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careersGiven the plethora of conferences, seminars and workshops organised internationally regarding HR best practices, line managers and HR practitioners in Pakistan tend to implement global benchmarks without customising them to suit their organisation’s vision, mission, culture or industry trends.

Executives should factor in the following to design and implement an effective and efficient HR framework:

Size. The size of the organisation, the number and range of skills and ethnicities of employees, make each organisation unique. Implementing HR initiatives across the board in a homogeneous (single-location) setup is relatively simple, but mapping these changes in complicated hierarchies across multiple locations requires managers to adapt policies in line with employees’ belief systems to ensure loyalty, motivation and productivity.

Nature of business. An often quoted example of enlightened HR practices is that of Google, with sushi bars and salon offerings at work. But, if you are a low-tech manufacturing outfit that is highly unionised or spread across remote locations, you need to be careful about implementing too many head office-centric privileges as this may discourage employees from taking up field assignments.

Organisational lifecycle. It is important to determine at which stage of the business lifecycle the company is currently at. Is it a start-up or an established entity? If you are an old organisation, there will be entrenched policies that are now part of the value proposition employees expect. To suddenly shift to a ‘new way of doing things’ would cause a backlash, particularly when senior employees feel their authority and influence is being encroached upon. The optimum strategy is to proceed in incremental steps, with a clearly outlined roadmap, explaining the rationale or business case for change.

Strategic agenda. HR strategies should be aligned with the organisation’s strategic direction, be it growth or consolidation. Upgrading the current HR mix to match the evolving needs of the organisation and employees requires a delicate balancing act – can you afford to do it, or can you afford not to?

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, professor-of-practice and an executive coach.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 29, 2014.