer satisfaction and decreased turnover. Glowing over the restaurant's success Matt Gloster recalls the phrase coined by the chairman 30 years ago, ' show and tell '. The approach states ' tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I'll try to remember. Do it with me, and I'll always know how '.

    The case of Captain D's shows the importance of an effective training programme to improve customer satisfaction. It also establishes the need to hire potential employees, train them and keep them happy.

    Reference:The ManageMentor

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Recruitment & Retention- Smart Interviewing

    Graphology is widely used by large corporations in Europe during interviews to detect personality traits as varied as ego drive and risk aversion. Within the United States, risk-taking entrepreneurs use handwriting analysis to identify the best candidates for sales jobs. Tom Payette, for one, hires a graphologist to help him ferret out winners for his $30-million Jaguar and Suzuki dealership in Louisville. He claims that technique has significantly reduced his annual sales-force turnover rate, which at 36% is nearly half the industry average.

    A successful interview should determine if there is a match between a candidate and the job. Furthermore, a good interview process allows HR to understand the job seeker's behaviour, values, motivations, and qualifications. Time and time again HR has seen candidates hired for sales jobs that don't like calling people or customer service employees who can't look into the customer's eyes and say, "Hello." Then there are good employees promoted into management positions having no clue of how to lead and manage others.

    Why interviewing techniques fail:

    Lack of preparation - First impressions last long! Before conducting an interview HR should make sure that they understand the key elements of the job. They should develop a simple outline that covers general job duties. Working with the incumbent to get a better idea of what the job is about is essential

    Lack of purpose - Not only should HR determine the best applicant, but they also convince the applicant that this is the best place to work in.

    Lack of clearly defined job competencies - Each job can have anywhere from 6-14 job competencies. Identify the behaviours; knowledge, motivations and qualities incumbents need to be successful in the job.

    Lack of structure - The best interview follows a structured process. This doesn't mean that the entire process is inflexible without spontaneity. It means that each applicant is asked the same questions and is scored with a consistent rating process. A structured approach helps avoid bias and gives all applicants a fair chance. This can be accomplished by using behaviour-based questions, role-plays and situational questions.

    Sample role-plays are effective ways to learn and practice new skills. They can also be used during the interview process to determine the skills and personal charisma of people during stress.

    Traditional interviews are never completely reliable. Yes, a structured approach will improve the HR's chances, but it is essential to go a step further. Pre-employment screening is an important aspect of the hiring process for most employers. By using various assessments and profiles, organisations have been able to help clients reduce turnover and improve the quality of their workforce.
    Ref: TheManageMentor

    Training & Development- Orchestrating Orientations

    Orientations are orchestrated by the HR manager and follow a checklist. This ensures that all aspects are covered and gives new employees a sense of where they are in the process. Three phases are suggested for an orientation programme.

    Phase I: The Basics
    The first phase of orientation should take place at the start of the first day on the job or, even better, a day or more before the job starts.

    The basics include what people need to know right away in an unfamiliar workplace. This will allay anxieties about how their kids can reach them in an emergency, the location of washrooms or where and when they will get lunch. Phase I also involves starting personal files. Safety information that is not job-specific can also be covered here.

    Phase II: Personnel Policies
    This phase should happen within the first week on the job, if not on the first day. It consists of a review of the personnel policies in the employee handbook. Employees can be asked to read it in advance and tested on the contents in the form of a short written quiz with multiple-choice and true/false answers. There need not be any penalties for wrong answers, but employees are more likely to take the policy handbook seriously if they know they will be tested.
    Phase III: The Business
    In this phase the mission, history and internal structure of the business, its products and its customers can be covered. This could involve several sessions, from the first month before the new employee's impressions begin to strengthen.
    Mission: This part of the orientation process provides new employees the vision of the company. The HR Manager can tell the new employees how he started working or acquired the business, what it means to him and what he hopes to accomplish. Only a HR Manager can convey this sincerely.
    History: A scrapbook with local newspaper articles and photos of former and present buildings, customers, products, and before-and-after pictures of re-sets can be displayed.
    Internal structure: An organisational chart is a good visual aid. Also an indication of where the new employee fits in should be given.
    Customers: Discuss expectations for customer relations, thereby giving a sense of who the customers are, and how the company serves them. Role-play scenarios with new employees give a vivid picture of what customer service means at the company.
    Products: Beyond the training that each employee receives in his specific job, the orientation should cover the company's product standards, where to find products and answers to customer questions. Purchasers could give short presentations featuring actual products, preferably with samples for trial.
    Ref: TheManageMentor

    Managing Global Talent With Integrity

    The enormous cultural diversity in today's global economy makes evaluating, assessing, recruiting and managing talent a challenge - perhaps the challenge - for transnational companies. There are several key steps companies and their talent leaders can take to meet that challenge and build a global workforce that delivers high performance with high integrity.

