Human Resources

India and its working culture

Published On Published By

UPDATED ON

A renowned company. An inspiring leader. A super motivational company story and then a murder.

The crime was committed on Sunday. Sunday evening.

The first and the foremost thing which comes to my mind is –

What was so urgent that a techie has to work on Sunday evening and can’t wait just for a night’s time?

Next –

What is use of all the technology advancement, use of internet or laptops, when in extreme emergency (which may occur), when we can’t even connect from our home or other convenient or safe location.

I have been in IT sector and unfortunately have been in a maintenance and enhancement project. My work used to start from 7:00 AM till late 7 or 8 PM. I succumbed to this schedule for a year and later started working strictly for 8.30 hours. Very soon, irrespective of my work and strictly following deadlines, there was an impression that I leave office early; hence I am not working enough.

I am sure this isn’t just my story.

This is what is called the – ‘INDIAN WORKING CULTURE’. Our working culture thrives on three main pillars:
15feb

Timing – is a very important factor to show how productive you are. The mindset has been developed the longer you stay, the more you work, although it has no direct relation to the work productivity. You might just finish a small EOD work and linger on the second, still if you stay really late; you are a hard working individual.

Processes – Every company has its norms and regulations. These must be followed. It is called company process. At times, these processes have no relation to the current scenario, it was made by senior’s way back and it is still followed. Does it hold true now or not, is a different story altogether.

Hierarchy – This is the worst part of the great Indian work culture. The boss is always right. If he says left is right, you have to agree. The right answer is a no-no. If you follow an alternate path, you will have to face the consequences, like loads of work, no overtime to top it and very evident bad ratings.

The world has become a smaller place and we have come face-to-face with the western culture. We have adapted a lot of things from there – like being open about relationships, live-in relationships, beautiful attires and what not.

What we also need to learn, is the working culture – No matter what, employees leave their workstation on the defined time and no body, mind it, no body judges them for that. There is a very rare situation when employees come to work on a holiday and most certainly, it is a big deal to work on holidays. There are a lot of work from home arrangements/liberties and employees follow the rules accordingly. Why can’t we adopt some working trends from there?

Talking about the recent crime, newspaper is filled with different stories, but only she knows what stress she was going through which made her work even on that fateful Sunday evening. May she rest in peace. As a respect for the lost life, let’s all work together towards a better and safer tomorrow!

Hiring – Are we asking enough questions?

Published On Published By

There lived a king who had two sons. He loved them dearly. It was about time to name one of them as the next king to the throne. He called both his sons and asked them to find out the market price of cereals. It was an easy task – that’s what it seemed.
The elder one wanted to be the next king and was in a hurry to reach the market, get the quotes and tell his father as soon as possible. He didn’t want to lose a minute. In his mind, he was all set to be the next king.

Younger one was unlike his elder brother. He went to the market. He met the merchants and asked relevant questions regarding his subject and researched in detail. By the time he reached the court, the eldest son was already seated there after sharing his information with the king.

The information which the eldest one shared was – the price of the cereals. After all that was asked by the king, right!
The king asked the younger son about the price and he informed about the price, the demand in the market for each along with the supply and other related statistics for the same.

King was very pleased with the younger son and he was named as the next king.

Whenever there is an inappropriate hire for any position, the one which easily gets the blame is – the recruitment and selection process. Isn’t it?

But the actual fault may have occurred at much different place all together. Right from the place when the position/vacancy arises, are we actually asking enough questions?

Questions at the start of vacancy may be:-
 Is the work load a lot to handle the pressure?
 Is the work being delegated equally to all the team members?
 Is the work actually understood by the team?
 Are the team members abiding to the time frame properly?
 Can the vacancy be filled by training the current employees?
 Can there be lateral or horizontal movements of employees to fill that gap?

