Monday, 11 December 2017

Learning in a Nutshell

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Learning points/take aways from the book Soul inc by Moid Siddiqui, Management Guru and author 
  • In order to create your destiny you need to develop a business character
  • Every living organization, unlike a dead organization, will witness the daybreak, sooner or later
  • All that we are is the result of all that we have thought.Pure thoughts lead to pure life- the ultimate source of happiness
  • As a corporate, look within-Internal clarity provides the external solution
  • You can't fake a corporate soul;either you have it or you better create one.
  • Corporates need to change its priorities and reward different strengths
  • Business has become the most powerful institution on the planet. The dominant institution in any society needs to take responsibility for the whole
  • Flesh trading and body shopping (done by corporates) are both equally sinful
  • There is a need to shift from individual perspective to universal perspective - Serve a purpose and work long for it, as against quick results and quick gains
A shift is necessary
  • What can I get Vs How can I give
  • Success and money Vs people are significant
  • Pleasing bosses Vs working to soothe the soul 
  • Fear in managing business Vs Managing business with love
  • Leader is being first Vs Leader is being last
  • Surrender means deafeat Vs Victory is letting go/ surrender
  • Short term gains Vs Long term legacy 
  • Managing by joining body and mind Vs Managing by joining mind, heart and soul
  • Managing externally hardware Vs Managing internally heartware . 
It is necessary to develop our emotional and spiritual sides for pursit of physical performance, to be meaningful. 

Practice authentic living: Identify your personal core values and beliefs and commit to working and living according to them. Let your personal goals and career goals allign to the values and belief. 

Identify the gap between who you are now and the person you know you could be.Write a list of words that describe the qualities of the person you know you can be. Now spend time reflecting on the extent to which your present self is close to the desired person.

Then choose one word from the list that you want to begin working on.( Eg. You want to become more open). Use personal goal setting techniques and resolve to work on this everyday. Set small goals and work on one trait at a time. Gradually this change and growth will become second nature.  

"If I hold a possibility or a future of the way I want the world to be; then I bring that into the room with me, everytime I show up. I don't have to work on it. It works on me..."

Monday, 27 November 2017

Conversations CEOs Should have with HRs

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At the NHRD monthly meeting in September 2017, discussing the 'interesting' or if you prefer 'important' subject of conversations between CEOs and HR , was a distinguished panel consisting of Mr J.Suresh MD & CEO at Aravind lifestyle brands, Ms Lalitha Indrakanti,MD and center leader Cargill business srvices and Mr K.Srinivas, CEO, BTI payments. At the outset, the panelists gave a brief picture about the nature of their business and its challenges.

Mr Suresh said that his company Aravind lifestyle brands, offers 25 plus fashion brands through 1500 retail stores. Around 10,000 are employed in the stores and 800 in the offices. Indirectly 15,000 workmen are employed in the factories of third parties, from whom the company sources the material. He said his company is following the ABCD strategy wherein A stands for analytics being used effectively to scan the data  of 1 million customers every month, B for buy now with a target of under 40 days cycle time, C for compliance and D for digital optimisation. The HR challenge is the recruitment, retention, training and performance management of the large workforce.

Ms Lalitha said her focus was on creating a culture for the 153 year old company (Cargill business srvices), and in this connection HR has to play a strategic and very important role of a partner and enabler.The other challenges include developing multiple skill sets as against specific skill sets as skills these days, tend to get obselete in a short time. HR has a key role here in giving a different connotation to performance management. " How do you predict business outcomes? and how do you enable employees to  meet these outcomes? are the answers expected from HR.

Mr Srinivas introduced his company BTI payments, as a start up which has made available white labelled ATMs to the interior rural areas of the country. The objective of starting the company was to make ATMs accessable to the rural population and also encourage them to use technology for their monetary transactions. He said that they were clear right from the beginning, that the company would operate as one in a  service industry and not as another bank. The basic business that of "Buying cash and selling cash" was badly hit by the demonetisation. It resulted in money, the very life blood of the business becoming in short supply.With so many Indian citizens standing in queue, making available cash to an ATM transaction company,was the least priority for the banks.Therefore the company which before demonetisation was hovering around the break even stage  slipped back considerably.