    First, contemporary corporations must explicitly establish high performance with high integrity as the foundational goal of the enterprise, recognizing that it should indeed be the goal of global capitalism.

    High performance means strong, sustained economic growth based on superior products and services that provides durable benefits to shareholders and other stakeholders.

    High integrity means:

    a) Tenaciously adhering to the spirit and the letter of formal rules, both financial and legal.

    b) Adopting voluntary global standards that bind a company and its employees to act in its enlightened self-interest.

    Living the core values of honesty, candor fairness, reliability and trustworthiness, which infuse the creation and delivery of products and services, and guide internal and external relationships.
    Combining high performance with high integrity must counter strong pressures to cut corners to make the numbers. It isn't just about avoiding evils and the potentially catastrophic impact of an integrity miss. It is also about creating strong, affirmative benefits for the company, the marketplace and the broader society. Such trust is needed to sustain corporations' enormous power and freedom - even under current regulation - to allocate capital, to hire and fire people, to drive productivity, to invest in new geographies and communities, and to innovate with new products or services.

    This is not a frill or a nice-to-have. It is not the initiative of the month. The fusion of high performance with high integrity should be the foundation of an organization. This is especially so for companies seeking beachheads in difficult markets.

    During my time at General Electric, whenever I was asked what I lost sleep over, my answer was always the same: emerging mistakes. For understandable reasons, multinationals have embraced the potential of significant new growth in the developing world, touting it at analysts' meetings and in public speeches. At the same time, they are quietly aware of the significant integrity minefields that threaten to impair performance and destroy margins: limited rule of law, endemic corruption, rampant conflicts of interest, erratic enforcement, money laundering, unscrupulous local competitors and hard-to-assess economic and political risk. To meet their dramatic growth projections, transnational companies must navigate treacherous shoals.

    Second, corporations must adopt a uniform, high performance with high integrity global culture. Culture is the shared principles and practices that influence how people think and behave. The right culture is not punitive but affirmative. Such a culture only can exist when it flows from top leadership - when aspirations are matched by actions. Integrity principles and practices should be driven deep into business operations, without compromises for tough markets.

    An important dimension of such a culture is the adoption of global ethical standards. "Globalization through localization" is one of the mantras of transnational companies. Localization, of course, includes adherence to the financial or legal rules of the specific national jurisdiction. GE's code of conduct, for example, begins: "Obey the applicable laws and regulations governing our business conduct worldwide."

    But that's not always enough. In some cases, the answer to questions such as, "Is it according to GAPP?" or "Is it legal?" may not be adequate because formal rules don't address the broad problems facing a company. A corporation may find the best answer is to go beyond required duties and voluntarily impose a higher global ethical standard on itself and its employees.
    An organized, systematic process is needed to decide whether to adopt such global standards. Once adopted, these standards should have uniform application and implementation across business units, product markets and geographies as formal financial and legal rules. Examples include ethical sourcing and building Greenfield plants in emerging markets to world, not local, standards.

    Another important dimension is hiring "A" players in key leadership positions throughout the company and recognizing that driving performance with integrity into business operations requires resources. In most corporations, there is a constant struggle to find the right people and allocate adequate resources. Unless both happen, the merger of integrity and business processes isn't possible.

    Hiring experts inside the corporation is vital and cost-effective for risk assessment and abatement. Inside experts know the company far better than any outsider, and they can act quickly. For example, Jack Welch encouraged me to hire outstanding experts in taxes and environmental programs, who had developed world-class expertise both in government service and private practice. Beyond minimizing and mitigating integrity risks, they also proved extremely valuable to the CEO in transactions and financial planning and in offensive and defensive public policy.

    Questions about paying for the integrity infrastructure need to be faced candidly and systematically. There's no way around it: Funds must be found and spent to establish the fundamentals. Unless the CEO makes this a clear performance metric for business leaders, these costs inevitably get shoved to the bottom of the list.

