Topic - Effective handling of human resources
- a key to check attrition


By

Dr. C. Vijayabanu
Asst. Professor
School of Management, SASTRA

Mrs. Deepa Pillai
Asst. Professor
SCMS, Cochin
 


Abstract:

Human resources form an integral component in any business. In fact there is nothing wrong in saying that the human resources form the backbone of any organization. Nothing can really match the strength of highly motivated and enlightened workforce. Human resources are the repository of knowledge and they provide competitive advantage to any organization. 

At this juncture of rapid changes it is very necessary that the organization retain their manpower for quite a long period. Attrition is a serious problem, that the organizations face today. This paper deals into the key aspects by which this serious problem can reduced to a certain extend.

Key words Attrition, Understanding Human Resources, Empowering them, Developing them, maintaining  them.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Introduction

Today we are living in an era of fast-paced changes-the changes every where every minute and every second. India has been following a protectionist policy for a very long time-till the late 1980s. The 1990s brought about a considerable change by opening up the Indian markets. This gave a way to liberalization and paved a way for globalization. The policies of 1991 gave a boost to the foreign investments. This has changed the entire Indian market scenario.

Now we have come along way. We have moved from a situation of shortages to a situation of plenty. Mergers acquisitions have become the buzz word today. The present situation is a cut throat competition with every organization aiming at higher customer satisfaction. Presently, organizations are aiming at greater customer satisfaction, retention and their orientation. This is one side of a coin. The organizations must also realize the importance of the other side too. The other side of the coin is been referred to the employees or the human resources of an organization. Just as customer retention is important for sustenance of any business, employee retention is important for hassle free functioning of the organization.

Of all the resources of the organization the most important is the human resource.  While all other resources have a depreciating character, it is only the human resources that have the potential for appreciation. As such human resources form an integral component in any business. In fact there is nothing wrong in saying that the human resources form the backbone of any organization. Nothing can really match the strength of highly motivated and enlightened workforce.

At this juncture of rapid changes it is very necessary that the organization retain their manpower for quite a long period. Attrition is a serious problem, more commonly seen in IT Industry. Many companies have been grappling with this problem today. The attrition rate in India is found to be between 20 25 percent. Some companies are even with an attrition of 30 percent. Mr. V Srinivas, CFO, Satyam Computers views attrition as a big issue that has to be dealt with immediately.

Boom in the job market high salaries and perks that is offered, career advancement opportunities etc. are some of the reasons for the high attrition rate. High attrition rate is quite disastrous for any organization. It is almost six months when a new employee starts his contribution. During this period the company invests a lot for his training and development. Suppose he quits the organization, all that has been spent on him stands wasted. With plenty of opportunities, the employees are at a better position. They have many options today. Finding a new job is not at all difficult for the efficient and deserving. Employers are waiting for grabbing the services of these experts.

This is what the organizations should realize. If proper action is not taken, they will loose their most talented assets. Action here refers to the measures that need to be taken to check the high attrition rate. A high attrition in an organization is an indication of something wrong within the organization. This may be with the policies, the structure, the relationship, the climate or any other factors.

It is very important that every organization realizes the importance of employee retention. This paper deals with such a perspective. It delves into various factors that help to retain the human resource. Gone are the days when people used to switch over the jobs only for a higher pay. But now situation is different. The present situation demands a strong mutual trust between employees and the employer. This can be achieved only when the working environment is conducive and healthy. A healthy and conducive working environment speaks of many latent factors. By providing such an environment the company would be able to achieve its best.

Human beings are complex personalities.  They differ from person to person. This difference is the result of their attitudes, perceptions, values, norms etc. that they inculcate in the process of socialization with family, society, peer group etc. Hence it is very difficult to predict a common behavior for surety. This indicates the significance for understanding employees well. Hence it is very necessary that the employers and the managers do understand the employees well.

 In a working environment, the most un predictive element is human resource. Their yield and their productivity, all depends upon how they are moulded by the managers. Hence the managers have an upheaval task of dealing and moulding their subordinates. The extend of their productivity depends upon the capability of the managers. The making up and ruining of an individual and that of an organization, all depends upon the task master- the manager.

