Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Downsizing in Corporate Business

Downsizing is very common in corporate business in the United States. In fact, there are 50% more victims of downsizing in the United States every year than there are victims of violent crime. Downsizing is so common in the United States that the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes quarterly statistical reports on 'mass layoffs.' More than forty-three million jobs have been lost to downsizing since 1979. Furthermore, (75%) of households have had a close encounter with downsizing since 1980, and one-third of people have actually lost a job because of downsizing. Another 40% know someone who has lost a job due to downsizing.

Unfortunately, the majority of people who have been downsized (65%) report earning lower salaries than they earned in the jobs they lost. This means only slightly more than one-third earn equivalent or higher wages in their next jobs. Not surprisingly, one in ten adults who has been downsized report that a major crisis has resulted in their lives as a result.

Caliber Of Indian Talent

This article highlights the caliber of Indian talent who are really catering to the Global needs of Global companies. It is not simply Globalization of business or exporting products and services to all over the world. This article proves that Indian talent can also make significant contribution in foreign companies and have reached the top level proving themselves among their foreign colleagues.

The elevation of Indian-born Vikram Pandit as CEO of the world’s largest financial institution has cast the spotlight on foreign born head honchos in the American corporate world, with the conspicuous realization here that 15 of the Fortune 100 companies are run by foreign born executives.

Even more striking is that three of the 15 are of Indian-origin, with perhaps an equal number in the larger Fortune 500. Pandit now heads the list as CEO of Citigroup, which is ranked 8th in the Fortune 100, followed by Indira Nooyi at Pepsico, which is ranked 63rd. Ramani Ayer is CEO of Hartford Financial Services which is 82 in the fortune 100.

All three were born in India and took the familiar route to the US to study – Pandit to Columbia University Nooyi to Yale and Ayer to Drexel University.

Te shift towards appointing foreign-born CEOs reflect, is a part of the strategy that companies focus on foreign markets for growth.

Ironically the leading newspaper in US even quoted a business school academic of Indian-origin reflecting on the trend. It’s just a numbers game, deputy dean of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the paper.

It’s absolutely nothing wrong with the US, but our population here is only 300 million. Imagine two billion people from the outside start getting a decent education and going through the pipeline. Well, we are going to encounter more of them who rise to the top.

Pandit, Nooyi and Ramani further the pioneering road taken by Vinod Khosla Kanwal Rekhi and other Silicon Valley Indians who became the first CEOs of Indian-origin in the 1980s . Most India-born executives readily acknowledge their debt of gratitude to a society that emphasizes industry and hard work and honed their survival skills if nothing else.

Ayer says he has benefited from his Indian background growing up in a very simple family with a real passion for hard work. Work was liberating and work was part of what defined who you were.

In contrast to the US corporations’ worldwide search of the best executive talent, with the suggestion that immigrants may have decisively broken the glass ceiling, Indian companies, many of them closely held, are still guarded on hiring foreign CEOs.

Some of the more prominent examples of bucking the tradition is the hiring by Jet Airways of the Austrian Wollfgang Prock-Schauer as CEO. Another breakthrough is the Hawaiian Raymond Bickson, CEO of Indian Hotels, who has successfully expanded the Taj Hospitality business world wide including in the US. Meantime, Pandit is the toast of the Indian community, whose presence in the US financial world, especially Wall Street, is significant. What’s even more striking is that Pandit is from Nagpur (India), which, while being the geographical center of India, is not the ground zero of the corporate or academic world.

This is great news, exulted Dinesh Keskar, senor vice president at Boeing and like Pandit he is also from Nagpur.

With Vikram, it would be hard to say what he likes or dislikes. Vikram was a great listener and came across as a person who was always seeking information and knowledge. Vikram loved to engage in long discussions to go beyond the routine to understand aspects of the business. Even eight-and-a half years after he started the Indian business, Vikram kept himself engaged. In fact, in the first three years, he would regularly conduct weekly conferences for updates. Vikram was keen in building the investment banking, equity and debt market business in India.

The next step perhaps is Indian CEO monitoring activities of the organization all over the world but with Head Quarters or Corporate office based in India. We can hear the good news shortly.

Desire To Excel In Your Work

A gentleman was once visiting a temple under construction. In the temple premises, he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he saw, just a few meters away, another identical idol was lying. Surprised he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statutes of the same idol?"… "No", said the sculptor, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage".