Being a young company and a start up, the challenges faced by BTI payments include attracting the right kind of people with relevant competencies and defining a vision for the company. Presently, a two member HR team handles the matters pertaining to the 200 odd employees working for the company. Mr Srinivas informed that "as a part of handling the crisis caused by demonetisation, we went around and transparently shared with employees the current reality." The leadership team took salary break for two months while the other employees took a one month break." Every single person came forward to take the cut." Today, after six months the company is limping back to the break even stage.

The panelists then shared their present priorities.Suresh said that reskilling of people to meet the fast happening changes is his priority.For Lalitha,setting up the new department for developing organizational culture was the priority.In this connection, it was important to learn how to educate the people before implementing. Srinivas said that his priority of recruiting the right people was being adddressed by a strategy of recruiting people already known to the top executives during their tenure in previous organizations when the candidates demonstarated qualities of competence and personal loyalty to the organization.

Taking a question from the audience as to how does one manage disruptions, Suresh said that "Today disruption is the norm",with competition coming from 'anywhere', not necessarily from one's own industry.In these circumstances HR needs to be proactive and business savvy. The focus should be on developing an eco system ( complex network or interconnected system) for the company and not engage merely on  job description based recruitments.It would mean getting the talent to work and also pondering on the question "How to get other people in the eco system also to deliver effectively". Lalitha said that a focus area was to get people working in multiple functions and different maturity/ experience levels "to think as one."

Another question posed was " What are the top 3 things HR should stop doing?

1 Stop owning Everything:  As for example attrition is seen as an HR issue, while many other factors contribute to it.What HR should instead do is to be an enabler and show the mirror as to what is happening with the support of matrix.
2  Stop just taking orders: HR should instead give its own insights and understanding of the business situation and scenario to the management
3 Stop doing performance management in its current form- The current methodology has become old fashioned with the system not serving its objectives. It needs to be replaced with a more relevant and dynamic way of motivating employees.

What advice would the panelists like to give the youngsters or students of HR?
  • Acquire diveristy in whatever you do.Experience multiple dimensions whether in terms of geographies, functions, area of work. This will stand you in good stead in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Adaptability teaches a lot more than sameness and being in the same area.It makes you a better professional and a better human being.   
The discussions for the evening came to a close with the panelists underscoring the fact that boundaries are going to blur. People of all functions would be required to have an HR perspective and the HR professional would also need to become a business person.The ideal situation would be when an HR perspective and approach is automatic in the organization. "Think of a day" said one of the panelists "when HR as a separare function, would be felt irrelevant by organizations."

Although the above proposition may sound scary to an HR professional, in the long run with so many changes happening, he /she could be working freelance.,The real test of the HR professional's  success would be in equipping an organization to be self reliant. Having accomplished the mission, they could be moving to the next organization and to the next challenge.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Global Trend in Workforce Planning

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In this post I am sharing the gist of the discussions that transpired during the professional evening meeting organized by NIPM, Karnataka Chapter. The speaker was Ms Debolina Dutta, Director (HR), VF corporation, Bangalore. VF Corporation is an American worldwide apparel and footwear company founded in 1899 and headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.

At the outset the speaker underscored the fact that quite a few leading companies worldwide, are acknowledging the changes in the expectations of the work force.They are accordingly making changes in their approach to recruitment and engaging of people. Research suggests that a poor recruitment experience could turn candidates away from that brand, for life.According to the report of an employer branding agency ph.Attraction, one in four British jobseekers have either entirely stopped purchasing (12%) or purchased less (11.5%) from a brand because of a negative candidate experience.