 Many a time I have come across such situations, in which people who never use to work or take up the responsibility, have emerged as classic workaholics. This is possible, but it all depends upon the two hands that realize the real worth of the individual. Similarly, a loyal and sincere worker who is never recognized for his work will slowly lose interest and may turn unproductive. Hence I repeat that the making and ruining of an individual depends solely upon his superiors. 

 Thus the managers can contribute quite a lot to the organization, if they realize their own duties and responsibilities. In today's dynamic and ever changing environment it becomes the duty of every manager to create a good working environment for his subordinates. If every manager realizes this, there is no doubt that the organization would break off all its boundaries and emerge successful. In this context it is important that the managers take the following into consideration:-

* Leading  people
* Developing them
* Empowering them
* Maintaining them

Let us have a detail look into the following aspects:

LEADING  PEOPLE:-

Every manager or supervisor has a definite span of control. He is totally responsible and accountable to the people under him. To get things done through these people, manager must understand them well. They should  understand their basic needs, capabilities and their behavior.

* Basic needs The manager should try to understand the basic needs of the employee well. Basic needs can be well identified by learning more about them. Maslow's need hierarchy provides a framework to this. Learning more about his family background will help to assess his financial soundness and in turn his interest towards a particular work. Understanding more about his aims and ambitions and his areas of interest will project more about his interest in the present job. It will also help the manager to take a better decision. So that his capabilities are properly and fruitfully utilized.

* Capabilities Manager should try to learn and understand the capabilities of the employees. This is important because such a study will help in analyzing his potential to contribute. If the manager understands his areas of interest and accordingly allocates work, his contribution would be high. But, if it is the other way round, he may have even proved to be an unproductive employee. Thus the manager can utilize the work force effectively only if he understands the employee capacity and capability well.

* Moulding their behavior Understanding the behavior and leading  people is very difficult. But still, it becomes very necessary that their behavior is well understood. What motivates them?, their patterns of behavior, their behavior towards other individuals and groups play an important role in the organizational context. They do have a definite impact on the organizational climate. Hence it is very important that their behavior is well understood and that they are tuned well for the betterment of the organization. Managers should lead them properly. Once they are clear with their capabilities, needs and behavior ,it becomes easy to lead them effectively. By understanding their core qualities, it becomes easy for the managers to communicate, direct,  motivate and persuade them.  

Techniques to be used by Managers

* Observations and frequent interaction.

- Frequent contacts and Visits
- Meetings
- Encouraging them to talk freely
- Feedback

DEVELOPING THEM:-

 Manager must realize the importance of the human resource. It becomes the responsibility of each manager to carve them in such a way that they best fit the organization. The effective utilization of human resource depends upon the capability of manager. It all depends upon how the manager moulds them, carve them and utilize them. In the process of moulding and carving, the most important task that lies ahead of managers is to develop them. As such an analysis of the following is very important:

* Identifying the strength and weakness of employees - Managers are solely responsible for their span of control. They are even accountable to the organization in this context. Hence the task of each manager is to analyze the strength and weakness of his subordinate. This would prove handy when it comes to their productive utilization.

* Educating and training them - Once managers are equipped with the strength and weakness of each employee, he is in a better position to identify the training needs of individuals. Accordingly he can provide for educating and training them.

* Encouraging them - Managers must always lend an encouraging hand to the subordinates. The subordinates should be given ample freedom at the place of work. This would help them to shed off their fear and utilize their latent and inert abilities productively. This would also help in improving creativity and innovation. On the other hand limited freedom and encouragement would reduce the potential and interest among subordinates.

* Nurturing them - Managers should not only encourage them, but also nurture them. They should always provide them the needed help to bring out their talents. Nurturing will help them to build up confidence and improve their creativity.

