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.