Sunday, December 31, 2006

Workplace today

One of the most interesting aspect of today’s workplace is very conception of what constitutes your work place. Some of the work-life related themes which are worth pondering over are -the difference between work and personal life, the place from which you discharge your responsibilities and execute your employee obligations, the whole concept of workplace communities and extended workplace.

It’s amazing how some blurred the difference between life and work has become. Organizations analyze the data on amount of time people are spending at work. Serious thoughts are being given to ensure that people do not spend more than the regular work hours at work. Long working hours and continued exposure to work related activities often leads to burn out and other work related physiological and physiological issues.

So we have health camps, sports events, recreational other engagement activities like spouse network and kids club to foster a feeling of community and bonding between employees. Despite the stress and strains of modern urban life organizations are fighting hard to maintain the balance in employee’s life. To counter the menace of growing urbanization and reduce the stress due to urban congestion organizations have been developing centers in small cities. Employees are being encouraged with various incentives to move to the small centers as it improves productivity and quality of work life balance.

My personal experience also makes me believe that future of work place lies in small towns which are well connected to major cities. The fact that small cities are good for employee morale and well being is also proved by the satisfaction index of the employees working in these centers. However infrastructure continues to be a matter of concern and it’s imperative that we have more such small centers of excellence spread across various parts of the globe than congregation of organizations in big islands of prosperity.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The HR Spoof

Don't miss to see this funny video from which has some kids talking about the joy ,fun and pain of being in HR.A real treat to see the kids talk about HR in this funny spoof.

Here the link to the video.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ethical Issues in Hiring

This image really made me think about the challenge which organizations face today in ascertaining the work experience and educational qualifications of employees. I keep hearing lot of stories about the way recruitment happens in some of high attrition industries like call centre and support functions. The lack of skilled talent and high pressure to recruit people often means recruiting people who may not be the best suited for the job.

In the past we have debated the validity and predictability of the interview process and selection tests for entry or mid level jobs but typically in a high attrition industry quality checks and rigid processes means high turnaround time and low offer acceptance.

Given the market situation today, one if often tempted to put inaccurate details or outrightly falsify. Some are smart or rather lucky to get through and make merry on the job. We often come across situations when an employee who has claimed some particular experience may not be able to demonstrate the competency and skills as per the profile. Backgrounds checks are often re initiated in such cases as it becomes a daunting task if one has to be asked to leave due to unsatisfactory performance on job.

Its actually sad when one has to be separated on account of falsification and on account background check reports. Since these checks have been made very stringent in recent times it difficult to estimate the number of such cases from different organisations.

Business week recently had a story on the ethical job hunter.

In recent years, the ethics of running a business has garnered plenty of attention in the B-school classroom. But until now, MBA students rarely got a lesson on the rights and wrongs they themselves might commit while on the hunt for jobs.Patrick E. Murphy, the Smith co-director of the Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide and professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business helped create a manual, at, for students and recruiters that answers some of their questions about how to face certain dilemmas when looking for a job. Murphy encourages other schools and organizations to adapt the document to create their own set of guidelines.

Among the ethical proscriptions for job hunters, the manual lists:

•Misrepresenting background and skills (in a job interview or embellishing a résumé)
•Misrepresenting job-seeking status (e.g., number of offers)
•Accepting on-site interviews when not seriously considering the prospective employer

As for recruiters, the manual warns against:

•Using exploding job offers (failing to allow applicants to participate in the entire recruiting season, or giving applicants less than two weeks to decide at other times)
•Tying signing bonus to exploding job offer
•Using high-pressure interviewing tactics on campus or during firm visits
Murphy says students should consult lists of employers that magazines and newspapers put out to gain insight into companies and their culture (see, 9/18/06, "The Best Places to Launch a Career").

He also suggests talking to those who already work at the company and taking the time to do some assessment of your own character. "You'll come out ahead in the whole process if you're more transparent and honest,”.

The fact that we rarely talk about ethical means of searching jobs in our classroom is a point worth considering. We really can’t expect our job seekers to live in a different /perfect world where truth is always rewarded. Also it’s worth question the ethical practices of organizations today, an organization may claim to be practicing ethical values but then not all of them follow the ethical practices when it comes to the hiring philosophy, especially when it comes to hire people for positions which are critical and talent is in short supply.Talent poaching is also a catalyst as it often allows people to get away with unethical practices.

Employee productivity and Induction

According to a new survey from Salveson Stetson Group, almost two-thirds of companies admit that they don't do a good job of integrating newly recruited managers and executives into their new roles.

The survey of some 100 companies found that only one in 10 felt they did an excellent job of integrating new senior hires and a further quarter felt that their efforts were "good". Of the remainder, almost half (46 pert cent) said that their efforts were average and 17 per cent admitted that they were poor.

"Once the hiring process is complete, many companies fail to provide sufficient assistance to integrate newly recruited executives into their organizations, which can lead to poor performance and an early voluntary or involuntary exit," said John Salveson, Salveson Stetson Group co-founder. In particular, many companies fail to adequately assimilate new hires into their organisational culture; something that co-founder Sally Stetson said is one of the major reasons why newly-recruited employees fail.

Formal Induction process with ensures that the organization values, culture and structure in communicated well to new employees is critical if one has to engage employees from day one.

Research by Jamie Gruman, a professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph in Canada, suggests that employers who make the socialization of new recruits a priority and develop programmes to integrate them with differing levels of experience and responsibility can expect greater retention, productivity, commitment and initiative.

"The bottom line is the more structure there is around the socialization of new employees – informing them about the kind of training they'll receive and when training will take place — the more likely new employees are to seek information and feedback and view themselves as part of the organisation," he said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

BPO and Trade Unions

Kari Tapiola, Executive Director of International Labour Organisation (ILO), today said employees of Indian BPOs are well within their rights to unionise themselves and national-level unions can also reach out to them.

"All employees, whether in the formal or informal sector, need to have their voice and a bargaining partner," Tapiola said when asked whether the growing number of BPO employees should organise themselves into trade unions. He said while the national-level unions could reach out and encourage the BPO workforce to organise themselves, the decision to align with a particular union should be left to the employees themselves.

True, we must ensure that workers right and privileges are protected and the safeguarded by the law of the land. But do we need Trade Unions to take up the BPO employee’s rights and issues? Not really, trade unions may not help BPO as the nature of the industry is very different from the very concept of a trade union which is based on the notion of collective barging.

Today when BPO’s are struggling hard to retain employees and work place resembles more like an airport where people keep hopping in and out every minute, trade Unions are not the solution to employee’s problem. Given the background of recent concern on security breaches by Indian BPO’s and growing alarm over the integrity issues ,if Trade unions were to become a reality it will certainly impact the growth and reputation of Indian BPO industry.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sapphire weekly News from HR world

News from the HR World
School of Business & Human Resources

Editor’s Recommendations

Sapient achieves 'Best Place to Work' recognition in all countries of operation
Burning Within-The Influence of Organizational Respect on Burnout
Attracting Top Talent Via Employment Branding Tactics
TCS unveils 'science-to-software' transformation program
Can the Internet Be Your HR Department?


