December 25, 2008

An innocent wishlist to Santa :-)


Merry Christmas!!!!!

Hope Santa has been really sweet to all of you....Let's have a look at what could be in the wish list of the following:

1. B-School Graduate: A decent placement.

2. Indian Citizens: Peace and better security.

3. Corporate India: Economic stability.

4. Investors: A promising scene in the stock market.

5. HR community: Business partnership and beyond.....

6. Indian educational institutions: More qualified professors and more
focus on research work.

7. Indian proffesors: Respect which they truly deserve and better
salary.

8. Rich Indian: Peace of Mind.

9. Poor Indian: Piece of Dignity.

10. Saikat Saha: Loads of stuff!!!! Can't mention them because of
word limit constraint, vocabulary constraint
and....................................

Hope Santa is listening!!!!!!!!!!!

December 23, 2008

In conversation....


Once a popular HR practitioner addressing a group of HR students said that it becomes very important that apart from academics, HR students must pursue various interests with utmost passion as each interest areas can teach something valuable to us especially in the Human Behavior context.

Lionel Wilkins is my class mate,good friend,a keen future HR practitioner,a college heart
throb and a passionate salsa dancer.
Following is the excerpt of a conversation I had with him:

Me: When did you get introduced to Salsa?
Lionel: Well!!! I am four years young in learning Salsa.

Me: What have been your accomplishments?
Lionel: I was the runners up in All Chennai Salsa Congress and I have completed L A Cuban-Advance 4 level.
Me: What does these accomplishments mean to you?
Lionel: It gives me a sense of gratification and it serves as an indicator of where I stand as a Salsa Dancer.

Me: What has been the influence of Salsa on you?
Lionel: I have become a better dancer and it has been extremely instrumental in aligning my body, mind and soul. I guess it has made me more graceful too.

Me: What is 'grace' according to you?
Lionel: Grace is pleasantness according to me. It's the ease or aplomb with which you conduct yourself.

Me: Salsa is being used as an employee engagement initiative in various companies. What's your views on it?
Lionel: I would certainly introduce Salsa in the company I will work for in future. It's truly a thoughtful HR initiative and I am sure it will serve a great purpose. It's a rhythemic way to unwind and de-stress yourself after all the hardwork in office.It's a dance form which makes you feel good about yourself and that prepares you to make others feel good too. Salsa revolves around great team work where you are constantly dancing with a partner and also multiple partners at times. This requires brilliant understanding and mutual respect between each other. Team work ,mutual understanding and respect are the foundation of any proffesional relationship and hence, Salsa serves a purpose here too. It provides a superb workout and can be a fun way towards engaging in health and fitness.Finally, like in any other art form, here also you need a lot discipline. So, once you can achieve discipline in one area of your life then you can translate it in other areas of your life too.
Me: What are the common motivators behind a person to join Salsa Classes?
Lionel: The fact that it's a a lovely dance form is a motivator in itself. The earlier mentioned reasons in the last question I answered also propels a person to join Salsa classes if he is well read about salsa and it's benefits already. People also use it as a platform for networking and socialising.
Me: What would be your advice to people like me with long hands and legs, who finds it difficult to dance?
Lionel: Saikat! many tall guys are excellent Salsa dancers. It's meant for everyone whether you are tall or short, thin or fat. I would suggest you to embrace this dance form whole heartedly.
Me: What makes you so passionate about Salsa?
Lionel: Personally speaking, it fires your imagination bringing you to the heights of ecstacy and brings you down to the depth of your soul. I truly find it extremely romantic.
Me: You must be meeting a lot of attractive girls in your Salsa classes. Is your girl friend fine with it?
Lionel: She was a little hesitant earlier but now she is very supportive. She attends all my shows and has been very encouraging throughout. There is a lot of trust between us.

Me: I guess Salsa is known as a Man's dance.Now, that sounds a little chauvanistic.I wonder if this goes out well with women!!! What's your views on that?
Lionel: Traditionally in Salsa Dance the Man is the Leader and the Woman is the Follower . Together the Leader and the Follower are known as Dance Partners but the man leads only if the lady wants to follow. All is in her hands and she is extremely integral in the dance. There is no such animosity/divide mentality between the boys and the girls. Salsa improves the mutual respect and makes us a lot more confident about ourselves and each other. It's a very romantic dance form as I told you earlier. Many dance partners have actually married each other in the past.

Me: Brother!!! it was nice speaking to you. Thanks!!!
Lionel: My pleasure brother!!!

I hope this conversation will make most of us look at Salsa as a dance form which is beyond a mere dance form. Merry Christmas in advance!!!!!

December 13, 2008

Get the metrics right!!!!!!!!!

In a recent article in Human Factor, G.D. Sharma writes that 'I believe that it is very essential that we employ a set of metrics which will help HR measure itself in a rather integrated manner'.

I consulted Professor Google regarding some of the most widely practised HR metrics in various companies and found this link.

December 8, 2008

Aquil Busral's interview in rediff.com

I found this very interesting interview of Aquil Busral, National President, NHRDN.....

December 4, 2008

God's own concert..........



Music is special....it has the capacity to strike special cords when played in a special symphony....



2nd December 2008 was indeed special....

Five legends ie Zakir Husain, Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, U.Shrinivas and Selva Ganesh performed together in Times of India, Heart Beat Concert in Chennai.

The concert began with a minute of silence dedicated to all the victims of the Mumbai Terror Attack and ended with the song 'Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram'....Everything about the concert had a sanctity and a magic which according to me was beyond human understanding so I chose to sitback and fall in love with the music.....

Where legends like Zakir Husain, Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, U.Shrinivas and Selva Ganesh perform together at the same time, Maa Saraswati resides there...

One of the many traits which I admire the most among such legends is the high reverence they have for each other and for music....

December 2, 2008

Learnings from 12th National Conference of NHRDN

I was one of the 500 HR professionals and students who attended the 12th National Conference of NHRDN . It was indeed a special conference since the Chennai Chapter of NHRDN won the 'Best chapter award'. Being a member of the Chennai chapter, it felt genuinely good.


Following are few links which would provide you a comprehensive snapshot of this mega HR conference:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3


Following are some of my key learnings:

1. The foundational theme of Talent Management are leadership, Inclusiveness and management of employee life cycle.

2. Global Integration is the way forward and being Globally Aware is important for achieving Global Integration.

3. High employee expectation gives opportunity to differentiate.

4. Focus of talent development: continous learning, risk taking, response to change, collabaration, problem solving and creativity.

5.'Intelligence is sticky,tricky and leaky'

6.India emerging as an undergraduate factory but it's still low on research competency.

7. Human Capital Management software is growing.

8. New age organisational challenges: Global economy, Increasing focus on innovation and growth, Faster ROI demands, younger workforce, Higher costs.


9.Every word has the power of mantra, every plant is having medicinal value, no human is incompetent.

10. Success recipe for HR transformation: link business strategy, human capital strategy and HR function strategy.

11. Human Capital Analytics is the future.

12. Building platform for healthy Gender diversity: articulate loudly and clearly that they value diversity, acknowledge motherhood.

13. ABC of HR value creation: Alignment, Business focus, Collaboration.

14. Three key questions for prioritising HR actions: What is our vision for human capital?????, Do we look at system value creation?????,What is the weakest link in the chain?????

15. Companies high on CSR activities are attractive to potential employees.

16. Material cost for a manufacturing company is 60% [Hypothetical]and labour cost is 8% [Hypothetical] but much more time is spend on labour issues than on material issues[certainly an area of concern.]

17. Shaping the new HR manager: Guard the values, articulate the values, resolve conflicting values, confront bad behaviour, exemplary in our own behaviour.

18. Five key dimensions demonstrate the increased economic interdependence of a multipolar world: Emerging consumer, war of talent, the flow of capital, the battle for resources and sustainibility, the new map of innovation.

Well!!! I could just share a small portion of my learnings here but I hope my future writings are reflective of my rest of the learnings. I want to thank all the esteemed speakers for the fantastic knowledge sharing.....

November 30, 2008

Mumbai Meri Jaan....

I am shocked,remorse stricken,scared and upset about the sad incidents which have taken place in Mumbai...I thought of writing about my experience in the 12th NHRD National Conference meet but I am unable to do so.....May be later I will share my experience....

Let me get back to the Terror Attacks in Mumbai....Such cowardly attacks by terrorists have become common but I really hope that this attack on Mumbai serves as a wake up call for the Government Authorities....Mumbai has never seen an attack of this magnitude ever and it's truly horrifying....

