Voice of a Millennial/Gen-Yer: Work Related Practices that Work on Us

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My line manager, at the previous company I was working for, did not like millennials/Gen-Yers. Once during the course of a discussion he made several accusations on Gen-Yers. Being a Gen-Yer it was hurting for me. When he finished speaking, I replied him “you do not really understand us”. He started his sermon once again as if I had rub salt into his wounds. I asked him what makes you think this way about us. He answered furiously that “it is difficult to manage you people”. After understanding his problem, I tried explaining him some things about millennials that certainly fell on deaf ears. Here in order to progress the post I am going to give a brief description of the things that I told to him about millennials. I told him we challenge things that do not make sense to us. We do not praise unnecessarily. We believe in progressing by performing well. We do not believe in short cuts but we do believe in the spirit of smart work. We like to be appreciated when it is due. We believe in making our own ways and defining our own rules. We anticipate before taking actions. We do not like to be confined in cubes because we have wings that latest technology has awarded us.

 

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Being a Gen-Yer, whose present role includes: HR strategy development, advisory, guidance, business partnering, service providing and monitoring, I believe if right environment is provided to us we do our best in a smart manner to benefit organizations. I am going to discuss some of the strategies that work best in our case. Millennials need immediate and continuous appreciation. We believe if we do some-thing worthy we must be appreciated immediately and in order to keep us going we need continuous appreciation. The technology by which we are being surrounded allows us to stay in focus, thus along with personal appreciation from supervisors we prefer to be appreciated in front of everyone so that we can project our accomplishments among our connections on the web. We are not sycophants, thus do not expect us to wander uselessly around our supervisors and line managers. Do not judge us from our looks, views and faiths. We appreciate being judged due to our work only. We do not believe in the erstwhile concept of seniority on the basis of time spent in a particular field, we admire being promoted on the basis of our performance. Do not imprison us by putting the shackles of time and space; give us freedom by making our work connected with the mobile technology. Latest technology has enabled us to see our performance 24/7, make such arrangements that we can see our work related performance always and everywhere. Another reason behind this suggestion is that we give our best when our work interacts with us. Continues progress report is a way of making us feel that our work is an experience for us and we can see it. For making us learn do not use conventional methods of teaching. Make it interesting; make learning a real experience for us by involving us into it. We are well aware in every respect due to our continuous connectivity; thus, do not try to fool us by keeping us in dark.       

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Many organizations around the world are working on the above stated schemes in order to make work a real experience for millennials, Google, Microsoft, DHL and Deloitte are just few examples of such organizations. Companies are using such ideas that involve mechanics of video games to engage employees and make them perform well employees. Work is becoming a real experience not something that is superficial. Things are already out of the box and further efforts are in progress to make workplaces in alignment with the ideals of millennials. 

Work Places for Millennials/Gen-Yers: Work Place Designs and Work Processes Ideas for Managers to Manage Millennials/Gen-Yers

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Millennials or Gen-Y are the people who were born between 1980 and the early 2000’s. Millennials who are in their thirties and twenties constitute a large number of today’s workforce. Due to their large numbers, that are continuously growing, organizations are focusing at designing and creating such workplaces and processes that are based on the ideas adhered by millennials. From workplace design to office hardware and from recruitment processes to performance management system businesses are trying to go for those schemes that are based on the ideals approved by them.

O2, the UK’s leading mobile network, uses a video game for hiring professionals at its stores. Nike has developed an application NIKE+ for the management of personal performance. NTT Data and Deloitte use video games to train their managers. DHL has developed a social platform for its employees who are spread worldwide; purpose is to increase interaction among workers in order to create collaboration and to find solutions of different problems. Google’s office is an interesting example in this regard, its interior is attractive. It has all of the facilities that employees need in their everyday lives. Employees can also customize their work stations.

