Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tunisia Inc.

Below is my vision of a global organization with operations in Tunisia, also refered to as "Tunisia Inc"

1) English will be the language of the workplace, spoken and written. Tunisian Arabic will be the common language, French supported but not recommended

2) The company will be run by a Tunisian CEO reporting directly to the board, which is made of Americans, Canadians or Asians

3) Employees will be Tunisians only

4) Employees will be hired through referrals only, no posting on any job boards

5) Employees will work for free the first month, and then get compensated onward

6) Employees will earn shares of the parent company, as they gain seniority, their shares grow

7) Employees will have to sign non-disclosure agreement and agree to pay penalties (deducted from salary in an escrow account) should they be proven guilty of breach of trust in a Tunisian court of law

8) Termination for cause or without cause is permitted, as long as it’s not abusive, there will be no job security

9) All employees will be granted a paid 4 days leisure travel once per year to any European city of their choosing, granted that ¾ of them over-achieve

10) Training is at the own time and expense of the employee

11) 2 major mistakes are allowed per year, termination thereafter, to the sole discretion of the manager with review from the Board

12) The Tunisian office can shutdown anytime and relocate somewhere else, at the sole discretion of the board. All employees will be fired with 2 weeks notice

13) The office will feature an open concept cubicle setting, with a game room equiped with a state of the art sound and video system, and a WII console.

14) Internet connection will be handled by a satellite link. No TunisieTelecom crap

15) Work hours will be flexible, minimum 6 hours per day, maximum at the discretion of the employee

16) There will be no maternity benefits, but 1 over 4 employee must be female

17) Working from home will be allowed

18) There will be 3 weeks vacation per year, and 1 week sick leave

19) There will be whistleblower policy in place. I.e. it is the responsibility of every employee to report unacceptable behavior of another employee or manager. Abuse of this rule will lead to immediate termination

20) There will be no business travel overseas

21) The office will not be located in the Capital

22) There will be 3 special days. One family day where employees bring their spouses and kids, one Civic day where employees debate and discuss their community issues and one cleanup job day, where they pick a location and clean it up!

23) There will be 360degree review of immediate managers per year

24) Security will be handed to a strong private security company

25) Dress code will be 'dress down', that is shorts in the summer, and jeans in the winter, except when there are visitors, dress code will move up to be formal neck and tie for managers, skirts and heels for the ladies, and business casual for the rest.

26) Last but not the least, i will not look after this company :)

40 Comments:

Blogger samsoum said...

mmmmh, let'see
#3 is racial descrimination,
#5 is illegal,
#7 will scare any future employee away
#16 is gender descrimination and illegal in TN,
#17 is not doable from a coast point of view beacuse of #14,
#11 is irrelevant because of #8 and #8 you have to check the TN legislation, same for #16 and #18.
#19 you don't have to have it, people will do it anyway :-),
#10 is harmful to the company,
#20 is not enforcable since there will be need for people to travel anyway, so you have to have exceptions!!
#26 is understandable :-)

Besides this internal policy code,it is intersting to know what kind of benefits and compensations they will be getting and even before that what kind of business this global company will be in?

Are you being sarcastic, or is this how you think such operation should be run ?

9:46 PM  
Blogger Slaim said...

Most of the articles you stated are the recipe for a competitive firm. Still I can't understand the article # 20?!!! The Internet and video conferencing will never substitute some important face-to-face meetings!

But I definitely like the fire/hire policy!

1:01 AM  
Anonymous aymen said...

#4: In Tunisia it's already the rule in many companies,with a special "Tunisian made referrals",which consists of bringing friends,relatives :p


Really,I have just a small tip: PLeaZe, Human resources manager mustn't be a TUNISIAN !


I think these following points are needed to complete the chart of Tunisa Inc.
-how about the number of working hours per week ? (like the french system :p )
-is there a flexible working time ?
-is there a policy to discover highly potential employee by referring to their profile/work/accomplishment,to boost them to access managing positions ?
-What about the place of religion? (for example a voiled woman could be accepted ?)

