Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

When expertise becomes an enemy of quality service 9 – helping good employees with potential to become great employees 5

Posted in career development, HR and personnel, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on April 4, 2016

This is my ninth installment to a series on expertise, and on what an employee or manager needs to bring along with it, if it is to offer real value and either to themselves or to the business they work for (see my supplemental postings section at the end of Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 69 and following, for Parts 1-8.)

I briefly sketched out three approaches to business strategy and corporate culture in Part 8 of this series, with each represented by a separate and distinct business example:

• The Alpha Company: a mature manufacturing business working in a stable and technologically settled industry,
• The Omega Company: a more fast-paced enterprise that focuses on producing and providing the newest and greatest in a very rapidly evolving high-tech field such as consumer electronics, and
• What for purposes of this discussion is a more middle ground business: the Mesotech Corporation.

And I at least briefly noted how and why Alpha and Omega here would both for their own reasons conclude, that systematic efforts at employee and manager development on their part and at their expense, would not make sense for them as a business development asset or as a source of increased competitive value. And I noted that point of similarity, even as I noted their fundamental differences for virtually all of the points of consideration that would normally be cited in comparing and contrasting, and characterizing businesses.

Of the three businesses so touched upon, Mesotech was offered as an example of a type of business where systematic effort at improving the skills and employee value of the people who work there, would make the most sense and both to that business’ owners and executives and according to their business model and corporate culture in place. And my goal for this posting is to at least begin to look more deeply into this example company and its practices, from the perspective of this complex of issues.

To bring that into clearer focus and to clarify more precisely what business practices I refer to here as needing deeper consideration, I will focus on the following (as based on a less complete list initially proposed in Part 8):

• What Mesotech does overall and why, in developing and supporting their current employees.
• How they hire and how they present themselves as a business and as a place to work.
• How they decide to dismiss employees when they do that too, and certainly when non-performance or under-performance are the primary cause for taking that action.
• How they promote and advance employees who show particular value and potential in that direction.
• And of course, how they set, develop and manage employee enrichment as a part of their overall employee benefits system.

And I begin this with that first bullet point and an overall consideration of the personnel policy and practice in place, and of what drives it. And to orient this flow of discussion to come, I repeat two details that I at least intimated in Part 8: one about the Omega Company and one about Mesotech:

• The owners and senior managers of Omega essentially always look outside of their business and its current staff when seeking out the next big thing in terms of technology, and skills and experience in using it. They in effect see the job candidate marketplace as filled with talent that they can always tap into in meeting their needs. And to the extent that they think about it, they downplay the value of in-house experience in their business, and either in knowing and understanding their corporate history and culture, or in knowing their operational processes and ways, and in knowing who does what and who to turn to for what, for that matter. New employees start out there knowing everything they need to know, and they are selected for that and this does not involve or require anything particular in the way of in-house learning curves.
• The owners and senior managers of Mesotech, on the other hand, see their business as making a real investment in everyone who works there. They do this at a baseline minimum by accepting that it will take time for a new hire to go through an in-house learning curve where they will not be performing up to their full potential on the job, at least yet. And they are willing to accept this as a necessary and essentially unavoidable cost of doing business and of bringing in new hires to fill gaps in their staffing capabilities.
• Offering employee development and improvement resources such as business-supported training adds to the investment costs already made in the employees who participate. But this added expense also safeguards the investment made up to then, by increasing the performance value of these employees going forward, and by improving the retention rate of their tried-and-true vetted, productive employees.

As for the Alpha Company, they assume that their people have been and will be there long-term and that they know essentially everything that they need to know there from their regular day to day work experience. They have honed the skills and expertise that they need to work there, and effectively from doing. So to repeat a point that I made in Part 8, they and Omega approach employee training and performance from very different directions but they end up at the same place as far as their opinions and decisions are concerned regarding employee enrichment.

And this at least briefly outlines how Mesotech approaches the issues of this series and this portion of it, and with Alpha and Omega held up as points of comparison. I am going to turn to and consider the second to-discuss bullet point from near the top of this installment, in my next series installment:

• How Mesotech hires and how they present themselves as a business and as a place to work.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 (with this included as a supplemental posting there) and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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