Our society celebrates extraversion, the tendency to be outgoing, expressive, assertive and sociable. Schools and families tend to show disdain towards children who are reserved and tend to be quiet. We are told, human beings are gregarious and hence, we must improve our sociability quotient. Organizations achieve results by working in teams, influencing one another and inspiring groups of people. Hence, it is important to be expressive and connecting with others. Introverts are labelled as shy, anxious and under-confident. For leadership roles, most interviewers tend to prefer people who exude confidence and are articulate.
Is this fair to judge someone by one’s preference to live life in a certain way? Are all leaders extraverted? Is it necessary to be an extrovert to be a good leader? Is introversion a handicap to emerge as a leader? Answer to all these questions is a ‘NO’.
Understanding people who they are
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking tells us how we have narrowed our world-view and started promoting a certain kind of personality trait. As mobile technology has been engulfing us, an increasing number of people are either not developing their social skills or losing whatever they had. Our organizations have young employees who normally prefer engaging with others through chats, emojis, emails, blogs, status updates and comments rather than face to face conversations and physical meetings. They need quiet corners to work rather than the traditional din and bustle of an office space.
Introvert or extrovert, it doesn’t matter, everyone has a preference for the way they want to accomplish a task and the way they discuss and deliberate a topic. The peers, seniors and subordinates need to understand the person’s style and work accordingly. Some people may like to respond instinctively while some others might want to think through it and form their opinions. So, we shouldn’t push everyone to react instantaneously on an issue. Deliberations on an issue have to be held in such a way that personalities of either type get the right environment to contribute. One has to invest energies in understanding the other as a person and engage accordingly. It calls for empathy and genuine care for the others.
Leaders play an important role
Extroverts are naturally expressive about their feelings and thoughts. They bring spontaneity, energy, candour and articulation to any interaction. In situations where the group has a large number of introverts, conversations become dominated by the extroverts and nobody listens deeply. The introverts could quietly switch off and feel discouraged to express their opinions. And at the same time, the extrovert loses the opportunity of listening to other perspectives.
Similarly, introverts prefer conversations to be focused and planned. They would like to think about the topic in advance and present their views. They do not like to react on the fly. At Amazon, they start meetings with quiet reading time of a memo that spells out the agenda. This is an ideal scenario for either type of executives to contribute meaningfully.
Leaders plan conversations and drive an agenda in a discussion. It is their skill to guide the conversation in such a way that all the team members are able to contribute meaningfully. They delegate tasks and responsibilities to their people such that the strengths of their people are leveraged appropriately.
Many Successful leaders in the world are introverts
Introverts are not necessarily shy people. Neither they are anxious. Shyness is a state of mind that makes one awkward or uncomfortable in interactions with others. Normally such a feeling creeps in when one is apprehensive or fearful of the situation, either due to lack of knowledge, expertise or preparedness or an anxiety that stems from past experiences or an ego-driven issue. Extroverts could also feel under-prepared and shaky; they tend to express their state of mind in other forms of emotions too. Though many tend to link introversion with shyness, they are different phenomena. When someone is shy, it is not possible to communicate meaningfully. However, shyness is not a direct result of introversion.
Introversion is the preference to stay away from a crowd, interacting with a large number of people and so on. Introverts may prefer one-on-one meetings and small group meetings to public meetings and large stages. Hence, it is unlikely that an introvert will like to take on roles such as a movie actor, a stage performer, a public speaker, a preacher, a coach of a football team and so on. However, we have had legendary leaders like Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Barack Obama and many more who are believed to be introverts. Some of them have openly talked about their styles and preferences of introversion.
Introverts and extroverts, both have their unique preferences and strengths. Organizations need to combine them and produce something meaningful and powerful.
Roger Federer became the first man to win 20 Grand Slams and quoted this old adage. It describes his situation beautifully. Yet there is a paradox here, especially in the world of sports. Age determines a lot about the performance levels because of the physical development of the body, the number of hours one engages in the sport and the opportunities to learn. We all know, the performance curve follows the path of diminishing returns after a certain point. What is that point?
For professional tennis players, it is normally 30 years of age. Roger was a sensation in the first few years of his career and won many Grand Slams. He dominated the world of tennis for five years. Then came a big lull in his career in 2013-16 and a big line-up of great competitors at the same time. By historical evidences and common wisdom, he should have faded away a few years ago. That was the time he has come back strongly again! He is clearly the oldest of the top players in the global stage and going strong. Is there a tail wind for him or really a secret sauce that makes him stand apart?
