Monday, April 29, 2013

What are we missing in Employee Orientation Program

We all have heard of DNA of the organisation. But we have hardly seen it. It remains an unsolved puzzle to all who hear about it! What is this DNA that we must tell about to all employees in the organisation?

DNA is set of chromosomes that are built by the grind that organisation goes through,  from seminal thoughts to topsy turvey journeys that make them so unique in their experience and built-up.
All validated, tested and embedded thoughts and actions. This brings a new baby in all who worked to make the organisation an organisation that is successful today. This process may have been very testing, very nerve-wrecking, very unconventionally myth-busting, shaken thoughts and beliefs, identifying the 'code' to survive and succeed, etc. They all are chromosomes that pair up to build the DNA, strand by strand. Scars of lessons learnt, taste of blood and sweat, broken hearts and all mixed emotions.

DNA is who the organisation is or what is has become, how unique they are and why they are so...is all the definitions of the DNA.

A new guy, joining at associate or partner level must be told all those stories of highs and lows, motivation and frustrations, gloom and enlightenment, discovery and re-emergence from the successive events of failure and resilience  Personal and group upheavals, sacrifices, sleepless nights, missed lunches and dinners, social and family and professional circle's ignominy and ignoring. The sweet-sour moments of truth and re-ignited belief, the angles who cared about and the hand of God that helped out of nowhere. The turning point, the moments of pride, celebrations and tears of success and happiness.

All these are stories that always remain hidden in the hearts of the pioneers. They are real elements of an employee induction.
Every employee should be taken through that Journey of the making of who the company is. No need to shy away from telling your darkest truth in a way that helps, no need to hide the moments that you may consider humiliating/embarrassing. Heroes are respected for the way the managed the tough times.
Once employees listen to these stories, they love you as a company, they respect you for who you are and look up to you for directions and inspirations.

What happens if we do not tell these stories?
People do not realize the ground beneath their feet. They do not get embedded to the roots of the organisation. They remain oblivious of facts of past and keep reacting to the actions and words of management and teams or posterior. They do not empathize with acts and words as they are missing the link.

Once they know where the actions and words are actually coming from, they would adjust and align and not react.
They make better decisions knowing what values organisation has in it's DNA and make a sustainable work relationship with organisation and people.

Must tell everyone about each chromosome of your DNA. 

Lot more that HR can do: JUST DO IT! THIS IS WHAT BUSINESS WANTS

CAN HR RUN AS A CoE-

HR as CoE- deliver as operations based on knowledge  speed and efficiency. Research based HR solutions, remain tied up to business and advise on opportunities, threat, strengths, express concerns in decisions and actions.

WHY NOT TRY 'RBO' (ROLE BASED ORGANISATION -GET OVER THE TITLE BASED APPROACH, LOSE SOME ELITISM AND PRIVILEGE FOR SAKE OF ORGANISATION. GET AWAY FROM 'MAAI-BAAP' MIND-SET. 

Role based organisation- Do not criss-cross roles and responsibilities.
Hold managers and supervisors accountable to the highest degree.
Managers will ensure success and will own failures equally.

BIT OF GOVERNANCE- RULES THAT APPLY TO ALL EQUALLY STRONGLY-

No harsh decisions unless being investigated as per core values and codes of conduct, disciplinary action policy.
Ensure people have channel to express and communicate ideas, concerns, violations of policies and code of conduct.
Have clear rules of Governance. WRITTEN ON THE WALL . LOUD and CLEAR.
LIST OUT TRAITS THAT ORGANISATION VALUES AND BELIEVES IN PROPAGATING, NURTURING, EMBEDDING AND LIVE-BY, EXPECT ALL TO EXHIBIT AND RESPECT. NON-NEGOTIABLE.
List out what is expected as governance by organisation and what is considered as violations.
List out what is minor, major and critical non-compliance and violations.
Empower supervisors responsibly. Power without arrogance. Power with authority and power with capacity to take decisions and make changes within the framework of Rule of Governance.

COMMUNICATE-YOU HAVE LOT TO SAY, DO NOT LOSE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY. APPLIES MORE TO SENIOR MANAGEMENT, PEOPLE LOOK UP TO.

Communicate-communicate and communicate through various platforms, REAL OR VIRTUAL.
Open door policy and pervasive communication culture.
Communicate in cabs, offices, coffee houses, elevators,communicate everywhere. Communicate across levels and ask questions.

Take actions in collaboration with different departments, stake-holders.

Use formal and informal platforms to discuss ideas and action plans.

OPEN BOOK MANAGEMENT AND 'MINI GAMES'
Follow Open Book Management. Encourage people to see the present and future from your lenses, though gloom and brightness in business arena. Kind of participative decision making. Shared leadership, shared ideas and opinion. Allow people to suggest, question, etc on important business scenarios, as much as possible.

INNOVATION-WHOSE BABY IS THIS?

Do not leave innovation to the lower rung of people only. Make innovation a tangible outcome that will force thinking 'Out of Box'.
Make Senior Managers and management accountable for innovation, process improvement, quality and culture building.
Have innovation round table meets every month, Allow one Senior management person to take a sponsored innovation program forward and lead from the front.

HABIT OF DISCIPLINE IS EVERYDAY WORK-VALUE YOUR TIME.
Have time-entry for all in the organisation, have codes for tasks, sub tasks, have comments columns.
Review people based on time spent in different tasks.
Make Objectives really measurable and with specific 'Measures of Success'. Define what is expected.

SUPPORT SYSTEMS TO EMBED AND GROW THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE
Have PD Management and Mentorship as Critical Roles in the organisation. Review PD Managers and Mentors every 2 months.
Ask them to submit PD and Mentorship reports, exciting elements, challenges, opportunities identified, ideas, people, action plan and outline of projects that can be taken up for feed backing and process improvements.

