Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What has your quest for top talent created; "meritocracy" or "elitism"?

Featured in LinkedIn, Dec 2016

Everybody is talking about hiring top talent! Companies like Belong.co are claiming to have written intelligent codes to reach out to top talent available on social and professional media. They also claim to know how to engage them best for all your top talent hiring needs. We heard the same about talentpad. They finally shut down! 
I think we often misunderstood top talent, as it is always a shifting value against the work/job content-context, people-colleagues and leaders, culture & engagement-information, creative freedom and independence, power of the purpose of the company, leaders and how that influences and aligns with the sense of purpose of top talent! 
Talent search and finding its worth is proven only in the long run!
Look back at all your top tier B/T school campus hires of past 5 years. How many of them have proven to be the best hires? How many big-fat salaried so called top talent hires have really made any noticeable difference to company and to the people around them? Have they really matched your expectations that you had from them?
Have you recognized and rewarded what they achieved? How many of your top talents have brought/attracted and referred top talent to your organisation (and not just for the huge referral fees that they got for doing the same).
Has your quest for top talent created "meritocracy" or "elitism"?
Meritocracy is democratic spread and acceptance of talent, "elitism" is creating class and divide that benefits a few and discriminates the rest!
I think the biggest challenge that we face today in hiring top talent in not availability but our inability to identify and attract them. Unfortunately, the Simplest definition of top talent in IT market today is (top 6 IITS+top 3 NITs and top 2 IIITs) period!
If this is called top talent pool, you got them without much hassles!
Beg, borrow, buy, steal that data from T&P offices of these colleges! Send these target guys, Diwali wishes in a fancy crafted email, telling about your company and people and culture (yes, that curated office interiors, ubiquitous ping-pong table, cool cafeteria, i-pod jacks, X box, BYOD, Pets@work, Parents@work, Kids@work, last Diwali party pictures/videos, 5 star food spread for lunch (that you had once when investors and client visited your new office, and fridge stocked with energy bars, Red Bull, etc, Happy employee's photos and videos telling what a great fun place it is! Some cute girl showing you office, funky-desks, pony tails, goatee, weird lines on over-sized t-shirts that some of those "cool" geeks are wearing since last 3 weeks without a wash!
Great! You built a great office, great marketing collateral, now you will have great talent queued up at your door! But in reality, they are not there! Hummm..
Then you hire a few agents of recruiting world! Good looking people, talking cool English and can pronounce terms like, data structures, algos, 'language-agnostic', "platforms", et al and they are ready for their journey, helping you hire the best talent. Honey trap does not work in recruitment! Have sensible people there who can talk customized after looking at each resume for specifics and details and not like a call-center sales exec! Typical recruiters fail big time, when it comes to understanding profile and specifics of the resume! No one likes to talk to a talking machine!
Before you let them out, train your recruiting scouts well! They are mostly half-baked and over confident! Getting away with, is not smartness! Mostly they get away empty-handed!
Recruiters take pride in calling themselves Talent Acquisition folks; most of the times, they do not even do check-list interviews well. Largely, they take pride in rejecting a good candidate by using defining words like, “too ambitious”, too aggressive”, too much of attitude”, “not flexible” and classic one; "not a culture fit"! Do they know that all these rejection words leads to the Hiring Managers getting the filtered/refined 'average', “tooth-less”, sometime, “spine-less” guys who will faint in real situations against expectations.
How can you select a “hero” when you have a shepherd selecting a horse for the derby? You are thinking of building a “A” player team with “B” and “C” player gatekeepers. Use them for graciously opening and taking the door. They can be trained to keep the doors, if they can do that well, every-time, keeping their false ego aside.
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” 
~Larry Bossidy

HR's career game and other play!

