Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Top 100 Career blogs

It was a nice surprise to find HR funda blog in the Top 100 Global Ranking of English-language Career Blogs. Currently the blog is ranked 47th and if you take 5 seconds of yours to vote for HR Funda it will help in improving the blog rating :D.

Thanks and Wishing you the very best for the New Year ahead.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

That's Steve Jobs for you

Steve Job's inspiring thoughts on his life and his journey so far.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Future of Management

So what the future of management going to be? Is it your organizational structure or scorecard that you follow?

There's a reason boards of directors can pluck so many CEOs out of one company and plop them into another: When it comes to management ideas and tools, many companies are surprisingly similar. They have the same hierarchies and budgeting processes. They have "balanced scorecards" that measure performance. They benchmark their peers, adopt "best practices," and seemingly all house an army of Six Sigma black belts standing ready to defend quality control.

Garry Hamel thinks that that new ways of managing people or organizing companies can lead to the most durable, "difficult to duplicate" competitive advantages. Such an approach differs from process improvement, which can be copied, or an emphasis on new products, which can be commoditized.

People are source of competitive advantage but how organizations organize and engage them to compete with new innovations are key to the future of organizations. Pool of good talent lays the foundation, but how managers adapt to new set of challenges leads to optimum utilization of available talent will eventually be the differentiator for organisations to win and stay competitive.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Talent hiring and retention

Interesting thoughts by Sullivan in his recent article on employee retention.Folks who are focusing on the monetary aspect of the new job are more likely to quit in near future even if you have hired them at a higher than market levels salaries.

Incidentally, individuals hired from executive search firms can fall into this "money first" category. If they left the last job because an executive search professional presented a "better money" offer, don't be surprised when they leave again when the next executive search professional calls with slightly more money to offer.

This makes me wonder, what is the validity of employee current salary as an indicator of his actual competency level?

Sometimes recruiters and head hunters even create a “Talent vacuum” in the market for certain niche skills. This talent vacuum is especially seen in the Senior and middle managers levels as employees are not always on move and tend to be little reluctant to switch jobs easily. However thanks to the marketing skills of our head hunters and the growing talent crunch one always tends to get what he aspires for.

Growing salary levels for a role create a bigger pressure on current employers and most likely a less competent person (as per the role requirement) will fill the same role at a similar or even higher salary level. This creates a vicious circle in talent market and the salary levels head north due to this trend in war for talent. Talk to any seasoned recruiter today and he will tell you how they moan the fact that majority of decisions regarding change of job has to do with the high pay packages.The focus has sihifted from role and job content to the salary components and benefits,perks which the new job may offer.

As a HR professional you often wonder is this shift due to markert factors ,peer pressure,or just changing times.

How long this will trend will continue?

What about the “hiring philosophy’ ?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The 3C Matrix of performance

"It" is talent, which is evolving into a science for some HR professionals and a passion for many line managers. A multitude of programs and investments have been made to attract, retain and upgrade talent.

HR guru Dave ulrich gives his 3C mantra of competence,committed and contribution on the talent cafeteria.

In this talent equation, these three terms are multiplicative, not additive. If any one is missing, the other two will not replace it. A low score in competence will not ensure talent even when the employee is engaged and contributing.

Talented employees must have skills, wills and purposes; they must be capable, committed and contributing. HR leaders can engage their general managers to identify and improve each of these three dimensions to respond to the talent clarion call.

Just indicates how HR functions in the organisation plays the most critical role of revisiting and reviewing the competencies and talent required to perform in organisations.HR role need not end with defining the competencies required for talents to give superior performance,it needs to be revisited and reviewed keeping in mind the new challenges and business requirement. Performance in the long run can be sustained and competencies can be developed only if the 3C’s are present.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top 100 blogs on HR

HR Funda has been featured in the top 100 blogs on HR by Laura Miligan.
She rightly says that as your small business grows you will undoubtedly find that one of your biggest challenges is finding smart talented people to comprise your staff. Even if you’re lucky enough to land great employees, however, there are a whole host of other human resources challenges that startups and small companies must overcome. In this article we highlight what we believe to be the top 100 HR bloggers, listed in alphabetical order by category.
So take a look at the top 100 HR blogs.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Know Your Gossip Quotient :)

Employee communication through informal means works fastest and rumor mills always reach faster than any formal channel of communication. Grapevines has been always considered as a powerful communication network and as per wiki a study quoted in Forbes magazine concludes that 75 percent of employees hear about matters first through rumors on the grapevine.

Robbins states that rumors flourish in an organization because of three elements. They are a response to situations that are important to employees, where there is some ambiguity, and under conditions that arouse anxiety. From a management perspective, the grapevine acts as a filter and a feedback mechanism to identify issues that employess consider important and relevant.

The Political Calculation blog has come up with an interesting tool which can help you decide if, and also how, you should join in the guilty pleasure that is office gossip at your company.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Managing Internal talent

Career planning and talent management in organizations are subject to various challenges today. Organizations may not always be able to attract and develop talent internally; especially it’s difficult to keep pace with the kind of growth organizations have seen in the last decade. At times home grown talent is often over looked in favour of outside talent in the name of fresh blood and out of box approach. This often leads to unhappy senior and middle management as they feel left out due to the fact that they have grown internally. Interestingly Jerry Yang co-founder of Yahoo who has recently taken over as the CEO faces this challenge as well.

"Being an insider is comforting to the organization as current employees see one of their own in charge," says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli. "Insiders also know a lot, especially about the culture of the organization and what is important to preserve. Founders, in particular, have an advantage in that they remind employees of what were, in Yahoo's case, more glorious days."

Experts at Wharton say that Yang's biggest priorities should be boosting employee morale and finding key insiders to promote into leadership roles. Yang has said that recruiting talent -- internally or externally-- is one of his biggest goals. Yang should play to his strengths, including his knowledge of Yahoo's inner workings. Since Yang already knows the internal landscape, he's in the best position to identify future leaders from within. Wharton management professor Keith Weigelt agrees. "I would look for talent internally first rather than recruiting it," he says. "If you look externally first, people inside wonder, 'What's wrong with our people?' He has to mine Yahoo and then find the most talented employees."
Sometimes in the hurry to quick fix a problem organizations end up hiring outsiders hoping they will start afresh and bring a new perspective and fix deep rooted cultural issues which the organization has developed over the years. When organizations face crisis employees need some familiar face which represents the culture and values, it’s a kind of reassurance to them which helps to keep motivated and positive.Crisis situations demands a deeper understanding of the softer issues and a historical perspective of organisation ability to respond to challenges ensures that the decision maker is aware and appreciates the rationale for decisions taken, which may appear strange to external stakeholders but are made keeping in mind the organizational culture and dynamics .

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What HR does ?

This Business week article made me think how challenging and diverse can be the job of a Human resource professional.

Apart from conveying really bad news—a workforce reduction or a painful reorganization—there are a few other less-than-sensational aspects of an HR career, depending on your temperament and the companies you work for. Lots of HR people I know, for instance, complain about the constant cost-cutting that turns them into the bad guys who must inform employees on a regular basis of reductions in everything from travel allowances to flavors of tea in the break room.