3:24 AM  
Blogger SNAWSI said...

You've described and focused on the "tough" sides of the organization. Could you figure why would a person be interested in working in such company?
There is not much of motivations over there and people, especially Tunisians, do look for some advantageous opportunities with minimum of risks.
Now, since you said the company would be hiring only tunisians, you're telling "the people" that :

- they can be fired at any time,
- they would work for free the first month,
- they would pay for the training they might need while working at that organization,
- there would be no " job security",
- the office may shut down any time and all employees will be fired
-there would be no maternity benefit
...
Man! I understand why you won't look after that company :p

PS: this is just a first comment, I'll go through your description again for a second fine reading.

3:26 AM  
Blogger Tarek said...

oh my god!! no romdhan, no seance unique, no ta9ti3 ou taryich fel couloir, no arja3 3'odwa, no tahneed 3al telifoune??

Do you want to enforce "productivity" and "efficiency" la y9adder?? you horrible man!!!

5:34 AM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

although there are some interesting ideas in your description, others are just frightening !! You must be kidding , I take number 26 as a confirmation :)

seriously if you want to improve efficiency and productivity in Tunisia, you have to think about motivation, that's the key word.

We can use some of your ideas , let's say 14, 15, 17 and 25 :))

6:41 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

Wow, it would take me many replies to address all your comments, i shall start by wild l'SFO.

#3 is not racial descrimination at all, if you would work for the gov, you need TN citizenship. besdies, Tunisia Inc would give priority to TN workers first.

#4 there is a loophole in the TN labour law called SIVP

#7 is indeed meant to scare employees, so your point is 100% right.

#16, is called affirmative action. there is no law in TN that states that employees must be male or females, actually this point helps propote gender mix at the workplace

#17 is doable, i didnt mention how working from home will be carried, maybe someone is writing a report and would not rely on a highspeed link, remember, 256k connection fi tounis is enough for small things

#8 is hypothetical and the gov is currently working to overhaul the labour legislation to make it more flexible

#10. Agreed !! i went overboard there. i'll remove it, and make it open to 'interpretations'..i love interpretations

I will comment on the benefits later, Thanks Samsoum for your comments


@slaim. It's important to set the expectations right upfront. a new hire needs to know that Tunisia Inc is not about travel, since many of them think that a foreign controlled firm is abt travel

@aymen, i will update the post with your suggestions.

@snawsi, there are the rules for the company, they can take it or leave it. I would not have any remorse or problem if no one is interested or applied, i simply relocate :-)

@tarek. i didn't capture these rules, i shall add them.

All, i'm quite surprised by your reactions, most have focused on the stringent and toughed rules ignoring the rest, such "stocks", flexible hours, vacation per year, etc.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

All, if an employee focuses on the negatives then he wont take off in Tunisia Inc.

I.e. if you goes to work, thinking about salary, benefits and vacation, before even putting any drop of productivity, then yeah sure, this place is not for him

(7) if an employee feeling overwhelmed and under pressure, and tries to mess things up before he leaves, then yes this place is not for him

(5) if a new hire things that he's a star employee and does not prove it the first month, then yes this place is not for him

(11) if an employee is reckless in his job, takes things for granted, and does not put any effort into improving himself, then this place is not for him

if an employee behaves correctly, thinks postively, all restrictions(except 12) should not be a problem.

Hires always tend to focus alot on security and benefits, before even proving that they're worth it.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

@metallic, motiviation is implied in the rules i set. Have you ever heard of the Stock purchase plan or stock options?

6:53 AM  
Anonymous aymen said...

just two questions:
-among Tunisia Inc, could we see people which has no diplomas but are genius / very competent / exceptional ?
-How about the working place : is it open space? box...? or no matter ?

