Managing Talent during Turbulent Times

Turbulence in fluid mechanics means anarchic and stochastic (the state is non-deterministic) property changes. Our businesses of today are impacted by known and unknown factors; predictable yet unpredictable parameters and thus forecasting trends becomes just an academic exercise. The power to interpret these constant changes in the duality of opportunity and problems is a misnomer, and agile adaptability with preparation to this steady alteration is imperative.

Essentially, the system and the environment need a complete overhaul. The mantra is every organization must invest in technology and reduce the dependence on average performing manpower. All customary activities must be automated. Productize all services. Automation and standardization will help build a strong base. There is no point

spending too much time on products and service with low margins and high effort. People dependence in mundane work must be minimized. Replace people with technology in routine.

Be lucid at what margins your organization must operate and then build teams around it. If you wish to operate in high margin high innovation sectors you must hire the exceptional. The best is not necessarily expensive manpower. In fact, my experience says people who work for money are the worst to hire. Their loyalty is poor. Their ability to learn and contribute is also not note-worthy. The problem is their energy is focussed only on acquiring material gains to maintain high personal “life standards” at the cost of the brand. Their individual value in the market is not as towering.

Ask a question when you hire; can this person make it alone to success on his own? Mostly you will realize you pay for skillsand not for passion. Hire people who enjoy working. People with glamorous lifestyles always play safe.

Be vigilant of the compensation package you offer. A lot of individuals are paid more than what the job can afford. You must have an upper limit defined for each job. Either professionals shape up or take a beating on the increments. In certain cases you may also want to look at employees who are paid much more than what they contribute; either scale them up or place them out. High CTC surely bleed the organizations. I have seen in my corporate career, organizations have ruined their budgets and long term prospects by offering unreasonable pay packets and increments. Don’t be misled by qualifications; look for results.

Persistently work on ranking your employees. Hire the superlative and preserve the best only. This best of course is a functionof the industry you operate in. Don’t hire expertize beyond what is required. It does not help and is not a productive choice. Conduct scientific assessments to qualify employees on the bell curve. Bell curve is detested but is the finest tool.

Reward only performers with commendable attitude. Come out of the paradigm of tenure-ship. Performance is not a function of years of experience. Performance is a function of skills, competence and attitude.

Invest time, money and effort in engaging people at work and in teams they are with.

People engagement is crucial to bail out of troubled times. Weed out the people who refuse to engage. In fact chronic cases are enormous chokes and I wonder why organizations still carry on with them. Have enough controls in system to identify disengaged people and set a formal process of de-weeding. Nurture a culture of innovation. Pioneering minds are a backbone for building a culture of novelty. Hire them even if there are no positions planned. Create a position the moment you spot an innovative talent.

Invest in development of skills and competencies consistently. Have clearly defined success behaviours for the organization and align people to them. Go for enhancing top line by acquiring new businesses. Do not ever play a defensive game. It really helps in the long run. If you have the appropriate people you will always be aggressive enough in troubled time. Always remember people only bet on a winning horse when the stakes are high.

My Mantra: Organization success is a function of illustrious people; apt technology investments and processes; pertinent products and services; and last but not the least incredible passion. With this you can surmount all adversity.

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