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Abovementioned things are testimony of the fact that workplaces are changing. These changes are necessary to make millennials work at their best. If you are an HR manager, Workplace strategist, Change manager or a leader of an organization who is responsible for bringing workplace changes in order to make it ready for the future then the following suggestions are certainly of your use.

Quick Feedback:

Millennials expect quick feedback from their peers and supervisors. Make such arrangements at your workplace that feedback for the work done is delivered as early as possible. Reason is that millennials are highly influenced by video games where feedback for every action is provided immediately. Moreover, they spend lots of time over social media where feedback for every post or share is immediate and huge.

Transparency (processes, communication, policies, reports, performance appraisals and rewards):

Millennials appreciate working in environments that are open and clear, openness in terms of communication that takes place within organizations, organizational policies, reports relating to performance of human resources, distribution of performance targets, rewards, remuneration and other ethical issues.

Allow Customization of Work-stations and Platforms:

Millennials prefer to have workplaces of their choice. One fact must be kept in mind that they get chances of customization every-where i.e. computers, social platforms, video games etc. Therefore, they prefer to have choices when it comes to their workplaces.

Employee Centric Approach:

Organizational process must be employee centric. Employees must be given importance and processes must be to make things easier for them.

Engaging Work Patterns and Processes:

Work patterns and organizational processes should be engaging. In order to make patterns and processes engaging businesses should make them interactive. For instance if an employee performs his routine job he should be able to see his progress and performance continuously. Feedback should be immediately provided to them. They should be given freedom to take decisions about their work in order to give them ownership of it.

Graphical Representations of Targets and Goals:

One thing is said frequently about millennials that they prefer to experience things. They get immersed into their work when they feel it. Thus, when it comes to goals and targets they should be provided graphic representations of them.

Social Platform:

Having a social platform for the employees of your organization is really a good idea.

Recognition:

Do such arrangements that offer immediate recognition and rewards to employees. Status updates, level up, badges, awards and certificates are used by different organizations in this regard.

Flexible Work Options:

Do not enforce work on your employees. Allow them to work at their ease but define framework and time limits in this regard.

Flexible Office Timings:

Forget the 9-5 rule, do something different to attract the best talent. To improve work life balance and to offer more flexibility offer such work timings that suits to your workforce. Millennials adore those arrangements that are flexible and can be customized.

Use Ideas of Gamification for Training and Employee Education:

Gamification comes forward as a viable solution to make training and learning sessions more effective, interesting and fruitful. Games have five elements which are helpful in improving learning. These elements are: competition, focus, immersion, continuous feedback and interactivity.

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More and more organizations are trying to change designs of workplaces. A study has predicted that in the coming years companies will decrease their physical space by 17 percent due to advancements in the field of mobile technology. In terms of processes and structures organizations have undergone many changes. Now organizations are changing their structures from centralized to flat ones. At the place of vesting power into few hands businesses are disseminating the power of decision making into more hands. Organizations are making these changes, in terms of design and processes, to meet exigencies of time and to make workplaces in such a way that stir millennials to work at their best. 

Gamification: An Effective Tool for Dealing with the Problems Relating to Performance of Human Resources

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Lack of motivation, dissatisfaction with performance appraisal, lack of engagement and minimum interest in learning and development activities are the results of an ineffective and inefficient performance management system. Due to these problems, the performance of human resources in particular and the organizational performance in general are affected. Therefore, there is a need to develop an effective and efficient system of performance management.

A new trend of using video game mechanics has emerged during last couple of years and has been applied in various fields successfully. This is known as gamification; it involves the use of game designs and game mechanics in order to perform various tasks and resolve problems. Rewards, status updates, levels, bonuses, points, countdown, discovery, progression and feedback are some examples of game mechanics. These mechanics are used for motivating, engaging and earning the loyalty. These mechanics can also be used to deal with the problems of performance. It is believed that if applied effectively gamification can be more effective and efficient than existing techniques of managing performance of human resources.  

