I would urge each one of you to ask the more brutal question that every leader should be asking himself/herself frequently. "Who on my current staff would I re-hire?" This puts things into a whole new light when you look at those who are achieving and those who aren't. And any good leader knows who these people are in their organization.

Success comes through ‘right’ people. The old adage “People are your most important asset” is wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.

Getting the right people on your organization's "bus" will deliver the best results regardless of the compensation system. Compensation should not be used as a way to get the right behaviors from the wrong people; it should be used to get the right people, then build an organization with a culture of discipline that is rigorous, but not ruthless.

So, who are the "right" people? Having the right people reduces the amount of bureaucracy because they don't need to be managed. The right people take delight in their accomplishments, but are never satisfied. The right people are those who seek to be part of a winning team. If you think of the top athletes in professional sports, they all want to be on a winning team with other like-minded individuals. Business is no different. As one Wells Fargo executive summed it up: "The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving."

Whether someone is the right person has more to do with character and innate capabilities than specific knowledge, skills or experience.

Does your organization have the right people in the right seats? If you are working too hard, the answer is probably no.

“All progress is change but not all change is progress. Good management needs to teach responsibility, which is the key to empowerment. Empowerment and TQM by themselves have become buzzwords that are ineffective if not founded on Total Quality People; a combination of attitudes, values, character and integrity.

Customer-focused organizations are created by the culture in the organization. Organizational culture always goes top-down, not bottom-up. People can be your greatest assets. We don’t have business problems, we have people problems. When we solve our people problems, our business problems are automatically solved”.

- Shiv Khera

I believe that we can achieve phenomenal success if our business strategies are aligned with strategic Human Resource Management.

“Pick the right people-high spirited and entrepreneurial – and produce world class products. Be better than the best – in people and in products” said Jack Welch ( GE)

Modern HR gurus reiterate that the aim of HR strategy is to galvanise people into performance. Following are the amazing examples to show how HR strategy, if aligned with Business Strategies, could lead to phenomenal organizational success.

· British Airways made impressive march under the leadership of Chairman Sir Colin Marshall whose main emphasis was to integrate HR elements with business strategies.

· When he took over as CEO of GE , JACK WELCH spent 300 million dollars in developing good HR practices – Jack welch spent 3 years on this project- Reduced layers from 24 to 5. Created more challenging jobs for competent people. During this period the revenue grew by 650 %.

· Some Indian companies like HLL, Maruti, Infosys, Wipro, MRF, Apollo, Aditya Birla group have achieved phenomenal success after they started giving more importance to HR initiatives.

Companies today face several critical business challenges : Globalization, Profitability through growth, Technology, Intellectual Capital, Change, Change and more change. In the coming years, winning will spring from organizational capabilities such as speed, responsiveness, agility, learning capacity and employee competence. Successful organizations will be those that are able to turn strategy into action, to manage processes intelligently and efficiently, to maximize employee contribution and commitment; and to create conditions for seamless change. In the competitive world that we see today, it is a must that business strategies be aligned with strategic HRM and the Senior Management should have a belief that HR strategy alone will take them to new heights.

HR should be defined by not what it does but what it delivers – results that enrich the organization’s value to customers, investors, and employees.

More specifically, HR can help deliver organizational excellence in the following four ways:

  1. HR should become a partner with senior and line managers in strategy execution, helping move planning from the conference room to marketplace.
  2. It should become an expert in the way work is organized and executed delivering administrative efficiency to ensure that costs are reduced while quality is maintained.
  3. It should become a champion for employees, vigorously representing their concerns to senior management and at the same time working to increase employee contribution; that is, employees’ commitment to the organization and their ability to deliver results.
  4. HR should become an agent of continuous transformation, shaping processes and a culture that together improve an organization’s capacity for change.

This new agenda (or new mandate) for HR is a radical departure from the status quo. In most of the companies, HR is sanctioned mainly to play policy police and regulatory watchdog. It handles the paperwork involved in hiring, manages the bureaucratic aspects of benefits and administers compensation decisions made by others.

HR is still not respected in many Indian companies because the CEOs and MDs of many companies voice dissatisfaction over its role and functioning. The biggest problem many organizations face with HR personnel is that most of them do not understand business. As a result, most of them are not in a position to improve employee participation in company wide programs such as productivity improvements, bench marking, cost reduction, waste reduction, material consumption reduction, inventory control, yield improvement, energy conservation, timely delivery and thereby improve operational efficiencies.

There is a history to this. Between 1964 and 1988, the HR personnel in most of the private companies in India imagined that their main role was to broker peace somehow or the other with the Labour Unions and as a result, they never bothered to introduce an element of productivity improvement in the long term wage settlements they were signing with the Unions. They kept on pampering the Union leaders by treating them specially and lending them company cars to go out during working hours. Most of the HR personnel did not even visit the shop floor because their clothes would get dirty. Only when the HR concept practiced in western countries came to be accepted in India (meaning companies started practicing the good practices of high performing companies), the situation started changing a bit.

In one of the companies in a major southern city, in the 1980s, 8 casuals were employed to open the car doors of the Managers – there were 8 senior managers and hence 8 casuals. Each casual was to open the car door of ‘his’ boss. It all started with the ego problems and petty squabbles in the residential colony and each manager wanted to show that he was superior than the other. They asked for a separate casual for car door opening and it was agreed upon by the Personnel Dept.!

Does it ring a bell ?

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