Fortune favours the brave!
After winning the game, he said, it is his schedule and staying hungry. Easier said than done! I wonder what one can learn from this surreal story to drive one’s way to success.
Many of us do not know what a good schedule is. We are too lazy to make a plan for the day, the week and so on. We do not know how to prioritize; do not invest the energies to make plans. Hence, we let ourselves stay afloat on the stream of time and hope that we will stay safe and make progress.
All actions do not materialize as per our plan. The brave do not worry when their plans do not come true; they adapt and do their best to stay the course. If it doesn’t work, they make alternate plans. They do not brood over the failures.
If we think about Roger Federer’s statements again, we can see that he has been brave to take the lull of his career in his stride, adapted his schedule and kept his ambitions burning. Luck has been on his side. Let’s be brave to plan and adapt our course!
We need to gather the Resources
Resources are required for any activity to be done well. We may need finances, emotional support, guidance from a coach, the right machinery, technology, team and so on. Organizing all of them at right time is essential. Half-hearted efforts, assumptions or willingness to work with the second-grade choices do not make the secret sauce to success.
Experience in any field gives us the opportunity to gain insight, learn and adapt. Not all of us squeeze the optimum value out of our experiences. Opportunity is the first step to success; the biggest of enablers for success. Our Age and experience gives us the platform for success but does not guarantee it. We have to make the most of it!
A coach can guide us, raise the bar and encourage us to succeed, but the disciple has to find the harmony with the coach, absorb the inputs, ask the right questions and explore new vistas. Like a coach is a valuable resource, there are many such resources needed for success and all of them need to be in perfect cohesion.
Staying the course
Often success is elusive and it is temporary. Each time, we have to prove our mettle to hold on to success. It is to be earned every day and week. The journey is arduous. Many of us do not persevere at the same path. We see many people interested in healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, running a marathon, learning a new hobby and so on. New Year resolutions are aplenty. Only a few are able to do it. Some of us keep procrastinating, explore alternative paths and eventually lose interest in the cause. This is the most common reason why we fail in crossing the line.
China has developed itself as the manufacturing hub for the world. Behind this success, it is not the years of experience in manufacturing. Rather, it is the ecosystem of government policy, availability of labour, technology adaptation, vocational training, social norms of working together and so on. It is their consistent and disciplined approach of staying the course. Can another country replicate it? Difficult, but not impossible!
If you’re an unfortunate victim of workplace bullying – six out of ten people have experienced it, after all – you may be wondering just how to address the situation. Your boss is likely the person with the most power in terms of dealing with it – but how do you go about telling them?
Here are five ways to bring up workplace bullying to your boss.
Schedule a meeting with them
If you’re wanting an in-depth, honest discussion about the bullying, be sure to schedule a sit-down meeting with your boss. Often, it requires thorough explanation so the severity of the bullying can be realised; emotions, effects and subsequent hindrances you’ve experienced all need to be spoken about, and a meeting will allow you to say everything you need to.
It could help if you bring the bully in, too – if you feel comfortable, of course. Depending on just how violent or nasty the bully has become, it could be worth bringing them in so they can understand the effects of their actions.
Plant the seed by mentioning it in passing
Walking past your boss in the corridor? When they ask how you’re doing, mention in passing a brief comment which alludes to the bullying. It doesn’t have to be an explicit, tell-all information, but just enough to make them think about it. Try and showcase your emotions, and they’ll likely be all ears.
Bosses have your happiness and comfort in the workplace in their best interest, and so if you allude to a problem you’re having, they’ll be likely to take action to resolve it. You might find that this passing comment you make will be the catalyst that’ll put the bullying to an eventual end.
Show them evidence
If you’re making bold claims about being bullied in the workplace, your boss may unfortunately not believe you. It does happen, and can leave victims feeling downbeat, frustrated and at their wit’s end with the situation. So, if possible, make sure you provide evidence to back it up.
Whether it’s photographs of something they’ve done, screenshots or voice recordings, having concrete evidence of their actions is the best way to get your boss to understand the severity of the conflict. Bullies often find sneaky, roundabout ways to get at their victims, so catch them in the act and they’ll be left exposed for all to see.
