Small Money and Big Training Needs

In today’s Trinidad Daily Express (14th October 2008), there is an article that speaks to the Inter-American Development Bank’s agreement to loan local companies US$6 billion. The IDB noted that the origin of economic crisis is outside of the Latin American and Caribbean region but can have potentially serious repercussions. They feel the need to protect the strides made by countries in the region to promote growth and reduce poverty.

Against this backdrop of a looming world economic crisis, companies need to be increasingly innovative in the use of scarce resources to remain viable.

How do we as Human Resource Professionals address these challenges? We have a situation where we are increasingly unable to pay market prices for talent that can hit the ground running with minimal training. Hence, we are often forced to compromise on the quality of hire and recruit the more inexperienced candidates (maybe inconsistent with our espoused people philosophy) with an intention to train to perform the job.

Then we run into another challenge: “where do we find the funds necessary to train?” One idea is to incorporate the concept of an internal faculty into the company’s training philosophy.

An internal faculty is based on using the internal employees who are experts in their fields or possess other skills and talents to train the employees with performance gaps.

HR can review the training needs assessments to determine the different interventions required and then match that with the internal skills inventory of the employees. HR can identify potential candidates for the internal faculty and provide them with guidelines, roles, expectations, outcomes, amount of volunteer time required etc. The potential candidates can then decide if they are willing to assist.

This provides an avenue for the employees to communicate and get to know each other as a networking opportunity. It also affords the experienced employees an opportunity to be recognised, showcase their knowledge and share it with other employees in a structured manner.  More importantly, it decreases the cash out flow due to training and supposedly minimises the training gap. There are some concerns with this approach as one maybe unsure about the quality of training being delivered or the manner it maybe delivered.

In addition to benefiting from the company’s internal faculty, one can also investigate offers of free training. For example, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago provides free lectures, workshops and seminars aimed at educating the public on finance. The Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad has a free seminar on October 22nd 2008 entitled “The Economic Partnership Agreement”. The National Insurance Board and the Board of Inland Revenue all have free seminars on national benefits and income tax laws respectively.

If the company must seek an external vendor to provide necessary training, always negotiate group rates with agreements on key training outcomes.

Developing an Internal faculty, exploration of free sessions and skilled negotiations are just a few ways to address some of the challenges that may be coming our way or for some of us the challenges are already in our back yard.

Denise Ali

[email_link]

The Not-So-Diverse Caribbean Workplace

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the September issue of FirstCuts, the monthly ezine for Framework Consulting.

The topic surrounds a contentious issue — the diversity of our workplaces with respect to differences in sexual orientation.  The full article, along with public comments, can be found at

http://fwconsulting.blogspot.com/2008/09/not-so-diverse-caribbean-workplace_30.html

Here is an excerpt:

==============================================
The Not-So-Diverse Caribbean Workplace
==============================================
Global opinion is growing: the Caribbean is increasingly seen as one of the least inclusive, intolerant and unsupportive regions of the world as it relates to the matter of “differences.” The term “difference” is a fairly new one to the Caribbean workplace and it generally applies to obvious aspects such as race, gender, age,
religion, physical ability, etc. However, our international reputation is largely being tainted by our strident relationship to gays and homosexuality.

By extension, Caribbean companies and executives are not exactly seen as world leaders in the context of business tolerance.

The fact is that many of our territories’ populations have relatively little day-to-day exposure to people of other races, nationalities and beliefs. The tendency is to speak single languages as relatively few of our companies conduct business in other countries, even within the region. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few nights in a hotel in the vicinity of Times Square and I was reminded of what it was like to be surrounded by people of backgrounds different from mine and languages from all corners of the globe. We simply don’t have the kind of diversity that is influencing the way the world’s most admired companies relate to people who are “different.”

It might be no mistake that the CEO of Jamaica’s largest company, the Government, recently announced to the international public that he is unwilling to accept gays at the highest levels of his organization.