Techniques to be used by the managers

Some of the techniques that can be used by the managers in this stage are :

* Effective communications
* Educating and training
* Coaching
* Encouraging and involving people in various aspects of management

EMPOWERING THEM

The  most important asset like technologies products etc can be modified and copied by the competitors . But the strength of a highly and positively motivated workforce has no match . People are in fact a repository of knowledge and they provide the most competitive advantage to the organization. Hence it becomes the duty of managers to understand them and utilize them. Managers can empower their subordinates. Empowerment   actually lubricates the exercise of learning . The present day organizations are not that simple . They are complex in nature. Hence its very important that a high degree of decision making authority is given to the subordinates. Empowerment helps in solving many intricate day today issues . It changes the mindset of employees by providing them a room for thinking , visioning and nurturing. There are multifold benefits of empowerment .Some of them are:-

1. It enables an organization to gain competitive and commercial advantage.
2. It makes the organization more flexible.
3. It helps in improving commitment among people.
4. It helps in utilizing the skills of individual employees to its best advantage.
5. It helps in enhancing personal capabilities.

Empowerment also helps in maintaining a conducive working environment. This would also help in maintaining a good interpersonal relationship in the organization. Keeping this in mind , the managers must try to empower their subordinates as far as possible.

MAINTAINING THEM:

Organizations spend quite a lot in training and development programs for individuals. Initially investments on employees are quite high, but their contributions is very low during their initial stages. It takes at least a year when an employee starts contributing effectively towards an organization. So it is very important that the workforce is maintained effectively and efficiently. In maintaining the workforce, working environment plays an important role.

There has been a shift in the mentality of the human beings. People are not much worried about salary nowadays. This is because people are qualified and they have their own worth. They are for sure that they will get their worth wherever they go. There has been a slight shift from the employees market. The employees are at much a better position today. They have a better choice. So they aren't much bothered about remuneration. They are more worried about the environment in which they work. They would never let themselves down. They would always like to hold themselves high. They would like their employers to be more supportive and trust worthy. Here are some aspects that they feel are necessary to create a good working environment:

* Supportive management - In a constantly changing environment, every day people are faced with to new problems. Such problems can be easily solved when the management is caring and supportive. Employees can perform well only with the support of the management. Hence management should be supportive to the extend that, it is beneficial to the organization.

* Involvement of the people - Any decisions pertaining to the job, involvement of the people is very necessary. This would help in analyzing practically. Involvement would help in welcoming better quality and productive suggestions.

* Building trust - It is very important that there exist a strong bond trust between superiors and subordinates. A strong bond of trust would help in improving the team spirits and team work and in reducing the conflicts and grievances there by helping in the creation of a healthy environment.

* Recognition and rewards - Managers should understand the importance of  recognition and rewards

Techniques to be used by the managers

* Motivation
* Proper Incentives
* Performance Appraisal
* Proper grievance redressal
* Building "we" culture
* Developing a strong bond of trust

Conclusion Attrition is a serious problem that the organizations face today. This can be reduced if both the management and the managers realize this. The managers should take in a lead role here. They should be committed to tune and mould people in such a way that they best fit the organization. In fact it becomes the duty of every individual manager to understand his subordinates well. Managers should understand that their duty is not only restricted to bossing over employees but in understanding employees ,leading them,  developing them, empowering them  and maintaining them. If this realization bestows on every manager , the organization is sure to succeed. This will help in reducing the attrition level to a certain extend. Thus I conclude that the making or ruining of an organization all depends on the  ability of managers.

References:

1. Watts .S.Humphrey, " Managing technical people : Innovation, teamwork and the software process" Addison Wesly, 1996.

2. On Leadership , Amity Business  School , Businessworld Special Issue 7th June 2006
Dr. C.Vijayabanu & Deepa Pillai , "Leading the people dimension successfully through change - a  way to enhance competitiveness" a paper presented at IIM, Kozhikode ,at the Conference on Global Competitiveness on March '06
 


Dr. C. Vijayabanu
Asst. Professor
School of Management, SASTRA

Mrs. Deepa Pillai
Asst. Professor
SCMS, Cochin
 

Source: E-mail July 31, 2008

           

Articles No. 1-99 / Articles No. 100-199 / Articles No. 200-299 / Articles No. 300-399
Articles No. 400-499 / Articles No. 500-599 / Articles No. 600-699 / Articles No. 700-799
Back to Articles 800 Onward / Faculty Column Main Page