 The speaker cited  instances of  individual companies which learnt the hard way that future employees need to be handled with a lot of sensitivity. Let us take the case of  Virgin media. More than 1,30,000 candidates applied to work at Virgin Media in 2014, 18% of whom were existing customers of the company.  However, as a direct result of poor candidate experience more than 7,500 candidates cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor, resulting in millions of pounds (£4.4m ) in lost revenueThe brand has since brought its recruitment function in-house, which allows it to take a lot more control and engage with individuals on a one-to-one level. The company has also invested in technology with a candidate portal that maps the recruitment experience; the focus being on what candidates want rather than Virgin media leading the experience. The process also features inspirational voice messages from brand ambassador Usain Bolt.

Ms Debolina said that IBM responded to the attrition nightmare by developing a predictive analytics model which helps in identifying those likely to leave and this helped to reduce attrition by addressing issues. Further, the Bell curve model of performance assessment has become outdated and is being given up by many organizations. GE has now come up with a regular updates model (feedback to employees on how they are doing) resulting in a five times increase in productivity. Similarly Adobe introduced instantaneous feedback system that contributed to a 2% reduction in attrition. Cisco has moved away from ratings and annual reviews and are looking at team oriented incentives.

It is clear from the above that employers are no longer perceiving employees as mere numbers but are looking to provide a humane experience to candidates right from the stage of interview and during their tenure in the organization.The speaker said that in the IT industry, as HR is not sure of how many will join, there is a tendency to issue offer letters to more than the required number of employees. But then what if all the 5 Java programmars who were issued offer letters ( as against the 4 required) join?

Companies are looking to engage them through gamification portals etc even before they even join the organization so as to ensure better predictability of the candidates joining. Readers may like to see an earlier blog of mine covering the L&D Leadership League organized by People Matters, wherein the VP (HR) of TCS explained how gamification is used to engage young engineers.

In accordance with the latest trends ( the millennials presence is very high in social media), HR would do well to utilize the services edge networks which scan the net for inputs from the social media, Linked in find out the best fit employees and recommend those deemed 100% fit for a position. Edge networks  are focused on the development of workforce planning solutions with the use of artificial intelligence and data science technology solutions. The speaker said that in her company this tool  was used for internal bench management.

Another trend is to get career counselling done for employees by a doggie/bot on their desk tops so that they would be able to open up freely without being intimidated by human seniors, some of whom may also be reluctant to give undiluted honest feedback. Websites like Wade & Wendy help in this connection, providing instructive conversation with a chat bot.

Further, technology today has made available the tool of machine learning. Machine learning explores the study and construction of algorithms, which can make data driven predictions or decisions by building a model from sample inputs.This enables companies to zero in on the optimum workforce.In future, there could be a situation of 73% of the workforce being flexible, part time freelancers. Dell, which presently has a 25% flexible workforce is planning to increase it to 50%.

The global trends indicate that talent will be procured by companies from anywhere in the world.The focus would increase on engaging and mentoring the employees after they have joined. Johnson & Johnson has a web enabled mentoring platform.There is bound to be increased collaboration between man and machine. Amazon has started using around 30000 robots at their distribution centres. The good news is that understanding the trends in advance can enable organizations to be prepared. It is for each company to look at its own unique context and become ready to face what the future may throw up. The bad news is that the trends predicted are not going to affect the IT industry alone but all organizations, across the board....  

Monday, 11 September 2017

Global HR practices and Future Trends

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In this post I am sharing the gist of the talk given by Mr Selwyn Thomas, Head -Corporate HR Crowe Horwath,  Melbourne, Victoria, Australia  during the evening meeting organized by NHRD Hosur chapter on 13th June 2017.. The speaker's wide exposure to strategic HR in India and subsequent stints abroad  marks him out as the ideal person to speak on the subject.After serving in India and rising to senior levels of counry head/Head HR of large multinationals, he  moved to Australia and has worked extensively over the past 17 years in the  Asia-Pacific region based out of Melbourne and Auckland. He also has project working experience in the UK and France.

