Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Higher wages and staffing competition has hit India's outsourcing centers

India has become the location of choice for offshore outsourcing, but that status may be fading as companies confront old realities and new problems that are cutting into hoped-for savings.

Higher wages and staffing competition has hit India's outsourcing centers. Those problems, added to the difficulties of moving vital business functions halfway around the globe, are making other locations around the world increasingly attractive.

The financial calculation for offshoring in India has changed, says Ukesh Chand, who has coordinated corporate outsourcing operations for many years.

"If you look back 10 years ago, the price was right. It looked very attractive," Chand said. "But as you go now as a new player, the prices are very competitive - they're higher now."

To be sure, India still has much to offer. The country's work force possesses technical skills, English language skills and other advantages that few countries can rival. Substantial investment in infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities in cities such as Hyderabad have attracted companies, as well. And the country's IT boom has brought it closer than ever to the United States.


Bangalore-based Infosys, one of India's leading technology services firms, boasts a client list that shows the scope of outsourcing in the country: Accenture Ltd., Andrews Air Force Base, Avis Rent a Car System LLC, Ernst & Young LLP, Hewlett Packard Co., IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., the New York Board of Education, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Women's Sports Foundation.

But companies considering outsourcing in India need to look hard at the special challenges and plan accordingly, experts say. Obstacles are created by distance, culture, and language, not to mention the far-reaching social and economic changes taking place in Bangalore and other parts of India, where the outsourcing trend has meant much more than just new jobs.

To begin at the bottom line, the savings from offshoring to India are generally far less than they would seem to be at first blush. Wages in India may be lower, but they are rising and many other factors are involved.

Cynthia Kroll, a senior economist at the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business, has studied the offshore outsourcing trend.
She says companies may see that Indian programmers, for instance, make only one-fifth of the wages of their Bay Area counterparts, but the ultimate savings may be only 30 percent, not 80 percent.

Companies sometimes base their initial cost assessments on wages at the offshore location at the time. But, Kroll says, those firms find that savings shrink as wages rise. And reports show that rising wages have become the norm in India's outsourcing centers.

Next, companies usually need more managers and programmers for IT operations for the same jobs in India because of the distance and training required, adding substantially to the cost.

Companies also need to think about the learning curve, Kroll says. There is more to the process than just giving the assignment to a talented individual. There are reasons why tech activities tend to congregate in one place, as they have in the Bay Area.

This has been echoed by IT workers. Development advances often come from informal conversations in the United States - quite differently from other countries. Are the best ideas carefully formulated through an official process and chain of command, or do they spring up in spontaneous discussions around the water cooler?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Retention is directly proportional to the Organization Culture

