Work plays an important role in the lives of many people. After all, a salaried job pays the bills and enables us to survive. Work, whether paid or unpaid, also helps us to shape our identity & destiny, gives a purpose to our existence, allows us – or forces us – to structure our time, gives us a useful way to spend our days, contributes to our social status, and finally brings us into contact with others.

As we know that paid work is very important to people, and that they will consequently do everything they can to avoid failure in the workplace. No matter in spite of making well efforts sometimes things do go wrong. There are limits to what people are capable of handling, and those limits differ from one person to the other. When employees exceed these limits, they may find themselves facing problems so serious that they are unable to solve them on their own. That is when they are facing a work pressure problem.

Although the term “work pressure problem” suggests a heavier workload than an employee can cope with, that is not always the case. Employees can also get into difficulties if the work they are assigned consistently is not under their knowledge and skills. Work pressure is actually a neutral term without immediate negative effects. In fact, many people perform best when they work under pressure. The situation is more problematic when pressures at the work become so great that the employee concerned is consistently unable to meet the demands that the work makes on him or her and, on top of that, is unable or not allowed to do anything to tackle the cause or causes. These demands may involve the amount of work the employee is required to perform, quality standards that he or she is supposed to meet, or the amount of time in which he or she has to complete the work. Work pressure is the sum of the amount of work and the time set aside to finish that work as compared with the employee’s ability to cope. That ability to cope depends on the employee’s personality and is influenced by circumstances in the home and in the workplace.

Organizational factors also contribute in creating work pressures for any employee. For example the working environment, atmosphere in the workplace and the support provided by co-workers or superiors also play an important role in the overall picture. When an employee is unable to meet the demands of work, within the time available, a work pressure problem arises that can lead to work stress. Work stress can eventually cause the employee to feel excessively tired, exhausted and depressed, as well as to suffer physical ailments. The employee can become overloaded or, if the situation persists for a lengthy period of time, start to suffer from exhaustion.

The ultimate way to tackle work pressure is for employers and employees to look together at how the work is organized for employees to be provided with satisfactory support, all within the context of the company’s social policy. It is important to find out whether the problem is widespread, for example within a particular department, or whether it is an individual employee who is suffering.

 

clock 31, March 2015 Auther ORE Categories Employer Tags No Tag

“What are your expectations from your new employer?”

This is a general question asked to the candidates during interview to know what they are/were missing in their current or previous jobs and which type of organization they would love to work for. The common answers given by most of them are:

1.       Growth opportunities;

2.       Salaries in time;

3.       Flexible hours of working;

4.       Good working atmosphere and many more…

Based on this, can we can say that if an Employer fulfills all his expectations, the employee will not leave the company randomly. But this never happens.

For this we need to clarify our perceptions between the satisfied workforce and the engaged workforce. A person who is engaged may not be satisfied while a person who is satisfied may not be engaged. There's lot of difference between an employee being satisfied and employee being engaged. An employee may be satisfied with the facilities that he is getting and that would be sufficient enough to continue with the organization. On the other hand an employee may be 100% engaged with his work and yet may not be satisfied. One of the reasons could be that he does not have a supportive boss. The employee seeking for growth opportunities might not be satisfied with flexible timings format of the company. The employee who is looking for a company paying salaries in time might not be satisfied with growth opportunities provided to him. So we need to know what exactly can be done for making the employees connected and engaged with the company.

There should be a sense of personal touch & attachment in the organization that inspires every employee for working more effectively and efficiently. The more friendly the atmosphere, the more employee feels comfortable. As we know today’s scenario at work place is full of tensions and work-pressure. Here comes the part of employee engagement activities where stress and pressure of work is reduced by having fun activities at work place. From different activities done at work place, every employee gets a chance in different ways of presenting himself. For example if an employee who is of reserved nature, is engaged in a card making activity at work place & if he wins the prize, he feels elated & happy. By this activity employer has provided a platform to this employee for showing his hidden talents of art making and also giving him recognition for this talent as Best Card Winner.

In every such fun activity, employees will have interaction with each other. It happens that because of work load employees with different department and even different teams in the same organization does not interact with each other. This type of atmosphere sometimes is very uncomfortable to work. Employee Engagement Activities provides employees to interact with each other and make themselves comfortable and make them feel as a part of family.

Other activities can include team building games where the employees can be taught, the importance of co-ordination and team work in a fun way. 

The employee must feel that there is somebody in the organizations who cares for him/her and wants his/her success and growth.

The organizations now days take all possible steps to ensure that they have employee engagement activities  like  organizing  birthday bashes, talent shows, sports activities and many other things.

 They want their employees to be committed to their work fully. Besides all the above activities, they also make sure that the employees have role clarity, get all the material and equipment they require to perform their work efficiently.

So, success of your organization reaches great heights if there is an engaged workforce.

 

 

Are CEOs manufactured at heaven? Do some special privileged people contain CEO material by birth? Is it a fact that a talented person within the team can’t perform excellently if promoted to the top most position and it is always better hiring someone from the outside world? There are so many myths and misconceptions about the leadership positions. However, statistics reveals that the companies that offer effective succession planning can groom people fantastically to handle challenges at the top most positions. Still, very few organizations pay attention to it. When there is a situation of appointing someone at the position of CEO, the first preference is always for hiring from competitors or a different niche.