Work Force Management

Sapient achieves 'Best Place to Work' recognition in all countries of operation

Sapient has been named number 5 in the "Ten Best Companies to Work for in India in 2006" ranking by Business Today magazine, Mercer Human Resources Consulting and TNS India. This recognition, which marks Sapient's third consecutive year as a best place to work in India, builds on the company's numerous workplace awards in Canada, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Multiple institutions around the world have recognized Sapient for its distinctive culture and use of career management mentorship programs to accelerate development and growth. The company has been ranked recently in such workplace lists as Canadian Business' "Best Workplaces in Canada," Capital magazine's "Germany's Best Employers," Businessworld and Great Place to Work Institute's "Top 25 Great Places to Work in India," and Consulting magazine's "Top 10 Best Consulting Firms to Work For."

To find out more click on the title

Burning Within-The Influence of Organizational Respect on Burnout

One of the biggest complaints employees have is they are not sufficiently recognised by their organizations for the work that they do. Respect is a component of recognition. When employees don't feel that the organization respects and values them, they tend to experience higher levels of burnout.

Disrespect is experienced across industries; disrespect for individuals may be particularly problematic in the helping professions where concern for individuals is paramount.

A company's culture plays an important role in burnout. The more they feel respected as a member of the group, the more likely they are to have a sense of identification.

To find out more click on the title

IBM Settles to Pay $65 Million In Overtime to IT Workers

Technology giant IBM agreed to pay $65 million to settle allegations that it failed to pay overtime to technical services and information technology employees, according to a preliminary settlement filed Nov. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

According to the complaint filed in the case, the employees alleged that their primary duty was to install, maintain, and support computer software and hardware for IBM and its customers, but that they were misclassified as exempt employees and ineligible for overtime.

To find out more click on the title

Measuring The Success Of Hiring Managers

Who were those managers who picked the applicants who went on to succeed? How did they make their hiring decisions? Could the criteria they applied be adopted by other hiring managers throughout the company? These are good questions that most HR professionals don't ask. Because of that, experts say, they are missing out on a golden opportunity to tap and duplicate a valuable resource in their organizations, best practices of successful hiring managers.

Until recently, HR's metrics in recruitment and talent selection have been concentrated on efficiency, measuring cost-per-hire and time-to-fill data. Now, experts maintain that efficiency is only part of a winning formula; quality must be the other part.

To find out more click on the title

Attracting Top Talent Via Employment Branding Tactics

While assessment enables you to make such distinctions among candidates once they have applied, it is your employment brand that ensures you have the right quality candidates to evaluate, in the first place. In other words, assessment is useful only if your organization can:

1. Attract the top talent who will fit in and
2. Persuade them to apply

How does an employment brand accomplish those tasks? It must address the issues that matter most to the people you most want to hire. It must focus on the key motivators for the unique cohort of the workforce that is right for your organization.

To find out more click on the title.

Performance Management

Taking Some of the Dread Out of Performance Reviews

New software promises to make the annual performance review easier and faster, while assuring top executives that employees are being rated consistently on skills and objectives that are in line with overall corporate goals. The tools, usually part of a suite of performance-related applications, can coach bosses through the appraisal process, help them calculate scores and offer tips for writing reviews. At the same time, they provide reports on who has and who hasn't completed their reviews, along with a full picture of the capabilities, experience and accomplishments of the entire work force.

Training and Development

TCS unveils 'science-to-software' transformation program

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has unveiled its latest initiative to enlarge and develop the suitable talent pool available to the IT industry.

The TCS Talent Transformation (TCS T2) aims to transform science graduates into global software professionals and is the first scalable program undertaken to draw graduates from disciplines other than engineering into the global technology services industry. With lack of suitable, trained talent identified as a key potential barrier to growth, the TCS science-to-software program is designed to be a hi-tech, hi-touch learning module that aims to transform B.Sc./BCA degree holders into best-in-class IT professionals.

The TCS Talent Transformation program is designed to spread the economic benefits of employment in the IT industry to wider base of science graduates across India. This will be done through a fast, scaleable model that has been designed to reach out to the large mass of science graduates in the country, irrespective of locations.

Designed as an intensive 7-month residential transformation program, the curriculum will include formal lectures, projects and assignments, quizzes and interactive sessions. The selected graduates will undergo courses in the principles of software development and IT, develop an understanding of core technologies underlying IT systems as well services like package implementation as well as new technologies like Java, .Net as well as TCS' proprietary tools, frameworks and quality processes.

To find out more click on the title

The State of Training and Development: More Spending, More Scrutiny

As investment in training continues to rise, with resources migrating away from in-house programs, employers are demanding better accounting to ensure that their development dollars go toward furthering strategic goals and bolstering the bottom line.

Technology and global competition, the two driving forces of economic change in today’s business world, haven’t bypassed the once-staid world of training and development. Companies seeking to gain advantage through better-trained and better-developed workers are employing everything from e-learning delivery systems to multicultural and polyglot training solutions. They are hiring chief learning officers to deal with the increasingly complex field. And they are demanding better accounting of results.

Yet despite the focus on efficiency and cost control, overall spending on training and development continues to rise, a reflection of the fact that companies are ratcheting up the amount of training they require of their workers in the ceaseless drive for a competitive edge. Companies clearly subscribe to the belief that smarter, better-trained workers increase chances for success.

To find out more click on the title.


Thousands of BPO jobs that pay BIG

Business process outsourcing lives. Initially, it was driven by foreign companies that shifted work to India to save on labour costs. But with time, it has thrived and evolved. Now, a number of Indian companies too are farming out work to specialist outfits to keep expenses down. These outfits comprise the 'domestic BPO' sector. In terms of employment, it is still a relatively small part of the BPO pie, but it is booming.

According to National Association of Software and Service Companies, during 2002-05, the domestic BPO sector saw employment grow at a compounded rate of 60 per cent, to touch 352,000.
But, it expects employment to rise only marginally in 2006, to 365,000. IT research and consultancy company Gartner, however, expects employment in the sector to grow at about 50 per cent annually.

Some of the bigger players in this market are IBM-Daksh, MphasiS, TeleTech and Hinduja TMT. While they have a sizable chunk of foreign business, their domestic business is substantial too. Third-party players like Orion Dialog, Sparsh, Magus, Infovision, Solutions, Customer First and Mobilink have a sharper focus on the domestic business.

To find out more click on the title


Can the Internet Be Your HR Department?

Typically, the single largest expense for a company of any size is the cost of payroll and managing personnel issues. As companies grow, headcounts increase and so does the process of maintaining payroll, benefits administration and other corporate policies, such as vacation schedules, sick time, hiring, etc. The good news for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is that they no longer need a dedicated department to manage human resources (HR) activities.
The Internet is playing a pivotal role in this change.

By leveraging Web-based HR technology platforms, SMBs can now offer “big business” services to employees while enjoying the time and cost efficiencies associated with a centralized system.
While these methods and systems have their merits, the Internet has enabled SMBs to realize greater efficiencies by utilizing hosted HR platforms. These systems eliminate the need to purchase and maintain applications and servers, are extremely easy to use, and are accessible via standard Web browsers and an Internet connection. They are also secure and very affordable with pricing models typically scoped on a per employee basis.

To find out more click on the title.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is it just Profit Motive ?

Wasserman talks about what motivates entrepreneurs? Is it Money? Or Control? Or is it that some entrepreneurs are expecting to get rich. Others want to grow and control a new venture. But most would probably answer: "both."In his paper called "Rich versus King: The Entrepreneur's Dilemma," suggests ways that entrepreneurs can work toward being both rich and royal.

