Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Learning interest of a Leader fuels enduring organisation growth

Learning happens from within. We set ourselves a learning goal for achieving certain advancements in career or business. Once this learning goal is fulfilled successfully, a leader is not expected to stop. A leader must continue with the same zeal as before and set new learning goals for scaling newer heights. In doing so a leader not only uncovers new opportunities that help an organization to look ahead, but also sets higher standards of expectations from the members of the organization. This impacts the learning practices in an organization and thus the culture.

The systems in an organization (L&D / HRD) can facilitate and encourage the learning behavior of the people. As the outcome of the learning is owned by the learners, they feel stronger, empowered, confident and involved. This has a remarkable impact on the commitment level of the learners as members of the organization. We find the people in such organizations to be more energetic, positive and contributing. These are signs of a healthy organization that can attract and retain talent.  

It is up to the leader to set the tone for the way an organization will live. The way he moulds himself and set an example for the organization, in the similar way the organization would be formed. A leader must understand that his purpose is to serve and lead his team and not dominate them. His aim should not be to make wealth only for himself but to see that the profit is generated and is being distributed in his team. This is return makes the team members too to be more committed towards their work and organization.

If the purpose of the organization is growth, then the growth should be both in the terms of knowledge and money. The different levels in the organization define varied interests and expectations. As a leader one must be sure to pass on his knowledge and wisdom to his team members, so that they are able to acquire it and use it accordingly to generate the profit.

How SMEs can hire good talents and build teams

Every small business owner understands the need for good people but very few are able to hire the right talent. I realize those who do are the ones that are able to scale up and sustain in the longer run.

Let's look at the problem more closely. How does a small business look for new people to hire? If they have in-house help, they buy access to a job portal and start filtering CVs based on conditions that they select from the available search criteria. If they do not have anyone to do the legwork in-house, they go to a placement consultant to help them get CVs for further consideration. Let's understand that the placement consultants source the CVs from the same of job portals. So the sourcing pool of CVs remain the same irrespective of the approach followed in recruiting candidates. 

Problem 1 
If we choose the incorrect criteria to filter CVs, we get inappropriate CVs. If we get inappropriate CVs, either we end up not recruiting someone or recruiting someone who under-performs. Can't be a happy situation for the employer or the employee. The employee would leave sooner or later forcing the company to return to the previous state.  

What are the chances of choosing incorrect criteria 
I consider it reasonably high - in most cases there are no formal job specification requirements. Requirements are shared verbally and hurriedly too. Both in-house staff and placement consultants are only too eager to comply and hence least questions are asked to clarify doubts at this stage. 

Define requirements as clearly as possible and verify understanding of the CV sorting team(s). It would be best if a few CVs at the start are studied and approved by the requisitioning authority and then further sorting of CVs take place. Quality of CVs that are found would definitely be more apt. During interviews also, the reference of the defined job specifications can help make better selection decisions. 

Problem 2
The  CVs that are found after correcting problem 1 may not give good outcome several times. This is because the database may not simply have the matching candidates at the first place. So depending on the database will not help. This is where a different line of action would be necessary. 

a) Advertising in a daily newspaper that is likely read by the target employee base could generate good response. However, a few basics need to be in place - the business must have a proper website, the ad design should be good and prominently positioned to attract eyeballs. 
b) Linkedin and Facebook ads also can help, provided the number of contacts is high. 
c) Internal referrals by employees can also help in sourcing good CVs
d) Hiring from campuses and grooming them can be a very strong approach that can also facilitate faster awareness of the employer brand and lead to a steady trickle of job applications through employees, references or websites.

Problem 3
The major challenge in accomplishing the above is to get the act right. It may not happen on the first attempt and Business owners give up thinking that their business is special and need some special processes to succeed. So they dump it and wait for some divine intervention!

Business owners must persistwith the approach and fine tune every part of it as they proceed. This will gradually improve the process. I have seen small businesses achieving remarkable turnaround in their recruitment performance in a pace of 2 to 3 years.  As of now, I believe, there's no other way for the SMEs to get into a position of talent advantage.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Time Management and Communication Challenges in Small Businesses Solved

Most small business owners have a common major constraint in managing their businesses effectively. They want to be free from day to day operations, decision making, coordination, tracking task completions etc. to devote time for developmental activities. However, they hardly get a chance to address anything but the 'Urgent' category tasks. But why?

We all understand and want to be accountable for the tasks that are assigned to us and want others also to be accountable for the tasks that we assign to them. In a typical work environment in any business, on a normal day, we plan several actions besides the regular operations related ones, e.g. customer asking for a special visit, purchase officer responding to an interesting vendor presentation that needs owner's intervention, a change in process suggested by an operator, an urgent analysis report request from the bank, sales report analysis that predicts change in consumption in certain products, and so on. How does one handle these works / actions? Most of the time one would keep note of the action and either assign it to someone or oneself. These actions require involvement of time and other resources, which in turn may require involvement of others. Which means more communication and coordination requirements. But who is responsible for the primary action? The one who assigned it. But does that person get adequate update or have the means to follow up systematically without dropping the link? And continue the chain of events to take the efforts to fruition? This is where, most owner-managers or even many corporate bosses get lost. With the continual inflow of new actions everyday, the pressure to complete the to do list, update it and communicate it becomes humanly unmanageable. So many actions do not ever get completed and many get unusually delayed due to the lack of necessary support or follow ups.

It need not be like this anymore! Karma Axis is here! Its a tool that can guide us adopt a management approach we had known for ages. It helps us assign the tasks, communicate with the assignee and receive updates from the assignee without the need for meeting the assignee in person or talking to the person on phone. It allows many other features that facilitate communication with seniors, peers or juniors as may be required. The platform helps us take action and keep note as we go, all at one place and ready to be retrieved in the manner we would desire. It not only saves all the time and energy in follow ups but also offers analytics that help us institute other corrective and preventive actions.

Its not before long that the Time Management woes of SME business owners are going to be a thing of the past!