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3-Pillars of Success with Employees

Source | LinkedIn : By Naveen Coomar

Peter Drucker said ages ago that ‘all management is about people management’. Very surprisingly organizations are still struggling to deal with only one thing they need to handle well – their people. Many organisations espouse and claim that ‘people’ are their only resource or greatest resource. Mr Murthy, Founder of Infosys had said with dramatic effect that “all my assets walk out of this gate, every day”. Some words and phrases have gained currency over the last few years, in organizations people transaction vocabulary – War for talent, Attrition, Employee engagement, People Focus, Employees First etc.

Why is it that organizations still struggle to keep their folks together; keep them going in tough times; keep the best talent from moving out? Is that because often employees as asset are only a statement of fact without any ‘real’ commitment to it? Does it go beyond the ‘structure’ of employee engagement and employee motivation interventions? Is the ‘process’ part of the equation too complex?

Any organisational intervention has two distinct facets – structure and process. Most organizations over-emphasise the structure part of people interventions. Structure is part of masculine language and process is of feminine language. Structure is easy to replicate, easy to document, easy to report and easy to monitor. Processes are as much more difficult to implement, monitor, report or replicate. Process also demands individual competency that structure does not. Therefore, creating and following up with processes have inherent challenges. Processes are demanding – from creating to implementing to sustaining – at all levels. There may be a subtle difference between structure and process, in the context of ‘people’. People-structure is about know-who and know-what. People- process is about know-how. Structure in this context is about the ‘hard’ part that is codified, process is about ‘soft’ part that is often tacit. Structure helps in monitoring and ensuring compliance, while the process would help in being responsive.

This may have to do with masculine culture in most organizations. This is not about gender, but nuances of human behaviour processes. Masculine culture uses a different vocabulary and emphasises ‘results’, ‘performance’, ‘tasks’, ‘numbers’ etc. and therefore that is what gets delivered. On the flip side a feminine culture uses a different vocabulary that is about ‘process’, ‘engaging’, ‘experience’, ‘empathy’, ‘listening’

etc. Look at this infographics – it shows usage of only masculine vocabulary. Why is it that most of these do not deliver desired results? My argument is that if organizations focus on feminine vocabulary and action them, employee practices will yield much better results. From your own experience of organizations and anecdotes that you may have heard, ask ‘why employees leave an organization’ and ‘why employees don’t want to leave an organization’ – you will get this answer. People leave organizations because of the way think they are ‘treated’ and they remain in an organisation for long also for the same reason.

In the following paragraphs, you may find arguments that deconstruct this dilemma and then offers a simple formula to handle this conundrum, successfully. So you will find all kinds of fancy interventions being copied from other cultures and organizations. Understandably they hardly yield result, because these interventions are carried out as a ‘task’ and employees also ‘participate’ as a perfunctory task.

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