The immediate consequences

In the majority of the cases, newly appointed CEO is not able to cope up with legacy systems and face a great resistance from the existing system. Team members, peers, and superiors put extensive pressure on the implementation of new concepts and methods.  When a company does not find a suitable name from inside who not only knows the ins and outs of the system but can lead also, there is no option other than playing a blind game. Here comes the criticality of succession planning and developing talent within inside. It is the ideal situation when a person from the company retains the objectivity just like an outsider but knows the ideologies, traditions, and work environment of the company. Many companies work methodically towards developing this attitude.

Is it a key to success always?

It is not a guarantee of success, but most of the time it is a hallmark of highly successful organizations. Since it is hard work and requires a lot of determination, only those companies where employees work dedicatedly can adapt it successfully.  Identifying potential leaders within the team, grooming them for taking challenges of leadership positions, and providing necessary training take a lot of time and efforts. With a clear corporate strategy, expert HR team, and willingness of talented team members can make it possible. When succession is an ongoing process and not ad hoc incidence, there is no question of the company working without a leader if the CEO resigns one fine morning.

Why most of the companies do not think about it?

First of all, there is a hitch and hesitation in the minds of employees about succession. Existing CEO thinks that he or she is going to lead the company forever. People down the line think that talking about succession planning is a sin, and it will be taken negatively by others. That is the reason the idea gets pushed under the carpet every time, and there is a need of hiring someone from other companies when the top most leader resigns, gets terminated or dies. In spite of the fact that people within the organization understand the business well, the company has to rely on someone who may or may not be suitable at all.

While some organizations respect longevity and offer reward and recognition for long service, some take it in a negative manner. Also, as the company grows older those who have been working since long get inferior treatment, and they lose motivation to stay in the organization in spite of having a chance to climb high on the leadership ladder. In such scenario, it is not possible to encourage people for succession planning. Also, there are ego issues at times when employees feel discomfort in accepting seniority of people who were working earlier as peers. Hence, succession planning is not that easily approachable as it appears.

How do successful companies build a succession program?

It is the role of the CEO to build proper succession planning where someone is there to take over his role and responsibilities. If there is clarity about nurturing potential leadership, then companies run multi-faceted programs to find people and train them. Special compensation programs, fast-track promotion and career progression mechanism, and providing leadership training are important aspects of the entire process. HR function keeps resources reserved for it. There are cases when companies need to look for people from other organization. It happens when there is an error in identifying right people. In some cases, people marked for succession leave the organization for fast career growth.

It is successful when the CEO himself leads the process!

It is an important reason behind overwhelming success or pathetic failure of a succession planning program. When a top-most leader supports (and drives) it wholeheartedly, people do not have doubts about the genuineness. When it gets percolated up to the grass root level, everyone knows that it is a perpetual process and not just a temporary phase. Among other factors, it is important that those who have been identified for succession planning should not feel superior from others to avoid ego clash when they take the lead.  Proper coaching, listening, advising, and grooming are required to shape-up great leaders.

The insider-outsider approach

There has been talked a lot about the so-called ‘insider-outsider’ approach. When a person knows the company fully, it is very easy for him to lead the team. The processes, procedures, attitude, and work environment is familiar. Experts call it an ‘insider’ view. Nevertheless, for complete success as the top-most driving force in the company he or she should be sufficiently detached with the company.  What experts call a peripheral perspective is the ability of looking at the things from an outsider’s perspective. Those who achieve it successfully can bring miraculous changes in the organization.

Recruitment, development, and transition are three critical responsibilities of HR department. When a person gets selected on the rolls, there are aspirations, dreams, and ambitions. If a company offers the positive environment and boosts up confidence by offering clear career progressions, then employees think from a long-term perspective. When a company becomes a greenhouse of budding CEO, it is sure that the success graph reaches new heights. There is a positive environment in the company, and it becomes a dream organization for millions of people.

clock 22, December 2014 Auther ORE Categories Jobs & Careers Tags IT company HR recruitment general

There is a difference of opinion about the most influential factor of the bottom, middle or top management while making decision. The majority of experts agree that though there are various factors that affect the minds of different cadres of the corporate ladder, technology always play a critical role. The technology a company applies act prominently during the process because it supplies a major chunk of supportive data needed for the process.

A few examples

A good quality ERP system is a great source of information for lower-level or middle-level management due to its decentralized design. People do not need to consult their superiors in the mundane decision-making process.  Similarly, a Computer Assisted Design (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) enables workers or operational people up to such extent that they need not every time consult supervisory staff about the situation. Organizations with an excellent data processing or communication system offer sufficient comfort-level for managers and executives.  Those sitting in corporate offices can micromanage the operations at ground level. Since automated systems build a great trust among people about the fairness of decision-making process, there are no grudges or bitter feelings.