Other HR people wish that the role they play could be more instrumental in making the company a great place to work and less focused on policy and documentation. Still other HR folks spend more time than they'd like protecting the company from employee-relations lawsuits and wage-and-hour claims.

The attention which HR gets, challenges it faces and kind of impact which HR actions have on the employees in the organization is profound and long lasting. I am sure if we all look back at our career as in HR we truly cherish those moments of great joy when we see people dreams come true and also have learnt few lessons when we have to take some tough human decisions at time.

Be it business partner, decision enabler, championing people’s cause or defending policy decisions it’s a challenging and ever demanding job. One has to walk on a tight rope; you are everyone friends yet can’t afford to take sides. You have to stand for fairness and consistency, be mentally prepared to face challenges and answer all odd questions. You are the quintessential nice guy yet some may look at you as part of them (management). You are the change agent and also the custodian of culture and values.

The role has been evolving continuously and best part is that you have the scope and space to scale new challenges by bring about change and move from trusted business partner to transformation partner.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

On HR Metrics

A century's worth of MBAs would seem sufficient to propagate a by-the-numbers approach into every nook and cranny of the business world, but it hasn't worked out that way. By most accounts, companies have done a respectable job of mastering financial metrics, but have largely taken a flier on measurements of operations or intangibles such as customer satisfaction or brand loyalty.

Fifteen years ago the advent of the "balanced scorecard" sought to redress this imbalance by demonstrating how nonfinancial metrics could be captured and used to help managers "see their company more clearly — from many perspectives — and make wiser long-term decisions," according to its creators, Robert Kaplan and David Norton. But despite the popularity of that approach at a strategic level, many consultants and academics say it left thorny questions unaddressed at more tactical levels.

Use of HR metrics for measuring the impact and efficacy of practices and policies seems to be similar problems. Measuring the Intangible has multiple challenges and the success lies in identifying the top metrics which captures the critical indicator of organizations deliverables. Identifying key HR functions like recruitment metrics, training metrics, performance management and employee engagement metrics are widely believed to capture the deliverables for HR function.

As Sullivan rightly said “The most common error that I find is that of HR managers trying to create and implement metrics in a vacuum. Instead, I recommend a collaborative approach, in which you take a list of strategic HR metrics that you can live with to the CFO and let him or her select the specific ones that are most likely to measure business impact and be easily understood and considered strategic by top management. By letting the CFO play a role in the selection process and allowing them to make the final decision on what metrics you will move forward with, you eliminate many of the roadblocks you may encounter — and you'll recruit a high-level champion at the same time.

It’s important to understand how you are reviewing and analyzing the metrics and then setting new measurable realistic targets to improve on the key metrics. Sometimes we intend to address too many issues at the same time and then loose focus. Metrics under functions like recruitment and employee engagement which has a more direct impact of business performance can be linked to organizations overall metrics and also made performance measures for various roles so that it has a more direct linkage with individual and organizations goals as well.

Monday, July 02, 2007

HR as Leading Indicator

I'm sure some of us have seen or heard it before in our profession.

Makes me wonder how many of us come forward and take ownership of our actions.

Accept failures when things go wrong.

Come forward and say yes this is my idea and I have a plan to achieve this result and have this target in mind for this action plan.

One can't expect HR to be a leading indicator unless we have leadership which is driven by metrics and linked to bottom line results of the organization. I’m sure we need more HR leaders who lead by end results rather than mere thoughts.

In case if you are doing this then you need to share your experiences and train the rest of the HR folks around. I’m sure we can do better as a professional community by sharing our learning and experiences on this account and raise the levels of HR benchmarking and best practices.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Talent Retention Challenges

As organizations grow they face the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent. Talent strategies may work fine when the organization is small and has the space to offer challenging and fast growing opportunities. It becomes difficult to sustain the organizational growth and continue to offer the same kind of challenge and career growth for talents.WSJ reports how the Google is also facing this challenge of attracting and retaining top talent.

Google had more than six times the number of workers at the end of the first quarter than it had at the same point in 2004, which some former employees say tends to slow decision-making and make it harder for individuals to feel like they're having an impact.

Google stock option are beginning to finish vesting for thousands of employees brought on during a big Google hiring spree in 2003 and 2004, lessening the financial incentives to stay.

On top of all this, a new generation of Internet start-ups has matured enough to attract top technical talent and offer a real possibility of riches from a stock offering or sale to a bigger company. In contrast, Google's shares hit a record level this week, suggesting the stock simply doesn't offer the same potential gains it once did. The concentration of many of the start-ups within a few miles of Google's headquarters, which Google itself has exploited in the past, can make poaching staff a faster and easier pursuit.

Still, Mr. Bock says Google executives spend a lot of time thinking about how to attract and retain top talent as the company grows in size. "We don't want to become a victim of our own success; we're aware of that risk," he says.

The company acknowledges that creative and entrepreneurial people are the core of its success -- that's one reason Google lavishes them with extravagant free food and other perks. "If we do not succeed in attracting excellent personnel or retaining or motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow effectively," Google has acknowledged in regulatory

Best talent continues to aspire more as they achieve success and try to repeat the same experience at a faster and more ambitious pace. Organisations typically find it difficult to keep pace with the growing aspirations of its top talent and this is when the point at which companies needs to rethink the ways they plan to engage employees. As this article clearly outlines that when it comes to human resources, one size no longer fits all.

One set of rules dictated everything from the kinds of benefits and rewards the company offered to how employees were trained and evaluated. That approach made things easier for the human-resources department and ensured a degree of efficiency, equality and fairness. Now some executives are finding that this model isn't adequate for getting the most out of existing talent or attracting and keeping new people. To be competitive in the marketplace and in the race for talent, companies must understand and address the diverse needs of their work force. In fact, they must treat each employee as a "work force of one."
Following this efforts are being made by HR folks to ensure more flexibility, create more opportunities for career growth ,allow individuals greater space in deciding and planning different career paths within the organization .

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sun Microsystems Inc. asks employees to identify the type of physical setting that suits them best -- a private office, team room, satellite center or their home office. Microsoft Corp. goes so far as to ask certain types of employees to design their own career paths. The company offers software engineers both a management-focused and technical-specialist career track and allows them to move back and forth between the two.
Surely this indicates a marked shift in the way talent is being retained and developed in organizations. Career decisions are not just being made on the challenging role and compensation and ESOP’s being offered but how one gets the opportunity to plan his career and try different things in the same organization.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Global HR Transformation

“The definition of HR transformation has evolved out of a number of perceived and real pressures on the HR function. The function is expected to support the business, provide the right direction for the people management strategy and then execute the strategy. It also has to demonstrate an improvement in value, yet at the same time carry out cost-heavy administration.
In response to these challenges, the transformation process that many companies have embarked on involves examining the HR strategy and how it supports the business strategy, and then changing the HR operating model to achieve optimum delivery.”

According to the 2006 Global HR Transformation Study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, half (50%) of organizations are in the midst of transforming their HR functions, while 12% completed a transformation within the past year and another 10% plan to begin the process within the next year.

HR transformation is the process of recreating or reinventing the HR function with the specific intent of enhancing HR’s contribution to the business.