Suggest potential remedies
When discussing the situation with your boss, be sure to think up some potential remedies that would make you feel happy and more comfortable in the workplace, as well as putting the bullying to an end. As previously mentioned, your happiness is your boss’ highest priority, so they’ll be willing to work to a result.
It may be worth having the bully around for this part, as you’ll then be able to work out any issues you have and come together for a future plan. It’s the only way you’ll be able to put the bullying to an end.
Showcase your unhappiness
Don’t bottle it up. If and when your boss asks what the problem is, be sure to express your unhappiness. Putting on a brave face and pretending nothing is wrong may seem like the most convenient and suitable option in the workplace, but you won’t do yourself any favours – your suffering will continue.
Make sure you’re as open and transparent with your boss as possible. They’ll appreciate your proactive nature, and will likely be quick to find a remedy to keep you happy and working hard.
Do you have any more tips for dealing with workplace bullying? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Employee engagement is a huge worldview that nearly touches all parts of Human Resource Management. In the event that employee engagement isn’t legitimately tended to and depicted, workers may neglect to satisfy their appointed undertakings. Administrators around the globe center to upgrade profitability and effectiveness. Studies demonstrate this can be accomplished if employee fulfillment is kept up around at the ideal level. Robinson, a leading management theorist, has defined employee engagement as “a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and the organizational values.
The levels of job satisfaction and employee engagement can be affected by many factors including rewards, recognition, quality of supervision, social relationship with the workgroup and the extent to which the employee is successful in getting his work done. Job satisfaction and employee engagement can be improved by the following factors:
1. Appropriate rewards and recognition
Associations over the world are heading to enhance hierarchical execution paying little mind to the span of the association or the business. As per Herzberg’s two-factor hypothesis, there are cleanliness factors that should be set up to keep the representatives being disappointed which should be set up, for example, adequate pays for the workers, reasonable and predictable organization arrangements and supervisory practices and proper working conditions for the workers overall. Herzberg facilitate contended that there are particular propelling components that give inspiration and the chance to feel fulfilled to the representatives, for example, the capacity to accomplish, being perceived for compelling and great work and introduction to limited time exercises. Hierarchical execution can be expanded by actualizing administration by goals and utilizing participative style of administration i.e. by drawing in your kin, applying suitable execution assessment and reward frameworks, and improving nature of work and imparting great criticism systems
2. Social relationship with the workgroup
Better social relationship among the representatives will help settle the workplace and will propel the workers to fill in as a group. The group should profit more from agreeable relational correspondence and will bring about enhanced efficiency. This is probably going to show with expanded profitability in the group and a solid group personality and notoriety of the association all in all. The enhanced notoriety for taking care of the workforce may pull in both the financial specialists and the clients who need to be related with a socially dependable association who keeps its representatives fulfilled.
3. Self-achievement of the employees
Hierarchical execution accompanies work fulfillment. Levels of occupation fulfillment can be influenced by numerous variables including rewards, acknowledgment, nature of supervision, social associations with workgroups and degree to which the individual is fruitful in the execution of their obligations. As indicated by Vroom, a standout amongst other administration scholars of his chance, instrumentality (rewards framework) influences inspiration for the expansion in authoritative execution. Administrators must stay faithful to their obligations that they have given of prizes for execution and endeavor to ensure that the representatives trust that the administration will stay faithful to its commitments. Be that as it may, execution targets do not, for the most part, must be money related targets. They can be in different structures, for example, acknowledgment, advancement and so forth.
4. Feedback mechanism regarding the evaluation of the work
Employees require input about their execution. Workers should be conveyed about their genuine execution and their normal execution. Along these lines, they will know their own execution level inside the association. Reward must be kept for employees who work extra time and give productive outcomes. For achievers, pay is a type of input about their execution. High pay and rewards are an estimation of their achievement in accomplishing objectives.
5. Engaging your people
As per the Gallup review, drawing in your representatives to hierarchical objectives is the key component for each business. Representatives can be locked in with their work on the off chance that they are enthusiastic for their work, convey their best execution and fortify their dedication. This can upgrade authoritative execution by a multiplier impact. This should be possible by building a solid comprehension of your business system all through the representatives, building trust and by verifying that all workers are utilizing their coveted arrangement of favored aptitudes. The administration ought to likewise guarantee that all divisions are enhancing its strategies and controls and focusing on its exercises on better accomplishing the organization’s aggressive separation through what the representatives do and how they are getting along it.