TIME TO RE-INVEST IN THE BEST INTEREST OF ORGANISATION AND PEOPLE
Invest on people and have a stack ranking from management side for the right bell-curve.
Identify critical resources for you. Write the SWOT for each critical resource.
Write expectations and aspirations for each critical resource.
Plan for skills and competency, capability development of each resource. Make Managers accountable for competency mapping and development.
Run a Organisation Capability Building Department under chief Business Evangelist to prepare for upcoming and modern day technology platform.
Help Managers think and act in lines of services to product. Help them build a team that is best combination of services to product for delivery team.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH ACCOUNTABILITY SETTING AND HELPING CLOSELY
Improve and build VISIBILITY to Managers in terms of delivery and project expectations and outcomes.

Help Managers and expect a robust project plan from them.
Send all Managers for Basics of People, Project and Client Management programs, People development, feed backing  assertive communication, Emotional Intelligence, Communication program, employer branding  Leading practices, Organisational GOVERNANCE  values and ethics. Remember, we all know, we have Managers, Directors and VPs and others, we need LEADERS. Leaders can be built, like Edward De Bono says, critical thinking and Creativity can be learnt, Daniel Goldman says EQ can be learnt and developed, Managers need formal grooming an mentoring.

GROW WITH OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT, CERTIFICATIONS. USE MODERN DAY ASSESSMENTS AND TRAINING TO ELEVATE
Have a structured certification and evaluation program for organisation. Do not promote or add responsibilities without internal and if required external certification and training and clearing exam.
Take supervisors up only when they have great technical , management and people score.

Have quarterly reviews. Nothing is more important than hiring and grooming people. Do not compromise on marathon feedback sessions each quarter, build actionable development plan.
Use assessment and development centers for managers. Assign internal-external mentors. Send them to seminars and ask them to lead one technology or process track internally as track leader.

'CAREER PATHING' IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AND MAKE IT MOST VISIBLE AND UNDERSTANDABLE-
Have clear individual contributor and people manager track.


BECOME A LEARNING ORGANISATION OF PETER SENGE'S THOUGHT-
Build a good pool of Area Content Experts(ACEs) and certify them at organisation levels. Identify 3 layers of ACEs.
ACEs will do Brownbags, other fresher training programs your company way. Senior most ACE will do workshops.
Organize competitions, for PM skills on planning, requirements gathering, project management, estimation  client and expectations management, team management and award the winner team.
Winner team will present to the whole company at Booths on internals seminars the leading project management skills that they applied and worked upon for greater success.

BE DECISIVE WITHIN LAW OF GOVERNANCE AND LAW OF THE LAND
Identify laggards and have a decisive exit plan for them. Act as per law of land and company's Rule of Governance.
Document all such critical decisions taken and keep them ready for internal audit.

BUILD A CULTURE OF AUDIT AND TRANSPARENCY. NO ONE IS ABOVE SUSPENSION- USE AUDIT FOR DEVELOPMENT
Have quarterly departmental internal audit.Follow ISO conventions, PMI conventions etc.
Have external audit every 6 months.
Act tough upon NCs. NON-CONFORMANCE.
Link audit outcomes to Reviews and Bonuses, Promotions, etc.

FEEDBACK-
Surveys and feedback, have done it regularly and often through external agency. Participate in Great Place to Work every year as a must. Learn form leading practices in the industry.

PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT AND ALLOW THEM TO LEAD THEIR SHOWS-
Empower people and have committees  for fun, learning, employee events, sports, leisure, food, transport. Encourage recreation, and social and environmental events.
Cyclothon, walkathon, adventure, fun, social cause, Cause of Women, Children, elderly, Health, Environment, Pollution, CSR stuff.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Anachronism of corporate chaos!

An analytics consulting company does not give analytical thought to it's own policies and programs. A dashboard company does not have a dashboard to capture its projects, invoices, CRM and employee data.
Sounds familiar, right? This is what makes you think, where is the focus and what are the priorities. Focus is business, more sales, more revenue, better gross margin.
We all have seen companies having great forward management skills but the back-end has always been left for the full-moon, which though comes twice a month, no one chases that for implementation and application of the integrating factors in the back-bay to make better and smoother linkage to business. Finance, HR, IT and Admin work hard to make business run. But to make it run efficiently, not many great efforts are made. Why?
Because, like you need a client, you need to be the right client to ask for process improvement and people and technology integration into your company to make it more process-efficient.

We hear employees not submitting time sheets in time and correctly, that results in late and incorrect invoicing . Management struggles to get the time-sheets filled and several reminders are sent to employees. Does that work? No.
Then why some automation is not done in these so called smart companies with stellar talent pool and highly paid managers and support staff.
The reason for not making things easier for everyone is insecurity. Support staff, specially in finance, who are responsible for invoicing do not want to lose the chaos as this keeps them in business. Once process is automated and linked, they will be doing nothing much and this is just an example.

People survive on chaos! Chaos, they created and maintained...

From 25 year old consulting company to engineering company and even start-ups...there are people galore, who are keepers and maintainers of chaos! Their very own pet chaos!

Ambiguity and chaos are not natural problems for settled companies. They are disease!

Employee Engagement and Great Place to Work Concept

Greatness is a matter of choice! Have we made a choice?
Is there a clear and linear relationship between employee engagement and the great place to work concept?

Do we need a set of highly engaged employees to convert a place of work to a great place to work at?
Is there a direct and clear linkage between what defines an organisation's success and what defines an individual employee's success?
Not so easy and direct. Ideally all positives add to make it a big positive. This is mathematics. Organisational culture, climate, environment, leadership, vision, mission, core objectives and core values are all created with taking in ind, an organisation's success. Individuals are considered as tools, engines, mind and muscle and whole lot of critical thinking and critical mass that make things happen for good, in the interest of the company. Nothing wrong as far as objectives of the enterprise is met, which economically considered as, making profits. If an enterprise makes profits, it has lived the purpose. People are paid to perform and they agree with this fact that work is meant to see organisation's success. So, where is the disconnect today?

