31 July 2015 14:00:32 IST

Managers should become trainees’ buddies

Falcon Motors needs to ensure a better synergy between the three key stakeholders of the trainee programme: Trainees, senior managers, the falcon executive leadership council

Falcon Motors has been seeing a tremendous increase in its sales, with almost 40 per cent average growth year-on-year since 2010. The number of variants has also increased. In the future, it is imperative for an organisation to focus on the youth market to sustain. The new management trainees will bring about radical improvements in the way things are run. This is clear from their approach in the first month of the programme. Hence, recruitment of trainees from business schools definitely makes sense.

According to us, Falcon Motors needs to ensure a better synergy between the three key stakeholders of the trainee programme: Trainees, senior managers, the falcon executive leadership council

Recommendations for Management Trainees

Emphasis should be laid on both ‘motivational’ and ‘hygiene’ factors for the programme’s success. Going by Herzberg’s two-factor theory, hygiene factors such as quality of supervision, physical working conditions, relationship with others, and so on, are important to bring about peace within an employee.

The following are the issues faced by trainees and our recommendations to resolve them:

Orientation and Defining Goals

Issue: Trainees lack clear understanding of Falcon’s expectations from them. They are new to the organisation and are finding it difficult to adjust to its environment.

Solution: Give trainees an overview of the organisation, introduce them to the every manager, and highlight his or her strengths. The trainees should understand the role managers play. Define goals, targets and expectations clearly, right at the beginning.

Avail Basic Resources

Issue: Trainees do not have a place to sit or store their belongings.

Solution: Ensure that basic needs (office space, connectivity, access to officials, stationery, and so on ) are available from Day One and trainees aren’t made to struggle for these basics.

Assign a Mentor

Issue: Trainees find it difficult to develop interactions with managers, which leads to conflicts.

Solution: Assign a manager as a ‘mentor/buddy’ to each trainee. This will ensure increased interactions.

Evaluation and Feedback

Issue: Trainees are unsure of their progress and expectations from them.

Solution: Evaluate trainees’ performance, provide and seek regular feedback.

Allay trainees’ fears

Issue: Trainees aren’t sure of their future with the organisation and uncertain if they will be able to adapt to its culture.

Solution: Ensure continued transparent communication between the three stakeholders (the council, trainees and managers) during the programme.

Recommendations for Existing Managers

The issues faced by the mid-level managers include the threat of being replaced, bureaucratic culture, generation gap, inexperience in handling large batch of freshers, lack of clarity about trainee’s roles and salary insecurity.

The following recommendations can be adopted to solve the issues faced by the managers: Improve communication with mid-level and senior management so that managers understand the trainee programme and its importance from the organisation’s standpoint; appreciate the emotional investment of managers in their jobs, schedule group outings and informal settings where the mangers get to know the young trainees outside the formal setting, discourage any insecurity that might crop up, reward managers with ‘brownie’ points for successfully mentoring trainees, make sure they realise that the trainee programme is beneficial and meets their goals too.

Encouraging ‘buddy’ programmes will show that Falcon appreciates the invaluable experiences of its senior employees to mentor the future leaders.

For instance, the proposed programme could include trainees getting challenging and visible assignments and counselling could be provided to bolster the trainees’ self-confidence. There could be coaching to help develop skills to achieve the work objectives, and personal experiences could be shared too. There could be exposure to influential seniors through ‘spotlight’ initiatives and guidance could be provided here as well. In such a case, managers could act as sounding boards for ideas as the trainees may be hesitant about opening up. Managers could also give regular feedback and act as role models. The company could include the trainee programme in the goalsheet of the managers.

Conclusion

In the above analysis, we have provided recommendations that we feel should be taken up by the Council to allay the anxieties of both trainees and managers, so that the programme is successful and achieves the objectives it set for itself.

(The authors are pursuing a Post-Graduate Programme in Management at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore)