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Efroze Chemical Industries (Pvt) Limited was founded in 1968 by Mr. Hafiz Ferozuddin. Since then the company has acquired a respectable standing amongst the pharmaceutical companies operating within Pakistan. The company has over 600 employees and has an authorized share capital of Rs. 100 million. The company worked in partnership with a German company Boehringer Mannheim now sold to Roche for 10 years. But they have parted ways and the company now manufactures and distributes its own products.
As a pharmaceutical giant acquiring national and international reputation the company needs a workforce dedicated to excellence and maintaining a high standard of quality. In this respect the Human Resource Division is responsible for providing the company with the people it needs to achieve its mission and broaden its horizons.
Human Resource Division at a glance:
Overall responsibility of Human Resource management falls to General Manager HR Miss Najma Khan. The GM reports to the Director Marketing and Sales i.e. Mr. Nadir Khan Feroze, and through to the Managing Director Mr. Muhammad Abdullah Feroze. The mission statement of Efroze as an employer reflects the duties of the HR department:
"As an Employer, Efroze strives to promote to health and safety at work, to training, support and development of personnel, to open communications and to equality of opportunity."
The company's main requirements for human resources are for three departments namely; sales, marketing and finance. A lesser requirement is for R&D. The core competencies of the organization are as follows:
The staff is at least university graduate. The bulk of the staff has attended Karachi University or Preston University and the rest have been drawn from various other local and foreign universities. The workforce therefore is literate.
The field workforce i.e. the sales and marketing representatives (reps), collectively called medical reps are young, dynamic, energetic, ambitious and with good communication skills that are pre-requisite for their job as salesmen.
As we climb higher up the administrative ladder the skill level increases with managers and above having quality leadership skills to lead a team, to achieve and surpass given targets and to imbue a vibrant spirit in their team.
Healthy working environment that does not overburden the staff with corporate rules and regulations. Instead managers have a friendly attitude towards their staff and team integrity is preferred over status quo.
Other than the attributes that the workforce currently possess such as outlined above, the company makes an effort to further their skill level to give the organization a competitive edge over their competitors and to improve management. For that the company has adopted various practices and implemented various tools to facilitate the process:
Regular training sessions are conducted for medical reps and managers alike to keep them up to date with modern work practices and to upgrade their skill level. In addition to the general training sessions, targeted training is conducted for promising talent. This involves either sending the target abroad for higher study (all expenses paid) or ensuring their participation in international workshops and seminars for a hands on exposure to international work practices.
Target achievement depends upon team coordination and morale. Managers are tasked to put special emphasis on the above attributes to achieve optimal results.
All departments have been given access to oracle based computer systems that have replaced the old file based system that took up space slowed down productivity and created an administrative hassle that made it impossible to track down old records. The new system creates a database of records and the user friendly interface allows anyone to retrieve old records, add new entries and to generate reports. As a result the administrative process has been considerably speeded up leaving the staff to focus on their respective jobs more. It has also facilitated the auditing process as now records cannot be manipulated for malpractice.
The company can be said to be built according to Ghosal's 3P of Purpose, Process and People approach, where a social environment is promoted with staff seen as individuals and not as assets and liabilities.
An effective incentive plan is in place to motivate the field force and the managerial staff alike.
Short term and long term goals and objectives:
As a human resource department we have to ensure that the organization is staffed according to its requirement. Special effort is placed on identifying whether the organization is being overstaffed or understaffed with the former the cause for most concern. The Pakistani working environment is the most prone to the problem of overstaffing as departments frequently request more staff for jobs that can be accomplished by the existing workforce. Thus the immediate short term goal of our department is to conduct an appropriate appraisal of resource requests sent forward by other departments.
Workshops have to be organized for the existing workforce to bring them up to date with the ongoing improvements to the computer systems.
Attract talent that gives our organization a competitive edge and maintains the standard that has been set over the years.
Identify the emerging talent within the organization based on performance and the respective managers' recommendation. Provide adequate training to the select talent.
Identify the changing needs of the company and plan ahead for recruiting staff that would meet those changes.
Arrange workshops with international and local business and managerial experts for future training programs for the staff.
Evaluate the prevalent culture and devise strategy to change or promote it.
