Working More for the Same Pay
Among the consequences of the economical crisis, the lay-offs entailed working deficits. To fill them more or less officially, the remaining employees were given the responsibilities of the ones who were laid off, in the majority of cases without any raise.
Cristina Caramizaru, Resourcing & Talent Manager at Smartree Romania, encountered some of these situations. “There were general «freeze headcount» decisions, and, automatically, five employees had to leave the company. Their tasks were taken up by the people who stayed with the company. The sales target had been increased by 20% compared with the previous year. Thence, some of the employees left and the ones who stayed took on their new task and clients, without any raise or bonus. There were also no changes in the official job description”.
However, taking up an additional task was also a common situation in the past. The difference now is the context and the way the overload is imposed upon the employees. “I don’t think there is a problem to take on new responsabilities, the important thing is how this happens and how your superior prepares you for this. If you have a new assignment, in addition to your regular work, there must be a clarification of the new job framework, the understanding of the way the working processes are going to change, the assurance that at least your direct boss will help, the possibility of having a period of time for accommodation, during which you can learn from your mistakes and a formal or informal recognition of your extra effort”, said Luiza Banyai, HR Director at Smartree Romania.
On the other hand, in order to increase efficiency and adjust to the new business objectives consequent on the internal restructuring, the redefining of the roles was required. This is the case for Credit Europe Bank, where one of the positions that suffered changes was Customer Relations Manager. The occupant of this job remained the interface with the clients, but he had to take on extra responsabilities.
“In the past, he was focusing on surveying the market, sales, developing the client portfolio. These activities decreased and made way for collecting arrears, retaining clients and consolidating the relations with the existing clients”, said Anneliese Anghel, Head of Human Resources, Credit Europe Bank.
Another change at the same company was assigning credit analysts to other departments which had vacancies: Operations, Collecting, Call Center. “This way external recruiting was not needed anymore, and we were able to fill a lot of the vacancies with efficient employees who have potential and who, already familiar with our corporate culture, could adapt much faster”, claims Anneliese Anghel.
At Aviva, these sorts of internal changes are being used to obtain an overview of the present strategy. The managers are encouraged to reevaluate the accomplishment of their own objectives, so that they can find, together with their teams, innovative processes for making their work more efficient. “A concept used globally by Aviva is Pack Light – Pack Right. The concept is borrowed from the mountaineers who chose to put in their backpacks only those things that are really useful, without having excess weight. In other words, we want to permanently examine the daily responsabilities and concerns to make sure we eliminate the non-essential for achieving the expected results. This sort of reorganizing helps to analyze each role in the company and to make sure you have the right equipment”, said Valentina Ilie Goga, HR Manager of Aviva Romania.
When some of the Xerox employees left the company or were promoted, their tasks were taken on by other co-workers or some outsourcing services were used. “For instance, when a co-worker that managed the offices’ administration and the car park decided to leave the company, we redistributed some of his administrative responsabilities and e extended the outsourcing of the car park. I have also a personal example. When the regional manager responsible for Lean Six Sigma was promoted, we decided not to find someone new and I took on these managerial responsabilities”, claims Simona Simion-Popescu, Human Resources& LSS Business Transformation Director, at Xerox Central Eastern Europe, Israel& Turkey (CIT), Xerox Romania and Rep. Moldova.
If last year we were discussing lay-off and cost cuts, this year the key-word is change. Most employees understood that they cannot keep being nostalgic about the good old times and, if they want to survive in the “new world”, they have to change. This explains the commotion in the companies, that adjust the positions, the processes and procedures to the new market conditions.
Changing the responsabilities of the employees has different effects on morale, depending on the following elements:
- his or her openness in accepting the fact that the entire economical context is different and that the company will act differently;
- the well-balanced analysis of the situation in order to see also the positive aspects of the situation;
- maintaining the optimism that there is a solution for every difficult situation;
- readiness to abandon the past for building the future.