Article (October-2017)


Lack of ownership & cohesiveness

Mihir Gosalia

Designation : -  

Organization : -  Mumbai


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1. How do you define the work culture of the organization?
As I understand there is no work culture in this organization, employees have taken the management for granted. Senior employees are equally responsible for this situation as much as the junior employees are. Junior employees are casual in their approach towards work and tend to take things for granted but it is for the senior management to bring them in order and provide them necessary guidance so that they can be productive and perform well in their respective job roles.
There is complete lack of ownership at almost all levels barring a few junior employees in personnel department who are trying to change the things. Also, there is clear lack of communication at all levels which is increasing the problem. Most of the employees are 'Actively Disengaged' as they do not take any pride in their work and they don't have any sense of belonging towards either the organization or its assets.
There is lack of cohesiveness within the team; leaders are not strong enough to get the work done from the team. It will not be wrong in saying that function heads are actually not bothered/aware about the organizational goals leave apart achieving them!
2. What are the problems you can diagnose in the story?
My diagnosis is as below :
  • Alignment at top leadership is missing.
  • Inter and Intra departmental communication is a big issue.
  • Ownership is an issue at all levels.
  • Problems are not being address on time and rather they are hidden under the carpet.
  • Everybody is trying to drive their personal agenda in the organization.
  • There is no basis on which workforce planning is done and hiring has been done haphazardly.
  • Staff level employees (workers) have shown high handedness which is completely unacceptable.
  • Talent of personnel officers is clearly wasted!
  • Contractual manpower is much more than regular manpower which is a big issue since regular manpower itself is not utilized appropriately.
3. What actions would you prefer to take had you been in place of GM - Personnel or CEO?
I would first put my house in order! i.e. Human Resources Department. I would have a meeting with all my team members and do the following :
  • Identify strong areas of each of my team members and assign them job role accordingly.
  • Clearly state what each one of them is suppose to do in writing.
  • Conduct daily reviews to monitor progress.
  • Conduct a workforce planning and capability exercise to identify the gaps in manpower planning.
  • I would ask my team members to walk the floor and win confidence of lower most employee (I would myself also do this once in a while to assess ground reality).
  • Ask my team to have clear focus on employee welfare and make employees understand the value of company assets.
For a HR Head it is also important that he wins the confidence of his function heads, it is only then that they will have trust in him and they will believe in his ability to solve their issues. To do this I will do the following :
  • Organize a weekly meeting with all function heads to discuss their issues.
  • Help them put a manpower plan in place keeping in mind current and future business strategy.
  • Slot their issues in two buckets - short term (which can be resolved now) and long term (which will need time to be resolved). By doing this, we will focus on what is 'here' and 'now' rather than something which needs time!
  • Act as a bridge between them and top management to ensure there is synergy and both sides are on one page.
  • Ensure that there is a lot of cohesiveness within the function heads and that they are not working in silos which is currently the scenario.
Third and most important issue is contractual manpower vs. regular manpower. This can be addressed in the following manner :
  • HR along with function head has work on the manpower plan.
  • We will identify which roles can be outsourced and which roles can be given to regular employees.
  • If possible all roles should be given to internal employees.
  • We will do a skill assessment of internal employees to see whether they are scalable enough to meet future business requirements.
  • We will organize skill development workshops for these floor employees.
  • Engagement will be the focus on the floor and employee welfare will be given due importance.
  • We will launch rewards and recognition programs to appropriately reward good employees.
  • These employees will be jointly identified by HR and line manager.
  • Line managers will be trained to handle grievances effectively.
  • Slowly and steadily as regular employees fall in line, we will be able to do away with contractual manpower.
Last but not the least we will also focus on :
  • Succession Planning - We will work towards creating a strong second line leadership.
  • Training - Focus will be on training of line mangers & floor staff.
  • Coaching and mentoring of senior leaders.
  • Employee satisfaction.
  • Open forums with top management.
  • Weeding out non - performers through a systematic approach.