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


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 .


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

July 6, 2008

Waiting for July 16th...

I have been selected in Madras School of Social Work for their MA in Human Resource Management Degree Programme.

So your's truly is finally looking forward to have his formal PG education in Human Resource Management from this esteemed institution known for grooming some of the finest HR practitioners.

I hope I have shown a decent amount of passion towards HR till now without any formal PG degree in Human Resource Management.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement till date and look forward to your continued support and good wishes in future too.

- Saikat Saha

'Every employee is a CEO'- Mr GD Sharma

According to Mr. G D Sharma, Vice President – Human Resources, L&T ' Every employee is a CEO'.
When he made this statement to a gathering in Madras Management Association a few weeks back, the entire gathering was surprised.
However, he expanded the acronym after a brief silence.
It's as follows:
C- Customer Centricity
E-Employee engagement and empowerment

The above mentioned was just one of the many interesting knowledge he shared with us.

- Saikat Saha

HR-'Honesty in Relation'

Yesterday; I was a part of a gathering which was addressed by G S Ramesh; Former Senior Vice-President,Human Resource,Hyundai Motors (India) Ltd at Madras Management Association.

His speech was simple yet power packed with a very pragmatic perspective.I would share a few words of wisdom which I learnt about Human Resource from him and I am sure that my readers will struggle to find them in any book :-)

* HR- Honesty in Relationships

* Smile- He opened the speech on a very candid and informal manner which brought smiles on all our faces.After noticing our smiles; he thanked us and said that 'Bringing smile and sustaining that smile on the internal customer's face is the biggest role of an HR'

*Be sensitive- Whenever we get the hurt ; the first word which comes from our mouth is 'Maa/Mom/Mother' . The responsibility of HR according to him is to play the role of that 'Mother'. Which means the HR professional has to be approachable and must sensitize with the needs of the internal customers.

He further categorised sensitivity into:

1) Environment Sensitive- One needs to recognise and realise that the environment around him is a great source of learning and he must embrace this learning with open heart.

2) People Sensitive- He told us to follow the 3 C's- Care, Concern and Cure. I believe the 3 C's captures the essence of people sensitivity.

3) Process Sensitive- A HR professional needs to understand the process very well so that he can realise what his internal customer goes through.
It's highly important to understand the deep complexities and intricacies associated with the process of which his internal customer's are an integral part.

4) Business Sensitivity- HR professionals always needs to keep in his mind that HR is a business partner.

* Conscious keeper of people and Custodian of rules

* HR should market themselves well

* Think BIG and also Act BIG

* Good HR professionals are in demand because there is an ever increasing need to retain top performing employees

* HR is the Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh[Creator,Keeper & Destroyer] of an organisation.

* Theory X- Right sizing, lay offs etc

* Theory Y - Soft skills, culture etc

* HR team needs to establish the right chemistry with the employees and other departments which means falling in love with oneself and others through:

*Mutual respect

* Win-Win situation

*Remove your shoes, walk on the grass and feel the ground- Face the reality.Accept that you are a part of it and you can bring about a change.

*Eye is the window to one's personality

* Face criticism with the right attitude- Don't make your heart heavy and filter the feelings properly.

* Principles like JIT[Jus In Time] and DRIFT [Do it Right In the First Time] are of utmost importance for every HR proffesional.

* In order to bring smile on other's faces; you should have a smile on your face.

* Keep yourself happy and approachable

* Realign the thoughts and have a postive attitude towards your proffesion and life.

These above mentioned points holds the essence of his simple yet power packed lecture which lasted for 45 minutes approximately.

I look forward to many more such sessions which has the capacity to make the audience ask for more!!!!!!!!!

-Saikat Saha

July 2, 2008

The right 'work culture' & 'Multiple Exit interviews'

There are a few articles which can foster ideas. I came across one such amazing article written by 'Abhijit Bhaduri' titled 'Why do they quit?' .

It is one of the many interesting articles on the website. This article helped me to come out with the idea of 'Multiple exit interviews' and further introspect on the 'work culture'.

Following is the comment which I left on the website after reading the thought provoking article:

"I find the ‘culture’ aspect very thought provoking. I completely agree that ‘culture’ breeds the desired ethos.

But fostering the right culture is rare. It’s mainly because a lot of people managers get a feeling that creating the culture is a lengthy process and the benefits of the culture would be enjoyed by his successor & not by him.A culture can gain it’s visibility and effectiveness only when the culture gets percolated in the bottom of the hierarchy.

Personally I feel implementing the right culture in itself needs a well thought out study of the existing culture,recognising the desired culture which is aligned with the vision and mission statement of the company and then ‘coaching’ the key people on implementation of the desired culture.

Secondly, I want to emphasize on the ‘exit interview’ part. These days when an employee says goodbye to his company ; he makes a point to ‘google’ the key words ‘How to leave a company gracefully???’.

He instantly tries to give his best during the notice period, stops taking any ‘panga’ with his superior and makes it a point to write ‘ how lovely it would be for him to come back and serve the esteemed company’. These exit interviews do not really serve the exact purpose then.
Personally I feel a second round of exit interview must take place after 6 months. It gives the employee more candor and also a different perspective as he would be serving a different culture at a different workplace then.

If we can take multiple interviews during selection then why not multiple exit interview after a medium amount of time gap????
The article is fantastic and this website is my favourite learning site.
Thanks for being an inspiration."

-Saikat Saha[A wanna be HR superstar]