The disconnect starts with marketing of the company to the people. People who are needed to be hired and who are needed to perform, show results and earn profits for the enterprise.

Great Place To Work is a marketing concept and not people-centric concept.

Does any company have any plan called by  any name internally, where the objective is to make their place of work, a Great Place To Work at? I can say with confidence, I have not heard of any program like this.

If this was the objective taken by any company, big or small, there would have been a change seen in the Mission, Vision and Core Values statements and the CEOs would have talked about the Concept of Great Place To Work at?

Research reports have indicated that only 5% of slides of CEOs talk about people.
Tell me how many of your VPs of Businesses, HR and others have got their objectives sheet, the goal of making organisation a Great Place To Work at?
Tell me, how many of your VPs have addressed people with objective to garner support and seek sincere help from people to get to the level of Great Place To Work. I have not heard any VP talk about people in the way as to meet his goal in the objective sheet.

I have been with organisations, who are MNCs in Engineering and Consulting. At the end of 25 years of existence, the organisation thinks of hiring a formal HR Leader in the organisation. It has started thinking of having Capability Building Framework for organizational Competencies at the end of 25 years. Organisation is full of people from Ivy League institutions and great technical and engineering brain.

The biggest mockery with Great Place To Work concept is that, is is considered HR department's baby.

Mind you, HR guys did not set up your business, they did not bring you to the level of competitive advantage that you are, they do not face your competition in the market place, they do not provide technology or consulting platform, they do not lead COEs, they do not manage your investments an budgets for business, neither CAPEX nor OPEX, they do not decide on M&As, De-mergers and sell-out. Then why leave organisation to HR folks for making it a Great Place To Work?

Other bigger challenge that I see in organisations is communication. Communication about business, status, market, competition, plans, excitement, fear, uncertainly, good news, et al. They are just shared between the few and it leads to organisation fragmentation. Operations do not need any tactical or strategic view, as is felt or even ignored a thinking.

People do not communicate enough and that is the reason that people do not know where they are heading to? Do they need to tighten seat belt?, Do they need course correction and skill and competency building? No idea!

I have no qualms in telling that established organisations have seen more of Peter Principle than others. There are lot many dead woods at the top who have stopped thinking and that has led to anarchy, chaos and corruption down under them.

If corporate has become so lenient to them, I wonder one day, they will have to deal with disasters.

Organisations have a unique way of communication, this always happens from top in the form of mandate. Communication does not travel back to the top. It is in fact not allowed many a times. As if is it allowed we will be able to listen to what has been told and figure out even what has not been said, as Peter Drucker said.

Worry is, if we allow upward communication questions may make many bosses very uncomfortable and they would become answerable for many a things.
In absence of communication channel and opportunity, some of those kind of bosses are safe and long lives the Peter Principle.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pulse Check shall always be an external and non-conventional mechanism

TOI today has a satire on the job advertisements and the unique terminology that are used there.
Salary "commensurate' to experience and skills, not above 35 years of age, 'upwardly mobile', fire in belly, self-starter, highly motivated, team-player, etc. This are really interesting aspects and are written to communicate what that organisation requires, what that organisation has been missing so far or what it wants to shop for,or what it never has seen in the organisation and now the believe this will help them float and fly.

Companies attach company information, videos, awards or nomination for awards details with the job ads.
I was surprised to find the contrasting difference between what the career section videos communicated what Glassdoor (glassdoor.com) feedback were. Just opposite. Hugely opposite. Videos exhibit great culture of freedom, fun, communication , training, mentoring, happy faces, dancing employees, dancing young Gen-Y and Z folks alongside pot-belly 45 year old managers. Glassdoor feedback are horrible. Rating of 2.7 on a scale of 5. Seriously bad feedback from India till US organisation. It is a start-up.

Read the below feedback about that company on Glassdoor...LOT CAN BE LEARNT FROM HERE.

Out of 14. 3 employees are very satisfied and 4 are extremely dissatisfied.


I am highlighting the unhappy ones...

Feedback-1
Pros – 1. Work is challenging and projects provide you a lot of learning opprtunities
2. Company is dedicated only to US healthcare, providing an opportunity to create healthcare domain expertise
3. Since this is a growing company you get to take a lot of responsibilities
Cons – 1. Management is pathetic (old school) - their vision and their action are diagonally opposite
2. Middle and Senior management includes some good and some very bad people - if you are lucky, you get a good manager, otherwise God help you
3. There is no concept of work life balance - that is just a word used by management in meetings
4. There is a lot of internal politics
5. Customer handling / Stakeholder management skills of the senior management team needs a lot of work
Advice to Senior Management – Senior Management has to learn a lot of management basics, coz with the current attitude this company is going nowhere but south.
Feedback-2
Pros – Good for coterie. Lala set-up
Cons – Illegal practice of hiring without a plan and then firing
No formal mechanism to review performance
Perception driven
Duffers sitting at top thinking only they know everything
Advice to Senior Management – Stop illegal practices otherwise you would be sued one day very soon
Feedback-3
Pros – Nothing good in this company
Cons – I never seen a company like XXXXX. Its a company without process and they are spoiling future of many innocent fresher engineer. I understand company fire people on the basis of their performance but how any company can fire fresher on this basis of their 3-4 month performance. This raises question on their selection process. Its shows the people who are part of selection process is not eligible to even hire or select fresher then how they are working inside the company. Company has to fire first those people who are part of such selection process and who are making the company policies. Its really shame for us that we don't have any law to case against such a incidence in our company.
Advice to Senior Management – Please dont play with future of freshers
Feedback-4
Pros – -- Latest Technology
-- Growing Organization
-- Focus on US Healthcare
Cons – -- Bad Estimation and planning
-- Weak onsite resources
Advice to Senior Management – Just to get a customer one cannot fulfil all the wishes of customer. We have to place smart and responsible people at client's place so that we can get bigger engagement from client.
NOW IT'S TIME TO ANALYSE AND COME UP WITH SOME FINE FINDINGS-
 Though it is not easy to make right sense out of such feedback but looking at the overall trend of feedback at Glassoor.com and looking at the feedback on this company in experiment, it appears these are certainly some amount of truth in what ha been written.
1. APPEARS MANAGEMENT IS EVERYTHING AND THERE IS NO FORMAL AND STRONG HR PERSON IN THE ORGANISATION.
2. ORGANISATION BELIEVES IN SUCCESS AND CONSIDERS PEOPLE AS RESOURCES ONLY, TO BE USED, ABUSED, MISUSED.
3. COMPANY DOES NOT BELIEVE IN CREATING A CULTURE OF COHESIVE ORGANISATION. IT DOES NOT TAKE CARE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE.
4. IT IS SALES DRIVEN ORGANISATION THAT OVERRIDES INTEREST OF THE DEVELOPMENT PEOPLE.
5. BASIC MANAGEMENT TRAINING OF PEOPLE MANAGEMENT IS MISSING IN MANAGEMENT CADRE.
6. HAS SUFFERED A HUGE DENT ON BRAND IMAGE AND EMPLOYER BRANDING DUE TO POOR MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.
7. IT APPEARS, IT IS AN ORGANISATION, DRIVEN BY CAPITAL. THE ENDS AND MEANS ARE CAPITAL,, GROSS MARGIN AND MORE PROFITS TO THE OWNERS.
8. TALENT CERTAINLY APPEARS IGNORED AND SUFFERING
9. IT IS EASY TO HIRE BUT DIFFICULT TO KEEP A GREAT TEAM AND MAINTAIN THEIR HIGH MORALE AND MOTIVATION WITHOUT BEING SENSITIVE TO THE INTANGIBLES.
Organisations can not be built with fly-by night attitude. It is like building a nation.