This is an important factor that pacifies the critics who think that the IT infrastructure development is all about spending money wastefully just for technology. It is in fact, must beyond that. A CEO doesn’t think about an IT decision just from a technology aspect. Rather, he or she looks at it from an organizational perspective. Since a huge amount spent on IT infrastructure will be justified by the total empowerment of decision-makers, they don’t mind sanctioning huge amounts. The distinct and long-term effects can be sensed and understood by visionary leaders of the organization. Due to enhancement in communication technologies, today’s IT system doesn’t centralize the acquisition, processing and maintenance of data.  On the other hand, it is more decentralized in the new models.

Disconnects about Information Technology

In spite of IT influencing organizational management critically, many people think it is merely a support function taking care of Laptop, desktop, printers and email system. There is an amorphous image about its working and importance.  Many people imagine it a shapeless business function that is not at all critical as compared to other value-generating functions. They label it under a single category i.e. “technology”, and forget about it. However, in reality it is an enormous mix of multiple technologies.

Historically, IT function is considered collectively as a pile of capital expenditure that is required for better communication and emailing systems, and efficient, uninterrupted data processing. Not many decision-makers look at it as a multifaceted function that has multiple organizational effects.

How does an IT system make a difference?

It is a common observation that non-productive decisions like capital investment, product planning, or new hiring are always centralized with the top-level corporate ladder or top-level business function heads. If there is a proper propagation of information through various sections, then the decision process becomes quite effective and correct.  Similarly, when production decisions are backed-up with strong CAD/CAM systems; figuring out the tasks that meet organizational goals becomes very easy. People down the line need not consult the seniors every moment they want to decide about something. There is a great sense of empowerment and trust.

It’s role in micromanagement

The word “micromanagement” doesn’t have a negative connotation always. It is not “poking nose” in the day-to-day affairs at ground level.  On the contrary, it is a method of having better control on the laggards that affect the overall productivity.  Modern IT and communications systems offer a constant flow of information (upward and downward). At lower levels, it makes the process of monitoring and reporting decisions very simple. Senior managers can observe it silently and intervene when it is mandatory.

While the situation looks quite healthy and effective at the first glance, there are a few shortcomings as well. When people below are not smart and efficient, they tend to copy every single mail to their superiors seeking advice. It creates the chaos at senior level making the top managers busy in routine operational stuff instead of high-level policy decisions. It also loses the purpose of appointing and grooming middle-level management.

Since everyone becomes accessible in the company, irrespective of designation or level; there is an increased tendency of influencing decision or thought process of others. Interestingly, this tendency is global in nature. In a study conducted for a large number of small, medium and large companies spread across ten countries; the results were surprisingly similar.

However, as far as autonomy of decision-making process is concerned the findings were astonishingly similar again. It was a common observation that advanced technical systems like CAD/CAM or database and networking raised autonomy at the floor level, but at the same time advancement in communication technology inculcated the habit of upward delegation.

Role of Information Technology and the level of trust

Though it builds a considerable amount of trust among people when things move on the basic of Information Technology, it hardly has an influence on delegating authority to people down the line. Researches show that this aspect is majorly driven by the cultural and social concepts in the country.  Sometimes, the same business organization displays a different behavior in the decision-making tactics in different offices. Cultural differences and level of understanding among employees are more important than the technology. When people are open and trustworthy, they do not mind in delegating the power. Else, everyone wants to keep it centralized. However, it was observed that a people develop trust on the IT systems over a period, they do not mind in sharing the authority with others. As the heterogeneity among various business units dissolves, the business model becomes quite similar.

Conclusion

It is quite evident from the research that Information Technology plays quite a bigger role by changing the DNA of the organization. It is not just a support function that provides technical assistance, but an extremely important facilitator for better decision-making and empowering managers.

When a company performs outstandingly well in a geographic location, there is an obvious temptation of expanding it to other locations. While it gives a great thrust to the business and revenue graphs reach great heights, some inherent risks are always there. It is a common observation that companies don’t repeat the success story at the new location. In the majority of the cases, there is a double loss. At one side, company loses focus on the existing business. On the other side, there is no substantial increase in the revenues from the new location.

Many people think that expanding to a new location is always a risky game. However, it is not the case every time. A methodical approach and systematic implementation can bring huge success. A few mistakes are very common, and they can be avoided by meticulous planning.  The company’s ability to retrieve knowledge for business expansion can help tremendously.  No doubt, a great marketplace is required for a huge success, there are many other factors play an important role. The business leaders have to consider what competitors are doing, whether the timing of the launch is correct, and what is the strategic advantage of expanding to a new location? A few factors make a critical difference in reaping a huge success in the new niche. 

A decision of expansion should be rational

Research proves that companies that try business expansion over different geographic locations and do not succeed due to irrational decision-making. They do not think from a long-term perspective and launch based on impulses. No wonder, they stumble and fall.  Experts say that such snap decisions make a great harm to the organization by wasting valuable resources and losing focus in the existing business that was doing well earlier. Any expansion planning starts with the fundamental objective of exploring a fresh market. Along with it, the decision must enhance the competitive advantage and add value to the current business.

Striking at the right time is crucial!

When a business plans launching operations in a new location, the requirement is not only money. It needs a lot of time and resources too so that everything goes well.  Sometimes it results in a reduced focus in the home location. That is the reason; business leaders must decide beforehand whether it is possible to spare the required resources or not.