I somehow agree with the sentiments of a well known public celebrity when she said in a news channel that it's not the time to stay calm rather it's the time to really voice out your true sentiments in public so that it compels the concerned authorities to take right actions and our lovely Mumbai is not vulnerable to any form of terrorism.

I was thinking what can HR community do in this situation. I came out with an idea....

I feel the HR community in all companies should make genuine efforts to provide help to the victim's families whenever any terror strikes our country[but I really hope this one was the last attack] so that the victim's families don't have to accept compensations and reactive help[rather than proactive help] from the government as it's the negligience on the part of government which leads to such barbaric terror attacks.....

We the 'Human Resource Proffesionals' are first 'Human' then a 'Resource Proffesional'. So let's show that genuine 'Human' side of this immensely noble proffesion.

I would request all my readers to pray for the victims, their families and especially the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives in order to save many of us.....Jai Hind...Love you Mumbai....

November 23, 2008

Real Estate and Human Resources......

What's the connection between Real Estate and Human Resources?????????

1. Real Estates as such does not have a monetary value of it's own. What grows on it or what can be built on it decides it's real monetary value.
Simmilarly, the real utility of a person decides his monetary value[salary] at workplace. In other words; the person's capacity and performance decides his amount of salary.

2. Your present investment decides the benefits you can reap in future. That holds true for both Real estate and Human Resources.

3. There are several external factors that might effect the monetary valuation of both.

4 There is a constant threat of being overvalued or undervalued.

November 15, 2008

'Executive education programs help companies create a smarter workforce'

Executive Education Programme

EEP[Executive Education Programme] seems to be a buzzword among the corporates.
Companies seem to be investing on it increasingly....Educational Institutes offering such courses are mushrooming everywhere.... ISB has also planned to open a new campus in Punjab...

So the question is that does such programmes really help in building a smarter work force?

Yes!!!! It Helps!!!!!

The above mentioned line certainly holds true if EEP adds value in terms of
the following:

1. Greater readiness for taking more complex and critical job
assignments post Executive Education Programme.
2. Improvement in performance related to current job assignment post
Executive Education Programme.

Hence, in order to evaluate the degree of seriousness with which a company executes it's Executive Education Programme, the company needs to do a deep analysis of the above mentioned two points.

Major Investment
Companies invest a vast amount of resources in such pogrammes. So it becomes very important that the employees do not have the following attitude towards the programme:

1. Treat the programme as a mere necessity for performance appraisal
report ie. minimum training prog attended etc.
2. Only a nice liesure time or break from the routine work.

The employees must clearly realise the amount of investment on them and what is the expected return on investment from them.

Back to School Days
Once in a while you have to concentrate on the basics. All executive programmes must have tests/exams [not considering Executive MBA in this case] which can ensure that the participants are nimble footed and agile during the course as it has been observed that most institutes have examination patterns only for their Exec MBA and not for certificate programmes.

Just like any other B-Schoolers ; they should submit a well documented assignment based on their key learning and feedback.

This is how it helps
An EEP will help your company's workforce get smarter in the following ways:
1. Provide them with a perfect oppurtunity to get disconnected with
routine work yet find out various ways to improvise their work in a
much relaxed environment.
2. Learn ways to put mangerial expertise in their respective functions.
3. Do a realistic assesment of their current managerial knowledge.
4. Have some fun as everyone loves to go back to school :-)

November 5, 2008

11 ways to be a happy employee...

Well!!! I am sorry for not updating my blog lately...It's exam time and I am really busy with my academics...Exams will get over on 12th November...Hopefully I will be more active then....

Meanwhile, I came across this article today in Rediff.com regarding 11 ways to be a happy employee. Very relevent in the turbulent economic times when job stess and job insecurity are some of the critical issues.

Happy reading!!!!

October 26, 2008

Hey!!!!!! I got quoted in Metroplus[Hindu Supplement]

I got quoted in yesterday's article which appeared in Metro Plus. Click the link and find out more!!!!!!

October 21, 2008

Slowdown hurts recruitment companies....

My friend; Purvi Shah[a recruiter] mailed me the following link in reference to the above heading....
Thanks Purvi!!! An interesting article....

October 20, 2008

Is your work culture OCTA-PACEd??????

According to Prof T.V Rao ''The attributes that go into making a healthy culture can be spelt out as OCTA-PACE- Openness, Collaboration,Trust,Authentic,Pro-action,Autonomy,Confrontation and Experimentation. OCTA-PACE has been found to be directly linked to the financial performance of a company, and special importance should be given to strenghten it''

October 19, 2008

Won the 'Best Manager-Chanakya' at Daksha 2008

Dear Readers!!!

It gives me immense pleasure to inform that I have won the prestigious 'Best Manager/Chanakya' award in the inter-college management contest organised by SSN School of Management & Computer Applications, Dept of Management Studies on 17th October 2008[Friday].



I also won a cash award of Rs 5000 along with the certificate.



I really feel that my defeat in MMA Debate finals helped me winning the 'Chanakya' title this time. I tried using the lessons which I learnt in MMA Debate finals and it helped ;-).



The best part was that many of my MSSW class mates were there to cheer for me and it really helped me to catapult my confidence. I thank them wholeheartedly.

October 15, 2008

Jet Airways to give Pink Slips to it's employees!!!!!!

Jet Airways has shown the gates to more than 850 flight attendants according to the news media.

This comes as a shock to not only the employees who have been sacked but also a number of students who are on thier way to build their career in the aviation sector.

This comes shortly after the plans of a cost cutting alliance between Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.

Shri Praful Patel says 'I have full sympathies with the employees who have the situation of having to face losing of jobs... But it is an HR issue of the airline and the government can do little about it," .

The following thoughts come to my mind in reference to the above:
  • It's an HR issue and beyond
  • It's an ethical issue
  • Steps must be taken to provide employability training[By the Company and/or Government] to the sacked employees in alternate sectors or they must be provided with an alternate employment oppurtunity in the aviation sector.
  • HR students must deeply think on the topic 'What they would have done if they were the HR Associate in Jet Airways in this situation'.
  • Personally; I would have stopped this from happening in the best of my capacity and if failed then I would have joined a different company with immediate effect.
  • My only message to the sacked employees from Jet Airways is that ' Life might seem tough now but have patience and a towering belief in yourselves. Please don't be bogged down. You have enough and more reasons to follow your heart now. I am sure better days are ahead for you all so be strong and confident than ever before. God bless......

October 1, 2008

Spirit of Durga Puja



'Temple priest has rung his bell,


A cloud of smoke from candles and lamps Haloes the Goddess,


glowing bright


This beat of drums both maddens and dulls.


The incense burns: so heady the musk,


Our senses flounder in the flood.


This endless chant of sacred words


Soon drugs our lips and stuns our minds'


-Srinjay Chakravarty

I wish all my readers a very 'Happy Durga Puja'. I pray that Maa Durga brings immense happiness and success in your life.....Jai Maa Durga...

September 29, 2008

10 i of Leadership....

Mr B Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd was the Chief Guest for the 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention.

During his inaugural address; he mentioned the 10 i's of leadership which are as follows:

1) Intelligence- Analytical Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence.

2) Information- Knowledge, Framwwork, Linkages.

3) Insight- Market, Customers, Industry, Trends.

4) Imagination- Scenerios, Fold in the future, Unconstrained by resources.

5) Intensity- Passion, Drive, Invovement.

6) Inspiration- Vision, Role Model, Get others to commit.

7) Influence- Persuasion, Consensus, Team Work, Collaboration.

8) Impact- Clarity, Communication, Personality, Connect with people.

9) Independence- Autonomy, Self Motivation, Edge

10) Integrity- Ethical, Conceptual, Principles.

Better luck next time....

Hi readers!!!

I tried my level best in the Debate Finals of 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention 2008 but could not win any of the three prizes.

I really hope I win it next time.

But there is a reason to smile. Mr Pramodh T & Ms Swathy T from my college won the third prize in the Paper Presentation competition.Their topic was 'Strategies to Build India as a Human Capital Brand'.

September 25, 2008

ISTD Southern Regional Conference

Dear Readers,

For all those people who could not attend the ISTD Southern Regional Conference held in Chennai on 19-20 Sept. 08; the following summary of the conference written by Mr GD Sharma, Vice President & Head – Human Resources, L&T-ECC Division, Chennai would give a very interesting insight about the entire conference.

