HUMAN RESOURCES -18 : Design Implementation Processes

Post 24 -by Gautam Shah

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Personnel in an Organization : Personnel are the most important asset for any organization. Organizations hire people with required education, skill, experience, inclination and personality trait. Personnel as Human resource are not only immensely manipulable, but up-gradable to seemingly infinite levels of efficiency. And so organizations recognize, support and even reformat these qualities through formal training and by providing opportunistic exposures.

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Foreign domestic workers queuing for contract renewals at Wan Chai Hong Kong > Wikipedia image by Ohconfucius

Employment : Employee and Employer enter into a contractual relationship wherein compensation is offered for the type of services to be rendered. At a very basic level the performance of an employee relates to the profitability of the organization. This is more so in Design organizations where human resources are very important assets, unlike in manufacturing units where productivity of machines and raw material costs have greater significance.

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Process of Employment > Wikipedia image by arvind grover from New York city USA

Process of Employment : Employment is a process of mutual choice or selection: Employer chooses the employee to engage, and the Employee selects the employer to work with. The extent of choice and the power to make it, are rarely equal. All democratic Governments’ laws, however have a basic tenet that employer and employee have equal choice. In reality, however, inequalities occur due to discriminations of sex, race, region of origin, age, language, social status, etc. Some of the discriminations though scientifically supportable are not tenable in normal law. Our constitution (Indian), overrides, provides, dictates or recognizes ‘reservations in employment’ for specified classes of people, to eliminate and correct certain historical effects.

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Employees working on Calutrons (used for refining uranium ore into fissile material) as operators were unaware as to what they were doing > Wikipedia image

Selection for Employment : Hiring an employee is both a process of Selection and Elimination. The process is so subtly carried out that often applicants do not become aware of it. The Selection is based on

  1. Objective requirements (intellectual) Skill, experience, training, work related abilities.
  2. Subjective requirements Personality traits, initiative, speed of reaction, temperament, memory, power of reasoning.
  3. Physical requirements Age, height, muscle power, health history, abnormality of body limbs and sense-abilities
  4. Other requirements Past record, references, readiness to accept the terms of employment.

Performance of an Employee : The employment is an evolving process, where the employer and employee both try to prove themselves worthy of their roles. These performance appraisals must not only occur at regular intervals, but sometimes as a surprise too. Once a person is employed, the management body of the organization continuously monitors the performance. Performance of an employee is a product of many factors such as individual ability, personality traits, input effort, sincerity, perception of the role, motivating factors, etc. Yet, performance can be conditioned as the enhanced capacity to deal with more complex or new problems, share of responsibility, greater authority, etc.

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Employees working in Starbucks, at Taj Hotel, Bombay > Wikipedia image by HAO XING

Perception of Performance : An Employer sees performance as a tool for future efficiency to be gained at a specific cost, whereas the Employee perceives performance as immediate compensation, personal fulfillment, future promotion and skill gain. An employee can be motivated with additional advantage, comfort, increased learning, or even enhanced motivation. The original conditions of employing a person such as the technological relevance, equipments, nature of projects, economics of resources deployment, personal efficiencies, work-culture, change with passage of time.

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Job discharge is an eventuality all employees have to be prepared for > Wikipedia image by TriviaKing (talk)DWS

Job Discharge or Termination : Job discharge or termination, has two facets: ONE the employee wishes to cease working with the employer, or TWO the employer desires to terminate the employee.

Employee’s perception could be: insufficient motivation, unsatisfactory compensation, lack of promotion, any other personal (psychological or physical) reasons, or better prospects elsewhere.

Employer’s perception could be: inability to reset with the changed circumstances, lethargy of advancing age, technological irrelevance of the skill, lack of experience, unviable pay-structure, lack of scope for promotion, unacceptable social behaviour, or resistance to relocate at a new location.

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Timely job change or termination ? > Wikipedia image

Employee’s Options for Job change : Employee’s options are two fold: Change of employer or renegotiation of terms of employment. In the later case, age of the employee is an important criteria. A person comparatively young in age must move around seeking various jobs to experience the mechanics of employment. A person not so young, will have to select between reduced appreciation of the role and security of reasonable compensation, or enhanced appreciation and uncertain compensation.

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Renegotiating terms of Employment > Wikipedia ART by Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914)

Employer’s Options for Employee’s Discharge or Termination : When an employer wishes to remove an employee, there are many legal hurdles, some are convertible into monetary terms. Instead of wasting efforts to surmount such hurdles, employers try to assign different roles, retrain, relocate, assign different tasks, provide punishments, curtail other advantages, to their employees. When, an employee leaves, the organization loses an asset, accumulated mass of knowledge and experience, personalized contacts, a person with proven mode of communication, secrets, patent procedures and formulas etc. Organizations are nominally unwilling to let a reasonably seasoned employee quit.

Hire, Fire and Retrain the Personnel : Small organizations, Whenever circumstances (projects on hand) change, prefer to fire an employee and hire new talent. Larger organizations have greater capacity to recast the role of employee, so would retrain the employee with different exposures.

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Group discussions within employees for common strategy > Flickr image by Kennisland 

Realities of Re-employment : For a person who seeks a fresh position, it is time to take advantage of the real and abstract gains of the past, such as experience, personal contacts, specialized knowledge etc. These can now be converted into materialistic things. Such a plan, however, is related to the age of the employee. Re-employment chances begin to tapper off beyond a certain level of age,. An aged person, though well experienced, has reduced learning capability, reduced reorientation faculties, less motivation, less migration capacity and willingness for re-establishment. An aged person may have out-dated knowledge base. An organization looking for consolidation of their business may promote a person from within their cadre, rather then hire someone, who will takes time to attune to their work-style.

Employed Designers under the age of 30 : Designers under 30 years of age have many positive operants in their favour, like: Fresh technological background, some experience, highest mobility or capacity to settle at any geographical location, capacity to work under most difficult conditions, and highest learning abilities. These qualities are very appreciated by all employers, and so desire to hire people either as a complete fresher or with less than 30 years of age (i.e. with 5/6 years of experience).

■ Employed Designers in the age segment of 30-35 : Ideal age for job change is less than 32 years, and designers in the age segment of 30-35 should have changed the job, or do so as early as possible. Alternatively renegotiate the terms of employment and move to higher position like partnership or associateship. This is also perfect age to start own design venture. At these age a person is ready to relocate, take a challenging position, is highly motivated and has reasonably good knowledge base.

■ Designers in the age segment of 35-40 : This is an age segment, when a designer is mature with sufficient work experience, personal contacts, and specialized knowledge, but also begin to have Negative operants like: reduced learning capability, lesser reorientation faculties, less motivation, less migration and reestablishment willingness. It is the last opportunity for seeking change in employment.

■ Designers in the age segment of 40-45 : In this age segment chances of re-employment taper off drastically. Only way a designer can hope to shift the position is by joining another organization as partner, senior associate or a free-lancer. Such opportunities, though are very few, and would demand persons with outstanding competence and capacity to contribute.

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18 HUMAN RESOURCES –part of the lecture series DESIGN IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES

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Published by

Gautam Shah

Former adjunct faculty, Faculty of Design CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Consultant Designer

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