When asked in a recent BBC interview if he would allow gays to take up senior government positions, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding, replied emphatically, “Not in my cabinet!” I might be wrong in thinking that he is not the only CEO/Prime Minister/Chairman to have these views in the region.
While he may be the only CEO with these views, the effect of his words are far-reaching, as presumably they must have some impact on the entire Government of Jamaica, which coincidentally is the
largest employer in Jamaica. (The link to the interview is given in the next section.)

Clearly, his idea of an inclusive, diverse workplace has its limits.

If he is seen as a typical representative of a “regional CEO,” what are the pros and cons to companies when executives adopt this approach either publicly or privately? What does it mean for business and what is its impact on stock-holders, employees, customers and other stakeholders? Even though the societal
impacts are many, here in FirstCuts I will only focus on the impact his words and our attitudes, may have on the financial success of our corporations.

To read the full article, see http://fwconsulting.blogspot.com/2008/09/not-so-diverse-caribbean-workplace_30.html

Subscriptions are free, and can be initiated with an email to firstcuts@aweber.com

Francis Wade

[email_link]

Mentorship and Its Benefits

Mentoring is a career development method whereby less experienced employees are matched with more experienced colleagues for guidance either through formal or informal programmes.  Most CEO’s you speak with, will say that they are where they are because they got guidance or advice from some other experienced individuals this most likely was through an informal mentoring relationships.  In fact these relationships often continue for their entire careers.

There are many advantages for both the mentor and the mentee or protégé in both formal and informal mentoring relationships.  I have worked in an organization where there was a formal mentorship programme and the benefits were quite evident.  The excitement, enthusiasm and commitment generated had immediate positive impact.  The mentees were young and most were new to the world of work.  So, having experienced employees to help them overcome obstacles showed that the organization was serious about them and committed to their future and success.

Benefits for the mentee include job related coaching and counseling, a better orientation and induction into a new organizational culture, more intimate knowledge of the organization and its operations, the potential for networking opportunities, the ability to reach full potential at a faster rate and the mentor’s personal experience in similar situations.

The mentor also gains from the relationship.  To share and guide another individual on a path to success is a truly rewarding feeling.  Also the mentor’s commitment and loyalty to the organization are enhanced through the experience.  Of course, they must be willing to make the relationship work, by dedicating time to the role and providing timely feedback.

All organizations can benefit from the implementation of such a programme.  The areas of recruitment, retention, human resource development and culture are all impacted.  Programmes can be informal, that is a basic outline is presented and employees chart their own course through it.  Structured programmes which often include milestones for various phases of the relationship and deliberate matching of mentors and protégés take more effort, but the rewards can be significantly increased.

There is a lot of material out there, so starting a programme is not that difficult for those with limited resources.  For larger organizations the programme can be implemented through the use of a trained facilitator.  In these challenging economic times, organizations, guided by Human Resources have to make the effort to keep valuable employees; an informal mentorship programme may be one such avenue.

1Definition from Society for Human Resource Management Knowledge Centre

The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Effective Mentoring, Dr. Norman Cohen
Making the Most of Being Mentored, Gordon F. Shea

Bianca Attong
[email_link]

Health and Human Resources

Current issues in the newspaper refer to poor public health services, serious traffic congestion, spiralling crime rate and double digit inflation. What can we do as Human Resource Professionals to assist our employees in dealing with the current socio-economic conditions?

The newspapers have numerous articles on the public health care services in Trinidad, where citizens are reporting on the poor services received and the medical professionals reporting on the staff shortage, poor facilities, equipment and scarce resources and where the Government, by way of the Minister of Health has continued to debate these allegations.

In today’s Trinidad Daily Express (September 30th 2008), there are two articles that refer to poor health care. One article refers to lack of follow up when baby Justin Paul was burnt in his incubator at Mt Hope Maternity Hospital. Another article speaks to a young boy’s scholarship achievement and he attributes his inspiration and choice of study (maxillofacial surgery) to his brother who suffers with cerebral palsy. His brother has been placed on awaiting list for surgery for three years at Mt Hope, so he hopes to be qualified to reconstruct his brother’s jaw.

