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.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

End of Job Interview ?? Nahhh...

So do you also think that Job interviews are not likely to survive for long? Well Seth definitely feels so .He thinks that traditional one on one interview techniques does not serves the objective of hiring the best talent .

At least half the interview finds the interviewer giving an unplanned and not very good overview of what the applicant should expect from this job. Unlike most of the marketing communications the organization does, this spiel is unvetted, unnatural and unmeasured.

The other half is dedicated to figuring out whether the applicant is good at job interviews or not.
So he suggests that every applicant gets a guided tour of the organization story.

Maybe from a website or lens or DVD. Maybe from one person in your organization who is really good at this? It might mean a plant tour or watching an interview with the CEO. It might involve spending an hour sitting in one of your stores or following one of your doctors around on her rounds. But it’s a measurable event, something you can evaluate after the process is over. If you’re hiring more than a few people a week, clearly it’s worth having a full-time person to do this task and do it well.
Seth ideas are great as always but lacks the touch of reality. I mean this can work well if the organization has to hire senior level professionals who need to understand the organization from a Leader perspective. Ideally senior management positions require more hands on approach towards problem solving and strategic decision making ability.

However this will not work in case of regular entry or middle management level opening since the logistics required and the time available to fill the position may not be available. Also the execution of this recruitment process depends on the no of people one is looking to recruit. In case where organizations need to fill thousands of openings in few weeks I don’t think it will be a scalable model.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Strategic Role of HR :The Debate Continues

Sometimes I wonder what the HR guys are up to. There are big talks these days about the strategic role HR has to play. But do the HR guys really know enough of operational and business issues to play a real strategic role? That what my dear friend Mayank has to say about his HR...

His post reminded me of a post on Fast company blogpost "why we hate HR" which said

After close to 20 years of hopeful rhetoric about becoming "strategic partners" with a "seat at the table" where the business decisions that matter are made, most human-resources professionals aren't nearly there. They have no seat, and the table is locked inside a conference room to which they have no key. HR people are, for most practical purposes, neither strategic nor leaders.

The issues highlight above are just another example of Organization where HR folks decide the HR policy of the organization sitting in Corporate Offices.

This problem here is not with the HR but with the Vision and thought process of the Organization which believes that HR can add strategic value from Corporate Office,whcich essentially means staying away from from people who actually work in line.

The best way to integrate any function with the strategic objective of the organization is ensure a direct linkage between the business objective and the Policy framework .Be it HR ,Finance, Sales or Marketing ,as long as the we don’t have people aligned to face the business realities of the organization the disconnect will continue to remain.

Here’s my suggestion if you want to have a better or let’s says more strategic contribution from your HR Guy…

1) Let your HR be involved in actual Business making and Project execution. Once your HR joins the Business team they will have a realistic and objective overview of the ground realities. The best part is that policies can be tailor made for a particular business situation depending on the unique nature of the business.

2) HR’s roles in the organization should not only be confined to designing and suggesting policy framework, let HR take the ownership of executing and delivering the end result with line managers.

3) All HR policies/strategies action must involve senior line Management in deciding the policies. Don’t forget the ultimate aim of HR is to enable each manager to take ownership of HR functions for his team.

4) HR is enabler function, it aims at facilitating business objective and its contribution can not only measured in terms of tangibles but also the intangibles.
More on the role of HR .

Friday, September 01, 2006

Talent Management in China

Chinese companies now seem to be facing the bitter realties of attracting and retaining talent. According to research by Mercer HR Consulting "Companies in China are struggling to retain their professional and support staff, and face either having to pay higher salaries or excessive recruitment costs.

The survey of more than 100 organisations in China, many of which are multinationals, shows that 54% have experienced an increase in turnover for professional staff since last year, while 42% have reported higher turnover for support staff.

It also found that the average tenure for 25 to 35-year-olds – the age group targeted most by multinational companies – fell from an average of three to five years in 2004, to just one to two years in 2005.

The research also found:

83% of organisations offer healthcare and related insurance to staff,
41% provide health and fitness plans 24% offer flexible working.
44% of organisations believe their employees are dissatisfied with the benefits on offer
The average cost of replacing staff at any level is around 25% to 50% of annual salary.
Here what Recruiting in China has to say about retaining top talent?

Whether they work in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, executives at multinationals who stay behind closed doors and rarely offer performance feedback or advice are bound to fail. That's because the local hires they need to run their offices and plants will be seeking out bosses who will help them advance their careers.
Another example which shows why standard one shot Performance Management strategy never works in all organizations. Individual’s ability and his perception about Career growth and work content also depend on the cultural background and values.