Tag Archives: Human resources

Employee Recognition Is A Must

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group, Espire Infolabs, speaks about one of the best practices of the industry – Rewards & Recognitions.

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Some of the best Rewards & Recognition strategies are those that cost the least. The behavior that is recognized and rewarded is always the behavior that is repeated and widely spread by word of mouth, Simple Virtue.

This is a part of the global Recognitions & Rewards that energizes and engages employees to achieve your strategic goals. Employee recognition is a communication tool that highlights the most important outcome employees create for your business. When you reward your employees, the action and behavior you wish to see more frequently in your employees is inevitably repeated.

Reward programs prove more beneficial to the company than to the employees. Companies which have an effective program in place realize an increase in the average return to shareholders as opposed to companies which do not have ways to recognize employees. Only one in three Indian employees is working at full potential.

Dos & Don’ts: Designing a process in which managers get to select employees who will receive recognition might not be the best thing since the selection would inevitably happen on the basis of favoritism. A Process that single outs an individual, upon the individual contribution you made in the company’s growth, for instance, “Employee of the Month” or “Individual Contribution Award” will be more effective and motivating for employees.

For such recognition programs, each employee would receive a thank you note, hand-written by his Chief Reporting officer. This should spell out why the employee is receiving the honor/recognition.

The note would include the potential for the employee to participate in a “DRAW”. Gifts may range from a movie ticket to a dinner booking with family. Alternatively, it can be cash rewards.

National Employee Appreciation Day: This will be a perfect period to kick off a long-term employee recognition program. These appreciation days are important things when you recognize your employees in a Town Hall Meeting, and explain why the organization has chosen him/her.

As you can see, employee recognition programs are complex, and we need to architect those parameters to filter people. How is one person different from another person? Each program is custom-built to meet the needs of your organization.

In short, you need improve your bottom line as these resources are doing the real hard work and we have to measure our own employees by boosting employee retention and encouraging performance improvement.

For employees who wish to analyze their potential, you need to do the below following:

–  Utilize all your strengths
–  Manage your weakness

Please write these above on a paper and work to improve your own skills and the organization will recognize you as a potential candidate for the Student of the year Award! 🙂 Just joking Employee of the month goes to you, my friend.

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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.

Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 2

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In this second part of his article Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition at Espire Infolabs, talks of the other four components of a successful salary negotiation for an HR professional. Read, learn, grow.

1. Present the offer as a total reward package

When making the offer, present it as an itemized total reward package so people can see the true value of what is being offered to them. So, include: salary, size of any bonus, size of any retirement fund with monetary value of contribution, plus value of any health insurance premium value, number of vacation days, company car value, personal training budget, etc. Also, itemize any non monetary perks like flexible working and casual dress code.

2. Leave some negotiation room in your offer

Research shows that most managers tend to leave some negotiation room in their offer. This is not necessarily the same as ‘shooting low’, because if you make too low an offer, a candidate can be insulted and you might force him/her into driving a harder bargain than intended. Always make a fair offer based on their current salary, their need for advancement and market expectations; but leave enough room to negotiate. Don’t forget, many people like to negotiate and see it as part of a relationship building process.

3. Rebuttals

If an employee refuses your offer and requests a higher salary, ask them what their expectation is and ask them to provide economic evidence for their position. Also, ask them to detail their past achievements and likely contributions to justify their requested starting salary. This is a strong defensive play, which firmly pushes the ball back into their court. Who knows, they may persuade you they are worth it, or they may be forced into a reality check, which could make them more accommodating.

4. Bargaining tools

You should also have an array of bargaining tools—based on your accumulated knowledge of the candidate—at your disposal that you can offer in exchange for salary. For example, perhaps the option of working from home, or a compressed week may be more attractive to your candidate in preference for salary. Perhaps you could make pay raises conditional based on achieving agreed performance goals. You could enhance their bonus. There are many other options available to you in the event that the candidate rejects your initial offer.

There is no magic formula for handling a salary-negotiation, but I hope you can see there are steps you can take to perform more effective salary negotiations more of the time. A well thought out negotiating and closing process is critical to your success!

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Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 1

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One of the key stages of the hiring process is the starting salary negotiation. It is a hurdle that needs to be overcome if you are to close the deal on your dream candidate. While there is no magic formula for handling a salary negotiation—as it can be impacted by many external factors beyond your control—there are several tactics to follow that can help you to engage in a mutually beneficial and ultimately successful salary negotiation.

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group Espire Infolabs advices on the subject in the first part of this two-part series.

1. Put the salary range in the job description

There is a general reluctance for employers to include salary details in the job description, but by failing to do this, you are making salary negotiations harder as you are not setting the candidate expectations correctly and you may attract candidates who are off the scale. Where possible, include a range, even if it is broad, and make it clear that the candidate’s actual pay will be dependent on their experience and likely contribution to the business. This way you will filter out those candidates who are out of the ball park and where salary negotiations are likely to be fruitless — and a potential waste of both party’s time.

