* By Manishankar Chakraborty
HUMAN beings pass through various stages in life, starting from being a child, a teen or adolescent, followed by adulthood. This is popularly referred as Human Lifecycle (HLC), which I have tried to relate in one of my article with the popular concept f Product Lifecylcle (PLC) as marketers and manufacturers too need to understand the phase in which their brand or product is currently in, so that they can think about the strategies in the future. Although on cannot superimpose the concept of HLC in PLC, but there is definitely lot of room where parallels can be drawn and more importantly understand the aspect of brand and products from a human life's perspective thereby lending more life into a brand/product.
The extension of this concept of HLC and PLC can very well be taken into the human resource domain. This is even more applicable in the ear of privatization where the major openings providers hails fom the private sector and government is primarily into facilitation and happy donning the role of a regulator. I would refer this concept as Employee Life Cycle (ELC) pretty much akin to that of PLC and HLC. The need for HLC is equally important for the employer-employee duo as these stakeholders have a decisive role to play in the functioning and performance of an organization. This concept was also prevalent even in the government sector jobs albeit it was more of a protocol where each and every employee knew that they are going to get promoted with time, where performance and contribution towards the organization did not play any major role in the process. But somehow this concept of ELC was there since the existence of human being on planet earth and that is the prime reason why the role of an employee changed as he kept on putting his efforts towards the organization cause.
The need for ELC now has increased manifold as the concept of joining an organization and retiring from that very organizational is very slim. Our forefathers might laugh saying you tend to change your employers like we used to change our costume. The stark reality is however, a employee has a plethora of option to opt for and if he is witnessing stagnation through the organic route, then he can very well switch over to the inorganic route and move higher up the hierarchical ladder more faster. Sameer, a sales executive with a renowned FMCG player till five years back is now the regional head of a company and is looking up bigger responsibilities, not to mention his fat pay packet, courtesy hopping and growing through the inorganic route. The importance of ELC is handy for Sameer so as to know in which phase of the ELC he is into and what are the moves he need to make and for that what all skill-sets he need to imbibe in his professional repertoire. The same holds true for Sameers employer, not only the current but also the prospective ones, where Sameer is going to knock in the future. The employers need to understand how fast he could bridge the yawning gap of growing by switching from the organic to the inorganic route. Which phases of the ELC he underwent and which all did he skip if at all that have happened.
ELC-Corollary with PLC ELC can very well be related with the Product Life Cycle. In PLC there are four phases, namely the introduction, growth, maturity and decline and a marketers need to keep a track of his products movements so as to take strategic decisions. For instance Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) realized that their popular brand Lifebuoy was nearing the decline stage after reaching the maturity phase when the company decided to rejuvenate the life by coming out with new the variant targeted to even the feminine sex, which was not the case till that point in time. There are instances galore from the world of marketing management where ailing and southward moving brands have been given new lease of life or substituted with a new launch in order to maintain healthy bottom lines and top lines for the company. The same holds true for the employee as well.
Once a fresh graduate or post graduate completes his education and steps in to the world of employment he is in the introductory stage. Like that of PLC, here the employee has to spend substantial amount of time and effort in learning the nuances of the game. As rightly said the first few years in ones career should mainly deal with learning rather than earning as these are the years of sowing which can be harvested at a later point in time. Even a marketer invests in this phase for promotion and advertisements, putting in place middlemen etc. so that the new brand is introduced properly. The tenure of this introductory phase would very from employee to employee depending upon how fast they can pick up the threads of their trade. The introduction phase is followed by the frowth phase. The efforts, time, energy, resources put in during the introduction stage starts to pay back the dividend and the employee starts getting noticed by the employer, he is confirmed from the probation period, given promotions, gets a hike in salary and benefits and the ball starts to roll. This phase is the most productive phase for a human being in the HLC, for a brand in PLC and for an employee in ELC as the returns is being earned and one can very well start making smart moves so as to handle much more challenging and difficult phases in the form of maturity and decile stage. After reaching the crescendo of the growth stage the employee walks into the maturity stage and here he is more sensible and leverage his experiences earned till date so as to move on. The maturity stage initially would be profitable as he would continue with the same zeal and enthusiasm and even the organization bestows bigger and better responsibilities. Till the time the employee is active both physically and mentally, he experiences the positives of the maturity phase, after that he gradually starts to fade into the negative slope and slip into the declining phase. This is then followed by the decline phase which is characterized by superannuation and post retirement plans.
The significance to know the phase of ELC is paramount on the part of the employees and employer. To a very large extent it is decided on the basis of the moves and abilities of the concerned, however, the industry, growth rate of the industry, competitiveness of the industry, impact of competitions on each other, obsolescence rate of the industry and many other variables which is out side the control of an individual employee. It is therefore pertinent on the part of employer and employee to decide when to make what moves. Instances of good employees leaving the organization where they had been working and contributing for years together are common these days. The prime reason for this change in mind is because there is a gap in seeing the phases of ELC by the employer and the employee. The employer might feel that the employee is still in the introduction phase and so devoid him of all the benefits pertaining to growth, on the contrary the employee might feel he has metamorphosed in to the growth phase and since his current employer is not smart enough to identify his rise in capabilities, it is time to move on for the greener pasture. This decision to go for the inorganic route from the safe tried and tested yet uncertain organic route would depend upon the individual employee. A confident employee would move out if not given the due credit by noticing his movements in the ELC, on the other end a play it safe types would prefer to stick around as he is less confident of coping with new challenges and environmental dynamics in a new organization. A third type would refrain from moving out as they with to graduate up the ELC phase once the high fliers moves out for inorganic route as the former are less risk takers and are also very less confidant on their personal abilities. To a very large extent ones own personality traits decides the moves one is going to make as employee as far as the ELC is concerned. Did you ever ponder about your career lifecycle curve, if not it's time to think and take some decisions so as to realize your latent capabilities. Let others not decide you career graph, it's for you to call the shots as it is your life.
Author is Faculty Management. He Can be reached at Email : [email protected]