6. Using Training and Development
Administration must give appropriate preparing and advancement to the workers to build the productivity of the representatives separately. Administration must devise proper trainings and enroll the employees for each division to efficient and top hr courses. Administration must build up a compelling workforce design, preparing, and advancement methodology and create vocation ways for accomplishment of each division. In this way, prompting expanded authoritative execution.
These are one of the key ways to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement within the organization. This will result to increase in organizational performance. Conclusively:
Spending time developing employees’ skills and potential
Involving and engaging the workforce through participative management
Providing frequent and appropriate rewards and recognition
Providing a positive working environment
Encouragement and rewarding thoughtful risk-taking
Investing time in evaluating and measuring job satisfaction
Taking part in opportunities provided by the organization such as training opportunities
Organizing work and setting daily goals
Taking time to revitalize, relax and refresh.
This is essential as jobs that do not offer much variety in their performance and are of a highly repetitive nature are disliked by employees and eventually results in intentional downsizing by the employees or decreased effectiveness. So, these methods are effective for both small and large organizations that are in a stable or an unstable environment. The impact of high job satisfaction will impact numerous stakeholders both internal and external and will affect the overall performance of the organization.
Business has been changing fast due to changes in technology and socio-economic trends. The concept of life-time employment is changing to gig work. Engagement between employee and employer is getting redefined. One is valued as long as he or she is able to deliver an impact in the business and shows the flexibility to adapt to the changing contours of the business.
In the recent times, we see hectic activities in various industry sectors in the form of mergers, new investments and acquisitions to keep pace with changes in the external environment. One of the recent studies by CIEL on Indian Telecom sector shows, 69% of the employees have received less than 7% hike in their annual salaries; 50% of the companies are experiencing higher attrition levels and a significant proportion of the employees do not have a job offer at hand while leaving their employer. This clearly shows, they have to script a new path and shape their careers differently.
As the legendary story goes, elephants can dance; but, it is not easy to stay nimble all the time. As time passes, we gain experience, sharpen our saw in a particular way and tend to get into a particular groove. We tend to lose the edge. Many people do not keep an eye on the developments around them. At times, the developments could be internal such as the business desiring to change its focus; and some times, it could be happening in both the worlds : internal as well as external. We need to keep our eyes and ears open to the signals around us. We get caught in the trap of activities and lose our sight of the signals of change.
After taking notice of the changes, one has to believe in the fact that one could change course and get onto something new. Some times, the change required could be huge such as leaving a full-time job to starting a new venture. CIEL’s study shows that entrepreneurship is a serious career choice for people leaving a job in Telecom sector (73% subscribe to this view). One has to be courageous to take the risk of making the shift.
Some people see the writing on the wall. Yet they do not act on it. Acquiring new skills, reading relevant material, discussing with colleagues to make meanings out of the changes and planning alternate options are not easy. But, given the volatile world that we live in, they have to be done. We have to continuously invest on learning and development.
It is important to excel in the chosen field and sharpen the saw; at the same time, one has to take a little longer term view, say three to five years to assess if the current path looks clear and obstacles on the way are surmountable. If the path doesn’t seem clear, one must evolve alternatives to achieve goals of the career, allocate certain time of the day or week to focus on these priorities.
Happiness at the core
Shaping careers is not limited to reading the signals of change and investing time and energy to learn new things. Rather, it is about gaining happiness and joy through one’s achievements and results.
Many of us think that a successful career is about by the financial wealth, the job title and the endowments. However, the fact is that the core of a successful career is happiness; and the other factors such as money, authority and power are the outer layers. If one is filled with coats of outer layer without a strong core, it crumbles fast.
Hence, it is important, while shaping a career, we must discover what brings us into life, strikes a chord with the soul and injects energy. The ideal design is to align these with the environmental changes and opportunities.
India has witnessed rapid growth in phone connections in the last two decades and emerged as the world’s second largest telecom network. At 423 million internet users, India is the second largest in the world. Urban tele-density is 173% and for the rural India, it is 57% now and increasing. Telecom technology has been continuously evolving; many new applications such as IoT, machine to machine communication are emerging.
One of the recent studies by ASSOCHAM and KPMG showed a bullish outlook in terms of creation of new jobs. And on the other hand, there is consolidation in the industry reducing the number of operators and hence, reduction in the number of jobs. Given this backdrop, what is in store?