Technology and service delivery improvements were the focus of the first wave of transformation activity, 5 to 10 years ago, coupled with an expectation that this would enable HR to transition into a more strategic role," says Mike Theaker, principal in Mercer's HR Effectiveness Business. "HR functions are now challenged with delivering against the expectations set--to deliver human capital strategies and initiatives that demonstrate a significant contribution to business operations and the achievement of business goals."

HR leaders reported that their top challenges are: acquiring key talent (43 percent), driving cultural and behavioral change in the organization (40 percent), and building leadership capabilities (40 percent).

Just as HR activities have remained traditional, so has its skill sets. According to Mercer’s survey, 53% of organizations worldwide list skills and competencies of the HR staff as one of the most significant obstacles to enhancing the overall role of the HR function. The capability of line managers to supervise staff and the business’ perception of HR’s value are other leading barriers holding back the development of HR.

“In order for the HR function to move forward with its transformation, organizations must implement a talent strategy that arms HR with a range of skills, especially those that relate to finance and business, so that they can be more effective business partners,” explained Ms. Piercy

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Perils of talent crunch

ET reports on the talent crunch at the CEO level in India Inc.

“Few candidates allege that search consultants aren’t being transparent enough, luring them into assignments that were very different from what they were told. “I met a company on a search consultant’s insistence, and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Now I find that my job is half of what I was promised. I told the headhunter, ‘You are just a bloody broker’,” says a stung candidate. But is there an honest broker? “It’s an oxymoron. To what extent you can be an honest broker while you are selling a job — that’s often the deciding factor,”

Some clients allege that headhunters also try and push the candidate’s compensation higher, so they get a higher cut — a headhunter usually receives up to one-third of the annual package, bonus included. Some firms are said to take on a mandate and pocket a first retainer – one third of the annual salary for the position — even when they know they don’t have the expertise and bandwidth to complete a search successfully, says a headhunter: “For some it’s a free for all, grab all you can. Even some of the big firms are indulging in this behaviour.” But for now the hunt is on.
The current market trend clearly indicates that there’s dearth of capable leaders at the top. India Inc. has not been able to keep pace with the growth and develop leaders and adopt succession planning successfully. The fallout is that too few candidates are being chased for various openings. This has also lead to some unfair and unhealthy practices as recruiters are over promising and candidates having multiple offers are bargaining hard, what it means is that higher salaries, higher perks but not necessarily the best fit for the job.

Monday, June 18, 2007

HR competencies and future ahead

HR competencies and its impact on the role performed by HR has been evolving at a very fast pace, the fast pace of business growth has meant that HR function also reinvents and moves from basis transaction oriented role to more meaty and result driven function having tangible impact on business results and facilitating organization growth and talent development .
SHRM article talks about Dave Ulrich, and his associates who have been on a quest to provide the answer to the competencies required for HR professionals. This year, they’ve released an all-new 2007 Human Resource Competency Study (HRCS). The findings and interpretations lay out professional guidance for HR for at least the next few years. The study outlines six future competencies for HR professionals in the days to come.

The six competencies and the elements that make them up offer the outlines of what it takes to be successful. The Credible Activist is respected, admired, listened to and offers a point of view, takes a position and challenges assumptions by:
• Delivering results with integrity.
• Sharing information.
• Building relationships of trust.
• Doing HR with an attitude (taking appropriate risks, providing candid observations, influencing others).

The Cultural Steward recognizes, articulates and helps shape a company’s culture by:
• Facilitating change.
• Crafting culture.
• Valuing culture.
• Personalizing culture (helping employees find meaning in their work, managing work/life balance, encouraging innovation).

The Talent Manager/Organizational Designer masters theory, research and practice in both talent management and organizational design by:
• Ensuring today’s and tomorrow’s talent.
• Developing talent.
• Shaping the organization.
• Fostering communication.
• Designing reward systems.

The Strategy Architect knows how to make the right change happen by:
• Sustaining strategic agility.
• Engaging customers.

The Business Ally contributes to the success of the business by:
• Serving the value chain.
• Interpreting social context.
• Articulating the value proposition.
• Leveraging business technology.

The Operational Executor administers the day-to-day work of managing people inside an organization by:
• Implementing workplace policies.
• Advancing HR technology.

It’s also interesting to see how the role of HR has been facilitating and encouraging the culture of Innovation, productivity and high performing organisationals.Consider this , according to a survey by Human Resource Executive over half (54 percent) of respondents to a survey on "HR's Role in Fostering Innovation" indicated innovation is very important to their businesses' success.

In other areas, the significance of HR in the processes was rated as follows:

* Fostering innovation -- 36 percent indicated a somewhat significant role.
* Training and developing talent -- 49 percent indicated a very significant role.
* Making innovation a part of the performance-management system -- 47 percent indicated a significant role.
* Establishing incentive and reward systems that are tied to innovation -- 44 percent indicated a significant role.
* Communicating successes to management and employees -- 56 percent indicated a very significant role.
* Tying innovation to succession and promotion - 41 percent (the highest percentage) indicated a significant role.

When asked whether the HR leaders in their organizations participate in brainstorming sessions related to business and product innovation, over half (56 percent) of respondents indicated yes, while 39 percent said no and 5 percent of respondents were not sure.

Clearly indicates the significant impact which HR can have on future of business as Innovation is has been driving growth for organizations.
Previous Posts on Innovation.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

HR and Nobel Prize

Can HR ever win Nobel Prize? Joseph Rasquinha and Mohammed Zaheer Hussain opine that the problem with HR is that the overdose of irrelevant jargon and a lack of objectivity, measurement and empirical study.

What HR desperately needs is a new body of thought which should be termed quantitative HR.’ This should be independent of what present practitioners and theorists of the subject are doing. Quantitative HR should look to take a leaf out of the Economics’ book and start by incorporating ‘measurement of the residual’ which is a major part of econometrics.

Today, everyone accepts that HR is important. But very fewcompanies actually practice what they preach and put HR people in strategic positions. If Quantitative HR is in place this will happen automatically, as the statistics will show that the HR people have made a difference to the company. Finally, it is people who make a difference to a subject. The Nobel prizes have been given to people. The possibility of larger numbers of people being attracted to HR due to quantitative theories or measurement will be strong. A lot of these people could be from other disciplines (like mathematics) as is happening in economics. This would be the best indication that HR has really arrived on the ‘science’ scene.

It would also be the best chance for HR to become a Nobel prize for the 21 century. Effective ways of measuring these people processes will ensure that these people processes are credible. Logically, we must accept the assumption that one per cent measurement of a situation is better than no measurement at all.

I really didn’t know how to react to this article. I don’t think the authors are aware about the quantitative practices which have been the adopted over the year by HR students and practitioners to bring more objectivity and predictability in HR practices.

I am not sure if we as HR professional have ever considered Nobel prize as a way benchmark for recognition of HR as a body of knowledge and acknowledging its social impact. HR is a discipline has evolved from multiple subjects and efforts to compare it will traditional social sciences may be futile.

