Self Managed Teams

December 16, 2009

According to Swati Jena and Nidhi Chandna,” the origin of the word ‘team’ can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘family’ which referred to harnessed animals to pull a load thereby implying common goals and cooperation. With time, the concept of team-work gained importance with organizations taking measures to ensure that a team is equipped and empowered enough to function on its own. This situation today is perhaps best described by the term ’self-managed teams’.”

“Self managed teams are closely associated with the concept of employee empowerment which entails the employee to have the requisite authority and resources required by him to carry out his responsibilities. A self managed team differs from a normal work team or group in one essential way that the processes or the means to achieve the team goal are designed and decided by the team itself. Given the stiff competition at the global level, all organizations have been forced to focus on developing their human capital.”

They describe self managed teams as “groups of employees who have the responsibility and authority to manage the work they do. The typical responsibilities of a self managed team are planning, scheduling, assigning responsibilities among members, ensuring product quality, ordering material, taking decisions and problem solving. The teams are also responsible for handling their interpersonal issues within themselves and work without any direct supervision. Self managed teams are responsible for an end product or a specific deliverable. Knowledge sharing and extensive communication between members is central to the working of any self managed team. Also, multi-skilling is a typical characteristic of self managed teams.”

But how are self managed teams really different from that of quality circles? “Self managed teams differ from other employee participation methods like quality circles in the respect that unlike quality circles where the employees voluntary come together to suggest or develop quality improvements, in self managed teams, the entire work process is structured around team work, with the team taking critical decisions. Also a quality circle may or may not be empowered by the upper management but the empowerment is built into the very concept of self managed teams. Self managed teams unlike quality circles are not managed by an external supervisor, personnel manager, administrator or a quality manager but rather facilitated by a team leader from within the team. He is either chosen by the team members or appointed based on experience or skills.”

They also covered the topic of ‘Why self-managed teams?’ Apparently, “when employees are completely in-charge of their job it is likely to create a greater interest and attachment to job. This also means that the managers can devote their time in innovation and process improvement rather than monitoring the employees. Also, since the employees are the front-liners, their tacit knowledge of even the most miniscule aspect of the job is utilized when they are given the responsibility of the quality and end result. As self managed teams require constant exchange of information, it leads to breaking of communication barriers between groups of employees. Other reported benefits of self-managed teams include: reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and increased employee satisfaction.”

Swati Jena and Nidhi Chandna’s article appeared in an issue of Human Capital’s newsletter.


Get hired in 2010!

December 11, 2009

An article in The Mint ‘Stimulating a jobs recovery’ stated that not only 20 million people across 51 countries have lost their jobs, but that another five million are in the risk zone for losing them as well.

A survey that Manpower Inc. released, covering 71,000 interviewees across 35 nations, and 5,109 companies in India, showed that “Indian companies are the most optimistic in the world” about hiring this January to March quarter.

Another article in the newspaper said that “India’s job market is yet to recapture the highs seen in 2008, but it seems set to outdo 2009—a year when the economy slowed down—if the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2010 is any indication.”

““Most companies are coming out of their shell,” said Cherian Kuruvila, director operations at Manpower Services India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of the Milwaukee-based firm. “2009 has been a year of restructuring.” He added that 2010 will see a mix of replacement hiring, to fill up vacant positions and hiring for new positions, signifying expansion.”

So job-seekers and those laid off during the time of the recession, these findings brings you hopeful news! Expect to be counted among those getting hired in 2010, for with – you can!

Get a fresher job with a Fat List

December 2, 2009

Fresher jobs aren’t difficult to find or get. It’s all about the way in which you pitch yourself. You are the product, and unless you effectively market yourself, no one will come to know about who you are professionally, the talent that you have, and what you can do.

To begin searching for freshers jobs, start by making what is called a ‘Fat List’. A Fat List is nothing other than writing down all the professional and academic happenings in your life. If you can, outline them in a year-by-year format.

For example:

My Fat List

1991 – 2003

Kindergarten – Grade 12

Participated in School Volley ball team

Took singing classes

Learned beginner guitar

Took art classes

2003 – 2006


Completed a course in etiquette, manners, public appearance and public speaking

Completed a course in Debating and Public Speaking

Worked part time in event management

Started a kids e-magazine called Pop

Took a course on sales and marketing

Worked in Dad’s business as a writer and business developer

Read books on online marketing

Did charity events for underprivileged situations

Took teaching classes

Taught kids to get my 240 hours of teaching experience needed for the certificate

Learned to use a sewing machine to make my own clothes

Learned cooking and household inventory/ replenishing

Learned smart buying

2006 – 2008


Completed a course from NIIT in basic computer applications

Helped Dad manage the finances for the family and kept accounts

Pursued singing projects

Sang on radio

Made a record

Got a job in BPO

Got a job with a media company


Joined singing school to learn to read music

Started a band

Wrote songs

Did interior design

Events to fundraise for poor kids

Once you have made your own Fat List, proceed to make it into a resume. A Resume will work slightly different than a Fat List. You will need to segregate your academic achievements and your professional ones. Everything should be listed from the most recently done achievement, following on to the one previously done, and so on, till you reach to the first achievement you had done.

For example:

2006 – 2008


2003 – 2006


1991 – 2003

Kindergarten to Grade 12

You need to outline your professional achievements in the same way. The only difference is that from your Fat List, you must convert your write-up into a more professional and official language.

Next, create a profile in an online job portal and post your completed resume there. Posting your resume online will give you the quickest route to finding jobs for freshers. As the internet has become the most common mode of hiring, recruitment and job-hunting, you will find the jobs you are looking for there.

Once you get your fresher job, don’t forget to keep adding on to your Fat List and your newly made resume. You never know who might be reading it and what kind of job offer they will have for you, or when you yourself might need it to apply for a new job. Save yourself the time and effort, and apply as you go.