Devise an incentive plan for respective departments in collaboration with the heads of departments, and the finance department.
Plan for incremental increase in salaries of existing staff and bonuses for achieving targets with the finance department and other heads of departments.
The prevalent culture in the organization is similar to a 'Role Culture' where the company operates according to a set of rules and procedures and a hierarchical body of management exists. However unlike the impersonal characteristics of a role culture the management has the responsibility to inculcate a friendly atmosphere, where the lower strata can easily interact with the upper layers of management. Underlying this culture a high performance culture is propagated. Although it is not at first clearly visible but it shows in the organizations system of rewards and promotions. It is achieved through setting targets for each department. The individuals who achieve those targets are rewarded through the incentive system. The individuals who achieve or surpass their targets consistently are rewarded by promotions. Thus the way to progress in the company is only through deliverance of high performance and not through any informal means.
The challenge for HR is to maintain the balance of corporate outlook and practice and informal lines of communication. For this purpose special training sessions are designed for managers and a value system based on people as individuals is promoted. Human Resources follow religiously and seek to inculcate within the organization core points that it has devised for itself as a benchmark for providing quality service to the company:
Integrity - Maintaining confidentiality and professionalism, treating others with respect, courtesy and fairness.
Innovation - Promoting and embracing meaningful change, pursuing excellence and striving to improve our knowledge and skills.
Diversity - Recognising and respecting the value of human differences, acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of others.
Freedom - Expressing views without fear of recrimination, encouraging and acknowledging new ideas.
Team Spirit - Communicating openly and honestly in a constructive and a supportive manner sharing equitably ideas and resources and working towards a common goal.
Accountability - Taking personal and professional responsibility for our actions, maintaining a consistently high level of performance.
It is our belief that organizational culture has a huge impact on retaining and attracting new talent. It is observed that new talent is driven towards those organizations that promote a friendly atmosphere and has a system of rewards and promotions in place to ensure progress and performance. Thus our core values are also devised to attract this talent and to keep the workforce from leaving the organization for others. New talent should have no problems in assimilating into our organizational culture as it complies with an average worker needs. However if the individual has any problems adjusting then he can freely consult with his manager on how to manage his problem areas as informal communication lines are a hallmark of our organization. It is the company policy that the workforce engages in friendly but constructive competition and any discrimination based on any criteria is discouraged and investigated. All complaints regarding any incident of discrimination can be directed at the HR liaison office and the complaint will be investigated and the offender punished as seen fit to ensure that company standards and value system is not undermined.
The company has taken no step to implement or even offer flexible working practices. The concept of working from home or part time has yet to gain hold in Pakistan and the workers are happy to work 9 to 5 as they did in the past. The main reason for fixed working practices is that the timings are:
The practice has become assimilated in the organization's culture and any attempt to change it will meet resistance from senior managers.
New workers enter the field with the mindset of fixed working hours. They have not yet grasped the concept of flexible working hours.
Absence of mechanisms to ensure accountability of flexible workers.
Lack of resources and expertise to deal with flexible workers.
Lack of enthusiasm and even awareness among the workforce of the concept.
Lack of any special need to implement the new practice. The old system is working just fine and yielding optimal results.
In view of the above considerations the company has decided not to pursue flexible working hours and stick to the regimen of 9 to 5 working hours.
There has been an ongoing debate on the subject work-life balance and the HR department is not ignorant of the seriousness of the issue. However we feel that fixed working hours are in the best interest of the organization and workers are provided adequate compensation within that framework. The company has implemented many policies that ensure a balance between workers' life and work requirements:
The company has decided to allow two holidays per week instead of one, i.e. both Saturdays and Sundays.
Workers are allowed one month paid leave. They can avail this leave for vacations or emergencies. One year unpaid leave is allowed for maternity. However a lump sum is given to cushion the unpaid leave for maternity.
The company allows a one hour long lunch break during which the workers can fulfill their religious duties as well as eat lunch.
The company does not impose on the workers any responsibilities that cannot be handled during normal working hours. The rest can be spent by the workers looking after their domestic responsibilities or relaxation.
The company undertakes a lot employee centered activities such as free iftaris during Ramadan, field trips where the employees can bring their families and other activities throughout the year.