 

Gamification: An effective tool to motivate people

Gamification is a useful tool for resolving issues of employee motivation. Many organizations are using those tools which are used in video games to motivate their employees to perform those tasks which they do not perform in normal circumstances. Game mechanics such as rewards, level ups, learning by doing and freedom to fail are great motivators. Moslow discussed five types of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization. He claims that once a set of needs is met the next level of needs emerges. Moslow was of the view that people are motivated in order to fulfill their needs. Gamification is likely to help in satisfying different levels of needs; esteem needs for instance seem to be fulfilled with the help of game mechanics. When people play games they do most of the actions at their own. They make mistakes; correct their mistakes as a result of gaining knowledge from practice. All of these activities give them self-confidence and a sense of achievement. As players progress in games, they achieve new levels and become expert. It gives them the sense of worthiness and helps them to become independent. When they solve a problem or win a mission in a game

they are awarded with points, badges and goes levels up; these awards give them sense of achievement. The next tier of needs is self-actualization; in order to meet these need people want to explore their self and creativity. Strategic games give a good chance to players to prove their creativity and problem solving ability.

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Continuous Feedback: A solution for resolving issues of performance evaluation

Continuous feedback is an interesting game mechanic. For every action of the players feedback is immediately provided. If players play smart moves in games they are awarded immediately. On the other hand if they make mistakes they will be informed at the same time, furthermore, they are given chances to correct their mistake. Feedback mechanism of games may be very beneficial for businesses, as it gives continuous output to the employees on where they are standing in terms of performance. Continuous feedback when compared with yearly performance evaluations is found to be much more effective in terms of improving employee performance, engagement, development and is even more transparent.

Gamification: An interesting way to train people and to improve the process of learning and development.

Although organizations arrange trainings for their employees in order to improve their skills, but it has been observed that training sessions do not prove to be as fruitful as anticipated. Feedback is not frequently provided to the learners and participants of trainings. Furthermore, things are just explained to the participants and they are not given a real chance to participate actively. Information and knowledge is transferred in a boring manner. Resultantly participants do not take interest in training; they just attend training as a formality.

Gamification comes forward as a viable solution to make training and learning sessions more effective, interesting and fruitful. Games have five elements which are helpful in improving learning. These elements are: competition, focus, immersion, continuous feedback and interactivity. In games, players compete with machines or with other human beings. They put efforts and skills to win the competition. Players interact with the contents of the game at first hand during the competition. They themselves play moves and take interest in everything which is happening in the result of their actions. During the competition, continuous feedback is provided to players, so that they can personally see where they are at the moment in terms of progress and what they have got in their hands. In general, games make the process of learning more fun and offer players to have firsthand experience by making them participate.

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Gamification: A solution for the problems of engagement.

Games have numbers of mechanics which constantly keep the users engage. These mechanics are used for engaging people in order to complete specific tasks and to perform such activities which they would not complete in normal circumstances. AIR MILES, an international rewards program, introduced a challenge called Check-in Challenge. This challenge is contested through a mobile phone application. It offers points every time someone checks in at the specified places. At the end of the month those who have more points are awarded. In AIR MILES’s check-in challenge users are engaged by rewards. This example of „Check-in Challenge‟ shows that by adding a layer of gaming to a service an ordinary challenge becomes more engaging and fun. If game elements are used skillfully, engagement may be increased to unprecedented levels. Reason is that game mechanics fulfill human desires, such as rewards, status, achievement, self-expression, competition and altruism.

There are clear links between performance of human resources and organizational performance. Organizational profitability increases with the better management of human resources. Since organizational performance is dependent upon the performance of human resources, it puts focus on the need of improving performance of human resources, moreover, it highlights the importance of having an effective and efficient system of performance management for human resources that deals with the issues such as lack of motivation, dissatisfaction with performance appraisal, lack of engagement and minimum interest in learning and development activities  Performance management by gamification is an effort to develop such a system which is based on high performance practices. It will deal the problems which cause low performance of employees. Therefore, it will contribute towards superior overall organizational performance.

