Summary: Handling Senior Employees
Description: I have joined our family business almost a year before. Now I look at the entire day-to-day activities of the business. I have a problem in tackling our senior employees. These employees have been associated with our company since its inception. When I joined business these employees have mentored me. But now at the helm of things sometime I feel they are lethargic & casual in their approach. I am finding it difficult to motivate them to the level of intensity reqd. in today’s business scenario.
Meentor Response: A classic problem in a classic situation! This is not an easy problem to address but there are ways of getting people aligned.
The first thing is to have a completely open line of communication. Very often, some of these senior people feel that a "young upstart" whom we have groomed is now in a position of power. I recommend that you have continuous conversations with all the senior people - both one on one as well as in small groups and present your ideas of how you would like to manage and grow the business. You need to take them into confidence - always representing that you would value their advice because of their seniority but the final decision would be yours. Over a period of time, this confidence in your own plans to grow the business will bring about some level of trust and hopefully, they will open up about their real problems, what they think about the business etc., please start talking with them and communicating with them! Show them how we can use Technology to make lives simpler for us, get their buy in to your ideas. You will also have to do a review of their skills, capabilities and attitude as well as aptitude to see who among them can help you in your business and who may have not grown to the extent the business requires them to grow. If, after your attempts to re-skill them do not succeed, sadly, you will have to let go of some of them or move them into more benign positions. Depending on your plans to grow, you probably need to induct some fresh blood which is not carrying any legacies
When Ratan Tata took over, he found that a lot of senior people who were there much before him were pretty much styming his efforts to make changes. Some aligned themselves based on his vision, some left and he let go of some! There are lessons from this!
Do reflect and we can continue to dialog on this platform.