Tag Archives: équilibre travail-vie personnelle

Quand les choses se corsent, Faire demi-tour!

Elton John a raison, désolé, c'est le mot le plus difficile. Il est difficile d'admettre que l'on a eu tort. Est encore plus difficile de trouver une solution, un moyen de corriger les erreurs du passé de un. Il implique souvent marche arrière.

Mais quand il s'agit de décisions d'affaires à la tête froide, retour en arrière peut souvent être la seule chose à faire. Il est logique de réduire les pertes supplémentaires quand il ya peu d'intérêt à jeter l'argent par les. Ces efforts de confinement sont des événements courants dans la plupart des établissements.

Le plus grand effort de perte de confinement que j'avais un intérêt personnel dans arrivé aux États-Unis au début des années nonante. J'ai commencé à remarquer son inquiétante escalade dans une chambre d'hôtel à Washington DC. J'étais délégué des étudiants à la conférence annuelle de l'American Physical Society (APS). Malgré l'atmosphère heureuse APS (où de nombreux étudiants diplômés trouvent leurs futurs stages) et la belle pré-cerisiers temps, J'étais un homme inquiet parce que je venais de voir un spot TV que ledit, “Dix milliards de dollars pour un accélérateur de particules??!! Que diable est-il de quelque façon?”

Le projet de dix milliards de dollars sous l'attaque était le soi-disant supercollisionneur (SSC) au Texas, qui a finalement été arrêté en 1993. L'annulation est venu en dépit d'un investissement initial massif d'environ deux milliards de dollars.

Pour moi, cette annulation signifie que plus de deux mille physiciens brillants et expérimentés seraient à la recherche d'emplois environ au même moment je suis entré dans le marché du travail. Cette préoccupation a représenté mon intérêt personnel dans le projet; mais l'impact humain de cette marche arrière mammouth était beaucoup plus profond. Il a précipité une récession mineure dans les régions de Dallas, au sud de la rivière Trinity.

Retour en arrière similaire, mais à une échelle beaucoup plus petite, peuvent se produire dans votre organisation ainsi. Disons que vous avez décidé d'investir deux millions de dollars dans un système de logiciel pour résoudre un problème commercial particulier. Un demi-million de dollars dans le projet, vous vous rendez compte que c'était une mauvaise solution. Que faire?

Cela peut sembler évident que vous devez sauver l'entreprise d'un million et demi en arrêtant le projet. Cette décision est exactement ce que la sagesse collective du Congrès américain est arrivé à en 1993 en ce qui concerne la coopération Sud-Sud. Mais ce n'est pas aussi simple que cela. Rien dans la vie réelle est aussi simple que cela.

Retour en arrière d'entreprise est un processus complexe. Il a plusieurs, souvent interconnectés, aspects qui doivent être gérées avec compétence.

Si vous décidez de faire marche arrière, que dit-elle sur votre sens des affaires? Est-il déclencher une réaction de la haute direction, vous accusant de manque de jugement? En d'autres termes, votre nom sera tellement dans la boue que vous trouverez qu'il est impossible de trouver un travail et de soutenir votre famille?

Disons que ce n'était pas vraiment votre faute et vous avez eu des arguments valables pour convaincre tout le monde de votre innocence. Serait-ce le rendre assez simple à tirer la prise sur le projet? Selon toute probabilité, il ne serait pas, parce que tous les grands projets impliquent d'autres personnes, pour aucun homme n'est une île. Arrêt d'un projet à mi-parcours signifierait probablement en pillant toute l'équipe de projet.

Ce coût humain est quelque chose que nous devons être conscients de. Il n'est pas toujours une question d'argent. Si vous êtes âme charitable, you would have to move the team to some other (potentially unproductive) project, thereby eroding the savings that would’ve accrued from stopping the project. Wouldn’t it have been better to have continued with the original project, doomed though it was?

In most corporate cases, it will turn out to be wise to shutdown doomed projects. But don’t underestimate the costs involved. They are not always counted in monitory terms, but have human dimensions as well.

It is far wiser never to embark on dubious projects. When you must get involved in uncertain projects, review your exit options carefully. Par exemple, would it be possible to reshape the project in a different but still salvageable direction?

And if and when you do have to shut them down, do it with decisiveness. Do it with skill. But most importantly, do it with decency and compassion.

Rumour Mills

Employees seek insights into their organization’s heading. And they should, because what their organization does has a direct impact on their well-being. If your organization is planning to retrench 50% of its staff, par exemple, you’d better start looking for new job right away.

Who do you turn to when you pine for information? Your management would have you listen to them. Du point de vue de l'employé, this may not be the smartest move. But fret not, there is an alternative.

There is a city underground. Parallel to the world of corporate memos and communication meetings, this rumour city trades information, often generating it as needed.

Employees flock to the rumour mills, not out of their inherent malevolence for their employers, but because of a well-founded and mutual mistrust. Management tends to be cautious (and therefore less than candid) with their announcements, while over 80% of office rumours turn out to be accurate, as some studies show.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Suppose five years ago, your CEO took to the podium and declared that there would be absolutely no retrenchments. How many of you would have believed it? Those who believed would almost certainly wish they had listened to the grapevine instead.

This credibility gap that a typical management team suffers from can be addressed only though open and candid communication. C'est là que le bât blesse. The management cannot always be as candid as they would like to be. Et, they certainly cannot afford to be as candid as the employees would like them to be.

Lack of candour in an atmosphere of uncertainty breeds rumour. Rumours, as defined in psychology, are hypotheses with widespread impact. They abound when the management refuses to trust the employees with strategic information. This lack of trust and information leaves them with no choice but to interpret the developments themselves. In such interpretations lie the origins of office rumours.

Rumours are not to be confused with gossip. While rumours are based on conjecture and are presented as future, corporate-wide eventualities, gossip can be idle or with malicious intent directed at individuals. And gossip is usually presented as fact. In highly competitive settings, gossip can inflict irreparable damage on unsuspecting victims.

Once a rumour attains a high level of credibility, the top brass will be forced to talk. But the talk has to be candid and serious. And it has to be timely. If they wait for too long, their attempts at a tête-à -tête would resemble feeble attempts at damage control. And if the talk is a mere torrent of clichés and rhetoric, it will be taken as an effort to gloss over potentially catastrophic changes. En fait, such weak communication fuels more rumour than it quells.

Given that critical job-related information usually flows down the grapevine, the employees are going to talk. The only sure-fire strategy for any management is to make use of the underground rumour mill — the classic “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” paradigm.

If you are a part of the top brass, here is what you can do. Circulate as much accurate and timely information as you possibly can. If you cannot do it officially through formal channels, try informal ones, such as lunches and pantries. This way, you can turn the rumour mills to serve your purpose rather than let them run amok.

Do not underestimate the power of the grapevine, lest all your corporate communication efforts should come to naught.

Stress et un sens de la mesure

Comment pouvons-nous gérer le stress, étant donné que ce est inévitable dans notre existence sociale? Tactiques communes contre le stress comprennent l'exercice, yoga, méditation, techniques de respiration, reprioritizing famille, etc. Pour ajouter à cette liste, Je ai mes propres armes secrètes pour combattre le stress que je voudrais partager avec vous. Ces armes peuvent être trop puissant; afin de les utiliser avec précaution.

Un de mes tactiques secrètes est de développer un sens de la mesure, inoffensifs que cela puisse paraître. Proportion peut être en termes de nombre. Commençons par le nombre de personnes, par exemple. Chaque matin, quand nous arrivons à travailler, nous voyons des milliers de visages flottants par, presque tous d'aller à leurs emplois respectifs. Prenez un moment pour regarder — chacun avec leurs propres pensées personnelles et soins, soucis et contraintes.

