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

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 .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

HR Trends for 2007

HR trends for 2007 continue to be exiting as ever and it will worth pondering over some of issues which HR folks are likely to face and gear up for the new year ahead. Its fascinating how the role of HR has been a talking point in shaping business decisions.

Talent war: The war for talent will become more intense and the job market is going to offer lot of opportunities. Organisations will continue to come up with innovative ideas to attract, retain and develope talent.

Update : According to a survey by ORC worldwide when asked about the highest-priority HR initiatives for 2007, 37.1 percent of survey respondents say talent management, while only 2 percent mention succession planning.

“While we believe that succession planning continues to be an important initiative in most organizations, the processes and programs may be in place and working well, allowing member companies to expand their focus into other areas of managing talent,” the study says.

Job market will continue to grow and the demand and supply equation in the talent market is going to be in favour of niche skilled people. Supply side constraints will continue to push the wage rates towards north.

Another important challenge which organizations are going to face is to retain their best talent, star performers. More and more people are willing to take the risk to start an enterprise of their own and experience the thrills of entrepreneurship. More than competitors, organizations will loose their best people to market economy.

Collaborative approach in building talent pool: Organizations will be collaborating with institutions and adopting new ways to scale up and develop and train people based on industry requirements.

Recruitment: Social networking and media tools, job boards and employee referral will continue to grow in improve in terms of making an impact on organizations hiring philosophy.

HR outsourcing will continue to grow and more and more focus will be on effectiveness and metrics than sheer operational efficiency.

Workplace safety and employees work life balance will be one major area where HR will be expected to make its impact felt in improving employee’s workplace experience.

HR functions will focus more on internal and external branding. HR branding will be part of organization wide communication plan as this will be used more aggressively to counter talent crunch.

Workforce diversity and growing no of females in the workforce will see changes in diversity and composition of organization workforce. Policies will be framed or modified to accommodate these changes at workplace.

Strategic HR will be the focus area in most of the organizations and efforts will be made to find areas of alignment where HR can partner will business decision making process and executing organization goals and objective.

More on HR trends here , here, , here ,here and here