Campus hiring- Like attracts like.

Hiring has changed a lot at campuses. It all started with Large Engineering companies who visited engineering campuses for selections. It was branch-based companies and selection process. Core and non-core companies. Core helped non-IT branches appear for the process and selected the best, mostly on acads and their performance in the interview rounds. All these processes where very very panel based and tested people without any bias. The only bias that we heard those days was, if there was any influential politician or official who wanted his ward to get some push. Max.
Things changed when IT hiring started for vanilla skills of logical reasoning, verbal ability and quant.
All branches invited. Infy, TCS, Wipro, Cognizant and other mass recruiters invited anyone with 60% and sometimes even 50% marks to appear for mass appti test. People offered in huge numbers. at each college had selection list of 300, 400 , 750 offers by these biggies. Hiring was called Spray and pray! Mass recruiters. Things started changing when recession hit. Offers rescinded, delayed, withdrawn, joining dates delayed, never confirmed and then the factory of engineers, the colleges woke up and started having focus back on Core industries and asked many mass recruiting IT services companies to come later on the slot and some even banned from being on recruiter list.

I have been approached by T&Ps of NITs and others to take the offered guys, who did not get a joining date from a few of the biggies mentioned above. Guys were offered 2.75 L CTC. They had cleared the appti and rounds of interviews. I was surprised that all 4 failed in my company's appti test miserably. I can guarantee, any class X guy with good maths and English knowledge could have cleared those tests. Sufficient time was given for the test. No complex calculations, no complicated theories. I really wonder how these Big Companies offered them. Blame it on spray and pray and sales guys like behavior of the HR recruiters who did this TA job.
If people like NRN, NASSCOM Chairmen and others who were worried about the quality of talent at engineering colleges and several reports which said that only 10 to 15% are employable of all engineers passing in India, what did they practically do, when their folks hired the bottom rung folks just to meet numbers. Company comes last. Recruiters first, Students Second and Company Last! 

It is not really that, you pay peanuts and get monkeys. It is like, you are a joker and you will end up hiring a joker. B players hire C players, all of us know.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Freshers are neither threat nor solution

Wipro would mute fresher's hiring, HCL not hiring freshers this year, Infosys's 3.0 is built on new platforms and innovation. Freshers do not fit-in there, at least in start up phase of new technology. Freshers fit in when a technology becomes, 'mass product' or platform.
So, where will freshers go?
 TOI mentioned 5 lacs engineering graduates pass out each year in India. Half of them were ideally consumed by IT industry. Other estimates keep engineering grads passing each year in India to the tune of 10 lacs if not more.

Technology ideally phases out in 5 years now and by the time T schools catch up with Big Data, Cloud and Mobility, they will be obsolete and newer technologies will emerge.
It appears, brick and mortar modal of companies are gone. Now, it is tough for them to estimate and plan business and comprehend the ever changing face and direction of market.

Consumers of IT services and products are shrinking budget and automation is killing possibilities of demand.

Hiring of freshers have always been based on wind fall based demands. Now, demands are so unpredictable, how will company focus on supply side of resources and build them through Bootcamp, Crash courses to the level of client's and project's needs.

Lower utilization rate of Wipro of ~65%, Infosys, ~ 70% against minimum expectation of 85 to 90% is well below the expected level.
Assuming TCS has 260,000, Infosys has 150,000 employees and Wipro has around the same, 65% utilization would mean, ~150,000 employees in excess. Assuming, one shall keep 10% buffer against attrition, sudden demand, etc, they still have ~130,000 employees extra, which means at an average cost per employee being pegged @$44K, the total loss would be $ 5,72,00,000,000. Which is $ 5.72 bn per year.

Assuming, companies tried to save them from sinking shareholder's value and their survival, they lay-off 20% , which is 26,000 employees. Looking at first level of load-shedding, it is just 10% of TCS employee base, which looks like fine.
Will companies take this decision today or delay it?
They will delay it as conventionally, they have started the process in this direction but slightly differently.
They are doing the same by HIRING EMBARGO!
This hiring embargo is not new as Wipro, HCL, Infosys and other major IT players had started delaying joining dates for freshers from tier-2 T schools much earlier. It stated in 2009 that they did not confirm start date for several thousands across cities and colleges. This included colleges like NITs as well.

