For a practicing learning & development professional in me, it was quite heart warming to take note of the fact that Infosys has once again demonstrated being a clear front-runner and an accomplished employer, by establishing benchmarks in human capital management, by considering the most crucial of all resources to be accounted for, in their balance sheet as an asset, albeit by calculating the ownership through ESOPs. All this while, I wondered on the tall claims of human capital classified as an ‘asset’ and yet not being subscribed to, through the tedious empirical evidence and copious approaches being discussed and debated in plotting the contribution made by the human resource to the bottomline of an organization, notwithstanding the ROI by enumerating the ‘penny-spent-pound-realized’ by the organisation in the disguise of talent management. This is atleast the beginning.
I firmly believe that the best of practices in ‘employee engagement’ currently in place with the matured organizations requires to be successfully replicated by emerging businesses and family-owned businesses. These go a long way in creating employers’ branding as well.
Most of the businesses and organizations are over zealously preoccupied with creating standard operating practice manuals and handbooks in safeguarding the ‘execution risks’ and the ‘reputation risks’, when it comes to human capital. There is a visible tendency of relegating the ‘engagement’ next only to ‘talent’ and in the process, creating a disharmony of expectations between the end objective and the delivery. Employee engagement must necessarily precede talent management. It is imperative that the role is coherent enough to identify the role holder and his/her agreed deliverables and not the other way round.
In the capacity of a business owner, entrepreneur or a manager, the role needs to be re-examined in isolation of accountability and responsibility. Instead, recreate the architecture of being a ‘facilitator’ to the desired outcome, by extending support to the creativity of individual talents and teams by driving inclusive solutions in building sustainable agreements.
I would like to go about defining the DNA of an employee-oriented and not necessarily an employee-friendly organization as following:
a) Agree and accept human resource to be one of the critical stakeholders in real sense by making them party to business goals in order to instil a sense of accomplishment. The sense of accomplishment should ideally be followed by a transparent rewards and recognition mechanism. Results are determinants of relationships. This has to be a conscious effort to be driven top down. This should not remain a mere ornamental obsession of the corporate communication or a banal and uninspiring disclosure at the annual general meeting and for that matter, a ploy to window dress the enterprise valuation for prospective investors.
b) Continuous empowerment of human capital through cross functional exposure, information sharing, wider knowledge universe and individual development plans. This can be created by building acceptance and rejecting prejudice.
c) Building and promoting self esteem as an organizational mandate while evaluating performance. This helps in recognizing individual brilliance in the top quartile, as a precursor to organized excellence and also in inspiring the mid and the bottom quartile to graduate closer to performance benchmarks. Incorrigible laggards must necessarily be shown the door; else, they become a liability to performance and perfection. Recognize performance to drive excellence.
d) Consciously creating a culture of ‘feedback’ instead of ‘opinions’ within the organization by being direct with people who value results, being receptive to people who value sincerity, being equally enthusiastic to the enthusiasts and by being reliable with people who value quality.
e) Stop hearing and start listening to people.