Just you need to precise the minimum number of working days per week.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Imperator said...

un seul mot c'est l'enfer.
y en marre de cette vision anglo-saxonne du travail!!!
IK

10:34 AM  
Blogger samsoum said...

Napo, If you want to attract and maintain the best, you need to show them more than stock purchase plan, telecommuting and casual dress. You have to tell them why would they want for you?

If you want to attract the best, you want to have a company culture that is attractive, team centered ans where rules are based on respect and quality, rather than a code of articles.

You're assuming that the best will have to beg to get to this company, the opposite is true, specially if you hire by referrals, you have to motivate and provide to your new folks a respectful and satisfying environments and challenge them enough on top of that, a part you never mentioned.

People are not all exchangeable and you should know that in every company, specially high tech, there are a core of people who are the heart and soul of the company and you won't never be able to treat them like the others anyway. Attracting these people and keep them is a challenge in itself.

I don't have enough experience for Tunisia, but I can tell that this wont fly here

10:39 AM  
Blogger samsoum said...

Sorry in the 1st paragraph I meant "Why would they work for you?"

10:40 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

Samsoum, the code of articles was not a constitution per say. Of course the company would have a culture, a tunisian culture.

and yes this model would never fly in the US or Canada, it's just different.

I'm not assuming that the best will beg to join the company and i do not want to position it that way. To me, every employee has the potential to be key, and we should shy away from the concept of 'irreplacable resources', it's just not heallty for an organization.

Yes i did not mention the challeging part....but i could not mention every part of the job in a blog post. I give you that.

Thanks for your input

@IK. Yep, c'est l'enfer :-) Welcome to the rock.

10:46 AM  
Blogger samsoum said...

IBM decided to shy away from irreplaceable resources and did have a culture where employees are interchangeable. The result, their PC unit, the one that created the PC market unit was never profitable and they have to let it go and their huge OS software business units hat to close. The only business they succeeded in is the consultancy and IT contracts (IBM Global Services) that could be done by every engineer.
Their hardware BU relied on a 'Star approach", and you know the results with all the leaps in hard drive, micro and nano technologies. It is perhaps risky and not healthy, but it is a reality. Anyway, it was my last comment, I don't wanna be imposing.

11:03 AM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@napo: of course I have heard of stock options, it's almost insulting to ask me that question, I leave in the same world than you, you know?
FYI I thought this was one of the interesting ideas although I forgot to put it in the little list in my comment. But some others will never be acceptable for me. others here , especially samsoum, have already pointed them out so I won't say it again, and I don't think those ideas are part of a "motivation" plan. You are just scaring people this way, not helping them to feel better about their job and be more efficient and productive. I really think we can use some of the good ideas (including the stock options thing! ) but at least rephrase others, and remove completely some of the "toughed rules" , and then we can talk about how motivating it can be.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

@samsoum, linking the demise of the PC unit to human resource mangement is not only un-true, but absurd. IBM is still succeeding in the middle-ware market, far from consulting and global services, they're shipping out high end servers. There is a huge distinction between working to retain key resources and being dependent on them, nuance mon ami !!!!

@metallic, point taken ! but i do not agree with your approach to focus on motivation before productivity especially in the realm of Tunisia, at least not during the first months of employment. An employer must take advantage of the job market he's investing in.
Besides, if you look hard at some of the rules i layed out, there is alot of motivation in them. you just chose to ignore them and focus on the extreme ones, the 'fear' always makes surface first, especially in our TN that society that got used to decades of socialist, outdated practises.

4:34 PM  
Blogger samsoum said...

Napo, I did not do this analysis, I am not that good :-)) this is classroom case well known to a lot of HR managers who I guess were being absurd :-). And I never mentionned their middleware because there is a history of acquisitions that got them there.

The busisness unit I was referring to is the PC/OS2 one. And this is not about dependancy, it is about retaining and motivating people so that they will lead you to success. One good case example is the Apple core team for Macintosh. and by the way big corporates were never innovstive if they were mot buying small atartups that ere depending on 3,2 or sometimes one person and this is a fact.

