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Samvedan
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I have been recently appointed as HR manager in an Organization.It is a manufacturing industry. And the person is expecting from me to do the best things for the workers in the organization that can make them more productive and attached to the success and expansion of the organization.Kindly share your expert views to help me as to what should I do at preference that can help the organization. One thing to add is that instead of taking good salaries the labor turnover rate is also high. Kindly give your expert advice. Thanks in advance.
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Hello,

A few questions need answers!

How large is the organization? How many workers? Employees? Staff? Supervisory and management employees?

Employer-Employee Relations are first ECONOMIC in nature and only later when employer's credibility is established that EMOTIONAl bonds may develop! At ECONOMIC level what matters is Rights and Responsibilities/Duties. Performance is a response to satisfaction or otherwise of the workmen with what they are paid. Extra efforts, committment, and sustained contributions to production and productivity have to be EARNED by the employers.

But just paying more does not help you earn credibility, nor beint too strict helps!

The simple rule is "Do not avoid what is due to the Workers/Employees and Do not give up what is your right to receive". First achieve this state and thereafter only we can consider things like, incentives, productivity bonuses, extra facilities etc. that will bind the workmen emotionally and psychologically to the organization and motivate them to put in inspired performance!

The subject is too vast and thera are no easy or simple answers since one is perpetually dealing with a fluid situation and collective behaviour is way far too complex to understand and modify, compared to the individual behaviour!!

If this response makes you ask more questions, more focuussed, more inquisitive and more wide ranging, I will be glad to provide appropriate suggestions!

Regards

samvedan

November 13, 2010

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Hey Samvedan,
Thanks a lot for the details and the knowledge you shared. Yes, Obviously It has raised many questions in my mind.

First of all, I would like to give the answers for your questions. See, its a small manufacturing company,having 80-100 workers and 20-25 employees. They have 3-4 persons in the managerial staff.

As further to your views, I would like to ask to please Elaborate the LINE you wrote ,"Extra efforts, committment, and sustained contributions to production and productivity have to be EARNED by the employers."

While taking my interview, they just told me that they are expecting from my side that i would be able to help their organization to reduce the labor turnover rate or attrition rate, make them more attached to the success and growth of the organization. and other things that give them positive waves. I hope you can understand what exactly I need to ask.

My question is what different type of activities i can do in my daily routine or specifically so that I may somehow be able to fulfill their expectations. Its a really challenging task for me. and I really want to be successful.

And above all your views and advice will really motivate me. Thanks Again.

Regards
Renuka.

Hello,

Your reply tells a fair lot about the situation. If you have this strength of workmen, I am certain functions like "Time Office, Pay Roll, Leave management and Statutory Compliances" are organized and in place even before you joined.

Does your company comply with requirement of paying "Statutory Minimum Wage" applicable to your indistry and revise the same every six months as required by the the asame law?

If the answers to both above are in affermative, then your organization has happily achieved the first benchmark in employer-employer relations and that means that your workmen and employees are not justified in nursing any grouse against the employer (except of course for more and more wages and benefits!).

If labour turnover and attrition is an important problem being faced by your organization, what are the reasons your workmen go away? If the remuneration, working conditions and treatment are perceived by them as irritants or unfair, workmen would always be on the look out for alternate employment and that causes LOW committment to the present job!! This is rather tricky. Even if your organization has achieved this basic benchmark, the workers all over will always clamour for higher wages and better benefits. This situation is complicated further if the organization is making good profits, the business is growing but the employee costs (wages and benefits) are or are perceived by the recepients as LOW!

Greater committment, improved performance revolve around how emoluments are structured, at what level are they set and how do the supervisors and managers treat with workmen. If the organization culture is harsh, authoritarian, undermining human dignity and such areas are ignored for any reason, then aside of attrition, the employees many organize themselves into a Trade Union (internal or external, is an issue apart!) unless your organization already has a Union of workmen!

To earn better efforts, the work atmosphere, culture and working conditions must be supportive, inclusive and non-threatening! If you put in place first the compliances and coverages under various applicable legislations, establish work norms, treat workmen as important constituents of the organization, establish training inputs, recognize and reward contributions from workmen then you are well on the way to have EARNED essence of the principle "Extra efforts, committment, and sustained contributions to production and productivity have to be EARNED by the employers."

In terms of routine activities for you just remember that there is always a "sophistication gap" between the Management and the Workmen which makes workers insecure and this insecurity manifests either as extremly defensive or even offensive behaviour! Collectively they will even suspect your perfectly normal interventions.