But this small sacrifices and cosmetic approach is not going to make these companies financially sexier.
They need re-structuring and major shake-up.
They need to identify their termites in their fortresses, which has got termite-ridden.
Freshers are not threat to them and just keeping them outside the fort will not save the ivory towers.
Tough decisions have to be taken! Delaying a cancer treatment makes it un-treat-able.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Private Sector Companies: Selection and Review process-broken?

I have been through SSBs of Army and Para Military forces. Have got selected and offered by Central Police Organisation's Border Security Force for Class 1, Gazetted Officer. I have always seen them carrying an assessment Centre for selection comprising of several rounds of interviews, Psychometric rounds, Group discussions and presentations. All this is done when a panel is available to assess and evaluate.

Unfortunately in Private Large or Small companies, it all starts and ends as individual interviews and personal liking or dislike is what plays the key role in assessments.

Have you ever heard the word, 'Hiring Manager' in the public sector selections?
Word and phenomena of hiring manager is great if implemented alongside Neutral Assessment Centre and just not left hiring to the Hiring Manager's wish and comfort. Hiring is a corporate decision and that should be challenged and appealed against. There is requirement of Ombudsman for hiring in all companies, where candidates who appeared for the process or those who were eligible shall ask for clarifications and complain if they fear, the process carried was not fair and transparent. I am asking for Ombudsman for companies that are listed on stock exchange anywhere in the world.

In private sector, many positions are opened and closed without proper search and selection process. One suspects that going around and process followed in selection.

A neutral body selects candidate and puts him/her to the department and then he gets a Supervisor.
If supervisor is given to recruit, there are high possibilities of him playing favorite or his card.

I have heard 100 times in my career, a sacrosanct advice from colleagues and seniors that, "do not hire a guy smarter than you", "It can be a threat to you". Private sector is full of such scenarios and people who are non-intimidating and threatening to the boss. Less smarter or rather a timid guy, who can wag his tail and shall be told to do what his manager wants him to do and not do, without even asking, any suggestions or advice.

This is a disastrous situation as it has filled companies with more of timid and suck-up guys and on top of it, we all cry, we have no leadership available in companies. Leaders are not hired. They are kept at bay as they will create a culture of competition, performance and success, which will force their bosses to get out of comfort zone. The divine, orgasmic inertia. We all know B and C players love and create status-quo. Create ways to tell why things will  not work fast and improve. They will cite policies and approvals as weapon to keep work aside.
When I see frustrations of Microsoft employees against forced ranking and gagging policies of rank rating, they are clearly indicating, the policies are archaic and broke! HR leaders and top management are creating environment for in-fighting and misguided- assessment and development. No wonder, we have not seen a single successful product coming out of Microsoft in past decade.

Please do not make hiring for your company, your private affair. In the interest of the company, personal agenda kills company.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Delta Model


Haxioms are a set of principles, proposed by Arnoldo Hax, which serve as a framework for the conceptualization of the Delta Model, and since it somehow challenges the conventional wisdom regarding strategic thinking:
1. The center of the strategy is the customer
This is the center of the Delta Model, being the customer the driving force for all actions undertaken by the company. Thus, the effort the Organizations have to do is to configure high value-added propositions to customers which will be both creative and unique.
2. You don't win by beating the competition. You win by achieving Customer Bonding
Just as the central focus of the management is the Customer, the central focus of the strategy should be Customer Bonding. This stage is recognizable by a relationship based on transparency, fairness, and which produces long term benefits for all involved.
3. Strategy is not war; it is Love
When we define the essence of strategy as a competitive advantage, we are at the same time denoting conflict as the way to think about business. If instead we reject this notion, our mind opens up to new alternatives and, since we are no longer in confrontation with our partners, other forms of cooperation can be considered. The extreme way of non-conflict is indeed LOVE.
4. A product-centric mentality is constraining; open your mindset to include the customers, the suppliers and the complementary as your key constituencies
Since all business are related and dependent on other members of the supply chain, a wider view is needed to see this expanded enterprise, which is the entity of real importance in our strategic analysis. In this way we can better propose high-value propositions to our customers.
5. Try to understand your customer deeply. Strategy is done one customer at a time.
The granular customer analysis is fundamental to complete a sensible customer segmentation. the extreme is in fact the consideration of each single customer individually with his/her own needs and wants.

Retribution & Reward Theory


Related to motivation are attribution theory, and the degree to which an employee sees his or her actions as passive or aggressive in terms of shaping his or her position within a company. Perry (2008) notes, for example, that some employees "believe that the course of their career, such as the question of whether or not they are promoted, is essentially based on luck and other factors that are out of their control" (Perry, 2008, p. 179), while other employees believe that they have total control and that it is up to them to achieve what they want to achieve. Therefore, different employees use different methods to attribute success or failure to their own actions. For example, one employee who consistently fails might believe that this is unfair but that it's not something that they can resolve but it's just 'how things are', whereas another employee might believe that this is a sign that they need to improve their performance and work harder and with more focus. Drucker (2007) suggests that attribution theory is "key to determining how an employee looks at his or her own situation" (Drucker, 2007, p. 225) and it is clear that, for example, an employee who believes that he or she can control his or her own performance is likely to have a higher level of motivation than an employee who believes that this is largely out of their hands. If employees are not aware of a causal link between their actions and the rewards and benefits that they receive, it will be difficult to motivate them to believe that they can improve their own position by working harder for the company.

Reward programs can cover non-material rewards such as promotion, which can be a major way of demonstrating that an intrinsically motivated employee is making progress and is likely to get closer to achieving his or her goal. In some cases, this can involve genuine promotion, with an increased salary, increased power and increased responsibilities, but in other cases this can involve what Perry calls "a fake promotion... (which) might provide a new title and some other signs of advancement, but really doesn't move the individual further up within the company" 

RBO through VRIO


Resources are tangible and intangible. The tangible resources are physically present and felt like buildings, physical assets, equipments, human resource etc. Whereas the intangible resources include motivation, culture, employee’s skills, knowledge, competencies, brand image etc. According to Kaplan & Norton (2004) ‘’ Intangible assets are the ultimate source of sustainable value creation’’.

