Musings of an Engineer-turned-HR: Here’s what the budding HRs should know

It was on a not-so-fine day that Arjun, CEO of Profoundis and my collegemate met me at Lulu Mall in Kochi. I was going back to Bangalore, where I worked at Oracle as a Software Engineer for around 3 years then, and I had no clue what Arjun had to offer. He asked me if […]

It was on a not-so-fine day that Arjun, CEO of Profoundis and my collegemate met me at Lulu Mall in Kochi. I was going back to Bangalore, where I worked at Oracle as a Software Engineer for around 3 years then, and I had no clue what Arjun had to offer. He asked me if I would like to join as the Head of HR of Profoundis, which was about to be acquired by FullContact, Inc.

I personally believed that I had the traits of an HR (though when I look back now, most of those thoughts were out of place ;-)). I had a dilemma during the final year of study of my graduation whether I should pursue MBA or MTech. After a lot of articulation and inner discourse I decided to pursue MTech, which I do NOT regret now. I ended up in IT, as I assumed, but I never felt Software Engineering was my realm. Having these excruciating thoughts to jump out of my engineer role coupled with Arjun’s offer, I didn’t have a second thought. I had my personal reasons to move to Kochi, too.

If I do not say that I was apprehensive, rather confused, about my capacity to be a Head of HR at the very beginning of my HR career itself, I wouldn’t be doing justice to me. I did a lot of reading afterwards, which in fact Arjun asked me not to. He said they wanted an unconventional HR, who doesn’t go by the books, and recommended that I be not distracted and misinformed by the literature. However, I did my fair share of reading before I joined Profoundis.

What followed was a roller-coaster ride. As I write this, I can feel the cold feet I’d when I first entered the Profoundis office. But I’d something in store – an amazing team who believed that people operations is fundamental and pivotal to any business. There started this small journey of my HR career, which is now at the fourth year! The three years have been of immense learning, understanding, mistakes, corrections, unlearning and what not! I would like to scribble down for the budding HR fellows, who might have as bad a cold feet as I’d on my first day, as to what to expect, what to ignore, what to render on an HR job. Here we go:

Contents

  • Prepare to Unlearn and Re-learn
  • HR is not just about compliance
  • Culture is your dad, business is your mom
  • Find your path to heaven
  • Learning is the Key
  • Learn from marketers
  • Not every grey hair deserves your ears
  • Do not forget to live
  • Readers also enjoyed

Prepare to Unlearn and Re-learn

One might have learnt many things about HR and processes in their text book; or they might have been told that this is how the ideal HR function looks like. Be ready to face the fact that HR is different across organisations depending on the nature of business, nature of the workforce, locale and the priorities of the leadership. What you learnt in books could be obsolete by when you join the HR job – so be ready to remember/forget what you learnt and start afresh on many things—let’s preserve and remember what’s still required. Be ready to read and re-read the latest books, trends, researches, blogs, etc. so that you stay up-to-date.

HR is not just about compliance

The general notion that many have is that HR is all about recruitment and compliance – this is a myth. HR has over the last two decades evolved as a business function. While compliance plays an important role in the success of an HR team, treating them as the core function of HR is erroneous. Compliance is an assumed-to-be-required function of HR. It’s very basic. HR’s more to it. But remember—compliance is a culture. Nurture it, but that’s not only what you’re defined by.

Culture is your dad, business is your mom

It’s the business leadership and the HR leadership together that decide the fate of an organisation. If one of this duo fails, either you will end up with a zero or negative business growth or a bunch of unsatisfactory people. The two are complementary to each other—or, rather, co-existent. HRs (should get a chance to) decide the culture of an organisation, while they participate in deciding the business destiny. Gone are those days when HRs come into play when someone needs to be hired, reprimanded or fired. Starting from talent acquisition to talent development to talent retention to talent nurturing to making the workplace a great experience for your members depend on how the HR team is envisaged and functions. Your job exists because the business exists

Find your path to heaven

One may define the success of their career by multi-factors. For some, it could be the happiness of their members, achieving KRIs, promotions and merit increases, and what not! But ultimately, if you ask me, the end result of one’s actions should be such that it makes him/her happy.