Pour chacune d'entre elles, la seule contrainte réelle est leur propre. Une fois que nous savons que, pourquoi devrions-nous tenir notre propre stress plus important que quelqu'un d'autre est? L'appréciation du grand nombre de personnels souligne tout autour de nous, si nous nous arrêtons pour réfléchir, mettra nos soucis en perspective.

Proportion en termes de notre taille est également quelque chose à considérer. Nous occupons une petite fraction d'un grand bâtiment qui est notre lieu de travail. (Statistiquement parlant, le lecteur de cette colonne ne est pas susceptible d'occuper un grand bureau d'angle!) Le bâtiment occupe une infime fraction de l'espace qui est notre ville bien-aimée. Toutes les villes sont si minuscules qu'un point sur la carte du monde est généralement une surestimation de leur taille.

Notre monde, la terre, est un simple grain de poussière à quelques miles à partir d'une boule de feu, si nous pensons du soleil comme une boule de feu de toute taille concevable. Le soleil et son système solaire sont si minuscules que si vous étiez à mettre l'image de notre galaxie comme fond d'écran sur votre PC, ils partageront un pixel avec quelques milliers de stars locales! Et notre galaxie — ne me lancez pas sur ce! Nous avons d'innombrables milliards d'entre eux. Notre existence (avec tous nos soucis et contraintes) est presque inconcevable petite.

L'insignifiance de notre existence ne est pas limitée à l'espace; elle se étend à temps ainsi. Le temps est délicate quand il se agit à un sens de la mesure. Pensons à l'univers 45 ans. Combien de temps pensez-vous que notre existence est dans cette échelle? Quelques secondes!

Nous sommes créés de poussière d'étoile, dernière pour un simple instant cosmologique, puis revenir en arrière dans la poussière d'étoile. machines d'ADN pendant ce temps, nous courons algorithmes génétiques inconnues, que nous prenons pour nos aspirations et nos réalisations, ou des contraintes et frustrations. Se détendre! Ne vous inquiétez pas, soyez heureux!

Bien sûr, vous pouvez obtenir réprimandé si ce rapport ne va pas sortir demain. Ou, votre fournisseur peut se fâcher que votre paiement est retardé à nouveau. Ou, votre collègue peut envoyer que backstabbing email (Cci et votre patron) si vous leur déplaire. Mais, ne voyez-vous pas, dans cet univers de abrutissantes gigantesque, il ne importe pas un iota. Dans le grand schéma des choses, votre stress ne est même pas le bruit statique!

Arguments pour le maintien d'un niveau de stress tous reposent sur une notion mal conçue que la productivité stress aides. Il ne est pas. La clé de la productivité est une attitude de joie au travail. Lorsque vous arrêtez soucier de réprimandes et poignardages et distinctions, et commencer à profiter de ce que vous faites, la productivité arrive juste. Je sais que ça sonne un peu idéaliste, mais mes pièces les plus productives du travail qui se est passé de cette façon. Bénéficiant ce que je fais est un idéal que je vais tirer pour ne importe quel jour.

Knowledge Silos

We know a lot. Par “nous,” I mean humanity as a whole. We know so much that it is impossible for any one of us to know more than a fraction of our total knowledge. This is why we specialize.

Specialization is good. It lets us cut deep into a specific field of endeavor; but at the expense of a broad overview of everything, naturellement. Specialization is expected of professionals. You wouldn’t be happy if you found out that your dentist is, en fait, a well-known philosopher as well. Or that your child’s ENT surgeon secretly teaches astrophysics in the local university.

Isn’t there a danger lurking behind our habit of demanding super specialized silos of knowledge? One obvious danger is the loss of synergy and potential innovation. A case in point — a particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) faces the problem of accessing various files on different computers and networks. Being conversant in computing issues, the physicist devices a nice way of describing the file (ou, as it is known now, the resource) and suddenly the first URL (Universal Resource Locator) is born. The rest is history — we have the World Wide Web, the Internet. Fifteen years later, you have e-commerce and YouTube!

If CERN had insisted that their physicists do only physics and leave their computing problems to the IT department, the Internet may not have materialized at all. Ou, it may have taken a lot longer to materialize.

