Tag Archives: Company

Importance of Employee Engagement

Ganesh Subramanian talks about why the art of employee engagement is of utmost importance to organizations. 

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There was a time when job hopping was a phenomenon that was unheard of. When we look at work in times of our fathers and forefathers, loyalty was a given thing; it was not sought after by the employers. It was nothing surprising to hear a person start a career with a company and stick on to it till retirement.

Fast forward to the late 90s…

…India was a growing economy and opportunities were aplenty. Employees kept changing jobs at will whenever they felt saturated in their current role or whenever they desired better profiles and higher salaries. It is not uncommon to find the youth of today changing jobs once in every 2-3 years or even lesser in some cases. As a result, employers nowadays, look at loyalty factor when it comes to new hiring. But what about the current employees – how to ensure that they stick to the same company and don’t take away the knowledge with them to another competitor? This is where “employee engagement” comes into the picture.

Let us look at a simpler way to understand the term engagement. We hear people say “I got engaged” in a marriage parlance. What this means is that you have consented to live your life with a particular person and you are committed to uphold that relationship. Employee engagement can be understood as something similar, wherein an employee is committed to the job and does not quit the company because he likes the job. To create this feeling among the employees is one of the biggest challenges of HR professionals.

Different techniques have been practiced and tested in employee engagement. Games, recognition, rewards, team outings, career development initiatives, like training programmes, interaction with the senior management, etc. are some of the ways by which HRs of various companies try to keep their employee engaged. There is no one right technique for employee engagement as companies are different, the sectors they operate in are different, organization culture is different and so are the employees. What works for one company may not work for another. Therefore, it is imperative for HR professionals to understand the pulse of their employees and customize and design employee engagement initiatives that will help their company.

Often employee engagement surveys conducted inside companies do not serve the purpose for which it was designed. Lack of interest in the survey and a general lackadaisical attitude among employees make the survey a futile exercise. This is where interaction with the team leads or business heads of various divisions helps. They can give a reasonable response about the general problems that hamper the productivity of their divisions. When a deeper introspection into a department is done, more often than not, one can find that the causes of dissatisfaction among the employees are the subtle/minor things which others feel are unimportant. Rectifying these minor irritants is sometimes just enough to win back the trust of the employees.

To conclude, employee engagement is more of an art than a science. Understanding the emotional pulse of the employee can go a long way in retaining a talented, productive workforce.

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Love In The Times Of Recession: Chapter 2: Tough Times Ahead

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The month of September crawled to an end and the students of Batch – 5 faced a daunting task ahead of them, from October onwards – to get placed in a reputed firm!! The students had still about 3 months left but there was a constant fear in all their minds. Big multinational firms were filing for bankruptcy across the world; multitudes of people were losing their jobs, layoffs became the order of the day. With a grim situation in every industry, what were the chances of getting placed, wondered the students of the batch.

The batch had pitched themselves in front of companies, in 6 metros across India. Presentations were made, brochures handed over. Most of the companies promised to come over to the campus during the placement season, but none did finally. Day 0 of placements kept changing to suit the needs of the companies but to no avail. Tempers were running high, the management promised to do the needful. Empty promises….the fate of 40 students was hanging in mid air!

On a daily basis the management came in for fierce criticism from the students.

“They shouldn’t waste our lives like this. If they can’t give us placements, they should have asked us not to join the college straightaway while we were going through out admission process. At that time it was all about flowery promises, and look at it now,” Rahul fumed.

Ayushman sensed that this was trouble. As the head of the college PLACOM student’s body, he could not let a rebellion situation to arise. Students were in favour of Rahul’s current statement but Ayushman took control. “See at this hour we should back the authorities and see that action is taken. I have myself been talking to the PGP chairperson and she has promised 100% placements.”

“We should also understand the market scenario, it’s just our sheer bad luck that we are graduating in these tough times,” ended Ayushman and soothed the atmosphere a bit, though in his inner mind he knew that if the situation does not improve sooner this frustration can lead to something big and disastrous.

Every computer in the lab had either Naukri.com or MonsterIndia.com page open, with students searching through the openings advertised in them. Mails with covering letters and resumes attached were being sent across. Numerous telephone calls were also being made to companies by the PLACOM members huddled in a small cabin right outside the PGP office. Excel sheet databases were open, with constant updates at the end of every call. Smiles on faces were replaced by frowns and scorns and most of the students were bordering on depression.

