In an case and in any situation your demands on your people have to be commensurate with their abilities and experience
Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
Question: I am the CEO of a start-up and facing many talent challenges. The biggest issue is of performance. Because our affordability to attract experienced professionals is low, we are forced to hire fresh graduate and undergraduate candidates. The problem is that these employees need a lot of guidance and training, and from my experience they make many mistakes that can cause the organization huge losses. I am trying to groom people to take more responsibilities and ownership, but I am not satisfied with the level of accountability and performance. Am I being too demanding? What is the right approach on engaging and getting top performance from people? Should I instead hire less people and concentrate on getting people with more experience?
Answer: To begin with for any “start up” to succeed, you need a core team of experienced and well-qualified personnel. Without such a team of talented individuals, it is very difficult for any venture to succeed. I guess you need to strike a balance between numbers and quality. If you quantify the losses as a result of the mistakes committed by inexperienced or unqualified personnel, you may have a right business case.
I believe that in any case and in any situation your demands on your people have to be reasonable - commensurate with abilities and experience. If you make unreasonable demands it will lead to attrition, low morale, burnouts, etc. You will become known for being unreasonable and your ability to hire right people in the future will also be eroded.
If you cannot afford to hire experienced talented individuals you will have to personally stretch yourself and play the role of being a coach and a mentor to the young blood that you have inducted. Multiple interventions will help, for example, helping your people understand their roles, your expectations, giving them necessary training, becoming a role model, creating incentives that recognize the right behaviors, etc. will go a long way. You should set realistic and short-term targets.
To engage people pay heed to some basics: communicate (two way), make your people feel proud of the organization they are part of, instill a sense of ownership, show them the path forward, recognize and reward right behaviors, ensure you also have some fun at work, induce learning and lots of support and coaching. Take the people up the performance ladder, step-by-step. Being demanding alone does not help.
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