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Reverse Organizational Hierarchy

New employees start at the top... and filter down over the years
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Based on my observations of at least one government agency, new University graduates entering the workforce generally seem to be better equipped with the knowledge and skills to make good decisions - even compared to those employees who have been in the organization for many years. Sure, the latter group may have a better understanding of the organisational 'business', but if some time was spent handing this knowledge over effectively to new staff, this could be equalized. The current arrangement - where new staff must work the lower-level jobs for years before moving up the ranks - strikes me as a waste of the up-to-date abilities possessed by most University graduates.

The proposed solution is to reverse the current organizational hierarchy, such that new staff begin at the highest positions, therefore utilizing their skills fully. Over the years, employees would be progressively demoted, until they are at the lowest levels just before retirement.

Let alone the proper use of newly skilled employees, there would be other advantages: - Young employees would start on high salaries, the time in life when they need money the most (buy a house, etc.) - Young employees are more able to resist the high stress of the top positions. - Older employees would be able to 'wind down', i.e. work shorter hours, less stress, etc.

This scheme would also be an incentive for organizations to get their recruitment strategies right, which doesn't always seem to happen at the moment.

Achenar, Nov 08 2004


       Fortune 500 CEO Required.
No experience mandatory.
hippo, Nov 08 2004

       President of JesUSistan required.   

       Must have no capacity for critical thought.   

       Must have no knowledge of history.   

       Must have no experience outside JesUSistan.   

       PlayStation experience useful, as position currently CinC of large army engaged in unpopular Crusade against Towel Region.
ConsulFlaminicus, Nov 08 2004

       Just to state the obvious, age and experience count for a lot more in leadership positions,than what courses you sweated through, college boy. : P   

       and learning to deal diplomatically with difficult people who can make or break your company, You don't learn that in classroom, either.
dentworth, Nov 08 2004

       I don't know which government agency you're referring to, Achenar, but if we're going to offer up sweeping generalisations like your first paragraph then my experience is exactly the opposite to yours. Dedicated and knowledgeable staff are consistently overlooked in favour of university graduates with impressive sounding qualifications and no practical experience of the job whatever, who swan in thinking that they know it all, royally fuck things up and then move on elsewhere leaving a complete shambles in their wake.
DrBob, Nov 08 2004

       What [DrBob] said; my experience is that graduates, particularly recent graduates, are utterly clueless, lacking in adaptability, and generally a waste of space. The longer they've spent at university, the worse that are.
There are, I imagine, exceptions, but I have yet to encounter one.
angel, Nov 08 2004

       DrBob has just described my modus operandi.   

       It seems to me that the only thing that graduates have to offer that their older colleagues do not is some grasp of IT. Oh, and a forced and transparently false enthusiasm born of the fear of being Found Out.   

       University, no matter how vocational the course, leaves the graduate prepared for almost no aspect of the work environment. This is as it should, of course. If it wasn't, what would the grizzled old hands have to grumble about when they should be working?
calum, Nov 08 2004

       The young folk are at their most idealist & naive time of their life, but at the same time they can be effectively used to "benchmark" and to "raise the bar". Most young folk have no fear (nothing to lose), and so they can afford to take risk and say things like the emperor has no clothes. No BS here.   

       Perhaps instead of the idea as stated, it would have value to be restated as a "New Employee Advisory Committee" which acts as a focus group within the company to evaluate new proposals at all levels and give courageous common-sense points of view.
sophocles, Nov 08 2004

       The grizzled old hands would have the same to grumble about, even if it was as it shouldn't.
yabba do yabba dabba, Nov 08 2004

       An effective way to introduce an arrogant new graduate to his ineffectiveness is to put him in complete charge of a project.   

       Alternatively, if there are no projects that can bear being buggered up for a short while, he might be beaten regularly with a stick until he learns a degree of humility.
thud, Nov 08 2004

       I'm a final year student, soon to be a graduate.   

       I'm not ready to be CEO of anywhere. I don't have the experience, skills, grey hair or the suit.   

       We're not useless, but we do have theoretical knowledge at the expense of practical experience. That experience takes time to acquire, a process which can be shortened by a good graduate training scheme. I'm stating the wildly obvious here.   