Retention is directly proportional to the Organization Culture, so Organisations need to make sure that it has a conducive culture for employees to operate. Here are some interesting Retention Tools which I came across-
1. Offer fair and competitive salaries. Fair compensation alone does not guarantee employee loyalty, but offering below-market wages makes it much more likely that employees will look for work elsewhere. In fact, research shows that if incomes lag behind comparable jobs at a company across town by more than 10 percent, workers are likely to bolt. To retain workers, conduct regular reviews of the salaries you offer for all job titles — entry-level, experienced staff and supervisory-level. Compare your department's salaries with statistically reliable averages. If there are significant discrepancies, you probably should consider making adjustments to ensure that you are in line with the marketplace.
2. Remember that benefits are important too. Although benefits are not a key reason why employees stick with a company, the benefits you offer can't be markedly worse than those offered by your competitors
3. Train your front-line supervisors, managers and administrators. It can't be said often enough: People stay or leave because of their bosses, not their companies. A good employee/manager relationship is critical to employee satisfaction and retention. Make sure your managers aren't driving technologists away. Give them the training they need to develop good supervisory and people-management skills.
4. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Develop a formal job description for each title or position in your department. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them every day, what types of decisions they are allowed to make on their own, and to whom they are supposed to report.
5. Provide adequate advancement opportunities. To foster employee loyalty, implement a career ladder and make sure employees know what they must do to earn a promotion. Conduct regular performance reviews to identify employees' strengths and weaknesses, and help them improve in areas that will lead to job advancement. A clear professional development plan gives employees an incentive to stick around.
6. Offer retention bonuses instead of sign-on bonuses. Worker longevity typically is rewarded with an annual raise and additional vacation time after three, five or 10 years. But why not offer other seniority-based rewards such as a paid membership in the employee's professional association after one year, a paid membership to a local gym after two years, and full reimbursement for the cost of the employee's uniforms after three years? Retention packages also could be designed to raise the salaries of technologists who become credentialed in additional specialty areas, obtain additional education or take on more responsibility. Sign-on bonuses encourage technologists to skip from job to job, while retention packages offer incentives for staying.
7. Make someone accountable for retention. Measure your turnover rate and hold someone (maybe you!) responsible for reducing it. In too many workplaces, no one is held accountable when employees leave, so nothing is done to encourage retention.
8. Conduct employee satisfaction surveys. You won't know what's wrong ... or what's right … unless you ask. To check the pulse of your workplace, conduct anonymous employee satisfaction surveys on a regular basis. One idea: Ask employees what they want more of and what they want less of.
9. Foster an environment of teamwork. It takes effort to build an effective team, but the result is greater productivity, better use of resources, improved customer service and increased morale. Here are a few ideas to foster a team environment in your department: • Make sure everyone understands the department's purpose, mission or goal. • Encourage discussion, participation and the sharing of ideas. • Rotate leadership responsibilities depending on your employees' abilities and the needs of the team. • Involve employees in decisions; ask them to help make decisions through consensus and collaboration. • Encourage team members to show appreciation to their colleagues for superior performance or achievement.
10. Reduce the paperwork burden. If your technologists spend nearly as much time filling out paperwork, it's time for a change. Paperwork pressures can add to the stress and burnout that employees feel. Eliminate unnecessary paperwork; convert more paperwork to an electronic format; and hire non-tech administrative staff to take over as much of the paperwork burden as is allowed under legal or regulatory restrictions.
11. Make room for fun. Celebrate successes and recognize when milestones are reached. Potluck lunches, birthday parties, employee picnics and creative contests will help remind people why your company is a great place to work.
12. Write a mission statement for your department. Everyone wants to feel that they are working toward a meaningful, worthwhile goal. Work with your staff to develop a departmental mission statement, and then publicly post it for everyone to see. Make sure employees understand how their contribution is important.
13. Provide a variety of assignments. Identify your employees' talents and then encourage them to stretch their abilities into new areas. Do you have a great "teacher" on staff? Encourage him/ her to lead an in-service or present a poster session on an interesting case. Have someone who likes planning and coordinating events? Ask him to organize a departmental open house. Know a good critical-thinker? Ask him/ her to work with a vendor to customize applications training on a new piece of equipment. A variety of challenging assignments helps keep the workplace stimulating.
14. Communicate openly. Employees are more loyal to a company when they believe managers keep them informed about key issues. Is a corporate merger in the works? Is a major expansion on the horizon? Your employees would rather hear it from you than from the evening newscast. It is nearly impossible for a manager to "over-communicate."
15. Encourage learning. Create opportunities for your technologists to grow and learn. Reimburse them for CE courses, seminars and professional meetings; discuss recent journal articles with them; ask them to research a new scheduling method for the department. Encourage every employee to learn at least one new thing every week, and you'll create a work force that is excited, motivated and committed.
16. Be flexible. Today's employees have many commitments outside their job, often including responsibility for children, aging parents, chronic health conditions and other issues. They will be loyal to workplaces that make their lives more convenient by offering on-site childcare centers, on-site hair styling and dry cleaning, flexible work hours, part-time positions, job-sharing or similar practices. For example, employees of school-age children might appreciate the option to work nine months a year and have the summers off to be with their children.
17. Develop an effective orientation program. Implement a formal orientation program that's at least three weeks long and includes a thorough overview of every area of your department and an introduction to other departments. Assign a senior staff member to act as a mentor to the new employee throughout the orientation period. Develop a checklist of topics that need to be covered and check in with the new employee at the end of the orientation period to ensure that all topics were adequately addressed.
18. Give people the best equipment and supplies possible. No one wants to work with equipment that's old or constantly breaking down. Ensure that your equipment is properly maintained, and regularly upgrade machinery, computers and software. In addition, provide employees with the highest quality supplies you can afford. Cheap, leaky pens may seem like a small thing, but they can add to employees' overall stress level.
19. Show your employees that you value them. Recognize outstanding achievements promptly and publicly, but also take time to comment on the many small contributions your staff makes every day to the organization's mission. Don't forget — these are the people who make you look good!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hand Writing reveals your personality

