Saturday, February 23, 2013

Corporate Social Responsibility

“By putting the industry in this area we are generating employment, this is the best CSR we are doing.” One of the Industrialists whose company has the turnover of around 3 million was referring CSR to employment generation. His industry has taken the land on lease with concessional rates, he has the tax holidays, he is using natural resources like water, his industry is polluting land, air and water and his definition of CSR was very limited to employment generation. Now a day, getting employees on contract is challenge, now there are so many opportunities in the market that his organization is facing the employee turnover of 25%.
There are people who even don’t wish to spend small amount on the CSR. However India has witnessed the great industrialist like Tata, Birla who has solid CSR programmes. And they are not doing this just for the compliances.
India has the good background of Gandhian Industrialists. This is moreover Philanthropic nature. Some Indian Industries are contributing very well in CSR.  India is the country that lay heavy emphasis on CSR disclosure norms. However, MNCs also have the strong emphasis on CSR.
Industries which are using the sources which belong to society and not doing anything on CSR may have to change their attitude.  Government is proposing compulsory 2% of Profit spend on CSR under Companies law (with a turnover of more than 1,000 crores)
If we study fundamental principles in CSR, it has three levels.
Level 1: Compliance:
Most of the organizations focus on the complenace level of CSR. Industries does this  just  by compulsion.
Sometimes, law demands, local community demands and companies can’t ignore these demand.
This is done mererly for the compliance of laws and obligations under putting the factory/company is specific areas.  Some companies think that they are using the resources, hence same  should be reciprocated. “We are good company feeling.”
Examples of this level are
So called employment generation, tree plantations around the area, health check ups for local community, community service, education support to local children etc.
Level 2: Philanthropy:
This is a holly reciprocation of industry voluntarily giving back something to the society. There are very few organizations do this. Best example is Tatas and Birlas. These actions are inspired by a sense of earning good name in market, philanthropy, etc.
Examples of this level are:
Support in building education facilities, street light in village, solar equipments, skill development programmes, foundations etc.
Level 3: Innovations, value creation and Key business strategy
This is linked to the business strategy. There is long terms strategy in CSR. Lot of innnovative products are offer to the community.  This is based on win-win basis and is on key business strategy and driver
It is part of core  business strategy. It is broadly adopted by the managing board. It involes brand, sustainability and “we make the difference for future generations”  feeling.      

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My thoughts on Education, Industry, Professionals and HR

Recently siliconinida published my thoughts on different aspects of the HR profession. Here is the details script for my blog readers. This interview is also available on

 What are your thoughts on education system in India? What measures to be taken into consideration to improve its quality?

Speaking on "HR as a Game Changer" at MIT.
I came from the middle class family. I educated from vernacular medium school till SSC. Teachers, that time, were more committed. I remember when our teachers used to take extra classes without any extra tuition fees. It does not mean that they were earning well, but their commitment to the teaching profession was high. My success still is in the commitment and values taught by my parents and committed teachers. It does not mean that it was best education system, but teachers were going extra mile and students’ success was considered their success.  
Our education system is focus more on instructions.  It is a time to re-look the whole system.  More focus on modeling and experiential sharing should be given. Academics and theory make your foundation sound, but students should be allowed more experiments. To summarize with the education should be more practical, on the shop floor rather than in class rooms, with the use of technologies. We should en courage to do the as much as experimentation and innovations.       
What can professionals do on their own to help India become a developed country?
Winning professionals are successful because, they made experimentation. They learn from mistakes and they excel in their professional world. Most importantly, they succeeded in adverse conditions. There are no ideal conditions. I think their experience can be the motivation to the aspiring professional. These professional can support India by giving their inputs for making policies. They can be mentor and coach to the students and researchers. They can be viewed as role model. Let’s use their expertise. Unfortunately, their expertise is not fully utilized. In business colleges and institutes, these professionals are invited just for the rituals. Is there any motivation to these people to share their wisdom and expertise? There are autonomous industry association bodies, but does government has invited these professional? Very few.
I think their role should be recognized in economy and should be proper system of acknowledgement. Professional are happy to support the nation.            
How do you recruit & retain the diverse and ambitious Generation Y. Are they really ambitious?
There are different perspectives to this. Generation Y from metro cities are different from Generation Y from tier 2, small town or rural areas. In totality they are different from each other. Students from metro cities have more opportunities due to their socio-economical background. When I look back and see myself, I think, I was the thinking the same what so called generation think today! They are ambitious because their social values. The youth from rural area may also be ambitious, but will not change the job so frequently, because his priority may be different.  We recruit all these guys considering all these dimensions.  The correct value proposition as per the generation’s requirement is required. The expectations and ambitions are high because there are lots of opportunities in the market. Their engagement is crucial. We need to understand their motive and drive first. They need Empowerment, Entertainment, Education, Enrichment, Enlightenment and Encouragement.      
What are the biggest pain points for HR?

