INTRODUCTION

The report aims to analyze the human resource management system of a leading telecom operator in Pakistan: Telenor. Among various parameters, the personnel management and its characteristics will be discussed in detail along with the culture of organization. Strategies resulting from these two variables will determine the effectiveness of the organization.

The information collected will be critically analyzed to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Possible recommendations will be suggested in the end to manage the challenges faced by the different hierarchical levels at Telenor Pakistan.

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COMPANY PROFILE
TELENOR PAKISTAN
Telenor Pakistan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor ASA, launched its operations in March 2005. One of the leading telecom operators providing prepaid, postpaid and value-added services to seven million customers, it is spread across the country with a network of 15 company-owned sales and service centers, more than 200 franchisees and some 100,000 retail outlets selling subscriptions and refills. Differentiated packages include TalkShawk, Telenor Persona and Djuice. Being a part of the Telenor Group which has its operations in 12 countries employing more than 34,000 individuals, Telenor Pakistan has created 2,200 direct and 20,000-plus indirect employment opportunities.

The organization is in the growth phase capturing more than 14% of the market share, achieving a 200% increase in the subscriber base in 2006 (beating Ufone in the number of the subscribers) and planning for further expansion of network and services. Maintaining a wide coverage in the country, with 500 destinations covered within less than 16 months of the company’s launch, it now has the second largest network in Pakistan. The striking growth rate has been achieved through the application of a highly successful business model, local enthusiasm and hard work. Telenor Pakistan
considers Mobilink as its major competitor.

Telenor Pakistan CEO states:
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“Telenor Pakistan is obviously different from the competition. Our culture is different, our values are different and our focus on the fundamentals of business is different. Telenor Pakistan is fully involved with its key stakeholders and trusted as a friend of the community.”1

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http://www.telenor.com/reports/2006/review/story/pakistan.php

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VISION AND VALUES
The distinguished culture is determined by the vision and values communicated throughout the structure and amongst people. Their vision underlines customer focus while values describe the behaviors necessary to realize that vision.
FIGURE 1.2: VISION OF TELENOR PAKISTAN FIGURE 1.2.1: VALUES OF TELENOR PAKISTAN

1.1. SOURCES OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
FIGURE 1.3: SOURCES OF CULTURE AT TELENOR PAKISTAN

We exist to help our customers get the full benefit of communications services in their daily lives.

PEOPLE
Telenor Pakistan consists of energetic, youthful and dedicated employees aged 27 to 28 on average. An appropriate match is required between the culture and

employees at recruitment and hiring. If People Excellence (Human Resource Department) feels that a person will not be unable to adjust into the organization’s environment, even if he/she is performing functionally well, the person is rejected. The dynamic group of people, sharing similar mindsets, love being with each other and meet on other occasions if unable to
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meet during work-hours. They even stay back late, employees can be seen roaming around till 9 at night.

Primarily the culture comes from the top management. CEO of Telenor Pakistan is humble and cooperative. The employees get the message that if the top management is so accommodating then the employees should behave similarly. What is important to the CEO becomes important for employees to identify completely with the organization. There are four foreigners in the top management but this does not create communication barriers. They are extra humble to others while individuals of a local origin are extra sensitive to them so no one feels alienated. The values of humbleness and free interaction in putting forth ideas lead to a harmonious culture and efficient communication. The management is easily accessible to discuss various issues. It is difficult to distinguish between them as the culture is so homogeneous that it keeps every one at par with others (no formal protocol is given). ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE The organic structure of Telenor Pakistan promotes cultural values that result in integration and coordination. The organogram of Telenor Pakistan is given as below:

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FIGURE 2: ORGANIZATIONAL MAP OF TELENOR PAKISTAN

TYPE OF STRUCTURE: VERTICAL DIFFERENTIATION
HIERARCHICAL LEVELS There are seven hierarchical levels as the size of the organization approaches 2500 to 3000 employees. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined at the time of joining the organization; employees are selected against defined criteria. Roles can be added later but employees have a fair idea about their job responsibilities from the beginning.