Your Hand writing tells much about you. Check how.
•If letters slant to the left: Indicates introspection and a lot of emotional control.
If letter slant to the right: Reveals a person who's outgoing, friendly, impulsive, and emotionally open.
If letters are straight up and down: The sign of someone who's ruled by the head, not the heart.
Letters that slant in more than one direction: Indicates versatility and adaptability.
An erratic slant: Usually means a lack of flexibility.
Heavy pressure writing (like you can feel the rib made on the back of the paper): The writer is agitated.
Moderate pressure (the writing is dark, but you can't feel the rib on the other side of the paper): Shows ability to deal with stress.
Light pressure: Indicates someone who seems to take life in stride.
Tiny letters: Indicate the writer is has somewhat low self esteem but is intelligent.
Small letters: The hallmark of quiet, introspective types - they're generally detail-oriented and have good concentration.
Large letters: Sign of a confident, easygoing individual.
Huge letters: Indicate someone who's theatrical, usually loud, and needs to be the center of attention at all times.
Wide letters (their width and height are about the same): The mark of someone who's open and friendly.
Narrow letters: Show someone who's somewhat shy and inhibited but very self-disciplined.
Letters that don't touch: Indicate an impulsive, artistic, sometimes impractical free thinker.
Some letters connecting: Means the writer's personality blends logic and intuition.
All letters making contact: The sign of someone who's highly cautious.
A curved first mark: Shows a person who's traditional and plays by the rules.
A straight beginning stroke: Reveals someone who's rigid and doesn't like being told what to do.
A final stroke straight across: The writer is cautious.
An end mark that curves up: Reveals generosity.
Perfect penmanship: The hallmark of a communicative person.
An indecipherable scrawl: Indicates a person who's secretive, closed-up and likes to keep his thoughts to himself

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to do Background Investigations?

When the Managing director of a small technology company, started looking at candidates to fill a key position in their company, the process was predictable and smooth, shortlist resumes, interview candidates and make an offer to the one they zero in on. That is, till the Organisation chanced upon the candidate’s Orkut profile. It turned out that he happened to be a close friend of their biggest competitor.

Often employers don’t take the time to check the candidates out. There are companies now that specialize in employee background checks and that despite the fact that one in six individuals have been found to fake some information on their resumes.

Hiring professional companies for background check is an option but even that comes at a price. So what option do smaller outfits have? Well fortunately, the internet has plenty of helpful information. In fact, the information on the web can also be used for background checks in personal life. For instance, one might want to look up information on his landlord or dig up facts on a potential suitor, one just needs to know where to look.

Start with search sites: The best place to start is on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Googling some ones name as it is more popularity called can bring up some really important details. Search using the individual’s names and their business names. If a person’s name is common, search will be more difficult. Try variations of the name and include an occupation or location. One can also look up for additional information from past employment history. For instance, the potential employer may uncover previous employers’ name and addresses. This will help the current employer in checking on potential hire’s ex co-employers which can throw up great perspectives.

Googling will also throw up personal criminal history if any. Because it will also rake up any news stories the person is mentioned in. Look for personal blogs too. Google offers a specialized search tool that works on blogs. Reading up a person’s blog musings can give a good perspective on their ethics, behavior and thought process.

Try social networking sites: many employers these days check on social net working sites such as Orkut or My Space to learn about potential hires. Here one can see what people have posted about the person on their website and how he / she have reacted. This should give a fair idea of their temperament and social skills. Professionals may not turn on MySpace, but they may use business networking sites. Linkedin.com and Ryze.com are two of the most popular sites in India. Try searching for the person’s name here and you will get a gist of his/her professional background and also names of professional relation. See what people claim about business affiliations, education and work history a potential employer may find inconsistencies here.

Alumni associations: Many colleges have groups and alumni websites. These are great places to check for the candidate’s education credentials. This is another area where people tend to fake on. Here you may be able to use the web to verify college degrees. Also visit the school’s alumni association. Many list their members and graduation dates. However, if people are not listed here, that doesn’t mean they lied. It could also be that they simply don’t belong to the alumni association. But if someone is listed, it directly proves that they graduated from the college. Also, college registrar offices normally will confirm degrees. But that takes a phone call.
Go for professional organization: Though the internet is a good place to start, if information is critical, one can turn to professional organizations like First Advantage. These companies have a thorough step-by-step process of background checking. That covers reference checking education, as well as credit check and criminal checks. Costs vary alone with the service, but the starting fee is about Rs 600 ($15) per person.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Twelve Cs for Team Building