The Future of HR – ‘Transformational or Transactional?
(A summary of the ISTD Southern Regional Conference held in Chennai on 19-20 Sept. 08, by G.D. Sharma, Vice President & Head – Human Resources, L&T-ECC Division, Chennai, and Member-Conference Steering Committee, ISTD)
The theme for ISTD’s recently concluded Southern Regional Conference in Chennai was ‘Future of HR – Transactional or Transformational?’ The galaxy of eminent practitioners and academicians who spoke at the conference seemed unanimous in their verdict that for HR to be transformational, it had to get its transactional part right, in the first place.
Transformational Agenda
HR today, more than ever in the past, is everybody’s business. Every Business Manager is an HR Manager. To quote Mr. Vinod Dasari, CEO of Ashok Leyland, “HR is too important to be left to the HR people alone”. HR is an all-pervading function and it is the individual manager whose primary responsibility it is to manage his people resources, blend them into an effective team, manage their performance and address their needs and aspirations, such that together they achieve more. In this process, as an Organisation, there has to be in place a body of collective People practices governed by a particular philosophy; a set of abiding principles of human respect & dignity; and well demonstrated values and ethical norms.
This translates to an agenda which has to be transformational in its outlook, while being grounded on transactional realities. It has been well accepted that while some of the transactional and non-core activities can be outsourced, HR’s main agenda is to focus on the following:
· designing HR systems and practices around warp and weft of the business model of the Organisation,
· helping structure the Organisation in alignment with its strategy;
· building capability and creating a pipeline for talent and leadership
· nurturing a culture -
o that will bring together a set of empowered people desiring to achieve corporate goals
o that is relational and fosters bonding
· enabling a climate of openness, continuous communication and for employees to have a say in all that affects their work and their relationship with then Organisation
· Linking strategy to human performance by setting clear expectations and facilitating performance recognition and reward mechanisms
· Instituting a set of clear ‘measurables’ by which HR can establish credibility by staying close to the expectations from it.
There was also a plea from Mr. P. Rama Babu, ex-Managing Director of EID Parry (India) Ltd. that HR also needs to be ‘aspirational’, in that, it has also to think big and create a visualization of the growth for the Organsiation. This will help us to dream big and generate a force that will inspire the employees to look beyond the ‘here and now’ – a subtle tool for engaging the employee of today.
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Transactional Realities
Mr. Ashok Reddy, CEO – TeamLease emphasized that in today’s business and employment scene, each employee has to work on ‘employability’, what with the ‘taxi cab’ syndrome appearing to be the way of life. Values of loyalty, stability and tenure are all becoming obsolescent, and hence, the extent to which the employee of today is handling a variety of assignments, learning continuously, and playing the team game will largely determine his employability. This aspect was well borne out in an interesting study by Prof. Premarajan of XLRI, where he surveyed about 200 MBA students aspiring to be HR Managers. They were asked to rank their expectations from the job as future HR Managers. In the order of importance, they seem to value –
· Independence
· Variety, challenge and sense of achievement
· Recognition and Advancement
· Money, Status and Prestige
· Ethics & Discipline
From the perspective of Talent Transformation, similar views were expressed by Ms. Monica Doshi of LMI when she stated that the Role, the Person and the Capabilities were to be addressed in order to complete the cycle.
It is also very essential that we employ a set of metrics which will help HR to measure itself, not in isolation, but in a rather integrated manner. The Balanced Score Card (BSC) as applied in the Taj Group of Hotels was elaborated upon as a case-study by Mr. H.N. Shrinivas, Sr. VP-HR to demonstrate that the srategies, measures & deliverables, as well as future direction can all be measured and monitored integrally.
Zero to Hero
In the session titled ‘Zero to Hero’, there were some poignant moments when Mr. Sarath Babu of Food King narrated his life story of sacrifice and dedication by his mother, who made it possible for this boy from the slums to successfully walk through the portals of BITS-Pilani and IIM-Ahmedabad. Sheer determination, grit, focus and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude have been the secrets of success for this young enterpreneur. He believes that by providing employment to as many as he can, he is “helping them pursue their dreams”.
Mr. K. Pandia Rajan of Mafoi described his transformation into an entrepreneur as a “process of discovering oneself”. According to him, one has to see opportunities, and that it all ‘starts with an idea’ - perhaps a pun on the word, since the transition happened to him when he was with the firm IDEA, then an engineering design and services firm in Chennai.
Lessons from T20
T20 has many lessons for Management through the several similarities with the real business world.
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Business, like Cricket, has moved from a 5-day match to a 50-over game and now to a 20-over format - Expectations of efficient execution and ever-improving results from the Company or Business; unlimited excitement and hunger for growth-oriented happenings and developments in the Business from the investing community; and a sense of unabated competition among the corporates, both local & global. Cricket is not very different, and therefore the likeness has generated interest in learning from one another. Popular cricketers, Krishnamachari Srikkant and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan engaged in a lively conversation to drive home the point that at a personal level, as HR Managers, we have to be extremely confident, carry conviction, and bet on team work for making things happen in Organisations.
Back to Basics
The Managing Editor of India Today, Mr. Raj Chengappa took the audience through a set of personal examples of Industry Leaders and Business Barons whom he had the privilege of speaking to, for compiling a story for India Today Aspire. He demonstrated that without an exception, CEOs and Industry Captains were guided by time-tested and abiding principles for guiding their lives – both on and off-work. Hard Work, Honesty, Integrity, Respect for the Human Being, Fairness, Failures as stepping stones for success, listening to your instinct, being courageous, moderation in everything we do, importance of Time Management, and unlocking the potential of people around us - were all emphasized by these successful role models that make India what it is and will be.
The ABCD of HR
In his Valedictory address, Mr. B. Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India pitched very differently when he said that HR, by being Transactional, is being governed by the Head - logic, aggression, rationality, strategy and delivery. And by being Transformational, HR is governed by the Heart – passion, abiding values, emotional connect, transparency and fairness.
According to him, HR must work from a simple and clutter-free approach. Our HR Models must be based on our understanding that the human being is governed by the following 4 primal needs:
A – Acquisition: We yearn for recognition, status, and position. Work must help us fulfill these higher order needs. We are constantly wanting to acquire these intangibles.
B – Bond: We all need to emotionally connect with one another as well as with the goals of the Organisation of which we are a part. Today the key is to provide this psychological connect.
C – Comprehension: Every employee wants to figure out and understand what the organization is doing, and what part he/she has in it. There is a need for the employees to come together and understand in unison, the values and ethics of the organization, the policies and strategies of the business, as well as what is expected of him/her and how it will be measured and rewarded. There is need for us to constantly communicate and clarify for improved comprehension.
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D – Defend: Every employee seeks fairness and justice, both for himself/herself and for the Organisation. Every employee expects a set of policies, systems, rules and procedures to be put in place and administered well, and in a fair manner.
To meet these expectations, HR must ensure that the following 4’S principles are borne in mind always:
1. Simplicity – keep models and systems simple to understand and also to administer
2. Structuring – HR must constinuously organize and align structure as well as work systems and work-flows in keeping with the changing business requirements.
3. Standardise – Processes must ensure ’get it right the first time’. The luxury of time and cost do not allow procrastination or laxity, and when response-time is a key success factor.
4. Scaling-up – Business is marked by growth metrics and therefore, are we scaling up to meet the requirements and expectations of Business? Scaling-up is possible only if we keep the design and structure simple.
At the end of the day, the Role of HR can be likened to that of a Gardener, where he does the following on a continuous basis –
PICKING – picking the right seeds and the soil mix for ensuring a healthy crop. The HR Manager’s role in picking talent – sensing, judging and gauging the right attributes is a very critical skill.
PRUNING – the Gardener has a certain view of the garden. The design of the work organization, the right combination of Competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for a task or job, values and principles to govern the organization, the sense of balance required in policies and practices – all of these and more will have to be ensured by the HR manager.
PEST CONTROL – The Gardener has a key role in keeping the garden free of unwanted weeds and pests which will damage the health of the plants and therefore life of the garden. Bringing-in the right set of checks and balances, Recruitment policies, norms and principles that will govern talent acquisition, good governance to ensure effective talent management, and introducing the right interventions for nurturing growth and development of talent make up the rest of HR Management.
On the whole, a resounding success for ISTD, Chennai Chapter, with over 750 delegates attending from Corporates representing almost all the sectors, Consulting Organisations, as well as Engineering & Management Schools from near and far. Let us look forward to more such well conceived congregations where a healthy and professional discussion and debate is made possible. For, learning best takes place when we share, exchange and transfer our knowledge, experience, and perspectives in a free and reciprocal basis.
*****

September 24, 2008

Updates....

Hi Dear Readers!!!!!