The need for specialization is not limited to individuals. It permeates into the modern workplace in the form of a typical division of labor such as HR, Financement, IT and Business. This division has worked well for ages. But every once in a while, the expertise in such silos becomes so split and scattered that the organization loses sight of its basic objective. People in the silos begin work against each other, competing for resources and recognition, rather than collaborating for common success.

The most common pariah in a typical organization is the IT department. These poor folks always get shouted at if anything at all goes wrong in the system. But when everything is working fine, nobody even notices them. In today’s age of ubiquitous computer literacy, why not assume a bit of system responsibility so that the turnaround time in PC troubleshooting (and consequently productivity) can be improved?

En fait, we know why. When it comes to computers, there is no limit to how bad things can get. As the IT proverb says, to err is human, but to completely foul up things requires a computer. End users may screw up the system so completely that even a competent IT department (a rare commodity) may find it impossible to restore normalcy. Mais, in order to fight this self-destructive (though well-intentioned) tendency, IT departments have gone to the other extreme of making it so bureaucratic and practically impossible to get their help in anything at all!

Another group that gets a bad rap in a highly regulated organization is the auditors. Their thankless job is to look over everybody’s shoulder and make sure that they are following the rules of the game (or rather, complying with policies and regulations). Auditors’ noble intentions get eclipsed by one fatal flaw: they seem to measure their success by how many violations they can find. Instead of working hand in hand with those being audited, the auditors come across as though they are conspiring against the rest.

There is productivity to be gained by blurring the edges of rigid silos in organizations. When silos talk to each other, teamwork happens and those in the silos realize that they all work toward a common goal.

Internet Reading

Major changes are afoot. They have been afoot for the last twenty years. I’m talking about how we learn things, how we read, how we do basic arithmetic and so on.

In high school, I used logarithm tables to work out results in physics and chemistry experiments. Calculators were not allowed. Though inconvenient, this practice honed my arithmetic skillsskills that calculators and spreadsheets have eroded by now.

Similar erosion is taking place in our reading skills as well. We don’t read to retain information or knowledge any more. We search, scan, locate keywords, browse and bookmark. The Internet is doing to our reading habits what the calculator did to our arithmetic abilities.

Easy access to information is transforming our notion of (dare I say, respect for?) knowledge in a fundamental way. In a knowledge economy, knowledge is fast becoming a cheap commodity. We don’t need to know stuff any more; we just need to know how to find it.

I was talking to a lecturer the other day. According to him, a good lecturer is not the one who knows most and has a deep understanding of the subject, but the one that can locate the answer the fastest.

The power of instant information came with the Internet, which made experts of all of us. We can now make intelligent comments and informed decisions on anything.

Suppose, par exemple, your child’s doctor recommends the proceduremyringotomy,” quite possibly something you have never heard of before. But you can Google it, read (désolé, browse) the first couple of search results, and you will know the rationale behind the doctor’s advice, the exact procedure, its risk factors and benefits, et ainsi de suite. In ten minutes, you will know what took the doctor years of hard work to learn.

This easy access to knowledge may, quite mistakenly, diminish your respect for the medical degree. This diminished reverence for knowledge is unwise; a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A doctor’s expertise is not so much in memorizing a webpage worth of information, but also in knowing all the special circumstances where that information doesn’t apply. En plus de, the webpage you happened to read may be just plain wrong. We should be careful not to mistake easy information for deep knowledge. Let’s guard our respect for true knowledge and wisdom despite our access to ready information.

Such misguided lack of respect is evident in the workplace as well, where managers think they can always hire specialized knowledge at will. I had a friend who was planning to roll out a product using Bluetooth, back when it was an emerging technology. I pointed out the obvious flaw in his proposalhe didn’t know much about Bluetooth. His reply was, “No big deal! I’ll just hire somebody who does!”

My worry is, when everybody wants to hire a Bluetooth expert and nobody wants to know how it works, there won’t be an expert any longer.