Twelve Cs for Team Building
Executives, managers and organization staff members universally explore ways to improve business results and profitability. Many view team-based, horizontal, organization structures as the best design for involving all employees in creating business success. No matter what you call your team-based improvement effort: continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or self-directed work teams, you are striving to improve results for customers. Few organizations, however, are totally pleased with the results their team improvement efforts produce. If your team improvement efforts are not living up to your expectations, this self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why. Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following.
Clear Expectations: Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?
Context: Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their team’s importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organization’s goals, principles, vision and values?
Commitment: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do team members feel the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?
Competence: Does the team feel that it has the appropriate people participating? (As an example, in a process improvement, is each step of the process represented on the team?) Does the team feel that its members have the knowledge, skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed? If not, does the team have access to the help it needs? Does the team feel it has the resources, strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission?
Charter: Has the team taken its assigned area of responsibility and designed its own mission, vision and strategies to accomplish the mission.Has the team defined and communicated its goals; its anticipated outcomes and contributions; its timelines; and how it will measure both the outcomes of its work and the process the team followed to accomplish their task? Does the leadership team or other coordinating group support what the team has designed?
Control: Does the team have enough freedom and empowerment to feel the ownership necessary to accomplish its charter? At the same time, do team members clearly understand their boundaries? How far may members go in pursuit of solutions? Are limitations (i.e. monetary and time resources) defined at the beginning of the project before the team experiences barriers and rework?
Is the team’s reporting relationship and accountability understood by all members of the organization? Has the organization defined the team’s authority? To make recommendations? To implement its plan? Is there a defined review process so both the team and the organization are consistently aligned in direction and purpose? Do team members hold each other accountable for project timelines, commitments and results? Does the organization have a plan to increase opportunities for self-management among organization members?
Collaboration: Does the team understand team and group process? Do members understand the stages of group development? Are team members working together effectively interpersonally? Do all team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members? team leaders? team recorders? Can the team approach problem solving, process improvement, goal setting and measurement jointly? Do team members cooperate to accomplish the team charter? Has the team established group norms or rules of conduct in areas such as conflict resolution, consensus decision making and meeting management? Is the team using an appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan?
Communication: Are team members clear about the priority of their tasks? Is there an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback? Does the organization provide important business information regularly? Do the teams understand the complete context for their existence? Do team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other? Do team members bring diverse opinions to the table? Are necessary conflicts raised and addressed?
Creative Innovation: Is the organization really interested in change? Does it value creative thinking, unique solutions, and new ideas? Does it reward people who take reasonable risks to make improvements? Or does it reward the people who fit in and maintain the status quo? Does it provide the training, education, access to books and films, and field trips necessary to stimulate new thinking?Consequences: Do team members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements? Are rewards and recognition supplied when teams are successful? Is reasonable risk respected and encouraged in the organization? Do team members fear reprisal? Do team members spend their time finger pointing rather than resolving problems? Is the organization designing reward systems that recognize both team and individual performance? Is the organization planning to share gains and increased profitability with team and individual contributors? Can contributors see their impact on increased organization success?
Coordination: Are teams coordinated by a central leadership team that assists the groups to obtain what they need for success? Have priorities and resource allocation been planned across departments? Do teams understand the concept of the internal customer—the next process, anyone to whom they provide a product or a service? Are cross-functional and multi-department teams common and working together effectively? Is the organization developing a customer-focused process-focused orientation and moving away from traditional departmental thinking?
Cultural Change: Does the organization recognize that the team-based, collaborative, empowering, enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional, hierarchical organization it may currently be? Is the organization planning to or in the process of changing how it rewards, recognizes, appraises, hires, develops, plans with, motivates and manages the people it employs?

HR talent pool in the country

Is recruitment becoming the sole focus of this fraternity, sidelining other functions such as managing people’s expectations, training and performance management?

Not really, though there is a large focus on recruitment, it is with reason. With the growth of all sectors, the need for qualified and employable manpower has shot up, and there really aren’t enough such people in the job market. So, if organisations have to grow and realise the opportunities they have, recruitment is actually a ‘strategic function’ for HR. I don’t think the other functions are sidelined.

Given that there is a big supply-demand gap in the talent market, it is essentially the same set of people who keep moving from one company to another, and with an increased compensation with every move. I think, sooner or later, this trend will make the cost of talent unviable and start hitting the bottomline. I personally feel that HR should start looking not only at talent acquisition and retention, but also talent creation. That is, how do we bring in more employable people into the mainstream job market.

Have HR education programmes changed suitably to fulfil the needs of industry?