Best Practices for Creating the Culture of Trust in Your Organization

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Culture plays the role of cement in binding the members of a group together. If cement is not good it malfunctions and affects the bond that exists between the members of a group. In case if the element of trust misses from culture then mistrust creeps in. Mistrust weakens the relationship among the members of a group. Furthermore, it becomes difficult to achieve a common goal in the presence of mistrust. Now look at mistrust in the context of an organization. It weakens relationship among the members of an organization. Employees feel vulnerable as they are always suspected. Workers do not give their best that affects production, services and sales. Organizational profits decrease. Issues of workforce engagement arise and employee turnover increases. Chances of cheating and deceit within organization increase. Different studies have revealed that almost 60-65 percent employees of companies do not trust their leaders. Reason is absence of the culture of trust within organizations. Obscure agendas, concealing organizational aims & goals, dishonest and unbiased leadership, tax evasions, employee benefit cuts, lack of readiness at the part of organizational leadership to hear employee feedback, unclear performance goals and hidden employee performance measuring scales are some of the major reasons for the culture of mistrust in organizations.

After facing the consequences of the culture of mistrust now organizations are realizing the importance of trust. Therefore, all around the world companies are trying to make cultural changes in this regard. But cultural change is not as easy as it sounds. It takes time, commitment and efforts to replace the culture of mistrust with the culture of trust. The following practices are helpful in building the environment of trust:

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  • Study the actual reasons of mistrust and learn about the damages it is causing.                                  
  • Always have clear aims & goals in front of you that what do you want to achieve by having the culture of trust in your organization.
  • Create a clear program in this regard. Have workers on board during the course of crafting it.  
  • Set performance measures to gauge the performance of the program. Satisfied workforce, low employee turnover and increased profitability can be some of the performance measures in this respect.   
  • Leadership must take the first step in this regard by being as role model. Cultural change travels fast from top to bottom.
  • Leaders should reduce the say-do gaps.
  • Fulfill promises that are being made with the workforce.
  • Make your workforce understand the importance of trust. Offer training and courses in this regard.  
  • Not just in their professional lives leaders must try to be honest in their personal matters as well.
  • Bring in transparency in terms of organizational process, decision making, goals’ communication and financial matters.
  • Do not over estimate your employees always assign those goals to them that they can achieve.
  • In case of failure be polite and generous.  
  • Always separate dirty fish from the rest in order to avoid setbacks.
  • Remember in many cases mistrust spreads due to unclear and biased programs of performance management in organizations. Create a clear and fair system in this regard and award rewards on the basis of performance.  
  • Tell inspiring stories to your workforce in regard of trust.

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If an organization is making cultural changes in terms of trust it does not mean that its leaders close their eyes and start trusting everything they hear, they must always keep their eyes open to avoid any setbacks. Keep it in mind that it takes time to clear the poison of mistrust from the environment of an organization, thus be patience. Environment of trust takes time to grow. Leadership of an organization plays the most important role in it.

Best Practices of Employees’ Interaction

Benefits of employees’ interaction are not hidden from anyone; this area has gained tremendous popularity during the recent years. Organizations are paying attention to employees’ interaction by developing plans in this regard. Employee’s interaction includes: employees’ interaction with organizations, employees’ interaction with the outside world and employees’ relations within an organizations. In this post I am going to discuss best practices of employees’ relations with each other within an organization. One of the reasons of disagreements among employees is lack of interaction among them. It causes friction among them and disturbs the overall organizational environment. Such issues can be sorted with the help of employees’ interaction plans. Furthermore, issues of employee satisfaction, engagement and development can also be sorted by implementing plans of employees’ interaction.   