More importantly, they should take sufficient time for research and analysis about the new location and timings. Following the rival companies blindly for launching operations country to country would be a suicidal strategy. Jumping in a new marketplace without checking for the right timing could be dangerous. According to some experts, entering at the right time is more important than any other factor. They recommend sending a team to have a thorough research about the business model and the marketplace before expanding.

Following the herd blindly is not a good thing

When companies follow the footsteps of their competitors for business expansion, there is a risk of overexposure sometimes. Business rivals understand the weaknesses and equip their teams to take further lead in the business. Since the new company has to start from the scratch, established players take the “first-mover advantage”.  A business place is strategically important in some cases. For example, for a biotechnology company it is always better to set operations near colleges or university because of availability of budding scientists. It may not be a good decision to expand the business in a remote area. Thus, expanding to an unknown niche comes out to be a disaster.

A dynamic culture of collaboration helps

When a business expands to a new niche, it is important to boost the culture of collaboration and a good linkage among different business units. Workers and management working across distances need to establish better channels of communication. Internalizing the innovations quickly gives a great competitive edge.

Being global is not a tough task if managed well!

Experts say that expanding business operations beyond geographical boundaries throws a new set of challenges. However, it is possible to overcome those if companies plan well and implement well. It is true that international expansions need a good understanding of the proposed marketplace, business environment, and knowledge profile. Firstly, they need to adopt the products according to a new market. They can’t follow the same strategies prevailing in the domestic market. What is effective in the home ground may not be that effective in the other. Though technology brings countries at a common plane, there are still inherent differences. Countries are different, so as the people and their ideologies!

There are examples where even technically forward companies also faced devastating failure while exploring a novice niche. The UK based telecom giant started operations in Japan with the same business strategies as in the UK market. However, the strategy proved to be a total fiasco. They tried to flood the market with mobile handsets that were a super success in the UK. Since Japanese consumers were comfortable with a different technology, they could not get associated with the new handsets. As a result, company had to stop the business after some time. It is not that the decision was wrong; it was a failure of assessing expansion strategy correctly.

What was the basic reason of this failure? There were two! First, there was not sufficient homework done prior to the launch.  Had they been understood the Japanese market prior to the launch, the results would have been very different. Second, they launched the service as well as product. It wasn’t a great idea. There was a conflict of interests, and the company had to rollback. Company incurred big losses in the process, and there was a dent to the existing market as well.

Expanding beyond geographical boundaries has another difficulty. Since the resource requirements increase up to a great extent, home operations sometimes face the resource crunch. Experts call it “the growing pain”. It is needless to say, that more growth brings more growing pains.

Hence, methodical planning and a sound business analysis are required before putting huge resources for business expansion.

Communication is not a big challenge in small and medium organizations. Workgroups are small, people know each other, and there is more face-to-face communication than mail or texting. However, as the company grows communication becomes quite difficult.  According to management gurus, communication that happens from the bottom to upwards is equally important as the top to down.

Nowadays, COOs are more concerned about the flow of communication. Gone are the days when a few people were having the command-and-control of sending directives from the top. Today, companies work in a conversational approach where there is enhanced face-to-face conversation.

Conversational leadership is the road to success

Earlier, traditional modes of communication were effective because the economic scenario was quite stable, and there were a few challenges externally or internally. However, in the volatile and dynamic economic scenario of the modern era, top leaders of a company must know the roadmap for three years down the line. Not only the top officials, but it has to be percolated below. Hence, top-down and bottom-up both communications become critical.

That is the reason top CEO across the world highlight the word “conversation” in all their formal and informal communication. The word gets referred so frequently sometimes that everyone from top to bottom becomes aware of it. When “organizational conversation” becomes an approach for a company, then it applies to everything right from policy formation to implementation. It becomes so obvious that people do not feel any need to run special communication drive. The flow of information is universal, proper, and up to the mark.

Creating a culture of communication is the highest preference for today’s business leaders because it is incredibly important for a long-term persistence.

What properties indicate existence of good organizational conversation?

According to experts, four things denote that the organizational conversation is healthy and effective. They say that enclosure, interaction, closeness, and intentionality are four core elements of it. All of them impact different aspects of organizational culture.  Interaction affects the channels of communication; closeness affects mutual relationship; enclosure defines the content part, and intentionality defines organizational goals and strategy.

Closeness

It does not mean people forget organizational decorum and start talking in an informal manner. It also does not reflect physical closeness because in large organizations spread in multiple countries it is not possible that people work in the proximity. It is more related to mental intimacy, mutual trust, authenticity, and hearing others patiently. There are examples when large companies (typically having thousands of employees) took efforts to communicate certain vital things like company’s new vision statement to every single employee, irrespective of practical difficulties. Though the task was gigantic, employees felt a great closeness about the vision statement at the end of that massive exercise. The feeling of intimacy was just unexplainable. It is the power of closeness!

Interaction

It looks quite logical that as closeness gets established, interaction also increases in the same proportion. However, it is not always true. Rather, interaction is more lively and effective when organizations are small, and most of the times closeness is the after-effect of it.  As organizations grow bigger and bigger, the interaction decreases. Here, some experts recommend the use of technology i.e. social media networking.  As per them it is not important what technology one uses for communication, the interaction happens among people is actually important.  However, a few experts have a different opinion. They feel that the interaction using social media can’t be a substitute to personal interaction. Rather, it may be a supportive tool.