This shall pass away:
The immediate issue of job losses and hardships is for real. The individuals and their families have to overcome this hurdle. There are sectors other than telecom; they value work experience of Telecom; for example, skills like sales, marketing, business enabling roles such as IT, HR, finance, general administration, legal are valued in several other sectors. Secondly, there could be a few opportunities in another player within the sector. Last but not the least, this is an opportunity to explore the paths that caught one’s attention but one did not pursue them due to several other reasons. For example, entrepreneurship, further studies, teaching are possibilities.
Over the last few years, competitors have dropped pricing in order to lure customers and been servicing huge debts leading to erosion of margins. The current developments of acquisitions leading to optimization of workforce will do a lot of good to the industry though the customers could eventually see gradual pressure on their wallet. Time will tell if the customer will see a corresponding value in the increased spend.
Stay on the cutting edge:
The sector is so competitive that the market players are busy in activities and they expect the employees to be running on a treadmill all the time. In the process, one keeps the muscles flexible and agile; however, the muscles do not necessarily build their strength and sustainability. One has to go for a different regimen to build strength and live long.
Many of us have the misnomer that the employer company is responsible for development of our skills. But, the reality is that organizations can only facilitate learning but the onus of keeping oneself fit and strong lies on the employee.
As technology has been changing and new methods of doing one’s job are in vogue, one must keep an eye on these, develop one’s skills on a continuous basis. Sectors like telecom have been seeing major changes in quick succession. It is an opportunity for a practitioner to be on the fast lane and learn from them. It is not only true for the engineering talent but also for all the functions in the sector. While the core of the business keeps evolving, all roles in the business have to be adapting quickly as well. And at the same time, it is a threat for someone who wants stability and resists quick changes. One has to be on the cutting edge all the time!
Until the early 2000’s, 90% of the offered candidates accepted the offer and joined work. As IT and Outsourcing industry boomed in India, opportunities increased significantly, especially at the junior and mid levels. Naturally, candidates maximized the gains for them. They shopped around looking for the best offer; current employers threw in a few interesting sops to retain the resigning employee.
These days, recruiters keep guessing if an offer will convert into a joinee. I have noticed, in certain sectors in IT, 40 – 50% offers drop off. Some organizations report 80% of their offers do not convert into joinees. 40% or 80% … it is crippling and unbelievably depressing! It is a major concern for the recruitment industry as well as for talent acquisition process. What can one do to minimize offer drop-outs?
Give the best offer
Candidates drop the offers due to several reasons. Most common reason cited by them is a better offer having come their way. We must go under the skin of this ‘better offer’. If we can make our offer the ‘best offer’, it will be hard to resist. Best offer is not necessarily the highest salary, rather it is the offer that matches the candidate’s wants and needs!
We have to understand what the candidate is looking for. Often, the candidate is not clear what is the best for him (or her) and what one must ask or demand. A recruiter must play the critical role of listening to the candidate, developing the vital rapport with him (or her), helping the person give a finite shape to those expectations and re-calibrating them along the lines of realism.
Gaps in this step point to the fact that the recruiter is shooting in the dark; the candidate might or might not find the offer interesting; there is all likelihood of the candidate going for a window shopping once he or she has received the offer from you.
It is critical to position the offer right in the mind of the candidate. The offer appears to be the best when it matches with most of the needs. It is the intelligent recruiter who discovers the needs well, redefines them, checks how the opportunity matches with the needs and then highlights how the offer is the ‘best offer’.
Get the Right start
The opening conversation is the most crucial in the entire life cycle of engagement with the candidate. Several times, the recruiter makes the mistake of offering the opportunity with a detail description and does not make an attempt of discovering the needs of the candidate. Naturally, the opportunity of consulting with the candidate to define and calibrate the expectations is lost.
The start is right when the recruiter is able to establish her credibility, gain attention from the candidate and listen to what could be a great career move for him or her. It calls for confidence of the recruiter, knowledge about the talent market, practice of having such discussions and ability to listen deeply.
Give a realistic preview of the Job … Do NOT oversell!
Some recruiters tend to over-promise. Candidates get impressed and start visualising the work environment, the boss, colleagues, future opportunities and so on. After they start on the new job, they encounter the reality which is hugely away from what they dreamt about. This disenchantment grows; at a certain point in time, one starts exploring other opportunities and walks out of the job. The employer organization loses invaluable time and hence, money. The candidate suffers from emotional distress, loses time and works hurriedly looking for alternatives. Sometimes, it may not be possible to find another opportunity and hence, one forces oneself to a sub-optimal engagement and hence, a disappointing result for the employer organization.
