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Talent Management- Accommodating Working Mothers

March 8, 2010 4 comments

The world will celebrate International Women’s Day to commemorate the social and economic achievements of women across the globe. While there is a reason to celebrate we must also realize that there is no room for complacency. With time there are new issues faced by women today and occasions like IWD should be used to draw everybody’s attention to such issues.  

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight an important issue; loss of women talent due to career breaks.

Maternity is the main reason for break in women’s career. Other major reasons are children education and spouse relocation. When this break is longer (2 to 4 years) women find it difficult to restart their career. In absence of a robust system to accommodate working mothers women are pushed to extreme choices: avoid taking break or sacrifice career.

Lately the awareness on this issue is growing and many companies have started offering flexi hours and work from home facilities. MNCs have taken a lead here and this has definitely helped the companies retain their talent. However the bigger question is about women who want complete break for longer duration. Do we have a formal system to regain and accommodate the latent? The answer is no!

A formal ‘re-entry’ program at organizational or industry level is the solution. Under the formal program specific career paths will be available for women taking longer breaks at various stages. This will ensure that they don’t loose on career by taking a long break and can join back easily.

It is not wishful thinking or a (women’s) day dream. Such experiments have been successfully carried out in MNCs as well as Government departments. GE has initiated a similar program in 2008 titled ‘Restart’. They had received more than 1000 suitable profiles for highly technical positions! Recently Haryana Government has announced Child Care Leave upto 2 years for their women employees. Such a system provides great relief to women who need to cater to their family needs. And it also helps organizations to regain the women talent which would otherwise be lost.

However, these are the honorable exceptions. Very few organizations have a defined program to facilitate re-entry of women into the organization.

It’s a huge emotional burden for the women if she is not able to take time off for important family matters. And it’s equally frustrating to loose on the career front because of the break. Fortunately the honorable exceptions have proved that there is a way out. If we pursue this matter further then the next Women’s Day can be marked with announcements of such re-entry programs across a broader industry spectrum.

Transfusing new blood into HR

September 20, 2008 Leave a comment

 

Recently Wall Street Journal published an article about companies reaching to non HR professionals to lead HR. Microsoft has got Lisa Brummel, the corporate VP of the home and retail division to head HR. Qwest moved Teresa Taylor the EVP of their wholesale markets to take over HR.

Taking a cue from there or even otherwise, few Indian companies are toying with the idea. However, organizations must ensure that a strong second line HR leader is available in the team to support the non-HR ‘HR Head’. Success of the new leader to a large extent depends on this core HR person who facilitate the transition in following way:

HR Perspective– While the non HR leader can bring delivery/customer perspective, the core HR person is required to direct the new leader in core HR issues. Leader coming from functions like sales and marketing may overlook HR Operations part which is the backbone of HR department.

HR Retention– A strong HR person is also required to manage the HR team itself. Change in HR leadership tends to disturb the existing HR team and the team needs someone who can direct them during this phase.

While getting new BLOOD into HR is an exciting idea, the ‘cross matching’ should be done seriously to avoid ‘transfusion reaction’.

 What do you think?

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The Most Disliked HR System

July 28, 2008 1 comment

Most of the organizations have successfully (?) migrated to the online Performance Assessment System. However, users across organizations are still unhappy about the functionality of the online system.

 

While the assessment process largely depends on the company philosophy, the HR team has great scope to design the system. Half of the troubles will go off if the system is designed carefully.

 

Here are some of the inputs based on my experience as a user as well as process owner:

 

Ease: The system should be easy to operate. Preferably a desktop icon that takes employee to performance monitoring page for current assessment period should be available. Else, there should be a direct link available in Employee Self Service portal. It sounds simple, but in many organizations the employee still needs browse through number of links and filters to visit the self assessment page.

 

User Interface: An unanimated look puts employees off from visiting the assessment page. Well articulated tips related to respective stages in the process may help employees. Nice performance quotes/ graphics can put a smile on their face as they browse through.

 

Openness: In few companies, employees can record important points against the performance criteria throughout the performance period (from day one!). This saves employee from remembering the details till the end of assessment period. This also enables supervisor to periodically review the assessment and put his feedback. Thus, there are no surprises for any of the side during formal assessment.

 

Simplicity: PAS is one of the most complicated HR system, more complicated then the actual process. This is primarily because the architecture is finalized by the IT department which is concerned about the software and database aspect. Ever tried to change supervisor for employees shifted from one unit to other? Employee, current supervisor, past supervisor and HR all waste their time to get this done. A ticket system with proper authorization can automate and simplify such routine tasks.

 

This is not exhaustive. There will be many other ways to improve the system. Can you share some based on your experience?

 

Personal Interest for Professional Success

May 3, 2008 Leave a comment

  

All successful people have one thing in common: they are interested and fully involved in what they do. Interest makes a person go that ‘extra mile’ and is the key to work satisfaction.

 

However, ‘interest’ is seldom given priority in career decision-making. Career planning and job choice are not taken seriously in early stages of life particularly when parental influence, peer pressure, unsolicited advice and popular trends have great influence on decision-making.

 

Wrong career decisions make life miserable for the individual, and result in under-utilization of resource in organizations. Career decisions must therefore be made with great care.

 

BLISS Analysis is a decision making tool developed for career planning or validating choice of job at any point in career. BLISS Analysis takes into account five key parameters: Benefits, Limitations, Interests, Skills and Sacrifice, which form the basis of first the Personal Profile, and the Career (or Job) Profile. The analysis fosters introspection and the profiles present information about the person and the job in concise form allowing comparison between the two.

 

If the profiles match closely, then the career or job is likely to be suitable. If the profiles are contradictory, the person should re-think that particular career move.

 

 

Personal Profile

The BLISS Personal Profile is biographical sketch of the candidate in terms of what the person expects out of the job or career.

 

 

 Career Profile

The BLISS Career Profile is biographical sketch of the job or career in terms of what it offers.

 

The two profiles should be compared to see how career profile compliments the personal profile. Obviously, the closer the match between personal and job profiles the career move is more likely to be suitable.

 

 

Introducing Core Values

April 2, 2008 1 comment

 

 

Values are the guiding principles that form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves.

 

Organizational values guide employees on how to behave and make decisions especially in situation that test their ethical fiber. These values shape the culture and define the character of the company.

 

Usually the companies define their core values after few years from inception. The values do exist in the minds of the leadership team since beginning. However, once the organization reached a level of maturity in terms of business the values get revalidated. The increased size of the organization also mandates the explicit definition of values to the entire organization.

 

Introducing values is a tricky affaire. It is more than creating excitement and visibility. Its success largely depends on if and how much the employees imbibe the values.

 

Values in isolation do not inspire us. It is the manifestation of values that we see in the lives of others that motivates us. We all know by heart the list of values. However, when we see the reflection of values in the lives of others, we begin to realize the value of the ‘Core Values’.

 

And therefore the most important thing while introducing values is to show employees how the values get reflected in the conduct of seniors in the organizations. Children get the values from their parents. And employees from their seniors!

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