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The management needs to make special efforts to continuously improve their HR policies

By M. SHAFIQ Associate Professor
Asian Management Institute IQRA University
May 13 -19, 2002

The most precious resource is human resource and the finest human resource is committed employees. Such employees are highly sought-after and avidly treasured for their attitude, skills, outstanding contribution and effectiveness. Committed employees are seldom a product of chance. They seem to develop through a process based on interaction of employees' abilities, attitude, motivation and behaviour patterns on one hand and human resource practices and organization culture on the other.


The development process, which transforms employees into committed employees, is a continuous one. This process seems to go through four overlapping, though fairly identifiable, stages. The first stage is that of a Satisfied Employee which is achieved in the early stage of their career. A Satisfied Employee has a positive attitude and believes that his input into the performance of the job is being adequately and equitably compensated. Those among them who are driven with quest for information and knowledge try to learn about the intricacies of their jobs. When they fully master these and appreciate their importance as well as their vertical and horizontal integration with other jobs, they enter into the second stage of transformation and become Informed Employees.

When these employees are fully immersed in the job and enjoying it, they are ready to enter into the third stage of their development. Such employees begin to broaden their knowledge about the organization, its vision, strategic direction, core competencies and larger plan of action. At this point the informed employees through their organizational knowledge and conceptual skills transform into Involved Employees. They keep on expanding their knowledge of the business of their organization, key people and industry. They also make determined efforts to improve their own abilities and leadership qualities. Through their expert and referent powers and superior emotional intelligence, they become formal and informal facilitators, advisers and role models in their organizations and attain the highest stage of their development i.e. Committed Employees.


Human Resource policies and procedures of an organization play a vital role in the development and transformation process of employees. Objective recruitment policies and procedures can virtually ensure the necessary job fit by matching the abilities, aptitude and motivation of the employees with the requirements of the jobs. The fundamental requirements of proper recruitment, orientation and need-based training and development programmes go a long way in making employees adaptable and productive. The enormity of the impact of recruitment on the employee development and organizational success can be appreciated from the following observation of Akio Mortia, Chairman of Sony Corporation, made in his book entitled "Made in Japan":

"In the long run, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire. To put it a bit more dramatically, the fate of your business is actually in the hands of the youngest recruit on the staff."


The organization culture, i.e. the shared values and beliefs which create a certain way of doing things and shapes a distinct environment, continually impacts the transformational process of an employee. The supportive cultures work as catalysts and accelerate the transformation of satisfied employees into committed employees. It is appreciable that a culture, which trusts and encourages employees to acquire knowledge; be creative and experiment without being penalized for dissent or failure, helps the transformational process. On the other hand, an organizational culture, which insists on excessive compliance to rules and regulations, lines of command, close supervision and status quo, instills fear in the employees; the fear of committing mistakes, the fear of damaging ones position and the fear of harming their progress in the organization. Fears like this can sap their energies, immobilize their productivity and foster frustration. Such a situation may also compel certain employees, who otherwise may have great potential, to play dumb and remain inconspicuous during their stay. It is exactly to avoid this morass that the famous quality guru, Prof. W. Edwards Deming created and taught his unique "Drive Out Fear" philosophy admired by many world class organizations. His simple advice to organizations has been to create conditions, which eliminate all fears of employees and enable them to realize their full potential and contribute creatively.


Three principal questions arise from the description of the development process, which transforms employees into committed employees. First, can all employees of an organization become committed employees? Second, can an employees pass through all these development stages, remaining at the same hierarchical level? And third, what can management do to facilitate this development process? Since a very large number of individual and organizational variables are involved in the development process of employees, these questions can be tackled in general terms only. In my view, the answer to the first question is negative. All employees cannot be transferred into committed employees mainly due to individual differences in their abilities, attitudes, motivation and behaviour. The development process of a committed employee pre-supposes that the employee possessed suitable qualifications, aptitude and motivation to start with. Without the required attributes, it is extremely unlikely that he/ she can embark upon the development process successfully. The general answer to the second question also seems to be negative. It is highly unlikely that an employee can develop into a committed employee without attracting management attention and attaining any hierarchical progression over time.

The third question is the most important and relevant to the organizational effectiveness. In order to strengthen the required development and transformation process, the management needs to make special efforts to continuously improve their HR policies and practices. It is imperative that the personnel policies and procedures, particularly recruitment, training and development and performance evaluation, be objective, equitable and effective. Creative interventions are also necessary in order to develop a more supportive organizational culture, which is based on humanistic values, free of fear and encourages creativity. This is a daunting essential task. However, it is essential to develop committed employees, which are an invaluable asset. Such employees not only contribute exceptionally but also support, defend, promote and love their organizations.