The comparison with economics is also inaccurate as it’s a common error which people make while comparing beahvioural and social science. Wiki defines it as “The term behavioural sciences is often confused with the term social sciences. Though these two broad areas are interrelated and study systemic processes of behaviour, they differ on their level of scientific analysis of various dimensions of behaviour.

Behavioural sciences essentially investigate the decision processes and communication strategies within and between organisms in a social system. This involves fields like psychology and social neuroscience, among others. In contrast, Social sciences study the structural-level processes of a social system and its impact on social processes and social organization. They typically include fields like sociology, economics, history, public health, anthropology, and political science.

Also, Behavioural sciences include two broad categories: Neural-Decision sciences and Social-Communication sciences. Decision sciences involves those disciplines primarily dealing with the decision processes and individual functioning used in the survival of organism in a social environment. These include psychology, cognitive organization theory, psychobiology, management science, operations research (not to be confused with business administration) and social neuroscience.

On the other hand, Communication sciences include those fields which study the communication strategies used by organisms and its dynamics between organisms in an environment. These include fields like Anthropology, Organizational behaviour, Organization studies, Sociology and Social networks.
Human Resource as a field of study has evolved from both these aspects of behavioural science and also relies upon statistical and mathematical analysis as much as economics.Herbert Simon who won the Economics Nobel Prize in 1978 for his pioneering research into the decision-making process within economic organizations has also made considerable impact in the field of HR /OB and there’s no way HR can be considered as an independent field of enquiry as it draws its origin to other behavioural and social science.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Offshoring in Reverse

There’s always this great debate on the outsourcing of jobs to India and other Asian countries from US and European countries, but the times are changing and we are seeing the reverse of brain drain as Indian IT companies are hiring more locals in US. The growth of IT industry has truly lead to flattening of global talent marker as well, we now see talents across different nations are being employed by Indian MNC’s. So with the likes of IBM’s and Accenture’s ramping up fast and increasing talent strength at an all time high pace the war for talent also getting interesting.

Business week reports on offshoring in reverse.

In the past, Indian companies almost always transferred Indians to work in the U.S. on temporary visas. But now Infosys and other Indian outfits are hiring aggressively in the U.S. The Indians are recruiting a combination of fresh college grads and experienced vets who have worked at American companies. They're especially active at campus job fairs, and unlike a few years ago students know who these companies are and respect them. In fact, the Indian connection has become an attraction. "I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity, especially because they send you abroad for training," says Brian Oswald, a 23-year-old Rutgers University graduate with a 2006 degree in industrial engineering who joined TCS in February.

The U.S. hiring by the Indians echoes the strategy Japan's auto industry devised after soaring levels of imports sparked political outcry in Washington in December, 2000. "The Indians are doing to the world's IT processes what the Japanese did to manufacturing," says analyst John McCarthy of Forrester Research Inc (FORR). And now, like Japan's carmakers before them, the Indians are becoming major employers in the U.S. as well.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Right Time to Quit

When do you decide to quit?? Happiness officer shares his interesting experience-

When is it time to quit? It’s a question I keep getting - and no wonder. Leaving a job has become one of life’s biggest decisions. It’s something that may affect every aspect of your life including your finances, your work life, your identity, your family and possibly even your social status and friendships.

It seems most of us tend to stay in bad jobs waaaaay too long. I have talked to any number of people who have told me some variation of “I quit my job last year and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.” However, not a single person has ever told me that “I quit my job last year and it was a huge mistake. I should definitely have stayed on.”this does not mean that it’s always the right decision to quit, but it does show that when in doubt, most of us stay on in bad jobs. Perhaps longer than is good for us.

He gives his top six tips for finding your quitting point:

1. Give up the idea that you can know for sure whether or not it’s time to quit. It’s always going to be a leap.
2. Listen to your intuition. Your gut may know before your mind.
3. Remember what quitting can cost you - but also remember what staying in a bad job can cost you!
4. Remember that the longer you stay in a bad job, the harder it gets to leave.
5. Most people stay too long in bad jobs - mostly because they fear the uncertainty that comes with quitting.
6. Most people, once they’ve quit, find that their situation improves. Maybe not immediately, but certainly after a few months.

This reflects one side of the story; however many times employees realize the virtues of the previous job only after they exit. Many employees may quit for frivolous reasons as well and regret later. Deciding when is the right time to quit needs careful self analysis and planning as well. There’s a dilemma faced by many employees when they have been with the one employee for a considerable period of their career. At times it very difficult for them to decide if they need to quit just for the sake of change or to avoid getting in a comfort zone which may make them vulnerable to change.

Perhaps the catch lies in knowing what you want out of your role and the challenges you seek in your career. It may just be a reality that jobs may not offer you the kind of challenge and enriching experience which you may be looking for in different organizations. In the days to come more and more employees are likely to face this dilemma and question the learning and growth opportunities, careers path, cross functional learning and even working location (from home or flexi timing) which the employers have to offer. One good example could be the high number of graduates who opt for higher studies in management and technical degrees courses after 1-3 years of job experience. Number of initiatives have been taken in this direction by academia and organizations to ensure that employees need not quit in order to pursue higher education but somehow the desired impact of these initiatives are yet to be felt. I think organizations need to find the right mix of these aspects as various career levels and roles to engage employees and tackle attrition.
My Previous Posts on the same topic.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

HR Talent and Attrition

HR talent and competency development has been a cause of concern for industry over the past few years and the growing requirement for quality HR professional is evident by the increasing HR attritions numbers over the last few years. It would be really interesting to analyze the HR attrition data of the organizations in India and look at the reasons for high exits. Gautam , Sanjay and Astha have already discussed this alarming trend which is eroding the credibility of HR professionals due to lack of retention plans for HR attritions.

HR as a career option has evolved over the last few years and HR professionals are no more content playing second fiddle as facilitators.Mostly they are continuously struggling to keep pace with the ever growing challenge of managing operational efficiency and contain attrition. Over the years some organizations have been very successful in integrating HR practices as part of their long term business strategy and have even gone to the extent of making HR a profit centre. This has made HR as an attractive career choice and it has become more competitive than ever before. The evolution of HR as a business partner also means that today HR also plays effective role in managing business and ensuring that it’s no more just a cost centre and a maintenance function.

Some organizations have not been able to make the transformation and HR continues to play the role of glorified administrators. Many organizations have failed to respond to the HR paradigm which goes beyond the cliché of generalist vrs the specialist or as Anuradha puts it as push vrs pull role. The challenge lies in finding a more comprehensive and integrated HR roles in organization today.HR career development and learning is also something which needs to be addressed within organizations. Some organizations give HR function the space and support to become the driver of change and strategy execution. Lack of well defined career path with adequate reward and compensation at par with other business functions is also a cause of high attrition in HR. In some organization the specialist and generalist functions lack collaboration approach and always a cause of internal discontent within HR. It’s almost similar to left hand not knowing what right hand is doing or blaming each other in case things don’t work out.

The other possible reason for high HR attrition is the growing need for skilled HR professionals in the country. As this report suggests that the supply-demand gap in the HR industry is overwhelming. The country produces around 5,000 fresh HR professionals every year.

According to industry estimates, the economy is expected to generate 80 million jobs in the next five years. Assuming that the industry needs one HR manager for every 500 people (the ideal ratio being 1:200), there would be a shortfall of more than one lakh professionals in the area.

