MANAGEMENT MANTRAS

MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES-TOP ACTIONS AS MANTRAS BY 
CORPORATE GURUS

Necessary plans been implemented to come out of drastic situations by deemed       organisations.Some superb real techniques as well as strategies are highlighted &  proved to be the excellent lessons for the upcoming Managers and Entrepreneurs. Here Professionals will reach to learn the practically implemented HR techniques  with positive outcomes by the corporate gurus on various situations as challenging so far .

KEY AREAS -   corporate, strategy,planning,staffing, leadership, motivation,skills, manpower,  consultant, organisation, selfimprovement, organisation, management support, roleplay,efficiency, knowledge, appraisal, communication, resources,culture,growth, learning,manager, training, evaluation, productivity, workplace

CONTENTS:Improving Employee Skills-Improve your Appraisal Methods-Ease The Tension-Lend A Helping Hand-Best Mentors-The Evolution Of A Resume-Planning Prevents Poor Performance-Be On The Leading Edge Of Change-Keep Key Objectives In Focus-6 Things Never To Say To Your Boss-A happy reunion-Bond Between Employer &Employee-Six Ways To Ask For A Raise-Employee Retention Is The Key For Creating A 'Leadership Pipeline'-Etiquette  Strategies-The way up to heaven.

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CORPORATE MANTRAS

Improving Employee Skills


Vineet Bajpai, CEO, Magnon Solutions, list five programmes that a company should provide to improve its employee’s skills 

1. People management:  companies should pay attention to improve employee’s skills. Organisations must ensure comprehensive training that include leadership, accountability, managerial support, unbiased evaluation and soft skills.

2. Public speaking: ensure that at least once in a quarter, almost everyone in the company gets a task that involves oration.

3. Proactive research: employees should be encouraged to undertake self—training programmes as well. Technical professionals keep them—selves updated irrespective of any organised training given to them. Companies need to inculcate a similar zeal in all departments.

4. Technical skills: employees should be given training to upgrade their technical skills.

5. Personal grooming: organisations need to conduct ‘development’ sessions that are open, communicative and informative. Discussing uncomfortable things in friendly seminars is a great way to bring everyone in sync and offer a deep corporate etiquette and culture to the company.



Improve your APPRAISAL Methods

Patricia kitchen brings some tips for new workplace managers on how to review employees

There’s a first time for everything – and that includes the day you switch from being the recipient of a performance review to being the person who delivers it. To help the individual in the new role as supervisor, Diane Arthur, President, Arthur Associates Management Consultants Ltd., a human resources firm in Northport, N.Y., wrote The First-Time Manager’s Guide to performance appraisals. Here is some advice from Arthur and others for those new to evaluating employees.

How tough? Most important, Arthur says, is that you don’t fall into the trap of trying to come across as "tougher and more authoritative" than is necessary.

Keep the tone collaborative. Don’t say, "you must stop that." Instead she says, try something like, " please tell me how you plan to rectify this." "don’t ‘should’ them," says Paul Baard, a communications and management Professor at Fordham University. Instead, point out the employee "would be well served by using a time management system." The idea, he says, is to focus on behaviours, "build the person up," not attack character.

Back it up. Have data to support your statements. Sherrie Brouillard was promoted last fall to supervisor in the collections department at people’s Alliance Federal Credit Union in N.Y. Since then, she has kept notes that helped her complete evaluations for seven staffers who report to her. Brouillard says that she’s learned it’s important to give feedback during the year so an employee is not surprised by anything said in the review.

When the employee is a buddy (or former buddy). Yes, Arthur says, this can be awkward. And her advice, if it seems appropriate, is to acknowledge the situation by saying, I know this may feel a little awkward for both of us." If you get guff from the person you’re reviewing – along the lines of, "I liked you better before," say something like: "Things do changes. But, you’re still my colleague, and I’m glad you are," Baard says.

When the employee is significantly older. Acknowledge the person’s experience. And be thankful you’re not in this situation that Arthur describes: a young man in a seminar she was conducting told of working for a manufacturing company alongside his father. The son was promoted, so he was his father’s boss – with the job of doing his review. And the father had an attendance problem!

Tips & Tricks

Here are some language dos and don’t for the first-time performance review giver from matt Halpern, an attorney with the Melville, N.Y., office of the employment law firm Jackson Lewis Lip:

Don’t say: You are thoroughly incompetent.

Do say: You are not performing some task in a competent way. They are…

Don’t say: You are deficient.

Do say: Your performance is deficient in the following areas…

Don’t say: You can’t get to work on time.

Do say: Your attendance is not acceptable as follows…

Don’t say: You’re the worst employee in the company.

Do say: You have many areas where you are performing in a less than satisfactory fashion. They are…

Don’t say: You act like a lunatic.

Do say: Your loud and angry public responses are disruptive and unacceptable. For example…

Don’t say: You are a drama queen every time I tell you something is wrong.

Do say: When I point out improved methods for performing work, you react to the fact that I have to confront you rather than listening to what I have to say. For example…

The employee’s response. When the person sitting on the other side of the desk responds with a laundry list of what’s wrong with the workplace – or with you – it’s a from of venting, Arthur says, and as long as it’s kept under control, you need to be able to deal with it. For one thing, it’s valuable for employers to find out what’s on their employee’s minds. And she says she would rather have the employee express dissatisfaction directly to her than do it behind her back.

