4. Dec, 2014


                                           A TERMINATOR OR A DEVELOPER?

We as HR practitioners have a choice when it comes to dismissal or disciplining our poor performers. The choice is either to terminate or to find other ways and means to develop the worker to re-enter and fit in the system. Keeping the legal notion of condonation in mind, it is still possible to take a different path to that of dismissal and termination and become a developer of human resources.

Learning to recruit the right people for the right job is one of the most important aspects of any HR leader. In fact, our success of maintaining a healthy workforce depends on it. If we have done this well and maintained our good training and development programs after conducting regular training needs analysis then the responsibility of keeping the workers performing as per our requirement would not be difficult.

While some HR practitioners seem to have a knack for picking the right people others have not been able to do this important work well. Actually, it is more than a knack. It takes careful analysis of the job requirement and the people available plus a large dose of imagination and foresight.

The first step obviously is a careful analysis of the job itself to find out what abilities are required or what kinds of personality and temperament are needed. Even how essential is previous experience and what kind of person can you imagine doing that job well?

The next step is even more difficult. What candidates do we have available and how do their abilities and personalities fit the requirements? If, on the other hand, we are unsure of their abilities, is there any way we can test to find this out? Could any of them meet the requirement if given some special training?

Sometimes it is obvious that none of the available candidates could fill the bill and that is where our foresight comes into the picture. It should have been used a long time ago to foresee and avoid such a predicament.  No one can put the right person in the right job unless the right person is available and we have a system to develop the right person for the job. That is why a forward-looking HR manager tries to anticipate how a department might grow and develop rather than taking any drastic actions to conduct the termination and dismissal processes. Such HR practitioners seriously contemplate and think about finding and developing the kind of people who will be needed next month or next year.

It always pays to think about tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s. How will your present subordinates fit into the picture then? What training and experience will they need to be ready to move along and keep improving their performance? Do they have the necessary potential? So it is vital to know our people who work for us. If the people do an excellent job in their present assignments then it becomes our responsibility to find out what else they can do by testing their capacity with other assignments. This can be done by discovering their strengths and weaknesses.

This way, when the time comes to improve their performance and consider them for another job, we will be able to make an intelligent decision. Our people will always be trained and ready to do the tasks allocated to them. But the fact that someone is doing well in a present job is no guarantee that another position will be handled equally as well. It depends upon whether the capabilities of the person match the requirements of that particular job or whether our training and development programs are working well enough to avoid costly consequences of termination and dismissal.

Telling employees that their performance is not satisfactory and spelling out exactly how and why we expect them to do better are not pleasant tasks at all.  Many HR managers hate to do these. Perhaps that is why so many of us tend to avoid, postpone or neglect this important responsibility and seek an easier solution to be a terminator rather than be a developer of our team to fit every occasion.

The fact remains that these are the most important functions of management and they can and should be the most useful, fruitful and progressive things that any leader does. The question remains, how can people do better unless they are made aware of what they are neglecting or doing poorly? How can they correct their mistakes unless they are made to realize what they are doing wrong? We should help them get out of these difficulties through various on the job, off the job and self developmental programs.

As a manager, we have a responsibility to give everyone who works for us an honest, periodical and continuous appraisal of how they are doing. We owe it to them and we owe it to the organization because it is one of the most practical things we can do to keep improving our workforce and the working standards.

Here are a few fundamentals to help us maintain a healthy workforce. Let us be friendly and try to help our people help themselves to help them be more successful in their jobs. It is always more productive not to try to force better work out of them but develop them to suit our requirements.

It is important to be constructive by not dwelling on the past failures but pointing out the specific things we want them to do better and the result we want them to achieve in the future. Let us always try to set the higher standards that we want our employees to measure up to.

Honesty is still the best policy in people management. It is not good to tell the employees that they are better or worse than they really are. It is unwise to give them a false picture because we lack the courage to present the true one.

Be fair dinkum and do not appraise people poorly just because their work that day of that week was not up to par. Always remember the good work that they have done in the past.

Be just by appraising performance and results, not abilities. People tend to overstate their own capabilities so avoid that situation and talk about specific actions, performances and results of the job.

Be generous by giving your people a higher rating if they deserve it. Nothing would kill morale faster than doing good work and not getting the credit for it.

Therefore if I were still actively working in the HR field I would do the same that I did for ten years at a large multinational corporation where I did not terminate the work of any worker but found ways and means of developing them to fit back and re-enter my workforce. I was not a terminator but acted as a developer of people.