I would advice as under:
  1. Communicate, preferably in their native language or at least in HINDI, FREELY but so as not to please or pamper to establish a dialogue!
  2. Be proactive in receiving their grievances, complaints, problems and respond as fast as as you and your organizational system permits but please do remember that you are an aid to those who are responsible to extract work performance and you shall NEVER undermine them.
  3. Workers, organized or otherwise expect from employers:
    • Uniformity,
    • Consistency,
    • Fairness
    • Firmness
    • Some amount of generosity and above all
    • RECOGNITION.
  4. If you follow these simple rules, you will gain fairly easily for yourself and for the organization the all important CREDIBILITY!
But always be upright (not be an egoist), protect your own self concept and dignity and at the same time grant them theirs!

Your wormen/Employees are your partners in progress and prosperity and NOT your slave!!

Kindly do not get tired or exasperated by this rather long reply. But you have an open invitation to raise more questions. I will be glad to assits always but within my capabilities!

Cheers
samvedan
November 14, 2010
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Greetings,
Though I have nothing to add on , yet couldn’t help commenting on this discussion. A request to Renuka, 'Samvedan', you are interacting with, is my mentor. I have been learning from him since last 4 yrs. Put across all your questions and make sure you are fully prepared as you are learning from the best.
I feel blessed to have known him. So would you. Happy learning :)
Regards,
(Cite Contribution)

Hi
Ya sure (Cite Contribution), I am really feeling the same thing. I don't have much practical knowledge of HR activities, as i have just 2 months of experience yet. But the answers given by Mr.Samvedan are really helping me to feel, I can do it. Please Mr. Samvedan,keep sharing your expert views and professional feedback. They are really precious. And yes, I will surely have some more questions to ask.
Thanks again for your time and concern.....Keep guiding me.
Regards
Renuka
Hi Mr. Samvedan,
There was a Question in my mind which I was thinking to get cleared from you. Can you please tell me what Exactly should be my Plan for the first 15 days so that I can put a positive impression on the MD. Because as there is 3 month probationary period in this job. But I am seeking to do the best things in first few days.........As you know sir, FIRST IMPRESSION IS THE LAST IMPRESSION...
Please help me. That will be so nice and helpful of you. Please provide your feedback and guidance sir.
Thanks in advance....
Regards
Renuka
Hello,

Thanks for your pm also which I have replied.

Now your question of deciding priorities for first fifteen days, considering that your probation period is set to be three months!

First, are you the only HR in the organization? If yes, who was looking after the function before you joined? I think you should spend some time with such a person to understand the reality status of HR in the company. If such a person is your Boss, leave him alone but remember, when you discuss matters with him he probably would have known more about the issues that you may not havwe found out.

In the other scenarion, meet Production Manager and Supervisors to check out their perspectives on HR in the organization. I am certain that only a few might open out to a stranger like you. So, in dealing with them stick to facts, receive their opinions if they choose to volunteer but do NOT keep digging for their opinions.

Check out on the following.

1) Time Office functions viz: Recording of attendance, leaves etc.

2) Statutory Compliances viz: Coverages under various labour legislations and I am sure the ones applicable to your organizations are-Factories Act, ESI, PF, Gratulty, at the minimum.

3) Understand the Pay Roll function whoever may be in charge presently.

4) The form of interactions with workmen/employees, that is to say if there exists a Union of employees or there is an informal committee of employees through which the company interacts. This will help you decide for yourself, if the working style is informal or formal as also if the culture is authoritarian or democratic, if not actually permissive!

This work could take you well beyond the first fifteen days, but that is fine.

Now as to interactions with your boss and colleagues during this period.

1) Do not sit in judgment on any matter. You may have an opinion but certainly not a judgment at this stage.

2) Do not take a position unless you are absolutely certain about it.

3) Ensure that your learning attitude is visible to all at this stage.

4) Since you are unlikely to know the power hierarchy in the organization (and it could be different from the formal hierarchy) and the "likes and dislikes" in the organizational culture, keep an innocent, non-partisan, non-imposing profile. In fact do not be biased by anything anyone says to you. Be nice, kind, receptive and absorbing as in the learning mode.

The organization should satisfy itself that you have understood the scenario, the company culture and are a willing part of the same and that you can contribute in a positive way.

The stage of your career must indicate, your knowledge, attitude, patience and moderate views (which to means that you should NOT be sharp in your communication-to impress others or to exude your "confidence". But in the show of your maturity, you must not appear synthetic and clinically perfect! All the while you should appear to be NORMAL human being.

Perhaps I have added more things than you were looking for. So ignore if something appears out of tune!

Regards

samvedan

November 17, 2010

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Hello Samvedan Sir,
The information above is really really full of guidance and shown me the path which I am to go on. From the very depth of my heart, I am really really thankful to you, Sir. I will try to do the same as you said. Thanks a ton.
Keep sharing your expert views.
Regards
Renuka
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