  • We live in an era of economic paradox. On the one hand there are more products / increase in productivity and creation of more jobs while on the other hand the job market has become riskier and the job environment more demanding or if you prefer dangerous in terms of expectations,targets and pressure.
  • The employee bonding with the company has reduced considerably
  • In Australia, a third of the work force consist of contingent workmen( employed through contractors). As in the case of raw materials you are now looking at " Just in time employees".
  • 60% of the people in Australia work part time and 40% are in permanent employment. While the younger people tend to work full time, the older people across the board( at all levels in the organization) work less.
  • As people come and go often, the organization structure tends to be flexible and job security has become less important and also not much gains in compensation is observed.
  • In short, "the labour market is confusing" with more mobility and job changing as against earlier periods when jobs were changed less frequently.
  • These trends would mean, everyone including HR needs to constantly update and be able to meet changing requirements.
  • There has been a shift in the balance of power in favour of employers since 1980s. The Government presently are reluctant to intervene and are not engaging in policing as in earlier times. 
  • The time has come for change; technology enabled change. Therefore the future of HR as in the case of other disciplines lies  in embracing technology. 
  • HR needs to use infographics and landscape mode to reach out to large number of employees. (Infographics simplify information in a visually engaging and attractive manner. Here, basic principles of design is used to support the information presented, making it more easily accessible to a larger or target audience) 
  • Technology can be profitably utilized by HR for work force management, training and building strategy. HR analytics could play an important role in this regard. ( Readers may like to read my post on HR analytics and its possibilities for HR- )
  • While technology has its advantages, it could mean, the death of transactional HR ie  the repititive, predictive activities, that HRDians have been engaged since a long time.
  • Traditional roles such as wage negotiation  are getting reduced with Government releasing industrywise payment guidelines.
  • With the systems having become smarter, companies expect line managers to do this part of traditional HR role, devoting atleast 10% of their time for HR work. 
  • The strategic HR, however will continue to have relevance. To use the words of the speaker " Only the corporate HR guys will survive". HRDians need to use the opportunity to make vital contributions,  strategically and earn respect for the function. 
  • It appears that it is "Rest in peace" for the performance appraisal systems. In view of organizations having become very dynamic, it has become difficult to set 'fixed period' objectives for teams. Dynamic performance management is expected to replace performance appraisal. You are bound to be assessed on the go; assessed from the moment you join without a honeymoon period.
  • Assessments would be more matter of fact with only 'yes' or ' No' answers: Why has the team failed? Do they have some other issues not addressed?- yes/No
  • The social media enabled recruitment is expected to grow.In a study it was revealed that 80% of those surveyed used Linked in, followed by facebook and twitter.
  • We are likely to see Cafe offices wherein employees will operate from a neighbourhood cafe using tools such as video conferencing. Speaker gave the instance of employee dialing and connecting with colleagues from a mobile van in Singapore.
  • Flexible working hours would be more the norm than exception and laws would permit multiple employment.
  • The speaker predicted that 33% employers would permit their employees to work from home and 52% of the employers are likely to lose talent for not allowing such flexibility.
  • E learning which is gaining currency could become even more popular in view of its convenience to learn at your own pace at the time convenient to you. certificates can be acquired on completion of the course.
  • As against the traditional induction and orientation of employees, the 'onboarding' (like the highly structured and ritualized process of boarding an airplane) exercise in future would start even before the employee has joined the company with the Emails seeking details of the employee including his preferences etc, This continues after his joining giving the employee a personalized experience.
  • Similarly the salary packaging would also be personalized to specific individual needs of employees, permitting him/her to create the basket within the broad structure.
  • There could be a rethink on ways of employee communication given the fact that most employees, particularly the young are very active on social media.
  • The futuristic offices are expected to be very different from how we have known it - No telephones or desks,only pods to sit on.With no dedicated chairs or place for individuals, the office would have open spaces to interact- " Focus zone. Collaboration Zone, creative zone, technology Zone" and so on. The speaker said that the KPMG Melbourne office has been created on these lines.