There has been some high profile leadership changes of late and this brought some HR leaders to talk about succession planning and career advancement, etc. But these pundits of HR feudal world did not ever create a written and announced career-path for HR people in their own HR organization, why? ‘Coz they are above suspicion due to some divine sanctions. Even Julius’s wife is not above suspicion!          
Career growth within HR happens unplanned and sudden and that throws all sense and sensibilities chucked out of the window. No plan or lack of it is the basic nature of HR. What growths we have seen are the need-based reactive and some just copy-paste fancy sub-functional title gimmick!
Have you ever seen an HR competency book? Have you ever seen an HR Capability Building Framework?
Have you ever seen any HR whitepaper on how to create super HR humans?
HR is a self-proclaimed department of Avatars! beyond candidate sourcing and employee file management. Growth is all mushroomed and fashioned by HR only. Business sees very little sense in what HR does beyond hiring related low-end support. Surprisingly, even for hiring for that matter, all senior positions of organizational importance are shared with Head hunting companies, who help arrange some resumes or at best arrange a call/meeting. That's it. End of HR. What more credit? Yeah! you issued an offer letter dictated by candidate or the Hiring Manager or both. Value add? You converted to PDF and emailed it to the candidate. Great Job! Well done! HR has fancy for titles! Human Capital Leader, Chief Happiness officer, Global CHRO, Global Chief People Officer.
Specialist roles that I have heard of are, 'Recruitment Specialist' now called TA and remains TA till time one fails to do good TA, say sourcing and interview coordination. If one fails to do a good job there, she is moved to the Generalist HR role and sometimes, Business HR role. No qualifications required. Just push the Peter Button! I am sure you are aware of the Peter Principle. Some people one fine day become L&D Specialist, C&B Specialist and some HRIS Specialist.
I feel pained to see the so called premier B school HR boys and girls positing shabby JDs on LinkedIn. Mind you these guys are only seen on LinkedIn when they are scouting for some junior jobs adverts. It is surprising these single and some double MBAs post jobs which have missing Job Specifications! Mind you these two MBAs are paid ~30 lacs each per annum to do such poor and low level jobs! Shameful!
I heard, one VP HR talk in a conference and he mentioned something not unusual but unfortunate. He told, C&B Manager is one who can work on Excel Sheets, and Who needs, training program? The L&D Manager. This appears horrible state of HR. Low on dignity and absolutely faceless to business.
We all know we are ruled or filled by mediocre bunch who created coterie, but that has become a very old story. Mediocre exists and has bred a new species, called 'Rocker' (Derived from the word rock-bottom hit in value of moral and ethics and delivery quality). You can as well call them the 'worst of mediocre' or the super child of the mediocre. This breed is growing like weed! The helpless, useless and ubiquitous. Habitat? Mostly MNCs, where HR lost its sheen decades back and has become the nappy changer, the leaking boat? Here you will find the VPs/Directors of HR will come from MSW background, especially in Bangalore. No HR background or C or D rung of MBA colleges.
Most of the time, they add a postal HR certificate or at best diploma from known shops like XLRI, etc. MBAs from SCDL never ever meant anything.
So what makes these unknown folks grow to the level of Glorious Incompetence and Ridicule?
A sucker hires a sucker and a C-player always hires incompetent and weak people, s/he can rule. An MNC apparel brand , well known for denim brands has a senior HR Manager at Bangalore, who is paid 45 lacs and has not a single HR formal degree. These insecure bosses hire weak and fake, they can rule and maintain their feudal status. This is the most shameful conspiracy! These weak and undeserving step children are those, who are Easy to manage, use, misuse, abuse! Who says, Casting-couch is only a Bollywood thing? This is the way, the Rockers are built and bred. You have examples like this all around you! Sometimes or many a times, we are creating these Rockers!
A simple analogy is, "Sucker creates a Lick-er" or Rocker!" Nothing new, we all have read million times, a B-player hires a C-player. C-player is no one but the poor lick-er!
Imagine, what will a Lick-er breed do?
The biggest joke is that HR is considered to be the people evangelists, the talent shapers, the harbinger of culture.
In this twilight era of HR, we are soon to get the shake-up! Year 2013 is a wake-up call.
HR is no more, a parking lot for the Lickers and their moms and dads, the Ass-h*** B players!
Will 2017 answer these concerns? I am confident, yes!
I was listening to MT HR conference at Bangalore on March 15th, 2013 at Hotel Ista. Ravi Venkatesan, erstwhile MD-Microsoft for India, made it clear to the HR folks in the room, that HR makes hardly any value add to business and his experience says, get a Business Guy in the HR role. S/he will do far better, if s/he has little bit of people development skills and attitude. Ravi's frustration with HR was very evident and mind you, he has been heading MS in India for more than 11 years.
Ravi knew he was making a big and timely comment and made it clear to the audience that he may have agitated the present HR folks with what he believes HR is today.
Ever thought, why Business Leaders like Ravi are frustrated with modern day HR folks, and I talk to scores of other Business Leaders and they fume and fetter they same way, when they share experience of working with their HR support team.
This happens as HR tells them "what they cannot do rather than what can be alternatives, possibilities". HR tells, what some policy says and they feel happy being in the position to say 'NO' to business!
Whenever Business guy approaches HR, s/he is prepared with what s/he is going to ask for and when they hear the HR guy not even thought or able to think and visualize in that direction, they say, "It sucks!".
Problem with HR is non-planned and non-aligned title-based growth!. This growth makes HR a dummy doll sitting in business meetings and answering in the most heard way, "Sir, we will get back to you."
Have they ever comeback?
Business needs HR leaders who align with business and many a times, shape business by integrating and adjusting the talent lever in the system. That is called business HR. 
Unfortunately, HR Business partner is the most loosely used/misused term in HR. Every 5-6 years experienced HR guy, who had worked across hiring and file and letter management, joining formalities and coordination is pushed to HR Business partner position.
I guess, the best deal would be, to allow and ask Business Leader to write the JDs and KPIs for the HR folks for the business and company and select the best by following a rigorous hiring process that may run for days together. Unfortunate fact is that HR guys/Lickers or suckers or stars are plugged into business units without even informing or involving Business Leaders. Give them the right to select and "Right to Reject" or else the Licker menace will haunt you in your sleep for years!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

