Be a snail or hermit crab…choice is yours…a HR message

Naturally the expectations of people in most corporate would be quite high during appraisal time. One group of people (employees) would claim that they have contributed greatly to the growth of the organization and while other group of people (the seniors, bosses, owners) would philosophize to people not to have high expectations as expectation is the root cause of sorrow, suffering and disappointment etc.

In this see-saw game, who is right and who is wrong? Nature has three examples for the corporate to reflect.


  1. Learning from snail:       Employees must reflect the biology of snail so that they can wisely manage their expectation while hammering their contributions. Look at the growth of snail. The snail and many members of Molluscans follow a finest management principle.       First and foremost, the outer shell of the snail and other molluscans would grow and enlarge through a process of annular calcification. Only after the extended growth of the hard shell is attained, the growth of the soft snail occurs. Snails know that only the hard shell or conch offers protection to the soft snail and other molluscans. Hence the shell has to grow first and only after the snail can grow. The employees must remember this fundamental.       They have to work first for the growth of the organization and only then, the own growth is possible.
  1. Learning from hermit crab: Hermit crabs always use the shell of other molluscans to hide and live. They often carry the shell with them.       When they grow, they search for another bigger shell. If they fail to find a bigger shell, they will have to remain in the same size.   In any case, they cannot grow in the same shell as the size of the shell it uses will not grow. The same way, if people think they have grown and if the same organization cannot provide further growth prospects to them and if they still aspires to grow, they will have to move to another organization like hermit crab how it searches another shell when it wants to grow.
  1. Learn to learn people: This for employers. The employers, bosses and leaders those who philosophize the gospels of Buddha that desire/expectation is the root cause of all suffering/ disappointment etc., to people during appraisal time must show the same level of temperament while assigning task to people and people fail to deliver. People might pay the same coin back to them at times.   People would quickly learn to learn you, boss.

The message is that appraisal should not be limited to an occasion of either expressing ones expectations or philosophizing or denying such expectations. The organization must set clear vision, growth plan and accordingly the people have to be included and involved in the task.

Unfortunately such delighting and exciting way, the process of appraisal would not happen in most organization. It is purely because of poor HR culture and leadership imbalance. Interestingly both the primordial HR culture and leadership imbalance would hand in hand in organizations that at family centric or owner centric.

For the growth of any organization, it is not about owning every responsibility, empowering people is inevitable.   Therefore the owners should leave the task to professionals than becoming philosophers.  Invisibly the people become philosophers in their performance too.

Dr S Ranganathan

ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


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