The problem employee. Baard says that it’s important to remember "even if people are prickly and emotionally over—re—active, they are still entitled to candid feedback," or they’ll have no idea they need to adjust their work habits. If you find yourself in such a situation, here’s his advice. "Check your business card to remind yourself of your position, and do your end of the transaction as well as you can."

You may be perfectly accurate in saying to an employee during his or her review, "Not one person in this department can stand working with you." But first, stop to consider this: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective?

When it comes to millennial employees, "managers need to be ready and prepared to give them reviews more often," says Lisa Orrell, owner of a marketing firm in Campbell, Calif., and author of Millennials Incorporated. Indeed, Baard says he’s seeing MBA students who "stand more ready to receive revaluative feedback." However, they’ll be looking for specifics, he says not the vague statements that some bosses use to keep from ruffling feathers.

 


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Ease The Tension

If you are stressed about job interviews, these tips can help, says Steve Rosen

A mid cranking out term papers, pulling all—nighters before finals, and wrapping up the video for the classroom presentation, you college senior is feeling stressed. Not because of the class work. That much he can handle. What has him nearly over the edge is his first job interview coming up before the semester break.

If you are the parent of a college student who is feeling anxious about landing a job or an internship, here are some tips you can pass along to your child. This advice from career and workplace experts can help ratchet down tension and improve the odds for a successful interview.

Be prepared: there are so many resource available today to research companies. In addition to websites, read the company’s annual report, if available, along with news reports and press releases. Internet searches will also turn up information about smaller business and private companies.

Practice: the more you practice interviewing, the better you’ll become. Whether at the campus career centre, in your dorm room or apartment, work on mock interviews. Come up with several example of stellar classroom work or previous job experiences that you can cite during the real interview.

Check out websites: such as career—builder.com for additional resource tools, including salary calculators and resume critiques.

Appearance counts: unless you are applying for an oceanfront

lifeguarding job, cut—offs, a T-shirt and flip—flops probably won’t cut it

as he interview dress code. As Lindsey Pollack recommends in Getting from college to career, choose the right clothing, and "always err on the side of formality."

After making a good first impression by dressing appropriately, remember

all those charm school teaches—keep your head up and shoulders back,

extend a firm handshake, make eye contact with the interviewer and break the

ice with small talk.

Don’t dodge the oddball question: "Which is your favourite ice cream?"

"If you were a tree or animal, what would you be and why?" "If you were a billboard that could be read by the world, what would you say?" some interviews, particularly in areas such as marketing and advertising, toss out such creative surprises to see how candidates think on their feet. The more creative the position, the more likely the chances of an odd question to come up, said Mike Theobald, Director of career services at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. "Be truthful and use your imagination and creativity," he adds. That doesn’t mean blurting out the first thing that pops in to your mind. Even if you are prepared with an answer, it doesn’t hurt to pause and reflect a little before responding. An appropriate response might be: "That’s a really good question. Do you mind if I take a moment before answering?"

Silence is not golden: with the session wrapping up, the interview is likely to ask if you have any questions. That’s your cue to fire away. That shows you’ve done your homework on the company. Don’t end the interview with a lame "I think you’ve covered just about everything."

The pay question: even before making an offer, some interviews will ask about your salary expectations. Again be honest, and if you have done your research, you can say that you’d expect your salary to be at least within the range generally offered for that position.

Take it or leave it: what if you get an offer during the first interview? Theobald encourages students to take their time and exhaust all their question before accepting the offer, even if it comes from their first choice.

For example, if you are in the middle of a job hunt with several potential employers, there’s nothing wrong with contacting the human resources representative or other company contact to find out where you are with the placement process. And if there’s not much time to kick around the offer? Ask for an extension on the decision timeframe," Theobald said. His final piece of advice: go with your gut instinct. If you are comfortable with the people, job duties, benefits, salary and the like, take the job. On the other hand, theobald said, "If you feel uncomfortable before walking through the front door on the first day, how comfortable will you be walking through that door each day after?"

Look at the interview process as a learning opportunity. And if you

don’t get the job, don’t be crushed. Consider the process as a good test run

for the next go—round.

 

 

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Lend a helping HAND

A growing number of companies are now putting emphasis on team building exercises that benefit local charities. Rick Barrett looks at the trend

For many companies, the mention of team—building exercises conjures

up image chanting something about togetherness, trust and positive thinking with co—workers. Once a fad of the late 1980s, motivational programmes have now matured to become better aligned with company objectives. There’s also more emphasis on team—building exercises that benefit local charities.

Recently, GE healthcare employees assembled Trek bicycles for the Juvenile Diabetes foundation and Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer. They also built bunk beds for habitat for humanity. Beside encouraging teamwork and problem—solving skills, the exercises left GE employees with a lasting feeling for contributing towards something worthy.

It’s deeper than traditional exercises, such as a white—knuckle rafting trip or a scavenger hunt in a local park.

"I feel good about it because we are making a difference to our society. And you could literally tie a project to any charity," said Rick D’Aloia with Destination Wisconsin, an event—planning firm. In some cases, team—building exercises could lead to a tax deduction if they have a charitable outcome. But there ought to be other measurable outcomes, said Nick Conner, Vice President, TeamBuilders, a Florida—based firm that has worked with Miller Brewing Co. and other large corporations. Clients are demanding metrics too behind the exercises so they can measure their value in the workplace, according to Conner. "That’s the business side of it. A teambuilding exercises should be more than entertainment," he said.