In implementing these policies the company does not compromise on its belief in fixed working hours while at the same time providing the workers with an optimal condition in which to manage their work and life after work. Thus we have a workforce that is motivated, unburdened, more productive and high on morale. The company has so far received no complaints from its staff on this issue and hopes that it will not in the future also.
Attracting, Recruiting and selecting talent:
This is the most important aspect of the HR department and much focus and effort goes into ensuring that the company is staffed with people that are compatible with its culture, are performance oriented and operate with the company's interest in mind. The practice is almost like a marketing exercise where the company attracts labor by promoting its environment and optimal wage offers with other incentives. The company adequately takes diversity into account with employees from all backgrounds given equal weightage and no discrimination based on gender is tolerated. In fact 16% of Efroze's staff comprises of women; a number that is significant in a country that does not encourage women participation in the tertiary labor force. However diversity in terms of wages and rewards is not applicable. The management views such practices as not getting the best out of people but disrupting the established culture. As a result the productivity of the overall workforce falls. According to International Labor Organization data, Pakistan labor distribution is as such:
Labor Force Total
Labor By Occupation - Services
37.1% of Labor Force
Labor Force with Tertiary Education
4.9% of Total Labor Force
Female Employment Services
19.8% of Total Female Employment
Female Decision Makers
Economic Activity - Men aged 20-24
These select stats shows the picture of Pakistan labor market and the potential for Efroze. A high proportion of the labor force is engaged in the services sector. Though it is not a good indicator of the skill level, it does indicate the size of the pool from which suitable candidates can be drawn. Another factor is the size of the labor force with tertiary education; our key requirements. The figures of 4.9% and 6.3% are some cause of concern, though hardly surprising given the dearth of universities in the country and the economic condition of the masses that cannot afford costly university education. Economic activity of men aged 20-24 (the age when students graduate) is 85.84, which is adequate. The proportion of women participation and leadership roles are also highlighted. Thus we have a broad idea of how successful our talent hunt can be, which from the data gathered above seems to be satisfactory.
System of remunerations and other rewards for attracting talent:
Salaries are based on the common wage system in the pharmaceutical industry. Pay is according to the rank in the management hierarchy.
Bonuses are given to those that achieve their targets.
Promotions are based on high performance and consistent target achievement.
Month long paid holiday. One year maternity leave.
Managers are given a company car with free fuel up to a limit for travel convenience. The car offered improves with rank of manager.
Free mobile charges for communication.
Regular and targeted training opportunity. Higher study expenses paid opportunity.
A friendly work environment and a social culture.
HR employs a number of methods to recruit talent:
The organization basically employs university graduates. They can be of any field although candidates with department specific fields are preferred. For example if the candidate applies for job in the finance department then he preferably should have a degree in accounting or economics. As the bulk is drawn from universities, Efroze actively participates in career fairs organized by these universities. In these fairs the company holds presentations to demonstrate the culture and the benefits of joining our organization. Also on the spot applicants are shortlisted for interview and selection.
The company offers jobs through its own website. The dynamic website details every aspect of Efroze including its operations and worker satisfaction. It also provides guidelines on how to apply for a job in Efroze and in which department to apply for prospective employees. It also details its requirements for university graduates so as to limit the applicants to that area.
A third route for the organization is a longer process but the one that's yields the most successful results. The company offers internship opportunities for young undergraduates for a period of three months (they can avail this opportunity during their summer break or otherwise). During this period they undergo a learning process where they acquire knowledge about the working of the organization, experience its culture first hand and gain experience in their required disciple according to the company's expectations. The internees if deemed sufficiently qualified at the end of the period are offered one year paid internship. If they meet the requirements of the company during that period, they are offered a job based on company's job vacancy at the time. This system is the most rewarding as the candidate is assessed in detail by the company to determine his potential and trained according to the company's culture and requirements. Thus when the candidate finally joins the company he has full knowledge of what to expect from the management and how the company works and thus has the most potential for progress.
A fourth and shorter route is one of advertising in the newspapers. When the company is in urgent need of specialized employees, HR puts up vacancy offers in the advertising sections of major newspapers. The candidates are then shortlisted and interviewed separately to come to a recruitment choice.
