Friday, 21 November 2014

Are you Human Oriented?

We have no time to train you.
You'll be here very late, very often -- might as well be comfortable.
Your first four projects are already way overdue.
Did we mention that you'll be here very late, very often? And most weekends.
We might not check with you before adding more responsibilities
Female applicants must be childless, hope pregnancy is not on cards.

I came across these tweets which were shared with an intended pun but actually is a bitter reality check and an eye opener. These just reiterate that Human Resources have been more of treating Humans as resources. In the fast paced competitive work place before we even realized Human got dropped somewhere midway and hence people became numeric assets good enough to be shown on dashboards. Numbers good enough to be deleted or added as per market climate.

Mostly organizations in urgency to increase the productivity try to optimize their bottom line which in turn results in aggressive target settings for the employees to produce desired results. As much as the top line is important ignoring employee wellness and a stress free environment is what should not be ignored either. These tweets portray the outcome based approach or behavior pertaining to most of the startup and SME where understanding human aspects still looks to be far cry.

My intention is not to counter the organization expectation but only if humans are treated as beings and not machines, as people and not just resources, as family not just assets, growth is inevitable.

So next time don’t look at your watch when somebody is late!!

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Are you ready for it yet?

“Mumma, I want that stick”, Medhansh pointed towards a piece of dry stick while we were strolling in the garden. I picked it up and gave it him.

“Can I have that big one please?” He dropped the earlier one and even before I could nod a yes he had the bigger one in his hand.

As we moved couple of steps more, his desire for a next one grew and there he had another big one. This time one in each hand. So in some 20 mins he picked up 6 to 7 sticks each bigger than the other one. I kept mute and just kept watching the gleam in his eyes every time he found a new BIG stick and it hardly took him time to let go the one he just picked a minute back till such time I saw him aiming for small branch of a tree. Reading his thoughts I simply said  ,”NO, that’s too big for you”. And as expected he started his tantrums because a NO wasn’t expected. I didn’t rub it much and let him do what he wanted and within couple of minutes he realized why I was saying NO. Frustrated by his inability to handle a branch, two times his own size, he started crying. Well….
We all have little Medhansh in us, who keeps demanding more, whose desire is to touch and have all for himself and that too in the shortest span. Only difference is Medhansh is just three year old but the same tendency in a 30 year old…imagine how you would set it straight.

As a Human Resource manager I see people changing jobs for more salary, without even consuming the past job they move to next one. The change here is referred as better prospects by many. It’s not usual to find people with a set frequency in terms to job changes. Such people start looking out as soon as they near the threshold point in a company. But what happens in reality is that by the time you make four such changes you lose the hold on the subject because your vision was always short term, because quitting was your first option, because you thought the grass is greener on the other side .

Job change is not bad and I honestly believe that change adds value and variety but you should make sure you have gathered enough knowledge in your current profile before you move to next. Cracking interview is just step one and mostly we do lot more than our Job Description suggests. Going too quickly for a larger pie might excite you but its more about sustaining the expectations which it brings with the size. Also many times the carrot is a fancy designation with hardly any real work and you can trust me for meeting many such people who regretted such hasty decisions

Think about it when you feel edgy about changing your job. Is it a right time for you to move? Have you done enough here? Have you grown enough to aim for a jump? Would waiting for a while fetch you more strength to face the challenges of new profile.

Medhansh with time will learn  as to when is the right time to handle the big stick but until then he should value and enjoy what he has and try to focus on his current possessions so tomorrow he doesn’t regret but enjoy the BIG stick!!

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Why you should love Facebook?