Have HR education programmes changed suitably to fulfil the industry needs ?
From admin to IR to personnel to HR, it’s been a long journey for the people manager. Overtime, HR education has also changed to meet the needs of industry. HR has moved from a ‘backroom’ function to a ‘boardroom’ function. Educational institutions have also tried to keep abreast of these changes and have updated and revised their syllabi over time. However, I also think this is easier done in B-schools than in universities, because the former have greater autonomy and freedom to revise their syllabi. For instance, at XLRI, the faculty concerned can change and upgrade courses to make them more contemporary. In addition, periodically, every two-three years, they review the entire course structure and pedagogy of the HR programme.

They seek feedback from their own HR alumni, from senior HR professionals, other academic institutions and from industry and build that into our course structure. This has enabled them to keep their syllabi dynamic and in sync with industry needs. They have been able to include new courses, modify some existing ones and even change the focus of the entire programme. In the current format of the HR programme, besides the required HR topics, the students also get significant inputs in finance, strategy, and IT.

Is HR education getting its due in India?

Is HR education getting its due in India?

Considering that companies fill HR vacancies with people from other disciplines, is there enough formal training for these people?

The scenario is changing for HR. While it is true that in some cases, HR roles are assigned to people from other disciplines, such instances are becoming increasingly fewer. Companies do look for trained HR professionals to handle HR roles. More often than not, if the role is assigned to a non-HR executive, the reason is not because of the quality of HR professionals, but the dearth of HR professionals.

Most companies do try to provide training to non-HR people through job-shadowing, nomination to HR courses and so on when they are given HR roles. In fact, this need has also sprouted some innovative partnerships between industry and academia. For instance, XLRI have two such partnerships, one with Accenture and the other with L&T, to conduct long-duration certification courses in HR. I think one of the challenges for the education sector will be to keep pace with the demand for HR professionals, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Introduction:
As we've moved from Old Economy to New Economy and from 20th Century to 21st Century-in the era when we are trying to outsource most of the functions-in some of the organizations even the total HR-Functions are being outsourced. what are the various roles that an HR-Professional can look up to?
I have spoken to many recruitment consultants but somehow they failed to give the clarity of role that they're “Head Hunting” for. People with in the organization…at times are just overlapping the various functions. In this write-up…I am just trying to explain the various roles that HR Professionals can play in New Economy…along with the traits required for each function.

Recruitment Team (Sourcing, Hiring, Staffing, Talent Acquisition Etc)

Lets start with Recruitment Team. This team is also known as Sourcing or Hiring or Staffing or Talent Acquisition team in various organizations. They are “Sales People” within HR Department. Their main role is to get “Best of the Talent” available in the open market. Hence, they need to know what exactly they are looking for. Their role starts with “Talent Requisition” raised by the respective department…and ends only with Induction of the New Hiree. In between, he needs to prepare the Job Description, Identify the Competencies required, Identify the source for hiring, Interview the candidate, Coordinate the interview with the respective department and complete the documentation.
The various competencies that one must have to be a part of the Recruitment Team are as follows:

1) Should have excellent knowledge about the Business of the Organization.
2) Should also be aware of the competitors in the same industry.
3) Need to identify the various resources for hiring and select the best one based on “Cost Effectiveness” and “Urgency”.
4) Should have clarity of competencies that he is looking for and also have clarity on the role a new hire is expected to play.
I am sure…if we take care of the above-mentioned competencies in Recruitment Team…the others (missed out) competencies will take care of themselves. Clarity of concept is important. I've seen recruitment managers who are working as Zonal Managers and are'nt even aware of the distinction between headhunting and sourcing. The responsibility of the recruitment team…actually ends on the day of Induction and from there onwards…”Employee Relation” and “HR-Generalist (Operations)” Team takes over.

HR-Generalist (Operations) Team. This team is actually a backbone of the HR-Department. The job-responsibility of this team starts on the day of Induction with Joining Formalities. The various roles that they are expected to perform are:
1. Joining Formalities
2. Handling Employee Database (Both in Soft Form and Files Management)
3. Leaves and Attendance Management
4. Handling the payroll
5. Managing advance Salary, Ad Hoc Bonuses, Loans
6. Confirmations, Performance Appraisals, Performance Management
7. Liaison with various government organizations for Employee Provident Funds, ESI and other Retirement Benefits
8. Exit-Interviews
9. Full and Final Settlement
Competencies Required

1) Attention to details is a must have quality
2) Self-Motivated
3) Should have updated and accurate database…on any hour of the day.
4) Should be good in coordination.
5) Should be prompt…and fast enough in his actions.
Employee Relations Team. This team is like a “Spokesperson” of the HR-Team. They are the bridge between HR and Employees. They are the “Policy and Strategy interpreters”. An effective “Employee Relations Team” can actually control the Attrition Rate of the organization. This team is expected to play following roles:

1) Handling all the queries of the employees. Be it related to Salary, Leaves, Attendance, and Transfer etc.
2) They are also expected to explain the various policies, strategies and benefits to employees.
3) They are expected to stop all type of rumours and misleading communications.
4) They should motivate the employees on day-to-day basis.
5) They are also expected to give constructive inputs to Training and Development and OD Team.
6) They play an important role in “Employee Engagement” …winning the trust of the employee and hence can help the organization in controlling the attrition rate.
7) It is for this team to ensure that the employees in the organization should not leave the organization for reasons other than salary.
Competencies Required

1) Highly Matured
2) Level Headed
3) Should be well versed with the business of the organization and its policies.
4) Assertive but not aggressive.
5) Should be empathetic but not emotional.
6) Highly Motivated.
7) Should be highly professional…in the sense, that if this team is active…employees will be sharing all type of doubts…concerns…information with this team…they are not expected to misuse the information. Should not play politics…by sharing their information with others.
8) Should be crisis manager.
Compensation and Benefits Team.This is fairly new role for HR-Professionals. The role of this team…changes, with the growth of the company. His main role is to ensure that the employees of the organizations take maximum salary and befits to their home and lose less to Income Tax. He is the person…who decides how much to pay to the person; what all benefits to entitle him…based on the market rate…keeping the competitive edge in the industry. He is the person…who actually announces the annual increment for an organization. This team is expected to perform following roles:

1. Job Analysis
2. Job Evaluation
3. Grading
4. Competency Mapping
5. Salary Surveys
6. Benefits Survey
7. Benchmarking
Competencies Required

1) Should have excellent Business and Industry knowledge
2) Should be aware of competitors…and their Compensation and Benefit Programs
3) Should be good with labour laws.
4) Should also be good in Income Tax Provisions…related to Salary and benefits and also Economics.
5) Should be excellent in Statistics and Cost Accounting.
Organization Development – Training and Development Team. As a Country is known by its people…an organization is known by its employees and hence it is the responsibility of this team to “Develop the Employees” of the organization. If there is any gap in “Competency Mapping” in terms of knowledge and skills required for a particular position…it is for this team to bridge those gaps.

So, it can be training for soft-skills…other skills…new technology or it is development of Personality…leadership development…or high-education. Hence, the development of the company in particular and that of its employees in general…is responsibility of this team.
If you are good in speaking…does not qualify you for being a trainer. You may be excellent as a Public Speaker and worse in training. Being a good speaker is just one of the “Must Have” traits for trainers but not the only trait required. There is something a trainer is expected to do before the delivery…(Training Need Identification) and there is something he is expected to do after delivery…(Measuring the Training Effectiveness).
Competencies Required

1. A deep and thorough understanding of Human Behaviour
2. Positive in thoughts, approach and personality
3. Should be very good in communication. Should be rich in vocabulary.
4. Should be empathetic.
5. Clarity of thoughts is must.
6. Should be good in linguistics
7. Should have positive body language.
You need to take out Tonnes of Sand to get few Grams of Gold…hence the role of a trainer is to get Gold.
You need to dive into the ocean to get a Shell with a Pearl…hence he is expected to be to that diver.
HR Coach and HR Mentor.This is one of the roles, which is an outcome of New Economy. Though being a “Mentor” is not a full time job…''Coaching'' can be. We can place HR-Coach above HR-Director but below HR-President. Just like a Cricket Coach, whose role is not only to improve the batting or bowling…but also fielding, physical fitness, mental toughness and overall involvement of the each player…the role of HR Coach is to increase the overall productivity of all the above-mentioned sub-functions of HR Department. Hence, he cannot afford to say that I don’t know about Recruitment or Compensation & Benefits etc. He is the centre of the HR-Department and all functions revolve around him. His role is not very sophisticated one but very tactical.
Competencies Required

1) Experience. This is the one role where…prior experience is must.
2) Business and Industry Knowledge is Must.
3) Should be a Hub of Knowledge and should know HR in its totality.
4) Very influencing, inspirational and highly motivated personality.
5) A true leader.
6) Should be accountable, innovative, responsible and at the same time…should not be emotional…should not get tensed up and should not create panic. In Short, a level-headed person.
Conclusion

This is just an attempt to distinguish between various roles that an HR Professional can play in New Economy. There is a lot that a HR Professional can do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

NEGOTIATING SALARY IN THE INTERVIEW


One of the trickiest topics when it comes to negotiations is Salary. Most often one signs the dotted line and thereafter feels he has been conned by HR. Most of the time employees are not prepared as they would have not done the background research.