Enclosure

Enclosure is nothing but enabling employees to talk about the company, its success stories and failures too.  With a relaxed policy on employee communication, there is are obvious risks of an uncontrolled release of information or exposing unwanted information to irrelevant people, but there can be control measures established to manage it. Experts say that rewards of enclosure exceed much than the risks.

In the traditional companies where management believed in keeping stringent control on information release, there used to be several controls on the top-down messages. However, today companies believe in an organic approach. There are in-house magazines, functional dashboards, and regular newsletters to make others aware of what is happening in a particular function, branch, or region.  Not only internal, but there are external communication channels as well who talk to customers, clients, or channel partners.  

In fact, establishing such communication channels would be more effective than running expensive marketing campaigns. It establishes the brand image positively and underlines the strong aspects of an organization like gender diversity. It encourages people to raise their voice. Employees respect each other’s job, and there is no need of running expensive employee engagement programs separately.

Intentionality

A communication program without a well-specified agenda is not effective at all. It is a complete wastage of resources. The goal can be anything, to make employees aware of the competitive strategy of the company or an effort to enhance employee engagement. The goal can be anything, but it has to be well-articulated and more importantly; well-communicated.

Setting the tone and direction are the core responsibilities of organizational leaders. Aligning the conversation with company’s strategic goals will be effective in implementing the policies to support the goals. Experts say that significant competitive advantage can be achieved by intentionality.

It is a fact that many organizations still do not think conversational leadership a critical aspect for growth. It is true that the conversation is important, but it is unproductive without a leadership that is capable of effective implementation. It loses focus completely and goes off for a toss. Defining a clear framework and offering a clear purpose about it are most important. When a leader can engage and involve participants, he or she can translate a conversation into actionable items. There is an immense power of generating ideas and inspiring creativity in collective intelligence. Only leaders with high ability of conversational leadership can leverage it for the benefit of the company. They bring extraordinary difference in the company by building an effective architecture for engagement.

Last decade has been quite revolutionary globally in terms of participation of women in organizational leadership. Women are reaching up to the top of the hierarchy and managing large companies like IBM, ICICI or Citibank. However, it is also a bitter truth that in spite of their phenomenal performance and success as business leaders, management stereotypes still prevail in the mindset of a majority of people. It is not that only men think in that manner, but a large percentage of women also consider themselves inferior or incapable of handling a large workforce.  Even statistics confirms the fact. Even today, women share hardly 2% of the total leadership positions (at CXO level) among Fortune 500 companies. It means that higher management positions are still considered as “male-typed” and not suitable for the temperament and capabilities of women.

In the companies where women manage top-most positions are known as “gender neutral”. There is no existence of stereotypes for women there.    Many people have done researches to understand the difference between handling human resources by men and women. They also studied at the temperament levels and mental strength. It has been observed that there are great expectations from the teams when gender of the leader is consistent with the majority of gender in the team.  In organizations where men dominated leadership positions historically, there is a stereotyping about female leadership. On the contrary young organizations take it quite maturely without any bias or rigidness. As more women are reaching the top most positions, it becomes quite a common scene to see a woman in the chair of a CXO.

Gender stereotyping yesterday

There was various research initiatives took place to understand the stereotyping in the minds of senior leaders in the last decade. It was a comprehensive study where thousands of business leaders of the Europe and the USA were contacted. They were interviewed with in-depth partially structured questions and even women leaders also participated in the study.  The results were quite shocking.  Researchers found that the two-third of the top business managers (including women) underestimated and underutilized the leadership talent of female employees.  As a result, they not only failed to analyze the impact of gender bias but lost many talented female employees as well.

What happens when gender stereotyping prevails in the company?

  • First of all, there is a huge churn of female employees. Simply because they lose faith in the organizations. There is a suspicion about the intentions of the company. Women find it a hindrance to their growth.

  • If organizations do not take actions to address the effects of stereotyping, then they are unable to take advantage of the talent pool of women.

  • Female leaders go under deep depression sometimes leading to a decision dilemma.  They develop a feeling that there is always a “no-win” situation for them.

  • Men feel that they are the “default leaders” and female leaders do not have guts and courage of confronting with difficult circumstances.

Three prominent stereotypes

  1. Preconceived notions about leadership:  Women are perceived as soft and mild when there is a situation of harsh decision making.  They can’t remain tough and stubborn. However, it is not true in the majority of cases. They are equally strong when it comes about dealing with a difficult situation.
  2. They are underperformers and therefore, deserve less reward: It is a general perception that female employees (or leaders per se) are less efficient. Therefore, they are recommended for lesser rewards and recognition.  As a result, they have to work doubly hard to achieve the same level of appreciation.
  3. They are competent, but not liked by others in general: According to this prototype women are competent, but lack in skills that gain popularity. As a result, people do not like to work under a woman.  It is believed that not only males, but female employees also do not want to report female bosses. There is a high-level of distrust about them.

