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Thought of the Day.009


To change the culture of a company requires enormous effort, numerous day-to-day negotiations, calculated fights, deceptive nudges, excellent communication and effective persuasion. It costs a lot of blood, sweat and tears but guess those who can effect the change they desired must feel that it was all worth it!

#Organization #Gyaan #Structure #Love 

Picture Credit: www.changefactory.com


The Abuse of the 360° Feedback System

The 360º Feedback system is hailed as one of the more progressive feedback systems where employees get feedback from not only direct supervisors from their departments but also, in many cases, outside stakeholders. Juniors, peers and seniors – anyone who has worked with you – can give you feedback. This feedback can not only help you become a better professional but also helps companies review their employees in a holistic way.

 But it is a system after all!

The 360º Feedback system has two important pillars on which it stands:

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Anonymity


Confidentiality means that I would not know who is reviewing me. You would not know who is providing feedback to you. But can the veil of confidentiality be burnt and stamped upon?

Anonymity is closely related to confidentiality. Anonymity ensures that the one providing feedback can do so without any fear or discomfort. So that they can tick and choose whatever they think is fair. But can someone bypass the veil and know who was standing right behind it?

The Value of Stress Testing

In the banking industry, stress testing of assets and portfolios are done using computer simulation models to determine how the assets and portfolios would fare in times of financial crisis such as the one we saw in 2008. Similarly, all systems and processes need to stress-tested.

Stress-testing is important for HR processes and systems because loopholes can be exploited and need to be plugged in in-time so that it does not affect the overall health of the organization. Checking for clues and reporting them:

  • Does S employee know that T is going to review him?
  • T is S’s subordinate. Is she being afforded the opportunity to review her supervisor in a fair manner?
  • Has a nexus started where P agrees to scratch the back of R, and R agrees to reciprocate?

The Caveat of Stress Testing

Although stress testing can help improve our systems and processes, it should not be a cause of harassment for the employees. While deviant behavior needs to be recorded and reported, all the actions of employees should not be look at with suspicion. Not everyone is trying to fool the 360º Feedback system.

We need to ensure that employees are ready to both provide and accept a true and fair feedback. While most organizations use the 360º Feedback to review employees, the end goal of reviewing also is to help the employees be better professionals so that the organization may benefit and not just to judge and rank them.

How can the 360º Feedback be implemented better?

First, it should be communicated to employees that the feedback is for their own good. So that they can perform better, they can have better work-life balance and get the opportunity to lead the organization.

Secondly, 360º Feedback should not be implemented at one go. It should be random and through out the year. Feedback weeks can lead to enormous loss of man-hours just because so many employees make it a big deal. It is important but not more important than the task at hand.

Thirdly, the feedback touch-points should not be too many. More than 20 and you lose the one giving a feedback. You do not want to bore them.

Fourthly, make it intelligible. It is not for testing their command over the English language. Short, simple and casual.

Fifthly, casual. Yes, casual. Make it sound too formal and too important, you give an incentive to cheat, to try find the loopholes. Again, it is important no doubt. But the bottom-line more so!

Sixthly, if anyone gives 5 out 5 or 0 out 5, make them use an event to describe why they are giving that rating. This would stop the abuse and not just make it too “casual”. This is also why you should not forget the third point mentioned here: not making the feedback paper too long. Too long, and you cannot do this sixth!

The Summary!

To end, review and feedback is important. But not more important than organization performance. These should help the organization be better. And for them to help the organization perform better, transparency, confidentiality, anonymity and good survey procedures are a must!

Hope this article helps. Share your ideas!

Author: Amartya Dey, India

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The Curse of the Franchising System

The franchising system is taking roots everywhere. After major cities have become saturated breathing for space and lack of options, the franchising model is moving towards the smaller towns. Who knows we might have burgers in villages before the end of 2030. 

P.S.: The franchising system does not only revolve around food. But as food is something that we can all relate too and food franchisees are ubiquitous, so I would focus on them for now if that is alright with you! 

The franchising system can be a no-brainer for many:

  • You do not have to worry about building a brand. 
  • You do not have to worry about making a *mistake*.
  • Experience helps everywhere but it can be done without here as you just have to follow the professional rules which would be part of the agreement that binds the Franchisee to the Franchisee. 
  • No worries about quality control, staff training and staff management. Everything is built in the system. 

Picture Credit: francity.com

Now what does it do? 

  • It kills innovation. There is no incentive to innovate. You are already selling 20 different types of pizza and then there’s the *agreement*, remember?
  • It kills local culture. You forget about Litti-Chokha.We become part of the *One*. Local tastes and flavors are forgotten, and a *standardized* food becomes part of our *standardized* lives. 
  • As our choices get *commoditized*, the entrepreneur dies. She does not have big money to compete with the advertising budgets of the big brands. Maybe she would come up with a cheaper burger with a potato patty for our poorer cousins. That is all! 
  • *Quality* of food goes down. (Read the article on “McDonaldization” by clicking here.) As competition and advertising spending by major brands increase, the quality drops further more. They squeeze the operational line to get every piece of profit. You cannot blame them. Money matters. Profit, more so.

The solution?

A part of me tells me that there can be no solution. But the eternal hopeful in me screams out the following:

  • Marketing your culture: If you want to survive and sell, you need to advertise. But when was the last time that you saw your Government advertising your country’s food in their tourism promotion advertisement? They advertise some dances, some colours and monuments in India. What about food, dude? 
  • Awareness: In France and other developed nations, children actually spend an hour having good food during their lunch period. Lunch period can also be a learning period – learning about balanced diet and the importance of health! 
  • Incentive for entrepreneurs: Incentives need not be financial. Incentives can be given also through training about modern management systems and something as necessary as electricity 24 cross 7. 

These are three of the top-of-my-mind suggestions. What else do you think can be done? I am not against the franchising system but the singular colors are killing all the vibrancy which we should try to protect. Efficiency is necessary but we can stay efficient even while preserving all our colors. 

What do you think?