Tag Archives: employee

From Just Another Option to Employer of Choice

Why are people leaving?

Why is it that organizations hire talented (or seemingly talented) employees, train them, take pride in them (or are disappointed), and watch helplessly as they leave?

There are many factors at play here. The often heard one is the lack of employee engagement, but the real issue lies much before engagement goes for a toss. Attrition is only the result. There is no point focusing on the result. One has to focus on the causes.

The causes are varied. From the lack of proper job fitment, to a lack of touchtime with the manager, to not receiving mentoring or recognition, to feeling that one is not being allowed to contribute fully, to a lack of autonomy, a lack of direction, career growth, compensation and many others. These things need to be fixed in order for the end result to look better.

Allow me to demonstrate this through my own experiences, which will undoubtedly find echoes in everything you may have experienced or heard about engagement, retention or attrition.

Earlier in my career, I was with a BPO firm was about 3 years, and another one later for a little less than 18 months. The latter one was a mega name and had a great value system and some noteworthy HR practices.

So why did I stay for longer with the former? In the former company, 2 things stood out. I was given an almost free hand to innovate and implement, and free speech to contribute. I felt valued. I received high class training, which added value to me. So why did I quit? Well, the trainings stopped, and I was not being given credit for the work I was putting in. Nor were my managers mentoring me the way they were earlier. The place had slipped into a harder place, a business only place. It had grown. It wasn’t like a start-up anymore.

The reasons for my leaving the other company were also exactly the same. I wasn’t getting the feeling that my contributions were valued enough. The growth of my career (which I’d call my own “Business”) was not accelerated, but being impeded.

Solving the Employee Turnover Puzzle

While most of the attrition factors point directly to the manager, it is the responsibility of the organization to groom the manager and to demonstrate, not just communicate, the values that the organization states it seeks to inculcate.

The problem isn’t always top down either. Leadership in most organizations today knows the value of engaged employees, and exhorts the organization to respond to that need. (According to a Gallup study, higher employee engagement in organizations translates into an 18% rise in productivity, a 12% rise in both profitability and customer metrics, and 31% reduction in employee turnover!)

However the Leader’s message gets lost, often at the level immediately below him. The KRA’s of the senior management do include people metrics, but year end review seldom see these being discussed. Senior management knows this and allocates their scarce time to the results that will be discussed – the bottom-line.

The triple bottom line rarely if ever gets any focus. The companies in India that do focus on the triple bottom line, like ITC, find themselves on the 2011 BT list of Best Companies to Work For. The above study says that employees today are beginning to look at the career as their “business”. If organizations cannot help their business grow, they leave.

So what is the answer?

Every organization on that list puts employee comfort, health, flexibility, learning, growth and balance at the centre of their HR initiatives. The message is clear: Help employees discover and express themselves fully, and they will reward you with their loyalty, productivity and creativity.

Therefore the answer is for managers to pay a lot more attention to how their employees feel. Feel about themselves, about their manager, about the organization, and about their relationships with each other. And how does the manager go about doing that?

For starters, we as organisations must focus on imparting learning in Interpersonal, Communication, and Team Building Skills to our managers. By equipping people managers with the skills they need to make employees feel more valued, the employees are guaranteed to feel appreciated & important.

Next, we invest in building ourselves as a Learning Organization. This can be done by offering learning opportunities to our employees to further their professional and personal growth. However, Learning Organizations are those that don’t stop at training, but additionally create a learning environment that allows people the room to make a few mistakes, try new things and learn from them.

HUL is one organization that allows its employees a free hand to implement practices they think will benefit the organisation. As a result of this autonomy, their reputation among young aspirants, particularly students is that of a “dream company”. A 2011 survey by Nielsen said that HUL is one of the top five employers of choice.

Additionally, HUL provides year-round leadership training programmes, a mapping of employees’ potential and a three-year career projection, should they choose to stay on in the company.