Before writing down the best practices of employees’ interaction I am going to give an advice to professionals about using best practices. Best practices of any field make it easier for the professionals of that field to perform functions. Best practices provide such a path that leads towards success. But in an effort to follow the best practices one fact should not be ignored that every organization has its own unique culture and circumstances that may differ from the one in which the best practices are being framed. Therefore, leaders, managers, advisors, supervisors and workers must not blindly follow the path of best practices of any discipline. They must first analyze the situation in which they are operating. After analyzing the situation they should decide which best practice may be applied in its true spirit and which needs alteration in accordance with the situation. Always try to find a middle way.   

 

  • Develop a plan for employee interaction; it must be employee-centric.
  • Give official status to employee interaction plan.
  • Create conducive environment for its success.
  • Leadership must inspire the rest; they must live by the values of the plan.
  • Announce it loudly and repeatedly that employee connection is at place.
  • Vertical organizational structure may prove to be a hurdle in the way of employee connection plan, thus make such arrangements which make organizational structure a horizontal one.
  • In order to familiarize employees with the plan organize training.
  • Involvement of employees is very important in this regard. Develop such programs that ensures employee participation i.e. employee connection champion program etc.
  • Feedback mechanism must be at place to have an overall idea about the plan. Develop employee-driven improvement processes.
  • Establishment of cross role and cross functional connections must be included among employee performance goals. 
 

Power of Employee Interaction

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Problems such as: low productivity, high employee turnover and dissatisfied workforce has given rise to the subject of employee interaction. Employee interaction plans are meant for increasing interaction among employees of different roles and different functions. Benefits of employee interaction are as following:

•           Employee satisfaction increases.

•           Employee turnover decreases, good talent gets attracted.

•           Collaborative environment nourishes.

•           Status differences within the organization reduce.

•           Performance of human resources improves.

•           Helps to avoid mutual disagreements.

There are different tools that organizations can use to improve employee interaction.

•           At first a formal plan for employee interaction should be developed.

•           Once the plan is developed it must be enforced and followed by the top management.

•           Open meetings are quite effective in this regard.

•           Employee consoling helps to increase interaction.

•           Surveys are also useful tools for developing connections.

•           Occasional get together and annual dinners.   

“Gamification” can Help to Solve the Issues of Employee Retention, Motivation, Performance and Development

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The global market of video games in 2012 was $67 billion and it is expected to reach $80 billion in the year 2017. The Entertainment software association published in its 2011 report that 72 percent of the American households play computer or video games. These staggering figures show that the market of computer and video games is big and that it is continuously growing. As games are becoming more and more popular, various industries are focusing on developing video games for performing different functions in their organizational systems and are getting inspired by the concepts used in video games. O2 is one of the UK’s leading mobile networks; it uses a video game for the recruitment of technical support staff. The use of games in marketing is becoming quite frequent. A new breed of video games allows players to physically participate by using their hand motions and body movements. This became inspiration for software developers, who came up with some programs in which users are able to control movements with their hands instead of using a mouse or keyboard. The application of games and game concepts in other fields of study has given rise to the term “gamification”. “Gamification” became popular in the year 2010 and since then has developed to a widely used and applied term. There are some definitions of „gamification‟:

 

 “The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity”.

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 “Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”. 

“Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems”.

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The above mentioned definitions make it clear that “gamification” is about applying game mechanics and designs into other fields of study. It is an interesting way of doing serious real life things. Game mechanics may be applied to almost any industry for various purposes. “Game mechanics are ruled based systems / simulations that facilitate and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms”. Rewards, status updates, levels, bonuses, points, countdown, discovery, progression and immediate feedback are some examples of game mechanics. Game mechanics are used in games to engage, motivate, educate and entertain players. Furthermore, mechanics are used to earn loyalty of players in the favor of a specific brand. Players can also be motivated or influenced to do specific things with the help of specific mechanics. If game mechanics, designs and aesthetics can motivate people to play games it can also be applied to real life to drive the same results which are driven in games.