Knowledge is not cheap, although our easy access to it through the Internet may indicate otherwise. When we all become users of information, our knowledge will stop at its current level, because nobody will be creating it any more.

We are not there yet, but I worry that we are heading that way. I worry about the support structure of our knowledge base. How will our knowledge empire stand when all its foundations are gone?

Married to the Job — Till Death Do Us Part?

Stress is as much a part of our corporate careers as death is a fact of life. Encore, it is best to keep the two (career and death) separate. This is the message that was lost on some hardworking young souls here who literally worked themselves to death. So do a lot of Japanese, if we are to believe the media.

The reason for death in sedentary jobs is the insidious condition called deep vein thrombosis. This condition develops because of extended hours spent sitting, when a blood clot forms in the lower limbs. The clot then travels to the vital organs in the upper body, where it wreaks havoc including death.

The trick in avoiding such an untimely demise, bien sûr, is not to sit for long. But that is easier said than done, when job pressure mounts, and deadlines loom.

Here is where you have to get your priorities straight. What do you value more? Quality of life or corporate success? The implication in this choice is that you can’t have both, as illustrated in the joke in investment banking that goes like: “If you can’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday!”

Vous pouvez, cependant, make a compromise. It is possible to let go a little bit of career aspirations and improve the quality of life tremendously. This balancing act is not so simple though; nothing in life is.

Undermining work-life balance are a few factors. One is the materialistic culture we live in. It is hard to fight that trend. Second is a misguided notion that you canmake it” première, then sit back and enjoy life. That point in time when you are free from worldly worries rarely materializes. Thirdly, you may have a career-oriented partner. Even when you are ready to take a balanced approach, your partner may not be, thereby diminishing the value of putting it in practice.

These are factors you have to constantly battle against. And you can win the battle, with logic, discipline and determination. Cependant, there is a fourth, much more sinister, factor, which is the myth that a successful career is an all-or-nothing proposition, as implied in the preceding investment banking joke. It is a myth (perhaps knowingly propagated by the bosses) that hangs over our corporate heads like the sword of Damocles.

Because of this myth, people end up working late, trying to make an impression. But an impression is made, not by the quantity of work, but by its quality. Turn in quality, impactful work, and you will be rewarded, regardless of how long it takes to accomplish it. Long hours, in my view, make the possibility of quality work remote.

Such melancholy long hours are best left to workaholics; they keep working because they cannot help it. It is not so much a career aspiration, but a force of habit coupled with a fear of social life.

To strike a work-life balance in today’s dog eat dog world, you may have to sacrifice a few upper rungs of the proverbial corporate ladder. Raging against the corporate machine with no regard to the consequences ultimately boils down to one simple realizationthat making a living amounts to nothing if your life is lost in the process.

Spousal Indifference — Do We Give a Damn?

After a long day at work, you want to rest your exhausted mind; may be you want to gloat a bit about your little victories, or whine a bit about your little setbacks of the day. The ideal victim for this mental catharsis is your spouse. But the spouse, in today’s double income families, is also suffering from a tired mind at the end of the day.

The conversation between two tired minds usually lacks an essential ingredient — the listener. And a conversation without a listener is not much of a conversation at all. It is merely two monologues that will end up generating one more setback to whine about — spousal indifference.

Indifference is no small matter to scoff at. It is the opposite of love, if we are to believe Elie Weisel. So we do have to guard against indifference if we want to have a shot at happiness, for a loveless life is seldom a happy one.

“Where got time?” ask we Singaporeans, too busy to form a complete sentence. De… temps! At the heart of all our worldly worries. We only have 24 hours of it in a day before tomorrow comes charging in, obliterating all our noble intentions of the day. And another cycle begins, another inexorable revolution of the big wheel, and the rat race goes on.

The trouble with the rat race is that, à la fin de celui-ci, even if you win, you are still a rat!