Furthermore, we help our employees to find, rediscover or maintain that delicate Balance between work, life, interests, society, taking and giving.

Having helped our people find this awareness, we can be confident of providing a kind of leadership that nourishes the self, the organization and society.

And before long we will find ourselves on both lists: Best Employers to Work For and Most Admired Companies.

About the author: Aman Zaidi

SHARE

RE-SOLUTIONS

Organisations are much like humans. They grow, they forge and manage relationships, they play nurturers and yes, they want to live past a hundred. It would make sense for organisations to do another human thing – make New Year resolutions (beyond the financial goals they set for themselves every financial year!!)

Here are a few things that I would love to see organisations resolve to do, starting this year:

Focus on Strengths – Align people to roles where they can use their innate Strengths as opposed to roles where they are merely competent. This is what will move your organisation from “competent” to “Strong”.

clip-art-illustration-of-person-lifting-russian-kettlebells-concept-strength-royalty-free

At the very least, Employ a Competency based approach – Use Competency Based Interviewing (preferably in conjunction with Strengths instruments) and use Assessment Centres before promoting employees. The science will take the guesswork out of hiring and promoting, saving organisation the heavy costs that result from poor performance and rehiring.

Focus on creating “Interpersonal Wealth” – It’s a more equal world than ever before. Traditional

power roles don’t hold much importance any more. Employees are less intimidated by their bosses than they used to be. There is a plethora of options out there today.

7751241-businessman-climbing-on-mountain-of-money

Similarly, wives are not subservient to husbands and children are not to their parents (at least in the urban world). It is just not possible to pull rank, to get things done on the basis of hierarchy – there is no hierarchy. What is needed is excellent interpersonal skill – so good that it gets termed

“Intrpersonal Wealth”! From just getting along to forging deeper relationships to having enough personal power to influence outcomes, it is interpersonal wealth that will be responsible for making organisations thrive. The smart organisation will invest in helping their employees develop this because it will impact not only their relationships with their customers and peers but also impact how well they are doing in their personal lives. Just like some organisations are investing in…

The physical health of their employees – Repetitive Stress Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel, Blackberry

Thumb, Computer Vision Syndrome, neck and shoulder pain, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Insomnia, Stress, what not! The human body is more perishable a resource these days than it ever was! Mandatory Provident Funds and Insurance are not enough. Mandatory exercise and fitness levels, mandatory limitation on working hours, mandatory vacations, ergonomic seating, “optional standing desks” and counsellors in the office – there are some things that are being done by some organisations. Many more need to be still done by a lot more organisations. The definition of workplace safety too needs to be revisited.

Employee Engagement – For those organisations that are not measuring and improving engagement yet, please partner with organizations like Gallup, Mercer, Hay Group or us. It’s a vitally important metric and in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace, it is set to become even more important. In fact, I would like to see it being discussed at shareholder meetings!

Ethical – We live in difficult times, corrupt times. Recent political events in India suggest that there’s a wave rising against (financial, if not yet moral) corruption. If this is a genuinely new India, it won’t be long before people start paying more attention to corporate corruption (eg. data manipulation or payoffs to obtain ISO or eSCM type of certifications; or corporate-politician nexuses). These are times to be exemplary leaders, to show other organisations and employees the way.

Beautiful-abstract-environment-vector

Environment – There are more reasons why these are difficult times. Industry and humanity are almost locked in a battle for our earth’s meagre resources – water, land, minerals etc. It’s an age where the words “more” and “consumption” are possibly heard more In conversations than “thank you” and “please”! No one knows the meaning of moderation or restraint (neither corporations, nor politicians, nor the affluent, nor the middle class, nor Phaneesh, nor Tejpal). In such times, it’s important to think about the impact of our actions on others now and on ourselves eventually.

