Most corporations determine a manger’s performance on key financial indicators, namely customer retention, increasing asset turnovers and meeting targets, under their purview specific to each industry. Profit maximisation of end-user product sales and cost reduction are the primary measurement tools of Ford and Kinsey corporate models. Corporate targets based on weekly, monthly or sometimes quarterly results, thereupon managers are charged to meet bottom lines; the carrot and stick approach revolves and evolves around short term goals. Whereupon a common assumption of a flawless final product insofar as that it is sold to the consumer, with profits attributable thereof, the Company sees good quarterly profits as do stakeholders whose expectations are of immediate returns on their investment.
Where time is a function of money commonly linked to immediate profits is seen as waste when not used exclusively in acquiring income, it is less likely today to accord journeymen of businesses with patriarchical characteristics.
One of such last known models is of Cadbury’s chocolate factory at Bourneville of West Midlands in England. (Ref 1.) Cadbury’s under the Quakers, acted on their tenets of “campaigns for justice, equality and social reform, putting an end to poverty and deprivation”. Not only did they build schools, housing and places of worship (Ref 2.) for workers and their families alike, but also encouraged the younger and less learned staff to increase their potential. (Ref 3.) Success was such that unions had little to no place in a profitable and well managed company for some time. (Ref 4.)
Today, these qualities are repackaged as “Human Capital”, which includes staff resource allocation coined “best fit”, “restructuring”, “outsourcing” and in-house “training sessions”. By trimming overhead costs of inefficient resources, ineffectual business models and management, whereupon managers (Board of Directors) are voted out in listed companies, companies are revitalised through leverage on “scientific” financial attribution to transfer out inefficiencies. Regardless of causation and careful attribution, it is of no guarantee that a hapless workforce is removed for one that is a better "fit". A Scottish pioneering bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), recently reduced staff (Wall street Journal) as cost exceeded profits, were alone sufficient financial indicators to act upon. As long as business models are based on Ford and the likes of which efficiency and mass production is synonymous to higher sales and profits, Managers will watch immediate bottom lines.
How Ford, General Motors and like time tested business models progress is yet to be seen, in comparison to the creative industry of culinary, designer services ( Charlie Munger et al. ) and cottage industries, where human capital are the means and not the ends, to successful consumer products and services.
With prevailing trends, it is then business as usual, not surprising of managers whose very jobs are on the line.
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No use crying over split milk; What you can do is to get wiser, smarter and faster from this setback:
HR, friendly supervisors not working with immediate manager, enquire if possible:
- Performance yardsticks of the company (coy);
- The decision makers, HR or site supervisor ("manger")?
- Under what circumstance does an employee have rights to appeal.
Yardsticks and decision makers will determine the company’s operations and staff retention policy. What is good for one division manager is another division manger’s poison. This is a perpetual state in many less than well run corporations.
Regardless of Managements’ promoting an all encompassing job requirement, it is not workable in Kinsey based organisations. The solution is to replace burnt out staff at all levels. Enquire and observe of co-staff work ethos and work methods. Some jobs’ emphasis is on speed, some on quality, others a moderation of both. Even Managers have been shown inept when assessed on achieving both. Quality and speed always involves a trade off. Where quality control and positive deviation adjustments with Ford motor parts are for amateurs, akin to product management, few have the gift and professionalism of dealing with Human Capital.
Pedantic errors like being too fastidious on job quality or quick execution with many errors, is a common mistake of fresh graduates and new employees. Conversely, staff who do not pull their weight are on a loosing end.
Admittedly poor consolation to your predicament but nonetheless a consolation:
Mediocre and run of the mill coys are rife with supervisors and managers who leverage on staff turnover.
- Financial institutions like certain Morgan Stanley branches used to practice retrenching the 4th quartile of their staff on a routine basis (Quarterly?), regardless of potential medium or long term returns. This is an arbitrary employee quality retention process where HR is short staffed.
- Sales and Marketing coys deploy this technique to grab new sources of income from new sales staff, by eliminating staff whose sources of income have exhausted which is in any case, a customer of the company. This is executed by raising sales targets.
- This gets ugly with data falsifications mixed with law suits against former staff, usually in the form of senior staff (Supervisors and above) accused of data theft and theft of customers when they leave. With half truths, some Management do retain their jobs at the cost of the jobs of others. -- A prime example: Citibank, where (in 2006) one of their regional branches did not perform up to expectation. That is a technique often overlooked by head office to save face and retain known faces; a technique for new managers to retain their jobs and sometimes a rational decision that x number of staff retrenched or lost to poaching, is worth the retention cost of those sitting at the top.
Better coys assess mangers’ performances based on the hand dealt with: Managers who exhibit high staff turnover are offered positions where they excel rather than in Management, where they are not only expected to be competent par excellence, but to be able to lead by example, guide potential staff and manage their pool of resources. “By the staff for the staff.” with right business models and honest management works wonders.
Abeit late, you may now have an inkling as to what you should ask of HR, looking for tell tale signs of divergences during the interview and at work. Even genuinely honest and capable management has difficulty catching all bad apples.
Answered By: pax veritas - 10/6/2006