Learning is the Key

You need to invest some time to learn. To learn from others, your peers, leaders, fellow HRs, blogs, and what not! Make sure you are part of the communities of your liking. I have learnt a lot from the fellow HRs through NIPM, WhatsApp groups, meetups at Infopark, conferences, etc. Whenever you’re part of such a gathering, make sure you find (rather than it giving you; thanks to Anish for the usage) some takeaway as learning. You may also follow some really good HR blogs like PeopleMatters, RBL, etc.

Learn from marketers

It’s high time HR team learnt from the Marketing teams on various fronts. Starting from employer branding, HR should look at how the marketing team hustles in getting the product into the market and reach the right targets. In my opinion, Marketing teams are the ones who first use all the theories and tools of human interactions, technology, and result-oriented-action-plans in any organisation. They are leaders in many respect – for example, take the case of Conjoint analysis which helps the product organisations decide how their product should be. HRs can very well adopt this (and many organisations have already done so) technique to define the happiness factors of their members—the benefits, the facilities, the factors by which they will leave the organisation, etc. One must look at how the marketing team performs in their organisation and imbibe what can be imbibed into their HR team—be it theories of human interaction or defining success of one’s function.

Not every grey hair deserves your ears

Keep the thought that every grey-haired man is a mentor out of your minds; it’s the grey matter that matters. You might need a mentor who can lead you through your HR career—since you’re just taking your baby steps—but that doesn’t mean that you should lend ears and years to those who pretend to be mentors. Try a few, leave them it doesn’t work. But trust me, having a good mentor is always worth the effort—but the call is yours.

Do not forget to live

When you strive to have a great work-life balance for your members, do not forget to have a life for yourself. Chill, keep calm and just be yourself. Have an introspection of whether you hate Mondays, or super happy on Fridays—if the answer is a yes, you should consider switching the job. At the end of your life, what matters is whether you have been happy throughout and that happiness is defined by you and you alone.

Also published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/musings-engineer-turned-hr-heres-what-budding-hrs-t-a-shrm-cp/?published=t

Content retrieved from: https://peoplefirst.in/musings-of-an-engineer-turned-hr-heres-what-the-budding-hrs-should-know/.

#MeToo? Better Late than Never!

The topic was “Sexual Harassment & Consent”.
The recent happenings made it more feminine. Hence the female lot majored the show. But there were a few men who considered it as Unisex. Hats off to you MEN.
Now, what’s sexual harassment? To give more clarity, we were given an activity.
Need to close our eyes & think of the happiest moment (sexual in nature) in one’s life. Now find a buddy seated next to you & share that experience. I had a glance at my peers & could see serious discussions with a psychotic smile on their faces. My buddy was my good friend Ms. Sreelekha of Amphenol FCI. We were chatting instead. Now you need to share how you felt while sharing that beautiful experience.
Then on one corner, a male participant complained, “I discussed everything with him but he never shared anything with me.” Hearing that all had face aches.
NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM POSH Session 2018
Click to view in larger size
We got the real feel when they mentioned, “if you find it difficult in sharing your beautiful sexual experiences, how hard it will be to share your sexual experiences that haunt you.”
Even though this is a familiar term, we could feel the pain then on. Monolita & Saj gave an amazing start continued by Shyama explaining the legal side of it.
NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM POSH Session 2018
To cut the story short….major focus was given to sexual harassment at the workplace & the importance of having POSH policies, legislation & redress process pertaining to POSH. It was a really good learning experience. Moreover, simple acts we need to follow were given due attention in the session.
NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM POSH Session 2018
Packed with activities, sharing, fun & awareness, it was a 100% interactive session for which the speakers had to borrow some more time from the organizers to solve the participants’ queries.
Great job, ROV & thanks much to NASSCOM & NIPM Infopark group for the wonderful show.
NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM POSH Session 2018
The above article was written by Kshama Sandeep, Director-Recruitment, Glowmind Recruitment Consultants, who was an attendee in the POSH workshop organised by NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM Kochi. The accounts are on personal capacity.

Ordinance to make functioning easier: Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018

Kerala government recently published an ordinance amending certain provisions in the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960. There have been multiple amendment acts to the original said act, but this ordinance (which will hopefully be adopted as an amendment act by the next sitting of Kerala Legislative Assembly) comes with a purpose of easing […]

Kerala government recently published an ordinance amending certain provisions in the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960. There have been multiple amendment acts to the original said act, but this ordinance (which will hopefully be adopted as an amendment act by the next sitting of Kerala Legislative Assembly) comes with a purpose of easing the operations of Shops and Establishments while making it safer and humane for the employees. Let’s look at what are changing.