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Employee Motivation is Important for Superior Organizational Performance (Lessons from the Movie “OFFICE SPACE”)

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In order to compete with its competitors a business organization needs to have efficient employees, who are motivated enough to do their best for sake of the organizational interests. Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, McClelland, Burnham and Vroom are among those theorists who have worked on the subject of motivation. They have defined various elements and processes which motivate employees to do their best. People spend most of their time working; therefore, they urge to get satisfaction out of work. This reality has increased the importance of keeping the employees motivated. Role of managers is very crucial in this regard. Managers are supposed to manage their teams in such a manner that they produce maximum output. Output of an employee is directly related to motivation and happiness, the one who is more motivated and happier is more productive. It is largely in the hands of managers to motivate the workforce. Motivation has become very important topic of the science of management and with every passing day its important is increasing.

Lack of motivation among the members of an organization may create many hindrances for it in the way of achieving desired goals. There are many reasons that lead towards lack of motivation among the members of an organization.  Works about motivation and job satisfaction propose that in order to motivate employees individual attributes and work context both are essential. If one is not working the way s/he wants to work or if s/he is not using those particular tools and mediums which s/he wants to use it leads towards demotivation. We will use the examples from the movie “Office Space” along with the literature in order to understand what really demotivates employees at a workplace.

In the film the main character Peter does not give his best at work, he does not reach office on time. Furthermore, he tells to the consultants who come to his company in order to interview the employees that he does not feel like doing any extra for the company. He takes excessive time outs just for killing time at the office and pretends that he is working when actually he is not. He clearly tells to the consultants that he lacks motivation. Upon inquiry by the consultants he explains that the reason for his behavior and lack of motivation are that the company does not pay him extra for the extra work that he does. Moreover, he has not been promoted for the last many years.

Milton is another character in the film. He is not being liked by the management and by his colleagues due to his strange personality. The Group V.P frequently changes Milton’s desk and takes away his stapler, which is very dear to Milton, in order to disturb him. He is working there and getting money but still he is not happy because he is fulfilling his physiological needs out of the money which he is earning but his social needs which emerge after the physiological needs are not being fulfilled. He is not loved by any one and he is not given respect due to which he lacks motivation and is not happy with the work.

In the film Peter says that he works in a cubical and he cannot see what is happening around and cannot see out of the window. For this reason he dismantles his cubical so that he can see out of the window. Milton also tells someone on the phone that the V.P has changed his seat from the window to the other place where he cannot see out. Thus, another factor for the demotivation of Milton and especially of the Peter was that the office environment was of such a type that it was demotivating them.

The management of an organization should do their best in order to keep employees highly motivated. There are several things that must be done in order to keep the motivation level of the employees high. Motivation comes from the work, thus work itself is very important in terms of motivation. Job characteristics describe aspects of the job or task an employee performs, while work context pertains to characteristics of the organizational setting (e.g., an organization’s rewards systems, goals, or degree of formalization) in which an employee performs his work. Job characteristics or job settings directly affect working of an employee by motivating her/him or demotivating her/him. One thing which is very crucial in terms of the employee motivation is progress of employees. Lots of work has been done on the subject of motivation and many tools are being generated in this regard.  If progress of the employees is being shown regularly to them they get motivated. Monetary incentives and growth at jobs are also important tools for motivating people. Motivated and satisfied employees work at their best. When employees perform well it automatically improves the overall organizational performance.

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The HR Professional Must Behave like an Advisor towards Human Resources

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Being an HR professional I am in the tenth year of my carrier. I divide my carrier into two halves. The first halve is the one when I was behaving like a paternal figure for the human resources. Now in the second halve of my carrier I am acting more like an advisor. Let me share it with you what factors made me choose the path of behaving like an advisor towards employees.