The VRIO framework, in a wider scope, is part of a much larger strategic scheme of a firm. The basic strategic process that any firm goes through begins with a vision statement, and continues on through objectives, internal & external analysis, strategic choices (both business-level and corporate-level), and strategic implementation. The firm will hope that this process results in a competitive advantage in the marketplace they operate in. VRIO falls into the internal analysis step of these procedures, but is used as a framework in evaluating just about all resources and capabilities of a firm, regardless of what phase of the strategic model it falls under. VRIO is an acronym for the four question framework you ask about a resource or capability to determine its competitive potential: the question of Value, the question of Rarity, the question of Imitability (Ease/Difficulty to Imitate), and the question of Organization (ability to exploit the resource or capability).


The Question of Value: "Is the firm able to exploit an opportunity or neutralize an external threat with the resource/capability?"
The Question of Rarity: "Is control of the resource/capability in the hands of a relative few?"
The Question of Imitability: "Is it difficult to imitate, and will there be significant cost disadvantage to a firm trying to obtain, develop, or duplicate the resource/capability?"
The Question of Organization: "Is the firm organized, ready, and able to exploit the resource/capability?"

Valuable? Rare? Costly to imitate? Exploited by the organization? Competitive implication
No       Competitive disadvantage
Yes No     Competitive parity
Yes Yes No   Temporary competitive advantage
Yes Yes Yes No Unexploited competitive advantage
Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustained competitive advantage

RBO (Role-Based Organisation) or ROB (rob)? Choice to be made


Peter principle applies automatically and people at the top are idle, with less work or no work! They just feel, they are there for only strategic insights, if at all many of those have ever given a single strategic insight in decades. Lots of dead-wood make orgaisations top-heavy or top-sick. And if you are sick at the top, you have lost your mind and what pulls you down is your heavy, uncontrolled weight who knows nothing but law of gravity.
So, what is needed? ROB. Yes! Role-Based-Organisation (ROB). This Role Based approach makes the associate to be known by their role and not by their designation. Vadim(2008) illustrates that role based is very internal to the organisation and the structure of the organisation is influenced by the role that is played by the associate. The competency and responsibility of the associate are the two major factors which defines a role in an organisation. It can be inferred that in such a kind of role based organisation the competency of an associate determines the rewards and compensation.

UP or OUT
McKinsey adopted the policy which evaluates the performance of the employees and terminate who were failed in getting promoted by the organisation within a specific time and termed as up-or-out. The up-or-out policy was adopted by McKinsey in 1948 from a revolutionary old management concept know as the ‘Cravath System’ named after Paul Drennan Cravath who introduced this concept in the 19th century. On the go this concept became very famous and was inherited by many law and consulting firms. The Cravath system is widely known as the ‘Rank or Yank’ or the ‘UP-or-OUT’ system in the business world. Jack Welch the former CEO of GE who is awarded ‘Manager of the Century’ terms the same concept in his own way as the ‘vitality curve’. This strategy is known to be a huge reason behind the increase of revenue by 28 folds for GE.


Shyamal Majumdar a writer in the ‘Business Standard’ explains the style and concept of Jack Welch’s ‘Vitality Curve’ in one of his article ‘The Rank-and-Yank appraisal system’. According to the author managers should rank the employees under him/her in a 20:70:10 ratios. Jack Welch in one of his interviews points out that there are three ways the employees can be categorised. The first are the employees who have both results and values. According to Jack Welch these people are the great source of productivity and they should be appreciated and rewarded. The second category is where a significant amount of employee falls who has the values but not enough results to be in the creamy layer. As these standard performers are accountable for the organisation’s operational success they should be rewarded and given all support to lift up their performance to the astonishing level. The final category employees are the foot-draggers who don’t have values or give out results and eventually they have to be moved out.



Up-or-Out is a strategy which gets amalgamated with the culture believed to bring in fresh ideas, new skills and talented resources. The big blue chip organisation like Microsoft, GE, Ford, Motorola, Enron, Coke and Accenture which adapted this culture believes that this strategy will increase the productivity and performance of the organisation. Most of the organisations which possess this culture see that it is an opportunity to bring in new people who could have the ability of bringing a big difference. In addition Jeff Skilling former CEO of Enron Corporation explains in one of his employee meetings (2001) that they have to take such hasty decision in order to sustain even at hard times. He further argues that ‘’if a firm does not have a process of making hard decisions over the people who are not pulling their weight could pull everybody down’’. This strategy hark back a famous phrase ‘’Survival of The Fittest’’ quoted by Herbert Spencer.





Friday, April 19, 2013

Shameless HR at Wipro!

Why I hate Wipro?
Actually, I am against all hate campaigns but being a responsible corporate citizen, I believe it is my responsibility to protest against the unfair and non-professional and non-integral behavior of corporate citizen!

I had a Wipro Technologies Interview in 2011 at their SJP 1 office. This was my second round personal round with a Wipro HR Manager. I had met Mr.Ravishankar, the Head of Recruitment at St.Marks Road office a few days ago. My interview had actually started over phone with some Mr. Saurabh from Wipro's Delhi office, and meeting with Ravishankar and then with an HR Manager at SJP-1. This was all communicated to me over phone and e mail as well. The interview was for Engagement Manager for Business Unit. It is an HR role that engages Business. The telephonic interview was great, corporate like, courteous and decent. Meeting with Ravishankar was great. I liked all so far.

My meeting with the HR Manager or whatever title he held, was a disaster. It was a 35 mins discussion and he took 8 calls in between the interview and never apologized to me. He talked to all of them and never even told that he was in an interview. He had 4 calls on his cell phone and 4 on the land line. I knew what he talked about and  how his teenage daughter is performing and what land he saw with his brother in law to buy etc. Shameless HR guy at Wipro! This interviewer talked about world history and civil services. Lastly he asked, whether I like recruitment role or the Employee Engagement role.