Definition of employee

The original act defines employee as ‘a person wholly or principally employed in, and in connection with, any establishment and includes an apprentices’. The new amendment extends this definition by suffixing ‘any class of persons as the Government may, by notification in the gazette, declare to be an employee for the purpose of this act.

Round the week functioning

The old act demanded that the shop/establishment should remain closed for at least one day per week, and such a day should be permanently displayed as a notice by the employer at a conspicuous location at the work place. Such a closed-day could not be altered by the employer for more than once in a period of three months, too.

With the amendment, the ‘shop/establishment must be closed for a day per week’ is removed, and it shrinks to allowing every employee to be entitled to one full day holiday per week, provided s/he has worked for at least 6 days in that week including all authorised leaves. This, in turn, allows the employer to function the shop/establishment round the week, with making the weekly holidays of employees rotate.

Curfew relaxed for women employees

The original acts mandated that no woman or any person who has not attained the age of seventeen shall be required or allowed to work whether as an employee or otherwise in any establishment before 6 A. M. or after 7 P. M.

The amendment relaxes the time limit from 7 PM to 9 PM. Here comes the historic change: the employer can now employ women employees between 9 PM and 6 AM (which was prohibited earlier) after getting the consent of such women employees. Further, such women employees must be working in a group of at least 5 employees wherein at least 2 are women.

Further, adequate security measures to ensure safety, honour, dignity, and protection from Sexual Harassment of women employees working during these hours should be ensured by the employer. Moreover, transportation from the workplace to the residence of such women employees should be arranged for by the employer (though the amendment does not provide that a security personnel accompany the women employees during this travel, it is implicit since the act talks about ‘safety’ measures—hence it would be wise to have the security measures as well taken care of during this travel).

Kerala’s IT Policy, earlier, gave relaxations to the above effects, but the amendment now extends this to all the sections of Shops and Establishments.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page for full version of the ordinanceHumane changes

Humane treatments

There have been a lot of protests, especially from the textiles industry, regarding inhumane treatments by employers, where employees were not allowed to sit during work hours. Kerala Human Rights Commission had intervened in the issue long ago, and Kerala Government sympathised with the employees thus treated. With an insertion of a provision in the original act, 21B, the amendment officially and legally puts an end to such inhumane treatments

The amendment says that all the shops/establishments must provide suitable seating arrangements for their workers to avoid on-the-toe situations throughout the duty time. This will call for a drastic change in many of the industries coming under the definition of Shops/Commercial Establishments.

Fines gets finer!

The violation of various provisions in the act may now attract a fine of Rs. 1 lakh and 2 lakh respectively, which was as mere as Rs. 5000/- and Rs. 10000/- earlier. There are some changes to the calculation of such fine and fine for wilful obstruction of inspectors/labour/govt officers from carrying out their official duties, which are available in the PDF below.

Last but not the least – electronic age!

Earlier, employers needed to take special permission from the labour authorities before keeping employee data (muster rolls, payrolls, etc.) in digital format. This has been a point of debate by many, and the government is now forced to accept that things have really changed and people have started to migrate to the digital world, the condition of prior approval has been lifted in the amendment. Employers can now keep the data in digital formats as well, without any sort of permission/approvals.

Let me know your thoughts in comments! Here is the Amendment Ordinance. You can find the original act here.

 

Regards,
Arunanand T A

Originally posted on Arunanand’s blog: PeopleFirst

Content retrieved from: https://peoplefirst.in/ordinance-to-make-operations-easier-kerala-shops-and-commercial-establishments-amendment-ordinance-2018/.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Working as HR Professionals in Organisations Today

‘You should not stop being people’s advocate! The day you end being one is the day the HR dies’.

These words which I happened to randomly listen to while working at Oracle as an Engineer, later became the cornerstone of my HR career. While I believe that any job has its own merits and fashions, there are certain jobs that have the capability to make impacts of higher gravities. HR is one, nevertheless, it goes a thankless job in some organisations.

HR, like any other job, is like a two-sided coin. You will have happy days; and then there will be days that give you a headache. Interestingly, the primitives on which the functions of an HR are based invariably embrace the ‘headaches’. What’s fun if things go as in the books; HRs come into play when things are not in line or if there’s no line at all. Thus, the headaches become opportunities. We cannot really see these as binaries—either yes or no—but grey. Let’s have a closer look:

Leaders with People Mindset

HR team’s vision will only be successful when your company has a management that believes in people. Forget your company’s revenue, business strategy and everything else; it’s the faith of the management in the people business and their mindset of treating people as the largest investment that drives the success of any HR team.