The gentleman examined the sculpture. No apparent damage was visible. "Where is the damage? " asked the gentleman. "There is a scratch on the nose of the idol"… The gentleman asked again "Where are you going to keep the idol?". The sculptor replied that it will be installed on a pillar 20 feet high.

"When the idol will be 20 feet away from the eyes of the beholder, who is going to know that there is scratch on the nose?", the gentleman asked. The sculptor looked at the gentleman, smiled and said "The God knows it and I know it!!!

"The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not.

Excellence is a drive from "Inside" not "Outside".

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Message Does Your Body Language Convey

NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR----------------------------------->INTERPRETATION
1.Brisk, erect walk---------------------------------->Confidence
2.Standing with hands on hips------------------------>Readiness, aggression
3.Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly--->Boredom
4.Arms crossed on chest ----------------------------->Defensiveness
5.Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched--->Dejection
6.Hand to cheek-------------------------------------->Evaluation, thinking
7.Touching, slightly rubbing nose-------------------->Rejection, doubt, lying
8.Rubbing the eye------------------------------------>Doubt, disbelief
9.Hands clasped behind back-------------------------->Anger,frustration,apprehension
10.Locked ankles------------------------------------->Apprehension
11.Head resting in hand, eyes downcast--------------->Boredom
12.Rubbing hands------------------------------------->Anticipation
13.Sitting with hands clasped behind head,legs crossed-Confidence, superiority
14.Open palm----------------------------------------->Sincerity, openness, innocence
15.Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed-------------->Negative evaluation
16. Tapping or drumming fingers---------------------->Impatience
17.Steep ling fingers-------------------------------->Authoritative
18.Patting/fondling hair----------------------------->Lack of self-confide,insecurity
19.Tilted head--------------------------------------->Interest
20.Stroking chin------------------------------------->Trying to make a decision
21.Looking down, face turned away-------------------->Disbelief
22.Biting nails-------------------------------------->Insecurity, nervousness
23.Pulling or tugging at ear------------------------->Indecision

Communication is the door to Business Success.

Communication is one of the most talked about yet least understood areas of human behavior. Yet, we have been communicating with each other since the very dawn of our history. Our ability to communicate in a variety of ways is unique on earth to us humans.

However, effective communication is rarely taught and even more rarely learned. When we are young, we are taught the well known “3 R’s” – Reading (W)riting and (A)rithmetic and then progress to other areas and subjects – but what about the art of effective communication?

How do you make sure that you are passing on the message you intend, to ensure that what you mean is being correctly understood, how do you use means other than words to express yourself, accentuate meaning and in turn how to comprehend and interpret correctly what others are communicating to you.

Communication skills are more important than any other for, if we cannot express ourselves adequately, how can we impart and absorb information and knowledge? Superior communication skills are unquestionably important to living a life by design and vital to success in the business world.

Even people who do not possess the ability to speak can be wonderful communicators - the loss of one or two senses can impair particular dimensions of communications, but it certainly does not stop communication altogether.

Interpersonal communication is the exchange of any information between people. Being social beings, we communicate with each other whenever we get together whether it involves passing on important data or letting others know what we think and feel. All of us have an inherent need to communicate and we do so even when we have nothing or little to say.

When we are with our family, friends or colleagues we spend most if not all our time communicating with each other. Even when we are with strangers we will communicate with them if we are brought together by circumstances such as on a train journey, waiting in a long queue or at a public gathering.

This kind of interpersonal communication also occurs constantly at any workplace and is an integral part of any business. The way colleagues communicate with each other directly impacts on any business. Your approach and feelings towards your business, towards your colleagues and your job itself, are made evident through communications.

Thus, while communications may not specifically be a part of a business plan, interpersonal communication always has a direct and major effect on its success or failure. Business environments where anger, heated words and irritation with others is common, people are never going to be effective or productive. On the other hand, if constant joking, and having a riotous good time is commonplace, the effect will be the same.

Both these are extremes and both will adversely affect performance, cause chaos and ultimately failure. A balance between these two extremes is what is best; performance levels are optimized when people have high comfort levels when interacting with their colleagues, knowing that messages sent and received are being correctly and objectively interpreted.