Profit motive was competing with other motivations, most prominently the control motive. Most of the founders I have studied started off wanting to become both Rich and King—"Rich and Regal," if you will. This desire is reinforced when they see such prominent Rich and Regal entrepreneurs as Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation, Marc Benioff of, and Phil Knight of Nike. What's ignored is that these people are so well known precisely because they are the exceptions, the rare founders who are able to achieve both. Many others I've studied who tried to achieve both have ended up making some decisions consistent with Rich motivations and others consistent with King motivations, and in the process of mixing the two, ended up with neither.

Interesting observations ,but I guess money remains a motivator till an organization grows to a critical size and then it’s the organization growth and competitive ability of the firm which becomes the critical motivator for the entrepreneurs.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Impact of Employee Referral's Program

In an interesting analysis Gerry Crispin talks about the impact of employee referral on firm’s hiring over the Job boards. Not that job boards are ineffective but employee referrals are far more effective and have a greater impact than Job boards.

He gives these inputs to substantiate the idea;

Analyzing actual data (as opposed to guesses) from 24 specific firms who filled 188,000 positions during 2005 showed that 32% of the 188,000 were filled with internal movement and promotion. Of the remainder, the folks who were hired externally, 27.1% were filled by Employee Referrals. (source: CXR Annual Source of Hire Survey)

In a second study of employee referrals,More than 50 firms reported that the ratio of the number of hires to the total number of referrals during 2005 produced a yield ranging from 1 hire for every 10 employee referrals to 1 hire for every 2 employee referrals (with 1 hire for every 4 or .25 being the average). (source: CXR Colloquium Benchmark on Referral Practices)

If all companies hired the same percentage of employee referrals (they do not) and, if the average yield for referrals were true for all companies large and small (they are not) then a typical job seeker (there are none) has .271 X .25 chance of being hired if they get a employee to refer them - or about a 6.5% chance of getting hired if they simply focus on getting an employee in a targeted company to refer them.
Previous post on employee referral here .

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Employee Engagement and Leadership

Business needs are not just driven by your external customers and need but also subject to your internal customers. Employees are the key to internal customer’s satisfaction level and different aspects of engagement are put in place in organizations to achieve high internal customer satisfaction. Leaders play the most pivotal role in communicating and giving the message of being an internal customers to Employees.

Ram Charan outlines five steps to engage employees and talks about how attitudes, feelings and emotions that makes work enjoyable and ignites people's energy to do more than they thought they could. Great leaders understand the numbers, but they also touch people's hearts.

1. Spend time and listen.There's no substitute for personal interaction. Even the most competent, motivated professionals can lose focus, energy, and commitment when their interaction with the boss dwindles. Some people will assume others have your ear and feel less important. Others will simply feel overlooked and underappreciated.

2. Help people see why their work is important.It's hard to feel engaged when you're working in a vacuum. You can help people see their individual contribution as part of a bigger picture.

3. Give people honest feedback.
When people aren't meeting expectations, let them know that, too, so that they have a chance to improve. Don't let your disappointments build and fester. If you talk to people regularly there'll be no surprises.

4. Take an interest in people's careers.People will be all the more committed to their work when they know you're the kind of leader who is truly interested in their success. Look for what people are naturally good at and work with them to find ways that they can leverage their talents. This applies to your underperformers as well as your superstars.

5. Take an interest in the person beyond the job.Not every conversation should be about work. People have lives outside of work; indeed, some people are very different outside of their jobs. People will know you care about them if you take time to learn what's important in their lives.

The Full Measure of Leadership

It's in your daily behavior, and it's your energy that creates energy in others. It's that simple.

Put your beliefs into action. Treat people like human beings with full lives, personal ambitions, and both the desire and the right to be valued and heard. Is it different from what you see around you? Maybe so, but that's what leadership is all about.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Asian Heroes

Time magazine has come out with a special issue on Asian heroes. Heroes from five diverse fields which include Arts, sports and Business have been identified. It’s interesting to read the success story of heroes of our times.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Some interesting leaders like Meena from Afghanistan are really inspiring.

In 1977, at the age of 20, she launched the country's first movement for women's rights, calling her group the Revolutionary Association for the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Its goals: the restoration of democracy, equality for men and women, social justice, and the separation of religion from the affairs of the state.

Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus from Gramin bank on how he started his journey.

In 1974, famine gripped Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands died and millions became destitute. For Yunus, who had just returned to Bangladesh as an economics professor after completing his Ph.D. in the U.S., it was wrenching to discover how meaningless his academic achievements were in the midst of all this suffering. Hoping to cure his own sense of helplessness, he wandered the muddy lanes of a village next to his university, searching for ways to help. Little did he know that this nervous exploration would plant the seeds of an economic miracle still blooming decades later.

On how Yahoo became a success story.

Created by two Stanford students, Dave Filo and an expat Taiwanese named Jerry Yang, the site was a directory of other websites, organized as a list of useful topics. It was meant for the students' friends, but everyone was hungry at that time for a guide that helped make sense of this chaotic new medium, so Yahoo! quickly became essential for all Web users.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Milton Friedman :1912-2006

Renowned economist and social scientist Milton Friedman died this week on Friday .A supporter of free market economics and the father of monetarism who popularized the term "there's no such thing as a free lunch", he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1976 and his thinking greatly influenced former US president Ronald Reagan and ex-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The Independent reports “Over half a century, Mr Friedman, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, established himself as arguably the most influential economic thinker of his time. Over that post-war period, "Friedmanism" - the belief that changes in money supply dictate fluctuations in the economy - supplanted Keynesianism as the dominant economic philosophy of the industrial world.

Friedman believed in the power of free markets, to the point where it sometimes seemed his only use for government was to regulate the flow of money. The consequence of Friedman's policies was to deepen social and economic inequality. Corporate CEOs could feel entitled to enormous pay packages if, in their view, the marketplace rather than a compliant board of directors, was responsible. Government was hard put to intervene on the side of those not so advantaged, because politicians who espoused the Friedman philosophy kept taxes low and skewed tax cuts in favor of the wealthy.

You can read his autobiography here on Nobel Prize org.

Dave Ulrich on Effective HR

Dave Ulrich on -What differentiates “effective HR” from “ineffective HR”?

HR departments, practices and professionals must add value. This means, simply, that someone receives from these HR investments something that is important to them. Often, we measure HR by what we do — staffing, training, paying, communicating — but we should be focusing on what HR delivers.

To deliver this value, HR departments often are being split in half. Some of the traditional transaction work of HR, which deals with things like payroll, hiring processes and registration for training, are done more efficiently through technology and occasionally outsourcing. More strategic HR practices, such as building collaboration, learning and leadership into an organization, require that HR professionals fully participate with the business leaders at creating more capable organizations.

So the question you need to ask yourself ,how is your work adding value to the organization and its employee in attaining the desired common goal ? I think we all face the issue of finding the right balance between the regular transactional work and collaborating on strategic business goals such as managing career aspirations and engaging employees. This a key challenge for HR in most of most of the organizations, which is being addressed to shift the focus from what we do to what we can deliver.Some have already been able to make the transition and the results are also worth analysing.Perhaps the biggest impact of this shift in focus is the change in the way HR is perceived in the organisations.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Best Companies to Work for in India

So what makes a company a great employer ?Every employer would like to study and adopt the best practices from the best employers .The sixth annual Business Today Best Companies to Work for in India recorded a phenomenal 75% increase in participation from last year and a total of 131 organizations registered for the survey.