Starting from the CEO, every C-level and VPs should have a clear understanding and buy-in to the policies that the HR team parks on. This is the biggest factor of all which decide if an HR’s life is hell or heaven. This article on HBR says that during 2008 recession, only a  third of HR departments were consulted when layoffs happened, pointing to lesser influence HRs had in strategic business/people decisions—this is fast changing now.

It’s imperative for the modern day HR to work closely with the line managers as well, to make sure that the ‘people mindset’ envisaged at the top level trickled down appropriately at the length and breadth of the organisation. The organisation’s profitability comes only through the growth; and growth comes only through its employees and culture—not the C-officers alone! HR is certainly a partner in strategy execution, and hence they should have business acumen and understanding as well as the people mindset. 33% of execs believe that there’s ineffective HR leadership that drives their organisation to the unsolicited directions as per this HBR report. This can be tricky and painful for some of us, but definitely the need of the hour; it has always been, but clearer in the recent years.


Data and Opportunities for Analytics

With the advance of technology, data has come to play a major role for the HR as well. This has helped establish data-driven strategies. Since most HR operations have gone digital, HR gets instant access to the data and can run an analysis on it to reach faster and effective conclusions. Analytics has resulted in the greater impact of HR activities starting with talent acquisition through engagement to exit.

Changing Workforce

Gen X is fast coming to the top of the ladders, and most ‘workforce’ now comprises of Gen Y and Z. The millennials tend to pose and trigger a change in the way most HR teams function. The factors that excited Gen X may no longer be valid/needed for the Gen Y/Z. This needs a larger discussion in all organisations, where HR takes the lead role.

Starting from how your recruit talent to keeping them engaged should change due to this workforce change. Your ‘food coupons’ or ‘telephone reimbursement’ may not be an attractive benefit as it used to be. Your vacation plans, office timings, attire requirements and health initiatives may need a thorough change keeping in mind the interest of the new workforce. This is one place where HR gets into agonies or ecstasies. This also points to changing your HR practices and policies to accommodate the new-styled workforce who love things to happen faster and easier.

Pay Gaps and Diversity

Gone are those days HR recruited the ‘protagonists’ alone. Ideologies and societal factors keep changing, and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) has become another opportunity for HR. While this is seen as an ecstasy from a philosophical standpoint, various reports suggest that the pay gaps and men:women employee ratios are still really bad in numbers. The report from WeForum suggests that in 82 out of 142 countries, pay gaps based on gender is still increasing. This is alarming, and agonising for the HRs, for they have been trying to establish a reverse scenario through D&I and localisation initiatives.

KPMG reports that HRs around the world struggle to keep in line with the global workforce, which turns out to be an agony for the HR fraternity, yet. With globalisation, teams become more and more integrated and agile, which HRs must run fast to cope with. Increasing number of remote, and arguably virtual, employees demand that the HRs tighten their belts.

Attraction, Training and Retention

Organisations today want not job-seekers, but talents. For example, in IT, with the massive ‘attack’ of automation over the services sector has diminished the glitter of the old glossy, silky texture of the industry to a great extent. Companies today want to find talents (“attraction”) rather than applicants finding them for jobs (“acquisition”). The onus is on the HR team.

The new organisation have a diverse workforce that constantly looks for enhancing their skill set. The old school training curriculum is undergoing a thorough revamp, which is, yet again, equally agonizing and ecstatic for HRs. Starting from the training modes—virtual to gamification to anytime anywhere learning platforms—to the training content, organisations are thoroughly revamping their L&D strategies with the Gen Z in mind.

Another area of concern for the HR is retention. It’s way beyond creating a good brand; stories float about youngsters rejecting offers from big brands to choose what they want to do in small companies. Retention plans of the new age is another agony for HRs, planning of which needs a thorough analysis of their workforce as well as the industry trends. People don’t just stay back for money.

HR Tech: the future

As it goes without saying, HR Tech is already here. Yesteryears’ Personnel Manager changed to HR, and then got transformed into People Enablers over a period of time. The new role of HRs will be that of technology and business leaders enabling people functions with the help of cutting edge tech. Coming of tech into HR will certainly reduce the job opportunities of the existing HR workforce, but wait! It’s a two-sided coin again. While this is seen as an ‘oh-my-god-am-I-gonna-lose-it’ scenario, why don’t we look at the brighter side of it? It gives us room for learning technology and pouring it into what we have been doing, thereby making a yet greater, happier, better workplace! Ain’t it ecstatic?!