FIGURE 2.2: HIERARCHICAL LEVELS AT TELENOR PAKISTAN

Seven layers do not create communication or motivation problems due to the open culture. There are no instances of de-motivation though in certain areas like Customer Relationship Department or Customer Service Centre different customer queries and complaints can raise frustration levels. Managers in these departments intervene to solve problems.

Whenever an employee has a new idea, he/she is encouraged to approach the management and share it with them. Idea drop boxes are also placed at various locations where employees leave their suggestions. The Communications Department works out if the ideas can be implemented and then discusses them with the employees. There is also a formal platform at the group level known as SEED where innovation is encouraged and new ideas about revenue concepts and cost efficiency can be discussed. Employees are welcome to participate and submit their ideas. If the ideas handed in are feasible then they are implemented in the organization (at
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country level or global level, depending on the nature of the proposal). Employees are then rewarded financially for their helpful contributions.

SPAN OF CONTROL Span of Control is determined by the role and job responsibilities of managers. It varies from department to department. On average, the span of control is 4-5 people under a manager.

INTEGRATING MECHANISMS
Cross-functional teams are a major integrating mechanism. Further there are temporary project teams. No ad-hoc committees have been formed to date. Team-building is enhanced by Away Days when members of different divisions and departments take some days away from work to meet other geographically spread employees of Telenor. Sometimes the whole department goes away from work for 2-3 days to have fun. Employees get to know those with whom they have communicated before but not met in person. Formal team evaluation does not exist. Employees on teams, for instance finance teams, are rewarded individually.

CENTRALIZATION AND DECENTRALIZATION
Apart from STRATEGY, all other functions are de-centralized. People at Telenor Pakistan are motivated to take their responsibilities especially in cross functional projects. Managers in each department oversee that the employees take up their roles and duties and their performance is monitored accordingly. If an employee is loosing focus from his core job by taking added responsibilities, he/she is instructed to re-adjust his/her priorities.
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STANDARDIZATION AND MUTUAL ADJUSTMENT
At Telenor Pakistan, the level of standardization and mutual adjustment varies across functions. Generally strict obedience to rules is not required as long as results are not affected. As long as individual responsibilities and deadlines are met, there are flexible hours of work. Work is important instead of the number of hours worked. Employees can select their work timings which can even be from afternoon to evening. Instead of being bound by office hours, a sense of responsibility is inculcated in them to achieve selfassigned goals. This brings a sense of comfort in working in such organizational structure.

Rules and procedures are present to control the behavior of employees and to facilitate smooth working of the organization. A level of standardization is required to be maintained in certain vital functions such as Budget Control. SOPs are documented in the case of the financial control or HR related policies.

Genuine requests from external customers are taken into account by the CRO (Customer Relationship Officer) at Service Centers. The CRO does all he/she can or is possible within authority to process the request or complaint. If the customer’s request is beyond the authority of the CRO, then managers are there to aid the customer or provide some sort of nonmonetary compensation to appease him.

IT AND EMPOWERMENT
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The level of empowerment differs across departments and divisions, depending on the nature of work. It varies according to the style of management of functions; more empowerment in CRO and Sales and Marketing than in People Excellence. IT increases the level of empowerment. Within the network service of the Telenor in Pakistan, there is a (inter and intra net) portal system used to communicate information efficiently. An online HR MS System, H2H (Here to Help), is being used internally. This locally built system was launched last year but is still not well integrated at present.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION
When different departments work together in an organization, their interests may differ due to functional and structural differences. Due to these variations, conflicts among departments are inevitable. The issues are not taken to the top management and there is no coordination post in the organization which can facilitate the departments to increase coordination with each other. Whenever a conflict arises among functions, the heads or managers from those functions sit together and discuss the source of conflict. They try to resolve all their differences amicably. There are always conflicts between the technical and commercial divisions which they mostly solve between themselves. If, however, a major issue arises which they are unable to resolve themselves then it is taken to a level higher. The management then discusses the reason for the conflict, addresses the concerns of both the parties and then arrives at a conclusion which is in the interest of all departments.

