Human Resource and Organisational Development leaders consider Organisational Behaviour as one of the most complex and fascinating subjects. However, they delve into it mostly as practitioners customising their own experiential learning and insights. It is therefore interesting to confront real scenarios and problems faced at the workplace rather than only looking for structured interventions by engaging external experts. It is worthwhile to take a look at situations that appear so obvious that they are often ignored.
Changing scenario: Paradigm shift
The rapid industrial growth post liberalisation in India resulted in the need for radical change in the DNA or the ‘right fit’ of employees for organisations. Changing scenarios such as competition, new markets and products and uncertainty require new ways of hiring. Unfortunately, some leaders continue with their old methodologies. Those candidates found more adjusting yet less capable get selected, promoted and rewarded instead of the more deserving, highly talented, passionate and creative ones. Ultimately it is the leaders and the investors who stand to lose because of less revenue, profitability, growth and ROI.
It may be noted that the pool of a large number of Gen Y professionals nurtured post 1992 is actually strength to leverage. Their mode of thought, aspirations, worldview and ethical framework differs from their predecessors.
Culture fit versus talent
Even today, thoughtful employers hire talented employees especially at senior levels. They occupy critical posts and are the brightest of the lot across levels. For instance, in sales they are defined tangible accountabilities. However, the same might not hold true for the so-called ‘non-critical’ job holders. Organisations contain entrenched informal structures with power centers ensuring that people compliant with their group interests join and thrive. This is a reality of organisations across the globe. However, beyond a point this tendency is fraught with undesirable consequences. The problem is further compounded by a lack of clearly defined parameters of ‘culture fit’. Inadvertently, this euphemism is sometimes used to reject quality at the cost of ‘reference’ candidates.
Hiring with objective
An HR tendency that impacts organisational performance is lack of goal or objective in hiring. Many companies, realising their inability to attain market leadership, begin to hire aggressively from the market leader(s) with unrealistically high expectations. Behind the façade of a new-age enterprise, a tussle ensues between new order and the old ways – authority with no power, resistance to new attitudes and processes, focus on controlling new professionals rather than supporting them – ultimately leading to an expensive HR failure.
Another practice that is detrimental to the company is hiring senior professionals to showcase them to prospective investors rather than having a real need for such expensive experts. Changes and best practices are put in place without checking suitability or readiness leading to unpleasant results. The real purpose should be shared with the top team to avert employee disenchantment regarding management’s intentions.
Managing human capital: Key differentiator
Great leaders and teams have one thing in common – passion. However, everyone is not tolerant enough of the team’s demands. Passionate employees get steeped into their endeavour. They usually have an exaggerated view of their contribution, whereas the organisation perceives it in terms of business results. Nevertheless, such employees are necessary for organisational excellence and it depends on the leadership whether one is able to keep the passionate engaged, whether he or she accommodates/tolerates such misplaced sense of contribution.
Many attempt to ‘set the expectations right’, but it might not work in the arena of passion. Moreover, many organisations might not have designed a set of roles to ensure job rotation, nor do they have key differentiators of performance, objective evaluation methods and appropriate reward & recognition policies.
It is important to institutionalise standardised processes that support creativity and innovation; where employee potential is one of the strategic differentiators.
Right fit: A challenge
Global recognition has validated the contribution of Indian workforce. The best way to identify the right fit and talent lies in business leaders rising above inherent human frailties in organisational activities. In addition, behavioural scientists and HR leaders need to evolve fresh paradigms, standard methods and metrics for customisation on a case-to-case basis.