Is your company facing with surface diversity?

Well, research reveals one more phenomena popularly called as “surface diversity.” It means that even in companies that have been regarded for gender equality do not have diversity in reality. The drive gets over by just a short time focus on hiring more female employees so that the diversity management program becomes a grand success.  Certainly these programs help in making a mixed workforce with a reasonable representation of women, but it does not change the mindset or what experts call “thinking barriers.”  Also, these drives do not guarantee personal development or high-level job satisfaction for all.

Numbers are inadequate to measure diversity

When companies count numbers for evaluating success of diversity programs, then experts consider it an inadequate measure. Companies have to integrate a diversity program into the psychological and social framework of the organization. Then only true benefits like high profitability, enhanced job satisfaction, and improved productivity can be obtained.  When management experts studied the efforts of gender diversity by top ranked companies of the world, interesting facts revealed. 

It was found that the companies well-known for strong diversity initiatives were not the leading diversity management companies actually.  Rather those who have been known for good human resource practices managed diversity well. The reason being these companies looked at diversity as an effective tool for work environment improvement. Also, they implemented improved recruitment, promotion, and retention policies.

The fact of the matter is companies look at diversity programs as a measure of managing bottom lines. Ratio of performance and profitability is always critical for every company.  Hence, they get motivated for implementing gender diversity programs; many of them do not achieve significant benefit though.  It is important that the individual nature of the organization, product type, customer base, numbers of resources, etc. are taken into consideration before that.  Best-diversified companies have been able to perform excellently and effectively while implementing great HR practices.

It is important that organizations must come out of conventional mode of thinking and start looking towards women leadership positively and sensibly.

Contrary to the popular belief, candidate assessment is not a matter of gut feeling or a fluke. Rather, it has a strong base of theory and concept. With keen observation ability, a thorough checklist and an ability of determining a person’s capability make it a successful event.  An expert hiring manager mitigates risks by rightly evaluating a candidate for the long-term benefit of the organization.

As per the bookish definition, assessment means determining the number or value of something. In spite of being a subjective analysis, candidate assessment brings quantitative benefits to the company by on-boarding deserving candidates. Various HR experts bring various modules, but a few things are common among all.

  1. Skill test: Every job profile demands proficiency on some or the other skill; technical or managerial. A seasoned hiring manager assesses it very first. There can be structured or non-structured ways of doing it. Giving written or real-life tests are the example of structured test. Evaluating it by discussing problem-based questions is the unstructured approach. Some people take help of professionals for skill testing purpose
  2. Reference check: Hiring managers worldwide admire the importance and utility of reference checking. Today, some companies hire professional agencies for thorough background screening and reference check. It eliminates the possibility of cooked references which speak pre-decided statements about the candidate.
  3. Behavior assessment: It is as critical as skill testing. Experts say that even if a person scores low at skill level but shows incredible excellence in behavioral assessment, then it is a wise decision to hire the candidate. Behavioral assessment gives more comprehensive details about a person being fit or misfit for the profile. 

Criticality of employee assessment

HR stalwarts say that it is a crucial company decision that can change the direction of the company. An incorrect hire at the key position can affect it drastically. “Who to hire?” is a crucial decision to be made in a short personal interaction of a couple of hours. Hence, reliability of the supporting information plays a vital role. Today, employers take care of it and get an in-depth report about candidates prior to calling them for the interview.  This data give clear indications about whether to hire or not. Obviously, human intelligence and perception still plays a decisive role. Investing a little bit extra on knowing what are the abilities of a person, what all great he has done earlier, and what motivated her or him to perform better bring great people on-board.

A few quick bits

Interviewing process is much complex than it appears superficially. It is not just sitting across the table and judging a person based on a few questions. It is perhaps the most primitive way of looking at an interview.

  • You must keep in mind that the candidate is as human as you are. Just like a bad mood in the morning spoils your day, it could happen with the other person as well. Hence, do not jump to the conclusion by an interaction of a few minutes. Rather, get into the right mindset before proceeding. Make the other person comfortable throughout the interaction.

  • Be ready with the basic information about the candidate. Take one or two minutes before calling the next person. Review the resume quickly, look at the covering letter and do not forget to look at social media profile. Yes, it is incredibly important. Try to find out one or two things that you feel amazing about the person.  Let the interview start focusing on it.

  • Seasoned HR professionals say that one must be clear about the needs and not the wants while interviewing a candidate. You have to look a person from the perspective of the job profile you are looking for. Is the person fit for it? Is he capable of performing the essential duties expected by the job profile? Does he have the characteristics that fit organization’s culture? If yes, then you have hit the Bull’s Eye.

  • Though it sounds outdated, but a personal interaction is always better than virtual interviews. Audio and video conferencing becomes a necessity due to operational difficulties in calling a person to the office premises. However, one must do it whenever it is possible. Assessing non-verbal signal is much easy during a face-to-face interview.

Beware of the “How” part than the “What”

When you call people for personal interaction after screening their Resumes, it is critically important that the selection process fulfills your hiring objectives. You must ensure that the best candidate is discovered irrespective of you are hiring a fresh college pass-out or an experienced professional for a senior profile.