Let me provide a few quick updates....The good news is that I have been selected as one of the Six 'National Finalists' for the Debate Competition in the 7th MMA All India Management Student's Convention 2008 after a very competitive preliminary round of Debate at the MMA House on 18th September 2008. The Debate Finals is going to take place on 27th September 2008 at University Centenary Auditorium, Chepauk, Chennai-5.

My topic is 'Traditional Values more than modernity should be at the core in Building Brand India'. I am speaking for the topic.

Secondly, me and my class mate, Upasika Maithreya presented a paper on 'Paradigm shift in the Arena of Human Resources' at a National Conference on the theme 'Transformation of Organisation in the Global Era' organised by Department of Management Studies, Valliammai Engineering College.

Last Saturday[20.9.2008]; I attended a Personnel and Employee Relations Forum, 'PERFORM 2008' based on the theme 'Development of Human Capital towards Enterprise Value Addition' organized by DG Vaishnav College, Department of Social Work at Taj Corommandal.

So the last few days have been a good learning experience.

September 14, 2008

Duck Theory

Me and my classmate Lijo Jacob were having a keen discussion on our HR Symphony theme ' Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy' after the event.

This discussion helped us to come out with the 'Duck Theory'.

A Duck is a creature which voraciously paddles it's feet under the water but has the perfect 3 C's exterior [Calm, composed and collected].

During the turbulent times; one should behave like the 'Duck'. It should have that inner turbulence to do well [in a positive context] and maintain a 3 C's [Calm,composed,collected] exterior.

I guess this thought came to our mind because we could listen to Mr GD Sharma's key note address during the event.

HR Symphony- A Grand Success

It gives me immense pleasure to let my readers know that 'HR Symphony' on 12th September [at Ambassador Pallava] created the perfect symphony in terms of key insights on the theme 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy',intensively studied Research Presentation, thought provoking discussion on 'Retaining the Top Talent', HURECANE [Department Newsletter] release which was extensively appreciated and the very impressive Placement Brochure release to just name a few.

The dignitaries present were:
Mr Irai Anbu,
Secretrary, Tourism and Culture
Govt of Tamil Nadu

Dr Fatima Vasanth- Principal
Madras School of Social Work

Mr CD Jose
Hon Secretary, SSER

Prof Jayanthi Peter,
Head of the Dept
MA HRM

Mr G D Sharma,
Vice President,Human Resources
Larsen & Toubro [ECC Division]

Mr Rakesh Gupta
General Manager, Human Resources
Ashok Leyland

Mr GD Sharma[whom I also consider as one of my HR Guru] was the Key Note speaker and he created a great impact in the audience's mind through his quintessential passionate presentation on 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy'.

According to him turbulence is good[in a positive context] as it helps us to recognize our true potential. He encouraged us to embrace these turbulent times and learn from it.

Mr Irai Anbu released our Placement Brochure and spoke on various HR issues. His special focus on non verbal communication was very well liked by the audience.

Mr Rakesh Gupta discussed various cases related to reasons for attrition among 'Top Talents'.It was a good platform where students [ including me] could ideate on various issues pertaining to attrition among Top Talents.

I am sure I could not do the justice in describing the events of 'HR Symphony' here as it's tough to post the vast learnings and observations
here through a single post.

But my future writings shall reflect the learning I recieved from 'HR Symphony'.

I wholeheartedly thank each and everyone associated with the success of 'HR Symphony'.

*By the way your's truly was the Vice President of the HR Symphony team. It felt nice to wear the Vice President batch during the event.

September 9, 2008

Best Practices V/S Micro Practices

The posters in XYZ company speaks volumes about their new HR best practices. It's branded in a spunky way which makes it genuinely attractive.

It has got extensive media coverage and most likely; XYZ company will grab the place of 'Best Employer' in the next nation wide 'Best Employer' survey. The Chief People Officer is recieving appreciation from all corners.

However; Mr X , an associate who has joined the company 15 days back is slightly amused with the 'Best Practices'. He is one of the many victims of poor canteen facility, poor transportation, delay in getting bills sanctioned etc.......

The glossy and attractive packaging of 'Best Practices' which ultimately boils down to a performance bonus, 360 degree appraisal, assesment centres etc does not really mean much to him. He doesnot have faith in the HR team to deliver the so called 'Best HR practices' as it is incapable of delivering the basic/micro practices.

It's important that the 'Best HR practices' are directed towards the employee causes and not nation wide surveys.

The employees must endorse and have firm faith in the 'Best HR practices'.

Finally; there should be proper delivery of core/micro practices even before thinking about the idea of implementing the 'Best HR practices'.

HR Symphony!!!!!

The Student Forum of MA-HRM, The Madras School of Social Work

presents

'HR Symphony', A seminar on 'Strategic Management in a Turbulent Economy'

Friday, 12th September 2008 15:30-20:00

Hotel Ambassador Pallava Egmore, Chennai

* Only for Corporates [Registration-Rs 100]

Contact- mssw.mahrm@gmail.com

9790717784 [Cell]

September 4, 2008

GLIM HR CONCLAVE

My experience in Great Lakes Institute of Management HR conclave was thought stimulating and extremely informative. The theme of the conclave was ‘Managing Human Capital in the Globalized Business Environment’. It served as a perfect platform for educational institutions and corporate fraternity to ideate on various new age HR issues.

The list of dignitaries included:

Shri Prem Chand Gupta Honorable Union Minister for Corporate Affairs

Dr T.V Rao Chairman, T.V Rao Learning Systems Pvt Ltd

Mr Muthuraman Managing Director, Tata Steel

Mr Chandrasekaran President & Managing Director, Cognizant

Dr Chandrasekhar Sripada President HR, Capgemini Consulting India Pvt Ltd

Mr Allen Sequeira Sr VP HR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd

Mr B Venkatramana Sr VP HR, Reliance Retail Ltd

Mr Lancelot Cutinha VP HR, Big FM

Mr Steve D Rich Shared Services Manager India & ASEAN HR, Caterpillar

Mr Anuj Kumar Associate Director HR, CSC

Dr K Prabhakar V P Corporate HR, Apollo Hospitals

Mr C Mahalingam Executive VP & Chief People Officer, Symphony SVCS

Mr Boddapati Balaji Director, ADP Private Ltd

With that esteemed list of dignitaries; a great conclave was assured even before the start of it.

It did meet my expectation and felt blessed to invest my time in such an occasion.

Some key learning and observations were as follows:

*It’s money value of time which concerns rather than vice versa.
*Sensible product differentiation has brought product branding.
*Most important investments are time and emotional commitment.
*India’s success is based on LSP [Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati] quotient.
*Human mind is still classificatory even today.
*HR is the new strategic variable for Corporate India.
*Competent people are increasingly scarce to find.
*The way in which 360 degree or assessment devt centre are applied is very important
*HR professionals are increasingly Internet savvy, communicative, well networked and energetic.
*HR professionals lack:

1.Thorough understanding of talent mgmt and devt process.
2.Comprehensive professional knowledge and skills.
3.Patience to stay long enough in a job to make a difference.
4.Long term thinking and holistic orientation.
5.Respect for local talent.


A few qualities for global leadership are as follows:
1. High degree of self awareness and focus on self renewal.
2. Result oriented and they deliver result.
3. Ability to empower, reward and recognize others continuously.
4. They have a sense of priority and purpose.
5. Integrating ability.
6. Know when to leave.
7. Bounce back from mistakes.
8. Cultural sensitivity.
9. Ability to seek and manage diversity.

*Globalization is a compulsion and not choice.
*Have common performance standards across the globe.
*Integration of cultures during M&A is very important.
*There should be a well defined purpose behind any M& A
* Integration does not mean uniformity.
*All processes of the acquirer may not be right.
* The combined entity may need new processes and approaches.
* Agreeing to disagree is important.
* Insist on pre merger due diligence.
* Tolerate and respect differences.
*Set aside turf.
*Renew focus.
*Adapt to new culture.
The two key mantras of a successful M&A are :
1. Be humble
2. Learn along the way.

*Value identification depends on financial, operational distribution synergies, managing emotions and alignment of structural process.

Three challenges identified to manage workforce diversity are:

1. Inclusion
2. Alignment
3. Communication

*Creating teams inclusive of both [M&A] companies is very important.
*In order to out compete; out innovate.
*There is huge scope for HR in un-organized sector.
*In order to make a strong employer’s brand; one has to really listen to employees on attraction and retention; don’t believe there will be no one simple answer; watch it evolve over time; set key metrics to manage the issue.


*Foster creativity at workplace by:
1.Being stress free
2.Seek new experience.
3.Ensure you are in an environment that nurtures creativity.