7:49 PM  
Blogger samsoum said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:51 PM  
Blogger samsoum said...

Sorry I was typing fast, I have a plane to catch :-)
I meant innovative not "innovstive " and startups not "atartups"
;-)

7:52 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@Napo: "your approach to focus on motivation before productivity "

It's not motivation BEFORE productivity, it's motivation TO IMPROVE productivity, and it's a cycle, not the same thing.

And i don't need to "look hard" at your rules to see which one are motivating, I ALREADY SAID there were some good ideas, so you are saying i'm IGNORING them but it's not true. Of course i'm focusing on the extreme ones, because I don't think it's useful to say "very good ideas napo" about the good ideas and forget about the rest, maybe you are waiting for me to congratulate you about the good propositions but I'm not interested in doing that. Besides, it's very contemtuous to attribute our opinions to a bad tunisian reflex. We are not stupid puppets just because we cannot agree on some of your "great" ideas. I'm sure you think I don't agree with you just because I'm too young, not experienced enough (ie totally ignorant)and have too many bad tunisian habits ! You should try "show some respect" as a new idea to add to your project

The truth is, even if I'm sure I can follow all your rules and be the perfect employee in this company, some of the rules are so disrespectful and threatening that I would never be "motivated" but just "frightened" and I would go somewhere else as soon as possible. You may think "fear" is a good way to have results, but you will not have the best quality, and you will never be able to make the best persons stay just with a lot of money and advantages if you treat them like that, it will cost you nothing to respect them so you have to work on it

5:21 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

@metallic, you really took pretty much every line i wrote out of context, with few exceptions.

First, where in these rules, you see disrespect? or lack of a motivation plan?

Did it occur to you that these rules are not exhaustive and not a constitution per say?

Where did you get the idea that i'm looking down at you, that you're young or inexperienced? or that i'm considering you a 'stupid puppet'. Besides, your nickname, i have no idea what you are, what you do, and your age, and none are of an interest to me, except your valuable comments (obviously)

And where did you see that i'm looking for kudos and claps to the rules put fourth? As a matter of fact, other commentators had strong reserves as you do and i agree with them. A plan is never perfect, except when it's run by 'people in the knon' and adjusted thereafter.

I didn't even talk about fear of the individual, i said the 'fear' sentiment in general, within a tunisian individual, makes surface before the sentiment of 'positivity', that's why the focus suddently shifts to some of the extrem rules, though, far from disrespectful.

Here what i think happened and correct me if i'm wrong, you're trying to dig-in and challenge by all means possible, and throwing all kinds of non founded accusations just to prove your point. this was uncalled for since i already understood and 'digested' your perspective and even agree with it.

Blogging is about reading first, and commentating later. Do we have a deal dear metallic ? :-)

Now going back to who comes first, the egg or the chicken, aka, the motivation or the productivity. I believe that stocks, a cool working environement, a good compensation, a flexible hours, a sense of belonging (btw, all mentioned on the rules i set above) are excellent motiviational aspects to support productivity. In the Tunisian context, unfortunately, emphasis on productivity should take precedence, as we're a society that have 'different' priorities other than work. Please don't come back and tell me we TN are hard working individuals, i'm a Tunisian and I worked there way before internet hits tunisia and i know exactly how people go by their daily work, i was there 2 weeks ago for some business and the habits didnt change an iota.

There is another un-explored dimention to all of this, that will probably take days to elaborate on Dear metallic, you seem to ignore that we're in a global world, there is fierc competition and the offer elsewhere is so abundant, that TN does not fit in the picture...we're just working hard to take a piece of billion of dollars market.

@samsoum, have a nice trip. i will be delighted to receive a link from u about that cource offered to HR Managers abt IBM. It's never too late for me to learn :-)
and pls don't worry abt the typos, i'm a partial word reader (few letters are sufficient to understand the meaning).