To bridge the numbers and the competency gap among HR professionals, NHRD along with CII and XLRI has embarked on a unique initiative to identify competencies required for the profession and also help people develop them. NHRD and CII have worked on a framework of competencies required for a HR manager. They have now partnered with XLRI, Jamshedpur, to start a development centre based on the framework. HR professionals will be assessed based on four competency types: functional, behavioural, technical and generic. The development centre will position HR managers at four levels: basic, competent, advanced and expert. The process, however, does not end with the assessment.

Sure we are heading for exciting time ahead ;o)

PS: Posting has been low due to high professional commitments and other pending projects. I was also away on a short holiday trip and you can check out some of the pictures here and here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jon M. Huntsman on Ethical Leadership

Jon M. Huntsman, founder and chairman of Huntsman Corporation, a $13 billion chemicals company, spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about the challenges of leading in an ethical manner.

Carly Fiorina om Personal Ethics

Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina who was president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company from 1999 to 2005 talks about personal ethics and values in this short video. She served as chairman of the board from 2000 to 2005.Prior to joining HP, Fiorina spent nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions and directed Lucent's initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Change Management and HR

SHRM’s 2007 Change Management Survey Report suggests that more than four out of five HR professionals report that their organizations planned or implemented major organizational changes in the 24 months preceding SHRM’s online survey, which was conducted in November 2006.

The top three major organizational changes that employers were planning or implementing, according to the survey, were:

• New or revised performance management and review processes.

• Major changes to their facilities.

• Changes to the organization’s culture.

However, employee resistance and a communications breakdown are the two primary obstacles employers face when major organizational changes enter the picture. Employees’ understanding of organizational changes improved when HR was involved in the change management processes before it was introduced to all employees, according to nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of 403 HR professionals surveyed.

“The finding that HR departments were most likely to be involved with the planning for major changes indicates that more often than not HR is viewed as a strategic partner for the change process,” the survey report says. Getting employees ready for major organizational changes requires that change management leaders promote understanding of those changes in a well-planned and well-timed manner, Benedict writes.

Perhaps the most important role which HR plays in driving the change initiatives is that to create the element of trust and awareness about the initiative and its impact on people. Some great change management initiatives never fail to have the desired impact as the stakeholders are either unsure about the desired result or do not share common interest and vision in bringing about the change. Change initiative is one of the vital strategic moves which allow the HR function to play leadership role in driving new initiatives.

Some may argue that HR by its very nature is not pro-change and that it believes in maintaining the status quo as it helps in ensuring compliance which brings consistency. However this argument fails miserably as the nature of business is has undergone a dynamic shift and today it’s not about business as usual by how you make the right moves to make the transition to “business unusual” and stay ahead.The same applies to people’s practice in organization. No organization can afford to have de link people strategy from organizational strategy.

I think this is where HR function needs to drive the business decision making in organizations as it’s not just about gearing up for the challenges which lie in the market for getting new business and staying ahead of competition but the real challenge of hiring, training, rewarding and retaining the best talent. Perhaps some of the industries face unique challenge as the business drivers are not the margin of profit or the volume of business but the quality of talent it has to execute its strategy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Managerial Decision making

Critical managerial decision making is the key to superior performance at work.One has to refer to critical Data, past records and performance metrics and analysis before making decisions .Mc Kinsey study tries to assess the various factors which influence decision making at work. Executives often end up referring to wrong sources, which lacks scientific rigor and credentials in its finding, for arriving critical decisions. Just because one strategy works for a particular organization may not prove to be equally effective for other enterprises.

Unfortunately, many of the studies are deeply flawed and based on questionable data that can lead to erroneous conclusions. Worse, they give rise to the especially grievous notion that business success follows predictably from implementing a few key steps. In promoting this idea, authors obscure a more basic truth—namely, that in the business world success is the result of decisions made under conditions of uncertainty and shaped in part by factors outside our control. In the real world, given the flux of competitive dynamics, even seemingly good choices do not always lead to favorable outcomes.

The halo effect is especially damaging because it often compromises the quality of data used in research. Indeed, many studies of business performance—as well as some articles that have appeared in journals such as Harvard Business Review and The McKinsey Quarterly and in academic business journals—rely on data contaminated by the halo effect. These studies praise themselves for the vast amount of data they have accrued but overlook the fact that if the data aren’t valid, it really doesn’t matter how much was gathered or how sophisticated the analysis appears to be.

This reliance on questionable data, in turn, gives rise to a number of further errors in logic. Two delusions—of absolute performance and of lasting success—have particularly serious repercussions for business strategists.

It’s actually a real problem which many strategist face and typically too much of analysis may lead to complicated or erroneous conclusions if the context of the reference is not verified. Sometimes a single factor can be picked up as a major perceived thereat and instead of finding a meaningful and objective solution based on organizations own reality decisions may be unduly influenced by halo impressions.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Culture as business Strategy

As organizations spread across globe and set operations in different parts of the world, organizational culture is acquiring a whole new meaning. Growing decentralization and growth in no of various units and function means each unit is given the scope to define its scope of operation within the broad organizational framework.Structural changes have been made to allow flexibility of approach and decision making has been decentralized to enable organization scale the challenge of growth and diverse business requirement. All this means organization culture becomes the critical enabler in facilitating a cohesive and well knit unit. Bain & Company’s recently released the Results of Bain & Company’s Management Tools & Trends 2007 study also suggests that Culture continues to be the most important strategy for business success.

The top 5 management trends as described in the report are:

91% agreedCulture is as important as strategy for business success
87% agreed that Information technology can create significant competitive advantages
79 % felt innovation is more important than cost reduction for long-term success.
73 % agreed that consolidating and sharing back office operations improves both cost and quality
66 % agreed that environmentally-friendly products and practices are an important part of our mission

The other two aspects are equally interesting as IT tools and innovative practices are also considered as crucial factors which have considerable impact on the way business will shape in the days to come.

It also suggests that the ten most used management tools included:

§ Strategic Planning
§ Customer Relationship Mgmt.
§ Customer Segmentation
§ Benchmarking

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hewitt Study predicts highest salary hikes in India

Employees working in India are due for a great 2007 ahead as the latest salary increase survey by global HR consulting firm Hewitt Associates has forecasted an average wage hike of 14.5 per cent for India in 2007. This double digit salary growth has continued in India for the fourth consecutive time. Hewitt surveyed 600 companies across 21 industries in five different employee groups, and said it expected salaries in the financial sector to grow the fastest this year.

Some highlights of the study are :

Globalization and increased competition for the talent pool is responsible for forcing companies to increase incentives and compensation to attract high quality professionals and retain them. Salaries in India are continuing to rise and were likely to reach the same levels as in the more developed economies in Asia in the future.

Indian organisations were leading the multinational companies in paying higher salary hikes and that in 2006, domestic companies saw an overall salary increase of 14.9 per cent compared to the 14.3 per cent hike given by foreign-owned organizations.

