What kind of employees does an emerging process-driven organization need?

The significance of pursuing personal excellence.

In his summary of the “Top 10 Most Important BPM Capabilities“, Janne Ohtonen proposed a thesis (in point 9) stating that one of the most important BPM capabilities is as follows: “No one has to worry about losing his or her job because of process changes.” However, I have offered the opposing view that “absolute security , which is never a good thing, is the attitude of demanding and can very easily lead to lower rather than higher efficiency”. Because this is an essential issue in terms of process management implementation, I would like to ask for comments and arguments for or against the statement. If possible, also try to establish what kind of employees does an emerging process-driven organization need?

An open organizational culture, which is needed to implement the management process, does not require “full security”. However, it requires open communication, fair evaluation, and the guarantee of opportunities which match the aspirations, capabilities, commitment, and achieved results. This requires, of course, “immediately speaking out on the negatives”, so that the organization has as much time as possible to prevent and minimize their effects.

Furthermore, empowerment and responsibility do not require the “full security that no one will be sacked.” On the contrary, they require strong motivation, which can use such empowerment and responsibility to produce results. Part of the motivation (unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately) must agree to a fair objective evaluation, including the evaluation of the performance. If someone performs activities which are of no value, such an individual must be motivated to change, to initiate change. Such motivation will not come from safety, because such an individual is already safe and doesn’t do anything in order to avoid making mistakes. Such people always act in accordance with the procedures, rules, etc. That accept that they do not play a useful role, because they can avoid being controversial, creative, and innovative. They do not reveal their ideas to anyone. They work safely ……. without creating value.

However, does a process-driven company really need such employees? Do we want to reward employees for inaction? For always nodding their heads in agreement with their supervisors? (In Poland, such employees are known as BMW (bierny, mierny, ale wierny): passive, mediocre, but loyal).

The process-driven company, especially during its transformation period, needs a strong motivation to pursue its objectives. Part of this motivation must be the objective, honest assessment of work. A consequence of this assessment must be the dismissal of employees who not meet the criteria. If this doesn’t happen, then why others would make an effort at all?

A good example here would be introducing pikes to ponds in which there are carp. This would results in the considerable increase in the effects of breeding. Pike eat those carp which are weak and diseased. The other carp are forced to exercise, so that they are healthier (and tastier, therefore more valuable on the market!).

The second analogy is a very easy management method. Employees are estimated and ranked linearly from best to worst. Depending on the needs, the last 5 or 10% of the worst employees are dismissed and the following 5, 10 or 15% are evaluated againstoutside candidates for the job. In this way, even when working in a very strong team, the weakest members (sometimes the youngest) must make an ongoing effor in order to be evaluated as better than competitors who come from outside.

But there is no certainty! There is a “threat”. A “threat”???

And perhaps process-driven companies need workers who will perceive such a situation not as a “threat”, but as a “chance”?

And that’s the motivation: “You have a chance, and its use is up to you.”

As Richard D’Aveni notes, competition in modern Times is closer to fencing  than positional struggles. Process-driven companies need such workers: active, capable of using opportunities, ones that have something to gain and maybe something to lose.

Employees cannot be like overweight carp in a muddy pond.

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By Marek Szelagowski @ dynamic BPM | May 6, 2013

2 Responses to What kind of employees does an emerging process-driven organization need?

  1. Pingback: Employee motivation a vital component of BPM success - Appian Insight Blog

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