Talent management is a key focus area for organizations today--corporate social responsibility and business sustainability--
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THE NEW ORGANISATION
In this series, we discuss the context and key dimensions of Talent Management in the New Organization
In the past, organization networks were characterized by domination and power. By contrast, the New Organization of today and tomorrow sees more value in delivering through a network of mutually interdependent entities – each entity having the strength and capability to operate on its own.
In many ways, the New Organization is akin to honeybee comb colonies, where different work groups perform different interdependent tasks or jobs coordinated through a decentralized system of communication and control. Much like the honeybee comb organization, we see many different parallel activities at any given moment in the New Organization. Many of these activities are inter-related and must be kept in balance with one another. The honeybee comb organization is centralized and decentralized, both at the same time.
In the honeybee colony, nectar collection must be adjusted to the amount of space available for honey storage. This in turn, requires that the comb builders and workers who are receiving and processing food must be sensitive to the level of foraging success. Furthermore, many of these activities, as well as the behaviour of the Queen, must be coordinated with the annual colony cycle so that swarming occurs early. The queen bee determines quantity of bee wax and ensures that standards are maintained. Every single bee has a purpose and is responsible for producing its allotted amount of honeycomb. The beehive colony has an essential core focus and mission and nothing occurs without the master plan.
In the New Organization of today, technology and human capability is facilitating the welding of the divisional and functional boundaries and a bee colony-simulated matrix of relationships and roles have evolved. In this New Organization:
· Knowledge management is the key for knowledge sharing throughout the organization.
· For optimal organization effectiveness, the leadership and decision-making changes depending on the situations.
· Skills are constantly evaluated and upgraded.
· Emphasis is on the absolutes of excellence like establishing trust, relationships, and networks.
· Information ‘tentacles’ reach out to customers and suppliers.
Healthcare delivery organizations today operate very much like network organizations. Each healthcare delivery team has two leaders – a clinical specialty leader and a business/commercial leader. Each team has people, who also serve on other teams, and each key person serves on more than one team, hence the honeycomb knowledge management is one of the core capabilities, with its own core team.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW ORGANISATION:
Technology enabled Real-time Operations: The New Organizations would use real-time information to make fast changes in response to market conditions. As database and transactional systems become quicker and more integrated, companies can feed information to the right person at the right time to make a decision. Its success depends on the structure within which employees make decisions and take action with the information.
Decentralized decision making with some element of centralization: The New Organization would have elements of both centralized and decentralized organizations simultaneously. A study by Diamond Consulting revealed that the median number of direct reports from CEOs has risen from four to seven over 13 years. The study also shows that the average number of employees in these firms dropped from 86000 to 70000 in the same time frame. This suggests that CEOs are enhancing their organizations’ centralized nature by connecting to more people in the organization and at the same time encouraging decentralization by pushing decision-making deeper into the firm to those who are closest to the end customer.
Time & Talent instead of Cost arbitrage: With communication and database technology that move customer and corporate data anywhere at lightning speeds, companies can hand over critical functions to third parties. The New Organizations would seek to create value by leveraging time arbitrage and talent availability instead of cost arbitrage that drove the success of the Indian BPO sector. When an employee in India is logging out of his workday, his counterpart in another part of the world, say Ireland, would log in and continue to work on the assignment. And by the time the workday is finished in Ireland, another colleague would take on the task in another part of the world. So what would have typically taken three working days would be completed within 24 hours.
Workforce diversity: The office of the future will be a virtual melting pot when it comes to diversity of employees in terms of age, gender, nationality or nature. Organizations will actively seek the inclusion of women, minorities, physically challenged and other groups to build greater organization vitality. The New Organization will not discriminate on age and gender but will discriminate on attitude and skills that an individual brings in. The workplace of the future will also see more cross cultural teams, as a substantial number of people from other nationalities would come to India. Better healthcare facilities will keep people professionally active for much longer. Thanks to lowered communications and networking costs, even small companies can manage a global workforce. Networking structures are very evident – people coming together in cross-functional teams; learning networks; communities of practice.
PREPARING FOR THE NEW WORKPLACE: SKILLS FOR FUTURE:
The highly empowered work environment of tomorrow will require certain unique skills and leaders of the New Organization have the challenge of ensuring that front-line workers, in particular, have the requisite skills to operate successfully in such a workplace. Besides technical and functional skills, employees of the new organization would need networking and partnering skills to influence decisions. The New Organization would need the skill base or mindset in the workforce to handle the sometimes-opposing needs of both truly collaborative work as well as the increasing decision-making power of front-line workers. Moving from linear or hub-and-spoke interactions to a ‘honeycomb’ network of relationships is more than a structural and technological issue.