*Making BPO jobs an aspiring career is the biggest HR challenge in the BPO sector.

*Customer satisfaction to customer delight to customer astonishment.
*Leadership has two dimensions: Visionary and Architectural.

*Creating a shared vision through vision workshop is the key in having the perfect vision statement.






August 25, 2008

Mid 20 crisis!!!!!!!!!

Well!!! you have heard and read enough about the mid 40 crisis.....

Let's contemplate on the mid 20 crisis now!!!!

'Mr X is 27 years old and has been working in an IT company for the past 5 years. The promotions are happening in a consistent pace and the bank balance is reasonably fat [the body is also fat!!!].Future seems promising with a seemingly optimistic chance of getting a leadership role.But work pressure is too much and there seems to be more tempting oppurtunities in other companies too.

However; His best friend from a reputed B-School strongly feels that he should quit his company and prepare for his GMAT/CAT/XAT.Mr X does not have the time to prepare for the aptitude test.

His parents[unaware that he is committed] are keenly searching for a potential bride for him.

His girl friend who is also working in the same company has no plans of marriage for the next three years...

And he is definitely in a deep crisis for the above reasons.'

Mr X is certainly familiar to us. There are many such youngsters who seem to be in the midst of this 'mid 20 crisis'. They are young,spunky, promising yet confused and stressed.

Let me write my thoughts on why it happens:

  • Oppurtunities are many and they want to leverage the best.

  • They also desire a proper work- life balance but are not clear about
    how to achieve it.


  • They are intelligent and want to use their acumen in further education.

  • At this age they are energetic & focused and want to do professionally well but they also have to get ready for marriage where priorities are to be re-defined .

  • Different approach from parents towards life at this age; which might not be well endorsed by the youngsters.

  • Women want to delay marriage and become financially independent.

    Now what can be the HR's role in this issue. Let's discuss:
  • Recognise and accept the situation.

  • Recruit candidates who have greater clarity about their professional life.

  • Encourage employees to go for higher studies by sponsoring their
    education and providing them better job profile post completion of
    higher education.

  • Help employees to achieve better work-life balance.

  • Have counsellors who can assist the employees with their personal life.

    Guess!! 20-20 cricket is not the only 20 something issue that should concern us........

August 13, 2008

In Conversation.....



Consider; leaving your homeland at a tender age of ten...consider; staying away from your parents for fifteen years...consider; working hard and being able to enter one of the most reputed institution of our country in the midst of numerous adversities.....
It's certainly a tough consideration.


Lhakpa Tsering; a student of Madras School of Social Work has lived it.
This young,soft spoken Tibetian from MSSW is my class mate and just in a span of four weeks he has become one of the most loved friend in our class.


I had a conversation with Lhakpa regarding his past,present and his promising future.

Saikat: Brother; how would you like to introduce yourself to my dear readers?
Lhakpa: I am a Tibetian and have been staying in India for the past 15 years.



Saikat: What are the simmilarities in Tibet and India?
Lhakpa: I feel culturally it's simmilar especially because both the countries believe in non violence and have deep spiritual awareness.



Saikat: From your childhood memories what aspects of Tibet do you miss the most?
Lhakpa:Well!! I miss everything about Tibet and feel deeply emotional about what the country offered me during my childhood.What I brought along with me in India was the Tibetian values I learnt there. In Tibet; the bonding between friends and families is of greatest importance. We love fostering relationships with abundance of love and mutual respect.Values ,spirituality and relationships are much more important to us than money or material gains.



Saikat: Do you regret the fact that you left Tibet?
Lhakpa: I regret leaving Tibet as it's really tough to leave one' s motherland and to stay away from parents at the age of 10 years. But I do not regret coming to India as the country has supported us and I have developed great friendship with Indian people. The education which I have recieved here has also been great.



Saikat: How difficult was it for you to leave Tibet?
Lhakpa: At the age of 10 years; it was tough to recognize the events happening around me.I just listened to my parents and followed their instructions. Being away from parents was the toughest part. As a kid; I used to wonder why are they telling me to go away from them. It must have been equally tough for them too.Later; I realised why they decided to do so.It was also difficult to adjust with the climatic change and food initially.



Saikat: Since; you are talking about food; I am tempted to ask which dish you liked the most in Tibet?
Lhakpa: Definately; the momos but even now I do enjoy eating them in a Tibetian restaurant near Loyola College.



Saikat: We should go there during a weekend. Anyways; Now that you have joined one of the best institution of our country; where do you see yourself in the future?
Lhakpa: I would like to work in India but my dream is to have a Training and Development company in Tibet. I want to focus on Institutional training and when the corporate culture in Tibet grows and prospers; I would also get into Corporate Training.



Saikat: What is your vision for Tibet?
Lhakpa: I want it to be like Switzerland. It's already blessed with great scenic beauty. I want it to be a favourite tourist destination and a strong economy.It should be called the 'Switzerland of Asia'.



Saikat: What is your message to the Tibetian youth?
Lhakpa: Excel in whatever you choose to do in your life and always have a firm belief in non violence and mutual respect. Be the perfect ambassador of Tibet by always keeping the Tibetian values in your mind and heart.



Saikat:Please tell me more about Tibetian Values?
Lhakpa: I personally believe that it signifies mutual respect, non violence,courage and excellence.



Saikat: What's your message to the Tibetian youth in India?
Lhakpa: Please embrace the oppurtunities to learn every day. Education has a lot to offer so be educated and share your learning with others. Always remember that the pen is mightier than the sword.



Saikat: Tell us about your experience in India?
Lhakpa: It's been very good but I really miss my parents a lot. Indians have been very supportive and I have Indian friends who are lovely. Especially; my experience in Trichy[he did his graduation there] has been fantastic.



Saikat: If this is your last day in India and you get a platform to bid goodbye to everyone; What would you say?
Lhakpa: You guys are rocking!!!!! This country will remain close to my heart forever.



Saikat: And if you meet your parents today; what would you tell them?
Lhakpa: [ He appears emotional] Don't worry about me. I am happy!!! but I miss you all.....



Saikat: Do you have a message for His Holiness; Dalai Lama?
Lhakpa: Thanks for the efforts to keep the Tibetian Identity deep in our heart and soul. I admire and respect your message for peace in the entire world.



Saikat: What's your message for the Chineese people?
Lhakpa: We love and respect you but we want to live as Tibetians.



Saikat: What's your message to the Chineese Govt?
Lhakpa: Please; let us live and prosper as Tibetians. We keenly look forward to foster a healthy relationship of mutual respect and love.



Saikat: What are your views on the current Olympics at Beijing?
Lhakpa: I support and respect the spirit of Olympic Games. But I also want the Chineese Govt to have greater respect for Human Rights.



Saikat: Finally; If you get married to an Indian girl then will you take her to Tibet or remain in India?
Lhakpa: [Smiles] I guess I will speak to her and if she is keen to visit Tibet then I would surely take her but I am completely sure that I will take my kids to Tibet and show them it's beauty and culture.

August 9, 2008

Second Thought........

I have written a post concerning the growing demand of woman employees in HR domain earlier too. However; I made another attempt to write on the same subject a few weeks back. So thought of sharing it with my dear readers. Here it goes......

‘Human Resource domain is predominantly a cult domain for women’ says Mr X.

It seems the above line is familiar to any struggling ‘male HR professional’ who is trying hard to get a break in the corporate world.
Consider a typical business school’s campus recruitment scenario where the male students get fretted in seeing their female counterparts grabbing impressive placements in HR domain.

A few questions get triggered if we take the above scenario into account.
1. Is the HR domain dominated by women???
2. Are women being preferred into HR domain because they infuse any exclusive skill set????
The answer to the first question is a straight ‘yes’ which is reflected in the online job portals or any search engine.

Try a search with the key words like ‘HR+woman’ in google and you will be startled [may be not] to find out that various articles relating to the topic. Any job portal will have an exclusive set of HR jobs where only females can apply.

Now, let me attempt to answer the second question where I do feel woman bring an exclusive skill set which is tailor made towards the requirement of HR domain [read ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ to affirm your belief]. Woman are traditionally [or may be genetically] more gifted with qualities like communication skills, better abstract or creative thinking, empathy etc. Similarly men are a preferred choice in marketing jobs because of their assertiveness and risk taking ability.

It’s tough to imagine a women marketing a cement product. But on a lighter note; for every ‘Tipu Sultan’ we have had a ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’.
The same thought process applies in the concerned topic. Men have an equal chance of grooming or equipping themselves with the much needed skill sets.