While recruiting people if you are more concerned about the “what” part, then perhaps you are getting dragged by the candidate’s aura. Remember, you are there to analyze “how” he or she achieved the goals in the earlier assignments. Was it just a fluke or the result of meticulous efforts and sincere planning? What was the role of other colleagues and company policies or environment in the success? It may sound quite primitive, but many HR managers commit the mistake while assessing candidates in personal interviews. 

You can take real-life tests wherever applicable to judge the spontaneity and practical approach. For example, a chef can be asked to cook a dish, or a software programmer can be given something to code. If they are confident about the “how” part, then there is no difficulty in carrying out the real-life challenges. Remember, looking at the core skills would be greatly beneficial than concentrating on the experience alone.

You are hiring a candidate for the betterment of your organization. Hence, getting impressed with past performance can be dangerous. The impact a person will have in your company is the deciding factor. Sometimes, a raw and inexperienced person can get transformed into highly productive resource by a structured training. However, it is imperative that you know your priorities. Do you need a person who contributes from the first day or can afford him to develop in the long run? 

There has been a great transformation in the way HR contributes in an organization. Now, it is not a function taking care of just resource management, payroll processing, and appraisals. HR is a highly business-oriented function today.  Today HR managers research relentlessly to develop insights about effective management and handling of various activities. They identify areas that need more attention and focus. By adapting best practices prevailing in the peer industries, they try to be at par with global standards. There are many researches being conducted worldwide to find the most critical challenges by HR managers worldwide.

What makes HR an impactful entity in an organization?

Research findings suggest that the challenge faced by HR function in an organization vary based on size, nature, and maturity of the company. Factors like industry type and educational/technical competency of employees are equally critical aspects. When HR managers analyze these aspects in-depth and crystallize an effective strategy to cope-up with efficiency problems, then only they create an impact. When people realize that this function takes care of their interest, then they respect it. When HR cultivates a culture of learning, motivates high-performing employees and resolves concerns about talent management; it becomes an impactful entity in an organization.

Challenges that HR leaders perceive critical from a future perspective

Bases on research findings worldwide and interviews of HR leaders from top organizations a few challenges come out as the most critical one.

Measuring HR function’s effectiveness

It has been a topic of debate since ages. In a changing business environment and highly competitive scenario, tying it with financial benefits annoys HR managers a lot. They always think that HR function’s effectiveness can’t be weighed on financial benefits because there various intangible aspects of it. In spite of it being a fact, it is possible to do it. Many organizations have derived ways of connecting business growth with investment made on hiring, welfare, and talent management.  Some large organizations outline how they spend on the three functions through productivity dashboards. These dashboards combine business metrics and HR metrics to compare employee hiring, talent mobility, and performance data.  They take help of IT function to design and develop modules to manage and analyze data quickly. HR can be instrumental in providing this critical data to business leaders for quick decision making.

Career development and internal movement

When you talk to HR leaders of different business stream about career development and internal movement of employees as a challenge, they always appear among top three priorities. Though every HR function has a different way of tackling it, the criticality looks to be unquestionable.  Managers want to go beyond head count exercise and managing workforce. At enterprise level they want to have a detailed clarity about role clarity, difficulty in filling open positions at different levels and skill assessment.

Talent management task is something that is critical, important and takes a lot of time to master. When HR looks at it from a long-term perspective, it starts right from pre-hire process. Understanding skill gaps, open positions in the organization structure, and analysis of data provided by internal research and external HR agency (if any) form an enterprise level approach mitigating the gap. It gives a bright chance to elevate levels of internal team members to elevate employee morale and motivation level.

Internal mobility and career progression opportunities are prime indicators of wellness in an organization.  When people feel that there are enough opportunities for moving forward in the organization, they do not feel like changing a job. Large manufacturing or service units create a separate function for managing global mobility if they have multinational operations. Automated tools and modules enable employees to look at different opportunities available in the company worldwide. They can approach for it with the concern of their managers and get through the selection process based on merit.  The process gets encouragement from HR function through formal and informal initiatives.  Some organizations encourage rotational positions and change of critical business opportunities periodically to achieve multi-skill talent and operational efficiency.  When lead roles work across cross-functional teams, there is a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s responsibilities.

Cultivating self-learning habits

When organizations keep a scope open for doing mistakes, the learning curve is always high. However, it is a necessary factor not sufficient one.  HR managers have to push persistently for innovation and creativity. It keeps everyone charged and excited. People take chances, try new things and unlearn a lot of previously learned habits. Organizations not only get immense organizational benefits, but also keep people motivated and engaged. There could be incentives built around formal or informal collaboration and idea exchange.  Finding better ways of doing the business is a perpetual process. It is possible to keep fresh breeze of ideas when the windows of minds are split wide open.  

Technology

Other than the above-mentioned problems, increasing use of technology is a persistent challenge. HR managers are supposed to be updated with what is happening in the technological arena for effective handling of operational issues. Increasing use and influence of social media and mobile apps add further complexity to it. Today, HR managers can’t remain wedged to age-old methods and concepts. They need to be not only aware, but one step ahead of others to have a competitive edge. Use of social media networking, scrutinizing employee profiles online and hiring employees through audio/video conferencing become essential elements. Though the majority of HR managers have geared-up to face the challenges, a few of them adopt an ostrich-like approach. They tend to ignore the need of being techno-savvy till it becomes business-critical.

