Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mining Industry - Performance Appraisal -Poor Performance -Forced Ranking (Bell Curve)

Uniqueness of Mining & Military employments over other employments

  • Tough physical working.
  • Working in open environment ( Exposed to climate directly & working in remote adverse ground condition)
  • Working against nature in case of mining.
  • Team work for team goals with line organization.
  • Statutory frames for physical fitness for employment.

Basic reasons for Low Performance

  • Personal Laziness
  • Lack of job appetite /aspiration. Name shake job requirement (Job is not needed for them to survive).
  • Lack of job skill
  • Lack of motivating work Environment (facility, pay scale, equipment, treatment, level, accountability, authority wrt responsibility,

The first two are the reasons from employee & last two are the reasons from employer towards low performance of any on broader perspective.

Bell Curve Analysis of Employer performance

Normally corporate organizations to keep their organizational performance to high & in continual improvement every year from previous year, they adopt the forced ranking method to compare group of similar employees to broadly on three categories as BE (Below Expectation), E (Expectation) & AE (Above Expectation) OR as 5 categories as FBE (Far Below Expectation), BE, E, AE & FAE (Far Above Expectations). Normally the organisations will have 20% , 80% & 20% in 3 categories system OR 5%, 15%, 60%, 15% & 5% in 5 categories system. If figures are not arrived then relatively compared by one another & these hypothetical figures are arrived to divide the employees in this category matching to percentage forcibly. Then the poorest (FBE) is in the list of downsizing, poorb(BE) will be given chance to improve with proper training , Average(E) is nurtured & trained to move up, better (AE) will be given good hikes in salary & facility and Best one (FAE) are promoted to next level. Every year 5-10% of employees identified as poorest & removed to add new recruits in their place. This way organisation filter to maintain the best employees every year & uplifting the best measure every year. It is to be noted that the best ranked employee today will be rated as poorest over a period when standards go up every year in this system unless he is enhancing his competition & performance levels every year.

When the number of employees are plotted in the X-axis against the performance Y-axis representing the FBE, BE, E, AE &FEE a typical bell shape curve is developed as below. This is called Bell curve of Performance Appraisal of employees by forced Ranking.

Low performance in Mining industry

Bacause of its above mentioned uniqueness the job openings in the mining industry are not attracted to people who are basically lazy & having lack of job appetite (atleast in the openings of worker & supervisory category).

The people who are lazy & lack of appetite normally choose physically comfortable jobs even for lesser jobs pay-scales. Hence such people not opt for mining profession & even if they join by ignorance they run away in short period.

The issue of lack of technical skill & various work environment issues are addressed properly by Mines Act, Rules & Regulations. That means mining is being hazardous profession where people are working against nature risk of life is high. Hence to minimize the risk & ensure safety all over the world the governments of the countries irrespective of whether it is Democratic or Communism or King's ruled, have framed the stringent Acts, Rules & Regulations to address the issues of safety in this hazardous profession especially in the areas like - The required physical standards, Education, Competancy Certificate & Qualification for the each & every category of employees to be employed in the mine; The required initial basic training, Job specific special training, Periodical updating training, Periodicity of training, Training subject &etc.; The personal protective equipments to be used for general & job specific to the employee & providing them; Working standards to ensure safety on each and every mining operations; Provision of periodical health check for occupational health hazards; Standards of welfare amenities; First aid & medical facility; Minimum Wages standard categorically; periodical inspection by statutory bodies regarding implementation & collecting returns from the mining agency in assurance of law.

The organization wherever statutory requirements are implemented properly there is no issue of poor performance in this aspect.

Since the targets/goals in mining are linked with team efforts one or two below performance are absorbed by one or two excellent performers to maintain the average level. In mining industry the individual performance even though excellent can prove low if colleagues are not co-operative. e.g. if one tipper operator is excellent & other tipper operators are average & one among them is poor & all are working together for transportation of waste to dumps from an excavator use to load them, then best & low performers will drop to average. If all tipper drivers are excellent & excavator operator is below the level then the out put of tipper drivers will also fall to low.

Average mechanism is achieved normally & excellent performances due to team synergy with conscious will in mining industry. Periodically the poor performers are automatically eliminated in the system by supervising authority or he will himself get motivated to move further to perform well to be set in the system.

In this way the normal bell curve of organizational performance will not hold good for mining industry. The bell curve holds good for average industry where individual performances are directly connected to individual goals to move with organizational goal. The poor performers by their own reason ( lazy & lack of appetite) will not opt for mining or even they come by ignorance will run away.

If we consider employees joined & ran away, employees expelled periodically by team for their non fitting in the system for plotting performance we can get bell curve. But forced ranking to employees to get bell curve by comparing to one another & identifying 10% of people as low to downsize every year, will have adverse affect in mining operations as listed below,

  • It is difficult to get 10% of people for mining industry every year as it is least opted profession by job-seekers.
  • The competency holders to mining industry are very less & difficulty to get.
  • New entrants require 3 stage trainings (Initial, Special & organization team related) before engaging to the job which result delay in his output.
  • Team fitting of new entrants will be time consuming which drops the productivity of team drastically
  • Forced ranking creates the message of insecurity among existing employees creating the tension which may lead to inconvenience to the safety.
  • Safety standards will get deteriorated in race of achieving the top performance leading to accidents.
  • Setting of new entrants to work environment & their acceptance to team work synergy will also have some turbulence period which drops productivity.

In this view I feel the forced ranking system is irrelevant to mining industry. However the statutory norms & the nature of profession will eliminate the poor performers by default & forced ranking may lead to loose the well set employees being replaced with new entrants creating risk of safety & threats to team synergy in achieving safe productive performance.

The nurture of team synergy may lead to the continual improvement in productivity of existing team.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

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