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People management: An entrepreneur’s perspective

People management: An entrepreneur’s perspective

Leadership & Management

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

30 Apr 2019, 12:48 — 6 min read

Background: Employees are the biggest asset that a company has. As a business owner or manager, leading, training and managing people effectively leads to a more productive work force. Towards Labour Day (May 1), a day that celebrates the contributions of workers globally, seasoned entrepreneur, N.Sridhar, examines the challenges of managing a team and how to overcome them. In his previous article, Sridhar had shared how to set business goals and here he shares practical solutions to optimise team output.

Being in the Information Technology (IT) domain for the past several decades, I have had the opportunity to deal with people from various nationalities, numerous skillsets and above all, diverse mindsets. There were a lot of lessons that I learnt in this journey that has greatly helped me and also contributed to my people management skills. These have helped me immensely in handling the team in my software company that I founded seven years ago. Let me share some of my experiences.

  • I have had employees who love to work in solitary without constant supervision. However, I have noticed that they rarely report progress or task completion, thus having me to check on that. It is always frustrating to be kept in the dark about progress, especially when customers start asking for status updates.
  • There are a few who accept certain tasks and try to work on it. However, when progress is not seen it is discovered that they did not initially understand what they are supposed to do, thus wasting time.
  • Then again there are a few employees who take up tasks with excitement but are not able to finish on time because they want to keep perfecting it.
  • Of course, I have also had exemplary employees who take up tasks and complete them on time and in perfection

Over the last 40+ years of my career, there are a lot of lessons in people management that I have gained understanding and experience in. The one crucial aspect that has helped is that, people management is complex and stressful at times. However, by resorting to technology we have greatly streamlined this critical function.


The challenge of attrition

Attrition has been the bane of the IT industry and we are no exception. People come and go and rarely anyone stays for more than two or three years, in the want of a better pay check. For a business this also creates a problem of knowledge continuity.

I am sure that what I have described here may have been experienced in several other organisations as well, particularly where people are assigned with overlapping functions.


Looking for a solution

Although some of these problems have not been solved completely for me, the steps I have taken so far have greatly reduced my challenges.

We have created and implemented our own home-grown software that tracks tasks assigned to each person. Each employee is expected to record their progress in the correct format independently.

Points are assigned at the end of the month for tasks ‘completed’, those that are ‘in progress’, ‘delayed’, etc. Special points for Key Result Areas or KRAs as we call them, are allotted especially for senior staff. These are all used for performance ratings. They are automatically calculated and have an important bearing on the variable pay of the staff for each month. We also conduct regular scrum meetings and status checks for quick updates. Full details are always available in the progress records filled in by the staff themselves.

In addition, we have also implemented the following:

  1. Every person has to spend a certain amount of time in learning something new and this parameter is taken into account for the overall rating.
  2. We encourage people to hit ‘Likes’ to their colleagues for jobs well done. This promotes team work, knowledge share and a sense of being recognised.
  3. Having tried various methods of attendance tracking, we now have a mobile based Punch-In and Punch-Out system working smoothly for last the few years.
  4. Those who come in to work late are automatically recorded into the system, which then has an impact on their ratings.

Parting thoughts
The software that I described for tracking tasks and calculating performance rating is called YAA – Yet Another Attempt! You may ask why it is called as such? Interestingly the name was given in a moment of frustration when we found the previous versions of the software were not being used effectively by staff.

Over the last 40+ years of my career, there are a lot of lessons in people management that I have gained understanding and experience in. The one crucial aspect that has helped is that, people management is complex and stressful at times. However, by resorting to technology we have greatly streamlined this critical function.

 

Looking for more articles on people management? Check out our other articles:
Five people management hacks for the digital economy

Are you a delegator or micromanager?

How to be a good leader

The importance of team building to grow your business


Image courtesy: www.pexels.com

To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Connect' button on my eBiz Card.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

Posted by

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Managing partner of Innovatus Systems, founded by him on January 1, 2013. Sridhar is a result oriented professional with over four decades in the Information Technology &...

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