    This is a forward commitment, as well: When the company engages in the next round of "10 percent across-the-board cost-cuts," the CEO and other business leaders must fight the temptation to wield the ax in this sensitive area, and instead scrutinize the actual impact of reductions.

    Third, performance with integrity education and training must come alive. It must be given the same commitment as training in business skills such as finance, marketing, sales and IT, and employees must be given a voice to raise integrity concerns.

    The largest challenge: finding the people, message, method and evaluations that collectively constitute a culturally sensitive, yet globally effective set of communications in each market. Face-to-face sessions with employees unschooled in the company's global culture are essential; Web or paper training are second-best.

    For example, GE Healthcare developed a short training case about the now famous but fictitious Mr. Vu, who faced multiple tough scenarios, such as hiring third-party consultants, approving travel and living expenses, dealing with customers' demands for bribes and the use of the GE mark.

    Such learning by example isn't easy. Talent leaders will need knowledgeable trainers to develop trust and get the most out of illuminating discussions. GE often found it hard, given the exponential growth in Asian employees, to deliver live, in-context training. Too often, we had to settle for an interactive Web-based approach. This challenge is mirrored in the difficulty of finding multilingual, multicultural leaders who can help the corporation act with local sensitivity and global discipline in emerging markets, while also anticipating contingencies, diversifying operations and finding top talent.

    One of the most powerful principles in creating a high performance with high integrity culture, and for ensuring accountability up and down the corporation, is to give every employee a voice. This means encouraging, and indeed requiring, the reporting of concerns about possible violations of financial, legal and ethical standards.

    One channel for such voice is a company "ombuds" system that encourages employees to express their concerns, addresses those concerns promptly with professionalism and respect, makes failure to report itself an integrity violation and, of course, sanctions those who engage in retaliation. A vibrant, fair, trusted ombuds system not only detects issues early, before they can metastasize into huge problems, it also deters improper acts inside the company right from the start.

    Another channel for employee voice is through the finance, HR and legal functions. These key staff members must reconcile dual, conflicting roles. They must be partners to business leaders and help accomplish performance goals. But they also are corporation guardians and must report legal, financial, ethical and reputation concerns to corporate staff leaders if they have problems raising and addressing them in their business units.

    Finally, corporations must develop compensation regimes that do not just pay for performance, but pay for performance with integrity. We can measure integrity by looking at whether leaders have adopted the core performance with integrity principles, are implementing the key practices to achieve them, have created the affirmative culture - through employee surveys and 360 degree assessments - compare favorably to peer companies and have achieved annual performance with integrity goals and objectives. Similarly, the management development process should be aimed, in part, at training future leaders in the principles and practices of high performance with high integrity, especially in international markets.

    [About the Author: Ben W. Heineman Jr. is senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School and senior counsel to the law firm of WilmerHale. This article is adapted from his book, High Performance with High Integrity.]

    Perfect the Art of Sharing- People Management

    "What separate those who achieve from those who do not is in direct proportion to one's ability to ask for help". - Donald Keough, former President of Coco-Cola

    Who determines the management skills imperative for success, the managers, the management or an individual's inherent talent and abilities? History and the experience of great leaders show it's the skills and talent of an individual.

    A critical issue often ignored when calculating success is delegation. Delegation is rightly called the fundamental of management skills, a prerequisite to lead a successful personal and professional life.

    Delegation is the ability to effectively assign the responsibility and authority of a task to another person or group of people. It defines the fundamental skill of a manager, the ability to get work done.

    It's fait accompli that managers rarely understand this 'critical skill' or practice it. This 'delegation deficiency' must be cured if managers wish to succeed.

    Why delegate?
    Business owners or managers are responsible for various activities related to their business. These activities may require a lot more time than they can afford, hindering professional growth. Hence, the need to delegate.

    For instance, Brad a recently promoted accounts manager of a company was well versed in all account related tasks and considered a master of all work. This actually proved a disadvantageous. Brad never found time to perform his new managerial tasks. He was always engrossed in resolving the less important issues of his subordinates, his earlier peers.

    The key...
    Only after a coaching session with his senior did Brad realise that his ready acceptance of his subordinates' duties stunted both his and their growth.

    Effective delegation
    To be efficient managers must cure the deficiency of delegation.

