BROWSE BY TOPIC
Rumours galore... to gossiping no more !!!
What goes around comes around! is true not only of Karma, but also about workplace gossips. We have often heard and ignored the cliché, whoever gossips with you, will gossip about you! Many a time, the corporate world too commits the blunder of treating workplace rumors as a trivial issue or tries to sweep such instances under the carpet. However, in the organizational context, there is no denying the fact that loss of reverence towards the organization in the eyes of employees or a rift created among colleagues due to miscommunication are some of the serious implications of gossiping.
As much as we may like to look down upon the gossiping behaviour prevalent among employees, an interesting irony that can be attached here is how gossiping finds an important place in the evolutionary context, as stated by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist. According to him, not only gossiping has been found to foster stronger social bonds throughout history, but he has also stressed upon how 65 per cent of conversations mostly comprise of social topics. Since gossiping comes naturally to humans, it becomes all the more necessary for the corporate world to analyze the gossiping behaviour among the workforce in order to leverage the positives and minimize the negatives.
Working around a tight budget
Our expert round of panelists - Dr. Sriharsha A. Achar, Chief People Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, Bhuvaneswar Naik, Vice President- Human Resources, SAP Labs India, Abhay Srivastava, Senior Director - HR (Global HR Leader - New Product Development organizations), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, R Nanda, Vice President - Corporate HR, Tata Chemicals Limited, and Biswarup Goswami, Chief of HR, Emaar MGF- discuss how HR can keep a hawk’s eye on the purse and yet not compromise on employee satisfaction.
To what extent is HR able to hard sell its value proposition to the management? Where does the exercise tend to stop short?
Dr. Sriharsha A. Achar: A company’s value proposition is the reason why consumers buy products or why people join that company. Attracting, hiring and retaining people are the biggest challenges for talent management today. To attract the right talent, it is very important to develop value propositions for jobs. Employee value proposition is directly proportional to rewards and recognition in return to an employee’s performance at the workplace. It is a people-centred approach that is directed to existing employees and integrated manpower planning strategies because it comes from existing employees themselves. It must be original, unique, compelling and strategically directed towards a talent pool.
LOreal, the global cosmetic giant, devoted solely to the business of beauty, is known not just for revolutionizing the world of beauty with its multiple brands and innovative products, but also for the Group’s research efforts, which is unique in the beauty industry.
HC: The world of beauty calls for intuition, creativity, flexibility and passion, in the face of stiff competition from global brands.How does L’Oreal develop talent globally to stay at the top?
MJ: L’Oreal has been in existence in the beauty market for over a century now. Being the number one beauty player in the world, L’Oreal is focused in just one area, i.e., beauty, unlike any other player. Being in a strong leadership position globally, with its wide array of existing products, innovative offerings and multiple leading brands, L’Oreal has positioned itself as an attractive brand not just for the customer but also for possible employees. To continue at the top slot, there are few areas that we focus on while hiring people. It is essential that people nurture four core aspects in order to make it at L’Oreal. The first is ambition. The idea is to hire talent who has the ambition to do something different, has the passion and desire to something bigger and ahead of themselves. Second, we look for people with intuition. L’Oreal as an organization does not encourage left- brained IQ driven, analytical approach to work. We look out for people who have the intuitive approach to work, where they have owned their capabilities, have tested and taken risks and chances and are able to take decisions. Third is innovation. We look for possible employees with not just skill but people with talent and potential that is long term. Finally, we look for people who have the vision, who can add to the organization, which is a unique situation. L’Oreal gives a broad mission to its employees but expects individual vision to blend in and create a stronger vision for the organization.
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
Power of self-reflection
It was rather interesting to hear a veteran business leader in the middle of an ideation discussion say, “How do we get our folks to reflect and think?" There was a deep pause and the senior leaders seated at the table suddenly looked up from their BlackBerry screens and had a rather quizzical look on their faces, then looked at one another and even before they could respond, another question followed. “Can it be taught? Can we design a module called ‘How to think?” ,asked the leader.
This made me sit up and reflect on what he was referring to when he posed these questions at us. My need to deconstruct coupled with genuine curiosity led me to ask a clarifying question, ”Can you help me understand this better?” to which his response was, “We are so caught up trying to multitask that most often we forget to take time out to reflect and to think. The act of self-reflection is largely missing. Each one seems so caught up trying to get the job done and is plagued by innumerable phone calls and e-mails that I often see knee jerk reactions and band-aid responses.” This is so true and so characteristic of our time; yet we all know the power of self- reflection.
Is paper resume dying a slow death?
The ‘social resume’ is the need of the hour
Gone are the good old days when a humble resume with academic achievements, professional qualifications and extracurricular activities listed on two pages would guarantee an interview call. Today, after a cursory glance at the resume, recruiters jump online to check a candidate’s social resume’. With the world moving on to newer and multiple ways of getting connected, via multiple devices and online platforms, it is easy for anyone with systematic effort and planning to increase their sphere of influence online.
New age recruiters are smartly using social media to filter candidates perfectly befitting a job by analyzing the quality of LinkedIn recommendations, candidate opinion on different communities, the sites candidates visit, the blogs they write or opinions they express on the blogs and the creative ways candidates market themselves. Some even believe that, in the near future, social media scores may become like SAT scores and may be used as an indicator of a candidate’s skill sets.
