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July 31, 2006

One man's pill....

........is another man's poison, is what Vroom was trying to say when he talked about the concept of valence in his Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Essentially, valence refers to the emotional orientation that people may have with respect to a particular outcome. The same outcome may produce favourable consequences for some, and not-so-favourable consequences for others.

Like what happened at the Guardian office when they decided to allow employees to bring in their children to work. The employees and their kids sure had a great time, but the other adults (non-parents) had reactions ranging from mild discomfort, to refief that it was over, to comments like "It was worse than Bring Your Dog to Work Day". Talk about unintended consequences.

Learning: Maybe the next time, Guardian can club Work from Home (for the childless employees) along with Bring your Child to Work, so that one group does not get motivated at the cost of the other!

Whats my next stop?

That India's serial job hoppers are having a field day is evident.

Thanks to the booming market, they always have a bigger job and a better pay packet to go to.

The average stint in an organization today seems to be one year, or maybe even less. And the reasons for moves range from overseas postings, to salary packages, to the overly simplified "I just need a change".

I wonder who is going to bear the brunt of this phenomenon first - the employers who are desperately looking for talent, the recruiters, equally desperate to fill the positions, or the candidates themselves?

On a related, but slightly tangential note, Adrian Savage writes on why too much loyalty is also bad.

July 29, 2006

I just found out....

.......that my job has a fairly high boredom index and very little prestige.

I also checked the clock and decided it was time to retire (pun intended) for the night.

Flag it off!

Some mornings when I walk into my office reception, a bright yellow sign post greets me as I step out of the lift. It says, "Caution, wet floor ahead". I thank God for its presence, coz the gleamy surface would have never had me guess that there was water on it.

And I'm thinking, shouldnt we in HR be doing just that?
Raising red flags when we see something that the line managers may not be in a position to see?

Do we know what the early warning attrition signals for our markets are, and have we been able to educate our line managers about them?

Do we know the skills and competencies our people will need to possess in the context of the business imperatives in the coming months? For example, if global mobility is going to be a thrust area for the organization, then have you helped your people cultivate a global mindset and make cross cultural assimilations?

Do we know who our future leaders will be? On a lighter (some may say crass) note, if your entire management team gets wiped out in a deluge - do we know if the organization has people who will run it from the next day?

Can we anticipate the impact of various key organization changes - eg, introduction of a stock option plan, senior management moves, new product line launch, etc?

I think helping Line Managers work with these issues is "real HR" - it is proactive, it is bang on - in the sense that it impinges on areas which are crucial to the business, and most importantly, it impacts the bottomline. And ofcourse, here's the best part - it is a skill. So lets be happy to have it, or cultivate it if we dont. And get to work.

What I do for a living

When I tell people that I am an OD Manager, I meet with responses ranging from - "Oh, so you do training" to "Come again...what exactly is that".

So what exactly is OD?

Here are some of the things OD (Organization Development) means to me:
  • Improving the quality of interactions between people
  • Getting people closer to the organization's strategy, and more importantly, help them understand the behavioural changes that need to be made in order to align to that strategy
  • Helping people make important shifts. (For example, facilitating the transition from academics to organizations for campus hires, moving from working in silos to working in teams, etc)
  • Facilitating communication in a manner that is transparent, consistent and logical.

Very soon, I hope to write a post on how some of these things get done!

Twenty Mistakes Organizations Make

  • Add another level of hierarchy because people aren’t doing what you want them to do. (More watchers get results!)
  • Appraise and bonus the performance of individuals and complain that you cannot get your staff working as a team.
  • Add inspectors and multiple audits because you don’t trust people’s work to meet standards.
  • Fail to create standards and give people clear expectations so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail.
  • Create hierarchical, permission steps and other roadblocks that teach people quickly their ideas are subject to veto and wonder why no one has any suggestions for improvement. (Make people beg for money!)

Click here to read the remaining - and count the number of times you go red in the face!