It is critical that the recruiter does not adopt any shortcut in the recruitment process. Rather one must invest time and effort in discussion with the candidate such that a realistic preview of the job is there in front.
In sum, the needs of the candidate have to match with the job offer and the candidate must have a realistic picture of the job. The recruiter must have a good knowledge of the talent market and listen to the candidate deeply so that she becomes the trusted advisor of the candidate. Offer drop-outs become less of a trouble!!!
Talent Acquisition Leaders plan recruiting calendars and methods based on what the business leaders need for their teams. This is fun and excitement; regular day at work. This gets a bit tricky when the plan is to hire in large numbers or there is a demand-supply issue. In such situations, recruiters get out of their familiar territories to explore new possibilities. They source talent from multiple locations, adopt new methods to attract talent, review their assessment methods just in case they are losing out good candidates, focus on candidate experience, challenge existing norms and so on. Though organizations keep doing this during their growth phase, each time such an exercise is undertaken, it becomes unique in many ways because we live in a highly dynamic environment. What are the top considerations for one such multi-location recruiting exercise?
Who is Recruiting for You?
Recruiters deliver the moment of truth to an applicant. They take your Employer Brand out there to the talent market. They need to have a good grip on both sides of the equation : demand side as well as the supply side.
The demand side point towards the Employer brand. So, they must have a good understanding of what you stand for, your future plans and relative positioning with respect to the employer brands competing with you.
On the supply side, they need to have a good understanding of the behaviours of the candidates in the local market. We have technology-enabled databases such as job portals, social networks of professionals and various job search engines. Yet, it is critical to have a good understanding of candidate behaviours, availability of talent, their typical expectations and the dynamics of local talent market. It is important that the recruiter has a physical presence in the market and has a good connection with the candidates there.
Do you have many recruiters working for you? Are they all well-qualified and competent to work for you? When you have many recruiters tapping the same market, they compete against one another and often work at cross purposes. Secondly, recruiters tend to give their everything to an assignment which is exclusive to them, especially when the pool of eligible candidates is small. And at the same time, when you put them on a contingency mode alongside many other recruiters, you do not get any of them to deploy their strategic bandwidth on the assignment. So, the value that you receive becomes sub-optimal.
It is important to make the right choice of Recruiters.
Right Methods to Assess
You must have the right methods to screen applicants so that the right candidates do not drop off the process, great candidates feel encouraged to apply and misfits get eliminated early on. This is easier said than done. The context of demand and supply could be unique in each market. Hence, the methods for attraction of talent and doing prelim screening needs appropriate improvisation. For example, one could introduce a method of group interaction when you have far too many walk-ins and you do not see a challenge in picking up the desired numbers. Another situation could be to screen candidates online right at the stage of expressing interest. On the other hand, one could encounter situation of tight supply of the skillsets being hired. In those cases, you could hold challenges or seminars to engage with potential talent and network with them to build a long-lasting engagement.
Keep track of the Efficiency
It is exciting to go places and attract talent from various pockets. There is always a cost involved and the returns that we get for the organization. The costs include the fees paid to agencies, online databases, logistics and the person-hours invested by the personnel involved in the process. The returns are to be measured in terms of number of hires, average cost to company of the hires vs the company average, the retention rate of the hires vs the company average and the value of diversity on customer satisfaction.
At times, companies do not keep track of these metrics and hence, have no idea if the system is working well for them. It is not enough to keep a track of the efficiency but also, one has to make course-corrections in the system based on the outcomes.
Organizations hire new people to fill either a new position or a vacant slot. As soon as the new joiner arrives, a payroll record is created and various stakeholders in the organization start their tasks to help the person start his or her work. Everyone is well-intentioned to make sure that the new person gets on with his or her job at the earliest.
Most often, the best case scenario of a hasslefree onboarding means, the employee has a welcome mail, a bouquet, a set of forms to fill, a few documents to read, a few videos to watch, a meal with a bunch of folks, a tour of the workplace with quick introductions and handshakes by many and assignment of a workstation with a bag of office stationery. This seems to be a well-organized check-list, but it takes immense efforts to organize. An HR person has to co-ordinate with several departments and seek some approvals to get these in place. Needless to say that many organizations find this tough to get all of these done free from glitches.