During the first half of my carrier I was guiding the employees at every step. By keeping their strengths and skills in mind I myself was deciding for them what they are going to do. At some occasions I even ignored what they were interested in doing; I did this in order to stop them from making wrong choices. In other words I was enforcing my decisions on them in the light of their skills, performance, strengths, behavior and qualifications. I was organizing skills and capacity building training for them to enable them to achieve their targets. I was creating such an encouraging environment around them that supported them to accomplish the given targets. It would not be wrong to say that I was making things less challenging for them. Losing an employee was a matter of life and death for me. In order to retain employees I was organizing personal consoling, interviews, surveys, training & educational opportunities etc. In the pursuit of creating a favorable environment for the growth of employees I convinced the top management to go for performance based promotion policy and to implement a succession plan. This move made the strategic position holders of the organization my arch rivals.

I was doing everything for the benefit of employees and organization. My purpose was to keep the employees motivated, engaged and loyal with the organization. In return the staff was performing at their best capacity. Employee turnover rate hit the minimum levels in the history of the company. Apparently everything seemed fine but in my opinion I was making some mistakes. I was providing an incubator like environment for the growth of employees. Strategies crafted by me were protecting them from distractions and problems. Actually I was putting success in their plates at the place of letting them earn it. Furthermore, my decision to guide them at every step was also wrong. Actually unconsciously I was making them dependent upon me. Furthermore, I was leaving fewer opportunities for them to learn from their mistakes. I was growing stronger than others due to my concern and contact with the workers. It was in my benefit but was destabilizing the overall power balance.

I reconsidered my past behavior; actually I was behaving like a father with the employees. I reviewed everything and reached on the conclusion that I must behave like an advisor not like a father. I started paying attention on strengthening rules and regulations relating to training, employee engagement and employee consoling. I suggested to the top management it must be incumbent upon every departmental manager, supervisor and team lead to stay in touch with their sub-ordinates in order to minimize the communication gaps. Situation in the next year was much better. Organizational rules and regulations were more supreme than the officials. I was doing most of the things that I had been doing in the past but I was acting like an advisor. I was putting every effort for the organization and for the workers under the cloak of regulations.

Understanding Different Paradigms of Performance

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Present age is the age of performance; those days are by gone when performance concepts were just applied at the work places. Performance mania has engulfed all realms of life. Everyone wants to perform well than others in every sphere of life. Different techniques are being applied in order to improve performance. Particularly organizations are applying various methods to increase the performance of their human resources. Performance is a widened term; therefore, there is not a single method for improving it. A single method or focus on one dimension cannot help to sort out the performance related challenges. Thus, for meeting out the challenges of performance different paradigms of performance are applied.   

What is performance?

Albeit performance is a widened term and it cannot be defined in a single best way but couple of definitions/explanations are provided below to have an idea of the term.

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“Performance is getting the job done, producing the result that you aimed at. Nothing else matters. There are no prizes for coming second”. This definition of performance clearly states that performance means doing the work in an absolute manner without committing mistakes.

From the perspective of task, performance means doing something exactly in accordance with the standards which are set for accomplishing the task. Furthermore, the task is performed at reduced cost and promptly in order to accomplish it with in the time frame defined for it. However, for a performer it means to accomplish a task in such a way which is required from him according to the contract.

Importance and scope of performance:

From 1861 to 1944 around one hundred academic papers were written on the subject of performance but since 1950 thousands of research papers are being written on the subject. Above-stated statistics show the increased importance of the subject. Performance is so important that it is used and applied in all walks of life. It is a widened term; it covers range of activities such as sex, work etc. But its use in the world of business is unprecedented. State owned institutions, semi-governmental organizations and private enterprises all are crazy about performance. Different goals are set in order to ensure high performance. Profits, stock prices and over-all organizational efficiency are different scales to measure the performance of organizations. Organizations seek performance from their executives, employees and systems. But it is not a one way process where high performance is always sought from executives and employees. It is a two way process where organizations also contribute to enhance the performance of human resources. Training, restructuring, re-engineering, performance reviews are some of the measures which are used to boost the performance of human resources. Promotion, salary increase, bonus, recognition are the rewards which are awarded to those who perform well. Dismissal from job, retraining and relocation are the results which one may face if s/he does not perform well.