2. Check whether you are in the same ball park

There can be a tendency for the candidate and hiring manager to negotiate according to poker rules and not show their hand early, which means salary expectations, may not be revealed until late in the process. This can lead to salary negotiation issues if the candidate and employer salary expectations prove to be wide apart or not in the same ball park. At the very least, ask the candidate to confirm their current salary and package, so you can check you are on the same page and save wasting each other’s time.

3. Give additional reasons to join you, other than just money

Don’t allow the candidate to become too fixated on salary; give them other reasons to join you by constantly promoting all the other positive perks and aspects of working at the business, be that: culture, training, challenging work, location, benefits, flexible working, etc. The candidate will factor in all these perks and may be prepared to accept a lower salary in the knowledge that he/she will be receiving all these great perks.

4. Make the offer face-to-face

Where possible, try handing over the offer letter face-to-face and then talk them through it, rather than by post or email. It’s much easier to reject or query an offer that has come via email, or letter as it is quite impersonal. So, personalize and make the offer face-to-face and this should give you the upper hand. Of course, the candidate should still be given a few days to make up his/her mind, if need be.

Wait for the next set of guidelines in my next post.

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Next Gen HR Mantra – Competency Based Approach

Business people crossing finish line

By Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait

Dramatic growth will take place when we focus on the organization-with technology a part – rather than on technology alone.

-C.K.Prahlad

As a HR professional in a knowledge and tech based organization, when I had to frame a model for the annual appraisal process, I was surprised to see a paradigm shift by the top management. Instead of evaluating what is achieved, there has been a shift in the method to it being how it is achieved. Such competencies actually develop when multiple technologies are harmonized. Knowledge in most organizations is held by people. What is more difficult to identify are managerial competencies. Research shows leveraging on managerial competencies clubbed with efficient organization management can give an organization a competitive edge. So the framework basically comprised of managerial competencies.

It is expected of a manager to react to constant business changes in internal and external environment. Hence it has become a challenge for the HR to identify the managerial competencies. The biggest benefit of such approach is that it focuses on a specific employee and not the work position and does not comply with the HR policy. Hence not only training and development has to be taken care of, but also the career development factor is taken care of in this approach. This in turn also complies to the Maslow’s law of Hierarchy.

While I was working there, we had developed a model in connection with the organizational values rather than individual work positions. The model really helped in enabling to identify, measure and evaluate competencies within the organization. However every organization has their own models and there is no common consensus in regard to what framework should be followed.

According to Lucia and Lepsinger, certain competencies might be generic across several organizations but behaviors relating to those competencies vary widely from organization to organization. Hence in this approach it is the employees who are an important source for achieving a competitive edge to the organization.

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

BusinessPartner

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

Glass Ceiling in Industrial Relations – Has The Time Come For Eradication?

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Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait, an HR professional, highlights the reasons for women to be behind in the Industrial work force and reasons why they would succeed more than men here.

As an HR professional when I read that women have entered all spheres of corporate world, it really makes me proud. At the same time it triggers my thoughts too.Have they really occupied all top positions? There may be many other portfolios where women may not have been given appropriate place,but being from HR background my thoughts are really restricted to my profession. When I think further from my experiences I conclude, yes,they have but for one challenging and the most important profile-Industrial Relation in a Manufacturing Plant.

While over the years the IT and ITES sectors have been in the limelight, there has been a recent refocus on the manufacturing sector. As C.K.Prahlad puts,” there are only two priorities for India-creation of 10-15 million jobs and growth of 10-15 % per year”. The volatility of IT sector, recent IR unrest in some major organizations has added a shift of focus for Industrial Relations in Human Resource Management.

While all the corporate portfolios have been conquered by women there still is a vacuum when it comes to Industrial Relations. The supposedly most challenging portfolio which can be better handled by women is still poised by the fairer sex.The complexity, lack of modernization and inflexibility of labour laws had time and again prevented women from handling the Plant Managers position.Does this thought come from the mindset that a female IR Manager in plant cannot handle 500 odd blue collared workers? Well if that is the case, when a female CEO of a multi-national organization can handle nationwide operations then what would restrict an IR Manager to handle a plant. Maybe opportunity or what else?

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However the fact that, efficiency can be enhanced with women workforce and shop floor issues can be drastically minimized cannot be ignored. With the automation in the entire major manufacturing organizations it is quite an easy job for women to handle and manage the shop floor activities. While many of manufacturing MNCs have initiated the entry of women in their shop floor, India still remains much behind in this approach compared to western countries due to their conservative mindset that women cannot work in shifts and may find it difficult to design and execute policies in the plant where there is a domination of men. However my personal opinion has always been that a lady who can manage all knitty-gritties, politics and nuances in a family would be able to easily deliver her best at the shop floor.

The opportunities provided in this portfolio might be the empowerment in true sense for women and that is when I would consider that women have entered in all facets and portfolios of HR. Going forward I would really like to read the experiences of female managers and workforce who are placed in shop floor of the Plant.

And as Peter F.Drucker has rightly said – The best way to predict the future is to create it. The best way to empower women is provide opportunities in all facets without any fixed mindsets.

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