How do we break this vicious cycle? We can start by listening rather than talking. Listening is not as easy as it sounds. We usually listen with a whole bunch of mental filters turned on, constantly judging and processing everything we hear. We label the incoming statements as important, utile, trivial, pathetic, etc. And we store them away with appropriate weights in our tired brain, ignoring one crucial fact — that the speaker’s labels may be, and often are, completely different.

Due to this potential mislabeling, what may be the most important victory or heartache of the day for your spouse or partner may accidentally get dragged and dropped into your mind’s recycle bin. Avoid this unintentional cruelty; turn off your filters and listen with your heart. As Wesley Snipes advises Woody Herrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, listen to her (or him, as the case may be.)

It pays to practice such an unbiased and unconditional listening style. It harmonizes your priorities with those your spouse and pulls you away from the abyss of spousal apathy. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. It takes years of practice to develop the proper listening technique, and continued patience and deliberate effort to apply it.

“Where got time?” we may ask. Bien, let’s make time, or make the best of what little time we got. Autrement, when days add up to months and years, we may look back and wonder, where is the life that we lost in living?

How Much is Talent Worth?

Singapore needs foreign talent. This need is nothing to feel bad about. It is a statistical fact of life. For every top Singaporean in any fieldbe it science, medicine, finance, sports or whateverwe will find about 500 professionals of equal caliber in China and India. Not because we are 500 times less talented, just that they have 500 times more people.

Coupled with overwhelming statistical supremacy, certain countries have special superiority in their chosen or accidental specializations. We expect to find more hardware experts in China, more software gurus in India, more badminton players in Indonesia, more entrepreneurial spirit and managerial expertise in the west.

We need such experts, so we hire them. But how much should we pay them? That’s where economics comes in — demand and supply. We offer the lowest possible package that the talent would bite.

I was on an expatriate package when I came to Singapore as a foreign talent. It was a fairly generous package, but cleverly worded so that if I became alocal” talent, I would lose out quite a bit. I did become local a few years later, and my compensation diminished as a consequence. My talent did not change, just the label fromforeign” à “local.

This experience made me think a bit about the value of talent and the value of labels. These values translate to compensation packages that can be ordered, from high to low, comme: Western (Caucasians), Western (of Asian origin), Singapourien, Asian (Chinese, Indian, etc).

I’m not saying that all Caucasians in Singapore do better than all Indians and Chinese in terms of income; but the trend is that for the same talent, Caucasians tend to be better compensated that their Asian counterparts. Nothing wrong with thatit’s all about demand and supply, and the perception of value and such economic fundamentals. En plus de, this compensation scheme has worked well for us so far.

Cependant, the locals are beginning to take note of this asymmetric compensation structure. When I was considering hiring a Caucasian, my ex-boss commented, “These Ang-Mos, they talk big in meetings and stuff, but don’t do any work!” He may have oversimplified; I know manyAng-Moswho are extremely talented and fully deserve the higher-than-local compensation they enjoy. But this perceived disparity between what the talent is worth and how much it costs (as depicted in the movie I Not Stupid) is beginning to hurt employee loyalty to such an extent that firms are experiencing staff retention issues when it comes to local talents.

The solution to this problem is not a stricter enforcement of the confidentiality of salaries, but a more transparent compensation scheme free of anomalies that can be misconstrued as unfair practices. Autrement, we may see an increasing number of Asian nationals using Singapore as a stepping stone to greener pastures. Pire, we may see locals seeking level playing fields elsewhere.

Let’s hire the much needed talent whatever it costs; but let’s not mistake labels for talent.

Performance AppraisalWho Needs It?

We go through this ordeal every year when our bosses appraise our performance. Our career progression, bonus and salary depend on it. So we spend sleepless nights agonizing over it.

In addition to the appraisal, we also get ourkey performance indicatorsor KPIs for next year. These are the commandments we have to live by for the rest of the year. The whole experience of it is so unpleasant that we say to ourselves that life as an employee sucks.

The bosses fare hardly better though. They have to worry about their own appraisals by bigger bosses. On top of that, they have to craft the KPI commandments for us as wella job pretty darned difficult to delegate. Vraisemblablement, they say to themselves that their life as a boss sucks!