McKenzie’s Framework:

Before moving further towards the Jon McKenzie’s framework three terms are defined in order to understand the framework.

Efficacy: “The power, ability or capacity to produce a desired effect”.                

Efficiency: “The ratio of effective output to the total input in any system”.                        

“To perform in such a manner that minimum time or effort are wasted”.

Effective: “Producing a strong impression or response”.

Generally these three terms are considered synonyms to each other. In everyday life people overlap these terms with each other. But in reality there is difference in their meanings. Efficacy has mild meaning as compared to other two terms. Efficacy is used in terms of bringing results which are expected. Efficiency is more related with output input and supply demand. Furthermore, it is related to that performance in which little wastage of resources take place, all sorts of resources are included in it such as time, effort and money. Effectiveness/effective is doing right things. The difference between effective and efficient is that the first one is about doing right things and the second one is about doing things in the right manner.

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McKenzie in his book talks about performance and issues related to performance. Particularly he focuses on challenges of performance in 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters. Moreover, he suggests ways to improve organizational performance, employees’ performance and performance of systems. It is clear from the title of the book “Perform or Else” that performance have taken the form of a mania in today’s organizations. McKenzie clearly points out that organizations expect performance from their executives and employees. World has gone crazy about performance, people in all walks of life have become performance manic. Therefore, in such circumstances performance is not just a term it has other things related to it such as efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness. These three terms define different levels of performance and has different scopes in regard of performance. McKenzie very well understands the performance mania which has spread around and associates these three terms with cultural, organizational and technical performances. His focus in these chapters is on improving performance, thus he highlights the challenges of efficacy, challenges of efficiency and challenges of effectiveness in order to make the base for suggesting ways to improve performance. All of them have different scopes, different solutions to improve performance and have unique characteristics for being applied at different places or situations.

McKenzie associates efficacy with cultural performance. The concept of cultural performance emerged in 1960’s. Concepts relating to theater were used for studying and developing this model of performance. Things which are related to theater and acting were studied thoroughly for understanding their roles in social relations. In the sphere of cultural performance McKenzie focused on those dimensions of performance which are mostly intangible. If a person makes a speech in front of people he will make it in such a way that it affects the audience and positive results may be derived out of it. This is a simple way to elaborate it; in a wider scenario McKenzie attaches cultural performance with efficacy and suggests that challenges of efficacy may be treated with the help of cultural performance.

Efficiency is attached with organizational performance in McKenzie’s book. Organizational performance has its roots in the beginning of last century. Ideas presented by Taylor had many elements of organizational performance. After the mid of last century progress was done in the field of performance studies and it led towards the concept of organizational performance and it was made clear that organizational performance does not mean Taylorism. Organizational performance deals with the matters related to employees performance, reduction of all kinds of waste in an organization and all other matters which are relating to maximization of output in an organization, department, system and of employees. Furthermore, feedback is focused in organizational performance.

Technological performance deals with effectiveness in performance. Technological performance stands for that performance which is measurable and exact as expected. High performance technologies are mention-able in this regard. McKenzie particularly mentions that during the last decade of the last century and in the present age such high-tech technologies are on boom due to their capacity to perform effectively.

Performance is a term that does not has a limited scope; it is applied in all facets of life. From serious stuff to leisure the ideas of performance are applied. It would not be wrong to say that the elements of performance may be seen in everything around. Due to the importance and advantages of performance everyone desires to perform well. But as it is discussed above that there is not one single shape of performance, it has multiple dimensions, forms and faces. Therefore, need is to have a different criteria for improving performance of different forms. John Mackenzie’s framework helps us to improve performance of various forms in organizations. Basically McKenzie has tried to explain that performance cannot be restricted up to few things. It is a large concept and it includes everything. For this reason he has mentioned challenges of performance in a wider scope and has suggested remedies to cope up with these challenges. He incorporates all of these paradigms of performance and has attempted to name them as performance.