EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT

Success in the employee involvement arena requires, first and foremost, a recognition by top management that participative management means cultural change which, requires management commitment and a long-term perspective.
i. Management Commitment: People resist change, as it requires behaviours and responses that are not familiar. Management commitment to change must be apparent and unambiguous, if this resistance is to be overcome. Management must be willing to support change through the provision of resources, modification of the
organisational systems and personal involvement in the change process.
ii. Long-term View: Management must also adopt a long-term view for the change to succeed. Attitudes and behaviours do not change overnight, and managements demand for quick success will heighten resistance and undermine the process.
iii. Supervisory Support: Being the buffer between the top management and non management employees, it is upon the front-line supervisor that the greatest pressures in EI effort fall. He is called upon to transform his familiar and comfortable style, yet he lacks the knowledge and skills to do so. If his needs are not attended to, there is a strong likelihood that he will resist. Since supervisory support is such an essential ingredient to this process, they must
be educated about EI; they must understand what it is, why it is needed, their new roles and how they will be supported. The resistance of supervisors can be further reduced by involving them in planning and managing the EI process. Their input in the plan and its ongoing execution will provide them with a sense of ownership and control and a better plan will probably result.
To be effective, the supervisor must also be provided with the needed skills such as group leadership, active listening, communications, providing feedback and problem solving through training, coaching and reinforcement.
iv. Union Support: If the Union, as an institution, is not involved in the employee involvement initiative, they may well resist the effort. Awareness programmes should also be conducted for them covering the business scenario, status of the organisation, need of EI, management plans etc, so that they also understand, appreciate and extend necessary support for the success of the
EI programme.
v. Training and Development: Awareness training must be conducted at all levels in the organisation. Managers and supervisors must appreciate that participative management represents a major change from the traditional styles of management. For them to embrace this change, they must understand the nature, rationale and implications of participative management. Training in problem solving must also be provided to equip the employees and supervisors / managers with the skills to analyse problems and to develop solutions.
vi. Strategy: Employee involvement requires a well-developed strategy to achieve long-term success. EI challenges long-held beliefs and impacts broad areas of organisational functioning. Changing management style is probably the most difficult and frustrating task facing the chief executive who desires to institutionalise the EI process for performance improvement in the organisation. An intelligent, longterm strategy is, therefore, a vital ingredient for success.
SOURCES, DEVELOPING AND USING APPLICATION
FORMS
Many organisations prefer to fill vacancies through promotions or transfers from within wherever possible. Promotion involves movement of an employee from a lower level position to a higher level position accompanied by (usually) changes in duties, responsibilities, status and value. The Tatas, the Birlas and most multinationals (e.g. HLL's Lister programme tracking star performers at an early stage and offering stimulating opportunities to grow vertically) have fast-track promotion systems in place. The credo now is reward performance, but promote competency. In the recent past, the AV Birla group has placed over 200 people through the fast-tracker system (promoting star performers quickly). A transfer, on the other hand, involves lateral movement within the same grade, from one job to another. It may lead to changes in duties and responsibilities, working conditions, etc., but not necessarily salary. Internal promotions and transfers certainly allow people greater scope to experiment with their careers, kindling ambitions and motivating them to take a shot at something they might otherwise never have considered. The system, of course, works best for young executives who are willing to take risks.
Job Posting
Job posting is another way of hiring people from within. In this method, the organisation publicises job openings on bulletin boards, electronic media and similar outlets. Hindustan Lever introduced its version of open job postings in early 2002 and over 40 positions
have since been filled through the process. HLL even allows its employees to undertake career shifts, for example from technical positions to non-technical jobs such as marketing, market research etc., through the open job posting system. The AV Birla group allows its employees an opportunity to apply not just for jobs within their own companies, but for jobs in any company in the Birla group both in India and abroad.
Sources
External sources lie outside an organisation. Here the organisation can have the services of: (a) Employees working in other organisations; (b) Job aspirants registered with employment exchanges; (c) Students from reputed educational institutions; (d) Candidates referred by unions, friends, relatives and existing employees; (e) Candidates forwarded
by search firms and contractors; (f) Candidates responding to the advertisements, issued by the organisation; and (g) Unsolicited applications/walk-ins. The merits and demerits of recruiting candidates from outside an organisation may be stated thus:

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