Of late, Indian Industry has undergone deregulation and globalisation wherein the rules of game have totally changed. Market is wide open for entry of new players including well-established MNCs and private entrepreneurs. The old time giants (both Indian and MNCs) can no more remain isolated from this fluid market situation and have already taken series of initiatives in order to protect their bottom lines. India being a very large and attractive market for any new player, situation is most vulnerable to existing players operating in Indian market.
With market driven pricing mechanism in place and surplus manufacturing capacity availability in India and also nearby Asia pacific region, all the players are at level playing field as far as product pricing is concerned. A company can offer differentiation in terms of quality of its products and services and squeeze controllable costs while optimizing operations. While every player has access to best available tools and machinery for running business efficiently, it is only the employee, which could make real difference to the deliverables of the Company vis-à-vis its input cost.
Statistics and experience have proved that Companies with same cross-section of manpower but having different management styles and policies have positioned themselves quite differently in market place. Microanalysis of such companies clearly shows that it is the better management of HR function, which has resulted into more enabling and involved employees. The need is therefore established for transition of the role of HR function from a conventional personnel and welfare function to more of management role through involvement, development and motivation of employees.
Employers in job market have provided their employees with innumerous facilities/ perks. Today we have reached a situation where on one hand, any additional facility/ benefit is not able to motivate the employee in same proportion as used to happen about a decade ago, and on the other hand, employee turnover is very high, resulting into heavy burden on the organisation.
Further, it is also not possible to motivate an employee with faster/ additional promotions. What could perhaps be effective in the given situation is to provide some intrinsic benefits, visible facilities/ awards, accord recognition, increased involvement, skill upgradation, etc. Some of the measures which could be considered by HR Managers today for achieving better productivity, devising efficient business models and effective strategies for holding the right talents, could be:
- Openness to new ideas and easy accessibility at all levels of organisation
- Transparency in dealings, policies, procedures and using discretionary authorities
- Regular updation of technical skills, knowledge and developmental inputs
- Use Annual Performance Appraisal (APA)/ Confidential Report (CR) counseling for bringing real time improvements in officials and also organizational functioning; commence the counseling for workers also.
- Emphasis on human relations and team spirits; Inculcate and encourage commitment to organizational objectives in place of individual ones.
- Information security so as to protect the organization against competitors’ move
- Study and adopt best policies/ practices followed by other players in industry worldwide.
- Long-term perspective, both business and manpower planning for the organization, to avoid stagnation and/ or structural vacuum.
- Career growth planning for each individual, for sustained motivation among employees.
- Prompt redressal of any dispute/ complaint (whether personal, interpersonal or collectives)
- Render willing cooperation and prompt assistance for all demi-official needs of employees e.g. arranging accommodation, local transport, school admission for children, medical, and other welfare related matters; special drive to cater to the need of employees when on transfer.
- Ensure hygiene factors at work place as per the entitlements as a standing instruction (no follow-up/ request necessary).
- Exit interviews of retiring employees and upon resignations, etc. to take timely feedback on Company’s culture/ functioning and assess need for correction, if any.
- Facilitate more informal work environment e.g. more frequent family get together, allow using first names even for superiors, seniors also walking to colleague’s desk, set up inter grade/ functional task forces, discuss personal problems/ issues also at times.
- Keep all communication channels open while negotiating; no ego/ prestige with employees as they are integral part of the Company and stakeholders too.
- Flexible approach to the problem in hand; find most practicable solution and avoid deadlocks at any cost.
- Friendlier and receptive look on manager’s face (e.g. Bhagidari Govt. concept adopted by Delhi Govt. has changed the face of Delhi Police to a large extent).
- Encourage healthy competition and discipline in employees through few new annual awards through voting by colleagues themselves e.g. Great Team Spirit, Most Liked Employee, Highly Dependable, Symbol of Punctuality, etc.
These are some of the items, which may be of help/ use in dealing with changing era effectively for some organisation. Though some of items pertain to functional manager, HR managers may be required to set policy framework / dovetail the cultural issues for uniformity across the organization. If one can take action well before market forces dictate, he/ she can definitely earn some extra for his/ her own Company.
Let’s make a sincere and honest attempt….and see the change.
Author : K K Sharma