How do we protect our employees from suffering similar fate? Quite often, the view to these issues tend to be one-dimensional but it should be noted that a 360 approach may yield substantial results in the long term health of our employees.

We can explore making arrangements with private health institutions and our health insurance providers to ensure our employees get the care needed with the adequate health care coverage. We have negotiated to increase our major medical limit to five million renewable over three years. Also, review the preventative schedule of benefits to ensure adequacy and or acceptability against the premiums being paid. The key recommendation is to discuss needs and costs with the various stakeholders to get the best deal possible to assist employees in times of a medical emergency.

Another option is to organise a subsidised or free vaccination programme within your organisation for the employees. This may encourage employees to get vaccinated since they would not have to be inconvenienced to visit the local health centre and they can enjoy decreased costs or none at all. This preventative measure may result in decreased absenteeism levels.

We can also encourage our employees to live healthy lives to avoid lifestyle diseases. There are some diseases we may be predisposed too and others we may increase the probability of its occurrence when we smoke, drink alcohol excessively, lack of exercise, improper diet, excessive stress and the like. We can engage the services of a nutritionist and or a dietician to assist our employees and their families with eating right. We can also subsidise the fees to attend a local gym to encourage exercise.

An employee assistance provider (EAP) can also be quite helpful by targeting stress areas and also by providing therapy sessions on an individual basis for those that may need it. The EAP is a great network of resources that can be tapped to help improve our employee’s ability to capitalise on day to day character building opportunities.

Many articles have been written on the benefits of a mother’s breast milk to her baby; yet, we ask that our new mothers return to work after three months of giving birth. Returning to a workplace that provides a private area or at least twenty minutes to express breast milk would encourage a new mother to express milk to feed her baby and thus decrease the probability of partial or full transition to formula. Breast milk is said to improve the health of the baby and a healthy baby means that the mummy will spend less time worrying or by the Paediatrician and more productive time at the office. This may also re bound to the claims made against the company’s health plan and thus improves the claims loss ratio.

One final suggestion is a committee that is focussed on encouraging healthy lives, bodies and mind. At Guardian, we have a committee called “Life Pulse” and the committee promotes healthy living through hosting fun walks/runs, hosting various health weeks, where employees can get screened for specific illnesses, sight tests, cholesterol tests, blood sugar testing, blood pressure testing and the like.

The above are merely a few ideas and suggestions to provide care to our employees. The suggestions may serve to build employee commitment and engagement where employees exercise increasing levels of discretionary behaviour and result in improved productivity.

Denise Ali

[email_link]

Line Managers and Documentation

Human Resource Professionals have a responsibility to advise our clients (Line Managers) on the practices of good industrial relations.

This role has many challenges. There are times one may come across a Line Manager that really grasps the importance of managing people and does not shy away from difficult or character building conversations with employees.

Then there are times, when one may come across the Line Manager who complains about how they are doing the job of the HR department and refuses to accept responsibility for their own hiring decisions.

I recall one manager who opted to hire an employee from a sister company, after being warned about peculiar behaviour by this said employee. The manager experienced many challenges with the employee. However, nothing was well documented or even properly discussed with the employee according to the rules of good industrial relations. When the manager had enough of the alleged poor behaviour, the manager wanted the employee out of the department. At the late stage, the manager sought to involve HR to dismiss the said employee.

Does the above incident sound familiar to any of our readers? Too often, our line managers are hasty, they don’t document any critical incidents and they want to terminate at will.

Training the line on the value of HR is a critical component to the line manager’s success. The important of documentation, how to have performance related discussions and how progressive discipline works are crucial elements of such training. Usually, the line is more receptive to such training when they are the reason the organisation must pay an ex-employee hundreds of thousands of dollars for a wrongful dismissal. Sometimes, the consequences have to become a reality first before we can truly appreciate the value of HR.