The winners of the survey are companies who have made substantial investment in their people, infrastructure, facilities, technology and evolved HR systems. Stock options, flexi-timings, telecommuting, redressal and grievance committees, customized training and development opportunities, career management control and empowerment seem to be standard fare at these organizations. Most companies in the top ten have leveraged technology and have built truly integrated HR systems and processes. This is turn, has benefited and empowered employees who get access to information related to HR policies, performance management review, training needs and career planning tools, online.

The winning organizations have built a strong culture which reflects the values that the company wishes to inculcate in its employees. Communicating these values has gone beyond posters and employee manuals and senior management including the CEO of a winning organization personally facilitates the integrity session as part of the induction program for new employees.

So its not just the HR practices which makes the organizations great but a combination of factors like leadership, values, focus of process benchmarking and greater acceptance and responsiveness towards employees need which leads to high employee satisfaction.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

HR and Recruitment

Lance from YourHRguy talks about why HR and recruitment need to work in harmony for the success of an organization.

When unplanned turnover happens, it is often (but not always) avoidable. And when turnover happens, it is a burden on a recruiter (who may already be sitting on several recs). Wouldn't you rather have your recruiter working on new and high worth positions rather than scrambling to replace a guy that you could have retained? Whenever someone is recruited that ends up having avoidable job fit issues, wouldn't you rather that the recruiter be closely aware of the issues and to work with traditional HR to either solve the issue or to move forward with someone else?

The biggest reason is that separating HR and recruiting will lead to mistakes in most organizations. Mistakes that are both burdening on the employee as well as on the company. Not only lost revenue but lost opportunity. And with the success of both HR and recruiting depending so much upon each other, there has to be a strong, departmental team.
One of the reasons why recruitment and HR always ends up having confrontation is the basic approach toward managing and handling prospective employee expectation. Be it the salary, nature of Job, role, career opportunities, technology or domain there always seems to be a mismatch between expectations, which the recruiter may have set at the time of giving employment offer and the actual job reality. With the constant pressure on numbers and ever increasing hiring targets to be achieved this continues to be a reason why recruiters end up being bad at relationship management.

Employees often land up in a situation where they feel like a disgruntled customer who could not get the services offered by the seller. HR being the point of contact once an employee joins the organization, employees expect HR to meet the expectations set at the time of recruitment. I think one of the primary reasons why HR needs to work closely with recruitment is to have a better co-ordination in managing and improving employee’s initial experience with the organization. This will not only help organization achieve better employee satisfaction but ensure a great assimilation of an employee in the organization from day one.

Azim Premji on Innovation Process

Azim Premji recently spoke on innovation at the Stanford Business School.

Failure is an essential part of the innovative process, “It is impossible to generate a few good ideas without a lot of bad ideas. Failure should be forgiven and forgotten quickly,” he said during his Oct. 27 visit. Premji’s talk was part of the School’s View from the Top speaker series.

To that end, companies must deliberately design a culture of innovation to actively seek feedback from customers, celebrate all kinds of diversity in their workforces, and also foster an environment in which workers feel safe taking risks, even when they fail.

“In every market, at every juncture, there are significant scale advantages that make the largest companies appear invincible. Yet time and time again, upstart technologies create disruptions and they change the rules of the game,” said Premji. He used the example of Skype, which became the first company to offer voice-over-Internet phone services on a broad scale years after all the established phone companies had started talking about the process.

Previous Post on Celebrating failures.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Leadership:The Quiet Style

Is leadership all about charisma and inspiring people with great speeches and effective people’s skill?

Can you think of someone who can effectively play the role of a leader despite being quiet and low profile?

HBS professor Joseph L. Badaracco,In his book Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing , describes what quiet leaders do and how they make their workplace, and their world, a better place. So who is a quiet leader?

They're not making high-stakes decisions. They're often not at the top of organizations. They don't have the spotlight and publicity on them. They think of themselves modestly; they often don't even think of themselves as leaders. But they are acting quietly, effectively, with political astuteness, to basically make things somewhat better, sometimes much better than they would otherwise be.

One really needs to think hard as we often confuse charisma with leader’s effectiveness. Robert Greenleaf’s concept of Servant leadership also says that the great leader is first experienced as a servant to others, and that this simple fact is central to the leader's greatness. True leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others.

So being in spot light and control of situation does not always makes one a great leader. To some extent this is also what Jim Collins says about level 5 leadership : modest and willful, humble and fearless that’s what a leader is.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Global Indian Manager

Ever wonder why Indian managers are in great demand everywhere?

ET article suggets "Several qualities of Indian management talent have been compelling to multinationals. Regardless of the profession they are in, Indian managers tend to have very strong, foundation skills, honed by our rigorous academic systems. They are quick learners, something that’s again driven by our educational system, the variety of work environments and diversity of issues that they face in India. Indian managers tend to be very adaptable.

Apart from the academic rigours and knowledge of business one trait which really makes the Indian manager indispensable in the ability to handle diversity. This may be something which comes naturally to Indian managers but its one skill which allows them to take a leap.

As a manager managing teams with cross cultural background and different aspiration level is one of the biggest challenges. Our rich cultural background and the ability to interact and manage diverse pool of people help us a long way in managing situations and different stakeholder’s perception better.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why Innovations fail in organisations ??

Ever wonder why innovations fail despite the buzz being created about the criticality of new ways to come up with better solutions.Jefferey Phillips thinks it’s the unrealistic goals and high expectation that many people are looking at innovation and shying away from participation.

There's simply too much talk about innovation and not enough experimentation and trials. As the talk increases, the level of discourse is not improving, and is only creating barriers as the expectations increase. What most firms need now is to provide tools, processes and training to their innovative folks and get out of the way.

We need more experiments, more trials, more intentional accidents. We need to set the expectations that everyone should be involved in innovation - at least to the extent of generating and submitting ideas. As we define an innovation "team", let's take care not to create innovation ghettos. Too many people are being left out of the process, which means too many ideas aren't being discovered and evaluated.
Geoffrey Moore, author of the book Dealing With Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution says.

At the end of the day, every function in the corporation has to realign its priorities in order to amplify the innovation to breakaway status. Anything less is simply too easy for competitors to neutralize."

"The failure - and this is a failure of the leadership, not of the rank and file - lies in the failure to prioritize one line of innovation above all others. If management does not take a position on innovation strategy, the company's innovations will continue to bubble up but they will not be aligned. If all are brought to market… none will achieve breakaway status."

Clearly all this indicates that there something more here than just innovations. Perhaps the great debate and attention which innovation generates sometimes goes against the basic objective of encouraging and facilitating innovation. Extremely cautious and pre programmed approach is killing the spirit of innovation. Too many plans, structures and attention have created multiple barriers which firms need to be concerned about.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mind your language

Jargons can be a highly disadvantageous if one is trying to reach out to people. None other than Freakonomics co author Stephen J. Dubner says -

Most of the literature isn’t very interesting or meaningful to me (this is simply a matter of preference); and some of it might be interesting or meaningful but I am unable to tell. Why? Because the language of economists is often – not always, certainly, but often – deeply obtuse. Now, again, this is my problem, having to do with my preferences and my skills. Research economists, like most academics, are writing for their peers, not the laity. And as much I might like their research to be written in plainer English .

Very true, more often than not great piece of work continues to languish because in fails to connect to people it intends to reach. It’s not just true in case of academics, but even in organizations ,people fail to establish connect with others simply because of the fact that they use too many jargons and make simple facts look really daunting.