Conclusion

Today’s HR managers are struggling to deliver more than what is expected from them Other than being custodian of human resource; they want to spearhead business growth. In the rapidly changing business climate, it is possible only by keeping people vivacious. Then only HR function can optimize itself for effectiveness and efficiency. It is the crux of being aligned to the business.

There have been quite rapid changes in the business scenario in last few years. Experts estimate that the pace of change is going to accelerate further.  Business will have different demands from HR function. What will be the exact face of it after a few years down the line?

First of all, HR has to be agile in terms of adapting to the environmental changes. Anticipating the impact of these changes on the business per se, correctly sensing the trends and acting accordingly would be greatly critical. Rapid globalization will force in incorporating multicultural skills seamlessly.

What are the expectations from HR in the context of changing business landscape?

HR function can’t work in a silo keeping the dynamic business change in mind. It is important that HR leaders are business leaders first and then subject matter expert. Importance of human capital has to be clearly identified by them in order to derive long range plan to fill the gap from a talent management perspective. It will be a great help in acquiring high credibility and developing insights for acting as a successful business partner. Next generation HR leaders need to develop technical and functional capabilities along with critical business capabilities.

Many people wonder how it is different from the current scenario.  Experts say that the fundamental change is in the approach towards emerging technologies. HR has to be the forefront in leveraging latest technology for business benefit. A simple example is the use of video conferencing for hiring new people. Rather than arranging interviews in the company premises or expensive hotels, initial rounds can be conducted through video conferencing. It is an amazing fact that HR leader are still using age old method and not convinced with the effectiveness of video conferencing worldwide. It will be a big operational change in the future.

Managing change and understanding cultural nuance with a global mindset are two other critical aspects. The latest trend is to outsource transactional activities so that HR can focus on the core aspect like employee development or talent management.

What skills will bring the maximum benefit?

The most critical paradigm shift will be converting HR a non-profitable cost center to a profitable revenue center. There will be an intense connect with business strategies, and HR people will have to learn proficiency in other business critical functions like marketing, finance, or operations. Developing cross-functional skills and customer-oriented skills will also become critical in the long run.

Multi-cultural environment will be the biggest challenge to deal with

As the job market becomes global, HR managers have a lot many things to worry about. Apart from mastering age-old principles of human resource management, they have to keep on adding new skills in their arsenal of expertise. Handling people from multi-cultural environment becomes a great challenge. When HR managers master the skills of adapting to the environmental challenges, physical environment, cultural peculiarities, and work environment, half of the battle has been already won. They have to get acquainted with employment laws and socio-political aspects as well. It is extremely important that they are never judgmental based on preconceived notions while facing internally or externally.  Increasing percentage of Gen Y employees would be another important aspect.

Experts insist that it is the time to apply native intelligence for successful handling of multi-cultural environment. What is it actually? It means when people treat others equally irrespective of their cultural background; they feel comfortable. Especially, when HR people follow it the impact is deep and intense. In some cultures, leaders only have the authority of speaking on behalf of the team whereas some cultures follow equal participation. While dealing multicultural group, HR managers have to look at these minute yet sensitive aspects so that there are harmony and cohesiveness.

Will Reward and Recognition program remain effective tomorrow also?

A majority of HR experts answer affirmatively. According to them, tomorrow’s HR leaders also need to focus on the right implementation of R&R program because they will also be dealing with human resources ultimately. A pat on the back will remain a thrilling aspect in future. However, designing effective R&R programs that take care of Return on Investment and motivate individuals or groups to perform excellently will be a tough task. In the highly competitive and volatile market of today, HR plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of t organization. It is necessary that organizations encourage knowledge management and look at people as human capital and not just resources.

New age concepts would attract more eyeballs

It is sure that innovative ideas and new age concepts are going to rule HR world. Generation Y will attain further importance in organizations and policies and procedures will be designed for engaging them.  Workplace ethics will need more reinforcement, and social media can help quite significantly in doing that.  In today’s scenario, HR leaders must offer optimal solutions for not only human resource issues, but to foster business as well. Constantly adopting mechanisms for people development and keeping them expert in managing change are effective ways of doing it. Experts say that this trend will continue to be there in the future. Moreover, there will be pressures on repositioning and restructuring of the workforce in view of declining RMS (Revenue Market Share).

Conclusion

Situation is surely not that gloomy and dull for HR managers. Undoubtedly, there will be a phenomenal change in the way HR function operates today; a few fundamental qualities will remain the same. An action oriented person with a hawk’s eye on details will be the first choice while hiring HR managers. People with an attitude of confronting with status quo will be greatly preferred. Experts feel that though HR is going through a transition phase, its importance and relevance remain unchallenged.

Nobody can predict the actual timeframe these changes will come into reality, but one thing is certain that in the coming years there will be a total facelift of HR function as such. Companies that sense the shift and adapt to the changes quickly will achieve the best benefit.

Login
Username:
Password:
Login
Remember me  Lost password ?