Director Long Life Learning
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The Bottom Line in these times is: Communicate with your employees

25th Aug 2009
Director Long Life Learning
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Can any one apply for an executive post simply based on qualifications and experience? Some people think this should be what every employee with the right qualifications and adequate experience should strive for in his/her career. I agree. I was appointed as HR Manager for many years and I have seen people with glowing qualifications and experience appointed into senior management positions but only to be retired early due to ill-health or worse fired after a short period of time. These people were asked to retire and others fired because they could not perform as expected by the company.
The employees were referred to me for counselling and to try and see how the employee could be assisted in terms of improving their work performance. I referred some for medical and psychological treatment. I referred some for re-training after getting the employee’s side of the story concerning the work. More often these employees did not have personal or family problems their under performance could be attributed to. Yes, they suffered from stress related illnesses as a result of the demands of the work, verbal and written warnings from the line managers and the fear of losing their jobs. Often it is not the fault of line managers for these employee’s under performance. Were these senior managers maybe not cut out to become senior executives? Yes, the job was demanding enough to cause stress to anyone, but what about the rest of other senior managers, were they not also affected by the demand of their positions? What kept them going and performing well in spite of the high demand of their positions? After noticing an exodus of senior managers in the company due to ill-health, resignation and discharge, I knew that it was time to take serious remedial measures to salvage the company and the jobs of everyone in the company. I suggested to the CEO of the company that the exodus of skilled work force needed immediate attention. Fortunately I had a boss who is receptive to advice who gave me permission to deal with the problem in the best way I know how.
I arranged what in South Africa we call a “Bosberaad” something similar to what Americans call “Bootcamp.” This was not going to be anything similar to what the senior managers were used to attend. I invited an independent facilitator after briefing her about the problem the company was facing and what I wanted to do to rescue the company. The facilitator was required to interview each and every individual senior manager about the challenges they had to deal with on daily basis and what solutions they think will best make their jobs easier and more manageable. Something like the “JOHARI WINDOW” where you are required to tell your colleagues what you think about their contribution in your team, their strengths and weaknesses and they in turn tell you what weaknesses and strengths you have displayed in the work place. After the interviews a list of challenges was compiled and the solutions were reflected next to each challenge. A PowerPoint presentation was prepared where the senior managers were taken through the challenges and the solutions to their work place problems. This breakaway provided several benefits; the team left the Bosberaad invigorated with a feeling of ‘at last something is being done about our plight.’ The bottom line improved and work place climate and job satisfaction improved. Fewer cases of resignations and discharge were recorded and even fewer cases of burnout and the resultant ill-health packages were recorded in the years that followed.
If you communicate with your employees and try and find out what is making them happy and what challenges they face, this act may just save your company from bankruptcy and closure. The company adopted this and now has an annual ‘Bosberaad Day,’ mainly to orientate new comers, because problems are now, dealt with as and when they occur.
Justice Mandhla is the author of What they didn’t teach you in school: Life Long Learning Tips to land a job straight out of school and he spends a great deal of his full-time writing days researching and writing about job search strategies, source and select and interview tips.
See more at http://www.mystudent4life.com

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