Studies suggest that jargon could create a barrier between managers and their teams. Around 54% of employees questioned to mark the fifteenth anniversary of best practice accreditation body Investors in People (IIP) had a low opinion of colleagues who use management jargon.

Six out of 10 employees said they would prefer no jargon at all at work, yet 39% said its use was on the rise.

Commenting on the findings, released today on the first day of 'Investors in People Week', IIP director Nicola Clark, said: "The research gives bosses an invaluable insight into the impact of management jargon on the workplace. While it can be useful shorthand at times, managers need to be more alert to when and how they use it."

So better watch out for the jargons you use….

Michael Porter on Bad Strategies

Michael E. Porter, director of Harvard's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness recently spoke on -- "Why Do Good Managers Set Bad Strategies?" -- offered as part of Wharton's SEI Center Distinguished Lecture Series.

Portar feels that Bad strategy often stems from the way managers think about competition, he noted. Many companies set out to be the best in their industry, and then the best in every aspect of business, from marketing to supply chain to product development. The problem with that way of thinking is there is no best company in any industry. "What is the best car?" he asked. "It depends on who is using it. It depends on what it's being used for. It depends on the budget."

Managers who think there is one best company and one best set of processes set themselves up for destructive competition. "The worst error is to compete with your competition on the same things," Porter said. "That only leads to escalation, which leads to lower prices or higher costs unless the competitor is inept." Companies should strive to be unique, he added. Managers should be asking, "How can you deliver a unique value to meet an important set of needs for an important set of customers?"

Another mistake managers make is relying on a flawed definition of strategy, said Porter. "'Strategy' is a word that gets used in so many ways with so many meanings that" it can end up being meaningless. Often corporate executives will confuse strategy with aspiration.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Do you hate Recruiters??

In case if you have cursing your recruiter for not attending your calls and sitting over your resume for long. Take a look at this post of microsoft recruiter Jeena and you know the reason why?

Today I received 189 emails: most with resumes, questions and employee referrals. I also received 4 unsolicited phone calls about employment and another 123 people applied to jobs I have posted. This makes grand total of 316 people looking to talk to me today. Keep in mind I also run a team of 8 direct reports spread over 2 different businesses and I spent a large portion of my day running two separate meetings with the business VP and my direct team.

I’m not asking for sympathy- this is after all my job and I love nearly every minute of it- but the reality is that the bulk of people who wanted to talk to me today won’t hear back. And for the people I did talk to, I treated them with encouragement and hope and have good intentions of following up thoroughly, but there is another equally large group of people who will contact me tomorrow and want the same regard. Anyone who is mathematically inclined knows this is an unsustainable equation.
Gosh,it’s a tough ask. One of reasons why recruiting like marketing continues to be a thankless job is because of the continuous pressure to meet next target’s no sooner you finish your current targets you have the next one to think about. The fact that they interact with multiple stakeholders also makes the job challenging and demanding.

Organisations Hiring Philosophy

We have always believed in “hiring for potential” and continue to be guided by this spirit but does it continue to be the mantra for recruitment. Gretchen’s post talks about the gradual shift in hiring approach in software industry over the year.

I was trained to interview against qualities such as a candidate’s ability to learn new technologies or deal with ambiguous situations. As a hiring gatekeeper, it was my job to ensure that the interviewers during final rounds focused their evaluations on similar traits which would indicate a candidate’s ability to live up to their full potential.

While software engineering is still a hot career, the talent a lot of employers seek is not always what’s available in the market. (Supply does not equal demand; expectations are too narrow; many companies competing for the same small pool of talent.) And the jobs a lot of engineers seek aren’t necessarily in their ability to land. (Again, supply does not equal demand; expectations may be too high; many engineers competing for the same small pool of “awesome” jobs.) Zoe and I call this space “the gap,” and it’s not nearly as cool as the store. And really, who wants to live in the gap?

I think companies still hire for potential and attitude but the deciding factor for hiring philosophy of an organization can be the size of operations, nature of operation and location. The size of operation can be a pertinent factor since organizations which have relatively small workforce prefer to hire people with past experience and will expect the employee to be productive from day one .

They are willing to pay higher wages but want complete utilization and hands on skill. On the other hand large organizations still continue to be guided by the philosophy of hiring for potential and typically they hire fresher’s out of college and train them for the jobs. They want lost cost employee and are willing to spend more on training people for desired skill.

However they organizations continue to be guided by business requirements and niche skills continue to hired based on previous experience and role. The key here is to have a balance depending upon the nature of business and talent availability in the location

Offshoring and talent

Offshoring is a business reality which has resulted in jobs migrating to other countries. The common perception that jobs shift due to cost advantage may not hold any more .It’s not just about the low skill work like call centre operation, high end white collar jobs including HR jobs are being outsourced.

The report, "The Globalization of White-Collar Work," says "No longer is offshoring all about moving jobs elsewhere," said the study, which examined 530 companies in the U.S. and Europe. " "Increasingly, it's about sourcing talent everywhere."

Companies in the advanced economies of the U.S. and Europe cannot find domestically the high-skilled talent they need to sustain their innovation and growth strategies," said Duke University Professor Arie Y. Lewin, co-author of the report."They turn to China, India and other countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America in search of highly skilled talent.

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The report indicates that "In terms of locations, India remains the most preferred destination, with China emerging as an important location for engineering, product development and procurement and the Philippines becoming increasingly attractive for office administrative work and contact centres. You can download the report here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Key to Innovations

The importance of Innovation has always been acknowledged by leaders all around, it continues to be a priority and a top challenge for all types of organizations. When organizations are small innovations may be accidental and the process is more informal and individualized. Organisations as they grow face the critical challenge of formalizing the whole process of Innovation. Setting processes and metrics for innovative practice at various level to drive innovation is considered a strategic move for organizations.

As Dave says "Innovation is the collection, assessment and implementation of ideas to transform an organization's:

The world's most innovative companies, such as WL Gore, have created processes, systems, practices, and organizational structures that enable them to innovate continuously, as part of their organizational culture. Such companies are, alas, few and far between. But they are also, not coincidentally, among the world's most knowledgeable companies: knowledgeable about how the world works and what's happening in markets and sciences and arts far removed from their core business.

They are less concerned with what is happening in their own markets and industries because they are leaders -- their competitors are constantly kept off-guard by their innovations and struggling to know what these innovators know. Copycat products, repackaged products and incremental improvements are not innovation.

Knowledge and organizational culture are two most critical factors which affects innovations in organizations. Knowledge I believe is the initiating factor or the necessary condition for enabling innovation but culture is the critical differentiator and also the sufficient condition for innovations in organizations.

A good talent and a knowledgeable workforce sets the context for innovative practices but unless big organizations are adaptable and ready to build around a culture of innovative practices and find of ways of different ways of doing things with respect to Cost, Quality and processes a culture of Innovation may not be existing.

Read more about Innovations here ,here ,here and here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Share this with your Boss

I’m sure this is something you’d love to share with your boss .This CNN Money article points out to a survey of 900-plus employees by HR consulting firm Development Dimensions International and on the 10 biggest sins of Bosses.

