Nov 26, 2007

Low relation between HR practices and Employee Satisfaction

According to the news from the CNBC-TV18 Employer of Choice award apparently there is a tenous linkage between adoption of HR "best practices" and the employee satisfaction scores.

70% weightage is given to the employee perspective. So it is an Employer of
Choice awards but based on the employee perspective. The Employer is judged on
the HR practices, he has put in place for which 30% weightage is given

The Jury comprising K Ramkumar, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, ICICI
Bank, Madhukar Shukla, Professor, XLRI, Jamshedpur, Ganesh Chella of Totus
Consulting, Chennai and Tarun Seth of Shilputsi debated the findings day long, throwing up learning’s for everyone.

The key revelation from this debate was that the adoption of well known HR practices do not necessarily bring in the highest employee satisfaction scores. This threw up surprise findings, where companies known to adopt the best HR practices did not figure in the top ten as their employee satisfaction scores were low.

So what does that mean for us HR professionals?

The reason in my view is that "best practices" in HR become "expected practices" very very soon. If you had to use OB jargon (from Herzberg's motivation theory) factors that are considered "motivators" become "hygiene" very very soon.

Consider the case of a great boss. When you work with a great boss in a firm, any boss you would work with later has to compete with that image of a boss in your mind. And you might end up dissatisfied with every subsequent boss after that :-)

So what is considered a "best practice in HR" gets assumed and taken for granted very soon. Open communication? Transparency? Cab pick-up and drop? Pool tables in the office? Free food and laundry? Stock Options? 120 percentile of market salary?

They'll make news when they get introduced in the organization or noticed when a new employee joins.

But eventually what will keep an employee satisfied and motivated and working in the organization is the nature and quality of work.

The organization that can provide a context for their employees to make their own personal meaning will actually succeed in doing HR's real role.