In my earlier article, Employee Engagement – Essentials, I had pointed out the pitfalls of losing an employee because of lack of clear employee engagement roadmap with properly defined KPIs (key performance indicators) and competencies for the profile. The loss of a resource can be calculated in terms of the investment that went in the hiring process, training, probation, and attrition, upsetting the balance sheet. Add to this, the loss of experienced personnel with a knowledge of the internal functioning, the repeat of the hiring process, resulting in losing a couple of years, with no guarantees of finding the right resource for a long-term engagement. The ROI should cover the loss in man-hours, or man years, before the appropriate resource finally becomes productive.
Today, I am mulling over the success of a hired resource in a new organization. As already established, employee engagement by way of well-defined KPIs and productivity roadmap is an important factor in this success. However, it is imperative to identify some key factors and discuss them before accepting a senior leadership role. Most organizations, during the business downsizing, believe in last in, first out, under their hire and fire policy, when comparing employees with similar productivity.
If the role is of an individual contributor, depending upon your seniority, understand the decision-making process and dependencies. A clearly defined organizational chart with your place in it, key stakeholders, influencers, dependencies, and deciding team would help in expectation setting. Seeking clarity from your future manager during the interview will ensure that ambiguities are set aside and the job-role agenda for the tasks to be performed is pre-decided. In case you find a lack of lucidity and reluctance to offer the information, you can be sure that your position is not well thought out and you may not be in for a long-term employee relationship with the organization. Even if you have a need to join, watch for six-months, and if things stay dubious about your role, start searching for a new employment.
In a people-management role, a manager’s success is dependent upon their team. A senior position of a vice president is also not safe, if the team is not ready to follow you. A new manager should find out the reason for the current opening in the business. If the reason is the movement of the previous manager within or outside the organization, then probe to find out the feasibility of internal growth for any existing member of the team. A company would hire from outside instead of promoting from within if they think that the current skill gap is huge between the existing pool and the desired role. That should lead to other questions like, the existence of any performance development plan and the training of second line of leadership for bigger roles. Any organization that is not creating a leadership pipeline is not proactive and lacks future planning skills. Another reason for hiring from outside could be a need to bring 180° paradigm shift in the existing functionality.
In either scenario above, ask for the extent of freehand offered to the new manager in running of the function and the team. Look at the organizational chart as explained above. Clarify if you are allowed to bring in radical changes, like hiring new members with ideologies and functioning style similar to yours. Understand if you can identify the weak links and fire them. Most senior leadership is expected to bring in fresh recruits when hired. If this freedom is lacking, then expect a lot of resistance and a herculean task ahead. Such an organization is not willing to change and would prefer to run things as they are, expecting better results from the newly hired you. Your success would be limited and you may be the victim of hire and fire, if you cannot hire and fire per your requirements.
Be sure to negotiate, and negotiate well. Read some powerful books on the art of negotiation. Do not fall a victim of organizational hire and fire. If you have a choice, enter an employment with eyes wide-open.
||Sarvam Sri Krishna Arpanamastu||