Pre Employment Reference Checks

In today’s competitive environment, it has become essential to find the ‘right fit’. Hence, HR today has become overtly cautious and is indulging in extensive background checks before bringing a prospective employee on board. It has become imperative to confirm and reconfirm a candidate’s credentials, his/her character and his/her proposed experience before it’s too late.

Organizations today have become highly alert and are ready to do anything to have the kind of employees on board. The market is booming and the IT industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth and hence, it has become important to ensure that best quality professionals were getting inducted into the organization. It was a customer centric initiative to establish credibility with respect to the caliber of the people they recruit in the organization. In a well known IT company the pre-employment check, more popularly referred to as the ‘Background Check Process’ is a very critical part of the recruitment procedure. Employees are not allocated to projects without the background check being cleared for the employee.

In another Training and Staffing Solutions company, hiring is done only on referral basis and hence it becomes imperative to have referral checks as the first step in the entire pre-employment procedure. Every necessary check is done before calling the candidate for the interview. This company gives more weight age to job performances, work ethics, attendance at work and attitude. Hence, pre-employment checks form the first step. In Xerox, it is mandatory to conduct such screening and it is an auditable process. They collect detailed information about his/her candidature, personal and professional history and analyze it well.

These checks are important because they allow better-informed and less subjective evaluations to be made about a person. Integrity and performance on the job are some of the important factors today. With the advent of new MNCs into India, it is getting rather important to do pre-employment checks as companies investing heavily in India cannot risk taking employees with dubious backgrounds. The above is practiced by an organization which is into recruitment for senior level positions it becomes all the more pivotal since these candidates are going to be in strategic/leadership positions and are accustomed to a lot of confidential information.

At Patni computers, pre-employment screening is outsourced to a third party with clear ‘Service Level Agreements’ (SLAs) defined. Their screening usually consists of educational qualifications check, previous experience check and database (criminal and credit) checks.

At Enhanzee, Employment Verification means ensuring that the selected candidate actually worked in the positions listed in the application resume, cover letter or otherwise cited by the candidate that quality him/her for the position sought. Background checks, employment verification documents, reference checks, character and personal reference checks are amongst the various checks that are performed in that organization before hiring. And all these procedures are done by their in-house HR team.

Organizations in India can benefit tremendously from an employee-screening program. Decreased turnover, reduced expenses and elimination of risks of theft and fraud are just some of the advantages. Being employers, it is up to them to provide their employees a safe and secure working environment. Hence, it is their job to reject those people who might have violent or criminal records. They must be sure about the quality of our software professionals and having clear cases on board makes it that much easier to practice integrity as a value in each of their actions. The only drawback of this practice is the delay in actual allotment that happens due to stringent SLAs. However, breaking up the process into parts is done so that essential checks are completed without delay.

This procedure saves a lot of time wasted in conducting too many interviews. Once all the necessary checks are done, only a few short listed candidates are called for, which saves time and energy. The most important virtues an employer looks for in any candidate are honesty and integrity because all the other traits can be acquired but these can be inherent traits.

Today, organizations are being more and more cautious because they do not want to bear the brunt of a faulty recruitment process and bring a misfit aboard and to these organizations, pre-employment screening is a boon as they are employing people almost everyday, every hour.

Some Nice Little Thoughts

In order to succeed we must first believe that we can.

We can do only what we think, we can do we can be, only what we think we can be, We can have only what we think we can have, What we do, what we are, what we have, all depend upon what we think.

The first and most important step towards success is the feeling that we can succeed.

He who loses wealth loses much; He who loses a friend loses more; He who loses courage loses all.

Success is never final, and failure is never fatal, it’scourge that counts.

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.

All our dreams can come true, If we have the courage to pursue them.

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.

A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.

Desire creates the power. One man with courage is a majority.

Success has always been easy to measure. It is the distance between one’s origins and One’s final achievement.

If a man has done his best, what else is there?

Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.

When a man has done his best, has given his all, and in the process supplied the needs of his family and society, that man had succeeded.

If there is a way to do it better------- find it.

Successful people are not afraid to fail. They have the ability to accept their failures and continue on, Knowing that a failure is natural consequence of trying.

The law of failure is one of the most powerful of all the success laws because you only really fail when you quit trying.