6:51 AM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@napo: I will try to explain why i'm talking about disrespect. If you hire someone in a big company, he must be treated as an adult, responsible for his acts and for his results. Some of your rules doesn't fit because you are describing the punishment/reward things as if you are talking about children. I totally understand the need for such tough rules, but I think it needs rephrasing, and I already said that in a previous comment.

About the lack of motivation now: as I also said, the stock options, flexibility, working from home, special days in the company, and other advantages are good ideas, BUT the fact that you are almost "threatening" the employees with that "no security" thing, or encouraging a "whistleblower policy" wich is a very bad idea because it can cause important problems in a team (also you don't need that rule, it's already done and causing a lot troubles in companies here, believe me, I know what I'm talking about), etc. , if you think these things can be accepted because you are offering advantages as a "compensation", I think you are wrong. Employees are human beeings, does it occur to you that they can chose less money and advantages to have more security, or a better environment ? So you have to find another "deal" for them.
I'm not asking for more advantages, motivation is not only about advantages, it's a matter of behavior and trust, it's also about involvement and giving the employees a sense of responsibility.

Now I want to answer to this :"Here what i think happened and correct me if i'm wrong, you're trying to dig-in and challenge by all means possible, and throwing all kinds of non founded accusations just to prove your point."

Ok I correct you: You are wrong ! it's not what I'm doing, and I never act this way. First of all, I'm not trying to prove anything, I'm trying to explain my point of view : all these rules (even the ones I like) will not help if you don't find a way to create a different environment based on resbonsibility and involvement. I'm saying this because my "little" experience showed me that, it would be to long to explain here.
Actually what happened is that I didn't like the "if you look hard at some of the rules " because you assume I didn't, and "you just chose to ignore them " because it's not true, I didn't ignore anything, I'm just focusing on what can be "discussed" instead of talking about the other points which I already accepted

And by the way, in your last comment I don't like "you seem to ignore that we're in a global world" : again I'm living in the same world than you, and I'm aware of all the problems we have in tunisia because I live here, I work here, and I have problems with the TN attitude in a work environment and I'm able to see what's wrong, so when you say this you are "looking down " at me and at a lot of tunisian hard workers (yes it does exist believe it or not). You say you know how it works here, and that you saw nothing changed during your last visit. Ok I believe you, and i'm not saying you're wrong. But what I think is that you are not asking the right question. You are talking about the TN attitude as if it was in our blood or something, and you're giving almost "repressive" rules to prevent tunisian workers from acting this way. I think some tough rules must exist, but I think this is not a "solution" for the whole problem. You must think about the real causes.

"Blogging is about reading first, and commentating later."

You don't seem to "believe" that I acutally "read" before commenting, but it's exactly what I do. And don't confuse extra enthusiasm and reactivity with agressive behavior. Sometimes written comments don't reflect the real "tone"

6:41 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

@metallic, thank you very much for your answer. i greatly appreciate your involvment in this topic.

The job market is offer and demand, the employer sets conditions that are compatible with the laws of the land, i.e. the labour law. It is really up to the employee to choose whether to work for such a company or not.

Rephrasing, for sure, i put them a raw format coz it was a quick post. later should this venture take place, an entire 'statut' will be written and a local lawyer will have to approve it.

When i said 'no job security' i didnt mean to threaten. it's statement that sets the expectation right with the employee upfront. i'd rather convey that message upfront to the candidate that tell them after 6 months of employment, do you see what i mean? and yes there WILL BE NO job security period. and again if that is a problem with the candidate then he should not consider Tunisia Inc at all, it is as simple as that.

The whileblower policy is actually used by governments around the world. I agree it's contreversal, but the message i'm trying to convey here is that the employee is not only responsible of his deliverables, but also the well being of the company, if he sees something wrong elsewhere in the office it's his duty to report it.