    Right fit!
    Before delegating, the manager must ensure that the employee is trained for the task. For appropriate training, the strengths and weakness of the person and the personality need consideration. Thus, managers should be sensitive to the talents and skills of the person.

    Information: The basic guidelines while delegating work is the information necessary for the delegatee to execute the work. The resources necessary must be planned. Managers must provide their delegatees (the person accepting the work) the basic guidelines and necessary information to execute the work.

    All yours!
    Empowerment is necessary for effective delegation. Once the work is delegated, the delegatee must be given the autonomy to execute the job. This will heighten not only the interest of the employee and realisation of satisfaction but also success.

    Delegation relates to the responsibility of the work not the work itself. 'Too many cooks spoil the broth', so does delegation of the same work to too many people. In delegation the results accomplished and the not the process followed are important.

    However, tasks that depend heavily on intricate technologies, may stress on the approach adopted to accomplish them. The delegatee must have the liberty to exercise his initiatives.

    Two-way road:
    Lack of dialogue between the managers and the delegatee may lead to confusion and waste of resources. A frank discussion of the problem / task may help formulate a quick and better plan for the execution.

    I am there!
    The delegatee may come up with his own way of work and get confused at times. The manager's support is crucial at such times. This boosts the employee's confidence in himself and in the superior.

    During the discussions, managers must help resolve the problems and encourage the delegatee to share his views.

    Ensuring the employee's accountability is manager's responsibility. He must get a regular update of the progress of the work delegated.

    The delegatee may be empowered when the manager is able to execute the work perfectly. Manager's guidance should not prove to be a roadblock in the execution of the work. Interference may hinder progress of the work and may not yield the desired outcomes.

    Rewards and recognition ought to be given to the person for achieving the set goal. The credit of an unsuccessful project ought to be shared by the manager. They must consider mistakes as an investment.

    Taking the credit...
    Dr. Abdul Kalam was the Mission director for India's first satellite launch vehicle project. But the project was a failure in its first attempt. Prof.Satish Dhawan of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) organised a press meet and announced " Friends, today we had our first Satellite launch vehicle to put satellite in the orbit, we could not succeed. It is our first mission of proving multiple technologies in satellite and satellite launch vehicles. In many technologies we have succeeded and a few more we have to succeed, above all I realise my team members have to be given all the technological support. I am going to do that and the next mission will succeed".

    After the success of the mission in the second attempt a similar press conference was organised and Dr. Abdul Kalam addressed the conference to announce the mission's success. Dr Kalam rightly pointed out that-

    "When success comes in after hard work the leader should give the credit for the success to the team members. When failure comes the leaders should absorb the failures and protect the team members".

    "There will be failure in a system, failure in a project, failure in the procurement action or failure in the administrative action even failure in the political system. It is vital to protect the team immediately after a failure from the onslaught effect of failures. We should celebrate the success of individuals and team equally".

    Win-win situation
    A win -win situation provides better scope for learning, helps the delegatee acquire new skills and explore new avenues and solutions. Above all it saves time and resources.

    Resistance to change is a common phenomenon. Resistance could arise from:

    Organisations' culture is built over years of effort. Lack of a proactive culture hinders effective delegation. The manager should install a culture that appreciates the significance of delegation. Employees must realise that delegation of work is both a learning experience and a growth opportunity.

    Reverse delegation may take place where the employee may intelligently pass on the job sighting ignorance as a reason. Subordinates' rejection of responsibility may be due to lack of trust in the superior, lack of confidence in himself and the superior or lack of interest in the activity assigned besides lack of understanding of the process.

    Remedy ...
    Managers can avert such situations by building a friendly and informal rapport with their subordinates. Regular interaction and building up employee confidence by acknowledging their contribution to various activities other than his basic duties. This installs confidence in the employee and encourages him. Tough tasks could be delegated upon successful completion of simple tasks. The step-by-step process builds employee creativity and enthusiasm.

    Thought process
    Employees must be encouraged to think positively. With superiors' support and skills and knowledge combined with rewards and recognition employees can develop positive thinking.

    Further... The process of delegation thus requires managers to understand the need for it and master the art and foster professional growth. Through effective delegation managers can cultivate a work environment that develops future leaders, time essential for execution of critical tasks and for planning of new projects. Above all it creates a motivated workforce.

    Ref: TheManageMentor