HR Dinosaurs

HR dinosaursLeadership expert John Maxwell made an interesting observation: ‘People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude’. This line perfectly describes effective human resource management in today’s world. Human Resource (HR) functions have seen significant transformations over the years, driven by a single core tenet: the knowledge that an organization can only be as good as the people in it.

Initially, HR management was seen largely as a support function, with major focus on hiring and managing the exit of an employee. As businesses evolved, so did the role of HR.

Today, HR is a business partner and a key function in building an organisation. In addition to taking care of on-boarding and exit formalities, HR is also tasked with the responsibilities of attracting and retaining talent, as well as nurturing employee growth within the organization. There is a paradigm shift from the old practices that are fast becoming redundant. Particularly in the QSR space, newer and more convenient procedures that aid an organization’s goals are displacing some old HR concepts. Here’s a list of HR practices that are fast becoming extinct or are in the process of being so:

1. Recruitment on the basis of quantity

The QSR space is burgeoning and as more players enter this space, the demand for competent and quality professionals keeps growing. Companies begin to struggle with a high attrition rate, even after bulk recruitments. Hence, a lot of focus is being given to employee training and development, counsel and guidance facilities as well as other HR initiatives aimed at keeping employees satisfied and committed to the organization.

In the present scenario, it is considered ideal that an organization create an internal talent pool to tap for ideas, new initiatives or responsibilities through training. This empowers employees to participate in growth opportunities within the organization. At McDonald’s, we prioritise existing employees for non-specialised openings across operations. Our current Vice President of Business Operations across McDonald’s restaurants in West & South India, Ranjit Paliath, is a fine example. He had joined the McDonald’s family in March 1995 as Trainee Manager at its first restaurant in Bandra.

2. Centralization of leadership

The Retail and QSR segment is a major employer of youth, including first time job seekers. It is important for HR professionals to groom talent – taking on young people and developing them into leaders through training programmes and relevant work experience. The rising employee turnover rate is making it essential to develop programs that allow for employee growth within the organization and train them to assume senior leadership positions in order to create smooth transitioning of functions.

3. One-way Communication Channel

Today, it is critical for organizations to have a two-way communication channel with its employees. This exercise not only provides a transparent platform for both the parties but also educates employees on the organisational goals while keeping the organization informed about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. An HR professional must understand an employee’s perspective and customize talent management exercise on the basis of organization objectives as well as employee needs and expectation.

There is a paradigm shift from the old practices that are fast becoming redundant. Newer and more convenient procedures that aid an organization’s goals are displacing some old HR concepts

4. Excessive dependence on Face-to-Face meetings & Briefings

The trend of daily meetings has reduced as employees tend to be stuck in longer meetings leading to non-productivity. New concepts like e-learning and online communication facilitates flexibility and is a refreshing approach to exchange ideas and even training, compared to face-to-face modules. McDonald’s was the first QSR in the industry to take e-learning to the work floor.

Archaic practices have given way to new techniques that have helped organizations align their business goals with HR practices. HR professionals must never allow processes to become the culture of an organization. They must always strive to create an environment that is accepting and open to employee advice and opinion.

5. Intense focus on operations & processes

An HR professional must understand that processes are supposed to help organizations grow and improve efficacy for new hires and existing employees among other things. These processes must not be a hurdle to an employee’s growth but must be an enabler.

Today, employees think beyond monetary compensation and the HR needs to be mindful of the fact that an employee performs better if the work environment encourages a healthy work-life balance. It is important to have an understanding of work pressures and requirements in the organization and design competent training programs to optimise talent and make work enjoyable. Technology goes a long way in ensuring that processes are smooth and hassle free.
At McDonald’s, we have introduced GATE, a software that standardizes the talent life-cycle management, assessment, performance reviews, succession plans and mobility management. Recently, we also introduced ADEPT-15, a personality assessment tool that helps us analyse an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. To make it more employee friendly, the system is available in local languages so that no information is lost in translation.

The way forward

Archaic practices have given way to new techniques that have helped organizations align their business goals with HR practices. HR professionals must never allow processes to become the culture of an organization. They must always strive to create an environment that is accepting and open to employee advice and opinion. It is critical for talent leaders in organisations to keep pace with employee expectations and needs, creating a workforce that exudes productivity and performance. And an environment that not only facilitates learning but also makes work fun, flexible and creates sustainable futures for both the employees and the organisation.

Over the past years, HR had a mandate of maintaining firm control over the workforce; provide low-cost, convenient administrative HR services; and promote fairness through equal treatment of employees. In the future, the mandate will be to understand and serve employees with highly appropriate offerings that improve their commitment, enthusiasm, preservation and performance.

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Seema Arora Nambiar

Seema Arora Nambiar

Seema Arora Nambiar is Vice President – People Resources , McDonald’s India [West & South Region]. In this capacity, she is responsible for identifying and creating a skilled workforce for the organization while ensuring an alignment of people strategies to company goals. Seema has been associated with McDonald’s India since 1999. She has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Mumbai University. She has also undertaken a study on Communication across International Business from the University of California – Berkley and holds a certification from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Mumbai.
Seema Arora Nambiar

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