As far as trust is concerned, unfortunately in Tunisia, it works bottom up, Trust is basic at first, then builds over time. I don't know if you heard some of the horror story in some of the french companies working in tunisia, i don't want to table them here, for fear of damaging the reputation of the country, but they're truly disgusting and a preempive measures are needed (not repressive)

And no, you're not living in the same world as me, you are inside, i'm outside, i look at the world from a global perspective, i see competition, i see better opportunities elsewhere, do you have any idea of the size of the outsourcing market out there and how many opportunities we are missing out because of 'our attitude'? if you knew the real meaning and experienced the rewards of stock options, you probably would have never complained about the stringent rules i put fourth. You gonna have to understand, that instituting stock options itself in Tunisia is a Tax 'casse-tete' itself.

As i said, an employee looking for agressive challenge, sense of belonging, would consider Tunisia Inc. anyhow, it won't be too long before we know the truth and either way (be it, it goes well or fails), you'll hear abt it or i shall call you and congratulate you for your constructive comments then.

Cheers

7:37 AM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@napo: I just want to comment the two last paragraphs. Yes I'm inside and you are outside and you obviously have a lot of information and details that I don't have, but first of all, the fact of beeing inside gives me another advantage, and actually, the fact of not having the same complete overall picture of the situation from outside doesn't imply i "don't know". Yes maybe I don't have as much detailed information as you have on the global situation, but i'm conscious that there is something wrong that is preventing the country from moving forward and taking part of the whole "global world" thing, I know that what is happening now must be changed, and I know that the competition rules urge us to do something about it. The details are not so important as long as you make people understand they have to do something, and i'm not arguing about the necessity of change, I'm saying that you have to find other solutions to "complete" and "correct" your initial project and try to understand why we have this "tn attitude" and how to change it.

I know there are things that cannot be done in Tunisia because of legal "casse têtes" , I know people who are trying to overcome this situation and I know it's difficult to create a good environment in these circumstances.

I agree that some tough rules must exist to prevent people from behaving in an abusive and irresponsible way in the company, and the "trust" problem deserves a long chapter just to analyse it. I'm aware of the "disgusting" things don't worry, that's why i'm saying that beeing "inside" gives me advantages, if we can call them so, because seeing that is just torture if you want to know the truth, it makes you want to scream, and you feel "trapped"

the problem is that with your project, you can make one small "tunisia inc." work correctly with a small number of "courageous" persons who will be ready to take part of it (after some rephrasing ?), but you wouldn't change the whole "tn attitude" and the legal "casse têtes". I think that with some corrections, you can encourage some others to join you by giving them an occasion to prove that they can be trusted and really want to be involved. You just have to be very careful and selective when you hire them, and have good evaluation methods that help them improve their own attitude and efficiency. And if this project goes well, it can encourage other people to create similar environments. It's not a jungle you know ( well let's say not completely), there are lots of young persons who really want to be part of an ambitious project, but they don't know how to do.



FYI if I wasn't interested in "tunisia inc." at all, I wouldn't have spent my whole lunch time and coffee break commenting here, I'm starving because of it !! :)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Napo said...

@nadia, i'm so sorry, you had to cancel your lunch for this. I owe you a lunch in a place of your choosing. you can take my word for it (if you're fine with that eventually)

i'm going to reply to your comment " you have to find other solutions to "complete" and "correct" your initial project and try to understand why we have this "tn attitude" and how to change it "

Ok, here' the deal, if i look after such venture, i will be wearing two hats, (1) a Canadian/US Expat managing a subsidary in Tunis.
(2) A Tunisian making efforts to benefit his country of 1+ million dollar worth of investment (mind you, that's not alot really)
As a Canadian expat, i should not care abt the Tunisian society, how it works, how to improve it or even how to deeply understand it. my worry would be to get the best deal out of it, that is with the least cost to stay competitive, in the most secure manner and with the highest quality, there are no two ways abt it because it will be a corporate policy. In that context, I will be answering to superiors that know only one thing abt Tunisia Inc, 'the bottom line' and the productivity. Please do not mix it with 'esclavage' or abuse, we're far from there.