The GE healthcare exercises were meant to foster communication and problem solving as employees completed projects for various charities. "We were all working on something that technically, had nothing to do with our day—to—day jobs," said Brain Johnson, Manager of GE Healthcare’s global marketing communications. "I am not sure that we gained any physical skills

but it really helped break down walls between people," he added.

For charities, the exercises are another way to raise money or help

people in a tangible way. "It’s another resource we can tap into," said john Cary, executive Director of Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer.

Midwest Athletes donated eight Trek bikes, assembled by GE

Healthcare employees, to children in the oncology unit at Children’s Hospital

of Wisconsin. The donation had a dollar value of less then US $2,500.

"But sometimes I think that one needs to look beyond the immediate dollars," Cary said. "In this case, I think the greatest benefit was helping kids with something tangible they could enjoy. I think everybody still remembers their first bike."

In the long run, team—building exercises with a philanthropic angle could lead to bigger donations as participants learn the value of the charities’ work. "Most of our fund raising is done through special events," Cary said. "It’s more expensive and time consuming, but when someone invest their time and energy into something, then we have an opportunity to touch them in a deeper way than just asking them for a cheque."

Companies can use the exercises for leadership training and teaching

the importance of unselfish giving. "I think it’s great because you are getting multiple benefits," Conner said. In a typical exercises, participants spend time analyzing how they performed and how it’s applicable to their jobs. Any

team—building exercise has to be followed up in the workplace if the

lessons are to stick, according to Conner. "It’s very possible that a group

might forget everything it learned," he said. "But whose fault is that? You

need to have application for what was taught, and you have to ask the hard question of how to apply the lessons. It’s the conversations held after an

event that lead to epiphanies. Otherwise you go back to work Monday

morning and nothing’s different."

Anything done with a group of employees will lose its luster if it’s

not reinforced going forward, added D’ Aloia from Destination Wisconsin.

But a teambuilding exercise with a charitable twist has its own meaning that’s hard to forget. "At the end of the day, when you see the kids getting the bikes or the bunk beds, it’s a really good feeling," he said.

 

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Best mentors

The best mentors see something in us we don’t see in ourselves. They help us think twice about paths or steps we shouldn’t take, says Barbara Rose

The best mentors offer advice we don’t always like to hear. They chide us, goad us, challenge us. Some even have the gall to tell us to straighten our frizzy hair.

Sometime we reach out to them, but just as often they attach themselves to us. They can be annoyingly opinionated, and it can be hard to remember they have our best interests at heart.

Consider the experiences of Cook County (111). Circuit Court Associate Judge Patricia Mendoza. She never planned to go to law school until. A family friend and lawyer got on her case. "I was very shy," recalls Mendoza, who talked about her friend at a recent "speed mentoring" event sponsored by Chicago’s Alliance of Latinos and Jews, a 14 year—old nonprofit group that builds bridges between the two communities.

"You would look at me and I would blush. My mother’s friend insisted I apply to law school. I kept saying no. I told her, ‘that’s you, that’s not me.’ I just couldn’t imagine being her."

When the older woman brought her an application to DePaul University College of Law and insisted she fill it out, Mendoza consoled herself with the thought she would never get in but she did.

When she tried to drop out before her first set of finals, a professor refused to sign her withdrawal forms.

When she passed the bar and settled into a satisfying public—service practice, her mentor, by then a judge herself, prodded her again. "You really should think about becoming a judge," she recalls Circuit Court Associate Judge Consuelo Bedoya—Witt telling her. "No, that’s not me, that’s you, again," Mendoza told her. But the seed was planted, and once again it took.

"One piece of advice I give to people now is, if someone you trust encourages you to do something and you’re thinking, ‘It’s just not me,’ don’t just dismiss it. Sometimes people see something in us we don’t see in ourselves."

Angelique Power, Director of Marketing at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, was a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute in the early 1990s when she took a part—time job working for an executive at a large corporation.

Oblivious to the company’s unspoken codes, she dressed like an art student, rhinestone—studded cat—eye glasses, untamed hair while taking a keen interest in her boss’ work.

"I made sure I understood what was happening and, whether I was asked or not, I would talk to her about my opinion," Power recalls. "I think she was kind of taken aback and amused so she started to build a relationship, ask me question, hand me challenges and allow me to rise to occasion.

 

"She would invite me along to watch meetings, hand me projects to run, and when I graduated she offered me a full—time job" and later promoted her to run the department. But, not before setting her young protégé straight. For starters, she told Power to straighten her hair, a potentially sensitive directive to a multiracial woman.

"She said, ‘Here’s the uniform take it or leave it.’ I took it," Power says. "There’s always an unseen map. There was a cultural code you had to follow to be taken seriously. It’s not anything you would find in any handbook, but it was critical for me."

The mentoring relationship deepened into a mutually beneficial friendship. "This was a woman who was a high—ranking executive, but in my role I could always be very honest," Power says. "Others might be sycophantic. I became sort of the beacon of honesty."

It was hard to break away, power recalls. But when she left the company and her mentor for the museum of contemporary Art, "I was ready to take everything I learned, all this business savvy, and bring it back to the art world, which is really what I wanted to do all along, and not brush my hair if I don’t want to."