Given that nobody is thrilled about the performance appraisal exercise, why do we do it? Who needs it?

The objective behind performance appraisal is noble. It strives to reward good performance and punish poor showsthe old carrot and stick management paradigm. This objective is easily met in a small organization without the need for a formal appraisal process. Small business owners know who to keep and who to sack. But in a big corporate body with thousands of employees, how do you design a fair and consistent compensation scheme?

The solution, bien sûr, is to pay a tidy sum to consultants who design appraisal forms and define a uniform processtoo uniform, peut-être. Such verbose forms and inflexible processes come with inherent problems. One problem is that the focus shifts from the original objective (carrot and stick) to fairness and consistency (one-size-fits-all). Rappelez-vous, most bosses know who to reward and who to admonish. But the HR department wants the bosses to follow a uniform process, thereby increasing everybody’s workload.

Another, more insidious problem with this consultancy driven approach is that it is necessarily geared towards mediocrity. When you design an appraisal process to cater to everybody, the best you can hope to achieve is to improve the average performance level by a bit. Following such a process, the CERN scientist who invented the World Wide Web would have fared badly, for he did not concentrate on his KPIs and wasted all his time thinking about file transfers!

CERN is a place that consistently produces Nobel laureates. (I once found myself with two Nobel laureates in a CERN elevator!) Comment fait-il? Certainly not by following processes that are designed to make incremental improvements at the average level. The trick is to be a center for excellence which attracts geniuses.

Bien sûr, it is not fair to compare an average organization with CERN. But we have to realize that the verbose forms, which focus on averages and promote mediocrity, are a poor tool for innovation management.

A viable alternative to standardized and regimented appraisal processes is to align employee objectives with those of the organization and leave performance and reward management to bosses. With some luck, this approach may retain fringe geniuses and promote innovation. At the very least, it will alleviate some employee anxiety and sleepless nights.

Handling Goodbyes

Hold on to your pants, your key staff has just tendered his resignationyour worst nightmare as a manager! Once the dust settles and the panic subsides, you begin to ask yourself, what next?

Staff retention is a major problem in the current job market in Singapore. Our economy is doing well; our job market is red hot. Par conséquent, new job offers are becoming increasingly more irresistible. At some stage, someone you work closely withbe it your staff, your boss or a fellow team memberis going to hand in that dreaded letter to HR. Handling resignations with tact and grace is no longer merely a desirable quality, but an essential corporate skill today.

We do have some general strategies to deal with resignations. The first step is to assess the motivation behind the career choice. Is it money? Dans l'affirmative, a counter offer is usually successful. Counter offers (both making them and taking them) are considered ineffective and in poor taste. Au moins, executive search firms insist that they are. Mais alors, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

If the motivation behind the resignation is the nature of the current or future job and its challenges, a lateral movement or reassignment (possibly combined with a counter offer) can be effective. If everything fails, then it is time to say goodbyeamicably.

It is vitally important to maintain this amicabilitya fact often lost on bosses and HR departments. Understandably so because, by the time the counter offer negotiations fail, there is enough rancor on both sides to sour the relationship. Brush those wounded feelings aside and smile through your pain, for your paths may cross again. You may rehire the same person. Ou, you may end up working with him/her on the other side. Salvage whatever little you can for the sake of positive networking.

The level of amicability depends on corporate culture. Some organizations are so cordial with deserting employees that they almost encourage desertion. Others treat the traitors as the army used towith the help of a firing squad.

Both these extremes come with their associated perils. If you are too cordial, your employees may treat your organization as a stepping stone, concentrating on acquiring only transferable skills. On the other extreme, if you develop a reputation for severe exit barriers in an attempt to discourage potential traitors, you may also find it hard to recruit top talent.

The right approach lies somewhere in between, like most good things in life. It is a cultural choice that an organization has to make. But regardless of where the balance is found, resignation is here to stay, and people will change jobs. Changement, as the much overused cliche puts it, is the only constant.