Some of the guidelines I am giving here as to the timing and conducting by the incumbents in the interviews. They are,

1. Never talk about expected salary at the start of the interview.
2. Money requirements have to be revealed later
3. Start off with the challenging assignments one is looking forward to
4. The experience one has in handling the assignment for which he is being interviewed for
After these issues have been discussed and it is time for Salary Negotiation the candidate must be very clear about the organization he is negotiating with.

Types of Organization:
Organization can be divided into three categories Based on standardization of salaries and perks

1.Rigid
2.Semi-flexible
3.Completely flexible

Rigid Organizations:
Public sector organizations come under this category. Every thing is fixed. The system is completely transparent. Everybody knows about salary and perks applicable to different grades. Therefore bargaining for salaries and perks is simply waste of time. The only possibility for bargaining is the grade and a few extra increments in that grade.

Semi-Flexible Organizations:
Some multinationals and some other professionally managed companies come under this category .They have some flexibility within well thought out compensation package for different levels. It will be advisable to make some discrete enquiries about areas where there is some flexibility. The candidate should concentrate on bargaining only in those areas. He should also try to assess how well he has performed in the interview. If the candidate is the best fit for the job, companies under this category can stretch even beyond permissible limits.

Completely Flexible Organizations:
There is total anarchy in wage administration in companies under this category .They are mostly family managed companies. Here the HR Manager will try to give as little as possible .The candidate should try to get as much as possible. In this battle of wits, the person who blinks loses. It primarily depends on the negotiating skills each one has. The more skilled one carries the day.

Some basic points to remember for effective bargaining in companies under this category:

Conduct a survey to find out innovative ways of compensating employees of companies falling under the category .This information can be obtained from some employees of the company or even ex-employees.

Obtain information about total package at the level of job for which interview is being taken:

The candidate need not give his present salary as it is not relevant for comparison as he is moving from a certain world to an uncertain one. However in some cases one cannot avoid it and in such a case the candidate will have to convince the HR Manager in asking for such a jump.

Do not reduce once you have quoted your price:

Bottom line is a thorough research on the organization and its values and bargaining strategy will depend on the results of this research. One should remember that bargaining power is high before joining an organization. After that it diminishes drastically .Ever if cheated in any hard bargaining, do not crib about it after joining. Just work hard. Make a name in your profession and then take up a new job at a higher salary in another organization.

Negotiation Matters:

When an interviewer asks for salary history or salary range, he/she is interested in establishing a starting point for negotiation. The important thing is to avoid basing the desired salary on current salary. Do not lie about your past salary reference checks can easily provide this information. Provide information about why your salary may have been lower .if appropriate.
Determine opportunities for promotion. Job progression is an important factor in making salary decisions.

By taking a good look at own salary needs, understanding the current market, and approaching salary as something that the candidate and the employer will agree on as mutually beneficial the chances of successfully negotiating a salary are greatly enhanced. Better access to data improves the quality of salary negotiations by making it possible to start on common ground.

Conducting Interviews Effectively

Interviewers’ panel may not have the time or inclination to create structured situational interviews. However, there is still a lot they can do to make interviews more effective. Suggestions include:

Structure your interview: There are several things you can do to increase the standardization of the interview or otherwise assist the interviewer to ask more consistent and job-relevant questions, without actually creating a structured situational interview. They include:

1. Base questions on actual job duties. This will minimize irrelevant questions. It may also reduce the likelihood of bias, because there’s less opportunity to “read” things into the answer.

2. Use job knowledge, situational, or behaviorally oriented questions and objective criteria to evaluate the interviewee’s responses. Questions that simply ask for opinion and attitudes and attitudes, goals and aspirations, and self-descriptions and self-evaluations allow candidates to present themselves in an overly favorable manner or avoid revealing weakness. Structured interview questions can reduce subjectivity and therefore the chance for inaccurate conclusions and bias.

3. Train interviewers: For example, review EEO laws with prospective interviewers and train them to avoid irrelevant or potentially discriminatory questions and to avoid stereotyping minority candidates. Also train them to base their questions on job-related information. 4.Use the same questions with all candidates. When it comes to asking questions, the description seems to be “the more standardized the better. Using the same questions with all candidates can also reduce bias because of the obvious fairness of giving all the candidates the exact same opportunity.