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STAKEHOLDERS
FIGURE 4: CONTRIBUTIONS AND INDUCEMENTS OF TELENOR PAKISTAN’S STAKEHOLDERS

Stakeholder Inside Parent Company-Telenor Managers Employees

Contribution Capital and Finances Skills and Expertise Skills and Expertise

Inducement Profits and Brand Management Compensation and Status Compensation, promotion and unique working environment

Outside Customers

Revenue Loyalty

Franchisees Vendors Government PTA

Community

General Public

Brand Prompt Connectivity, Voice and Service Quality and Differentiated Packages Revenue and Customer Fixed Salaries and Service Commission Revenue Profit Rules governing good Fair and free business practices competition Protect interests of Fair competition telecommunication operators and users Social Responsibility Revenue and Employment and Benefits for improvement of living standards Positive word-of-mouth Improved Communication
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and

GAINING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
In order to gain a competitive advantage one has to align competences and strategies. Highly motivated employees and flexible culture enables them to achieve an edge over competitors.
FIGURE 5.1: COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF TELENOR PAKISTAN

CORE COMPETENCIES

The Human Resource at Telenor Pakistan is their core competency. The reason is that the employees create a culture and all the achievements of Telenor are attributed to its flexible culture. It is necessary to motivate and retain this asset of the organization. For this purpose, training and compensation is provided to employees along with other motivational techniques.

TRAINING The methods of training differ from function to function. On-the-job training is required in the Customer Relationship Department (CRD) and similar system training in the IT Department. Management Training
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Programs combine experiential learning with theory. Leaders are chosen according to the following role expectations:

FIGURE 5.2: LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS FOR TELENOR PAKISTAN

COMPENSATION The core compensation includes: Base salary LEADERSHIP Bonus/commission EXPECTATIONS Long-term incentive plans In addition, Telenor offers a total package that may include insurance, recreational activities and other benefits adapted to the local market and individual employee’s need. Managers are rewarded according to the achievement of assigned goals. Apart from monetary rewards, such as variable pays/increments, other motivational tools such as recognition (Employee of the Year rewards) are used.

CAREER GROWTH Initially, qualifications are the defining criterion for fresh graduates. For career growth, the right mix of performance on the job and performance potential for the other level is imperative. Apart from the right attitude, knowledge also matters. If an individual from Finance gets a higher degree, for instance, becomes a chartered accountant
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then the chances of growth increase. There are no specific career paths: Vice President (VP) of Human Capital Division (HCD) became the next Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION Underperforming managers are encouraged through coaching and counseling by their respective directors or the director of People Excellence. The turnover is not high as compared to that of the industry. There is no defined employee exchange program. Employees performing exceptionally well are taken up to work in the Telenor Group.

Relocations

are

common

in

the

organization:

employees

are

transferred from People Excellence to Finance or from Procurement to Customer Relations. Investment per employee is placed at the higher end of the industry.

STRATEGY A mix of differentiation and low cost strategy is followed by Telenor Pakistan. Differentiation and innovation exist at the core of Telenor, be it culture, compensation packages or value added services.

MANAGING DIVERSITY
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Telenor Pakistan is keen to promote diversity and has achieved good results in this area. Telenor has developed requirements for diversity in both recruitment
and our management development programs. There is an appropriate blend of

less seasoned and experienced employees. No quota has been assigned; the best-fit candidate (according to the job requirements) is employed. At the office level or call centers, even fresh graduates are apt but the director level requires a masters degree and preferably some work experience.

Telenor Pakistan has a large proportion of females who are recruited for internal leadership development programs and executive positions on the basis of past performance. The organization is working on Day Care Centers to help female employees manage their responsibilities after settling down. Relocation issues are dealt cooperatively when female individuals move out of the city after marriage and wish to continue working. They are relocated and facilitated in the new city.

