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Author's profile photo Andre Wagner

Navigating the Human Resources Landscape: How to Increase Employee Recognition?

Initially, Heike Kolar, Michael Wachter, and I, collaborating as sub-team Rede Cidadã on our SAP Social Sabbatical, received a clear mandate to develop human resource (HR) policies for Rede Cidadã.  Rede Cidadã is an organization that empowers the underserved population, and people with disabilities through training, skill development, and networking entry to the labor market. However, we discovered in our initial review of process and background, there are communication issues which must be addressed first in order to get the Rede Cidadã community behind any HR strategy.  This communication is needed to understand why and how a more structured approach in human resource development will help the organization become a better place to work. In our first meeting with the leadership team we suggested an enhancement to our already large scope of work to include internal communications as well. Although we knew we were addressing the right things first, we still had concerns whether all this could be managed in 19 working days and make a lasting and sustainable impact in Brazil.

We worked diligently for three long weeks.  After hours of research, interviews, SWOT-Analyses, discussions and workshops we presented the rough concept to the leadership team. After an intense three hour meeting it came down to THE question: “Is this what you expected?” The answer from, Fernando Alves, head of the organization: “NO…, it is much more.” …RELIEF that became my word of the day!

As we worked through our proposal, an analogy was drawn to a compass, an HR compass, providing direction to the organization. This compass is an overarching framework that outlines and connects the essential HR components. However not all “directions” can be implemented with a big bang approach. We therefore, proposed a phased implementation process for Rede Cidadã including continuous communication to increase employee recognition and engagement. The HR compass is designed to help navigate the future HR landscape at Rede Cidadã. As an example, specifically in the integrated area of employee goal and performance management, it will be necessary to breakdown the organization’s strategic vision to each unit and individual at Rede Cidadã as it relates to communication, recruiting, career development, skills and competencies. This is only one example of the work ahead for the organization.

The HR Compass.jpg

In addition, we believed that a recommendation of the typical performance management cycle – Plan, Review, and Reward – could be considered low hanging fruit. Through our team’s in-depth interviews, we revealed that quantitative performance indicators, such as number of new apprentice contracts per quarter, are not alone sufficient performance measures and can indeed contradict the quality requirements expected by the partners and customers of Rede Cidadã.

Therefore, we recommended the balanced scorecard approach along with a set of organizational learning methods. This is because only an increase in positive employee attitude will lead to an increase in positive customer impressions. By carefully selecting a limited number of critical performance and relationship indicators from the financial, customer/stakeholder, internal process, and innovation/learning perspective, the scorecard helps focus on the strategic vision. However, as pointed out by Kaplan and Norton, financial measurement does not reflect the mission of non-profit organizations. As a result, Rede Cidadã’s mission has been placed at the top of the balanced scorecard to measure success.

Nevertheless, performance management is not only about setting SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, and time-bound) goals for employees. It actually starts with the skills, knowledge, and attitude of the leadership team to effectively manage the performance of the employees.  In each area, management can utilize their traits in the following ways:

  • Skills: Give effective feedback, listen to others, set standards and objectives, coach individuals, delegate, plan effectively, manage the workload integrating work and life
  • Knowledge: Understand the capabilities, potential and motivators of your people as well as fundamentals of the HR policies and legal requirements (especially in the areas of health and safety, employment law and equal opportunities)
  • Attitude: Accept responsibility for managing performance and making hard decisions, respect others, value diversity and seek the opinions of others, be assertive rather than aggressive, inspire trust by integrity and fairness

Through implementation of the HR compass, Rede Cidadã can learn from “for profit” organizations. By paying more attention to employee recognition, increasing service quality, and creating organizational competitive advantages, the organization will realize its strategic vision of generating jobs and income for 50.000 people until 2015.

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