India can have it's own PISA kind of assessments.

“What is important for citizens to know and be able to do?” That is the question that underlies the triennial survey of 15-year-old students around the world known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA assesses the extent to which students near the end of compulsory education have acquired key knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. Since 2000, PISA has been testing students worldwide in the key subjects: reading, mathematics and science. The assessment also collects information on students’ backgrounds and on how their schools are managed in an effort to identify the factors that influence student performance. PISA also regularly introduces new tests to assess students’ skills in other areas relevant to modern life, such as creative problem solving and financial literacy (tested for the first time in 2012) and collaborative problem solving (testing will begin in 2015).

Participants of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment Albania Latvia Algeria Lebanon Argentina Liechtenstein Australia Lithuania Austria Luxembourg Azerbaijan Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Belgium Malaysia Brazil Malta Bulgaria Mauritius Canada Mexico Chile Moldova China (People’s Republic of) Montenegro Hong Kong Netherlands Macao New Zealand Shanghai Norway Colombia Panama Costa Rica Peru Croatia Poland Czech Republic Portugal Denmark Qatar Dominican Republic Romania Estonia Russian Federation Finland Serbia France Singapore Georgia Slovak Republic Germany Slovenia Greece Spain Hungary Sweden Iceland Switzerland India- Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Chinese Taipei  Thailand  Trinidad and Tobago Indonesia Tunisia Ireland Turkey Israel United Arab Emirates Italy United Kingdom Japan United States Jordan Uruguay Kazakhstan Venezuela Korea Miranda Kosovo Vietnam Kyrgyz Republic

Finnish Lessons: What the World Can Learn from Educational Change in Fin...

Finland School Education System-Pioneering the much needed change

Reference article-

Finland Will Become the First Country in the World to Get Rid of All School Subjects

Finland’s education system is considered one of the best in the world. In international ratings, it’s always in the top ten. However, the authorities there aren’t ready to rest on their laurels, and they’ve decided to carry through a real revolution in their school system.
Finnish officials want to remove school subjects from the curriculum. There will no longer be any classes in physics, math, literature, history, or geography.
The head of the Department of Education in Helsinki, Marjo Kyllonen, explained the changes:
“There are schools that are teaching in the old-fashioned way which was of benefit in the beginning of the 1900s — but the needs are not the same, and we need something fit for the 21st century.“
Instead of individual subjects, students will study events and phenomena in an interdisciplinary format. For example, the Second World War will be examined from the perspective of history, geography, and math. And by taking the course ”Working in a Cafe," students will absorb a whole body of knowledge about the English language, economics, and communication skills.
This system will be introduced for senior students, beginning at the age of 16. The general idea is that the students ought to choose for themselves which topic or phenomenon they want to study, bearing in mind their ambitions for the future and their capabilities. In this way, no student will have to pass through an entire course on physics or chemistry while all the time thinking to themselves “What do I need to know this for?”
The traditional format of teacher-pupil communication is also going to change. Students will no longer sit behind school desks and wait anxiously to be called upon to answer a question. Instead, they will work together in small groups to discuss problems.
The Finnish education system encourages collective work, which is why the changes will also affect teachers. The school reform will require a great deal of cooperation between teachers of different subjects. Around 70% of teachers in Helsinki have already undertaken preparatory work in line with the new system for presenting information, and, as a result, they’ll get a pay increase.
The changes are expected to be complete by 2020.
What do you think about all these ideas? We’d love to hear your opinion, so let us know in the comments.
Education in Finland is an education system with no tuition fees and with fully subsidised meals served to full-time students. The present education system in Finland consists of daycare programmes (for babies and toddlers) and a one-year "pre-school" (or kindergarten for six-year-olds); a nine-year compulsory basic comprehensive school (starting at age seven and ending at the age of sixteen); post-compulsory secondary general academic and vocational education; higher education (University and University of applied sciences); and adult (lifelong, continuing) education. 
Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?
The country's achievements in education have other nations, especially the United States, doing their homework
Nearly 30 percent of Finland’s children receive some kind of special help during their first nine years of school. The school where Louhivuori teaches served 240 first through ninth graders last year; and in contrast with Finland’s reputation for ethnic homogeneity, more than half of its 150 elementary-level students are immigrants—from Somalia, Iraq, Russia, Bangladesh, Estonia and Ethiopia, among other nations. “Children from wealthy families with lots of education can be taught by stupid teachers,” Louhivuori said, smiling. “We try to catch the weak students. It’s deep in our thinking.”