Ayushman had interned in a big multinational during his summer training and he was keeping his fingers crossed about it. He was also thinking of calling them and asking if he had any chance of joining them. The associate director of the company was impressed by the work put up by him and had asked him to call up during placements.

Ayushman though wanted something to happen without him asking for favors.  He by now had sat for three interviews but nothing had come out. All the time the companies would select him only to inform later that recession has forced them to delay recruitments.

The ever chirpy girl’s hostel also saw a lot of gloom. A constant frown was plastered on all their faces. Skipped meals, sleepless nights, dark circles under the eyes, the girls were an absolute sight.

Even love didn’t seem to prosper in these tough times. Heated arguments over the phone, followed by break – ups, girls crying copiously, boys nursing their bruised ego…everything spelt doom!!

Ashima was no exception to this. Her relationship with Rajiv started having cracks. Rajiv had changed over the last one month. He was hardly there for her these days, days when she needed him the most. She sensed that Rajiv was moving away from her.

Rajiv was a “classic” personality. His charm lay in the exuberance of his spirits and positive energy. He was Ashima’s super closest friend, more like a watch dog. He had been her confession box, her critic, her “keep – your – head –screwed – right – in – place – missy” lecture giver, her punching bag…oh she could keep going on!! But he had moved on. She was alone…once again!!

As Ashima was brooding all by herself in the balcony, she saw a lone figure walking up the road. It was Ayushman. What was he doing all by himself? Where was Rahul?

She decided to call him.

“Hi. How come you are all by yourself?”

“I needed a break so I decided to take a walk! How do you know that? Are you following me?!?”

“Look up and you would know”, she said and cut the call.

Ayushman looked up and saw Ashima waving at him. He waved back and after a brief exchange, he continued with his walk.

At the spur of the moment, Ashima messaged him

“Can we meet for a cup of coffee at Barista?”

This Book Is A Copyright of the author. Any Infringement or usage on any other website will invite legal action. 

The Photograph above has been taken from http://www.facebook.com/taylor.maries.photos. For more such pictures visit the wonderful page. 

HR – Support Function to Strategic Function, the Irrefutable Paradigm Shift

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Ganesh Subramanian writes on how HR has come a long way from being a support function to a strategic function and why it deserves a lot of importance

HR as a function has come a long way from the days of personnel management to being an integral part of any business strategy. As much as this awareness among the business community is pleasing, it is equally depressing to see that still a vast majority of people, be it employees or businesses, view HR as a function that doesn’t deserve respect or importance.

What are the reasons for this incongruent view? The blame is to be equally shared between the practitioners of HR and the working population. In a lot of companies, especially the smaller ones, there is usually a single department that takes care of HR & Administration. What this does is blurs the distinction between HR and admin and for an average employee both of them are one and the same.

A HR is expected to repair a fan or mend a creaking chair in the same vein in which he/she does performance appraisal or recruits an employee. The employees who act as if they are apostles of good behaviour during the interview look down upon the HR. Everything is blamed on the HR, right from miniscule salary increments to lack of holidays to uninteresting work.

On the other side, HR in mediocre companies immerse themselves in sub-functions like recruitment and performance appraisals and strive hard to conform to metrics. They end up doing mundane run-of-the-mill jobs losing sight of important HR functions like career planning, employee engagement, etc.

From a labour function in early days, HR has moved on to be a business partner and then to being viewed as a strategic partner. Good companies have recognised the value of making their people function a part of key decisions. These companies are smart enough to realise that business decisions of the future need to be made keeping in mind the human aspect. The recruitment team in these companies understand the business very well and ensure that the job-person fit is tailor-made.

It is a well known fact that most of the CEOs have their hands full dealing with people issues in their career. As one goes up the corporate ladder, a business problem always manifests itself as a people related issue. It is obvious that managing people is the most challenging task that companies and specifically HR have to grapple with. A same marketing strategy can make 100 products successful and standard revenue targets can make years of annual reports appear better, but no one solution can work when it comes to dealing with people as each human is different.

Let us start recognising HR as an important part of a company wheel and give it and the people who are involved in it their due respect.

Finding the right talent