Sunday, September 12, 2010

Changing Workplace-Different Strokes?

It’s kind of an eerie feeling!

Just earlier today, I was making a point to one of my clients-how we ought to be striving to become an employer of choice. In this globalised world, we need to think beyond being a ‘local hungry outfit’-and as we anyway woo and wow MNC customers across different geographies, we ought to be better off wondering how to attract ‘world class talent’!

Maybe we should be tinkering our hiring process as today, as more and more professionals are gravitating to finding 'work life' balance, working in the domains of their choice, even choosing technologies and the employer they would like to be associated with! Perhaps it is time for a fresh approach to change our communication to prospective talent banks -to first connect, then increase our visibility, and then engage them...

So it was a sense of deja vu that I read the cover story of the latest issue of Business Today-Born to Rule @Work -. I highly recommend the brilliant piece on how some of the better employees in India are changing their workplace for the ‘twenty somethings’!!

  • L&T has changed their pay packets as youngsters want money in hand rather than security in the long term.
  • Nokia has started reverse mentoring.
  • Maruti Suzuki & Genpact have overhauled appraisals to ensure instant gratification to give feedback all through the year.
  • At Apollo Tyres, mandatory structured training programmes seem to be more effective than salary hikes as retention tool as nobody wants lifelong employment anyway!
  • There are some in Infosys working on community empathy projects as they want ‘meaning in work'
Gen Y is unique.

"There is a desire to acquire –higher compensation, instant recognition, learning, the power to make decisions and above all, a desire to have absolute control over their careers and life.

They don’t respond to command-and-control type of management. Give them work, tell them what is expected and you will perhaps get better results that what you were looking for."

Well, time will tell if these brilliant individual performers can merge their identities with the team and add tangible value to the workplace by aligning with the organisational needs.

Yes, it is imperative that one be sensitive to the changing aspirations, and so one must change tack to attract and retain the kind of talent one needs -which are different at the different stages of the life cycle of the company (growth, recovery or crisis) as well as situation one's company is in (Startup, Turnaround, Realignment and Sustaining success).

In a country where one in two citizens is younger than 25yrs of age, are hirers taking notice?

There is a need to change the archaic way of recruiting. Go beyond 'numbers' or 'seats to fill'. Time for metrics other than 'cost per hire'. Concentrate on getting the right people in, and ensure a large majority stay on, grow and contribute to the organisation. What about waiting for the right person to serve out her/his notice period and join, and looking beyond hiring tresspassers-just because they are the ones immediately available for joining ?

Personally, I am of the opinion that no size fits all! In most organisations, one can find a pattern of some jobs being ‘developmental’ in nature –while a lot of others are ‘maintenance oriented’. The former needs an air of creativity and flexibility-while the latter revels on discipline and order.

Perhaps-there is something we have to learn from the world of sports. I recall reading an interesting article on how to pace oneself while running a marathon. It is much more fun if you can finish with the group you start with. Isn't life a marathon? The journey is just as important as the destination, right?

It is time we found our own solutions-tailor made for the best fit!

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