A on corp.’s Chief diversity officer, Corbette Doyle, a champion of corporate mentoring, counts among her early influences a college professor who persuaded her to change her major from mathematics to economics. He gave me a world view of global business and made me think big picture in a way that I hadn’t," says the Tennessee—based executive. "First I was going to be a lawyer, then a math professor, then an actuary. They were all fairly narrow disciplines. He really pushed me to take a lot of liberal arts classes and to think broadly about the array of opportunities."

When she was offered a fellowship to get her doctorate in economics he convinced her to turn it down. "Go to work and get somebody to pay for your MBA," he told her. And that’s what she did.

"He was the epitome of a great mentor," she says. "the best mentors help you think twice about paths or steps you shouldn’t take, and that takes, a lot of insight into the person you’re helping."

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The Evolution of a ‘RESUME’

Having a professional online presence is becoming crucial, says Bridget Carey

Miguel Merino’s online resume has the usual rundown of work experience and education. But the university of Miami senior music performance major takes it a step further by letting visitors listen to his tracks, read critics’ reviews, see a list of upcoming gigs and watch videos of his performance.

"It’s the first time I’ve had my own website that I’ve put some work into," said Merino, 22. And it’s worth the $20 a month as a personal promotion tool, he says: "It’s super important."

Merino was pushed to create the site, migimusic.com, because of a class assignment. But multimedia resumes work for more careers than those in the performing arts.

Recruiters say having a professional online presence is becoming more crucial. Vital bits of information on candidates are found through Internet searches as the markets shifts to passive recruitment, and Google searches as background checks have become common in to hiring process.

Paper and electronic resumes are not extinct, but they are only the beginning. Getting a job offer may depend on social network profiles, personal websites, blogs and you tube videos. It’s about your online footprint and the management of your personal brand.

Joe Laratro, President-elect, South Florida Interactive Marketing Association (SFIMA), has been hearing the term "reputation management" tossed around recently in marketing circles.

Do you know what comes up when you do a Google search on your name? Reputation management is getting the links you want people to see to show up on top.

"You don’t want someone searching your name and seeing you passed out drunk somewhere," Laratro said.

And if you think bosses aren’t searching for information about you, think again. A November 2007 survey by career media company Vault reports that 44 percent of employers are logging on the sites like my space and Face book to examine the profiles of job candidates, and 39 percent have looked up the profile of a current employee.

"There’s no doubt that myself and my team certainly scour the Internet for the past experiences of a individual," said Dan Alpert, a manager at the digital marketing services firm avenue a Razorfish, and president, SFIMA.

"You want to be very sensitive to what type of brand you put forward-one’s own personal brand identity. If it’s not tasteful, it shouldn’t be online." But you don’t have to be a web whiz to create a professional online identity. LinkedIn.com is a social network that revolves around making business connections and updating resumes. Creating a profile there is a small step in boosting your online professional appearance. "If you are in the professional world and you want yourself to be seen by the best companies out there, using a social networking site is almost as important as having a degree," said Dion Taylor, an account manager at Technisource, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recruiting firm.About 30 to 40 percent of the resumes Taylor’s department gets have some sort of web link, and he says clients are clicking on those links. He’s also seeing more people turn in video resumes. Many of them, however, are lousy. "Most of the ones we see are just you tube-ish. They put on a shirt and tie. My name is Bob. My strengths are this," Taylor said. "I think a lot of people miss the mark with them."

Recruiters interviewed have all said the same thing: Having a video resume alone doesn’t make you more likable or stand out more. If anything, it can be risky. 

Charles Caulkins, managing partner at employment law firm fisher & Philips in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., lets his corporate clients know that by accepting videos or photos they open themselves up to the possibility of accusations of discrimination based on looks. He added that having applicants fill out a standard application makes it faster to review them all. Videos, he said, could be a deterrent to a busy recruiter who may think, "Now I have to click on this video. How long is it? Are they going to get to the point?"

"I think HR people for the most part are sticking with the tried and true, sticking with the paper resumes or electronic PDFs," Caulkins said. Visual-CV.com, a site that hosts free multimedia resumes with videos, suggests in it tips guide that an online portfolio shouldn’t take the place of a traditional paper resume and application. Louise Kursmark, author of the guide and president of best impression career services, wrote it’s best to think of an online resume as an add-on for networking and a relationship builder, so bias shouldn’t be a concern.

Debra Bathurst’s human relations team at Oasis Outsourcing in West Palm beach, Fla., sifts through social networks when head hunting, especially because the market has shifted to passive candidate recruitment, she said.

"We would be behind if we weren’t using LinkedIn or Zoom—Info," Bathurst said. But she added that much of her candidate base still comes from job board sites and employee referrals.

 

 

ACTION PLAN

Planning prevents poor performance

The major cause of failure in organizations is not is not the lack of goals but a clear and well-defined action plan, says Udayan Banerjee

Making New Year resolutions is like building castles in the air. Big, bold, beautiful but baseless. Which is why, more often than not, New Year resolutions come crashing down, as do many of our dreams and goals. The only way to stop this from happening is to put solid foundations under them, that is, support your New Year resolutions, dreams and goals with strong action plans.

Action plans are a step-by-step process of taking you from where you are now to where you want to be in terms of achieving your goals. Just as buildings cannot be erected without a blueprint and unchartered paths navigated without a map, similarly dreams and goals cannot be achieved without a definite action plan. Research has shown that the major cause of failure, in people and organizations is not so much the lack of goals but the lack of a clear and well-defined action plan. If you do not back your goals with an action plan, you simply fail. On the other hand, proper planning prevents poor performance. An effective action plan can be formulated using the 6W method --- Want, Why, What, When, Who, What if.

