Mon, April 22, 2024

No Magic Needed For Motivation

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Hire right, align results to rewards

I have often seen business owners and senior managers losing their sleep over the lack of motivation in their rank and file. I have launched and run several companies in my diversified conglomerate for close to four decades. I also interact with my peers across business sectors in Nepal and abroad. To my utter surprise, I have seen top managers invariably unhappy with the performance of, at least, half their hires. It seems to be a global phenomenon. The most common complaint against junior and middle-level staff is: “Where is the fire in their bellies? Why don’t the young ones have their heart in the job?” Promoters, CEOs, HR heads, etc. are known to wrack their minds over this mystery. But rarely do they come up with suitable solutions. Is this an insurmountable challenge? Or have they created the problem themselves? We often come across parents blaming their children for all the wrongs the latter commit? Do the elders ever care to focus on the way they have brought up their children? The upbringing may be fraught with deliberate and unintentional errors. Similarly, wrong hiring can give headaches to business barons. Have we not witnessed companies fitting in square pegs in round holes? No wonder, enterprises end up with misfits who can never be motivated, do what you may, to excel in their respective domains. The entry level managers too are no less to blame. Given the tough job market they grab any assignment that comes their way. They can, however, be given the benefit of the doubt. But can we extend the same leniency to senior and veteran managers who hire job seekers still wet behind the ears? The question begging for an answer is: are our management systems good enough to identify and recruit youngsters with the potential to deliver desired outcomes? It may not be out of place to ask whether many of the companies have any system at all to select the right fit. Also, it may not be an exaggeration to assert that selection of a company’s most valuable asset – human resources – remains largely a random process in many companies. Far more attention is paid by the bosses in selecting machinery and material. But what about those who have to put machinery and material to use and earn profits for the company?! Let us consider an example of HR recruitment going awry. Engineers X and Y have done BTech in Mechanical Engineering. Mr X is selected for production management in the company’s moulding and framing factory. Mr Y is entrusted with procuring B2B (business to business) orders for the factory. But within months, the superiors realise that the desired results are nowhere in sight. What was the reason? Though a qualified engineer, Mr X used to be an articulate and amiable social mixer in the engineering college. He had the ability to make friends and teachers see things his way. He could make pitches nobody could disagree with. But here he was supervising technicians and workers on the shop floor, moulding steel and metal frames. It is obvious that his nature of job left him downcast. On the contrary, Mr Y was a mechanical engineer at heart, happy and delightful in the factory environment introducing technical innovations. Business negotiations were not his cup of tea. So, the company soon faced the proverbial storm in the tea cup. Both the engineering and B2B marketing functions started floundering, headed as they were by utterly unmotivated managers. It soon became evident that the HR head was responsible for this mismatch between ability and work profile. But what if the HR head too had earned his position in a similar way? It is a pity that HRD figures at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy in most enterprises even now. Nowhere is it accorded the status of marketing, sales, finance, manufacturing, operations, etc. But corporations need to understand the pivotal significance of hiring the right person for the right job. Hiring is hard. It needs experienced HR experts who can clearly chalk out the specific and measurable outcomes before initiating the hiring process. Lack of clarity at this stage costs the company dearly later. A large pool of candidates needs to be built so that there is ample talent to choose from. The selection should be based on tests and interviews which bring to light the past accomplishments of the candidate. Subjectivity is best avoided; pure data should prevail. Many companies are successfully using psychometric tests for entry-level positions. This is vital for assessing cultural compatibility between the company and the aspirant. No less important is seeking the candidate’s clear-cut acceptance of the position and what it entails. He should be fully aware of the job expectations. But this alone will not create and maintain a motivating lot. The performance will need to be aligned with reward. High performers feel neglected and disrespected if treated at par with an average peer. Honouring merit nurtures motivation. READ ALSO:
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MARCH 2024

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