Friday, April 25, 2008

Lets' dehumanise management

Article on by John Pope 8 April 2008

It starts "we all know that managers can make mistakes in selecting, managing and promoting staff. " HR often have the role of baling them out, which is "an enormous waste of time." Adverts suggest that the science of management allied to the power of IT can solve these problems. The author goes on to examine the reality.

* Recruitment - selection can be done online, and an interview is not necessary. This may well avoid employing mavericks or those who do not fit in. It may be safe, but a bit boring.
* Induction - Initial induction can be at the gate, watching a video and completing an online questionnaire. If they pass they can move on to their department where something similar will happen. They can then learn about their new co-workers online.
* Problems with pay and allowances - again online or via a call centre
* Attitude and retention surveys, 360o appraisals - all online.

So everything can be done without any personal contact between employee and supervisor/manager. But this means opportunities to find out what is really happening and to form relationships are missed. Machines don't make mistakes, although the people who instruct them do, but they have not imagination or ability to take a chance on someone who may be a bit of a maverick but may be innovative or have the ability to create new business.

All too often we focus on the negatives of having people in the system by talking about the errors they make. We somehow overlook the positives. This even applies to accidents investigations where we are always quick to identify who did something wrong, but the vast majority would have had far worse consequences if people had not intervened when they did.

Andy Brazier

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