Saturday, February 17, 2007

Employee Engagement -The critical Ingredients

Is Employee engagement all about inspiring people and managing emotions at work?

More than organizational policies, compensation and recreational activities at work, its leadership at various levels in the organization which engages employees. HR may always strive to come up with great policies, themes for engagement and fancy branding activities. But if there’s one aspect inspire people for superior performance at work is the quality of leadership and mentoring ability of leaders at multiple levels which organization culture facilitates . Some of the great places to work are those which have strong middle management leadership talent and they have always energized and inspired individuals in teams to go for extra mile.

I have seldom come across a disengaged employee in teams which have good leaders. By leaders I do not necessarily means the ones who make so called “strategic moves” at corporate level. For an employee leadership is experienced and exhibited at team level. It need not necessarily be a manager but also peers, and colleagues from different teams.

So does it means leadership development should be a priority for HR function?

This is another debatable issue, can leadership be developed? Yes and No-Well you’ll expect this from an HR guy. I say yes as leadership development can be facilitated by HR interventions but to assume that it can we can develop great leaders in isolation can be a mirage. Leadership development and organizational culture are inter-dependent ; similarly leadership development practices and great organizations have a binding co-relation. Great organisations have a history of developing leaders at all levels.

Employee Engagement is a collaborative effort which requires participation and commitment to the organizations people’s philosophy. Often during my interaction with employees from various organizations and different industries I try and figure out what is it that motivates them keeps them excited about the job they do, some of which are mundane and repetitive at times. More often that not, it’s the immediate leader who is the key to success of an engaged teams and motivated employees. HR as a function can’t actually engage employees in isolation unless the leadership continues to take employee engagement as internal performance metrics for evaluating and rewarding performance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dauten on De-Hiring

Here’s an excellent video by Dauten on how managers can make the process of firing employees more human and mutually agreeable for each other. He talks about the de-hiring on how managers can make life easier by adopting a more well thought out and pro active approach in helping employees realize the realities and also help them improve performance to meet expectations.

The Alpha Employees

These individuals form part of a wider trend in executive heroics – long work hours and an exaggerated executive focus on achievement. It is a trend from which business has benefited with productivity and innovation on the rise. It would be wrong to assume that these individuals are slaves to the corporate world, stressed, burnt out, missing their neglected lives, families, sleep. They see themselves as “winners,” “achievers” bent on building businesses, empires and economies even.

Sounds familiar? Do you feel you have such members in your team as well.Hay group studies identifies them the Alpha leaders who are often bold, self confident, occupying leadership positions.

For them achievement or “results” is a prime motivation, but so is being in charge – these people will willingly shoulder levels of responsibility, that are daunting to most. It is for these reasons that they are often called “alpha leaders.”

These alpha leaders are not necessarily to be found at top leadership positions. Many of these alpha types are young, single and independent employees in the age group of 21-28 .Most of them come from small cities ,with their families back home and little social life in these urban jungles, they find solace and find their identity in the work they do.

Some of them are not able to relate to the new culture and lifestyles of different culture. These alpha types’ employees are growing at a much faster pace than you could ever imagine. They spend more and more time at workplace and even weekends in office. They are constantly worried about targets, assignment deadlines and often end up talking about work and colleagues at social gathering. They have little social life and very little to talk about expect work.

So are these neo alpha types good for organizations workforce. Not really,infact it may be a matter of concern for most organisations.Here’s what research studies says:

A persistent focus on tasks and goals can damage performance. Overachievers can be overly prescriptive in their behavior, coercing people rather than coaching them and collaborating. This has the effect of stifling initiative and motivation. Notorious alpha leader behavior includes taking short cuts and forgetting to communicate crucial information as well as asking questions and then answering them. These managers often either ignore, or are oblivious to the needs of those they work with.

Organizations, knowingly or otherwise, can be complicit in creating a culture which fosters alpha behavior. They sometimes reward what the Harvard Business Review calls “the achievement-at all-costs-mentality.” Understandably, they will recruit high achievers and, as long as they deliver good numbers, cast a blind eye. The best executives take a balanced approach, managing their achievement drive while leading through influence, collaboration and coaching.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Headhunting and Talent War

ET reports on the phenomenon growth which headhunting services have seen over the last few years.

Outsourced hiring, or hiring through third party recruiters, will be an over $1 billion industry this year. And it’s growing extremely rapidly. Such hiring is only a decade old in India. It grew slowly initially, but in 2005-06, the business saw exponential growth, posting a turnover of Rs 3,922.32 crore, against Rs 630.98 crore in the year before. The industry this year is seen to be growing at about 40%. So by the fiscal-end, it would go well past $1 billion, according to a study by the Executive Recruiters’ Association (ERA).

Although there is no clear breakup of which sector would contribute to what extent, it is estimated that IT will claim the largest chunk at 30%, followed by telecom/infrastructure, retail /realty and manufacturing/utilities spaces each at 15%, ITES at 10% and others at 15%.

Clearly the boom in services and growth of industry has resulted in huge requirement at middle and senior level positions. The entry level positions are being filled by campus recruitment initiative. Headhunting services are largely being used to fill niche and middle level positions.Another report suggets that the skilled Indian professionals are finding an alternative in continental Europe. The non-English speaking countries of Europe such as Germany, the Netherlands and France are increasingly wooing Indians into their workforce.
In fact, many of these countries are trying to showcase their multicultural business environment to attract global skilled workers. “Holland, for instance, is very comfortable for an international skilled workforce since English is a business language,” says Dirk Bakker, president of the India Netherlands Business Association.
So the indicators are clear that the war for talent is truly global in nature.