Now as a Tunisian, I would do my best efforts to make Tunisia Inc last as much as possible in Tunisia, to promote a an western style concepts, culture, incentives and motivation. I would be willing to expand its employee base, revenu and contribution to its parent company, make a viable enterprise and very involved its local community

I'm personally not interested in changing the TN attitude (worth mentioning that there are brillant talent in Tunisia that are keen into building their careers and focusing on the right things, such as productivity and learning and blogging has helped me alot identify such talent (yep, that's one of the reason why i'm on the tn-blogs:-) however i need to protect myself from its downfalls as well.

There will adjustements to my rules set fourth as we go, mostly from legal advise, seldom from comments be it in the virtual world or the real world.

I'm really eager to make Tunisia Inc fly, but so far the path has been filled with so many obstacles sometimes, i question myself as in "WTF i'm doing?". Should this venture succeed, i will be most interested to have your input and everyone else who is willing to contribute, in ideas, in productivity or in any other form or shape.

Thanks for your trust !

12:56 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@napo: I totally understand the need for you to protect yourself and build a viable company , and I'm not asking you to make great sacrifices in a risky environment just to prove your attachment to the country, but I think if you really come one day to hire people and make them part of your project, you have to know how to choose them, how to encourage them do their best, how to involve them so they consider themselves as part of your project, not just workers excuting some tasks etc. And to do that, you have to know how to make your choice, and this requires that you understand tunisian perception of work and try to get the best of it. You also have to understand that even if you think that too much tunisian workers are not reliable and don't want to work hard and do their best (we all think that actually), the truth is that a lot of them act this way not because they are lazy but because they are not motivated. And sometimes young people lose their energy and motivation and after a few years experience lose interest in doing their best because of a bad environment, injustice, bad relationships with superiors that never encourage them and involve them and treat them with disrespect, and others "disgusting" things we don't need to explain here. So if you find a way to capture the energy and make these persons believe in a really ambitious project that can make them feel useful, really active and see the results of their hard work and be proud of it, you will be able to rely on them to help you make the project work.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

@naddou, fortunately there are lots of talent in Tunisia, that are reliable, energetic, forthcoming and most importantly honest, and i'm very proud to have identified few that hopefully will help out.

usually it takes two to tango, but for such venture, it takes a team to sail :-)

5:13 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

don't forget to "rephrase" then ! :) and good luck!

5:36 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

@nadia aye aye Ma'm :-))))

Come to think of it, since you probably know the subject better than me, care to help out? (joking)

5:40 PM

5:41 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

if I can help, of course

5:50 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

Go ahead, rephrase them then, and post them, i'll give you the keys fo this blog or i'll post them.

Keep in mind the spirit of the venture and all what we discussed.
Put yourself in my shoes and wear a metallic jacket :-)

5:52 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:13 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

i need some time to think about it, it's not easy to find the right way to express tough rules without making people run away ! :)

anyway , some of your rules need to be ckecked from a legislation point of view as samsoum said, and if what you want to do is legal, you don't have to express the details in your contracts, just say that TN legislation for private companies will be used concerning these questions, that's how it's expressed in my contract for example in the paragraph about termination, and it makes people feel safe, because it's just the law. They are aware of what can happened, but don't feel directly threatened, and you have the law on your side this way.
It's just a beginning, i'll try to give you more ideas later

6:16 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

@nadia, don't sweet it, keep it high level for now, it's assumed that everything will comply with the law. i'm just curious to see how some of the above mentioned rules would be rephrased by you.

this is called gap analysis and its helpfull in some sort to bring perspectives together.

if you're going to check every litte detail, this may take you forever. may I suggest the KISS principle here?

6:30 PM  
Blogger samsoum said...

