August 6, 2007

Is your company breeding incompetence?

Process leaders are not being trained well enough in the fast growing sectors like IT, ITeS, Retail, Banking among others...

It’s the same talk again, that India Inc. is hiring big-time. And, to train and manage the new recruits, there are the process leaders, who either have inadequate experience and expertise – or are just plain incompetent. As the bottom of the organizational pyramid continues to broaden its base, the woes of bottom-line executives too have risen… but this time, it is a question of their immediate process leaders’ competence in managing work. Ashish, a new recruit with a multinational bank in India is disgruntled and constantly bitches about his branch manager who keeps shirking his responsibilities on to him and adding to his burden. On top of it, he is also discontented with his process leader who keeps pestering him with requests of assistance over conceptual matters related to processes, or with complaints of his non-cooperation.

The company, which says that passion to perform is one of its core values, probably hasn’t got its performance managers trained enough. That’s not the case with just one organization. All you have to do is have a casual talk with any executive of a (xyz) company – as a customer or as an acquaintance – and you’ll get know it all.

But why is it all happening in the first place? The reason: intense restructuring due to market demands have led companies to go on a frenzied expansion (and recruitment) drive. To balance the organizational structure, companies need to create proportionate senior positions as well. “What’s happening now is that companies are filling these positions up on an ad-hoc basis. So executives with certain experience (regardless of training and managerial abilities) are randomly being picked up for promotions (internal or designated),” says an HR manager with a technology MNC. These newly promoted seniors take up higher responsibilities with new personnel coming in and mentor them.

Such practices, a blasphemy to management philosophies, cannot earn companies any respect in the business world, and such issues can only be resolved if organizations give enough time to plan, allocate and train personnel to meet the market demands. If that’s too much, here’s the classic excuse and most workable solution: Discount it as yet another common problem with organizations on a robust growth path…
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