The highest average increase in 2006 in Indian companies, across levels, has been recorded at the professional, supervisory and technical level, for the seventh year in a row, at 16 per cent - with a 15. 8 per cent average increase predicted in 2007. The top five industries in terms of salary increases in 2007 are expected to be banking and finance, insurance, telecom, hospitality, restaurants and engineering.
The Insurance industry leads the hikes at 17 per cent with a similar increase predicted in 2007 at 16. 1 per cent, beating banking and financial services which had an average increase of 17 per cent in 2006 but is expected to record the highest increase at 16. 5 per cent in 2007. The engineering sector is likely to record a salary increase of 15. 3 per cent in 2007.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Employee Engagement -The critical Ingredients

Is Employee engagement all about inspiring people and managing emotions at work?

More than organizational policies, compensation and recreational activities at work, its leadership at various levels in the organization which engages employees. HR may always strive to come up with great policies, themes for engagement and fancy branding activities. But if there’s one aspect inspire people for superior performance at work is the quality of leadership and mentoring ability of leaders at multiple levels which organization culture facilitates . Some of the great places to work are those which have strong middle management leadership talent and they have always energized and inspired individuals in teams to go for extra mile.

I have seldom come across a disengaged employee in teams which have good leaders. By leaders I do not necessarily means the ones who make so called “strategic moves” at corporate level. For an employee leadership is experienced and exhibited at team level. It need not necessarily be a manager but also peers, and colleagues from different teams.

So does it means leadership development should be a priority for HR function?

This is another debatable issue, can leadership be developed? Yes and No-Well you’ll expect this from an HR guy. I say yes as leadership development can be facilitated by HR interventions but to assume that it can we can develop great leaders in isolation can be a mirage. Leadership development and organizational culture are inter-dependent ; similarly leadership development practices and great organizations have a binding co-relation. Great organisations have a history of developing leaders at all levels.

Employee Engagement is a collaborative effort which requires participation and commitment to the organizations people’s philosophy. Often during my interaction with employees from various organizations and different industries I try and figure out what is it that motivates them keeps them excited about the job they do, some of which are mundane and repetitive at times. More often that not, it’s the immediate leader who is the key to success of an engaged teams and motivated employees. HR as a function can’t actually engage employees in isolation unless the leadership continues to take employee engagement as internal performance metrics for evaluating and rewarding performance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dauten on De-Hiring

Here’s an excellent video by Dauten on how managers can make the process of firing employees more human and mutually agreeable for each other. He talks about the de-hiring on how managers can make life easier by adopting a more well thought out and pro active approach in helping employees realize the realities and also help them improve performance to meet expectations.

The Alpha Employees

These individuals form part of a wider trend in executive heroics – long work hours and an exaggerated executive focus on achievement. It is a trend from which business has benefited with productivity and innovation on the rise. It would be wrong to assume that these individuals are slaves to the corporate world, stressed, burnt out, missing their neglected lives, families, sleep. They see themselves as “winners,” “achievers” bent on building businesses, empires and economies even.

Sounds familiar? Do you feel you have such members in your team as well.Hay group studies identifies them the Alpha leaders who are often bold, self confident, occupying leadership positions.

For them achievement or “results” is a prime motivation, but so is being in charge – these people will willingly shoulder levels of responsibility, that are daunting to most. It is for these reasons that they are often called “alpha leaders.”

These alpha leaders are not necessarily to be found at top leadership positions. Many of these alpha types are young, single and independent employees in the age group of 21-28 .Most of them come from small cities ,with their families back home and little social life in these urban jungles, they find solace and find their identity in the work they do.

Some of them are not able to relate to the new culture and lifestyles of different culture. These alpha types’ employees are growing at a much faster pace than you could ever imagine. They spend more and more time at workplace and even weekends in office. They are constantly worried about targets, assignment deadlines and often end up talking about work and colleagues at social gathering. They have little social life and very little to talk about expect work.

So are these neo alpha types good for organizations workforce. Not really,infact it may be a matter of concern for most organisations.Here’s what research studies says:

A persistent focus on tasks and goals can damage performance. Overachievers can be overly prescriptive in their behavior, coercing people rather than coaching them and collaborating. This has the effect of stifling initiative and motivation. Notorious alpha leader behavior includes taking short cuts and forgetting to communicate crucial information as well as asking questions and then answering them. These managers often either ignore, or are oblivious to the needs of those they work with.

Organizations, knowingly or otherwise, can be complicit in creating a culture which fosters alpha behavior. They sometimes reward what the Harvard Business Review calls “the achievement-at all-costs-mentality.” Understandably, they will recruit high achievers and, as long as they deliver good numbers, cast a blind eye. The best executives take a balanced approach, managing their achievement drive while leading through influence, collaboration and coaching.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Headhunting and Talent War

ET reports on the phenomenon growth which headhunting services have seen over the last few years.

Outsourced hiring, or hiring through third party recruiters, will be an over $1 billion industry this year. And it’s growing extremely rapidly. Such hiring is only a decade old in India. It grew slowly initially, but in 2005-06, the business saw exponential growth, posting a turnover of Rs 3,922.32 crore, against Rs 630.98 crore in the year before. The industry this year is seen to be growing at about 40%. So by the fiscal-end, it would go well past $1 billion, according to a study by the Executive Recruiters’ Association (ERA).

Although there is no clear breakup of which sector would contribute to what extent, it is estimated that IT will claim the largest chunk at 30%, followed by telecom/infrastructure, retail /realty and manufacturing/utilities spaces each at 15%, ITES at 10% and others at 15%.

Clearly the boom in services and growth of industry has resulted in huge requirement at middle and senior level positions. The entry level positions are being filled by campus recruitment initiative. Headhunting services are largely being used to fill niche and middle level positions.Another report suggets that the skilled Indian professionals are finding an alternative in continental Europe. The non-English speaking countries of Europe such as Germany, the Netherlands and France are increasingly wooing Indians into their workforce.
In fact, many of these countries are trying to showcase their multicultural business environment to attract global skilled workers. “Holland, for instance, is very comfortable for an international skilled workforce since English is a business language,” says Dirk Bakker, president of the India Netherlands Business Association.
So the indicators are clear that the war for talent is truly global in nature.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sapphire Weekly HR News

News from the HR World XLRI Jamshedpur
25 January, 2007 School of Business & Human Resources


Work Force Management

Job hoppers go absconding

Easy job openings, desperate employers coupled with young workers and their frequent job hopping are bringing in a new kind of casualness about jobs and resignations in corporate India. Absconding workers - workers who do not resign, but just disappear - are becoming common . As a result resignation is losing its value. Some simply SMS and move on. Some do not even bother to inform. Some fall ill and never turn up. Submitting formal resignation letters is becoming rare. Serving notice period? Even rarer.

Growing India needs a right mix of work & play

It's been a ceaseless endeavour for India Inc for the last couple of years — to bring down costs, boost efficiency and raise productivity even as it moved up the value chain. While it meant revamping production processes and bringing in new technologies, perhaps no other facet of an enterprise has been pushed, stretched and tapped as much as the human capital.

