ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Human Resources and Graduated Mirror Pyramid

By Emiliano Forino Procacci

In 2010, an innovative model became very successful across European companies in the field of human resources. This model was called Graduated Mirror Pyramid.[1]

The Graduate Mirror Pyramid is a system that has been developed to monitor the satisfaction of employees of a company in order to improve production processes. It is possible to apply this method of measurement from small companies to large companies (including those involved in developing software, games, technology, etc.) to enable corrective measures to maintain a high standard of production and, at the same time, prevent the employees from losing interest in their work.

Imagine, for example, that a team of developers is working on a followup of the "evergreen" Day of the Tentacle (adventure game published in 1993 by Lucas Arts). Thanks to a mixed team composed of people that work for years in company developer of games as well as from new entrants eager to show what they can really do. Certainly the way we perceive the company between old and new employees is different and must be monitored to prevent the project from failing. If you find, for example, that a new employee has not received the right information to start work or has not internalized the values of the company as it should, or if there is an employee with many years of experience that seem not very satisfied by his work or if the repetitiveness and monotony of work are undermining the process, the Graduated Mirror Pyramid can come to the rescue of the company and the project.

The proposed scheme exemplifies a specular development mirrored of the developmental stages and those regressive respectively employees and managers, considered in a dynamic business related to their work life. It is assumed that, according to the projects implemented by the company aimed at the promotion of knowledge and training, the various stages of evolution is unfold on a scale. The Graduated Mirror Pyramid outlines an abstract reality in the face of real life business which is obviously much more complex; However, it could constitute a useful term of comparison for assessing the situation of staff at a given time. With careful analysis of the dynamics within the company, as well as the various profiles of employees and managers, it would be possible to make a comparison with the scheme offered by the pyramid to obtain, with some degree of approximation, information on the evolution of the personal situation. The taxonomy of the graduated mirror pyramid is in reality less rigid than it appears. In fact, the concrete details of corporate life, each stage can overlap with another, so together may change the responsive nature of the interventions to be implemented.

The graduated mirror pyramid (Fig. 1) covers five stages of evolution and involution as many stages for both managers and employees of companies, distinguished as follows:

Developmental stages of the employee of the company:

  1. training;
  2. stability;
  3. way point;
  4. competition;
  5. professional development.

Involution stages of the employee of the company:

  1. formal training;
  2. adaptation;
  3. routine;
  4. demotivation;
  5. professional involution.

Developmental stages of managers:

  1. ecletic ability;
  2. statement;
  3. run stable;
  4. turning point;
  5. ideal-manager.

Involution stages of managers:

  1. apathy;
  2. anomic amnesia;
  3. waiver;
  4. limbo;
  5. obscurity


Graduated Mirror Pyramid

Fig. 1 Graduated Mirror Pyramid (in original Italian version)


It is a scheme based on the categorization of reality and not on individual situations. For this was used in order to identify the criteria for membership of employees and managers in the various stages of the pyramid, to simple concepts drawn from the experience, which could be enriched further. The description of the stages of evolution and involution is, therefore, deliberately discursive and open.

The evolution of the employee's working life business begins with learning and exercise, depending on the professional profile and the implicit and explicit knowledge. Given the high degree of receptivity initial which adds to the strong need to find an identity in the company, the learning process will take place in a natural way. The planning of training (first stage of evolution of the employee) is particularly important. As already mentioned, both the workplace and the familiar one, play a certain role for the formation of an individual, so a correct preparation for work must not only provide for the acquisition of technical concepts, but the assimilation of "culture" that characterizes the company. And it is in the first stage of evolution that originates that particular dynamic process intended to take more and more importance for the formation of the "self" within the organizational structure, accompanying the individual until retirement age.

On the contrary, in the stadium of formal training (first stage of involution of the employee), each skill prior to the establishment of the working relationship will be crystallized and therefore losing its value, if the staff will merely indoctrinated on the job. In fact, also the more technical work of all, that does not involve so great interpersonal skills and vast knowledge base, will also rely on the internalization by the employee of the company values; The same values that help to acquire the general awareness that every single human element is crucial to the life of the entire structure.

The stage of stability is characterized by the perception that it has reached job goals and economic; it will be the result, in most cases, a good initial formation, revealing quite manageable and productive than brilliant results.

On the contrary, opening the working relationship with a cold trainig merely formation, the employee will almost always in a short time in the stage of adaptation, in which it is obliged to contribute in any way and only as far as he competes with the business activities.

Is inherent in the man the human tendency to ease tension following the passing of a situation characterized by high emotional involvement, as might arise from the satisfaction that follows the attainment of a desired destination. Therefore the goals of stability characteristic of the stadium, will be "extended" by processes of stress in order not to reduce them to mere routine activities.

As just said, because the employee may proceed to the next stage of evolution of the way point will be particularly necessary to seek a vision geared towards new goals, helping to create awareness in the employee to be not a point of arrival but a point of passage (way point). In this delicate moment, the offer to the employee alternative perspectives of character improvement will help give new force to the motivation, with positive effects on attachment to the organization and its processes.

In contrast, in the stage of involution routine, standardized work phases and "empty", deprived of their value, help to deprive of meaning even the most uplifting work, canceling all expectations placed in it by the employee. Let the curious reader discover what has been proposed in the other developmental stages present in the innovative Graduated Mirror Pyramid.


   [1] E. FORINO PROCACCI, Evoluzione organizzativa e sviluppo delle risorse umane, Armando Editore, Roma, 2010.