Monday, 31 August 2015

When the Stars dim ...

The Senior Manager was intrigued.   During my weekly calls with him, he muttered  "Ananya,  Ruchika wants to switch over from Delivery Operations to HR .... I wonder why ...anyaways ... ". 

He then continued with the rest of the agenda items. 

But my antennae was sharp enough to catch this and I made it a point to talk to Ruchika after a few days.  

Ruchika was one of the best performers in the Operations and Delivery Department.

We sat face to face. She looked a bit tired after the long work day. 

"Hey ! What is the matter ? Are you not well ? "

"No... I am OK... Just a bit tired ... you understand how operations are ... something or the other always cropping up . And the customers have become so demanding ... they want everything ASAP !"

"Hmm ... Ok ... so work is keeping you very busy ... eh ? "

"Yes ... Just that nowadays I do not quite feel enthused about my work .."

"Oh ... why so ... ? " I wanted her to vent out. 

"Well ... so many things ... sometimes at the end of the day , when I ask myself what have I achieved today ... a big question mark comes in my mind ... "

"Really ? You are not enjoying your work ? You are a good performer , you have a lot of experience in this area and I always thought that you are a workaholic  " I smiled at her. 

"Yeah ... but nowadays I do not feel motivated . I think I need a change . I want to apply for the vacancy in the HR department"

"Let me understand it better. The HR role is much below what you are currently doing and the salary too is not at your current level.. and I am not sure that you will like the support role . Line function like in delivery and operation is much more challenging that support functions . So, even if you are placed in the HR role, the chances are that you might not like it after a few weeks or months."

"Hmm .."

"Ruchika ... let us talk more and think deeply... I would like to understand why you are not motivated ? Any particular reason ? " I probed gently.

"Well ... " She hesitated . 

"Yes ... go on ... this conversation will remain confidential ... ".  I worked with the organization as a change agent and a coach. 

"I ... I don't feel that I am adding value ... None of my suggestions are taken and I am not a part of any decision making ..."

The clouds started moving and I saw some light .

I talked to her for about an hour and what surmised is that she was very unhappy and demotivated about the ways of working in her department.  She was given a lot of responsibility without authority.  

She was not made a part of decision making.  When she had joined the organization about 18 months back, she was bubbling with ideas and suggestions. But by and by when her suggestions were not even acknowledged , she just stopped speaking.  Ruchika also talked about not being appreciated but whenever there was any escalation, she would be pointed at. 

Dear leaders and managers, you all must be aware that these are the most common things why an star employee becomes disillusioned and demotivated . And there comes a time , when these people leave.  As the boss , it is your responsibility to get a hang of the pulse of the employee and take necessary action. 

After our 90 minutes of discussion, Ruchika looked fresh. It is very important to listen.  Just lending a patient hearing of the woes works wonders. Listening without being judgmental is a quality which managers should nurture.  

"Ruchika,  I understand. Can I request you something ? I would like you to come up with a descriptive account of what your role should be like. Mark the areas where you think you should be a part of decision making "  .  And thus I continued.... 

I will talk to the department head and do the following :

  • Put authority along with responsibility at the appropriate places
  • Smoothen out the process of working
  • Rewards and recognition - yes it is needed at all levels !
  • Put in a process for suggestion submission and implementation
  • Train the managers on listening skills 

Cheers !

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