Worker-shared management structure mooted for tea plantations
At a local human resources summit for Sri Lankan plantation companies, Mohan C Varghese, General Manager, Tea Manufacture, Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Co Ltd, (Tata Tea) in Kerala shared the success story of the Indian tea plantation, a model of which can possibly be adapted in the Sri Lankan tea plantations which at the moment is at a crossroads. Speaking at the Regional Plantation Companies’ CEO forum on Human Resources Management held at the Institute of Personnel Management last week, Mr Varghese said the new business model is based on a worker-participatory management structure (worker-sharing management and incentivized productivity) and noted that this model put into action since 2004 has gradually shown excellent results. He said that the model attempts to place the workers on par with superiors.
Once a female tea plucker who recorded the highest average tea was promoted to be a director of the company and following that there were several females on the board of the company, he said. The Kanan Devan model helps work wonders in sustaining and improving the livelihood of employees who have had at least three generations create one of the best maintained and run tea plantations in the world, the Tata Tea executive said, adding that the earlier situation in this tea plantation was similar to the situation in Sri Lanka now
Productivity on the tea plantation is assessed on the yield per hectare and day plucking averages per year per worker. The yield of 2,240 kgs per hectare in 2007 has increased to 2,259 kgs in 2011 and per worker averages from 41.60 kgs in 2007 has improved to 48.91 kgs in 20011. Jayantha Jayarathna, Management consultant in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development, said that today people cannot be managers as it was done in the past where there was a culture of hiring and firing.
He said that every organization needs to have a corporate policy on human resources to achieve corporate objectives to improve business performances. There should be an organizational culture to foster innovation and flexibility which too is required in the plantation industry.
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