Step 1: Make your want obsessive. The greater the obsession, the higher the commitment and the deeper the involvement the stronger the resolve to overcome obstacles on the bumpy road to success.

Step 2:Convert your wants into goals using the SMART principle, i.e., make them specific, Measurable. Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Ask yourself why you want to attain your goal. Be passionate about the benefits of your goal. This will keep you motivated.

Step 3: Understand what knowledge, Attitudinal behaviour, Skills and Habits (KASH) are required to achieve your goal. Take an honest inventory of your current KASH level and raise them to the level required to reach your goal.

Step 4: Identify who can help you achieve your goal. Team up with people having similar goals. Team support and encouragement will keep you moving. Success is always a team effort.

Step 5:Determine by When you intend to achieve your goal. A definite time frame will allow you to utilise your resources (time, effort, money) more effectively.

Step 6: Be ready with plan B --- What if plan A fails?

It pays to put a strong foundation under your castle. If Thomas Edison had not, we should still be watching television in candle light!

 

 

Six ways to ask for a raise

Draw up a list of achievements before asking your boss for a hike

YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW is often the forum for haggling over a raise. People tend to go into these meetings assuming employers will note their accomplishments and reward them accordingly. Yet, with a shrinking job market and employers tightening their belts, thats not always the case. In addition, employees often complain they have not received a raise in two years or more. Worse, some employers have actually taken away certain benefits, such as bonuses or vacation days.

       These examples underscore the need to be prepared for performance review. You must know how to challenge the suggested raise and negotiate for more. This doesnt mean youll always get what you want, but if you do your homework, at least youll be satisfied you did all you could to get a decent rise.

Past perfect

Savvy employees keep a performance review file. They put in memos, lists of completed projects or additional work taken on during the year and other documentation of good performance. This file serves two functions. First, it provides you with proof of what you have accomplished. Second, it jogs your memory when its time to prepare for a review. If youre like many workers and dont have such a file, take the time to look over your calendar from the past year and recreate in your mind what you accomplished. Write it down.

Figure out

In order to have some weapons at the negotiating table, its good to go hunting for industry figures. This can be of help when you discuss salary hike with your boss.

Grapevine gossips

The word about raise tends to leak out once the review process starts. Often dissatisfied employees will let the world know they were treated poorly or cheaply. If salary increases are lower than expected, chances are youll find out before your own review. Responsible employers will often notify workers if salary increases are lower than in the previous year. Dont hesitate to ask your boss if you can expect a good raise.

Don’t backtrack

Once you have a salary figure in mind and your list of achievements in hand, explain to your boss why you deserve a raise. Often your manager will say, This is the figure everyone is getting across the board”. Dont buy into that until youve played all your Im a great worker, look at my achievements,” cards. True, many employers do set aside a certain amount for raises, but there is always room for that special case, the employee who went above and beyond the call of duty.

Buy time

If your employer refuses to give you the raise you deserve, negotiate for a timeline to get what you want. Youve got to walk the thin line between retaining good relations with your boss and fighting about money. Perhaps in six months the company will be doing better. Perhaps in six months youll take on more projects and responsibilities. Set yourself up for another review that may allow you to get what you want.

Write choice

Whatever you agree on in the meeting must be put in writing immediately. Write a memo to your boss and the HR department and restate the conversation. Make sure everyone signs and dates the memo. Make three copies: one for your employee record, one for you and one for your boss.


     LEADING THE WAY

Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CREATE LEADERS?

A: A leaders greatest skill is his/her ability to listen – which we, at Dale Carnegie, believe is the most important communication skill.

Q: WHAT KIND OF QUALITIES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE PEOPLE YOU HIRE (APART FROM TECHNICAL/HARD SKILLS)?

A: I like what I refer to as the fire in the belly – a deep desire to succeed, a willingness to work hard and think outside the box – a go-getter attitude, a risk taker. You can usually identify those traits in an interview, but you can certainly ask questions that can help you uncover someones approach to their career.

Q: IS IT HARD TO FIND PEOPLE WITH THE RIGHT MIX OF WORK-RELATED, LEADERSHIP, INTERPERSONAL AND ATTITUDINAL SKILLS?

A: Talented employees are a companys biggest assets. At times, you can find someone with the right interpersonal and attitudinal skills and then, because of the cultural climate in the company, they become disengaged. At Dale Carnegie, we believe that keeping your employees engaged – that is winning both their hearts and minds, is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. Its not that difficult to attract and find talent, whats hard is retaining them.

Q: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR ORGANISATIONS TO HAVE A LEADERSHIP PIPELINE?

A: It is very crucial to have a leadership pipeline. And the key to this is employee retention. Once you have identified the top talent in your company, it is your job to make sure you retain them. It is from your talent pool that you must look for succession planning, and that means investing in training and development.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL TEAM MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES?

A: I prefer a collaborative process – one that focuses on consensus building – at the same time, its important to make sure that people have specific goals and that they are held accountable for achieving them.

HAPPY REUNION

THE BOND BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYER DOES NOT BREAK WITH THE EMPLOYEE DECIDING TO WALK THROUGH THE EXIT DOOR. MANY ORGANISATIONS ARE NOW SETTING UP ALUMNI ASSOCIATIONS FOR THEIR EX-EMPLOYEES IN AN ENDEAVOUR TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY AND EVERLASTING RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.