If these initial questions are answered, the next step of planning leads to a proper job description and job specification as the entire analysis about the position has already been done.

questionThe second big mistake in hiring wrongly is – ‘HURRY’. The hurry to get to the result in the shortest possible time. The pressure to fill the gap in shortest possible time, rejects a right candidate and selects a wrong one.

Manpower is the most crucial asset of the organization. It takes a significant cost to get a candidate on board, train him according to the requirement and place him. One small wrong move can easily convert an asset to a liability. So let’s not hurry and start questioning!

High-Life or Low-Life

Published On Published By

Two friends, Sam and Raghav, were just starting their career at the same level, with the same package. Coming from a small town, their lives seemed to be as good as a dream. They were committed and responsible employees – they were absolute assets for their organization. Be it co-workers, seniors or clients, everyone was happy with their work attitude.
After work, they wanted to experience the city life – the flashy restaurants, late night dhabas and of course, pubs. They felt they were being very cool and trendy by going to various pubs and they always used to find a reason to be there. Sadly, according to them, to have a high life you needed to drink and take drugs.

They started too.

Their work performance deteriorated. They started misbehaving with colleagues. They could hardly concentrate.
Luckily, Raghav could sense their downfall, and with his immense will power, he stopped going to pubs and the use of alcohol and drugs. It was a short while since he had started taking drugs and thus, he could impose control on his mind.

He tried to explain the consequences to Sam too. Sam was too attracted to the high life and the idea of it. He didn’t listen. Slowly, Sam became a drug addict and started showing symptoms such as:
• Extreme mood swings
• Paranoia
• Aggression (towards self and others)
• Noticeable exhaustion and lack of energy at all times
• Frequent absenteeism

Raghav wanted to help his friend, but he was confused. He hardly knew anyone outside his office, and he was scared about people in office finding out that Sam had become a drug addict.

He was also scared that Sam may lose his job. But he valued Sam’s life the most and hence – he asked for help. He trusted his manager the most and requested him to intervene and help Sam.

His manager was not shocked; he had seen the obvious changes in Sam and he had some doubts. Nevertheless, he was very happy that Raghav weighed his friend’s life more than any other thing.

His manager acted swiftly and got Sam into the right hands that helped him out of the mesh of drugs. It took a good one year’s time. The company welcomed Sam back to the position where he left. Sam was sorry for the past and ever grateful to his friend Raghav, his manager and his organization for the present.

The United Nations Drug Report in 2011 pronounces India as the biggest consumer of heroin. Drugs are most used in the age group 25-34. In India alone, about 3 million people are dependent on drugs (0.3% of the population).
Drug users not only harm themselves, but they also cost the organization they are working for. With their low productivity, less power to understand and judge the situation, carelessness, destructive attitude (towards self or others) can not only cost company an employee but may also be bad for its general public image.

What is the solution to this high-life?

stopPre-Employment Drug Test: With the kind of data supporting use of drugs among youngsters, there should be a mandatory Pre-Employment Drug Test.

For-Cause Drug Test: If any employee is suspected for use of drugs, they should be asked to take the test. If the test is positive, organization may choose to help the employee to get to the right track.

Sam was lucky to get help on time and his organization took him back, but there are many who don’t get help on time. They become a liability to the organization, spoil their own life and shatter their families too, just to have a high life and act cool and trendy.

It is high time the young generation should awaken and understand that you get high on life by walking the right way, else you fall deep down to a low life. So, grow up young India, let’s all get high on life, not drugs!

The Most Popular Profession

Published On Published By

One day Akbar thought about professions and wanted to know which profession was most popular in his capital. He asked his courtiers about this. Some said it would be trade, others said soldiering.

When it was Birbal’s turn, he arose from his seat and bowed before Akbar and said, “Your Majesty, in my opinion it’s medicine.”

This was surprising as there were just a few physicians in the city. Physicians in court got furious and said, “you have no clue about how difficult is it to practice medicine and advise people about medical problems.”

Birbal smiled and said, “I can prove this to you My Majesty, if you come with me tomorrow morning.”