Selecting and Inducting talent:
For selection the company relies on interviews of shortlisted candidates based on their eligibility and qualification. The company has formulated an effective selection plan that follows a set of guidelines set out for HR managers that are put in charge of the selection process. These guidelines are:
The selectors must run a background check on the candidates. They should check out some of the list of references given on the resume, their previous employer views and the authentication of work history.
Advanced degrees have no meaning if the candidate does not have at least some business exposure. Previous exposure makes it easier for the candidate to transition from student life to work life and makes it easier for them to adjust to the organization's work practices.
Hiring should not be done solely on short term need basis, but for longer term retention of talent. Thus HR should check whether the department requesting additional employees has a short term or long term interest.
The candidate should not be selected based on reference by someone in the company, but solely on merit.
The candidate must be able to fit in the company's culture.
The details of the employment must be clarified beforehand by offering an 'offer letter' to the prospective candidate. The offer letter contains details on the starting salary, bonus structure, start date, at-will status, and benefit information.
The candidate should not be promised things that the management cannot uphold and expectations of the candidate should be kept to the specific job that he is offered.
The selectors should be prepared beforehand for the interview. Selectors should not base their selection on stereotyping, race, personal preference or first impression basis but on merit.
The candidate that successfully passes the interview process is then inducted into the active workforce. He is put in charge of a senior employee who has proven communication and human relation skills. The mentor gives an orientation session detailing the management hierarchy, the work practices and the overall organization culture. The candidate is then introduced to his work area and shown how access and operate the computer system in place in the organization. He is then introduced to his work requirements, starting with low level assignments which would gradually become advanced as the candidate adjusts, until he can take care of his responsibilities by himself. These steps allow the candidate to adjust within our organization smoothly and without any trouble.
Legal requirements for HR:
Laws governing employer-employee relationship are very important for the company's reputation. Any infringement of these laws may permanently damage the company's rapport and hence deter quality talent from approaching the organization. HR is responsible for ensuring that the employer-employee relationship remains grounded in trust and in compliance with the laws:
HR places special emphasis on non-discrimination both in the selection process of candidates and among the current employees. Selection guidelines include caution against discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, stereotyping and favoritism. An HR liaison office is set up to investigate and resolve discrimination issues within the organization.
The company has authorized one month paid leave for any kind of emergency, holidays and other employee issues. It has also approved a one year maternity leave for female employees with a maternity lump sum payment.
An 'at will' clause is added in the contract of every employees authorizing the company to dismiss an employee as it sees fit or authorizing the employee to leave the organization as he sees fit. However dismissal is conducted on fair grounds and HR looks into the reasons for dismissal before proceeding. The reasons are mainly; misdemeanor, inadequate performance, redundancy and retirement.
HR is autonomous of other departments and hence has the power to look into the matter of unfair dismissal in a neutral matter.
Modeled on ACAS disciplinary procedure:
Inform Employee of decision
First written warning
Final written warning
Take Formal Action
Set out claims
Notify HR in writing
Take Informal Action
Provide employee with opportunity to appeal
No improvement in conduct or performance
Take further action
Conduct/Performance improved - Action complete
Also modeled on ACAS grievance procedure
Resolve grievance informally
Take formal action
Employee hand in grievance in writing
Meeting to resolve grievance
Decide on appropriate action
Employee given right to appeal decision
Deal with appeal impartially and through a neutral manager not previously involved
ACAS is short for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services and as it name suggests it is geared towards forging better employer-employee relationship and resolution of disputes. It is especially noted for its 'Code' that is has developed that outlines the procedures for maintaining discipline in the organization and the steps to follow when dealing with disciplinary, grievance and other employee related issues. It follows a step by step approach by asking questions and rating the answers so that people can identify their problem areas and take corrective actions.
When organizations fail to internally resolve employment issues then recourse can be taken to employment tribunals. These tribunals are legally bound to follow the ACAS code of Practice in their judicial inquiry and decision. They can also adjust the compensatory award for fair or unfair treatment by up to 25% if they feel that the employee or employer has unreasonably failed to follow the guidance set in the ACAS code.
Other external agencies include Equality and Human Rights Commission that deals with all aspects of equality and discrimination and may take action on behalf of employees. Also there is the Health and Safety Executives that mainly operates online and give tips to employees to prevent death, illness and harm at work.