       Knowledge of the latest theoretical techniques is no substitute for twenty years in the industry.
david_scothern, Nov 09 2004

       //the only thing that graduates have to offer that their older colleagues do not is some grasp of IT//

I agree that that is, to some extent, true but I'm often depressed by the lack of knowhow there as well. To be fair though, the people who have most impressed me aren't the graduates but the 'work experience' kids who come into the office from the local schools for a week or so. They are still striving for their qualifications and trying to work out what they want to do in life. They are (again, a sweeping generalisation) enthusiastic, keen to learn and their deference to their elders is the best rub-on ointment that my ego ever gets.
DrBob, Nov 09 2004

       I've seen some laughably useless grads whose capacity to surprise me with their incompetence and utter unwillingness to think of themselves as anything other than brilliant by dint of having scraped a 2:1 in a course unrelated to their new occupation is matched only by the incompetence of some equally useless senior employees who seem to regard time in industry as an ever-growing excuse to stagnate in a sullen manner and proclaim themselves superior to their juniors. [deep breath!]

In short, there are fools, charlatans, dilettantes and philistines at every level of the corporate hierarchy, and there always will be. Turning it on its head will do nothing to alleviate this - welcome to the workplace! You don't have to be mad to work here....but if you pretend you are, they may leave you alone for a bit.
DocBrown, Nov 09 2004

       Sounds like an accelerated 'Peter's principle' (Everyone is promoted to their level of least competence)
Ling, Nov 09 2004

       Based on my observations of at least one posting, it appears that you feel you have been given the highest position for which you are qualified in your chosen field of employ. However, you are a creative thinker (bakers, go see some of his other posts), and I'm sure you will. As others have pointed out before me, there is MUCH more to learn than what you learned in school.   

       Let's hear from you again on this idea in twenty years; I bet age and experience will look alot more valuable after you've accumulated some.
gardnertoo, Jan 01 2005

       i think this is an interesting idea Achenar. controlled experiments may reveal surprising results.
benfrost, Jan 01 2005

       I think that would be pretty stupid for people who had been working there for pretty much their whole life. How would you like this scenerio.   

       55 years of age you've been working at blah company for 35 of them. One day you go to work and your 16 year old boss tells you to go clean the toilet cause the 17 year old secretary threw up and missed. Plus he says he'll give you a thirty dollar bonus on top of your $6.25 hourly wage. PARTY! not.
seventhinline, Jul 30 2005

       Not that different from the NFL.
ldischler, Jul 31 2005

       you sound like that guy on the simpsons whats his name......oh yes homer simpson!
drunkvader13, Jul 31 2005

       Can't we just say No Invention and get this over with?   

       Edit: No, no we can't.
hidden truths, Aug 02 2005

       I disagree with the MFD. This method of organization, NFL aside, seems to me to be novel and original and an invention.
bristolz, Sep 02 2005

       So be it. I will be content with a [-] then. Qualifications do not a skilled worker make.   

       Speaking as a technicality could a method of organization be patented, the criteria you yourself once suggested for an invention [bristolz]?
hidden truths, Sep 06 2005

       They use a process similar to this in the US Military. Enlisted work for 20 years to make E-9, and they still have to follow all the instructions of the lowliest officer, just because the government paid for their master's degree in Marine Biology. Hmm, good title, but wrong kind of Marine... most of them don't even realize that.
ye_river_xiv, Jul 07 2006

       I feel a little crotchety giving this one the ol' bag-o-bones, but it has a certain odor of "Let's All ..." and "Wouldn't It Be Nice ..." to it.   

       That said, its greatest asset is its recognition that young employees are at the most expensive phase of their lives and ready-to-be-retirees could do with a winding-down period.   

       An improvement might be to have new employees come in not at the top -- which is too risky to the whole enterprise -- but into a pool of potential talent, given business challenges to test their mettle (a la "The Apprentice"). The cream will rise to the top pretty quickly. Those who win through underhanded means and those who don't contribute can be safely culled. Those who remain have earned a rapid rise to short-term leadership.   

       Personally, most of the big companies I've worked for over the years _claimed_ to have an inverted hierarchy: The rank-and-file cubicle-dwellers were touted as their greatest asset, while the big-wigs with carpeted offices with doors and windows claimed that they were there to "serve" the cubicoids.   

       Then, as soon as the company sailed into difficult waters, the first ones tossed into the foamy brine were those so-called "valued assets".
land, Jul 09 2006

       I read an oldish book some time ago which suggested giving every 18 year old $50,000 in start-up capital to see what would happen, the idea being (I guess) that new high school graduates are brimming with ideas & energy & all they need is some seed money to change the world.   

       That idea never caught on somehow...
Grunchy, Jul 11 2006

       Uh... no... and not just no... heck no.   

       Position and power must be earned or it will not be respected. Putting a kid on top only seems like it might be a good idea because the current top people are so clueless. But just like democracy, "working you way to the top" may be terrible, but it is 10 times better than anything else.
James Newton, Jul 11 2006


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