Educators had little idea it was so successful until 2000, when the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues, revealed Finnish youth to be the best young readers in the world. Three years later, they led in math. By 2006, Finland was first out of 57 countries (and a few cities) in science. In the 2009 PISA scores released last year, the nation came in second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide. “I’m still surprised,” said Arjariita Heikkinen, principal of a Helsinki comprehensive school. “I didn’t realize we were that good.”
In the United States, which has muddled along in the middle for the past decade, government officials have attempted to introduce marketplace competition into public schools. In recent years, a group of Wall Street financiers and philanthropists such as Bill Gates have put money behind private-sector ideas, such as vouchers, data-driven curriculum and charter schools, which have doubled in number in the past decade. President Obama, too, has apparently bet on compe­tition. His Race to the Top initiative invites states to compete for federal dollars using tests and other methods to measure teachers, a philosophy that would not fly in Finland. “I think, in fact, teachers would tear off their shirts,” said Timo Heikkinen, a Helsinki principal with 24 years of teaching experience. “If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.”
There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students’ senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland’s schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators. The result is that a Finnish child has a good shot at getting the same quality education no matter whether he or she lives in a rural village or a university town. The differences between weakest and strongest students are the smallest in the world, according to the most recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Equality is the most important word in Finnish education. All political parties on the right and left agree on this,” said Olli Luukkainen, president of Finland’s powerful teachers union.

“We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. “We are not much interested in PISA. It’s not what we are about.”
One girl wore cat ears on her head, for no apparent reason. Another kept a stuffed mouse on her desk to remind her of home. 
Teachers in Finland spend fewer hours at school each day and spend less time in classrooms than American teachers. Teachers use the extra time to build curriculums and assess their students. Children spend far more time playing outside, even in the depths of winter. Homework is minimal. Compulsory schooling does not begin until age 7. “We have no hurry,” said Louhivuori. “Children learn better when they are ready. Why stress them out?”
It’s almost unheard of for a child to show up hungry or homeless. Finland provides three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care to parents, and preschool for all 5-year-olds, where the emphasis is on play and socializing. In addition, the state subsidizes parents, paying them around 150 euros per month for every child until he or she turns 17. Ninety-seven percent of 6-year-olds attend public preschool, where children begin some academics. Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free.
Besides Finnish, math and science, the first graders take music, art, sports, religion and textile handcrafts. English begins in third grade, Swedish in fourth. By fifth grade the children have added biology, geography, history, physics and chemistry.

Not until sixth grade will kids have the option to sit for a district-wide exam, and then only if the classroom teacher agrees to participate. Most do, out of curiosity. Results are not publicized. Finnish educators have a hard time understanding the United States’ fascination with standardized tests. “Americans like all these bars and graphs and colored charts,”

goal would not be allowed to dissipate into rhetoric.

“Finland’s historic achievements in delivering educational excellence and equity to its children are the result of a national love of childhood, a profound respect for teachers as trusted professionals, and a deep understanding of how children learn best.”

One of the experts, the famed Professor Howard Gardner of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, told us, “Learn from Finland, which has the most effective schools and which does just about the opposite of what we are doing in the United States. You can read about what Finland has accomplished in ‘Finnish Lessons’by Pasi Sahlberg.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/#LmDACip8LB9YQfFc.99
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Should The World Adopt Finland's Education System?