Disclaimer: Any of the discussions above does not reflect the views of author’s present or previous employers. Views are all personal. Originally posted by Arunanand T A on his blog peoplefirst.in

Expert Lecture on Kickstarting HR Analytics by Dr. Manoj Varghese

NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM are jointly organising an expert lecture on “Kickstarting HR Analytics“. The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Manoj Varghese (Former Dean AcademicsXIME; Former HR Director (JAPAC)Google, Former Director of User Operations—Facebook).
HR Forum - Kickstarting HR Analytics Expert Lecture - organised by NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM
HR Forum – Kickstarting HR Analytics Expert Lecture – organised by NIPM Infopark Group and NASSCOM
This will be a practice-oriented session, which will help the audience understand the need for HR analytics, set up baby steps at their organisation and how to drive it fruitfully to arrive at strategic decisions. Recommended for HR professionals of all walks and experience and CXOs.
Date: Wed, Oct 3, 2018.
Time: 3 PM – 4.30 PM.
Venue: NASSCOM Kochi Office, Infopark.
Registration (free but mandatory): http://bit.ly/hranalyticskochi
Limited Seats Only; based on First Come First Serve.

Gamification in HR – A case study

Roll them up! Humans are motivated by points – school ranks, appraisal ratings, share prices, mileage information…everything has a number to it, and entices the human mind to compete more. How else do you explain gaming addiction? Everyone knows it’s just a screen meant to entertain you for a bit. However, that doesn’t explain how closely we monitor our progress through the numbers and rankings. There’s a lot of adrenaline rush when you see the scores improving and a dash of depression when it is worse than your previous best.

And in came gamification. A buzz word a few years ago, before AI and Analytics took the franchise on buzziness 🙂

I think gamification is still relevant as a tool for HR folks and it is much easier now. Like all tools, there is a lot of planning and forethought required before blindly rushing into the game (pun intended).

Let me try to illustrate with an implemented example.

The thought of gamifying rewards and recognition in the organisation where I worked felt appropriate nearly six years ago. However, it took me nearly three years to get the concept accepted. Interestingly the first doubt I had to tackle was that of ‘misuse’. As HR folks we have seen far too many times how a benefit has to be withdrawn due to a few ‘corrupt’ minds. This is very much against the grain of the thought that we have an empowered adult population and they would know what to do best!

You can’t fight doubt or fear with those sorts of arguments – so, I decided to wait. It was sort of clear that the existing mechanism of recognition was failing. This, I could easily highlight using the survey results, exit interview feedbacks and other information. I ‘socialised’ the concept with a few senior managers and leads and employees. Just to get the pulse. Almost all were gung-ho.

Then we got together a small team to brainstorm the concept to the consequence. A lot of the loopholes were thrashed out. I think the consequence element was very important. How will it benefit? What will the points mean at the end? We also needed to be clear on the scope as well as the results: did we cover everything meaningful to be recognised? What were we encouraging as a result of this plan? Did it create any behaviours that would be detrimental to the company culture?

A lot of the answers boiled down to manager maturity. This is one statement we HR folks are always ready with. “If only, our managers did a better job of leading!”, we all love to say. Yet, a lot of manager behaviour is wrong because they are not given guidance or role models on what is right! It of course led to the big realisation that the process would be incomplete without manager’s being given a chance to understand the intent and what to do better at recognition.

From the start it was clear a system, a tech piece, was required to execute this. We started brainstorming the rules by which the logic would work.

All the discussions were recorded and presented in a ppt format for the consumption of senior leaders. The crux of it was that our annual awards would also be selected from the nominations received in the system. Our monthly schemes would also be selected from the nominations here. Recognition of all varieties would get a chance – project contributions, teaming, improvements and customer appreciations – each category had statements and points associated. We gave no choice but to have this system adopted.

And then we began. Every new initiative thrives on two things appeals and reminders. Appeal must push change. Reminders will create momentum.

We got our UI folks to envision the whole. They gave a lot of inputs. And made things a bit more fun and of course created appeal.

We created a space in our monthly meetings to mention this upcoming change. And we announced the name of the initiative on our Annual Day. Effectively, we were giving people a chance to get to know about this change and start the process of getting managers up to speed.