If I may jump in and keep it as "KISS" as possible and share with you my view which is not ypical of a big company but rather a very competitive but small stratups or a small independant team a la Microsoft.
In order to get results from an employee that will achieve the organisation objectives.

-Minimum compensation so that he doesn't spend his time worrying about bringing food home
-Minimum security at the workpalce so he doesn't feel threatened to be fired for any action he can do (inhibition, kills initiative, kills motivation)
-Minimum social life in the company encouraging contacts,communcation, sharing and team building.
-work on his/her Ego, make them want to impact the company and make it successfull because of them. Let them feel responsible for success or failures. Give them credit if needed and use their Ego so they feel in and part of the company.CHALLENGE THEM, Reward or aknowledge or encourage, mentor and then punish.
-have very clear and measurable objectives so that you can be fair in your judgments. And don't ask them to be better than you. What is good for you is good for them too.
-Start by hiring experienced people and let them build the team for you thru mentoring and knowledge transfer. (This is the most difficut task)
-Be the example, the one they look for, the one they want to be, earn their respect and they'll give their soul for you.

For the punish vs reward managment style, I'll invite you to read this article about Douglas McGregor X-Y theory. He was a managment professor at MIT (Sloan). I have the book but could not find any better article on the NET.
Hope this helps. This is just an opinion based on experience and restricted to motivation/people management, I am not arguing or teaching :-) just participating in what turned to very useful discussion. Thanks All.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Napo said...

@samsoum, outstanding contribution, thank you !
let's leave the X-Y out of this debate (i'm not trying to cast away a popular style btw). I mean, do YOU really think that X-Y can work in Tunisia?

You know what, it's virtually impossible to port some of the rules we learned in this content to TN (not in the context of Tunisia Inc anyway). it won't work, you need to compose with the culture over there, it's just a unique situation..and it needs a unique plan ! and i'm not interested in being the first in line to apply a new practise...i want to keep it KISS :-)...

8:18 PM  
Blogger samsoum said...

Thanks, Napo. The X-Y was a FYi item in case you are interseted. The bulk of the post was those recommendations coming from experience and learnin on the field.
For TN, I don't have any idea if we can apply them or not, though I still think human nature seems to follow the same pattern. But you're right I never worked there.
And i think those few observations I made are "KISS", 7achak :-)), a slogan that I like a lot.

10:42 PM  
Blogger MetallicNaddou said...

@Napo: I insisted on the legislation because I know how people react here when you talk to them about those aspects especially termination, so it's not a good idea to express those rules as if you decided it all, just use the law.


5/ you have to remove this one, I don't think it's allowed

7/ you can add to the contract a paragraph about non-disclosure concerning any kind of confidential information or data, and the TN legislation allows you to fire an employee that doesn't respect that rule, you can also make him sign an engagement to respect this rule even after termination, so don't make this rule sound like the company's decision, it's just the law

8/you don't need to add the "no job security" sentence, I know you are trying to make it clear, but it's frightening, you just need to say that termination is permitted and link that to the legislation


10/ I have a question about this one, is it your idea or are you obliged to have this rule ? because it's not a good one, you have to encourage people to have trainings when it's necessary and useful for the company, and you can't oblige them pay for something during their holidays, so you should offer some kind of help, even if you don't "pay", try to offer something else and rephrase this rule as an offer not as a restriction


11/ don't use numbers as if you were in a football match. Just say that in case of major mistakes the manager with review from the board can decide that

12/ instead of saying "the office can shutdown anytime ..." which make it sound like an immediate danger --> "in case of ..." employees will have a "certain period" notice (as indicated in TN legislation) , so the employee knows it's possible, and knows that what you are saying is legal

19/ I don't like this rule :)) well, don't make it sound as if you are encouraging gossips, because that's how a tunisian will understand it, which is already a national sport and will harm the company because it destroys trust. say it like you did in your comment : the employee is not only responsible of his deliverables, but also the well being of the company, and it's his duty to report anything going wrong and help resolve problems

7:02 AM  

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