Denise Ali
[email_link]

CaribHRForum’s 2008 Survey

This year’s survey of HR Professionals in the region is focused on the topic of Regional Human Resource Conferences.

It’s a much larger survey than the one we conducted last year, as it’s going out to over 3000 professionals, in as many as 10 countries.  Hopefully, we’ll get a good understanding of what drives a decision to attend a conference, and what might be done to boost attendance, quality and profitability.

If you’d like to participate, simply join CaribHRForum’s email discussion list (click on the see the Join tab above or click here) and listen out for the survey which will be sent out to the group within a few days, until October 10th when it closes.

[email_link]

Back to School Blues

“Sorry to be late, the traffic was crazy!” This was the employee’s greeting as she hustled through the door ten minutes late, sweating and complaining about the bad drivers, breakfast in one hand and Blackberry in the other.

This will be a familiar scenario at workplaces throughout the Caribbean as the school term has re-opened. Employers are faced with increasing challenges in managing employee punctuality and productivity, in the face of increasing gridlock at all times of the day. The problem is not peculiar to us, in a 2007 study by Career Builder and USA Today, 31% of late employees cited traffic as the cause of their tardiness. I am certain that that percentage would be much higher in our region.

The punctuality issues definitely impact productivity and the bottom line. If an employee arrived ten minutes late each day, another paid vacation week would have accumulated by the end of the year. Multiply this by the number of employees in your organization and then in the industry and then across all industries in the country and the region. Millions!!! No wonder in a recent International Labour Organisation study it was found that value added per person employed in the Caribbean is nearly three times less than in developed economies.

Productivity is impacted not only by the time lost each day by late arrivals, but by time taken to settle in and focus, time for breakfast that was missed because employees left home at 4 am to beat the traffic. Then this is repeated during the day by employees leaving to pick up the children from school and drop them off.

Solutions! Solutions!

1. Develop a culture of being on time – begin meetings on time, discuss the important issues first, do not repeat information for late comers
2. Reward employees for perfect attendance and punctuality;
3. Discipline employees for tardiness and absenteeism (we can debate about the pros and cons of solutions 1 vs 2);
4. Have a clearly documented attendance and punctuality policy;
5. Introduce flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, compressed work weeks (9-80), job sharing – these help with recruitment, retention and morale;
6. Discuss the importance of being on time at the offer stage; during Orientation Sessions
7. Train managers in dealing with these issues and encourage them to coach employees
8. Remind employees of the existence of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to help them cope with work life issues;
9. Organise sessions through the EAP on Stress Management, Work Life Balance;
10. Provide on-site catering of breakfast;
11. Introduce a shuttle service for employees and their children
12. Encourage car pooling (some people even ride bicycles around now)
13. Offer on-site child care or benefits towards child care arrangements

1 Key Indicators of the Labour Market, Fifth Edition, International Labour Office, Geneva 2007

Bianca Attong
[email_link]

Front Line Managers as People Managers

According to a CIPD  report in 2003, one of the keys to managing performance through people is triggering discretionary behaviour in employees so that employees go the “extra mile” for the organisation.

People are more likely to engage in positive discretionary behaviour when they feel motivated, are satisfied with their jobs and are committed to their employer. These outcomes are usually a result of many factors. One factor relates to the Front Line Manager and if they embrace their people management role and how well they execute this function.

The People Management function is often thought to be the sole responsibility of Human Resources and any people problem a manager experienced, the employee would be quickly referred to Human Resources. This view is quickly changing to one that holds the Line Manager responsible for people management as well.

People Management comprises activities like employee relations, performance appraisals, coaching, mentoring, developing, training, recruitment, absence management, work life balance, career management, problem solving, listening, communicating, enforcing policies and the list can go on and on.