Tries too hard to be everyone's friend


Ignores conflict




Unable to delegate




The survey also comes up with an interesting "wish" list that your boss does possess:

Trust in one's employees


Great team-building skills

Effective coaching skills

The ability to say "no"

A broader perspective

Patience (I’m sure if he reads the list above it will test his wish list virtue for sure)

Decision-making skills

I hope some of them are reading this too ……

Talent Retention and HR's Role

As organizations struggle hard to retain top talent it does brings into focus the role which HR plays in retaining talent.HR policies and processes can help organizations to give employees a better work experience but does HR actually retains talent. Well to some extent it can, but more than retaining talent it lays a framework for talent management the actual execution of which lies with the line manager.

So the effectiveness of HR lies in not only coming up with good talent retention plans which looks good on presentations. The most critical function is execution and operational efficiency where can HR can only play the role of facilitator.

So if you thought that you’ve done a fair job by hiring the best, think again as it may not always be the best or the star performers may not always be the ones who win laurels for teams.

As Butt Sutton rightly says

Call it whatever you want, but as the war for talent seems to be heating up again, companies that fight it right will spend less time looking for solo stars and more time looking for dynamic duos, teams, and networks of people that have worked together in the past and want to work together more in the future. And perhaps it is time for modern HR practices to catch-up with the evidence.

But whatever you call it, while HR practices turn attention to individual stars, study after study shows when people have experience working together – and have learned who knows what, how to read those little signals that people send off, and can communicate ideas quickly and efficiently – their teams and organizations perform better.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Talent War and Organizational Strategies

The talent shortage just seems to be getting more acute and so is the war for talent becoming fiercer. The war appears to be on an intense pitch in the high tech industries where key to survival and growth is the mind power of the workforce. The Economist reports that large and growing number of businesses outside the tech industry—from consulting to hedge funds—are also facing the heat. It talks the various strategies adopted by the likes Accenture and Mckinsey to attract and retain talent.

Clearly there is more to good management than hiring the best and the brightest. Among other things, it requires rewarding experience as well as talent, and applying strong ethical codes and internal controls. Indeed, talent-intensive businesses have a particular interest in maintaining high ethical standards. Whereas in manufacturing industries a decline in such standards is often slow, in talent-intensive ones it can be terrifyingly sudden, as Arthur Andersen and Enron found to their cost.

All the same, structural changes are making talent ever more important. The deepest such change is the rise of intangible but talent-intensive assets. Baruch Lev, a professor of accounting at New York University, argues that “intangible assets”—ranging from a skilled workforce to patents to know-how—account for more than half of the market capitalization of America's public companies.

The writing is clear on the wall and every business is getting affected by the talent shortage. Depending upon the nature of the business organizations have to come with a rewarding and challenging strategy for attracting, developing and retaining talent. Most of the high tech industries like Google and Microsoft have not only worked on developing a unique employer brand proposition but have also created a positive connect with prospective employees through other sources like blogs.

One of the biggest challenges in retaining continues to create opportunities which individual employees find challenging as well identify with. Managing individual career aspirations is something which is going to be critical differentiator in enabling organizations to stay ahead in this war for talent.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Infosys HRD team wins SHRM Leadership Awards

Infosys HRD team has been awarded in the Inaugural Leadership Awards which was hosted by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management).Amongst the 141 applicants from across the globe, and Infosys HRD team made it to the very top in the Innovative Business Solutions category for the 2006 SHRM Human Capital Leadership Awards.

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to Human Resource Management, representing more than 210,000 individual members around the globe. The award details will be featured in the November issue of HRM magazine. The Human Capital Leadership Awards are presented in four categories: three awards honoring exemplary HR departments—Innovative Business Solution Award, Competitive Workforce Award and Strategic HR Leadership Award—and the Human Capital Business Leader of the Year Award, recognizing a senior HR leader.

“These awards highlight the essential role that human resource professionals play in developing and executing people strategies that are critical to organizational success,” said Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, SHRM’s president and CEO.

SHRM feels that ‘Recognition as a winner will enhance your organization’s ability to recruit and retain quality employees as well as increase your organization’s visibility.’

In words of Bikaramjit Maitra , VP-HR, Infosys , “As we embark upon hiring in a big way across the globe this award will certainly give us a great boost.”

Friday, October 06, 2006

Social Capital approach

The other day I posted on how organizations need to find out ways to benefit from the knowledge and skill of employees who are leaving. I came across this interesting study which says “losing an employee, at least in a high-tech field, is not necessarily as bad as it seems.”Firms can wind up learning when employees leave their firm, which is contrary to the conventional wisdom -- that firms learn by hiring away employees," says Wharton management professor Lori Rosenkopf.

But Rosenkopf says the picture is different when employees are viewed in terms of "social capital." Workers aren't just silos of knowledge and skill onto themselves, but rather are part of social networks of workers from various firms who talk about what's going on in their field. Those networks may involve formal arrangements, such as strategic alliances, but they may also be informal, involving professional conferences, email exchanges, common blog sites or even after-hour socializing.

"The social capital approach would predict that the firm losing an employee would gain access to the new employer's knowledge, while the human capital approach would not," the researchers suggest in their paper.

So it’s not always a bad idea if at all some people leave organizations. But building such social capital of the organization continues to be a challenge. This concept may work as long as people are able to associate themselves with the previous organization and continue to share an intimate and personal relation with colleagues and ex-co workers. It all depends on the learning and sharing culture which the organization has been able develop.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Is HR Outsourcing the right solution ?

"Companies today are trying to do more with a limited amount of resources. Outsourcing the recruitment process allows the central HR staff to do more strategic recruiting tasks. HR specialists with a master's degree don't need to spend valuable time populating spreadsheets. Their job is to get the right people before the right managers. Then, they have to retain them. That's HR's core mission," says Rob Brown, Gartner's Research Director for Human Resources Outsourcing Worldwide.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before and you’ll keep hearing more of this in the days to come. The transactional vrs strategic debate continues as HR functions continue to evolve. Ask any HR professional on a random basis and the chances are that 70% of the folks do find that the transactional issues like policy communication, clarification, query resolution ,regular administrative work does not allows them to focus more on strategic functions which will have better impact on organizations health and long term growth.

Does that means all such transactional functions needs to be outsourced? GE feels so .

At GE, the human resources department found transaction work was creeping into the workday. They found themselves bogged down in adding people to Oracle, phoning candidates to schedule appointments, processing candidates' expenses, and updating the company's compliance folder. "We want our HR members to be strategic and work on more high-end projects," says Mary Lou Gibson, a member of GE's Technical Program and Center of Excellence Leader for Interns and Co-ops.

Sounds familiar but let’s look at the other side of the story. Will it really help HR functions in organizations if they simply resort to outsourcing of transactional work?

Does it actually help in improving efficiency of HR operations?

It’s true that most of the transactional work does little to add value to HR’s own functional expertise but the focus should not be on outsourcing but automating the process which will reduce turn around time and also ensure that the HR connect remains in the processes. Any employee will prefer walking over to HR and discuss the matter rather than hoping that some remote operator will help him understand and clarify internal policies.

I guess the key lies in ensuring a balance between transactional routine process based work and also developmental work. One can’t be expected to do developmental and strategic work unless a fair understanding of Hr processes exists.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Managing Knowledge

Jim Lee shares his experience on how organizations fail to come up with a process to capture the learning of a senior experienced resource. Having spent 30 years as a professional in various capacities, the learning and insight of Lee is something which every organization would try to leverage .However do organizations have plans to capture his expertise acquired over the years?