My next encounter with Wipro Technologies was again in SJP-1 on Apr 12, 2013. This time I met Priyanka S, GM-HR. She had 10 mins of interview. At the outset, she seemed not ready for interviewing, as she had not even bothered to print my resume and asked me for a copy, which I gave. She did not bother to introduce herself and define the role she was interviewing me for. Remember  JD was not shared with me. When I had to meet her, an office boy took me to her office. Is Wipro using part-time recruiters or has that function been outsourced to someone working from a tier- 2 or 3 city? She was in a hurry and told she has got an urgent call to attend urgent HR meeting at Wipro's Electronic City office and her team is ready to move. She mentioned, she will continue the talk over phone early next week. This is Friday and no call to me. Next week is over, almost. Priyanka mentioned that she has done 30% and rest parts she will do in phone interview with me. Wipro shall send all their HR seniors for Assertive Communication training, so that they do not behave so foolish and fake. If Priyanka did not like me in 10 mins of discussion, rather 7 mins to be precise, she could have told that she will come back to me if I am taken for next rounds. Their recruiter, here Ms.Apoorva should have written to me the updates. What is going on? How can Wipro Managers take candidates for a ride? Is there no corporate body to look at their Governance?

Rightly said, world's largest body shopping company, Wipro, has exhibited that people are just resources to be outsourced. How much you talk about governance, values, vision and corporate Citizenship, it all reflects in how you behave. Unfortunate and shameful for Wipro.
How more shameless can the Wipro HR Managers be? Where are they hired from? Who is hiring them?
The Recruiter, Ms. Apoorva, who was mailing me interview details and called me for interview now did not even respond to my call or SMS or email?

I guess the old lot that is surviving in Wipro HR are those who have learnt to survive and also learnt, "helplessness". Pity them and wish they get out of their vicious acts!
Is there anyone ethical and professional left in Wipro, who can answer me?

Sleep to be there!

I had written on my blog on Dec 1, 2011 experience at the Silicon India Strategic HR summit at Bangalore.

I called that article, Why this Zillaveri Di! The surprise that I had was because I found the Head HR for a tamil dominated company was a Tamil. When I say dominated, it means, CEO/ MD and other important positions in the company share same home state . Same was the trend for Malyali, Telugus and even Kannadigas. Within Kannadigas  is a group called Mangloreans, within that is a group called Manglorean Christians. Some companies are full of Christians whether Tamil, Manglorean or Mallus. Same is true for several departments and this is more shamelessly obvious in the HR department.
I hired a Mallu/Keralite Recruitment Manager for a company, I worked for and found that most of the candidates, he would shortlist/promote for hiring would be Mallus and at times precisely Mallu Christian. How shameless and ethics less has the world become?
I found Mishraji HR/Admin manager doing the same when we wanted to hire even an office boy. They would like only Mishrajis.

It is so ubiquitous talk that certain companies are called Mallu companies, certain Tamil and certain other Telugu. This is the hell that happens when liberalization and decontrol happens.

Bangalore HR if full of "working housewives", Receptionists in HR and almost every non-qualified average, dumb, sucker, survivor mind-set bunch is there in HR.
Unfortunate is the fact that these non-descript A H***s have become head of HR and Recruitment Heads and now they are building the "HIJROON, EUNUCH FAMILY".
HR Heads are interviewing candidates in their secret apartment flats and hiring over sleaze. These s**t* do nothing but sleep and party. And they survive 4 years in  a company, getting 20% annual raise, sleeping with one and others. They travel abroad for seminars over other Premier B school, qualified folks, as they ...
All such stories are galore and talked over but the S**t culture continues in these MNCs. Their US bosses come to India and are taken care of the same way. Mind you, many of these women who sleep with one and many in company are married women. Are their husbands, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and neighbors aware that these so called professional women are worse than the prostitutes who sell themselves but do not cheat anyone. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

MBAs selected and sold-Need to get to the missing link!

MBA colleges educate graduates.
Prepares them for picking jobs at companies.
Train them on what companies look for in a candidate.
They invite these companies to hire their students.
They send these students to companies to appear for the interview process there and much more.

Is this the end of corporate interface and engagement and alignment. End of responsibilities. Is this conventional model sustainable? Have company's needs and demands not changed over time. Have colleges mapped changing dynamics of entry level talent integration? Have colleges been integral part of discussions, how companies think when they talk about entry-level talent? What is their worry? Why entry level talent needs shrinking? Why is everyone from NASSCOM to Aspiring Minds to other Industry bodies and NR Narayan Moorthy worried about quality of talent in India today?

There is serious missing link!

Though above given model is simple and understandable still there are millions of challenges colleges and students face while, 1.Searching for Summer projects and 2. Placements.

Why?

1. MBA colleges may not have been able to identify/map their industry for their supplies in terms of real skills needs (skills mapping and alignment), number required (how many can they hire out of my 100 students) and when is the right time for hiring for them.
2. MBA colleges follow conventional model of teaching, examinations, projects and placements. They get too busy completing syllabus, getting students to a level of scoring well in exams, help them get a summer project and help them in getting a placement. Supply and Demand analysis is perhaps missing and maybe the demand is not there in comparison to supply. Industry cribs for poor quality of hires/candidates. But, what do they do to get a better quality. Partnership in backward-forward talent integration and grooming is missing. At max what Industry does is participate in curriculum revamp once in 2 years. If curriculum only could help, things would have been simpler.
3. Demand and supply is volatile and unpredictable. The biggest consumer of MBAs are Banking and Finance, telecom, Real Estate Sectors into sales and CRM positions. This leaves very little space for students to look beyond these sectors, who sell through various channels and therefore have no control over who is selling their product or services with what qualification.
4. MBAs are considered ambitious and demanding in terms of quality of work, compensation and other benefits. Graduates or even below Grad level candidates are ready for many compromises.
5. MBAs compete against experienced candidates when it comes to hiring as cost remains same and maybe lower sometimes to hire a Non-MBA with relevant experience.
6. MBAs do not prefer low level form filling and document collection, check collection jobs as they do not see MBA education at use, doing the same.