Perhaps, by constantly benchmarking itself with the western world, India Inc may have swerved to the other extreme — where employees across sectors complain of vanishing work-life balance and a very high incidence of burnouts at workplaces

Flexi timing a compelling biz imperative

Initiatives to help retain talent and increase diversity rule the roost in HR circles today. Flexi-Time is one such initiative – a brilliant concept to help employees keep their personal commitments and at the same time contribute as regular employees. More and more women are opting for such initiatives to help balance their professional and personal lives.

Accenture speeds up AI, IA merger

Air-India has 15,416 employees and Indian Airlines has over 18,300. The merged entity will be headed by a group CMD and have a board of directors. One-third of the board will be independent members who will be neither from Air-India nor Indian Airlines. The board will oversee six different business units for commercial passenger operations, MRO, cargo, ground-handling and in-flight services.

IBM work force thrives on diversity

Big Blue also has been touted as one of the most diverse companies. Last year, the company made the National Association for Female Executives' list of top 30 companies for executive women, Black Enterprise's 40 best companies for diversity and Hispanic magazine's list of top 100 companies offering the most opportunities for Hispanics. Last summer, Ron Glover was named IBM's vice president for global workforce diversity. Glover, who grew up in Boston and has been with IBM four years, recently visited the company's Research Triangle Park campus - which with more than 11,000 employees is the company's largest single site in the world - and sat down for a question and answer session.

YES BANK, India’s new age private sector Bank, received the Continuous Innovation in HR Strategy award at The Indiatimes Mindscape Employer Branding Awards 2007 held on January 13, 2007 in Mumbai. These awards were instituted to recognize the pursuit of excellence in Human Resources across the Indian Corporate Sector.

On this occasion, Mr. Rana Kapoor, Founder / Managing Director and CEO, YES BANK, said, “This award is a reflection of the progressive and innovative HR practices followed to grow and nurture Human Capital at YES BANK. This recognition validates our core objective of building an entrepreneurial organization based on the value proposition of ‘Creating & Sharing Wealth’ with all our executives.”


Esops invaluable in retaining talent

Peer pressure would be an element as employees grumble to HR about how their compatriots in other companies are raking it in. Esop is an invaluable weapon in the fight to retain and attract talent , as long as markets don’t give way.

IT companies have been typically the main issuers of options and stories abound about how engineering graduates who joined Infosys in its initial years are now millionaires. Even in the recent i-flex open offer from Oracle, the Indian company’s employees will walk away with fat sums as a result of the offer. But this trend has spread to other sectors.


Retaining talent, the TCS way

How does Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which accounts for the largest workforce among IT companies in India, also enjoys the lowest attrition rate — 10.8 per cent — in the sector? A peek into the strategy the company has adopted to retain its workforce, at a time when there is frenzied recruitment by not only domestic companies but also foreign players establishing roots in India,

IT firms gear up to recruit, retain women

Men have always outnumbered women in the IT workforce. The ratio of men to women was 76:24 in 2005 and has balanced out marginally. It is likely to be 65:35 (men:women) in 2007. Given the bias, Nasscom recently announced it would institute awards for companies to recognise outstanding practices promoting gender empowerment. While the percentage of women in the IT talent pool is steadily increasing, a majority of women are still at the bottom of the pyramid and there are few women in senior leadership positions. However, many Indian companies and MNCs are taking proactive steps to rectify the skewed numbers .

This is the placement season at B-schools and graduates are being wooed with multiple offers and astronomical salaries. That has never been the case with Hari Raghavan, solution specialist, banking, IBM India, who passed out of NMIMS, six years ago. The reason: Raghavan is blind and despite great academic credentials, it’s a huge challenge for him to find employment. “Someone had to really stick his neck out for me to give me a job,” he says.

That changed when Raghavan applied to IBM India a few months ago. “IBM was the only company which asked on its form if I had a disability,” says Raghavan, who earlier worked at GE Money and Tata Finance. Not only did Raghavan get the job at IBM purely on his merit, but the company also provided him with a screen reading software and a talking computer. IBM has also provided office transport for Raghavan to get to work, though he chooses to travel on his own. “A lot of companies mean well but lack the system and policies to hire people with disabilities,” says Raghavan.

Labour Relations

Forward To Bigger Class Struggles

THE 12th all India conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) got off to a rousing start with a colourful march of red shirt volunteers to the venue and CITU president M K Pandhe giving the call for further intensification of class struggles .

A total of 60 fraternal delegates from 30 countries are participating in the conference. Indian fraternal trade union leaders – Gurudas Dasgupta (AITUC), V Shankar (AICCTU), G R Sivashankar (UTUC), Adyantaya (INTUC) and Radha Krishna [UTUC(L-S)] – greeted the delegates in the inaugural session. BMS sent a letter greeting the conference

Letters to the Editor
Aditya V.S.
Alvin Raskina
PS: Pls send in your feedback at sapphire@xlri.ac.in

Monday, January 15, 2007

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Marketing Wizkid and my buddy Mayank has an excellent post on why employees are organizatio's biggest brand ambassadors. He suggests how organizations can strive to create a brand ambassador out of each employee.

Brand Ecology: First step of the transformation is mapping the brand ecology – how various interactions with the brand happen, both internally and externally. More importantly, how the employees interact with the brand and what kind of relationship they share. Once this is done, one can analyze if the interactions and relationship is in line with the defined philosophy of the brand and its essence. Identification of the gaps is essential so that proper actionable agenda can be chalked out to fill those gaps.

Brand Story: Based on the understanding of Brand Ecology, a brand story needs to be developed that can, in simple terms, explain what the brand is, its philosophy, and how employees are expected to drive it. People learn and adopt change readily if done with excellent story-telling.

Brand Communication: The next step is the role of communication. Here the focus is on the channels of communication to bring out the relationship that employees are expected to have with the brand. It may be through use of stationary, frequent informal talk by the leader, stickers, dress code, official parties and get-togethers, etc. The important thing here is reinforcement of the desired brand behaviour from employees.

Brand Alignment: Brand conscious employees are expected to perform three functions: to perform their work, to align brand values and philosophy to their work, and be the brand ambassadors.An organization which endeavours to create a battery of brand ambassadors out of its employees must develop processes that measure an employee’s effectiveness on all these three parameters of his work.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Best Places to Work in 2007

Google ranks as the best place to work for in 2007 and here’s what Fortune has to say about people working at goggle.

The people at Google, it should be stated, almost universally see themselves as the most interesting people on the planet. Googlers tend to be happy-go-lucky on the outside, but Type A at their core. Ask one what he or she is doing, and it's never "selling ads" or "writing code." No, they're on a quest "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." That's from the actual mission statement, by the way, which employees can and do cite with cloying frequency.

Systematic HR has this comment on Best places to launch career.

The best place to launch a career is distinctly different from the top 100 best places to work lists. For one thing, what works for a new grad may not always work for a mid career or senior professional. For one thing, new grads are hopefully looking for quick learning opportunities and perhaps some fast career growth and promotion opportunities. Great learning opportunities for a new grad may not be the same as great collaborative opportunities and innovative thinking for a seasoned worker. While these are not mutually exclusive, an organization needs to be aware that they are different and cultivate the types of employer brands differently and simultaneously.