The problem is worse yet when a company initiates a reduction in force. There, the planning horizon is probably a lot shorter, and the ability to capture and retain the knowledge of those being laid off is limited at best. Having been laid off twice in my own career, I know that those organizations simply wanted me out as soon as possible so as not to create a disruption among those who remained. What they also didn’t get was any benefit of my knowledge—learned at their expense. My next employers were the beneficiaries of that.

I think this need to be addressed in context of 2 major issues.

Organizational size and scale of operation: Organizations which are relatively small and have few important positions, handle such issues differently. They lack pre-defined processes to capture such inputs and are liable to loose in such situations. On the other hand large organizations do have processes and system in place and also have recognition system in place for such situations.

Critical nature of function/role: It also depends on the critical nature of the role the individual is performing. An organization may not require capturing all relevant expertise in case if the same is redundant in present context and the role is not critical in nature. So time and criticality of function is also important. What may be important skill today may not be relevant in the days to come with change in technology and business.

Perhaps critical functions and an understanding on future course of business trends and patterns may help in preparing organization to effectively capture the inputs and share some expertise in the days to come.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Employees Referal Programs

The robust growth trends witnessed over the last few months has seen huge spurt in demand of trained manpower. Since hiring laterals is an increasing challenging task in the war of talent, organizations are increasingly relying upon employee referrals programs to attract talent.

This is working so well in most of the organizations that nearly 70% of all laterals joining the organizations today are from employee referral schemes. Employee’s referral programs in organization are being given various kinds of incentive like monetary rewards, products and even paid holiday trips.

Most of the organizations face an uphill task of sourcing genuine profiles with accurate information. Referral program helps organization on getting appropriate profiles which ensures that the employees have an increased sense of ownership and accountability towards the organization. This also has an positive impact on employee’s motivation and helps the organization in creating better internal partnership with employees in employer branding.

Business Standard has more on trends in employee referral program in India. It also talks abut the flip side of the program.

The big downside is that since employees get a chance to bring in people they know, there is a risk of a negative-minded group getting embedded in a company. In some instances of fraud in BPO firms, made possible by a nexus among criminally-minded employees, the referral system was seen as a root cause.

Although such possibilities can’t be denied altogether but the impact and no would be negligible and most likely to be prevalent in non-specialized functions. I am sure the past performance of an employee can also be looked as one indicator of the likely referral. Generally referrals are from previous organizations, relatives or spouse, or common friends.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Social Entrepreneurship

In my earlier post I did mention about Madhukar shukla’s paper on socially relevant HR which he presented at the God’s. He recently started a course on Social entrepreneurship at XLRI, Jamshedpur. You can also check his new blog on the same here.

The course objective outlines that “Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging field that offers opportunity to young professionals to create societal/economic value on a sustainable basis. According to some reports, globally this is the fastest growing sector and perhaps the only sector that is creating gainful employment worldwide. You can read the details here.

This will also give you some ideas about how XLRI is creating socially conscious and enterprising business management graduates who are willing to take the road less traveled and make an impact on improving the inequalities which exits today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Higgest Paid HR Leaders in 2006

Workforce management has released the 30 highest paid HR leaders among publicly traded US companies.
Dennis Donovan once again leads Workforce Management's yearly list of the highest-paid HR leaders: He has used his role as Home Depot's chief workforce architect to help take the company in new strategic directions.
But when asked which past accomplishments he is most proud of, Donovan talks about how he worked closely with other executives at his former employers General Electric and Raytheon to grow the companies.
You can download the list here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

HR for HR

With the growing demand for HR professionals and greater no of people taking up HR as a specialized function the no of people in HRD function is also growing in organizations. Like any other professionals career HR professional also seek to maximize opportunities of career growth and opportunities for new and challenging roles.

The growing number also means that organizations have small HR teams for specific function. Now any organization is happy to adopt this model to being with and ensures that it’s employee to HR ratio is healthy and that employees can directly approach HR on day to day basis. This also helps Corporate and Senior Management is having better connect with employees pulse and points of concern.

Creating the right career path and challenging opportunities in HR function is something which is often overlooked in most of the organizations. This often leads to lack of adequate career growth opportunities and HR folks often end up either as a functional specialist in one of the HR sub-functions or as generalist. .Most of the times HR professionals in organizations have two major issues which may be the reason for attrition in HR.

· Lack of adequate career growth opportunities and career path. Inadequate focus of senior management on developing HR talent inside the organization.

· Lack of proper grievance reddresal mechanism for HR functions. The problem is especially acute in small and mid size companies where the no. of HR personnel and few.

I come across no. of HR professionals who often share these concerns and feel that despite the increasing contribution of HR in enhancing organizational effectiveness’s and achieving its business and strategic objective HR seldom gets the equal treatment when it comes to career growth. It’s either up to the individual managers or broad policy guidelines which drives performance and career management moves in organizations.

The other issue is that of grievance reddersal, who do HR folk’s needs to approach for work related concerned. Their’s often a questions asked who is the HR for HR?

Is it your immediate manager or a designated person who takes care of HR concerns? You often come across such situations when people are not sure who is to be approached for concerns for Hr employees. Now if you do not have a defined mechanism to track and capture aspirations and issues of HR employees in your organization, is it a matter of concern? The answer is a big yes as these issues do affect HR employees like any other employees. The growing attrition rate in HR is one such indicator.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Global OD summit Highlights

The Global OD summit successfully concluded after lots of action in the last four days. The GODS saw some great names attending the summit and some 42 OD papers were presented.

PETER KOESTENBAUM, Ph.D., founder and Chairman of PiB and the Koestenbaum Institute, gave the keynote address in which he talked about successful leadership behavior. He stressed the importance of unshakeable conviction and one’s responsibility towards one action as the key factor which leaders must strive to accomplish. He said the leader’s mind gets stronger whenever it discovers uncertain answers to questions and stretches to embrace the polarity, paradox, contradiction, ambiguity, and uncertainty in such “solution”.

One of the most engaging session of the summit was the panel discussion which saw Mohan Das Pai Infosys Director (Human Resources, Education and Research & Administration), and Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and MD TVS Motor Company answering Rolland Sullivan ,Koestenbaum and other summit participants.

Rolland Sullivan started the talk by asking the two leaders on the challenges faced by them.Srinivasan said that one of the biggest challenge which he faces in manufacturing sector is attracting quality talent and scaling upto the standards of global market competition.MD Pai said that as organizations grow and expand operations, developing leaders at all level at creating a pool and bench of leaders to envision the future strategy and growth of the organization becomes a big challenge. Hiring the best available talent and to be the best in the world is what both the leaders aspired for in the next few years.

They felt that Indian organization today face a unique challenge as no other global organizations have faced in the past. They were growing at a faster rate and competing with the best in the world at a never seen pace before. Therefore the challenges are new and they do not have any case studies or historical data which can help them in answering the challenges which their organizations face today.

Koestenbaum asked them if they are able to match the aspirations and free will of the talent they hire and offer them what they want to do the best. He felt that one of the biggest challenge which organization are going to face in the days to come is find a match between individuals aspirations ,career objective and align the same with organizational objective.

I also attended a thought provoking session by Madhukar Shukla on HR role’s in creating social entrepreneurs. Madhukar presented a paper on sensitizing HR in developing human talent by contributing towards developing social entrepreneurship. Madhukar in his usual hard hitting style showed how social entrreprenuers have crated better opportunities in the society and have helped in creating right opportunities for more socially relevant services.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Global OD Summit

The Global Organizational Development Summit will be held between September 18 and 20 in Mysore .Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI) is organizing the Global Organization Development Summit (GODS) in partnership with the SDM Institute of Management Development and the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Sciences (ISABS).