Pragmatically; it’s just that one gender is gifted with a particular skill set suiting a particular gender but they have an equal scope to groom themselves on the required skill set.

Yet; men will be from mars and women from venus.

August 8, 2008

Virtual Team!!!!!!!

Whenever the word 'Virtual team' is used; one can identify it with a typical IT/BPO scenario [ fostering team work with on shore team] but it's presence is there in almost every industry.

Think about the last time you[middle level or lower level associate] met your CEO on an one to one basis or the last time you[CEO/anyone from the leadership team] met an associate from your company's bottom of the pyramid.

Chances are that you are most likely struggling to remember it.
Don worry!!! No one is really going to blame you for that.... Considering that all of us are an accomplice[may be it's not the right choice of word] to it...

But we certainly have to find ways to keep ourselves connected with each other... In second thoughts; not only connected but well integrated....

One easy way is to do it virtually through the routine e-mails, tel-con, video conferences etc or new age stuffs like blog,social network sites,web communities etc.

However; the following points can be kept in the mind to strenghten your approach towards integrating virtual teams:
  • Make the entire process engaging and highly participative.
  • Use a user friendly medium.
  • Define ownership. It can be under the domain of Corporate Communication .
  • Recieve constant feedbacks regarding the approach.
  • Encourage candor and informal tone as much as possible.
  • Encourage process improvements in the context of improving virtual relationships.
  • Induce fun through simple means like wishing each other on regular basis[Happy Monday,Happy Tuesday and so on...] or sharing informal photo albums.
  • Have a genuine effort to meet in person atleast occasionally.

So stay connected...

August 7, 2008

What's your People Philosophy?????

Ask the above question to 10 different HR associates of a company and most likely you will recieve 10 different answers or in the worst case they might repeat the question along with a blank face as their reply.

If the company concerned in the above paragraph is a respected employer then your HR team needs to re-think about why they are respected as one of the best employers in the country. The answer to that question would help them to frame the people philosphy. However; it does not end there as the HR team and every other stakeholder must be made aware of your core people philosophy in the same light as your Vision,Mission and Values.

Now incase your company is not in the list of the respected employers then you know exactly 'why'?????

I have a belief that only a company which has a strong people philosophy can design and deliver it's HR practices in a fair and just manner .

Any good employer would certainly have a clearly defined people philosophy or atleast it would believe in a people philosophy sub-consciously.

Your company's people philosophy would help you to allign your company's culture with the core Vision,Mission and Values as it's the people who have the real 'ownership' to reach your company's vision.

Next time you find a person complaining about your statement being highly philosophical; let him read this post. It might help!!!!!!

August 5, 2008

Cross sub-functional learning

Any HR function in a new age company is fragmented into sub-functions like recruitment,career planning,man power allocation,exit mgmt,process/line HR,training etc.

This categorisation provides a better visible structure to HR but I feel if a proper 'cross sub functional learning' is not done among associates within HR domain then it might lead to de-limiting of learning within the domain.

For example; Once a year; let a specific HR team in your company do recruitment of a particular batch followed by the orientation,training,compensation mgmt,performance appraisal of the same batch so that the HR team can understand the sub-functions clearly and it would also serve the purpose of recognizing the 'ownership' tagged with the concerned batch of employees.

August 4, 2008

Ideatizement

Shannon; my senior in MSSW came out with this new word 'Ideatizement' during a conversation today.
It's the fusion of two words 'idea + advertisement' . While discussing the essence of the word 'ideatizement'; we came to a conclusion that it can serve as the process of fostering new ideas and then promoting [advertising] it in order to know the pulse of the stakeholders regarding it's practical application.
Hope the right people working for Oxford Dictionary are reading this post......

Tagged!!!!!!

I have been 'tagged' by a blogger friend 'Swati' whose blog is a delightful reading experience sheerly because of the impressive presentation and rich content which mainly comprises of poems and her thoughts...

Initially, I struggled to understand the word 'tagged' but now I have decided to do what Swati has done on her blog post after getting tagged by her blogger friends.
These are the rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you.

2. Mention the rules on your blog.

3. Answer all the questions asked below!

4. Tag 5 bloggers by linking them.

5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

8 things I am most passionate about:
1. Spirituality: It provides me greater depth and meaning to my life.
My prayer is my greatest strength which affirms my belief on goodness
and hard work.I am a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba.
2. Parents: They are the perfect embodiment of love and
compassion.Whatever is right in me today is because of them.
3. Friends and Cousins: They are my emotional anchor.
4. Aspirations: I am an impractical optimist and my belief of being
the one of the greatest HR practitioner ever has kept me alive so far.
5. Cricket: I feel extra-patriotic when India wins and my appetite for food
reduces when India looses a match.
6. Books: I am incomplete without it.It helps me to learn, un-learn and at times allows me to liberate into a more fascinating world.
7.Travelling: It's lovely to explore new places and know their people, enjoy their cuisine and admire their architecture
8. Writing: It's the best medium to share and align my thoughts...

8 things I wanna do before I die :
1.I wish to be the best 'Son' in the whole world.
2.I wish to be the best 'friend' of many.
3.I wish to be one of the best HR practitioner in the world.
4. Learn to play atleast one music instrument really well or learn painting.
5. Visit many new places.
6. Write a bestseller novel.
7. Work for various NGOs which truly believe in their causes.
8. Built a Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir.

8 things I often say:
1. Wat's up???
2.Arey yaar!!!!
3. God!!!!
4. Om Sai Shri Sai Jai Jai Sai
5. Chillax!!!
6.Absolutely!!!!
7.Apparently!!!!!
8.Besides!!!!!

8 books I last read:
1. Mediocre But Arrogant by Abhijit Bhaduri
2. Zahir by Paulo Coleho
3. Letters to Sam by Daniel Gottlieb
4. The Saint, The Surfer and the CEO by Robbin Sharma
5. Execution by Ram Charan
6. Straight from the gut by Jack Welch
7. Keep off the grass by Karan Bajaj
8. Three mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat

8 songs I listen to over and over again:
1. Taare Zameen Par title song
2. Ashayain khiley dil ki from Iqbal
3. Take it easy by Eagles
4. Tears in the heaven by Eric Clapton
5. Maeri by Euphoria
6. Swades title song
7. Nothing gonna change my love for you by Richard Marx
8. Candle in the wind by Elton John

August 3, 2008

Customer-Centricity of HR Domain

The word ‘customer’ is synonymous with ‘marketing’ context. However; the word has gained a greater relevance for the HR domain from the perspective of an internal entity.

The new age HR practices are conceptualized and delivered towards the ‘internal customer’.

This approach of recognizing the employees as an internal customer aligns the thought process and action of the HR team with a ‘service’ oriented fervor.

The customer centricity approach towards HR serves as a value lever for all the major stakeholders in the company in the following ways:

· Internal Customer: Customer has evolved itself from various avatars ranging from a mere ‘buyer’ to ‘boss’ to ‘king’ to the more recent ‘God’ status.
If the employee receives ‘God’ like treatment from the HR team then no employee would be complaining a bit.

· Management/Leadership team: The management would be able to pursue its role with greater professionalism and sensitivity towards employee’s causes.

· External Customer: The ‘internal customer delight’ would certainly reflect on the services rendered by them towards the external customers in the most delightful way.

July 29, 2008

The fascinating relation between HRM & HRD...

Today; my dad's friend came for dinner. He works as a branch head of a leading Insurance Company. I curiously asked him 'How active is the HR dept of your company?'

He did not hold a pleasent opinion about the HR dept.

According to him; the ineffective Human Resource Mgmt[HRM] of the HR team is leading to Human Resource Destruction[HRD].

I felt slightly concerned and slightly amused hearing the statement.

Hope the company's effective Human Resource Mgmt [HRM] leads to Human Resource Development [HRD].

The Bench Blight....

Mr X is a bright fresher from one of the most reverred engineering colleges of the city. During the recruitment process; he seemed to have the perfect cultural fit in the organization.

However; six months later; he is a dissapointed person and so is the organization based on his performance rating.

The reason for the low performance rating is non allocation of project to him after training.Therefore; he did not have enough scope to write about his performance on the self appraisal report.

He was on the bench for the entire six months.

Such a situation is common in IT/BPO firms when mass recruitment happens in absence of projects or the trained employee doesn't seem good enough to be allocated into a project.

The above situation is sad for both the employee and employer.

I want to focus on three important aspects of 'Bench Blight'

Firstly; mass recruitment in absence of projects increases probability of
the 'Bench Blight' as accomadating them in limited projects becomes tough.

