The character that an organisation exhibits over a continuous period, consistently to all its stakeholders – more so to its employees – can be broadly termed as its culture. Often, this culture 'others' employees, creating a sense to the individual that the organisation is 'they' and not 'we'.
Changing this is a challenge. Transformations don’t happen overnight, and they are brought about by many who keep doing small things at a time. These small, small initiatives are led by few passionate leaders who have their focus clear on where and how they are guiding their teams.
Where do we begin? Give them dreams – that they can focus on their personal, professional, and social lives. Provide support and be their guide and facilitator whenever they want – without over imposing on them.
Please note that I am using the word dream in a broader sense. Many dreams die fast, if not converted into SMART Goals, with a clear action plan. These Goals must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reviewable and Time bound. No company can guarantee continued employment to its employees. But learning organisations make them employable and no company can do better than that.
Learning organisations retain their employees far better than others. The significant features of a learning organisation are –
- Employees are permitted to make mistakes and learn from them. They are not penalised. But, occurrence is permitted but not recurrence. No one can make the same mistake again.
- The employee related policies and practices are absolutely transparent and are made available to all.
- The communication flows freely, literally from all directions – not only from top to bottom but horizontally, vertically, especially from bottom to top.
Organisations are expected to provide an environment that is at least closer to a typical learning organisation.
Employee involvement and employee engagement activities make the employees-employer bonding stronger and long lasting. These will also facilitate employees to look at the larger picture better and in the process contribute better to the organisational expectations. While there are some time tested and proven initiatives, it is up to the individual organisation to develop something that is unique to their type of industry and needs. How far the companies can go in allocating the funds, once again reflects on the kind of environment the companies would like to provide to their employees.
While the right kind of talent attraction is of primary concern of all organisations, retaining them has become the bigger problem. In a nutshell, organisations are nowadays focusing more so on TTM - Total Talent Management.
At the end of the day, in spite of all involvement and engagement activities, rewards and recognition do matter a lot. Money has never tasted bitter! We see attrition for two reasons in this regard. One is that the individual’s contribution is not recognised and interestingly the other reason being someone totally undeserving has been taken care of well! Even though it may appear silly, it is still the truth. It is ok to some extent if the employee resigns and leaves the organisation for various reasons. But we should be wary of the ones who mentally resign from the organisation, don’t leave and still physically remain in the organisation!
The only solution is to have an objective performance management system which is transparent to all. Individual KRAs should be aligned with the departmental goals and departmental goals should be aligned with the organiational goals. In fact, the process is actually otherwise. Organisational goals are fixed first and departmental goals are derived from them. These individual goals should be SMART – and quantitative – as far as possible. There is a misconception that KRAs in some functions cannot be quantified or made SMART. It is not so – it just needs little application of mind. If the organisational goals are SMART, then it is absolutely possible to make individual goals SMART. And rewards and recognition should be directly and transparently linked to these – with absolute adherence. One should be doubly careful not to let subjectivity of the HODs sneak into the appraisal system at some point of time or other.
Lastly, no employee will leave the organisation if the following parameters are met.
- There should be learning from the employee – at all times with new challenges whenever possible.
- Employees should be made to contribute to the organisational goals – or rather he has no choice. Here is where the employee involvement comes into picture – how much the organisation is letting him to experiment.
- Employee contribution must be rewarded and recognised.
- And finally, the recognition and rewards should be on par with the market.
This article was first published in November 2021.