After the presentation, we got the opportunity to interact with Mr Selwyn and seek clarification and elaboration on the matters discussed. It was indeed a very engaging and rewarding evening for the audience who not only got information on what is happening in other countries but also insights on future trends from an expert who has had exposure to varied working environments.

Monday, 21 August 2017

'One of a Kind' training Program

Any activity tends be done well when it is appreciated; valued both by the person doing it and the one who is a recipient of the benefit from the activity. In the absence of the feeling of being valued, it would merely be about going through the motions. When we look at corporate training, although these days behavioural and soft skill training is done a lot more than in the earlier periods, it is often organized to declare to the world “that we are a progressive organization. We can proudly claim to have done’ x’ man-days of training during the year” Homework as to the real needs for the training and addressing them through the training exercise is not given the adequate attention it deserves.

While reporting on the best practices of 3M, which were discussed in a professional evening program, I had shared in my blog about the experience of the company with respect to a coaching and mentoring initiative. The following feedback that 3 M received from the coaches associated with the exercise is very interesting and revealing:    

(i)  Most organizations are not proactive; in fact, they come to us at the last minute
(ii) The participants are simply referred to us. We do not get the opportunity to interact with the HR Head and senior management team before the program, as was done in the 3M program
(iii) Usually, the participants come in to the program with a negative mindset since they feel they have been sent to the program, in view of their being 'not good enough'.
(iv) The fact that 3M had already identified the areas of improvement helped the process of coaching and enhanced its effectiveness.

As the challenges for a trainer is similar, it becomes a matter of great delight when the client is a responsible participant in the entire process  identifying the areas of improvement, extending full support during the program and facilitating the implementation of the learning from the program, post training. I had the good fortune to experience such delight recently.

When I was working in Hyundai Motor India in Chennai as HOD of Learning and Development, we did a program for our future leaders through the Great Lakes Institute. Professor V. Ramachandran, Executive coach and business consultant was associated by the institute for providing coaching support to our participants.I got the opportunity to interact frequently with him during his visits to our factory as part of the assignment. Subsequently I retired from Hyundai, settled down in Bangalore, and focused on offering training programs on soft skills through my organization “Niche Learning Services Ltd”. In July 2017, it was a pleasant surprise to receive a  telephone call from professor informing me that there was an opportunity to do a program for Ms. MTS Foods who were looking for specific inputs and would like the trainer to be multilingual ( speak in English and Kannada) as they intended to do the program for participants across the board. He advised me to contact the CEO Mr. Krishna Kumar Menon, or KK, as he is popularly known.

I visited KK in his office at first cross JC road and we discussed in detail the operational activities of the organization and the purpose of the program. MTS Foods are agents for supplying excellent food processing machines manufactured in countries like Germany and Belgium. .The tagline of the company reads” Cost effective technological solution for the Indian food processing industry,” They supply and maintain these machines for sorting, cutting and peeling raw materials. The employees therefore work in both the areas of sales and maintenance.

The focus desired was on enhancing communication skills while communicating internally between employees as also while interacting with the clients. Improving the report writing skills was another focus area. It was decided to do a pilot one-day program and then consider further programs as per requirement. I explained to KK my pet concepts of the “Law of attraction” and “Mind Programming”. It was agreed to elicit from the participants the important aspects learnt in the training; the ones they would like to implement at work and use these for a mind programming exercise at the end of the program. (You may like to read my blog  to know more about mind programming).

When I asked KK about the participant profile, he drew for me an organization chart explaining job description of each position, the age and experience of the participant and other details of their job requirements and reporting relationships. It was very clear from the interaction that KK valued the role and significance of training. The reason for the same could be attributed  to the fact that he himself had worked in senior positions in professionally managed companies in the Gulf and in India before deciding to start his own venture. KK wanted the program to be a memorable experience for the participants so that the training day ended with dinner with all the participants. Accordingly, we tweaked the program starting a little late and ending late in the evening.    

