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Sunday, May 06, 2007

How Organization Savvy are your Employees?

Think about it… Your employees understand the concept of organization. They come in to the company with personal goals in mind but once they are in they tow the line in helping the organization achieve its objectives because they understand organization.

I’ve met many talented young professionals today who are clueless about the concept of organization or at least it seems that way looking at how they behave. I can actually categorize them:

The prima donnas: They’ve got the smarts, they’ve got the skills but they are no team players. They compete with everyone including the people they should work with. They demand high salary but they do not contribute as much. They are like star players in basketball teams that never win.

The clock watchers: They have this twisted idea that they are paid for their time. The only sense of urgency they have is when the clock hits 5:00. They hurry to go home, or stay and work overtime on tasks that they could have easily finished during regular hours. Please don’t get me wrong I totally dig coming in and out of work on time for as long as you get the day’s work done. Unfortunately for clock watchers, they don’t get this.

The tenure watchers: At this day and age of meritocracy and performance based compensation and reward system, there are still plenty of people who are left in the dark ages of organizational concepts. They still think that they should be paid more than newer workers who perform better. Need I say more?

The utterly clueless: Some young professionals failed to transition from students to workers. They still behave like they are in school. They like being spoon-fed, they want everything told and taught to them by their superiors. They lack the initiative to learn things.

Why do we have these employees in our midst? Its because many people who come in to the workforce have only the vaguest concept of organization. During company orientations, they hear about the company’s mission, vision and core values but they are totally devoid of this concept and a lot of times, the ones in charge of sharing the company’s mission, vision and core values are clueless themselves. It is easy to develop a twisted view of organization when they join the older workers who actually developed that twisted view.

What to do? I think organizations should make it part of their human resource development effort to help employees develop more organization awareness. They need to understand how organizations work and how each of them complete the picture. They need to understand how their individual and performance targets are aligned with the organization goals and that their failure to perform costs the company more than money. They need to understand why companies identify their core values and how these values are ingrained in the organization’s behavior (if they are). They need to understand why it is important to follow company policies. They should know the impact of failure to comply not only in terms of corresponding disciplinary action but more importantly the organizational impact of noncompliance.

But the most important thing that the employees must learn is how to succeed in your organization or in any other organization. They must learn the importance of alignment, collaboration, cooperation and communication, in achieving organization goals. They should see organizational success as the true measure of their success and not just their salary increases. They should see ascent to the company’s career ladder as not a mere product of tenure but a combination of contribution and readiness for the bigger responsibility. They need to understand their working relationship with their superiors and their teammates, what is expected of them and what they can expect from the other members of the organization.

It helps a lot when people in the organization are on the same page, when people are clear about the company’s goals, what it stands for, what their roles are and what is expected of them. They need to understand that as they strive to achieve personal and financial success, they need to find alignment between their personal goals and that of the organization otherwise they should find it elsewhere. I believe that this can only be addressed through a deliberate effort to get everyone in the organization on the same page. Let me know if you need help. I think we can work on this together.

My next topic: "How driven are your employees?"

Watch out for it!

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