Our first month of roll out saw a total of 1045 points on the system. Nominators got points too. We got teams to see how their team fared on recognising colleagues and managers took it upon themselves to get the word in. Monthly awards were a huge boost, because managers who were on the panel realised quickly how little of a recognition culture they had created in their own teams (worked like a mirror 😊).

As a spin off, some managers started posting the nominations onto their monthly slides, giving it a little more fillip.

The dashboard of the system gave each individual a quick snapshot of their team toppers. And their own points.

As they say, it’s the simple things that matter. The fundamental change that took place was that employees started feeling recognised because they would receive an instant email with their manager on copy once a nomination got approved. And the monthly cut off ensured the recognition was given on time. We added a slide on discussing the process and the benefits in our manager development programmes.

Bi-annually toppers on the league table across the organisation, were also awarded separately.

To all those who are wondering what we named the system: it was called ‘Bonanza’!

To quote a senior manager in the organisation, “Ever since Bonanza was implemented, we haven’t had a single instance of staff grumbling about their colleagues who won the monthly recognition awards. This was rampant before Bonanza started. And that to me was the success factor that mattered most.”

It took just a few months to change the culture of only a few get recognised to ‘I too matter’ and I can say gamification helped achieve that CHANGE.

 

Aditi Radhakrishnan

Mitara Consulting Services

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aditiradhakrishnan/

Dear Indians, stop saying this to youngsters!

Interesting incident happened today. I was at the church, at the end of the normal Sunday service with a lot of people gathered in small groups all around the premises greeting and talking with each other.

Churches and the Sunday gatherings are very important in ones social life. That’s when you meet your childhood friends, share the news and stories and the happiness. All in the 10 minutes after church.

But this was my first time to this particular church and I had hardly anyone whom I knew around me. While waiting for my wife to come out of the church, I just got too curious to eavesdrop into the conversation two young gentlemen were having just beside me.

One, near 25 years of age, neatly dressed, very evidently in the early stages of a successful career. Other, 18-ish, in his polo tees, is the confused teenager.

Elder: So, what plans next?

Younger: Not made up my mind, but thinking of going for ‘degree’ (the vernacular for under grad courses other than Engineering and Medical)

Elder: Oh… (definitely not impressed!) So… which course?

Younger: Thinking of B-Com or Humanities

Elder: At least choose B-Com. Humanities have ‘zero-scope’ (again another vernacular, meaning job opportunities)

Younger: Yeah, everyone is telling me this. So B-Com would be better, right brother?

Elder: Yeah, any day!

I know what you might be thinking. You might have heard similar conversations a hundred times, if not more and many a times, might have been one of the two in the conversation. But this time, it got me thinking.

  • Is it the right thing to say to a young boy who is trying to decide where he wants to go next?
  • Why are we so obsessed with the word ‘scope’?
  • What’s the best way of advising someone at that stage?
  1. NO. Talking about ‘scope’ of a course is not the right thing to tell someone who is trying to choose a line of study that might live with him for his lifetime.

Why are we obsessed about the ‘scope’?

We live in a country where the employment rates are not ideal, the society is wired to think about education as just a means to get a job. And they cannot be blamed for thinking about the most easy paths towards a job, any job, as the education with the best ‘scope’.

This forced the trend-wave of ITIs and ITCs (skill training institutes) 30 years back because they had huge ‘scope’ in the middle east.

This forced thousands of youngsters from my home state kerala choose nursing as their career a few years back, though many of them had zero interest in it.

This forces us to think that Engineering and Medical education are the only good education systems because they get you a job sooner than the others.

Was it completely wrong to be obsessed about ‘scope’? NO.

Because, in many ways, this has led our society forward and helped millions of our people be financially stable.

But is it wrong to be obsessed about scope still? YES.

Because, the world around us is not the same anymore.Gone are the days where job was a hard-to-grab thing. It is easier to get jobs. But the jobs themselves have changed.

Jobs are no more a commodity. Jobs these days, demand more than just ‘skills’ and ‘education’. Jobs these days, demand creativity, aptitude, enthusiasm, and most importantly the love for the job. Computers are getting better skilled than us in commodity jobs. Jobs of the future will demand more and more creativity from the humans, and only the love for the job can get one to be creative at the job.