Next morning Akbar met Birbal on the major crossroad in the city. Birbal had a bandage on one hand. Akbar saw it and asked what happened.

Birbal said, “I cut my hand by mistake while cutting some fruits for breakfast.”

Birbal further request Akbar, “Your majesty you will have to write down the names of all the physicians we come across.”

Akbar agreed and said, “I will surely do but firstly be sure to wash that wound and apply ointment on it.”

They sat at busy crossroad through all day. Birbal was a well known personality so anyone who passed by inquired about his injury and advised him some or the other medication.

As the day went on, the list grew longer, Akbar got tired so suggested they go home.

Birbal asked for the list and said, “Majesty you forget to write your own name on the top of list. You were the first to advise me.”

If you ask me which profession is most popular in general – the situation is still the same. But looking into a specific field of Human Resource, the most popular profession is – Recruitment and the Selection Process.

I have been a HR fresher once and got a few calls from companies, whose website looked absolutely brilliant, challenging and innovative. Seeking a better placement, I had visited a few recruitment consultancies. The office looked nothing like the website. A one room office with two or three ancient computers. Except for the head of the consultancies, others looked comparatively less qualified. It was not a difficult decision whether to accept the offer or not! There are many people around who feel that just having a phone, a Monster or Naukari account and two/three high-school pass/graduates, is all what is required to run a recruitment consultancy.

During the recruitment and selection process, the most important part is locating the right candidate. If the person who is on a lookout for much higher and much more qualified personal, will he/she be the right person to judge? Of course, the recruitment consultancies line up a lot of candidates and send to the company after their initial screening, but isn’t it a gamble? We waste one the most precious element – time. Interviewing one right candidate and interviewing multiple candidates lined up by the consultancy, is what we should ponder on!

recruitment
There are many good recruitment consultancies which have good qualified professionals working for them to meet the requirements of various companies. They are qualified enough to understand the specifications of the job and are apt for reviewing the resume of the candidate for the required profile. They have placed themselves right and have the ability to further help others in recruiting the most appropriate candidates in the shortest time span.

Everyone can give advice on your wounds but you should follow the advice given by a qualified doctor, right! What do you say?

Every Job is Temporary!

Published On Published By

UPDATED ON

Love your job, but never fall in love with your company because you never know when the company stops loving you. —N. R. Narayana Murthy

Long long time ago, there was a Mr. X. He was fortunate to get a government job. Well, it was an era where a government job meant that the ‘person who got it, is settled for life’. He started working and he will retire from the same place very soon. He holds a better designation, a better salary and a lot of credibility for serving the organization for so long.

That was a different era when once associated with an organization, employees served for the organization until their retirement. I wonder how many of us could even relate to a scenario where we have to be in relationship with our organization for that long. This generation lives out of its comfort zone. “Loyalty towards company” is just a forgotten thing.

It’s a two way game – the company also plays a crucial role in making the employees feel unsettled. It must be a tough call for the companies also, to let go of its employees but it’s something which has become very common. This is also the primary driver in today’s world that make every job temporary as the company itself may jettison you because of any of these reasons:

– You are no longer useful to the company

– You are no longer performing at the right level

– Your role/team/division/centre is being downsized

From the employee’s perspective, if he/she is doing really well and gets a better opportunity, he moves. According to a survey 2015/2016 EMPLOYEE INTENTIONS REPORT”, 82% Indian Employees intend to switch job within 12 months. There are around 73% people who have already appeared in an interview or two.
every job temp

On one side, employees are enjoying various lucrative opportunity-filled markets, on the other side; there are organizations that are losing their star performers while the others are catching them with open hearts.

There are various reasons attributing to such change in the job market. The same report states a few as below:

Ø  Scope of career progression 65%
Ø  Increase in salary 56%
Ø  Company brand and reputation 45%
Ø  Learning and development 34%
Ø  Better title / promotion 31%
Ø  Potential for overseas career opportunities 23%
Ø  Office location / accessibility 18%
Ø  Other( Job security, job satisfaction, more challenging job) 2%

People value their career growth more than ‘Stability’. They are willing to move to different cities for better opportunities. In fact, overseas locations are one of the most sought after reason for change in jobs.

