The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2008 - issue > People Manager

Reengaging the Disengaged

C. Mahalingam
Friday, February 29, 2008
C. Mahalingam
As managers most of us understand our commitments to clients and bosses. We respond to their mails in time, keep track of our deliverables and commitments, and go the extra mile to ensure that we keep them happy. However, a key segment of our internal clients - the people who report to us - looks up to us for their learning, development, and career growth. As managers our beliefs, values, and behavior become the ‘culture of the company’ for these people as they see the organization through us.

Made-to-order employees don’t exist anywhere
A key part of success in our role involves the ability to understand our people in totality - their values, aspirations, and strengths and weaknesses - so that we are able to engage them productively towards organizational objectives. Great mangers have always realized that there is nothing in reality called ‘made-to-order employees’ anywhere in the world. It does not exist even in books or in management theory. Perfect matches are unheard of in any field of human endeavor. Even in sports, the partners on one side try and understand how they can complement each others’ strengths to outperform and defeat the opposing team. In life too, there is nothing called a perfect, made-for-each-other couple; Successful marriages and lasting relationships are a function of give-and-take, some compromises, some sacrifices, and most importantly borne out of an intense willingness to understand each other and provide the mutually needed emotional support.

Emotional Support – the biggest need in the first few weeks for a new comer
Employees join a company with lots of hopes and expectations often generated by the so called ‘employer branding’ initiatives - public presentations and value propositions posted on the website - new employees come in very highly motivated and energized. The first few weeks are critical as any new surrounding is somewhat threatening or anxiety-producing. There are rules of the game or engagement that are openly articulated and communicated, and then there are rules of the game that are unwritten but even more powerful. New employees find out the ‘dos and don’ts’ over time and try and adjust to the environment to the extent they can. The basic need at this point of time is emotional support. Some companies assign a ‘buddy’ or ‘induction mentor’ as a go-to person for a few weeks. Managers have an incredible opportunity here to spend quality time and make themselves available to the new arrival into the team.

Some Companies require that the managers take the employees out for lunch on the first day or sometime during the first week so that the new comer gets some quality time. The emphasis here is not on lunch but on spending quality time with the new comer. In reality, the taking out for lunch is performed as a ritual performed without any visible impact on the employee.

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