We need to stop and think about how what we do affects those around us. Trees, tribals, minerals, mountains, seas, soil, air, water, fuel.

world-peace-earth-clip-art-thumb2292313

 CSR – Being responsible members of society. Ensuring the well being of the vicinity and the people we share this landmass with.Walking the path of the man who spoke of pursuing the greatest good of all.

About the Author:

Aman Zaidi, The author is passionate about employee engagement and facilitates a signature workshop called Creating Involved Employees

SHARE
1

Oh Captain! My Captain! Make me love my job!

Manager, Team Lead, VP, CXO – whatever the role of the captain in question, there’s only one thing that the team craves for irrespective of their roles and that is Job Satisfaction. Mind you, these are highly driven people we’re talking about. Professionals who have worked their way up to their current positions and are more than capable of excellence. Yet they crave for that new challenge, that ‘AHA moment’, that little excitement every now and then or that unexpected pat on the back – all contributing in some small way to their love for the job. Are you as a leader aware of this small but significant need to boost employee morale?

It is all about encouragement and inspiration more than simple direction. Especially so when managing knowledge workers – those who know more about a particular job than you do as their leader. In leading today’s knowledge workers, it is important to invert the pyramid and look at leadership vis-à-vis the wants and needs of the professional—as opposed to the skills of the leader. Sample this truth – leaders may be judged more by the gifts they provide than the gifts that they possess. That’s when you will lead teams that love their jobs and actually display genuine desire for excellence. Here are some tips for successfully managing knowledge workers:

•Encourage their passion

Gone are the days when professionals worked 35-40 hours per week and took four to five weeks of vacation – then it was not so important that they loved what they did. But when professionals are working as many hours as they do today, it’s crucial that they love their work. Professionals need to look forward to going to work in the morning. That’s why today’s leaders need to look for, support, and encourage passion in their professional employees. Leaders also need to “lead by example” and demonstrate this same passion.

•Enhance their ability

Help them update and refine their skills. Job security has decreased and global competition has increased so it is critical for your team members in maintaining professional careers. Help them look beyond the skills needed for today and learn the skills that will be needed for tomorrow. That is when they will feel that they have a leader who cares for their overall growth and not just about meeting deadlines and numbers. After all, top professionals will often be willing to accept less money for more growth and loyalty will be gained through learning—not just earning.

•Value their time

In today’ fast paced world, we as professionals have less disposable time and therefore the value of time increases. As leaders, it is imperative that we do not waste our team’s time and create bitterness or irritability. It is hard enough working 50-80 hours a week and doing what does matter but it is incredibly painful to work that much and then end up wasting time on things that don’t. Leaders will need to increase skills in protecting professionals from things that neither encourage their passion nor enhance their ability.

•Build their networks

Easier said than done you might think but leaders benefit from expanding their team members’ networks and ensuring a feeling of security. By enabling professionals to establish strong networks both inside and outside the company, organizations can gain a huge competitive advantage and the loyalty of their workers. Besides, professional networking enables people to expand their knowledge and bring back new knowledge to the organization. More importantly, their loyalty to former employees helps lead to loyalty from future customers.

•Support their dreams

The best professionals are working for far more than money. They have a dream of making a meaningful contribution in their field. Give them the support they need and you will have their unflinching support and loyalty. So ask yourself what you can do to help your team members achieve their dreams starting today.

•Expand their contributions

Two of the most important needs of hard-working professionals are happiness and meaning. Leaders need to encourage passion to create an environment where people are happy and want to come to work. Leaders will also need to show how the organization can help the professional make a larger contribution to the world. Remember that is the individuals that make a team, the team contributes to the organization, the organization shapes society and society transforms the nation. Many of us seek out opportunities to make a contribution outside of work. Why should this be the case? Why can’t professionals make a positive difference from inside of work?  No one wants to put in endless hours on trivia. That’s why wholesome and inclusive work systems are the need of the hour.

Before we sign off, here’s something every leader would love to see from his team members – until next time, happy leading by loving your job!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D11e424M_Q

SHARE