The best places to work can be those which provide equally challenging opportunities at all career level. It’s a challenge to give fast growth and equally opportunity in an organization which is growing fast and has big employee base. Some companies continue to remain attractive because of the nature of work and the fast growth they offer due to fast growth in the industry. So a start up may be a far better option for a mid career professional who wants to move ahead, on the other hand a fresher may get better learning in a big company which may provide diverse work environment and better training than a small start up. Most of the attrition big organization happen at the mid career level as they fail to give the same kind of learning, challenging work, growth opportunities at different stages in employee’s career path.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sunil Mittal - Asia's Businessman of the Year

Sunil Mittal has been named by Fortune as Asia's Businessman of the Year, they calls him a "Wireless Wonder" who has built a mobile-phone empire by turning outsourcing on its head. Sunil Mittal Bharti Group is partnering with Wal mart to enter the retail sector in India. Few days back I had the pleasure to listen to Sunil Mittal when he spoke about his journey from the small city of Ludhiana. It’s always a great experience to listen to Business leaders and know how they charted their success story. There is no book on leadership which can teach you leadership nor there is a defined way of developing great leaders, if there one thing which I’m sure brings the best out of us is the inspiration you get when you meet and listen to great leaders.

Few things always stand out in great leaders , the way they address the audience, the passion, the conviction the humility and love they have for the cause and the dream which they share with all. Sunil Mittal was no exception as he narrated how in 70's he started a small bicycle business with his friend in Ludhiana. Soon he realized that he needs to move to a big city to make it big and then he got into the business of importing Generators from Japan and started running his operations from Delhi and Mumbai. Just when he was finally settling down and expanding his operation the govt banned the import of generators in 1982 as tww of the Indian Companies were given license to manufacture locally.

He said how he was always interested in exploring the potential of a great product which will be a big success in India. On his trip to Taiwan Sunil saw a push button phone and that when he decided that he will sell these phones in India. He names in Mittbro as it sounded German and was an acronym of Mittal Brothers.Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) was incorporated and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of Germany and started manufacturing Push button phones, fax, cordless and other telecom equipment. Then came the days of liberalization and Sunil decided to join the fray and started competing with the big brothers in the telecom arena. Being a first generation industrialist who had no legacy or political support, he went on to prove that quality service and smart business move is always rewarded by the market.

Mittal explained how he competed with the likes of the state behemoth BSNL and Reliance by offering quality service and staying in touch with his customers. He spoke about the tough times in Bharti when the investors and his people had lost faith and how he went to meet each of him units and gave them the faith like a war general .He said his people never had any training, induction and hand holding as he was always short of people and just when they realized that they need some 20,000 additional people to compete in the market he decided to go for outsourcing of backend and office operations. He always involved his vendors as long term partners and went on to share each penny earned with them with long term partnership. He went on to strike a contracts worth $400 million in which he gave out the network operation of Bharti's entire phone network to Ericsson, Siemens and Nokia.

Later he also went out to sign a $750 million contract with IBM for 10 years and this allowed him to focus on his customers and marketing the services better. It also meant that Bharti could look out for more aggressive acquisitions and new market and new business opportunities.
So what’s Sunil Mittal style of leadership?He felt that the best style of leadership is one which develops its people to the level they need not have leaders to guide them. He shared how Bharti went on to grow by having empowered team ,how complete delegation and decentralization helped them to make smart business decision ,stay ahead and beat the odds.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why VP's of HR don't become CEO's

John Sullivan speaks on VPs of HR Don’t Become CEOs, he feels its rare to find a Fortune 500 vice president of HR who has been promoted to CEO within his or her organization. It’s a striking indication that HR still has a long way to go.

Having had the opportunity to advise literally hundreds of VPs of HR around the world over the course of my career, I have concluded that there are a number of reasons why HR VPs are rarely tapped to lead organizations.

Failing to state CEO as a career goal. Many VPs of HR publicly declare that serving in that job is the pinnacle of their career dreams. They see themselves as a behind-the-scenes player. And they are therefore often treated as such.

Failing to build a well-recognized internal HR brand. Image is as important within an organization as it is outside one. Unfortunately, most VPs fail to develop an internal brand as the solver of strategic business problems.

Failing to prove impact. HR people are notorious for calling themselves business partners, but routinely fail to act like business professionals by not using the language of business: dollars and cents. By not assessing the business impact of HR actions in dollars, HR professionals demonstrate that they don’t understand the big picture.

Read the complete article here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Key to Change

Alan Deutschman talks about the framework which enables individuals to manage change .In his new book, Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life, Alan Deutschman discusses how some of us just not prepared to adapt and change despite do or die situations. He looks in-depth at the three "impossible" cases of far--heart patients, drug- addicted criminals, and rebellious autoworkers. He outlines three keys to change, which he call the three Rs: relate, repeat, and reframe.


You form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope. If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider "hopeless," you need the influence of seemingly "unreasonable" people to restore your hope--to make you believe that you can change and expect that you will change. This is an act of persuasion--really, it's "selling."


The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you'll need. It takes a lot of repetition over time before new patterns of behavior become automatic and seem natural--until you act the new way without even thinking about it. It helps tremendously to have a good teacher, coach, or mentor to give you guidance, encouragement, and direction along the way. Change doesn't involve just "selling"; it requires "training."


The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn't have made any sense before you changed.
These are the three keys to change: relate, repeat, and reframe. New hope, new skills, and new thinking.

Employees and Exit Interviews

Employee’s exits are something which HR folks have to handle on day to day basis. Exit interviews are part of speration process to ensure that feedback and reasons for employees leaving the organization are systematically captured through the interview and questionnaire method. Exit interview data is critically analyzed for working out talent retention strategies and improving employee’s satisfaction at work.

In a study on turnover conducted by Human Resource Executive magazine, 96% of HR managers reported conducting exit interviews with employees who are leaving the organization voluntarily, but just a meager 4% use a systematic method of collecting and tabulating the exit survey findings.

Due to poorly designed and inconsistent exit interview questions and processes, companies' takes on turnover are not only incomplete, but are often highly inaccurate, says Leigh Branham, author of The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave.

I think exit interviews are very critical as it leaves a lasting impact on employee’s perception about the organization. All through employees are looked upon from the resource utilization perspective from the manager and its only when they decide to leave they realize how they are being seen as an individual. One must realize that every quitting employee is a brand ambassador and an internal customer from organization perspective. Exit processes should be made to operate very smoothly and trouble free for the exiting employee as it always leaves a lasting perception about the organization and especially HR.

Do read this post by an employee about his exit interview experience. More on exit interviews here and here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

HR Metrics and Business

In general, chief HR officers are allotted time at board meetings to report on key human capital issues. They sit in with other members of the executive team at board meetings to offer counsel, and then leave when the board moves into executive session. At the committee level, HR usually is linked with the compensation committee, but there are opportunities with other committees as well, including governance, nominations and even audit.

SHRM article outlines how HR can play the role of a key partner in deciding organizations future strategy. As organizations seeks more data and metrics before making business decisions HR can facilitate the process by coming up with metrics and measurement parameters. It talks about how HR can play a more pro active role at Board level in organizations and make its impact felt on business of the firm and also ensure that key strategic HR issues, such as succession planning, talent management and executive compensation are discussed at Board level .