Its not good trying to keep up old friendships. Its painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing is to face it,” said the famous writer W Somerset Maugham. But this saying no longer holds true in the present times where relationships, personal or professional, are best if maintained for as long as one can. Gone are the days when you cut all ties with your ex-employer once you decided to move out. Employees as well as employers now understand the relevance and need for maintaining a cordial relationship with each other even if they are no more associated, profe-ssionally. We have all heard of alumni associations in schools and colleges, but now they seem to be the latest fad catching up in India Inc.

THE TIE THAT BINDS:

Experts validate that many organizations reap the benefits of maintaining relations with their former employees through an organized approach and setting up an alumni association is one such effective method that organizations are adopting to facilitate the same. Dr. Reddys Laboratories takes pride in its alumni network; aptly named Friends Forever’. “The alumni network portal, available on our website, is the face of this association to the external world. We launched Friends Forever about 8 months ago and the numbers of alumni signing up has been steadily increasing,” expresses Prabir Jha, Senior Vice President & Global Head – Human Resources & Corporate Communications Dr. Reddys Laboratories. Ameerpet Prashant Bhatnagar, Director Hiring, Sapient informs, “Yes, we have a very active alumni programme, which has been alive for a number of years. Early last year, we launched a brand new global site, www.sapientalumni.com, where alumni can log in to look up former colleagues create profiles of themselves, or learn about reunion events”.

    NIIT Technologies does have a few significant initiatives in place to preserve the bond with its ex-employees. “We have an initiative known as Forever NIITian for ex-employees. A club of this natu-re was set up to connect with all ex-employees and since they have been a part of the NIIT family, we would like to keep in touch with all of them,” states Rosita Rabindra, Executive Vice President and Head of HR, NIIT Technologies.

     Cognizant is among the very few companies that has a dedicated alumni section on their corporate website. “In our case, we capture details of ex-associates of Cognizant through the alumni page of the careers section on our corporate website and use this information to share organizational happenings and accomplishment with them and inform them about opportunities in Cognizant,” expresses Sriram Rajagopal, AVP, Human Resources, Cognizant.

AN EVERLASTING RELATIONSHIP:

In the present times, when employer branding is considered an indispensable part of any organizations agenda, employees as well as ex-employees are considered brand ambassadors of the organization. So what is the purpose or intention behind initiating such alumni associations? “We appreciate the many contributions that our alumni have made to Sapient growth and success. Our culture is built on foster–ing our peoples growth, and that doesnt end just because they leave. We created the Sapient alumni network as a way for our alumni to stay connected with us and the innumerable friends that they made during their time here. It is designed to be a resource that they can leverage,” elucidates Bhatnagar.

     Rabindra explains, “This initiative is aimed at sharing information about the company and staying connected. We look at them as our brand ambassadors. It also helps in our business need as they move on in their career. Besides, a lot of people keep coming back so initiatives like this really help to keep connected”. Jha adds, “Employees are our brand ambassadors, and continue to be our brand represen-tatives beyond their employment period here. We value their contribution to the organization while they were with us and Friends Forever keeps the warm ties alive even when they are not formally with us”. “Our relationship with our alumni is an extension of this philosophy. It is our culture to keep in touch with all those who have been a part of our growth and success. Keeping in touch with alumni helps us stay current in the minds of those interested in returning to Cognizant so as to buy back Cognizant experience, as these ex-employees understand our corporate culture and expectations better than new hires and assimilate faster into the organization,” expounds Rajagopal.

CELEBRATING OLD TIMES:

An alumni association can be a platform for various kinds of exchange between a certain organization and its ex-employees. And most of these associations put together a lot of activities in place to make sure this interaction is useful and interesting. “The alumni network is a platform wherein several inte–ractions can take place. It offers a mode for interaction amongst the alumni members besides being the bridge between the alumni and the organization. Updates in the industry and the organization are shared through the portal. Organization announcements, images of events (like the companys annual celebration), CEOs communication and even job listings are shared on the portal. It forms a strong social networking sphere for all its members,” states Jha. 

     At Sapient, they maintain a private website with up-to-date information on company news, events and careers, which alumni can access using their personalized Ids. “In addition to connecting with other alumni and referring colleagues, our alumni enjoy attending reunion events where they can build up their personal networks with former Sapient family members,” says a proud Bhatnagar. 

     The end of your tenure with an organization does not mean the end of your relationship with it. Organizations today, believe in the power of creating a bond with its employees and becoming a family for them; it really doesnt matter if they are current or ex-employees.      

 

 

CORPORATE MANTRAS

Be on the leading edge of change

Anurag Jain, President, Consulting, and Applications Solutions, Insurance and Business Process Solutions, Perot Systems, on the five essential dos for a leader to inspire his team

Vision: know the road you are treading on. Have a clear idea about what you want to be and where you want to take your organization. A commitment to your vision will help you achieve success.

Know thyself: Understand that leadership is about working to accomplish shared goals. Understand your strengths and bring on board people with skills that you lack. Willingness to accept new ideas and listening to your team is critical. Create trust: be transparent in your dealings with stakeholders and inspire trust of team members. Transparency in sharing your vision/goals helps create co-owner-ship. Lead by example and deal with people in a fair, transparent and con-sistent manner.