I asked her, “So are you there on Facebook?”
She answered in a little awkward tone, “Not really, but I am on Linkedin”
She wondered how this was related to her subject. I just smiled and carried on with the Interview.
It’s sometimes is so interesting to see that a platform which has a base of 1.35 billion active users (WOW!! That’s like a country in itself) and still many don’t feel it makes sense to be there. Well may be as a user we haven’t realized that why it adds value to be on this platform.
I asked a quick question and here is what people replied and some responses off course are very interesting considering that each of them come from different professional and personal backgrounds. I am glad my friends have some good reasons to love Facebook. So here adding to them is my list which is not exhaustive but purely my own experience with this amazing #social tool.
We establish connects and contacts with people whom we would have never possibly known or if not digitally. This media has provided the space and also common grounds to interact on with chosen people publically or directly. It certainly helps on to network with likeminded people and later leverage the same as per the need. Many businesses thrive on social networks, thanks to all of us for choosing the platform. Adding to that it remains closed to the people you choose provided you used your settings smartly.
I got my last two jobs through Facebook. Really!!Don’t be shocked. With so many users around the recruiters are more than eager tofind the way out to reach the right candidate. Thanks to ‘Facebook Graph Search’ which has made the path more defined and focused. It’s a place where you and your activity talk more than your two page resume and guess what that’s what organizations are looking for, your true self!!
So are you part of Facebook groups? Have you explored any till now? Well that’s another unique way to learn from experts and you’re your own chose fraternity. A place where you can share your mind, seek advices and learn a lot from a mini comment. I see startup communities which talk about new ideas, challenges and solutions around it and then there are friends group who share their own old secrets with you. All on one platform!!
You wonder why some people are so regular with their status messages. Well Facebook is also a tool to share your mind and let your thoughts travel globally with a speed of light. What you share is what people perceive about you .The frequency and content helps them to establish an image which overall contribute towards their personal online branding. You never know who is watching you and considering it’s an open platform with limited privacy you off course should think twice before what you share.
Facebook pages are the new website and even more it’s free. What better way to connect with your audience so closely? In times where Gen Y is ruling we will soon have a career section on FB pages too apart from all the other offerings.
Do you need more reasons to love this brilliant platform and not to miss there is so much feel good factor of numerous likes on your profile pictures. And wait did I say..its very easy Onboarding here!!

Friday, 7 November 2014

What is VUCA??

Is it another HR Jargon?
What does it really mean?
                                                  Will this affect me too?
This is what I thought when I first came across the term VUCA!!
Isn’t the term itself is quite intriguing.I wanted to know more about it than just its meaning, Volatile – Uncertain -Complex –Ambiguous. Though I am sure it explains now what it means. To me it sounds like ,”Don’t mess, I can be really crazy”. So as I became more interested about exploring  VUCA, happened to come across NHRD Mumbai conference which had organized a Panel discussion on the said topic with dignitaries like Dr. Gopal Mahapatra , CLO – RPG Enterprises , Ms. Rani Desai, Chief People Officer – Deloitte India, Mr. Lakshmanan MT – Head Talent Mgmt – L&T Ltd.
Must say the insights really made me feel the VUCA is a reality of everyday. I realized that VUCA has been there since the humanity existed , though we might have not called it by that name. Doesn’t our life gets us in situations which we never predicted, which have been beyond our control. It’s an environment which can be confusing and complicated, an event which can turn things topsy turvy and we with our best laid plans can’t even resist the change.
So though I felt more than debating about whether VUCA is a myth of reality , we should rather try to figure out the way to deal with it. For even if we deny the existence the change would still happen, so why fret rather deal with a grace. Adding to the thoughts shared by the panel where one of them quoted that India specifically has been one of the most adapted countries in terms of changes, after all those invasions and attacks from the historical times Indian are attuned to handle VUCA environment . Possibly that could be a reason why many Indians don’t feel that it even exists for its so much part of our normal lives. Morever it’s not a challenge but an opportunity to stand out and carve your own way. Now relating it closely to my subject, Human Resources Management here are some workspace events quoted by the brilliant panel to make it more relevant to us.
Layoffs and Pink slips are one of the most terrible times of conflict in a Human Resource professional’s life cycle. It takes me back to 2008 and 2009 when people dreaded to come office as it could be there last working day.
Talent Acquisition not matter how fancy the term sounds ask the pain of ‘back outs’ from a Hiring Manager who is uncertain even after the prospective candidates joins the organization.
What happens during the Mergers and Acquisitions? How to deal with people issues when the situation itself is not clear? Imagine the confused state scenario where the HR manager still has to be grounded and take it in the best stride.
How to handle the staff when a major project has been lost? Will you retain them or not? The dynamics changes overnight. One deal lost affects many around. Isn’t that a VUCA environment to deal with?
Summing up this, today when we are better equipped and much more aware, the solution lies in the word itself. Handle Volatile with Vision, Uncertainty with Understanding, Complex with Clarity and Ambiguous with Agility. It’s an age of unlearning and relearning and every change demands us to do that, world now has been different than it was a decade back .We have to get into vertical development , where every individual and organization finds the solutions and adapts the best practice to win over VUCA times.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