KK was present to inaugurate the program, explain its significance and the expectations from the program and from the participants. He stayed for a while and left (because he wanted the participants to be free and express themselves without inhibition) promising to return towards the end. I am happy to report that I had a group of very active participants who comprised of the entire company. This was indeed a unique experience! The company had made sure that this was possible. The learning from the program and the priorities of implementation was presented to the CEO after a group discussion amongst participants. This was followed by the mind programming exercise.  

I describe this training program as “one of its kind” because of the consistent involvement and support of the client throughout the program. It is a rare occasion that the entire company attends a training program.The discussions about future focus areas, long after the program in a relaxed atmosphere over dinner was a unique feature.Incidentally, it was the only program wherein payment was credited into my bank even before I commenced the program. 

To conclude, it is to be reiterated that training programs can be a lot more effective if the corporates are responsible participants in the training process.An actor who comes to a movie set having little knowledge of the story, the plot or his own role is likely to perform differently from the one who has been given a bound script months in advance detailing the entire script of the movie.The same is true of the training initiative. Signals given as to the importance an organization attaches to its training initiatives will go a long way, in reaping the best results by everyone-the company, the participants and the trainer...  

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Decoding Talent acquisition - Attracting and Retaining the Millennials

Attracting and retaining the millennials ( also known as Generation Y) was the focus of the Shine HR conclave held in Bangalore at Hotel LeMeredian on June 23rd 2017 . This generation of employees born between 1982 and 2004, are expected to be 52% of the work force in India by 2019. It is therefore no surprise that employers are increasingly paying attention to aspects such as " what motivates the Gen Y employees?"  and "what are the ways in which  they can be better engaged". Earlier also, there have been occasions when this subject was included as a session in HR summits of one or two days duration. However, at that point of time the information shared by speakers were mostly speculative, or if you prefer predictive. The real time experience of handling issues related to Gen Y was limited and speakers largely depended on the internet for content support.

Today, in the year 2017 however, there are quite a few multinational companies operating in India who have faced issues dealing with Gen Y employees in many countries and have evolved global strategy or guidelines  for effectively attracting and retaining this generation of employees. In fact the tagline of the Shine HR summit read "From the Best in HR on the Next in HR" to call attention  to  the experise and competence of the discussion Panel for giving inputs on the subject.The distinguished panel included Ms Sanjuktha Sarkar, VP & Head HR Aditya Birla Fashion and retail Ltd, Mr Nagarajan.V, Sr VP, AXA Ltd, Mr R. RajNarayan, VP(HR), Titan, and Mr.K Raghavendra VP(HR) Infosys,BPO. The session was moderated by Dr M.S. Balaji a reputed executive coach with rich industrial experience.

At the outset, the moderator shared some interesting findings from a study made on the expectations of  the millennials from work. 90.33% of  this generation of employees were found to have  motivatiors different from that of other generations  for contributing effectively at work .64% of them indicated that they would leave their jobs after short stints; 28% felt that the real situation at work was worse than what they had expected. 75% of the millennials who participated in the study expected to advance in their career within a period of 18 months of joining.60% of the respondents said that they did not have a formal mentoring program in their company. In the discussions that followed, the panelists answered questions put to them by the moderator and the audience. The following are the important points that came out in the discussion.
  • Talent Acquisition- Branding important for millennials 
The visual brand/ No1 employer tag makes a big impression on young minds. Therefore it is important to ask the question " Are we doing different things and also doing enough to build the brand?" In order to reach  millennials, it would be necessary to utilize the media they are comfortable with such as Naukri,You tube,Twitter,Face book, Glassdoor (a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management) etc.