Create opportunities: a successful entrepreneur is one who creates new opportunities and provides creative solutions. Keep your promises and deliver on time.

Innovation: be on the look out for opportunities in everything you do. There are new technologies and solutions that can help you do more with less. Be on the leading edge of change by embracing new trends that can help you create value for you customers, employees and the communities you serve.

6 THINGS NEVER TO SAY TO YOUR BOSSsome standard statements that no boss appreciates. Avoid using them for that extra bit of success in your professional arena. ‘I can’t do so much’Even if the task is far from achievable, carry on for that moment and try and explain your point of view later. Go a step further and give alternative solutions.

That’s not my problem’The higher the position, the more the responsibilities. Everybody needs assistance during crises. If a problem doesn’t bother you directly, your boss knows that. So spare him or her the reminder.

‘I wasn’t told during recruitment’Agreed, many things that your boss asks you to do may not have been put down in black and white in your offer letter. But never start off a ‘job description’ argument. Chances are, you will never win.

‘That’s a very bad idea’Your boss is not superman and will have his or her share of dumb ideas. But that’s something you need not tell openly.

‘We should hook up on Orkut’You shouldn’t do that, ever! Many feel that having a personal rapport with the boss will add brownie points to their career. But in that case, wait for your boss to make the first move.

‘Sigh’A long sigh is seen as a sign of annoyance. Also, a confused sigh leaves things open for your boss’ personal interpretation. Few things in life are as a risky as that.

THE WORKPLACE PHILOSOPHY, TODAY, IS NO LONGER ABOUT CONCENTRATING ONLY ON ONE’S OWN TASK, BUT IS ALSO ABOUT ADDING VALUE TO OTHER FUNCTIONS. AS JOB HORIZONS WIDEN, THE NEED TO KNOW AND CONTRIBUTE MORE HAS BECOME IMPERATIVE. AND NOW, FIRMS ARE DOING JUST THAT BY IMPLEMENTING MULTI-TECHNOLOGICAL TRAINING ACTIVITIES - DEEPESH DAS

Today, the changing corporate scenario expects you to do a lot more than just your job. Other than performing your tasks, they expect you to upgrade your skills, productively contribute to works outside your job profile, and constantly learn and venture into newer arenas. The reason, they say, is the continuous technological changes that various sectors are going through. And this is precisely the reason why many organizations have brought in cross-functional trainings to satiate employees desire to learn and acquire new skills.

         Emerging technologies have increased the demand for certain skill sets. Cross training equips individuals to work on projects, involving multiple technologies enabling them to possess a diverse skill set, and, thus, making them imminently employable in a variety of functions,” says Narendra Raje Urs, Director, Learning and Development, Unisys.

         In the current scenario, cross training is gaining even more relevance, as it allows companies to enhance productivity, deploy employees across projects and optimally utilize each resource. It is an effective training technique, which results in motivation along with a learning opportunity in the competitive market,” adds Sachin Tikekar, Chief of People Operations, KPIT Cummins Info systems Ltd.

The need of the hour

Imparting multiple technology training to employees has gained more significance today. And firms are focusing on cross training to manage their bench strength. Cross training helps the employees fit into newer business requirements, seamlessly and also helps the organization to have a pool of skilled talent ready to move and grow within the organization. Thus, the bench strength can be managed better, which is one of the key survival metrics in the current economic scenario,” opine Ravi Venkat Kodukula, Assistant Vice-President and Head of Learning & Education, Aricent Technologies (Holdings) Ltd.

         Adding to it, Roshan Joseph, Associate Director – Training & Development, Virtusa (India) Pvt Ltd says, Multi-skilling helps in increasing the technology bandwidth, avoids redundancies in the system and gives the company a significant competitive advantage in bidding for new business. Also, employees skilled in multiple technologies, helps a company make its resource management efficient and cost effective”.

Enhancing Skills

Companies are increasingly indulging in cross training their staff not only to satisfy their business interests but also to help employees satisfy their personal need to sharpen their skill sets and broaden their knowledge base. Experts say that, for an employee, it just takes an extra effort from his/her part to acquire new skills. And this additional knowledge acquired through cross training, empowers employees and makes him/her more valuable to the organization.

         At Direct, employees are encouraged to pick up technologies that might be of use to the company. Later, presentations on these technologies are made to the employees who are interested in joining the programme,” informs Bhavin Turakhia, Founder and CEO, Direct.

Success Stories

Experts say that the advantage that such multiple technology training programmes brings in are many. It expands the career scope of employees, enhances team spirit and bonding between employees, facilitates job rotation etc. Cross training gives an employee the opportunity to deepen and diversify his/her knowledge of various technologies, in addition to fortifying his/her resume. Also, it helps him/her to master skill sets that might help him/her to work on other projects and improve the chances of deployment,” points out Urs.

         According to Krishna Reddy, Head HR, Value Labs The change in perspective that cross training gives an associate makes for better relationships, both among peers and departments. The ability to see the process or the organization from the point of view of associates, both within the same department, and from a different department, helps the cross trainee appreciate and understand that others also have difficult and demanding tasks. They see explicitly how others efforts contribute to the entire process”.