PROMOTING EFFICIENCY AND INNOVATION
Innovation and novelty, mainly in the areas of business processes, customer satisfaction and goal setting, is highly encouraged at Telenor. Employees are also motivated to come up with innovative ideas and to convey them to the upper management. If the ideas are feasible enough to be implemented then they are applied to respective areas and the employees are duly rewarded for their contributions. For example the sales personnel have a greater interaction with customers and knowledge of their needs. They can convey this information to the management who can use it to design better consumer packages.
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Efficiency is achieved through maximum utilization of resources and also through adherence to goals set by the top management. Telenor introduced the Six Sigma program for the improvement of its business operations in the very first year of its operations in Pakistan. This has helped the organization in maintaining its quality standards and also in the up gradation of its business processes. Telenor Pakistan is a young and progressive organization which has a multitude of strengths in its existing organizational design. There are still a few weaknesses which can affect the organization in the long-run.

Beginning with the strengths, there are no communication barriers. There are seven layers in the organization so one would believe that there would be a lot of communication barriers between the employees and their superiors but that is not the case. The policies adopted ensure that there are no communication barriers present. They include an open door policy and open work environment where the managers sit with their sub-ordinates and do not have separate offices. Also employees of the same level have no cubicles so it helps in enhancing the communication amongst them.

Employees are encouraged to take initiatives and come up with new ideas: empowerment exists. Also these ideas can easily be communicated to their superiors. Employees are free to express themselves. The span of control also suggests that not all powers rest with any particular individual. In projects people are encouraged to come up with the best possible solutions and the manager just oversees the performance of employees. The SOPs and
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guidelines have to be followed in order to ensure smooth functioning of all departments

Strong integration with in the organization has been a key success factor. All conflicts are managed by the concerning departments and if not they are taken one level above but there have been no such cases which have been reported to the CEO. The managers of the concerned departments sit and come up with a solution which is acceptable to both the departments. Social gatherings also help in enhancing the integrating capabilities of the organization.

Employees are evaluated on the basis of individual evaluation. Even when they are working in a group this ensures that there are no free riders. Underperforming employees are provided with counseling sessions or shifted to another position where they can perform in a more effective manner. All employees are assigned specific roles and responsibilities for which they are held accountable. There are no specific work hours but employees are supposed to meet the specific deadline. This also increases the motivation level of the employees as they are not bound yet increases their level of productivity as they are motivated. This results in effective evaluation.

Similarly there is an effective hiring process. Only those people are hired which the HR department would believe can easily blend into the culture of the organization. This ensures harmony within the whole culture effectively manages diversity.

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All the point discussed above lead to a flexible culture which is most suitable for the employees on the other hand ensuring all the targets is met. Employees are not bound to follow a dress code unless they are to attend a formal meeting. This culture has been set by the CEO himself and the new employees coming into the organization have no difficulties in adjusting into it.

However, Telenor Pakistan is faced with a few challenges. At this point of time there is no employee exchange program which creates a barrier in exchanging skills and expertise with the parent company. Only the top level management comprises of foreigners and there are only few cases where the managers from Pakistan have been taken abroad.

This can act as a double edged weapon as young employees are easy to mould and are highly motivated on the other hand they might lack skills and expertise which are required to perform the task. In order to train them for performing their tasks efficiently, extra resources have to be spent.

Moreover,

the

CEO

being

a

foreigner

would

have

difficulties

in

understanding the psychology of domestic employees. Also his ability to comprehend the overall situation of the domestic market would not be as strong compared to his competitors. Coming at par with competitors would require utilization of extra resources.

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Dealing with challenges requires a coordinated effort so that the company is able to sustain itself in the ever-changing competitive environment and continues to provide superior value to the customers. The group recommends the following:

There should be an effective employee exchange program even at the level of middle management so the organization can share the level of skill and expertise at all levels with the parent company

Introduction of employees stock options would further enhance the motivation level because then the employees too would have a stake in the organization.

In their workforce there should be a quota for the disabled people. This is currently being practiced in the parent company. This would enhance the image of the organization being socially responsible

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