Promotion from within is an excellent motivational tool (career mobility) and organisations sought and still seek today to ensure a proper balance of internal promotion (consistency) with external recruitment (creativity). However, when an employee is promoted to a manager role because of the great job they did in the old position, hoping they will perform equally well in the new position regardless of the fact that the new position requires a different set of knowledge, skills and abilities, this leads to a misfit and the results are disastrous to all concerned. You gain a bad manager and lose a great technical expert.

In the past, the Line commented that the people management activities made up the Human Resource function and “why Human Resources wanted to pass on their work to them, they have enough work as it is, no time to manage people”.

How do we move from the Line expressing the above sentiment to a complete turnaround of embracing the people management function with complete ownership and accountability?

One of the first things, I would recommend, is to refine the role of the manager with a specific emphasis on people management and decreasing their transactional role as a normal worker.  Traditionally the job details for a manager include processing duties like that of his /her employees plus the management duties. Hence, a re-definition of the job, the expectations and the requirements to fill the role with an emphasis on the behavioural competencies are needed. Keep in mind, this must be consistent with the company’s core values and people philosophy. Anything we do in Human Resource, organisational alignment is critical.

We don’t have the luxury of starting from a clean slate, what do we do with the candidates in manager’s roles who are not best suited for those jobs? Well, we systematically compare their performance and their tool kit of skills, abilities, behavioural competencies and knowledge to what is listed in the re-defined job. We may also want to solicit some feedback on the people management aspects from their staff. This can be anonymously done and it would serve as a great source of data on the actual people management skills of the manager. The results will help identify varying degrees of job fit or gaps. A decision will have to be made on which candidates can be trained to perform or maybe from the onset, a candidate maybe seen to be a clear square peg in a round hole and may perform better in a highly technical role. It is important to note that the manager who does not perform well in the people management role but was great in the technical role may be suffering great internal chaos and may welcome reverting to one’s comfort zone.

By now, we would have identified candidates that need to be trained on how to perform their people management role. In my company, we developed a “Management Development Programme” which is aimed at training our managers according to our re-defined manager profile (emphasis on people management). Our programme is staffed by an internal faculty, that means our own Executives and selected managers are intended to deliver the training. This allows for increased networking among the staff and Executives. It gives the Executives an opportunity to showcase their knowledge of the respective discipline or area of expertise and also provides a sense of satisfaction knowing that they are helping the staff develop.  The key about the training is not only about the “what” but more importantly about the “how”. The “how” speaks to the soft skills training of handling performance challenges, grievances, discipline problems, communication and the like.

Measures of success may range from turnover rates with reasons, absenteeism rates, employee feedback scores, number of employee relation issues escalated for resolution at a higher level, percentage of training gap among team, percentage of new employees confirmed on time among others that can be aligned to one’s won situation.  In my company, we have a 180 degree feedback form completed by a manager’s direct reports on the manager and we also include people measures and targets on the people perspective of their respective balanced scorecards.

Line managers should specifically pay attention to conducting frequent quality performance appraisals where performance feedback is exchanged periodically. Training, coaching, guidance, involvement and communication are key areas for the manager to invest time in. One’s direct reports must feel a sense of openness to discuss matters easily. Work life balance is becoming increasingly important and as such should be respected by the manager and finally recognition is critical, a simple “thank you, great job” does not cost much. It will be wonderful if the organisation has a reward and recognition programme that is easy to use without any bureaucracy and too many authorisations to slow down the process. Rewards should immediately or as close to the action being rewarded.

Managers are people too  and as much as they have a huge responsibility of managing their staff, the organisation must recognise that the managers also have needs. Too often, the organisation may take the middle level managers for granted, where they are expected to turn stone into cheese with little or minimal resources. Lack of resources, unrealistic deadlines, with conflicting tasks and deliverables only serve to manifest itself negatively in the way the employees are treated by the same manager is stressed.  Organisations are well-advised to listen to their managers and treat them in much the same way they would like them to treat the general staff.