Employees in India feel confident and secure in the current job market, as the opportunities in the employment market continue to grow. With blooming career-opportunities-filled-market, employees are well aware of their own value in the market. It has lead to the situation – every job has become temporary.

Why Self-Appraisal?

Published On Published By

UPDATED ON

A little boy went into a drug store, reached for a soda carton and pulled it over to the telephone. He climbed onto the carton so that he could reach the buttons on the phone and proceeded to punch in seven digits (phone numbers). The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation.
Boy: ‘Lady, Can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?
Woman: (at the other end of the phone line): ‘I already have someone to cut my lawn.’
Boy: ‘Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price of the person who cuts your lawn now.’
Woman: I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.
Boy: (with more perseverance) : ‘Lady, I’ll even sweep your curb and your sidewalk, so on Sunday you will have the prettiest lawn in all of Palm beach , Florida.’
Woman: No, thank you.
With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced the receiver. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.
Store Owner: ‘Son… I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.’
Boy: ‘No thanks.’
Store Owner: But you were really pleading for one.
Boy: No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the Job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!’

When it’s time for self-appraisal, speaking about my colleagues and me, the one who could brag the most about oneself, was requested to do the self appraisal form first. Then it was modified and pasted in our forms as well. There was this one question I always used to wonder –
Why all this self appraisal process? After all we can write just about anything in our self-appraisal forms. Isn’t it?
Let’s start from the start – Appraisal.
Appraisal is a full proof process to state – the employees’ performance. He or she may be good or bad, it records everything. Appraisal is said to be a motivational factor, based on which, people are given raises, awards and accolades. That’s the brighter side of the appraisal.
The other side of the coin is – there are employees who perform “Below Expectation”. Sometimes, their performance is consistently low. Based on the performance appraisal, those employees are trained, given more chances to perform and if still the performance is absolutely non-satisfactory, based on the performance appraisal report, they are given pink slips.
Now, Self Appraisal!
Self-appraisal’s biggest advantage is – employee’s familiarity with his or her work. Self Appraisal is nothing but a chance to justify one’s own performance – good or bad. Self Appraisal results in more employees’ accountability as they can set their own goals and get a clear idea what they want to achieve. Plus, self-appraisal also gives a chance to the respondent to pinpoint areas of weakness. They may seek for trainings for self improvement.
One may use self-appraisal as an opportunity to put forward a reason for a good appraisal, or a promotion or a fancy onsite opportunity, or he may use it for justifying his bad performance and gets the motivation to perform better with help of a few trainings.
Based on the records of self-appraisals and appraisals, you are either in a good frame or out of it completely. Self appraisal is far more serious and important part of our progressive carrier. It is a self-review which should be taken seriously, just like the little boy handles his self appraisal in the above mentioned story. The boy understands the competitive market. Irrespective of his age, he understands the fact that there are people who would do more work for less pay. He just wishes to be so good that even if ‘a lower wage and more work’ kind of person approaches for his job, the employer should not even give a second thought.
The world today is highly competitive, are you preparing a solid pillar for your own case?

The Start-up Jobs

Published On Published By

India is not only emerging, it has emerged. ~ Barack Obama

The start up is the current frenzy word in the Indian job industry. The start-up is on everyone’s mind from the school goers to the college students to the job holders. According to me, the key motivator for all these start-ups are – “The Passion Fever” or “Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs Effect – Just following my heart” or “The want to shine bright ASAP – taking the shortest way possible to be a CEO/Co-founder/MD”.

Untitled

The numbers of start-ups speaks volume about it own market – 4,200+ start-ups now, 10,000 by 2020. The big question is – Is start-ups a new fixation, which Indian market is experiencing?