As said by Jack Welch, business is the game and it is all about winning. The team that wins is the team with the best players.  HR’s job is to field the best players. Biggest pain areas are deploying the right talent. I believe that talent is vital in business growth, but right talent is. The struggle of line managers is to identify the right talent in their team. Another pain point is engagement and retention of the right talent. Now a day, employees have lot of expectations; their target year in any company is, maximum 3 years. Their drive is totally self-centric but still believes on hardworking and performance. The issue is how to match their expectations. 
What kinds of Challenges are there in panning Human Resource Strategies in an ever changing business?
Business situation is dynamic. There are no ideal conditions now. Situation is always turbulent. Yesterday’s strategy will not work today. There is no one solution for all issues. You have to work on tailor made solutions of different talent and again as per the business need. These are main challenges. 
Do you have any advice/suggestions for fellow HR Leaders?
I have seen most of the HR professional don’t update themselves.
My suggestion is “don’t stop learning.” Update your concepts on different HR practices. Benchmark with others and try to implement the best things. Improve on soft skills. HR success is not only for functional expertise, but is on how you play the role of partnering the business. HR needs to be more credible and advise business leaders on their HR issues. Another factor is how you engage your employee with creating your own personal brand. So, network in the organization for selling your HR ideas.      
What are the upcoming trends that you see in HR world today?
Speaking on "Employability" at SCMLD.
There will be different roles in HR function itself. HR experts, HR services and HR business Partner. As per the drive of HR professionals, they can move in all these functions. Use of technology will be crucial for right HR decisions in Talent Management. HR business partners will be expected to play the role of advisors to business leaders supported by other two functions. They are expected to be change agent drive the HR strategy.     
How do you identify leaders and promote them to the next level?
Talent in the organization is calibrated and identified as per their potential. This is validated by different functional leaders based on their interaction with the person and his performance. The identified potential also goes through the development center.
What are some of the different qualities you look out for while hiring people?
First: Culture fit
Second: Team Fit
Third: Job Fit.
Apart from this their attitude is important. Off course their knowledge and skills are important, but more important are their attitude and soft skills, like team skills, communications skills, his way of interacting etc. However it is purely depend upon his area of work.
What is the relationship between the HR Department and the CEO?
HR is the culture and it is driven by the top management. Hence, HR is always important agenda on the table along with other business issues.
How do you attract good people, retain the better performers and advance the best?
We have the best practices in the company for all functions. The company brand is the solid. We adopt best in the industry.   
What Websites/Books/Magazines Do you Recommend to fellow Professionals in the industry?, Silicon India, CiteHR,, Human Capital, APS Labour digest, Harvard business review, Indian Management and book written by Dave Ulrich, TVS Rao etc. I also suggest reading motivational books written by Steven Covey etc.
Books like HR transformation, HR Champion, Mind of Strategist, The Duckling Duck, One Minute Manager are worth readable books. “Daily Drucker” should be on every manager’s table.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Employee Engagement- VIII