So, there are various missing links here....list can be much longer, as experts pitch-in..

All stake holders need to sit together to make a conscious and aligned decision for preparing, coaching, grooming and getting the stock ready in 2 years of MBA education to make MBAs more marketable over the Non-MBAs. This is unfortunate that we have not been able to get clear ROI ad ROA differentiation between an MBA and a Non-MBA.

Task of selling an MBA to the Recruiter is the first level of hurdle crossing. Once the value in MBA is established in clear terms of value adds and business advantage with ROI and RAO and Customer delight, Compliance and conformation, MBAs will be sold like hot cakes.

Somewhere the College and Industry need to merge seriously to get the right concoction.

Some suggested solutions are sponsored candidates from Day-1. Hire only those for MBA course who will earn a sponsor. Last leg of hiring can be an endorsement from a Sponsor. Let a company select  their sponsored candidates, who clear their rounds of interview and expectations.

Map company's expectations for raw materials and use that for selection. Companies will have to think of having a say in selection of MBA students as well. Ask them to carry the Assessment Center kind of process for selection and they will fill evaluation maps. Will recommend streams for MBA for each hire they assess.

Corporate need to have an informal yet charted career or development path for each sponsored/mentored candidate of their's for the 2 years of effective development.
Corporate can set their performance yard-stick and criteria for continuous assessments and evaluations of skill and competencies that sponsored candidate builds in terms of domain knowledge  business knowledge, process knowledge, technology interventions, process and quality and compliance interventions.

Separate the sponsored candidates based on Houses and Branches with On-Campus Mentor Professor, who will be trained in domains of houses he manages. Houses can be broad and they merge with areas of interest of each candidate, so that skills building is naturally inclined and induced.

Hold competitions and invite corporate for presentations at booths like in seminars. Companies can sponsor booths.
Companies will have 2 House Consultants to help development remain agile and aligned. These Consultants or School Ambassadors will be on college panel for selection of next year students. They will participate in important college events and same for On-Campus Mentor Professor, who will be invited by company/companies for their seminars, presentations, conclaves, technology/business  orientations.
On-Campus Mentor Professor will have KPIs in  terms of development of students and presentations or targeted research for marketing or sales, technology,HR, Finance, Process, Compliance, Quality etc depending on domain of the house and leading contemporary and relevant research and development.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Gap in life!

When gap is god! What we are not able to find by our own strengths  energy, intelligence or other capacity, we leave it to god and that's why the gap between what we can do or cannot do and what god only can do is God. Speaking tree has a great article in TOI today. It talks about this and even scientists agree or leave it to the supernatural power (though they call it mystery), we call God.

Somewhere I read about the belief that you have is called God! Things you know, you are sure of, you call them "I know", things you are not sure of, you call, "I believe". Liked it.

Everything that goes up comes down. Everything that moves has a cycle. If you had or have good time, the cycle will change. When and how tragic or smooth! Time only will say and also how your personality responds to the situation. We often hear dynasty matters in politics and film industry but we have several flops in both of these industries, where some babalog do not shine. Here both destiny and personality play the role but Personality chooses the destiny's nature and form and shape and timing as well. Though timing can not be differed much against destiny. Things do not remain same as they were but my recent belief is, (and you would say, I am using belief so not sure! ) Yes, you are right, I have a recent belief that, you have a personality which is driver of the car!, you have destiny that is like one way road that leads you to a destination. No u turn allowed, no other turns (usually) and even if you did not like the destination or path later, you have no choice to re-consider. So, a drive is a drive. All air routes are not trunk routes. And the third thing is your horoscope.

Horoscope is like a kitchen that has all ingredients and essential equipment for cooking food. Destiny is how you get started and managed with right or wrong vessels, tools, ingredients, processes, etc.

Results are out of how you managed resources and here, what is constant is your personality. That makes all the difference. Though personality is part of horoscope that makes any horoscope anywhere between, "so easy to predict" to "so difficult to predict".

Question is, what is final take-away in life?
Take-away is "what you finally got. Every time you had a "moment of truth", the reality-bites of life and responsibilities.

My idea is life cannot be calculated forward. This is always backwards!
Look at your life backward and calculate your accomplishments and losses or absence of aspects of life and compare it with today.You will get the real value. Life Value Proposition (LVP?)....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Prestige matters over the rest in identifying an employer




Did you know that for 43% of consulting firm candidates, firm culture was the most important factor in selecting an employer? Other top factors include practice strength and work-life balance, in addition to prestige and compensation.

In order to properly reflect a company's status as an employer within the consulting industry, the Vault Consulting 50 is based on the following weighted formula:

30 percent prestige
15 percent satisfaction
15 percent firm culture
15 percent compensation
10 percent work-life balance
10 percent overall business outlook
5 percent promotion policies

Consulting Firm Rankings 2013: The Best Firms in Each Practice Area: Human Resources Consulting





http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/rankings/individual?rankingId1=237&rankingId2=81&rankings=1&regionId=0&rankingYear=2013

2013 2012 CHANGE FIRM % LOCATION
RANK RANK Vote
1
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1
Mercer LLC 50.4 New York, NY
2 2 Towers Watson 33.7 New York, NY
3 3 Aon Hewitt 30.8 Chicago, IL
4 4 Hay Group 17.9 Philadelphia, PA
5
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5
Deloitte Consulting LLP 15.9 New York, NY
6 NR Oliver Wyman 11.6 New York, NY
7 7 McKinsey & Company 11.4 New York, NY
8 6 Accenture 10.1 New York, NY
9
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9
Huron Consulting Group 8.65 Chicago, IL
10 10 The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. 6.87 Boston, MA