Such a workplace needs to invest in a global citizen as well as cross-cultural training in order to ensure more effective collaboration across cultures and geographies. Training on various aspects of for meaningful interactions. In the future, employees would need to think beyond their respective regional zones and become trans-national in thought and spirit. Even small things like having a good sense of humour and being able to see the other person’s point of view make a difference to the kind of colleague one is perceived to be.
While training helps, it might not be enough. Ensuring that the organization has the skills needed to operate in the New Organization means making changes in hiring, development-and potentially in involuntary turnover. Unseen in the firm is its social capital-tight, informal relationships among employees. The challenge in the New Organization would be to have appropriate processes and facilitation mechanisms that effectively leverage the immense potential of social networks.
The essence of the much-networked New Organization would be creating a workplace where a positive cycle is created by hiring the most competent, highly motivated people for a job and to provide them with the environment to fulfill their aspirations. The people dimension, then, assumes critical importance in the New Organization and would be defined by different leadership styles that are more democratic and mentor-like.
Is your organization ready for a 360-degree?
While western companies have been doing it for more than a decade, Indian companies are slowly adopting the best international practice of 360-degree appraisal for leadership development. Unlike the conventional two-way evaluation process where his/her superior appraises an employee, the 360-degree appraisal system is a unique method that provides each employee the opportunity to receive performance feedback from his or her supervisor and peers, reporting staff members and customers.
In India, the IT companies, viz. Novell, Synygy, Net App, were pioneers in implementing the 360-degree feedback system. Now, many non-IT companies from across sectors, including services and manufacturing are also applying this multi-dimensional tool for the growth of their organizations and people. Car market leader Maruti Suzuki that has recently implemented the system is gung-ho about the programme. However, says S. Y. Siddiqui, Managing Executive Officer, (HR/Fin/IT), and Maruti: “We have used the 360-degree feedback mainly as a development tool rather than as an assessment exercise”.
Undoubtedly, it is a transparent and democratic process wherein a person comes to know what his/her superiors, peers, juniors and customers think of him/her. This helps them to identify their shortcomings and strengths, which would ultimately result in improvement in individual performance. It also helps an organization chart its training and development activities for an individual based on feedback. Additionally, the process empowers juniors, when they are asked to give feedback on their superiors.
As Praveen Tripathi, CEO, Hansa Consulting, who has seen this system at close hand in his previous company Star-com points out: “The biggest advantage is that it encourages team building and working together as a team”.
The pros and cons of the 360-degree feedback system
The multi-rater 360-degree feedback mechanism might result in a backlash as many organizations have experienced. Because the whole process is confidential, people might feel threatened as there could be hard feelings amongst peers and it may translate into a negative feedback. As Tripathi admits – potentially, there could be situations where the system is subverted and an “I scratch my back, you scratch mine” attitude prevails with feedback tailored keeping in mind ambitions.
Also, some people may fear retaliation if they give negative feedback about their superiors. It has been seen that this multi-dimensional feedback process demoralizes many people. Therefore, it is very important that right culture is created before introducing this bias-free appraisal system in a company.
INTRODUCING 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK:
It is essential that companies don’t just adopt 360-degree because it is fashionable, but they should do it for concrete reasons like development of the people and organization.
It is mandatory to create the right culture before introducing this appraisal system. If a firm has the scale and size to implement it while preserving the anonymity of the participants, it should consider implementing it. Companies should also invest time on designing the process so that it benefits both the employees and the company.
To make the system work in an effective manner, the senior management’s involvement is also vital. And the design of the system must be in tune with the company’s philosophy and strategy.
To understand, how a successful implementation works, look at Maruti’s case in point. Before introduction, the company had a brainstorming session within the senior and top management team on the ‘concept’ of 360-degree feedback. “Then we involved all seniors, in our case all the department heads and above in a communication session on the concept of 360-degree feedback process,” says Siddiqui.
The auto major also took time to address all doubts, queries and anxieties among employees to give as much clarity as possible to the affected group leading to high ownership of the programme. Finally, the launch and implementation of the feedback exercise was done through a competent external agency to ensure objectivity, confidentiality and a thorough professional process.
According to Siddiqui, the advantages of this system have been “98% participation; consistency of feedback and high ownership of feedback; clarity on defined competencies for respective position/roles; self assessment and awareness of strengths and concern areas; eagerness to define self development plans and high HR team credibility in participants. The only disadvantage he feels is that there is no individual assessment report card of each participant.
Meanwhile, many firms are still shying away from adopting 360-degree appraisal because of the perceived cost factor. But Siddiqui refutes this saying it is a misconception that costs are high. He says when a cost benefit analysis is done on the programme; the benefits far outweigh the costs.
And as Hansa Consulting Tripathi sums up, the advantages are far more than the drawbacks – “I would encourage companies to go for it. The crux lies in how it is administered and to have checks and balances in place. But I would still say have it rather than not,” he says.
The Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L), is organizing a programme on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business sustainability. The programme will focus on all four tenets of sustainable CSR – economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic. The three-day programme will be held from December 18-20 at the IIM-L campus.
The programme will expose participants to current international and domestic CSR initiatives. In addition, it will focus on issues such as institutional environment and business, the concept of sustain-ability – the new broad agenda, dimensions of sustainability, social / environmental / economic dimension and public-private partnership.
The course will address these challenges from individual, organizational, managerial and social perspectives. The issues discussed will help the participants to deal more effectively with pressures and demands that companies experience these days from a range of stakeholders.
CALCUTTA Meet the parents:
All parents, without exception, want their child to do well. At times, however, parental expectations create a lot of pressure on students. Parents in Calcutta recently had the opportunity to learn how to handle this at a session on good parenting. Organized as part of the 5th India International Premier Schools Exhibition, the session was open to all.
Speakers included Salony Priya, counseling psychologist and parenting expert, clinical psychologist Jaita De Mullick, child and adolescent psychiatrist Rima Mukherjee, consultant psychiatrist Sabyasachi Mitra and Nirmal Agarwal, CEO, Star kids.
Topics such as how to select an ideal school for your child, awakening the genius in your child, nurturing young minds towards excellence, positive parenting and the protective factor were discussed. The aim was to help parents understand their children better. Parents attending the session also received free counseling from child psychologists at the Anubhav Positive Psychology Clinic at the exhibition.
It is not everyday that one wins $500,000. But winners of the Business Plan Competition not only won that stupendous amount but also got the opportunity to usher new ideas in the business sector. The competition was organized by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Calcutta, IDG Ventures, a venture capital firm, and TIE Chennai. The aim of the organizers was to recognize talent for tomorrow’s business.
With the current financial crisis creating havoc in the world of business, the competition gave young aspirants a chance to start a business of their own. Applicants had to send in a commercially viable business. Kumar Logan than won the first prize in the general category while Ashiwani Kumar Gupta bagged the first prize in the student category.
NEPAL Healing lives:
The Maniple College of Medical Science (MCOMS) in Pokhara, Nepal, is inviting applications for its MBBS course. To be eligible, a minimum aggregate of 50% is required at the Plus Two level. Candidates should be above 17 years of age. There is no entrance exam for non-Nepalese students.
Students of Indian nationality seeking admission to MCOMS and subsequently interested in practicing in India will need to obtain an eligibility certificate from the Medical Council of India prior to their enrolment. In addition, they will have to clear a screening test after obtaining their degree certificate, in order to practice in India.
To apply, log on to www.manipal.edu.np or mail your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can call 9731425195 for one-on-one counseling between 10.00am and 5.30pm (IST) on weekdays. The last date for admissions is January 7, 2009.
CALCUTTA Auto mode:
Autonomous learning helps students become better learners and improve their examination scores, says a study by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). CIE recently conducted a workshop to discuss the findings of a project on student-centered learning. It gave teachers access to the latest research from the faculty of education, University of Cambridge, as well as to global findings on student-centric education.
Learning autonomy is the ultimate goal of student-centric learning. Not quite the same as “independent learning,” which focuses on the individual, autonomous learning applies to groups as well as individuals. Autonomous learners take responsibility for their learning and develop strategies that enable them to learn both on their own as well as collaboratively.
Peer and self-assessment is an integral part of student-centric learning. It involves students assessing their own or their peers’ work with marking schemes, criteria and exemplars. This is a skill that needs to be developed with regular practice. The concept of student-centered education is now being used in a growing number of schools. CIE gives teachers access to effective teaching and learning strategies. Many of these focus on facilitating independent learning by students who find themselves in large groups.
NIIT, a leading global talent development corporation, has introduced six new programmes for graduates and final-year students seeking a career in Java, .Net, Web 2.0, creative publishing, systems and networking, business intelligence and data warehousing. The new postgraduate diploma programmes are designed to prepare students for the industry. The duration of these programmes will vary between 99 and 200 days.
The objective of the Java programme is to equip students with core programming skills. The .Net programme has been designed especially for science and engineering graduates and final-year students. The programme on Adobe technology aims at preparing students on RIA (Rich Internet Applications). The creative designing and publishing course will help prepare aspirants in the field of print and publishing. The programme uses leading Adobe technologies like Photoshop, In Design and Illustrator.
The Global Net + programme is aimed at helping students with the latest skills and certification in key technologies in the domain of infrastructure management services and networking.
The business intelligence and data-warehousing course equips students with knowledge of the latest tools and technologies in the field, such as Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) technologies and analytics tools. The fees for the courses range between Rs.25,000 and Rs.40,000. All six courses are available at NIIT centers.