India is growing economy and there are lot of oppurtunities to the talent. Employees have different expectataions. Most of the times they expect higher salaries and benefits just based on their perception about the market. If one collegue leaves the organizaion and communicates to his peers that he is geeting 30-40% higher slary and good title, existing employee start thinking to leave the job as his friend. This is a trigger for searching the job outside. This is also possible that employee’s friend outside just overtalked about his salay. Salaries and increase are still opening discussed in India. Employees are not unhappy because they get less, but they are unhappy because others get more. Even when any person talks about his salary, he has the tendency to make the hype of his salary. While telling his existing salary, he will increase his salary by 20-30%.   
Employee leave the organization assuming that he will get more in his new organization. It can be salary, benefits, or even title. But when he joins the new organization, he came to know that, yes, he got new things what he was expecting, but missing lot many things what he was receiving and experiencing in his earlier organization.
You can not retain every employee. Even it is not necessary to reatin every employee. It is advisable to reatin RIGHT people. If you have all fair practices for employee engagement, still employee may not recognize that. You can educate them for taking the best descion about their life.
If employee is not happy, try to unddrstand his reason. But reasons are invalid you have  organizational limlitaions, it is better that employee leave the organization. Employee Engagement does not mean that you have do what employee wants. If employee is not contributing, he is not productive, he is gossping and always discussing about the organizational policies and issues, take immediate action.
People are slefish, they will take convienent stand on the issues which are for their benefits. There is a possibility, they may speak against organization when their perofrmance review is bad. This will be inspite of all good things organization have.
Hence always have one to one communication with employees. Take few employees in a month for the discussion. Just have a formal chat about their job, their expectataions and their openions about the organization, their manager and organiational policies and culture. Take this oppurtunity to communicate them orgnaization views about employee. Communicate him what is expected from him. You can definitely convert the guy into your brand ambassoder.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Employee Engagement- VII

Change and employee engagement

The only constant thing in this world is change. (  We can’t expect growth by working the same way, we worked yesterday. Organizations need to change as per the situation. World changes and hence you are forced to change. Change can be related to culture, your product line, new technology, organizational restructuring or any new programme. Let’s call this as a Change Programme.
The Change Progrmame has high impact on all stakeholders positively or negatively, including your employees. Your Change Programme and employee engagement has direct relation.
Various individuals and groups within a business react to change in different ways. Individuals react differently depending on the nature and context of the change.
Therefore it is very important how you communicate and engage employees in change programme. Employee may be fearful while considering the change. It is very important how you salvage the negative impact if any. Normally if the change is not communicated properly and righty, employee engagement goes down and you may face denial issues. Most of the exits are during change process. Typically you will see the reaction as per the figure mentioned below. At every stage, the communication is vital.  
You will also the different people who will have different reaction on the change. There will be passive people, there will be active people. Their support will be variable as per their drive and past experience.
Change communication must therefore tackle each group, both individually and as part of the overall mix. I believe that the challenge is to recognize all these groups and manage the shifting relationships between them. It’s all about understanding people’s motivations. For example, ‘saboteurs’ are usually demotivated for very clear reasons. Perhaps they resent not being involved, can’t see what’s in it for them or feel that it’s challenging their role or their identity in the workplace. It follows, therefore, that change communication needs to address these and other negative reactions by helping people understand how they can gain from the change.
How to do this?
Just be honest in communication and find out the innovative ways of communication. Do the proper branding.
Identfy openionmakers. Openionmakers are senior employees, former union officer berarers and people who are influencial in the organization without any authority. Use these openionmakers for proper communication. Plan informal communication with them first to guage the reaction.
Second important job is identifying troublemnakers. Troublemakers are everywhere in the organization. Have the informal discussion with them and put the story in a positive way.
Change communication that offers people choices also helps to engage them in the change process. “Rather than telling people that they should change their behavior, set out a range of options, along with the likely implications of each, and ask them to choose,”
If you have a proper strategy for implementing “Change Programme” and you have positive story for them, your employees will fully support you.

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