Well, No.

As stated by Mr Ravi Narayan, director, Microsoft Accelerator, ” As we analyzed, we came up with four distinct phases of growth and maturity that we have traversed so far, software services and global delivery model; The dotcom era; The rise of product start-ups; & The growth of start-up ecosystem. ”
The last and the latest phase seems to be the most exciting phase which India is experiencing now: The growth of start-up ecosystem. This phase has gained a stature for India and a brand new name – ‘The start-up Nation’. FlipKart(started in 2007), Snapdeal(started in 2010), Ola(started in 2010) are just the first few successful players in the start-up market. These and the many others in the sequence are not only innovating and renovating its model to address the key problems and finding the best solution to it, but it is also addressing another big issue in India – Unemployment.

According to the Nasscom report, titled: ‘Startup India – Momentous Rise of the Indian Startup Ecosystem’, start-ups have created more than 80,000 jobs. According to another study of the talent assessment firm MeritTrac, the start-up ecosystem in India may hire 2.5 -3 lakh employees by 2020.

The next big question these start-ups are posing – Do they really create lots of good jobs?
There are a few benefits of choosing a start-up job over a well established corporate:

  • Better opportunities
  • More responsibilities
  • Better and fast learning of multiple things
  • Recognition
  • Awesome work atmosphere

In spite of all these benefits, there lies a fear – What if this venture doesn’t work?

Just to name a few- Jewelskart, Bagskart, Watchkart, TinyOwl, Spoonjoy, Langhar, OrderSnack, Dazo were few of the start-ups which were backed by great brains and huge funds but couldn’t survive for long.

Although these start-ups didn’t work, there are still 3-4 start-ups mushrooming up every day, according to the Nasscom report, titled: ‘Startup India – Momentous Rise of the Indian Startup Ecosystem’. The enthusiasm of Indians is just proving the saying,

If plan ‘A’ doesn’t work,
The alphabet has 25 more letters.

Speaking about my opinion, yes it’s adventurous to work for a start-up, but the huge experience and wide exposure which one gets while working in one, is unmatched and unquestionable.

Assessments: New Age Hiring Practices

Published On Published By

UPDATED ON

A few days back one of my friends shared that he takes a decision to hire within the first fifteen minutes of the interview and then takes the rest of the time to prove his own decision otherwise. While this is just an example of one idiosyncratic practise, I am sure there are a dozen that exist there. A lot has been said about how flawed and biased interviewing actually is.

So how does one hire with the higher probability of success?

Assessments

Let’s begin with re-examining the purpose of interviewing. I believe we interview to assess a person’s “ability” to do “a job”.  The answer to this science or art as you may like to call it lies in these two key words – “ability” and “job”.

Therefore, it begins with defining and understanding the job. Though large number of organisations do a great job in defining the technical specifications of the job but are unable to think beyond these skills.

Let’s take an example of an analyst job. Hiring managers do a fantastic job detailing out the technologies and tools that will make any prospect successful. However ask them to list down behaviours responsible for creating success, many hiring managers struggle beyond listing the obvious ones of meeting timelines and communication skills. In my opinion, the reasons for their inability to think beyond the obvious ones is certainly not their lack of competence but absence of a mind-set or absence of thinking in detail about behaviours that create success for an analyst. To elaborate this more, an experienced hiring manager will add competencies like ability to influence/persuade others, shaping opinions, challenging established views, giving presentations, explaining things simply, ensuring accuracy and keeping to the schedules.

Having examined the details of the job, the next step in the hiring process is to shortlist people who may have the ability to exhibit the described behaviours. Ability is a combination of an individual’s inherent talent and intrinsic intent to behave in a particular fashion. In other words ability is also referred to as an individual’s natural or preferred working style.

The real challenge lies in knowing an individual’s natural style. This is where assessments are transforming the hiring practises.

So how do assessments work?