Secondly; if an employee is found to be a misfit after training programme then the recruitment process must have had a few glitches in selecting the right employee.

Finally; it might seem perfectly fine for an employee to recieve his salary while sitting on the bench but when it comes to filling the self appraisal report ; the scene becomes disheartening. It's important for the employee to be proactive in the best of his capacity and make himself ready for a project.

July 26, 2008

Will E-learning work??????

The question posed above is triggered by an article which appeared in the Indian Management magazine, A business Standard publication in it's July 2008 issue.

My initial reaction to the above question is Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na?????

Apparently; I will attempt to answer it with my limited acumen in HRM.
I feel a lot of factors influence the implementation of E-learning.

1)Cost- As it requires an initial investment which might be sky rocketing but in the long term it has a lower running cost.
2)Influencing the mind-set of employees to accept the new format of learning.
3) Hi -Tech V/S Low Touch- It will lack the human touch in absence of trainers and facilitators. It must ensure that a robust delivery mechanism is adopted and the learning modules are well structured.
4) Skills- I can't imagine learning Communication skills,Team skills,Fish Philosophy,Six thinking Hats [Just to name a few!!!] through E-learning. Any form of experiential learning is not possible through E-learning in the best of my current knowledge.

Yet, I strongly believe E-Learning has it's own significant place in the corporate in terms of it's customised needs.

July 25, 2008

Sparks

I came across this speech by Chetan Bhagat on his blog.
A must read for everyone.

July 21, 2008

Work can be fun at Google...

I came across this article in The Economics times with the title
'Work can be fun at Google' . Reading the article was delightful and compelled me to hallucinate about working in a similar place.

I feel the the suitable title would have been 'Work is fun at Google' considering the fact that employees have varied means to have fun at workplace which are in practice.

But my question is 'Can all companies have such a fun culture???'

The answer according to my modest knowledge is a blunt 'No'.
It obviously does not require the finance head's sanction on getting a casual wear dress code at office or playing pranks at your seniors or getting a back massage....
But if you want to put such spunky HR practices at workplace then you need a workforce which has the innate ability to have fun along with work and produce the desired results. However, such kind of talent is not in opulence according to me.

I personally feel that whenever Google recruits a candidate; it makes sure that he is worth enough to deserve that fun.

Wish I can have some fun too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 19, 2008

Employee Alumni Association

Alumni associations are synonymous with educational institutions.It does a whole lot of good; to both the institution and the students.

Students are benefited in terms of networking and a great deal of knowledge transfer by generous alumnus of the respective institution.

The institution on the other hand is as good as it's alumnus.

Now let us put the above content in the perspective of corporate context.

How about an Employee Alumni Association of a company????

Can it work?????

I believe it needs to work and if it doesnot then there is a genuine problem in your company!!!!

Let me elaborate it!!!

Academic Institutional Alumni Associations work because of a few quintessential reasons like:

* We spend the most formative years of our life in an academic institution.
* We create the finest memories of our life there.
* It is here; where we learn to correct our mistakes.
* It provides a conducive environment for emotional bonding as well as
academic excellence.
* It provides ample oppurtunity for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
* It helps us to have fun with limited resources. In other words it helps us to
increase our resourcefullness to have fun inspite of limited resources.

The above points propels us to join the alumni association and remain associated with it forever and beyond.

I guess; a company which can create the same bonding with it's employees in such a manner can create an Employee Alumni Association succesfully.

Employees leave their companies for various reason. No matter whatever the reason is; the occurence of attrition [which is inevitable] will be a serious concern always. But if the reasons are mostly unpleasent[which mostly falls under the category 'Personal Reasons'] then an Employee Alumni Association will not work.
Another reason why it might not work is because of the 'Company's Brand'.

If your company doesnot have the 'Brand Appeal' then no one would like to get associated with it.

An Employee Alumni Association can have the following advantages:

*It will extol the fact that the employer cares to remain in touch with the ex-
employee and vice-versa.
*It will indicate that the 'employer's brand' is appealing.
*It will give the employer oppurtunity to recruit an ex-star employee in future by
staying connected.
* Most importantly; it will make the employer and ex-employee feel 'Good' about
each other.
* Last but not least; it might reduce bad mouthing about your company by ex-employess.


I will ask the HR community one question.

Does your company have the potential to create an Employee Alumni Association?????

-Saikat Saha

July 18, 2008

Chennai Marathon on August 31st

The 'Good Life Chennai Marathon' is on 31st August. I am keenly looking forward to participate as it's a great platform to run for a cause that is close to your heart.

It also serves as a platform for promoting fitness.

So; what are you waiting for????

Get your sports shoes and start practicing for the run.

Visit www.givelife-chennaimarathon.com for further details like race categories, respective timings, venue and further details.

Day two at MSSW

Experience at Orientation Session

36 future HR practitioners…common academic and professional aspirations…1 trainer…keen anticipation…ice breaker…socializing…great camaraderie…introspection…retrospection…team work…20 minutes break comprising of Pepsi and bread omelets…ideating process…alignment of ideas…hope for a bright and delightful future as a HR practitioner and a better Human Being….

That precisely encapsulates my experience of the thought provoking orientation process. However; I am tempted to describe the wonderful and very reflective orientation process with greater details because of two reasons:
Firstly; because it’s an assignment given to me and I want to pursue it with utmost sincerity.
Secondly; because I genuinely feel propelled to do it.

Event 1
Mr S Inbasekeran; Chief Executive of Hi Path Organisation Consultancy Services (P) Ltd started the orientation process with the perfect note where he asked all of us ‘why we chose Human Resource domain as our career’?
Learning 1
Answers were of varied kinds ranging from the vast scope that HR offers and the people aspect to it. I personally said the much popular and I must candidly confess the much prepared explanation [even though I very seriously endorse the explanation] that people can be the greatest asset or the greatest liability of any company and it’s the only asset which appreciates it’s value with the due course of time.

Event 2
A scene from the hindi movie Munna Bhai MBBS starring Sanjay Dutt; was explained to all of us. The scene discussed in the context was that of a medical student who was asked by the principal [character played by Boman Irani] of the medical college on why she[character played by a less popular actress] chose to be a doctor? The student’s answer was ‘because she loves people and could feel their pain’.To this the principal reacted that ‘he did not love his patients because if he would have had to operate her own daughter[character played by Gracy Singh]; his hands would shake which he otherwise believed was rock steady.’
Learning 2
I believe it’s of prime importance to be sensitive but one should not get influenced to an extent where he finds it tough to demarcate the problem and the person. A true professional needs to provide a solution to a problem with a true professional fervor.

Event 3
All of us actively participated in an ice-breaking game called ‘Scavenger Hunt’. We were given a sheet of paper each which had fifteen questions like ‘Find a person whose favorite dish is made of lobster?’ Or ‘Find a person who knows how to grow a Bonzai plant?’ and 13 more such questions.
We were supposed to have the person from the group sign his/her name against each question. One person was supposed to sign only once on the sheet. The person who completed the sheet of paper with required signs won a well deserved sweet little prize[Cadbury Lite Chocolate].
Learning 3
Knowing people and leveraging the best from them through a symbiotic relationship of high level interaction right from the very outset is the key to mutual learning in a delightful manner.

Event 4
The significance of HR role in an organization was explained to us in a short but very pragmatic and clear manner. A few tips on how we could navigate ourselves towards the role of HR professional were also discussed.
Learning 4
The role of HR can serve as a blessings or blight for an organization. It depends on how well we play that role.
• Be Sensitive towards people.
• Everything has a price tag attached to it- An Olympic athlete can not treat his taste buds the way anyone else does. He needs to have a strict discipline towards his diet so that his performance is fine. Similarly; the level of aspiration is directly co-related with the level of price to be paid.

Event 5
He told us that the ever increasing Indian Population has become a boon rather than a bane as BPO sector has a high demand for skilled professionals. Also in the IT sector there is a huge demand. But it’s the BPO sector where a growth level of 30% - 40% is expected. In the IT sector; one HR professional is needed for every 200 internal customer.
Learning 5
The BPO sector has an ever greater scope for new age HR professionals.

Event 6
We did an activity where three chart papers were stuck on the walls of the classroom. Later, the 3 titles ‘Global trend’, ‘education’ and ‘self’ were neatly written on the 3 different charts respectively.
We were divided into six groups of 6 students each and were told to discuss & present the developments which took place in the past 3-4 years in the ‘global trends’, ‘education’ and ‘self’. The entire class had to also write a line each on the 3 charts so that each team could use the ideas for the presentation.
Learning 6
Firstly; we could recognize the trends of past 3-4 years in global perspective like world becoming a global village, how countries are thinking global and acting local, global warming, and increased importance of CSR etc. Secondly, the education perspective like mushrooming of engineering colleges, need for infusing better employability skills to students, virtual learning through internet etc. Thirdly; the self perspective where I got a feeling that every student had a positive outlook towards their life.