From merely sharing information about the organization in preplacement talks, companies are looking at giving projects to students providing them an opportunity to experience and get a sense of the environment. In one company 90% of the new recruits had done their projects with the organization.Some companies also declare contests for projects for engaging the students with business issues. ( you can read the practice in 3M in my blog ). These initiatives are not only essential part of branding but also contribute to better retention.

Apart from branding, another important factor that motivates youngsters to join is the interaction with the existing employees.Your existing employee is an important ambassador in this regard. His excitement or otherwise could make a deep impression on the mind of the prospective employee. The other factors include growth opportunities, work environment and sense of purpose in the organization. Availability of platforms for expressing oneself beyond immediate work aspect is important, all the more if the organization is not one of the best pay masters. The reputation of the company amongst one's peer group is also an important factor.  
  • High Attrition amongst millennials- Proactive efforts to retain them
Although we tend to club all millennials together, their background could be different and consequently the needs to be addessed could also be different.In this connection, they can be classified as follows:-
1) Those who have lived a major part of their lives in villages or small towns and have subsequently moved to cities (Conventional job security could be important to them atleast in the initial period)
2) Second generation city bred individuals (Their expectations could be a lot higher than conventional expectations of earlier generation of employees)
3) Those educated in technical and B schools abroad ( This group could see themselves as deserving no less than what their counterparts get anywhere in the world)

Based on an understanding of the above classification, companies could address particular needs of specific groups.However, when you look at the  millennials as a generation, it is seen that they are looking for more challenges than the earlier rgeneration of employees.They want a pleasant working environment and eco system.They are seeking experiences to enhance employability and not just promotions. Many large organizations today, are catering to this need of the GenY employees. However, a lot more can be done in the area of providing recognition, providing cluster of experiences and values matching in line with their natural style.
  • Career Progression and Development expectations of the millennials
The millennials have high achievement orientation.They have low tolerance level of hierarchy and are more self centered than the earlier generation of employees. To them progression is learning more and enhancing their employability; looking out for opportunities rather than linear progression. They would prefer 6-9 months of stints across various disciplines before deciding on what they would like to focus on long term.

In view of the above, it would be a good idea to move people seamlessly across marketing, production, warehousing and logistics. As the millennials have a low tolerance level of hierarchy, it is important to choose wisely the managers who would be guiding them. Competency and soft skills of the manager should be the criteria rather than total years of experience.In GE, they have experimented with ' Reverse Mentoring' wherein technologically challenged seniors of an older generation are taken under their wings and mentored by the youngsters.(you can read the best practices in GE in my blog )

It is essential for companies to study the possible career progression of the millennials in the next 2 to 4 years and examine the gaps that need to be filled through learning interventions. This neeed not essentially be classroom inputs but bite size learning, at their pace. A bouquet of learning experiences can be planned that may include webinars, shadowing the CEO etc.
  • Flexibility and Work life Balance
The millennials attach a lot of importance to flexibility and work life balance. This does ot mean that they wish to work less.In fact they would like to work more and engage in more challenging assignments. What it means however, is that apart from work, the Gen Y would like to pursue other interests of their own such as hiking, bird watching, social service, sports etc and also spend time with friends and family. Some wish to make a difference in society and engage in CSR activities. In this connection they expect support from the organization. It is like they prefer work life fusion when work and life collide. Fixing of core hours when everyone need to be in the office but flexibility most of the time could address this need.Technology can be leveraged effectively to provide this flexibility so that work also gets done as per schedule.
  • Significance of Trust and Values
There was a question from the audience drawing attention to the volatile work situation these days with managers changing frequently and increasing number of lay offs and pink slips.The question was as to how a trusting culture would be possible in such a scenario? The panelists acknowledged the need to be transparent and fair when lay offs become necessary. The seperation conversation on such occasions should be fair, humane and with lot of empathy. The exercise should be acceptable not only to the person seperating but also to those who are continuing in the organization.