Going into something that you do not love, just for the ‘scope’ would make you join the league of thousands of nurses (by education)doing the accounting jobs (the most basic ones) and thousands of engineers doing everything under the planet other than building stuff.

What is the right advice you can give someone at his/her late teen-ages?

I would do it this way. I would ask them this question:

“Think of this hypothetical situation. All the jobs in this world — a teacher, a software engineer, a cricket player or a singer — every single job has the same salary, the same job security, the same work environments. Which would you choose?”

I would give them days to think about this and encourage them to go ask everyone around for advice, not about which to choose, but about how each work is. I would encourage them to think. And their answer will be the way forward for them.

Because when money, job security and everything similar are out of the equation, you would choose what you LOVE the most. And that LOVE is what will create the ‘SCOPE’ for you.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius

What is in it for the HR professional in me?

The HR professional is probably one of the most affected by this healthy practice of people going after ‘scope’. We get people, aplenty of them. But we get very few who do things out of the interest. We get tons of people attending our interviews, but all of them ‘job seekers’. They are stuck in the suit that does not fit them, nor do they like wearing that suit. Each moment they sit inside our walls doing the job that we give them, they curse the choice they made and they curse the job. They do not love the job! That will be the root cause for low employee morale, high attrition, constant complaints, lack of belonging, low productivity, lack of innovation and all other issues you are fighting with in your HR job.

Here are a few things you could do as an HR professional.

  1. Measure the interest at interviews. We are running into a time where along with the skills and cultural fitness, we will need to measure interest as well. Armed forces offices interviews have traditionally employed a lot of psychometric analysis to gauge the interest that a person has towards the job. It is high time we start employing them too.
  2. Allow your people to cherish their interests AT work. Make sure your engagement activities are centred around interests of people. Identify what is the ‘other’ thing that the members of your team are interested in, make sure you give them all recognition and opportunities to do those AT work. They will start lovin the workplace.
  3. Talk about this. being HR professionals, you will be heard as the voice of the industry and job market by people in your circles. Be vocal about how interest, creativity and enthusiasm would drive the workforce of the future and not the choice by ‘scope’.

Jofin Joseph

Head of India Operations, FullContact

His Linkedin profile is at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jofin/ 

This article was first published by NIPM Kerala chapter our 2017-18 Annual Issue of ‘Kerala Personnel’ magazine.

Internship reloaded

India is riding an optimistic wave of becoming a global superpower. The country is set to achieve this on the wings of its burgeoning human capital that is predicted to reach 116 million, with the majority of the new workers to be in the 20 to 24 age bracket. But there is one small problem, a very simple and straightforward problem – only a very small percentage of this workforce is considered employable by the industry. Internships are being touted as the panacea for this problem of unemployability.

The nation as a whole seems to be laying the responsibility of creating and executing internships at the doorsteps of the corporate world. While smarting under the unfairness of this, corporate India, with the inherited arrogance of capitalism tends to shrug it off as an inconvenience that does not add value, thereby accentuating the reputation of callousness.

Thanks to my role as the co-founder of an Ed-tech startup – Fourth Ambit, I find myself equipped with some unique insights into this ecosystem inhabited by three organisms: (A) The Industry (B) The Student body and (C ) The College. While I do not believe that internships are a one-stop solution to all problems related to employability, I am optimistic that they can indeed be used as a tool for bringing about lasting change.

Before we proceed, for the purpose of discussion allow me to define “internship”.

“Internship is a brief period of engagement, with or without pay, between the student and the organisation so that the student may gain experience in a particular field of study. This term of engagement may be conducted during the course of the college education or when the student has just graduated. An ideal time frame would be between 2 to 6 months”

The Industry and Internships

There are a handful of organizations across India that have internships as part of their recruitment agenda and therefore have the attention of top management. This translates to an allocation of resources for this endeavour. However, most of these organizations offer internships only to the premier B-Schools and a few Tier 1 Engineering colleges of India.

For the rest of the lot internships are at best, a bullet point in the annual report and at worst, a knee-jerk reaction to young students who suddenly turn up at their office like an unexpected and often unwanted guest.

Please note that I am not even acknowledging the companies that take money from the students under the guise of internships and end up issuing a certificate at the end of the period.

If you are part of a team or the sole voice for propagating the virtues of internships in your organization, I hope you will find this to be a handy guide for instituting an internship programme.