Described simply, all prospective candidates are given a set of multiple choice and forced choice questions to determine their natural style. The idea is to understand what do they like doing and what choices will they make, under constraints. Their responses are checked for consistency and accuracy to ensure they have responded to these questions with candour and not tried to game the assessment. Most of the assessments have algorithms built at the back end and have also been tested for their statistical validity and predictability. The output report is in form of describing a candidate’s natural strengths and areas of opportunity. The assessment report should then be studied in context of the behaviours that are essential for the job to arrive at a hiring decision.

Explaining it in the context of the above example of an analyst, let us assume two candidates (A and B) applied for this position and took the assessments. The assessment report of A indicates that their natural strengths lie in acquiring knowledge, skills and applying specialist knowledge, inventing new approaches and anticipating trends, while the assessment report of B indicates the natural strengths in the areas of building relationships, actively networking, negotiating, shaping opinions and explaining things. It is a no brainer that B is better suited for the role of an analyst. Since we hired B for their inherent natural strengths, the likelihood of their being successful is higher as B will be playing to their preferred style of working.

The inventors of these assessments recommend making hiring decisions based on a combination of competency based interviewing and assessing their technical knowledge, and studying the assessment results in context of the jobs being recruited for.

The use of assessments in the hiring process is still very nascent. The reasons for this are many. Though cost continues to be a driving factor but the biggest huddle lies in the conditioning of interviewer’s mind-set, who rely on their own opinions to decide rather than a tool to aid their hiring decision.

I am sure as the assessments gain maturity and more data and success stories become available, the day is not too far when personal interviewing will become passé, till then let’s continue to interview and hope that our opinions formed during interviews remain as accurate as possible.

UGC releases 2014 List of Fake Universities

Published On Published By

The apex body of higher education in India, University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently released a list of fake universities for year 2014. You can read the full press release on their site. UP leads the list with 8 out of 21 universities. Delhi follows a close second with 6 such universities.

In addition to these universities, there are other universities which had had irregularities, malpractices or notices sent by UGC, based on which we have not been doing verifications for the degree awarded by them. A complete list of such universities can be seen on our Education (Self) Verification service page.

For the new students who are trying to secure admissions for higher education, it is imperative to review the UGC list and to ensure that they do not apply or join the universities mentioned there. Ignoring these notices and still going ahead with the pursuit of degrees in these universities will definitely bring lots of problems at later stage after graduating.  So the best bet is to steer clear and have a smooth transition to future career / professional life / advanced studies.

The strong relation between – recruitment and skill training need!

Published On Published By

UPDATED ON

There was a time when the skills required were the simplest to assess and the time was less competitive and hence, number of frauds was also less. Today, as the complexity of skills has increased, so has increased the number of candidates who claim to have those complex skills without any prior knowledge and the excessive competitiveness has created a need for skill training for the recruitment team as well.

Along with the rapidly-changing technology, the requirements to be looked in a candidate are also changing with every passing day. All these changes and frauds, have left the recruitment consultants in a state of mayhem. Recruitment consultants learn about one technology with great efforts but before they are settled with it, there is a technology shift. Candidates with some new skill need to be looked out for.

Training the existing employees or looking out for new candidates is the issue which everyone bothers about. But have you thought about updating the knowledge base of your recruitment consultants?

Let me elaborate my point:

Recruitment consultants do the following:

  • Shortlists the candidates: They scan through the resume to look for the candidates with the desired skill set.
  • Conducts Initial Interview: After analysing the resume, they speak to the candidate regarding their experience in the desired field and try to understand if the candidate has a real experience in the field or the written skill set is just for enhancing the look of the resume.

If the recruitment consultant has a good understanding of the skill set required, the first step will be correct. Like it is said, a good start is half the battle won. Training the recruitment consultant with the basic skills will increase the quality of the recruitment. Not only will the right candidates will be shortlisted, the time taken to hire a candidate will decrease massively. Won’t it make an organization a better place to be? What do you say?