"ipsa scientia potestas est" - 'Knowledge itself is power'. A quote from Bacon's Meditationes Sacrae (1597). It is from this quote that Bacon's secretary, Thomas Hobbes probably coined the words "scientia potentia est", which means 'Knowledge is power'.
Drawing inspiration form the above quotes, we at M923 Recruitment and HR decided to share some important knowledge on the following important 9 job terms. Get empowered as you read on.
1. Organisational culture:
Most companies have a clearly defined Organisational culture. But what is organisational culture? Let’s first delve into the meaning of the term ‘Culture’
Culture is a generic social factor that describes the social behaviour, norms, beliefs, habits, customs, in short, the ways of life of a group of people (e.g., family, club, business, city, country, planet etc).
How is culture created? It is one of two ways:
1). Contrived Culture: It is purposefully defined and managed by the group leadership – ensuring the culture is nurtured by the group members.
Contrived cultures are typically found in corporate organisations
2) Socio-organic Culture: It develops organically through social or functional interactions by group members either with each other or with their environment – usually championed by influencers or leaders.
Socio-organic cultures are typically found in social-type organisations
As Culture is a social factor, it is subject to change over time. Organisations typically have their cultures defined and you can generally find this on mission statements. Organisational culture can sometimes be used as a strategic competitive advantage wherein a company presents itself through its culture as an employer of choice e.g. Forbes reports that the culture of great work-life balance and drive for diversity at ADP, makes the organisation a great place to work.
2. Downsizing, Reorganization, Restructuring:
Downsizing characteristically means an organisation is working on reducing its current workforce size and to do this, jobs not relevant to the organisations’ on-going concern or strategic future will be cut, inadvertently leading to job losses.
Restructuring and Reorganisation are terms that can be used interchangeably; in simplistic terms, they mean an organisation is changing its current organisational structure possibly, to align with a change in business approach/strategy/operations/product or service offering etc. However, reorganisations and restructuring are quite often implemented with varying degrees of workforce changes: promotion, demotion, transfers, increased hiring, job changes, job change related training, downsizing or varying combination of all seven (7) options.
This is an important part of an employee’s life cycle when starting with an organisation as a new hire or when starting a new role in an organisation either as a transferee or following a promotion. Most organisations expect a new hire to ‘hit the ground running’ and performing all through probation however, such new hires are actually innocuously, set up to fail. The execution of proper onboarding activities helps new hires settle into their roles, provides them with in-depth understand of the organisation and how it functions, how their team function and how their roles are expected to function, interfacing with various stakeholders to meet expected objectives – improving their chances of a successful performance life span.
What exactly then is onboarding?
Well, it is a set of activities, processes, actions and practices put together by an organisation on the basis that it help a new hire or transferred or promoted employee get familiar and settle into their role, team and organisation, getting an feel and understanding of other roles, how they interface, operate, organisational practices, systems, people immediately relevant to role of the person being onboarded etc. One of the key functional essences of onboarding is a deliberate attempt by the organisation to ensure the person being onboarded gets the best possible ‘head-start’ to being successful in their new role - right from the very beginning. Having the best experience settling into a new role is another purpose for onboarding – ensuring their employer is perceived as an employer of choice.
Where onboarding exists as a siloed business process, it commences from the onboarded’s day-1 at work. The duration and detail of the onboarding process is really dependent on each organisation. The best approach to onboarding is realising that onboarding really should commences before a candidate is hired or employee’s day-1 after a promotion or transfer and it should run through to some months after employee’s start date, easing him/her into their ‘new and shiny’ role.
The term ‘Talent’ is a popularly and widely misconstrued as it is used within organisations and HR-related business to refer to job candidates who are super skilled and experienced for a role they are being recruited or employees who are classed as high performers on the job.
Actually, Oxford online dictionary defines ‘Talent’ is a natural aptitude or skill.
In most work situations, especially in corporate white-collared or skilled jobs, talent as defined by all dictionaries, is not sufficient to get a job or thrive in the job and that is why on top of talent, layers of education, certification, training and importantly, experience is required.
Having expressed the above, as a corporate and societal lingo in the late 19th century, the term ‘Talent’ refers to an individual who as a job candidate, is perceived to be super skilled and experienced for a role they are being recruited and in the case of employees, ‘Talent’ refers to employees who are classed as high performers on the job with bright career prospects in the organisation.