Groundwork within the organization

  • Plan for internships should be created and approved with the annual resource budget plan. This will ensure that there is buy-in from the top management and accountability at the lower levels.
  • Once approvals are in, the departments that have opted for interns should be mandatorily required to submit clearly defined projects with timelines and expected deliverables from the interns.
  • There should be a mentor for each project. This should not be a force fit as the mentors can create or destroy a good internship programme. Never assume that the mentor is automatically equipped to handle interns.
  • Please ensure mentors are “educated” to guide and mentor the students. Very often you hear mentors making snide remarks such as “What do they teach you at college?”. This is completely counter-productive. A certain amount of sensitizing would be required for the mentors.
  • The mentors should conduct weekly reviews for the interns ( not more than 2 sessions a week of 30 minutes each)

The Intern and the Internship

If you are the anchor for the internship programme in your company, remind yourself that the interns are young and certain things need to be spelled out clearly to them.

  • Create a detailed orientation plan for the student intern. Understanding their project and its implication for the whole organization will ensure their buy-in. ( This should also include company policies, especially on “anti-harassment” and privacy issues. )
  • Spell out the benefits that the students gain from this programme – especially if they are not paid a stipend.
  • One of the key skills not taught at college is time management and creating processes. Ensure that both the anchor and the mentor stresses on this and guides the intern effectively.
  • Create networking opportunities for the interns – either an executive lunch hosted by a CxO or a “Hi-Tea”
  • Ensure that you collect detailed and anonymous feedback from the interns at the end of the programme. This will help with future improvements.

A seamless execution of these would ensure that your interns go back to college as your brand ambassadors.

The College and the Internship

At no point in history has there been a stronger trend of colleges and industries working at cross purposes than in the last one decade. The aim of the colleges is to beat the maximum pass percentage out of the student population. If that means teaching by rote, then so be it.

To expect people with limited resources and unlimited restrictions (I mean the teachers, of course) to manufacture employable graduates may be a utopian dream, but there are measures that the industry can put in place to assist them on this journey.

  • Identify partner colleges where you can make recommendations on the skills that the students need to be equipped with when they appear for internships.
  • Extend “Learning and Development” within the company to the faculty of the colleges on a pro bono basis. Teach the teachers how to teach so that ultimately you do not spend a lot of time retraining the students who enter the workforce.
  • Give candid feedback after the internship is completed, not just to the students but to college authorities. A constructive feedback mechanism will help colleges help their students.

It may not be possible to implement all the suggestions given here in the very first attempt. As with any project intended to make lasting change, internships should also be looked at with a long-term plan for the company. Beyond creating a recruitment pipeline for the organization, internships in the truest sense is experiential learning and a certain amount of preparation will go a long way in making this a meaningful journey for the students.

 

Ruby Peethambaran

Co-Founder, Fourth Ambit Technologies Pvt Ltd 

She can be found on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rubypeethambaran/

Welcome to NIPM Kerala

The Kerala Chapter of NIPM, with more than 1200 Individual Members and 47 Institutional Members on rolls is one of the most vibrant Chapters of the www.nipm.in – NIPM Kerala Chapter has been regularly organising Workshops & Learning Programs as part of its core objectives towards enhancing capabilities of the HR fraternity.

Following are some of the popular activities:

  1. HR Con Kerala – a biennial HR Conclave 
  2. Annual Legal Update – Flagship annual workshop providing relevant employment law related updates.
  3. Chapter Level Business Quiz for Management students
  4. HRM Skills Workshops for practicing professionals – HR & Non HR
  5. Labour Law skills workshops for practicing professionals – HR & Non HR
  6. Enhanced Employability Certification programs for job seekers and for final year Students at various B-Schools – on periodic as well as upon request by institutes.
  7. Young Managers’ Contest on “Innovative Employee Engagement Practices” for Practicing HR professionals etc.
  8. Quarterly Magazine – Kerala Personnel to share knowledge snippets relevant to members.
  9. Annual gathering of members and family – which occurs after the Annual General meeting.

The chapter had initiated blogging some time back and the Old blog posts can be found on www.nipmkerala.wordpress.com.

The chapter is glad to present this platform to promote unique thoughts and approaches from HR practitioners and business professionals.

Professionals desiring to be featured on this blog may send in their requests via EC members to kc@nipmkerala.org

The chapter can be reached on the internet from the following Social channels:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nipmkerala/ 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nipmkerala 

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/company/nipmkeralachapter/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/nipmkerala

Website – www.nipmkerala.org