After the enthralling episode of Satyam, it has created enough doubts in the minds of the IT generation about their future and the importance of risk management initiatives. Well, it is not the right time to talk about Ramalinga Raju & Co. but as entrepreneurs, we have to look ahead in combating the tough situations and rise out of the difficulties when issues keep pulling us down. I guess a lot of us would be considering how this post is related to all of us, but things can change dramatically in the IT sector. In the changing trends of evolving technologies, we have already observed that companies have diversified into numerous functional areas to shape up the Technical Writing culture. Top branded IT companies realized the importance of TWs, groomed them and went up to the hill to establish a separate technical communications team to inculcate efficiency and quality for their SDLC process.
We all know that no one has control over recession, but there are certain steps for managing risks related to employees to ensure their future is secure in the IT industry:
Project Management Techniques:
Companies should realize the importance of every stage of the project. The role of Business Analyst is crucial in negotiating the matter with the client. The importance of presenting exaggerate figures is really going to help the company in need for success. For example: If a project requires 100 man days to complete for ‘x’ amount of rupees, it is safe to employ additional employees in the background. With bonding system against the Indian law, we tend to see that most of the employees make changeovers to cause unnecessary delay in the project. Find no mistake that I am making a negative point, but it will become a thorn in the flesh for the recruitment group to find a suitable candidate, satisfy their negotiations, recruit them and train them. All this effort calculated in terms of money would not be better than employing more resources to ensure that work is carried out smoothly. Have any one of you ever wondered why there is only “Risk Management” associated with projects and not with Company management.
Funding: Substantial funding is a key process for any project negotiations. Companies define quality processes but often slip the line when it comes to funding. How many times we have observed that companies accept for a low budget even though it requires adequate man resources to complete the project. Many of our friends get enrolled in any of the projects initiated by the company and hardly stay till the completion of the project. Improper project plans and adhoc project cycles are going to the effect the relationship of clients as well as employees. Companies should fix their amount keeping unexpected risks in view.
Employee Retention: This is one of the bitterest situations as an entrepreneur. Companies tend to lose out productive and smart-working employees in matters not related to their daily routines. Lack of recognition, encouragement and unprofessional leaderships by the reporting managers are adding the causes for lack of employee retention. While this is looked as one side of the coin, issues related to improper salary structure and career growth are the minor causes for retention. Never ever fix the salary of an employee by his previous salary. It is going to affect the mindset of less experienced persons who are equally productive. It will be easy to lose an existing employee, but it is going to be doubly difficult to find, recruit and train them.
Training: Training is a wonderful opportunity to polish your skills. If we are working as team, we cannot expect everyone to be top rankers. There will be fast learners, medium learners and slow learners although you take necessary steps in mending them. This will not change overnight. Performance should be taken into consideration by employees’ commitment and not their productivity. Being a slow learner is not a fault, it is God given gift but commitment is man adapted capability. Slow learners or less productive people should be counseled on sensitive issues without shaking their confidence. A checklist should be distributed to employees on a monthly basis to capture their views and their requirements for areas concerning their development.
Internal Outsourcing: This is an innovative method for all companies maintaining low budgets or requires technical writers on a slack basis. When there are no enough projects in hand, it is really useless to hire a technical writer and keep paying him without any work. Even though a company finds no difference in paying an additional employee, it is really going to affect his/her career. With no work in hand he/she may not advance further and be on par with equally experienced technical writers. Small companies can happily outsource their work to TW agencies or free lancers to reduce the additional burden. This is an internal source of income, as they get to complete their work in time without wastage of money.
Part time opportunity: This is a vague situation when it comes to IT industry, but it will have good effect for short time accomplishments. Squeezing an employee for hours together and paying him additional perks is going to saturate him and his quality of output. Never compromise quality for output. Instead hire budding technical writers as trainees and shift the in place technical writer as an editor for them. Due to this method, there are additional advantages:
1. Trainees are given exposure to real time scenarios
2. Senior technical writer can look things in a different perspective with different ideas in hand
3. Improvement in productivity, efficiency and quality
Imparting Multiple Skills: We are living in the age of multi-purpose things. Just like all-rounders are preferred over experts in cricket, companies prefer multi-skilled people to improve their performance and handle challenging situations. Employees who have the required qualifications to shift their duties in need are an asset for any company. They can help you as a backup resource when enough resources are not available to complete a high priority task. While multi-skilled people are natural, companies can climb an additional step to impart multiple skills to deserving and committed people.
Tools knowledge: Clients prefer documentation that requires less memory on disk and can be amended on a timely basis. It is a decelerating trend if a company sticks to its age old tools just because the employees are proficient in them. It is always advisable to create a dummy project with a new tool before going ahead in using it.
Employee Motivational Programs: Inferiority complex, depression, and lack of self confidence are major issues concerning employees’ performance. Care should be taken not to criticize the employees’ faults in public as it may affect them mentally and physically. Weekly motivational programs and healthy competition initiatives such as quizzes, essay competitions should come into effect to protect their interest and self-respect.
Lastly, I posted this column to impart the need of risk management in our daily activities. These are only general points and have never tried to pin-point anyone or any company by any means whatsoever.