5. Performance Management:
Performance management (PM) is a practice that helps an organisation remain as a going concern in the face of internal and external adversity, difficulties and a range of other known and unknown challenging and non-challenging factors. This practice of PM filters down to the employee level in any organisation because, the effect of what and how employees do what they do, rolls upwards to represent how an organisation performs in the wider world. This in turn determines if and how the organisation remains a going concern in the face of known and unknown challenges.
PM is a combination of defined processes, practices and infrastructure put in place to ensure an organisation, teams and or individuals work in such a manner to achieve set objectives in the most effective and efficient manner. The word efficient has been used because time is a fundamental part of performance management. It should however be mentioned that the processes and infrastructure in PM do not run themselves; It requires people to make use of them, particularly - Heads of groups, line managers and individual employees. While line managers and group heads are responsible for ensuring the employees they manage, work to deliver set objectives, it behoves on the individual employee to also manage his/herself in using similar processes, practices and infrastructure ensuring they deliver objectives assigned to them in the most effective and efficient manner.
For PM to be effective, the employee or line manager needs to have a full understanding of the objective at hand by ensuring it is S.M.A.R.T.
PM is such a broad topic that we’ll exit the write-up here. There’ll b a page dedicated to it in the near future.
6. Emotional intelligence:
While emotional intelligence (EI) is generally described as the ability of one to assess, identify and manage one’s emotions, it is to be recognised that as social beings, we do not exist, function or operate in isolation. As such, the definition of EI extends to the ability of one to also identify and manage factors, conditions and engagement that affect another person’s emotional state in such a way as to maintain, restore or promote wellbeing.
Applying the above definition in the workplace, a lot of EI responsibility is placed on the shoulders of line managers as they not only have to manage their own emotions under quite often, stressful situations, they also have to constantly keep a pulse on their direct reports as well – ensuring they are emotionally okay.
Carrying out the above task of managing emotions is made even more challenging for line managers and employees in the era of increased remote working where whole-body visual tell-tale signs of emotional imbalance such as wringing arms, tapping fingers, continuous knee knocking is out of view from a zoom call. And this is one reason why in 2020, in the covid-19 pandemic era, there is an increasing number of emotionally charged sickness absence in the UK.
7. Total Reward:
While the term ‘Total Reward, applies to both employees and job candidates, for this write up, we’ll approach total reward from the perspective of a job candidate.
The most obvious employee reward items placed in front of job candidates during a hiring process are: Base salary, Bonus (If it applies), annual leave, car benefit (if it applies) and pension. However, in the war for ‘talent’, employers are increasingly wanting posture and present themselves in front of potential hires as the employer of choice using the concept of total reward whereby candidates are made aware of the total range of benefits they could receive beyond the above-mentioned ones. As such organisations invest in benefits such as Flexible working, Home office setup kit or subsidy, Training, paid for holidays, discount shopping cards etc.
Where the concept of Total Reward come to light is when a monetary value is put together on the range of benefits. This immediately presents the employee with a different perspective and appreciation for the ‘Total’ reward they stand to benefit by working with one organisation as against another.
8. Gross Misconduct:
Being late to work or making poor decisions and being clumsy at the work place are issues that can be termed or dealt with as disciplinary issues. However, more serious offences are termed gross misconduct. Examples of gross misconduct are:
• Planning and or execution of fraudulent activities
• Engaging in criminal acts or drug abuse or Grievous bodily harm (GBH) in or related to the workplace
• Theft or wanton destruction of company property
• Purposeful sale of company trade secrets
In addition to what society will term a gross misconduct, organisations generally, have additional information and guidelines of what constitutes gross misconduct and proceedings on how they deal with both disciplinary and gross misconduct acts. These types of information are mostly published in the employee handbook
As previously mentioned above, we are social beings and despite best intensions and effort to remain affable, rifts or disagreements do occur.
When rifts occur in the work place, the preferred and first approach to resolving such issues is for parties involved to amicably talk and make peace. However, this approach does not always work and this is why organisations have clearly defined rules and processes to help address and manage one employees’ complaint against another.
Grievance complaints made by employees are usually one related to non-compliance with the law, company policy, culture, practices or similar situations. Similar to gross misconduct, organisations clearly document and make available in employee handbooks, guidelines on what constitutes grievance and what steps need to be followed in order to make a formal grievance complaint – usually, to Human Resources as the resolution of a formally raised grievance in most cases, requires a mediator – Human Resources.
Call to Action:
For small and medium scale enterprises looking to explore their post Covid-19 workforce strategic options, do contact us for a free consultation.
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