[email_link]

HR and Hurricane Preparedness

For many of us in the Caribbean, we dread the months of June through November that represent hurricane season.  We watch the tropical activity with bated breath, feeling guiltily relieved when the storm does not pass our way.  Unfortunately, it usually means it will directly impact one of our island neighbours.  While some seasons are thankfully uneventful, others can devastate lives, families, workplaces, and nations.

What is HR’s role in preparing for and recovering from the disaster of a hurricane?

1.    Assist with the preparation of a hurricane preparedness manual that should include what-to-do checklists, securing company facilities, property and information, damage assessments, emergency contact persons, addresses and phone numbers, and evacuation plans.
2.    Form a safety committee that would lead the preparation activities as outlined in the manual.  The committee should facilitate drills and evaluation of the safety and preparedness processes, create implementation teams and execute a communication strategy to the organization.
3.    Ensure that there are current phone records and emergency contact information for all employees so that they may be contacted after the emergency.
4.    Create emergency leave and assistance policies to help employees and their families who may have been injured or suffered material loss as a result of the hurricane.
5.    Provide counseling and support for employees and managers who may have been adversely affected by the hurricane.
6.    Recognize and celebrate the efforts of all to secure the workplace and celebrate the strength and commitment of the team.

Hurricanes are not the only disasters our Caribbean nations experience and HR should have contingency plans for all eventualities, especially as they relate to leave, pay, and support to the employees and managers of their organizations.  As the heart of any organization, HR must be ready, available and proactive in the event of any emergency.

Simmone Bowe

[email_link]

Olympic Lessons for Caribbean HR

Well, the Beijing Olympics have come and gone.  The lessons and stories, however will last for a long time.  From the mind-boggling opening ceremony, to the pride Caribbean people felt and continue to feel at the tremendous success of our athletes.  Congratulations to all!!!! Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis – everyone.  The world was forced to take notice of this beautiful region for reasons other than sun, sea and sand.

Of course we the people of the Caribbean have always known that we excel in all spheres of endeavour.  I think the time has come and the opportunity is ripe for us in the Human Resource profession to really harness this excitement and sustain the momentum for positive results.  We have been talking for a long time; the time has come to act.

The games of the 29th Olympiad have really provided a plethora of analogies for us to draw from and move forward.  A few things that stood out for me in terms of relevance to Human Resources included, the limitless potential that collectivism can achieve, the ability of good coaches to recognize and develop raw talent, the use of benchmarks and performance measures in a systematic way to manage performance, awareness of the competition and best practices, the attributes of successful athletes, the importance of teamwork and proper technique and the value of recognition and reward.

Much has been written and discussed about the individual versus the team and collective.  I think it has been proven time and time again, that there is strength in unity.  The politicians of the region seem to be shaking things up again in terms of integration, so why not us as Human Resource Professionals.  This forum is a start and the challenge is for us all to do our part, so that we can chart a way forward in earnest.

Richard Thompson, Trinidad and Tobago’s double silver medalist at the games, credits his secondary school coach, as identifying his raw potential and putting him on the path to success.  Every organization is full of “high potentials”, it is our job as HR to work with management to identify these employees and put programmes in place for them to achieve their full potential while meeting the organisational vision.

These programmes can include training, stretch targets, assignment to challenging projects and often international exposure.  HR needs to be careful however; to ensure that there is a sound plan in place for these employees future in the workplace.  A great deal of time and money is spent and sometimes employees leave organizations as the great opportunities and positions promised to them to utilize this development does not materialize.

The athletes’ performances were all incredible, but certainly the performance was relative to all past performances in the history of these and other games.  Usian Bolt’s record-breaking times are awe inspiring because we are able to compare them to times of other athletes.  This emphasizes the need for performance targets and measures in relation to benchmarks.  Human Resource professionals need to embrace the use of metrics and targets and encourage the organizations for which they work to do the same.  Employee and organizational performance should be measured continuously.  While most appraisal processes capture employee and organizational performance in terms of standards and metrics, HR can do better for itself.

