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Continued from Previous……

We continue our discussion on tired organizations, which are those who have been left behind in the process of progress.

Human Resource Anomalies

Human resource is still not recognized as even a resource; it is considered more as a labor which is easily replaceable. Right-person-for-the-right-job is also not universally applied in organizations; the once closest to the chief gets the highest position. Sometimes I wonder about where we are on the track of evolution, and why is our distance from developed practices increasing with every day?

I would like to divide organizations into three major categories: Progressive, Intermediate, and Retrogressive.

Progressive organizations are those who keep updated about modern management practices, innovations, new technologies, and talent management. They care about employee engagement, work environment, and staff performance. This is not entirely altruistic; it is in the best interest of the organization. Engaged employees, in favorable work environment give their best to the organization. Their offices have modern look, comfortable seating and lighting, efficient support services, and adequately controlled temperature. Quality of tea/coffee, and food if served, is decent and people look forward to it. New technology adoption and assimilation is a norm and is done to support peak performance. Talent is attracted, enticed, managed, retained, appreciated, and respected. The contribution of people is acknowledged and rewarded. Sounds like a utopia? Yes, it does, though there will still be grey areas here and there, but largely the organization will be pro-performance. These organizations lead the business in their trade segments and are genuinely considered ‘Preferred Employers’.

Intermediate organizations, as the name indicates, are somewhere in the middle of the development line. They would be partially modern and partially conservative, like the typical middle-class family. Middle-class, as is known, is somewhat confused class. They don’t know whether they should look up or down, which practices they should adopt, and which practices they should align with. Intermediate organizations are reasonably modern in look and outlook, but the primary motive is to look good. They bring new technology, which is below the latest one, make decent offices but do not change very often. Cost remains a primary concern and other things revolve around it. Talent is desired but the negotiation on compensation is quite hard. They try to manage talent well unless the compensation comes in the way. These organizations form the bulk of the business and are essential for business and trade.

Retrogressive organizations are those who refuse to adapt to changes, developments, and innovations. The offices are stale and old, office machines are worn out and redundant, and the environment saps energy. Technology is frowned upon, and innovation is disregarded. We once received an extended management training in which profiling was done on the basis of motives. One set of behaviors was ‘low achievement/power and low affiliation’. It meant that the person/organization is neither interested in achieving more/ exerting influence or concern about people. This is retrogressive behavior which is displayed by such organization. The course material said that this behavior emerged from need for security. Fear of change also comes out of need for security. Change makes people scared because they don’t know how it will affect them and how to handle it. Human resource, which is our focus today, is the least important in retrogressive organizations. The employees are low-paid, less-qualified, least acknowledged, and generally disrespected. Performance is not measured in work done; it is measured in time spent sitting in office, doing as asked to do, obedience, loyalty as spending long years without asking for raise or promotion, and accepting bad behavior as fate. Owners and senior managers of numerous organizations everywhere expect female staff to oblige to all kinds of advances; they risk losing their jobs if they do not.

Human resource anomalies may be summed up in these terms.

  • The hiring is compromised. Primary consideration is money, not suitability, merit, or talent. Because they cannot perform properly, more low-paid people may be added.
  • Jobs are not defined clearly. It is deliberate so that anyone may be asked to do anything. If someone insists on knowing his/her job description, then it is met with serious repercussions.
  • Workplace is not comfortable. The furniture is old and placed in a manner that it is always uneasy. Lighting is inadequate and puts strain on eyes. Cooling and heating are not provided for, or very inadequately provided. In summary, the staff suffers from chronic discomfort.
  • Work environment is not congenial or conducive. The hostilities are rampant, and frustrations are taken out on each other. The irony is that the managers do not treat the staff well and they do not comfort each other either.
  • Performance is not the yardstick. People are rewarded or punished for other reasons which are mostly personal.
  • Performance appraisal is not there. There is no system of appraisal and therefore there is no ground for good, bad, or no increment. This is also deliberate because it is easier to do things on whims in the absence of a system.
  • Delegation is not there; discretion is the rule. It is interesting to see how much discretion is exercised by the owners and managers, and with complete impunity. Delegation is still taboo in most organizations because it means giving both responsibility and requisite authority. While responsibility is given in abundance, authority is not given at all. The objective is not achieved.
  • Accountability is personal, not about work. The reprimand starts from the person, hitting their self-respect directly. The focus stays on the person, blaming them in the strongest terms and ending with the threat of dismissal from job.
  • Self-respect is at stake at all times. Even when no mistake is made, the boss can say things, maybe to derive sadistic pleasure.
  • Growth is not planned. It is planned but not shared with the staff. The actual results are not shared, achievements are particularly not mentioned; failures may be trumpeted with heaping the blame on the staff.
  • There are no rules for anything. Even for gazetted holidays, the staff has to wait for directions. Leaves are not a matter of right, and obviously there are no other employee benefits.
  • No relief for excesses or grievances. The HR is only a documentation desk for hiring and firing. There is no forum where an employee could go to resolve grievances. So, they endure and keep enduring as they know that other places would be the same.

Retrogressive organizations are more common than progressive ones. Their business carries because people work under coercion and maltreatment. These organizations believe in forced labor and are not willing to change because their methods are producing results for them.

To be Concluded……

Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.

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