5 Hiring Mistakes I Learnt From!!

‘To err is human’ and we all commit mistakes.
One who learns not to repeat is smart, but those learning from others mistakes are by far SMARTER.
Life is all about exploring more and stretching your boundaries , so what goes hand in hand are the Mistakes. I wonder If I would have ever achieved all I have today had it not been my mistakes.
My on the job journey off course had its own share of goof ups and wrong choices. But then what came out definitely turned me into a better professional. However as they say why ‘Reinvent the Wheel’ here is what you can surely take your ‘NOT TO DO’ lessons
Whether its startup or established brand, we all have our favorite hiring sources and likewise I had a special affinity to employee referrals. Courtesy our lucrative referrals policy never had dearth of profiles and off course it all seemed very rosy initially. But reality stuck when we started having group exits and office politics shaped up the bad way. I realized that the referrals resulted in favoritism and pre conceived expectation. So the miss was of not exploring wider variety but limiting the choice by focusing more on one source or channel of hiring
Interview panel plays a very important role in the recruitment cycle. You can’t hire best if you don’t have the best one to do the cherry picking exercise. However many times we end up hiring wrong people only because we ourselves are not sure about whom to hire. It’s true that interviewing is a skill and that judging in couple of interactions whether the candidate will fit the bill or not, can be an uphill task. So only where a panel should have a capacity to evaluate technically and also maturity to foresee the cultural fitment and personality alignment within the team will be able to identify the right talent.

Hire always with open mind and when I say that my intension is towards diversity. Mostly we assume a particular section of population only would be a right match for a profile. However it is the result of our stereotypes, which we keep carrying irrationally. And at times like this when we get to re visit it’s important that we let our options always open towards the various talent segments. Not only would this bring more variety of thoughts but also give a good mix of population which ultimately will contribute towards healthy environment and culture.
Let numbers so talking. The best way to measure hiring transactions is to follow a well structured dashboard. A well defined TAT for each recruitment destination will surely help to track the process and its closure in the estimated time frame. Mostly due to unavailability of required data or a measurable data we keep procrastinating important decisions which can help close position in a much faster speed.
Selling is part of recruiting but don’t rub it too much. Mostly in the heed to hire the brightest and not to lose to the competitors recruiters try hard to convince the candidate. However this when can make the candidate join but any overselling can result in a false assumption or a promise can be fatal for the entire hiring process. A recruiter has to come out of the myopic vision and make sure to create a pull story to be attractive enough but not misguiding.
Here is how I learned with my own experiences and the journey of exploring the domain is still on. Do share your experiences in the comments so I can too learn from your mistakes J

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Creating Social Media Identity @TechHR

It all started with some colorful bean bags and a cup of tea. A perfect setting for some interesting conversations. Isn’t  it?

I sipped that perfectly brewed cup of tea and was amazed to see some savvy product demos around me with a perfect blend of HR need and Technology support. This was the  ‘Unconference’ area at the Tech HR hosted by People Matters, where we were waiting for one  of the most awaited session with Social Media guru, Gautam Ghosh. Have been following Gautam Ghosh on twitter for long and this was my first experience to have live interaction with him. Unconference as the word suggests was an informal setting for some direct interactions with the speakers and that definitely made all the more interesting . What an apt place to learn from the experiences of some aspiring entrepreneurs and HR stalwarts.