And some organizations have a longer list of activities in the list. They need to be delivered on the 7th day, 30th day, 60th day and so on.
Is onboarding all about organizing a set of tasks? Do these activities make the new joiner feel at home and make the person get onto the expressway?
A set of well-organized tasks can make someone experience a machine-like accuracy. However, it does not give the confidence to the person about the future that lies ahead. Starting a new job is much more than getting an appointment letter at hand, signing a few documents and getting introduced to a few colleagues and seniors. A new job inspires the person with new dreams, hopes and aspirations. An organization needs to think about these and create the space in the program to touch upon these vital aspects.
Normally, organizations treat onboarding as a transaction. Hence, a new joiner is most often just a headcount and a row in the HRMS database. While these are important pieces in the labyrinth of a firm, it is equally or more important for the leaders to build systems and processes to make the new employee feel valued.
Ultimately, an organization has a purpose and a mission to accomplish. It has its systems and processes. It has a set of tangibles that define the journey. There are roles and responsibilities for people working there. The organization has a structure that facilitates the employees to perform various tasks. Also, it delivers rewards and recognition to the employees. Onboarding must include this critical aspect the life at work.
Many organizations do not have an onboarding program that gets down to the brass tacks. A new joiner is not sure what is expected of him to be considered successful in the role. LEaders shy away from explaining the targets, the methods by which the job is evaluated and what support will be provided along the way to aid success. The measures of success must be clear for the new joiner.
In sum, there are three aspects of an ideal onboarding program : carry out a set of tasks driven by a check-list, build emotional connect with the person and define the key indicators of performance.
This is such a basic topic that nobody talks about it, not even the HR folks! Ask any line manager how easy it is for their team members to find answers when they have a query for the HR team. Employees often do not know who the right person is in the HR team to deal with their queries. Even if they know, it is difficult to reach the concerned HR person. Sometimes, they reach the person, but she is busy when the employee has reached her! One has to cross three obstacles to be able to discuss a query. Isn’t this a problem really?
Back to Basics
We know, the HR folks have to listen well, show empathy, gather facts before they decide, deal with employees respectfully, explain the decision transparently and so on. They are also expected to observe the pattern of queries coming up; reflect upon them in the background of queries they encounter in open house interactions and feedback from the line managers. Then they are expected to go to root cause of the queries, take not only corrective actions but also preventive actions in collaboration with various stakeholders. HR team must communicate the decisions, watch the impacts of the decisions and make changes in due course of time. Do the HR folks deliver consistently on these aspects?
Some organizations have impersonalised the process. They have a toll-free number or a common email or an e-platform where a query can be raised. Sometimes, there is a set of FAQs given to the employees so that they can find answers on their own for most of their questions. Some organizations have outsourced the process to a Shared Service Centre where SLAs are defined to handle employee queries with speed and efficiency.
Sounds good to you? Some love this while some cringe at it. The context of each organization is unique. If you have scientists working, you would put some of your best HR folks deal with their queries and at the same time, create multiple channels such as tech-enabled self-service, emails, phones, chat, call back option and so on. If you have a large number of employees largely on transactional activities, you would possibly set up a lot of automation for them to respond to their needs efficiently and ask their managers to play a role in HR. One size doesn’t fit all. You have to choose what works well for your context and is effective for you.
Are you Agile?
Given the context of instant gratification that we love, employees want quick answers to their queries. The HR helpdesk needs all the information at one place to be able to give the answers quickly. Employee queries range from leaves, holidays, taxes, reimbursements, salary components, deductions, needs of special documentation to issues related to career growth, nature of work, behaviour of supervisor, interaction with peers or sub-ordinates, workload or a point on ethical behaviour. We can see, it’s a wide range of subjects on which an employee could have a question. Some of these can be addressed by automated systems, FAQs or bots to provide quick answers. However, there are a whole range of other topics on which the HR person needs to listen, understand, empathise and resolve.
At times, organizations deliver poor experience to their employees because they do not have all the information at one place such as leaves, holidays, payroll record, employee record, history of the benefits availed and so on. Oftentimes, each of these topics are handled by different desks and hence, the HR helpdesk doesn’t have the access to all the information at one go. Hence, an employee cannot get quick answers and have to keep chasing the HR department for these.
In sum, the HR team or the Agency has to do the Basics right, ensure that they are Effective and Agile!