HR & LINE
Tapping unadulterated creativity
The charm of the radio hasn’t quite faded in all these years, despite the advent of hi-tech gadgets such as mp3 players, iPods and the evolution of other forms of media such as Television and the Internet. However, to keep pace with the changing times, the radio industry in India has definitely transformed in terms of content and music offered to the listener, and noticeably, all this has been possible largely because of the outburst of creativity inside the radio studios.
As much difficult it might be for an RJ to engage a listener hooked to his show, equally or probably more daunting is the task for the leader to engage with the creative minds working under him. “One of the major challenges I face is managing my immensely creative team in a highly volatile and dynamic atmosphere. In this competitive world, creativity should never be restricted by stringent work timings or undue work pressure. Also, an overbearing or authoritative management style should be avoided. Too many restrictions take away the creative energy out of people,”shares Kartik Kalla, National Programming Head - Radio City 91.1 FM, while discussing the challenges he faces while managing his teams. Since, his creative teams constantly demand ample freedom given the kind of work commitments they have to meet; Kalla thinks that sometimes it gets somewhat difficult for him to strike a balance between creative freedom and discipline. “It is necessary to mould their creativity in a way that works best for everyone at the radio station,” he asserts.
Many among us wake up each morning groaning at the thought of the crawling traffic one has to beat on the way to work, an annoying boss one has to face for the next 10 hours, stiff deadlines to be met, equally bored co-workers that have to be dealt with and never ending e-mails to be read. However, there are many who wake up each morning with a smile at the thought of going to work, doing something exciting and new, staying productive and having fun at work. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” This thought explains why happy employees are most productive compared to the unhappy ones. Organization psychologists across the globe are of the opinion that employee happiness is critical for an organization’s success as happy employees quantifiably translate into bigger profits. However, equally important is it to acknowledge the fact that employee happiness may not always be achieved through rewards.
Global research has consistently proved the direct linkage between employee engagement, customer satisfaction and revenue growth. Tata AIA Life Insurance Co. Ltd is one such organization that is committed to put pleasure in work for every employee as a means to ensure employee engagement at the highest level. Tata AIA Life’s employee engagement program, ‘Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work’ is about enjoying what you are doing, and being passionate about your work. This results in high productivity and heightened engagement level, especially, when you are spending the best hours of the day at work for a large part of your life.
Good times bad times
Dinesh Chand Sharma who stays in a modest flat at Pune was recounting his days spent in his previous company where he worked for eight years. His memories of good and bad times dawned upon him. His emotions were running high recollecting the years spent with his colleagues, workers, friends and machines. At the same time, he was excited to work again with his former boss and mentor Debesh Vashishta, who was heading one of the units of the rival company he would join within a couple of days.
had been eight years since Dinesh joined auto major Lexon Auto soon after completing his engineering from a Government Engineering College in Maharashtra. Debesh Vashishta who was the Deputy General Manager was satisfied with Dinesh’s performance in the interview and was instrumental in his selection. Soon after joining the plant, Dinesh worked very hard and earned appreciation of his colleagues. Debesh personally groomed him and was often heard telling his colleagues, “This boy has the spark to achieve great heights in professional life.” In the initial three years, he worked as infrastructure manager at Lexon Auto. He had shown great interest in understanding the technical nitty-gritty of production and operation process. He was often seen interacting with colleagues at the shop floor to gain first-hand experience.
LIFE BEYOND WORK
Love thy food!
Cooking is therapeutic because:
Cooking helps to de-stress as it pleases all the five senses in the body. Moreover, you tend to use your energy and thoughts to create something that is pleasing. Hence, the entire process of being involved into the transformation of raw materials into an exotic preparation is hugely gratifying.
How can everyday cooking be made more delightful?
There are some people who do not focus on creativity while cooking and instead want to master a particular recipe by making it in the same fashion over and over again. While there are many who are ready to experiment and create something different.
So while cooking, one should think out of the box. Try experimenting with the seasonal produce. Also, since there is a lot of literature available on the Internet, it can come in handy for the cooking enthusiasts.
The righteous vision
Beyond the multiple HR jargons of mergers and acquisitions, strategic business partnership, talent development and talent crunch, HR analytics and performance management, lies the reason why this function must have come into existence. It was probably to build stronger bonds among the people who work together to take an organization where it aims to reach.
However, in the daily hustle-bustle of achieving business targets, resolving administrative issues, and designing mind-boggling strategies, HR professionals have a great chance of getting disillusioned and forgetting the real purpose behind their roles. However, Dr. Sandeep Gandhi, Chief Human Resource Officer, Aircel, prefers to stick to his vision and values so that he doesn’t lose the greater purpose while achieving the short-term goals.
Bidding adieu to benefits
Freeze on recreational expenses
Rita, a manager with a popular fast food chain shares her dilemmas, ”As inflation is continuing to rear its head, our company has worked out a few strategies to cut costs, and one of them is freeze on employee recreation expenses. In a work environment like ours where only young people work, it is essential to keep them motivated through incentives and other recreational activities. Without incentives, they tend to lose focus. But now, with cost cutting, I don’t know how to keep them motivated and engaged.”
Find alternative ways
Incentives are used as a motivational tool to drive employees towards achieving corporate goals or to perform a task more efficiently. But incentive doesn’t always include a price/cost. A token of appreciation or recognition of the achievement through a certificate or a publication about the employee in the internal communication medium (i.e., internal magazine or company website) can also act as a great motivational tool. So, Rita as a manager should understand the financial condition of the organization and find alternative ways to motivate employees, and fight the situation.
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