Another matter that came up during the discussion was the using of technology effectively in managing the millennials.It was opined that analytics need to be leveraged better and HR needs to enhance it's competence in analytics analysis. The millennials tend to seek instant gratification but this is not with reference to money alone. They expect real time feedback on how they are doing and not once in a year during annual appraisal.

The Shine HR conclave was truly a rewarding experience with 360 degree perspectives on the subject justifying the tag line "From the Best in HR on the Next in HR".There was one question from the audience though that was perhaps misunderstood by the panelist. He had asked "Have we been unable to communicate our expectations and culture of the organization to the millennials ?"

Going by the general mood of the evening the panelist answered " You don't communicate culture; you experience it." Although this is a remarkable statement, I think what the questioner had in mind was, to put it in different words- "we are speaking and discussing so much about the necessity to adapt and adjust to the needs of a group who would be 52% of the work force in 2019. But should not the millennials also be taught to work in harmony with the remaining 48% of the work force?"

 Should they also not understand the reasons for the conventional thinking of the earlier generations, what values are important to them and what their expectations are as well? After all, in order for a house to be a home, not one but both the husband and wife/ father and son/ mother and daughter need to appreciate the perspectives and adapt to the needs of each other so that a transition to a better life happens in a  smooth and effortless manner ....

Thursday, 6 July 2017

From the Notes of Yesteryears-(4)- Leader in Deed is Leader Indeed

In this post I am sharing from my notes, some sound and sensible advice to freshers joining the industry. It is given by none other than the veteran corporate leader Mr  R.C. Bhargava, former CEO and current chairman of  Maruti Suzuki. Many students tend to believe that once they have acquired a degree in engineering or management, they automatically gain respect and success. The wisdom shared by Mr Bhargava challenges such notions. According to him leaders need to earn the respect of their subordinates.

In most companies, subordinates, particularly workmen are convinced that the management's aim is to extract the maximum work and pay as little as possible. They believe that the management thrives and prospers on the efforts of  their workmen. Management itself contributes very little and  since managers are highly paid and enjoy lot of perks, profits would increase if the number of managers are reduced.If managers are to become leaders and motivate all employees to give their best, they should be able to dispel this image

One of the ways for earning respect and demonstrating real contribution is by being highly proficient and knowledgable in your work.Degrees will not suffice. If a worker makes a mistake or encounters a problem in his work and the supervisr is not able to guide him or provide a solution, he is unlikely to respect him as an engineer or manager. It is therefore necessary to combine academic knowledge and intelectual brillance with practical experience. This would enable one to gain the skills for doing the work that he is responsible for supervising and guiding.

You would be able to supervise and control only if you are totally familiar with the rules and procedure applicable. One should also know the company policy and objectives. The leader must be able to show total command over the work in his charge, to get noticed and identified as one with the potential to rise.The more aware you are of the overall functioning of the company, beside your own area of work,the more are the chances of your being able to make value adding suggestions. What is required is hard work and an intention to learn all the time. You cannot expect to succeed with the attitude- " Work only the prescribed 8 hours and do only what you are asked to do."  

Focus during Training Period

The training system should be designed for providing opportunity to the trainee to practically do the tasks that he would be supervising later. This would mean providing hands on  training to the engineer on the production lines and on various machines.The training should include knowledge about various aspects of the company's policies and regulations.This first hand knowledge of the working conditions and systems on the shop floor will stand the trainees in good stead in future, for making changes that will improve productivity and work environment.In the Japanese training system a great deal of importance is attached to 'doing the job yourself '. There was an instance of a senior manager who was on his way to a hotel as a guest.On learning about a breakdown problem, he  was not afraid or reluctant to get himself dirty repairing the car before proceeding to the venue.

In conclusion, the youngsters starting out on their career should understand that the importance of practical, hands on experience cannot be overemphasised. Degrees are only passports to enter the work place. There is no substitute for hard work, continuous learning and willingness to do work with your own hands.It is these attributes that will ensure future growth and success.