The Summit will address:

· Best practices of organization development for client impact

· Corporate governance

· Current status of organization development knowledge

· Future focus of organization development

The speakers for the program include:

Prof. Peter Koestenbaum (US)
Prof. Udai Pareek ( India)
Prof. Michael Beer (Harvard Business School, Through Video Conference)
Mr. Roland Sullivan (US)
Ms. Anne Litwin (Ex President of NTL (US)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Trends in Organisational Challenges

The Ken Blanchard Companies® annual corporate issues survey pinpoints the needs and issues of organizations seeking to develop their human assets to their fullest potential. The findings in 2006 represent the feedback from 805 training and HR leaders and line Managers from a range of companies, industries, and countries.
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The Top 3 themes were:

1. Competitive Pressures
While the issue of competition has trended down over a four-year period, it remains the number one issue facing organizations. Finally, meeting customer criteria in spite of dwindling budgets and resources is a key challenge in the area of competitive pressure.

2. Growth and Expansion
Respondents cited the need to focus on fiscally smart growth in order to remain strong through expansion process as well as the need to grow leadership bench strength through succession planning to take their organization in the right direction.

3. Maximizing Human Assets
Shoring up human resource assets in order to prepare for the future is another key concern. The third most important organizational challenge has increased 9% in just four years. Additionally, top management challenges and top employee development challenges include developing potential leaders, up 5% over the last two years, selecting and retaining key talent, up 4% from 2005, and improving managerial and supervisor skills, up 5% from 2004 and 2005.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why Employees quit ?

Exit interviews are some times great eye openers for HR folks. At times it really takes some of us by surprise when some trivial issues make people leave organizations. The problem is more acute when you realize that some issues continue to exit in most of the organizations in the world.

It’s difficult to make the employee understand and realize that employees are hired for a job and that’s what you are supposed to do. Sometimes they themselves have no clue why they are leaving the present job.

In some extremes cases people leave just because they don’t feel like coming to the office every day .Believe me it’s true, they just want to have a different life. They are just not happy doing the same old stuff which every one is doing, the regular cliché is they want to do something different.

I’m sure such situations are going to be more frequent than ever before. So what is it that organizations are going to do to keep employees motivated and engaged?

I’m sure you can’t keep changing your business every few years.

So what next? The Google 80-20 rule to make life more existing at work….

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Looking for a Change of Job ??

With talent getting scarce and growing demand for niche talent, the most sought after professional roles are being contacted by multiple agencies and recruiters promising them the next big thing. At times these offers make you wonder if you really deserve to take such offers. You wonder if you really prepared for the next higher role being offered. Do you really deserve such a high salary jump?

I’m sure many don’t give seconds thoughts and often end up landing with offers which sounds great but may lack the feel good experience.

I think one must need to carefully analyze few points before taking the plunge.

a)Assess your growth opportunities in the short run (3 months to 1 yrs) and long term (1-3 yrs) period in your current organization. Try and map your career growth ladder with your career aspirations.

b) Try and find out the best and worst part of your current job. Some people are exceptional at planning and may not be that great when it comes to work with teams and solve crisis when working with teams on executing strategies. You must make your move based on your strengths.

c) You must know what inspires you the most and what do you love doing everyday. I know that this is easier said than done but try to make a note of day’s work with 2-3 enjoyable and not so enjoyable experiences at work. After a period of 3-4 months of making this a habit try and review the points. Make a note of most occurring themes and points. This is a wonderful exercise and sometimes you’ll discover that often more than the quality and contents of works its enthusiasm and inter-personal relation between team members which makes a big difference.

d)Often people look at the content of job as critical factor before making job change ,but more than the content it’s the team dynamics and you immediate manager which makes the difference . Try and get to know the team you are going to join. This will help you in getting better prepared and also an understating of the team you are going to interact with, at your work.

e) Don’t forget to align your personal commitment like family and friends with the new role you are planning to take. Often in a close team you have common set of friends and you may not even realize the difference between being at work and spending times with friends. I have seen that the great companies to work are the ones in which you have close friends and only when you stop taking work as work that you start enjoying the whole experience.

These are some of the important aspects one should consider; in case you have more to add please do post your comments.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Review of Corporate Blogging

Blogs have been making a strong and a steady impact on hiring and recruitment decisions .In some of my previous posts I’d mentioned the impact and role of Blogs and other social tools on recruiting. Easton Ellsworth of Business Blog Wire will be conducting a review of public-facing blogs operated by Fortune 500 companies.Esaton plans to access the the strengths and weaknesses of each corporate blog and glean lessons for business blogging efforts.

Some of the factors he is looking at :

1. Quality - Out of all the Fortune 500 companies with public-facing corporate blogs, who's got the best blog or set of blogs? What does "best" mean in this context?
2. Uniqueness - How do Fortune 500 company blogs differ from non-Fortune 500 company blogs?
3. Quantity - How many public-facing (external), official Fortune 500 corporate blogs are there?
4. Relevance - Is the Fortune 500 a useful barometer in terms of telling us how quickly businesses of all sizes are turning to blogs for various purposes?
5. Identity - Who's writing F500 blogs anyway? Is it senior executives or low-level employees? Are these mostly team blogs or individual blogs?
6. Format - How often are these blogs updated? What are their designs like? Are they registered with Technorati and other blog search engines? Do they allow comments and/or trackbacks? What kind of blog bling (read: fancy-pants buttons and sidebar gizmos) do they have?
7. Impact - Who reads them and why? How important are these big biz blogs? Why hasn't anyone scoured and publicly evaluated them as a collective yet?8. Wild Card - How come the HP corporate blog portal has such a crazy URL? Does Intel really have a corporate blog? What about General Mills? Does Real Baking with Rose Levy Beranbaum count? (Does that really matter?) And so on and so forth.
I guess this is going to be an interesting study and for those who have missed out the action so far will also be forced to sit and take a look. The finding will certainly help in bringing more focus and qualitative improvement in blogs contents of these organizations and will help in understanding the impact of blogging on business and organizations branding.

The Innovation Sandbox

C K Prahalad talks about the Innovation Sandbox in the latest edition of S&B. Prahlad presents an interesting study on the low-cost, people, process centric, bottom of the pyramid approach towards innovating public health care system and showcases the emerging low cost effective health care services in India.
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They (organizations) must radically rethink the entire business model — technology choices, distribution, pricing, scale, workflow, and organization. Fine-tuning the existing business models will not work. That is why the bottom-of-the-pyramid customer base is the best friend that a company focused on breakthrough innovations ever had. This unfamiliar market with very low discretionary income provides sufficient distance from the current top-of-the-pyramid customer base to force institutions to change their practices.

Resource Constraints and bottlenecks do not necessarily have a negative impact on innovative practices. More than the constraints he feels:

The zone of comfort drives away the zone of opportunity. If managers believe that 80 percent of humanity is “too poor to pay for our products and services and is not part of our target market,” then a new offering at one-fiftieth the price of the current offering, made without sacrificing quality and at the same time ensuring the company’s profitability, looks at first glance like an impossible task. So those managers assume that the idea will be impossible; instead, they make minor changes to existing products and business models, start endeavors that often fail, and conclude from those failures that success was indeed impossible.