How many HR professionals can say that they track organizational metrics on a regular basis and use the results to inform decision making or influence strategy?  I recently started capturing some simple information, absenteeism in terms of time and cost as well as time to fill key vacancies.  This has enabled the organization to take notice of how absenteeism affects the bottom line.  This has also meant support for initiatives that HR needs to put in place to reduce these figures.  The time to fill metric has assisted me in streamlining the recruitment and selection process.

Put another way, the absence of metrics and measures does not optimize the efficiency of operations.  There is no way to hide from the figures, so capturing them forces me to be more resourceful.  Several HR professionals I have encountered have never tracked metrics and some admit they do not know where to start.  SHRM’s website is a starting point, there is a list of several metrics and their related formulae.  Also contacting a colleague who already does this is extremely useful.  You can recommend this as a topic at your local HR Association.

Awareness of the competition and best practices were also a lesson to be learnt.  Know your competition and what makes them successful.  Who are the industry leaders?  Who is known for innovation, training and development or other things?  As HR practitioners, we need to be in community with each other, through any means.  Be active, network.  Libby Sartain and Martha Finney make this point in their book HR from the Heart.  We can learn from one another and therefore strengthen the collective HR function and organizations as a whole.  The Harvard Business Review of June 2008, has an interesting case study, that addresses losing staff and in particular to the competition.  The need for HR to take an active role in managing these situations is highlighted and knowing the competition is a start.

Successful athletes share certain traits in common.  These include talent, discipline, desire, good support system and motivation.  HR can play a part in enhancing similar attributes in employees.  The systems and processes in the organization must support these.  Whether identifying talent, effective leadership, counseling and coaching, motivation through intrinsic and intangible compensation philosophy.  Peter Senge, in his book, the Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation, speaks about building a shared vision.  The employees and organisations’ vision must be in congruence, so that employees as he puts it can continually enhance their capacity to realize their highest aspirations.

Teamwork and proper technique were quite evident in the relays especially.  The Americans were devastated when their women’s and men’s 4×100 were disqualified after dropping the baton.  The point is that you can be talented or have great employees, team work is necessary on some occasions and ensuring that employees approach their work in a systematic manner is critical.  Often times, there is no Orientation and Induction in place and employees complain of having to figure things out as they go along.  No job description is provided or if it is, no targets and standards are outlined.  This is not the ideal situation.  Proper documentation of procedures, where applicable can lessen the time taken for employees to reach their optimal performance levels.  Consistency in approaching tasks can also assist with the internal branding of operations.  The intangible results displayed following teambuilding activities, whether structured or unstructured as in social activities go a long way in improving morale and strengthening the team.

Lastly, the recognition and reward of individual and collective achievements, is imperative to sustaining success.  The expressions on the faces of those athletes, as they received their medals, the tears of joy and pride seeing their flags being raised, and the anthems of their countries played were touching.

Organisations must ensure that they have Recognition and Reward Policies in place.  Again, this does not always have to be monetary, an e-mail, a thank you note, public recognition at a staff meeting, a picture on the notice board are all simple but effective ways to send out a positive message.  Of course monetary rewards are great, but do not let a budget dampen your efforts.  The Corporate Leadership Council in a four year survey of more than 100 000 employees around the world found that employees join organizations for rational motives such as better career opportunities or benefits, but stay and give their all for emotional reasons.  These emotional reasons include connection to the mission and how they perceive their contribution is valued or recognized.

——————————————————————
P.S.
Congratulations to the Empolyers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago for implementing the Champion Employer of the Year Award.  Congratulations to all the winners.  This public recognition of organizations with good HR practices will motivate all organizations to be the best they can be, perhaps a Champion Regional Employer might be a useful idea to assist with integration.

[email_link]