Gautam opened his discussion with quizzing people a bit on social media and for once I had to stop tweeting and start being more attentive towards it. I of course didn’t wanted to be caught off guard and this is what I could capture from his thoughts on “How to make Social Media Identity”

“Twitter makes you celebrity” : Yes imagine the fun of having 1k+ followers and flaunting the same. Twitter not just made this possible but also allows reaching the unreachable. Where physical media would simply add to the odds this one made it quick and unbelievably smooth and much higher on connectivity.

“Social Media is the new customer care”: He shared an anecdote about how a popular telecom player sorted out a pending issue in record time with just a simple ‘tweety complain’. Social media accessibility has given an edge to customer and this for sure has been quite a trend setter. Thanks to the power of information speed that no one can be taken for granted. Not only does it affect the employer branding but also positions the organization differently. What probably couple of calls or an email could not do, now the solution is just a tweet away. Social Media is making organizations  walk on tight rope whether to lose one customer or stop many others from even trying their products.
“It’s a Personal learning Management system”: Social Media has an immense potential for self learning. It’s about learning from your own fraternity and imbibing knowledge for good. Learning can be through medium like webinars, twitter chats, Facebook groups, and subject matter blogs. Infact he mentioned how MOOCs have added a new dimension to social learning and now global learning is just part of daily dose.

“Use Google news for better”: Specific to twitter it’s all about give and take. Learning is incomplete without sharing and here is Gautam’s quick tip. Subscribe Google news and share the relevant topics with the followers. Though it can be very overwhelming but using hoot suite helps lots in managing time yet connecting with the best.

There was much more which he discussed like how blogging gives a voice and platform to an introvert personality and how everyone has his own choice towards different social media. I could have not agreed more on all what he said and coming from him made so much more sense. I am thankful to people matters to give me an opportunity to connect with some very interesting people and learn about how Technology has impacted the age old HR domain.

We all look forward to see a future where people management is more tech savvy without losing the real Human!!



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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Are your policies the next ‘Planning Commission’?

15th August 2014 marked India’s 68th Independence and our family of three was all set to tune in to Mr. Narendra Modi’s first Independence Day speech. Not to mention the man has his own charisma and has his own carrot and stick style while he shared his economic agenda with the country.
No No…this post is not about Mr. Modi nor even close to our country’s patriotic spirit but it’s about what made him scrap age old ‘Planning Commission’ which for sure was quite relevant at its inception but then 64 years were enough to make it look age old. And what is interesting that even our organizations operate similarly, with archived policies and procedures in this era when Gen Y is entering the workplace.

So what goes wrong while Human Resources still tries to put its best foot forward while creating the best of their policies.

Sadly our policy are made with intension to facilitate changes but mostly becomes road blocks in the overall scenario. It’s important to keep the objective well defined and should be achievable rather than becoming just another HR thing. After all it’s the people whom you want to touch without losing the human touch.

Change is good. A timly and proactive audit of what needs to be changed in policies will help avoid lot of complications later. So why wait for a sexual harassment case to come up before creating a committee to handle such scenarios. Mostly we ignore the initial signals or rather wait for the stage when there is no other better option but then this can be one decision making weakness which can raise unnecessary grievances.

Keep It Simple!! And that would make its more sorted. Creating policies which are confusing or verbose only irks the employees who are looking for solutions and not documentation. It’s the job of Human Resources to refer Laws and Compliances and created user friendly and crisp policies which are self explanatory and non debatable.

Are you talking enough? Well creating a policy is just one part of it but communicating the same to make it more effective plays indeed an important role. Hence care should be taken to release versions even with the most minute changes and same to be communicated keeping employee confidence in the system high.
I am sure Mr. Modi had a far larger thought behind bringing new soul to the old body but he for sure motivated me enough for this take on our age old Policy Frameworks. For sure as the organizations grow so would the country and tha