Prepare for the Interview: The interview should take place in a private room where telephone calls are not accepted and you can minimize interruptions. Prior to the interview, review the candidate’s application and resume and note any area that is vague or that may indicate strengths or weaknesses. In one study about 39% of the 191 respondents said interviewers were unprepared or unfocused.

Remember, it’s essential that an interviewer know the duties of the job, and the specific skills and traits he or she should be looking for. Most interviews probably fail to unearth the best candidate because the interviewer is unprepared, or overconfident, or just plain lazy. General questions like, what are your main strengths? Or “Why did you leave your last job? may not be totally useless. But what an interviewer really must do is go into the interview with a set of specific questions that focus on the skills and experiences the ideal candidate for that job needs. At a minimum, review the job specifications. Go into the interview with an accurate picture of the traits of an ideal candidate, know what to ask and keep an open mind about the candidate. Remember that interviewers often make snap judgments based on first impressions. Keep a record of the answers, and review them after the interview. Make a decision then.

Close the Interview: Leave time to answer any questions the candidate may have and, if appropriate, to advocate your firm to the candidate.

Try to end the interview on a positive note. Tell the applicant whether there is any interest and, if so, what the next step will be. Make rejections diplomatically: for instance, “Although your background is impressive, there are other candidates whose experience is closer to our requirements”. If the applicant is still being considered but you can’t reach a decision now, say so. If your policy is to inform candidates of their status in writing, do so within a few days of the interview.

In rejecting a candidate, one perennial question is, should you provide an explanation or not? In one study, rejected candidates who received an explanation detailing why the employer rejected them felt that the rejection process was fairer. These people were also more likely to give the employer a better recommendation and to apply again for jobs with the firm. Unfortunately, providing detailed explanations may not be practical. As the researchers put it, ‘we were unsuccessful in a number of attempts to secure a site for our applied study. Of three organizations that expressed interest in our research, all eventually declined to participate in the study’ because they were afraid that any additional information in the rejection letters might increase legal problems. They were reluctant to give rejected applicants information that can be used to dispute the decision.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Difference between recruitment and selection

MEANING:

Recruitment: It is the process of searching candidates for vacant jobs and making them apply for the same.

Selection: It is the process of selection of right types of candidates and offering them jobs.

NATURE:

Recruitment: It is a positive process

Selection: It is a negative process

AIM:

Recruitment: Its aim is to attract more and more candidates for vacant jobs.

Selection: Its aim is to reject unsuitable candidates and pick up the most suitable people for the vacant jobs.

PROCEDURE:

Recruitment: The firm notifies the vacancies through various sources and distributes application forms to candidates.

Selection: The firm asks the candidates to pass through a number of stages such as filling of forms, employment tests, interview, medical exam, etc..

CONTRACT OF SERVICE:

Recruitment: No contractual relation is created. Recruitment implies communication of vacancies only.

Selection: Selection follows recruitment and it leads to a contract of service between the employer and the employee.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Employee-focused HR Process Paradigm."

This will turn the attention away from an inside-out focus to an outside-in focus. When the focus is inside-out, all the processes are defined and implemented without a clear understanding of what employees need and want. When it is outside-in, the processes become focused on the real needs of the employees. Therein lies the key to employee engagement, effectiveness and retention.
When the CEO demands an outside-in focus, HR processes tend to take the following approach and ask:
Do we understand that different segments of talent call for different approaches to selection, retention and engagement?
Do we understand that employee needs differ dramatically based on their profiles and also the time they spend with their present employer?
Do we understand that periodic focus group meetings with different segments of the employee base (employees with less than one year experience; between one and two years; over three years; women employees; employees in development; QA or such other logical segmentation) will reveal the needs and wants of the employees?
Do we understand that at any point in time employees have one or more of the following five needs: The need to learn; to grow; to contribute; to make a difference; and to mentor.
Translating all these needs will call for a radically different approach to defining People Processes. Some of the processes that will be defined with the outside-in approach are given below:
People manager selection and preparation process (they have maximum impact on retention and engagement)
Re-engaging the disengaged employees process (employees go through disengagement prior to resigning from the company and the symptoms of disengagement are visible and noticeable.)
Re-engaging the veteran employees’ process (knowledge workers go through the two-year itch and need preventive treatment before it takes epidemic form in the company.)
Top talent engagement process – they look for different rewards and recognition.
Solid citizens (represent 70 per cent of employees) visibility and involvement process.
Alumni ecosystem process (a number of employees who leave due to the two-year itch may like to return if presented with suitable work culture and people processes.)
People Manager goal-setting process that clearly incorporates actions to be taken by them towards the above processes.