- Managing R&D in a Matrixed Organization
- Labor Relations Group Confronts Corporate Campaigns
- Global Talent Management Study Report Released
- Other ORC Resources
Managing R&D in a Matrixed Organization
R&D organizations almost by definition require matrix management—sometimes involving more than two dimensions. Functions or disciplines, business lines, projects, and geographical locations may all have their own management structures that are expected to accommodate and support one another. Nice and necessary in theory, but difficult to negotiate in practice. The complexities of managing in the matrix was a topic of discussion at the meeting earlier this month of ORC’s Human Resources in R&D (HRRD) network. Lessons learned from experiences shared by HRRD members boil down to five key success factors:
- Clear definition of management roles on each axis of the matrix (e.g., functional, project, geographic, business unit)
- Robust communication between the axes of the matrix
- A system for prioritizing projects and clear articulation by the executive level of what the priorities are
- Well defined and documented business processes and reporting systems so everyone in the organization understands how things get done, how expectations for projects are set, how they will be measured, how resources will be allocated, and so forth
- Training for staff members about how the organization will work
HRRD offers HR managers supporting technical organizations a forum for learning from one another. The multiplicity of industries represented and the experience and expertise of the members makes for vigorous exchanges at the semi-annual meetings and between-meeting networking activities. For more information, contact Michal Fineman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-852-0354.
Labor Relations Group Confronts Corporate Campaigns
When unsuccessful in convincing companies to remain neutral during organizing drives and accept card checks as a substitute for secret ballot elections, unions are increasingly resorting to hardball tactics known as “corporate campaigns.” In a corporate campaign, the company suddenly finds itself the subject of lawsuits and complaints to various government agencies and a barrage of bad publicity. Customers, suppliers, shareholders, and Board members are all deluged with messages about the company’s “unfair” business practices and anti-union bias. The CEO may even go to pick up his child one afternoon to find pickets at the school.
Basically, there are only two ways that corporate campaigns can be ended: either the company gives in or the union does. Discussions at this month’s inaugural meeting of ORC’s new Canadian Labor/Industrial Relations Advisory Group (Canadian LIRAG) focused on how to cope with a corporate campaign if the decision has been made not to surrender. Recommended steps include:
- Forming an internal committee with sufficient authority to take action without seeking approval through the bureaucracy
- Developing a simple message making clear that the company is not anti-union, but does believe in permitting employees to make their own choices through secret ballot elections
- Getting that message out to all stakeholders
- Countering contrary messages promulgated by the union or appearing in the media
A corporate campaign is a long-term strategy, and companies that decide it is in their strategic interest to hang tough should prepare themselves for a siege.
Global Talent Management Study Report Released
Results of the comprehensive study on global talent management practices conducted by ORC Worldwide have been finalized, and the Executive Summary is available on the ORC web site. The study, which was commissioned by Industrial Relations Counselors, Inc., a non-profit research organization and ORC’s parent, revealed a number of specific practices that are associated with high-performing talent management systems in major European and US multinational companies. (See the August 2004 issue of Sightlines for highlights of these findings.) The full report, which will be sent free of charge to participating companies, can be purchased from IRC for $800. For more information, contact Michal Fineman, email@example.com, 212-852-0354.
Other ORC Resources
ORC Worldwide published the results of two compensation-related surveys this month: The Local National Salary Increase Survey and the SIRS® Survey of US Policies and Practices.
The SIRS® Survey of US Policies and Practices covers working time, pay policies, benefits, and workforce demographics. Two hundred and three organizations participated in the survey. The following are a sampling of the findings:
- While most participants (80 percent) offer flexible work hours, the prevalence of flex work appears to be declining, since 91 percent of respondents offered such arrangements in 2003. Telecommuting has remained fairly constant over the past two years, with roughly half the employers permitting it and half not.
- Organizations are approximately four times more likely to provide paid time off separately—as personal time, sick days, and vacation—than in one bank of time available for any reason. Thirty-nine percent of companies permit employees to use paid time off for volunteer work.
- The most typical dress code is business casual five days a week, a policy followed by 42 percent of respondents for their front-office employees and 51 percent for back-office workers.
- Three-quarters of participating companies explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. A third of respondents include “gender identity” among the types of discrimination prohibited.
- The percentage of companies extending health and other benefits to employees’ same-sex partners rose from 43 percent last year to 58 percent in 2004, with another 19 percent considering doing so in the future.
The Local National Salary Increase Survey reports base pay movement in over 100 countries and eight industry groupings. The data is differentiated by three types of employees: executives; managers, professionals, and technical employees; and clerical, administrative, and support employees.