Event 7
Discussion on the entry qualification of any product or service and the differentiating factors of any product or service.
Learning 7
The entry qualification for a product is cost, quality, quantity and time. The differentiating factors are anticipation, innovation and excellence.

Event 8
Three concentric circles were drawn on the board. The inner most circle signified ‘circle of control’. The middle circle signified ‘circle of influence’ and the outer most circle signified ‘circle of no influence’. These concentric circles were drawn so that we could realize the core aspect of ‘role’ which is ‘self’ and also central to any corporate.
Learning 8
The circle of ‘control’ comprises of all the aspects of our life which is within the limits of our control like our mood swings, our temperament, our value system etc. The circle of ‘influence’ comprises of all the aspects of our life which has an influence on us like temptations, peer pressure, work ethos, childhood experiences etc. The circle of ‘no influence’ comprises of those aspects in our life which we can not influence like the climate, inflation, accidents etc.
Personally, I found this learning the most thought provoking and incisive.


Event 9
We discussed what it means to be a professional and what are the ingredients of a true professional?
Learning 9
My answer to the definition of professional was ‘a person who has the capacity to create, sustain and destroy his career or organization’. According to my opinion no one seemed remotely impressed with my answer. I am currently confused if my answer was able to make any sense.
However, I was happy when my suggestion for two most important ingredients of a true professional namely: integrity & performance was well endorsed.
The students extolled bright suggestions like resourcefulness, maturity , attitude, confidence, ethics, skills, knowledge, discipline ,code of conduct etc but the one suggestion which caught my attention and was also appreciated by the trainer came from a class mate; Upsika; who suggested improvising existing knowledge by sharing the learnings with others[this encouraged me to share the content of the assignment in my blog].


Event 10
Mr S Inbasekeran; also helped us by giving us useful tips on how we could become better professionals. He stressed on the importance of inculcating professionalism right from student level.
Learning 10

Raising our personal standards- A deep emphasis was given on having a strong value system comprising of mainly ‘humility’. He gave the example of the sea and it’s magnanimity yet it’s situated at a lower level than a lake, river or pond.He explained the importance of good language skills and constantly improve our communication skills. He also added the significance of the right dress code as it also influences behavior.
• Emotional Balance- He told us to refrain from mood swings, temper tantrums and encouraged us to rebound from emotional disturbance. He also explained ‘emotional integrity’ which meant having sameness in behavior constantly. He gave the example of William Ouche [I hope I spelt the name correctly] who in spite of being incredibly successful treated everyone ranging from a gardener to a president with same dignity and respect.
• Relational Integrity- He encouraged us to have strong foundation to any relationship through right treatment towards people and by gaining confidence of people. He gave the example of Paul Mayor who had sent an aeroplane to help his secretary when he/she was ill. He also emphasized that a HR professional should act as a ‘safe chamber’ to the employees to whom they could share their problem with confidence and comfort.
He also shared with us the importance of developing personal power in times of struggle.


Event 11
The last exercise which was given to us was the SLOT[Strength, Limitation, Opportunity and Threats] analysis which reminded me of the SWOT[Strength, Weakness,Opportunity, Threat] analysis. I found the replacement of the word ‘Weakness’ with ‘Limitation’ very fascinating. Apparently; weakness is extensively used ineffectively in interviews as the candidate often projects his weakness as a seeming strength.
We were also suggested an action plan comprising of action items, resource points and investments.

Learning 11
I could realize the true potential of the SLOT analysis when I was in the process of completing the action plan. I felt a lot more clear on the priorities of my life as a student and future professional.


Some other observations were as follows: The entire orientation session was very participative in nature and served as a perfect start to the two years of delightful learning I am looking forward to.


Books recommended by Mr S Inbasekeran:
• ‘The road less traveled’ by Scot Spec
• ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephan Covey
• Lee Ioca- An Autobiography







July 14, 2008

Culture orientation through fresh recruit's eyes...

1) Who knows the culture breeding at your company????
2) Who gets the most adversely affected because of the cultural mismatch???

The answer to the first question is probably or rather must be all the stakeholders in business.

The answer to the second question is the fresh recruits in my opinion.
When the fresh talent comes to the organisation ; they seek role models who are infact the best ambassadors of the company's culture. The first few months are crucial in helping the new recruits find their role models.

In most likely cases, the new recruit would create a snapshot about the company's culture which is oriented through the role model's perspective and his own experience thriving in the company's culture.

Considering the above mentioned true[let me have the benefit of doubt]; two important initiatives can be introduced in the company.

Firstly, the new recruit can be mentored on how to choose the correct role model and not be told as to who is the correct role model.
I feel it's important to give freedom to the employee to choose their role model as it's an important indicator about how right or wrong a new recruit can get in that regard. But it is not a hit and trial phase either.

So, after a few months [ 2-3 months] since the start of his work; there has to be a keen discussion involving all the new recruits about their observations in the company culture. The discussion or presentations need to allow great amount of candor.

Secondly, the discussion must involve self fix approach from the new recruits in order to fix the loopholes in the culture. This way the new recruits will become a part of the solution.

Thirdly, the HR team needs to find the desired culture and the gap between the prevailing culture and the desired culture [ sounds cleashay but can't help!!!!].

Finally, fill the gap through some good ideas and more importantly effective execution of those ideas.

-Saikat Saha

The 8 employability parameters

Ma Foi Academy has developed the Job Readiness Indicator (JRI) which can assess one's job readiness through eight employability parameters.
The eight employability parameters are:
* Wllingness to communicate
* Problem solving ability
* Innovative thinking
* Learning focus
* Working in a team
* Entrepreneurial orientation
* Personal credibility
* Resourcefulness

Since you know the parameters now; hone the skills and crack the interviews.....

July 8, 2008

Teach India...



I have registered myself as a volunteer for the Teach India initiative by Times of India. The description about the entire initiative in the newspaper seems very promising and the initiative is spread across different locations in my city and also divided into various convinient timings.

Read below to know more about the programme-

"Teach India is a nation-building initiative (or social initiative) from the Times of India that brings together children in need of education and people who can contribute a little time towards teaching them. It is based on one simple principle: If you have the desire to teach, we will put you in touch with underprivileged children who are willing to learn. With over sixty of India’s committed NGOs, corporates, schools and social organizations already supporting our cause, we now look for selfless individuals to come forward and help change the future of a child forever, by giving just a few hours a week to Teach India."

July 7, 2008

Go Kiss The World....

I came across a book titled 'Go Kiss The World' by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting in Crossword today. The title of the book is inspired from the sentence "Go kiss the world " told to him by her mother; moments before her death.

I got fascinated by the way in which the title of the book was inspired.

Later, I found this captivating speech through google search; given by Subroto Bagchi at IIM Bangalore on July 2nd 2004 .

Agneepath....

I do not intend to sound overtly dramatic here but we all have certain propellers in our life which inspires us to walk that extra mile when situations do not look very bright.

I have one such propeller in my life. It's a Hindi poem written by Harivansh Rai Bachan many years ago. It's titled 'Agneepath' [ Path of Fire] and it's as follows:

"Vriksh ho bhale khade, ho ghane ho bade, Ek pat chhav ki mang mat, mang mat, mang mat Agneepath Agneepath Agneepath.

Tu na thakega kabhi, tu na thamega kabhi, tu na mudega kabhi, Kar shapath, kar shapath, kar shapath, Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath.


Ye mahaan drishya hai, chal raha manushya hai, Ashru swed raqt se lathpath, lathpath, lathpath, Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath."

-Harivansh Rai Bachchan

The poem speaks about the human spirit which in spite of road blocks and several adversities must always forge ahead towards victory....

There are delightfully surprising aspects in our lives. Some of them are granted to us like mother's love for her children, unconditional friendship,the joy of living diverse roles in life,gifts of nature etc....and for the rest we need to walk through the 'Agneepath' [Path of fire]....

Treading through the 'Agneepath' is inevitable in life as very little is ever granted to us. Whatever little is granted to us; we do not understand it's worth.

It's the 'resourcefulness' which is granted to us by the 'Divine' & the 'Nature' so that we can recognize it and gather the 'resources' necessary to tread through the 'Agneepath'.

-Saikat Saha