         Cross training has brought in a 90-degree change in the profile and career prospects of R Bhanu Kishore, Manager – Client Services, Value Labs. From his business development role, Kishore has moved to metrics-based project management at Value Labs. Today, he manages the client services group that monitors progress and health of various projects that are underway at Value Labs. This has been possible after his participation in various training programmes related to software project management, prediction models, statistical process control and other quantitative techniques.

         Vishal Sadani, Senior Software Engineer, Direct believes that cross training optimizes employee strengths by bringing out their hidden talents. Sadani moved to Java for .Net to be a part of a new project.

         According to him, weekly team meetings, discussion groups, constant mentoring and evaluation has made him proficient in the technology. Along with improving the skills, such programmes improves the people connect within the organization,” adds Sadani.

         For Rohit Sahasrabudhe, Project Manager, KPIT Cummins Info systems Ltd cross training gave an opportunity to understand how one technology is better as compared to other, for a particular project case or application development. Today, Sahasrabudhe is able to identify opportunities where both VC++ and .Net could be used to complement each other and this has given him an edge over this other colleagues.

         In the end, employees and organizations know the importance of such initiatives and are going out of their way to excel at it. So if you, too, feel the need to learn something new, innovate and train!

Tips for effective learning

· Be open to learn new things: While in a training programme, learn as much as you can, as these initiatives can help you grow further into the organization.

· Be a good team player: To succeed, you cannot work alone. It is important to be a team player and open to ideas, suggestions and criticisms of your fellow colleagues and managers.

· Improve your communication skills: Communication is the key to all training programmes. If you can communicate well, half of your work is done.

· Attend training sessions: Bunking a training session because it is boring will not get you anywhere. Instead, attend as many programmes as possible, as you can learn new things.

 

 

         

     

CORPORATE MANTRAS

Keep key objectives in focusRay McShane, GM, The Grand, Vasant Kunj, Lists five HR practices that a hotel must adopt keeping in mind its long working hours

Reward–linked re—muneration: though long hours at the work—place do not necessarily mean productive hours it is essential that all employees who attend to their work during non—conventional hours get rewarded accordingly. This HR policy is found to benefit employees and employers equally because the productivity levels according to researchers are closely linked to service standards.

Sustenance provision: ensure that employees are given balance nutritious and substantial meals during the working period. Besides given them a feeling of ‘being taken care of’, this practice ensures that employees give out their best with a free mind.

Distressing modules: a candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long! The state of being ‘over—worked, should be avoided at all costs. No over—worked employee can deliver good results ‘forever’. Regular rejuvenating modules must be organised to prevent non—productivity.

Constant motivation: merely a kind word or a word of appreciation from his or her employer can work wonders for an employee’s esteem. He feels enthused to put in more if his hard work gets recognitions through periodic recognition programmes, feedback and peer acknowledgement.

Goal revision: remember to occasionally refocus the employee who works extended hours. To lose sight of the key objectives in the heat of the daily operation is common. It is necessary that workers are able to identify ‘What the customer wants’. They must be trained in ‘Seeing the wood from the trees’.

 


MANAGEMENT UPDATE

Etiquette Strategies

Amy Lindgren shares some etiquette tips, useful for the challenges You face in your job search It’s prom season and etiquette articles are sprouting like tulips. How to greet your date’s parents, which fork to use at dinner, how much to tip at the coat-check stand and when to open the door for your date are just a few of the niceties I have been reading about. Although I’m not going to a prom anytime soon, it is always good to revisit the basics of good manners. I have collected some etiquette tips of my own, useful for the challenges you face in your job search.When leaving a job: you know the saying, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Well, focus on the second half of the sentence. There will be time later to haveyour say, but the day of your departure is a day to keep your own counsel. If your are going to a better job, it’s impolite to brag about the details. And if you’re leaving under duress, the less said the better.When working with a career counselor: now is the time to talk. Come to your meetings ready to hash out all your ideas. Without your participation, the counselor can only guess at a good strategy. The two of you together will make a powerful team.If you attend a job-support group: it might be time to be quiet again. If you’re normally a big talker, plan to be a listener (so others can get a word in). But if you’re normally quiet, offer some of your ideas (so others can learn from you).Wear a nametag if it’s offered –it helps others feel at ease. And consider volunteering to set up the room or bring the treats. When using a reference: keep your reference updated, not only on the jobs they might get a call about, but on your job search in general. And be constant in your gratitude. It’s a sign of faith in your character that people are willing to stand up for you. When corresponding with employers: it is always a nice touch to send a letter or resume that fits the job at hand. It’s even better to use (and spell correctly) the name of the person you are addressing. Good manners are their own reward, but you should know that these two steps would increase your effectiveness. Following up by telephone: this is almost a case-by-case situation. If you are responding to an ad that says "No calls please," there are probably good reason for that request. Nevertheless, if more than two weeks have passed, the question of etiquette has changed hands. A brief, polite inquiry at this stage is not unreasonable. If you drop in unexpectedly: stopping by a workplace to inquire about a hiring process is not in itself poor etiquette. It is, after all, a place of business. But good manners demand that you create as little intrusion as possible. Explain at the reception desk that you have no appointment but that you have stopped by on the possibility that the manager might see you for a few minutes. If the manager does come out, be brief and professional. If the manager does not, leave your card or resume with a brief note and thank the receptionist for assisting you.When meeting your interviewer(s): stand, greet him or her by name, give your name, offer your hand, make eye contact, smile…and that’s all in the first five second. It gets easier after that. When in doubt, stay quiet but attentive. For example, don’t walk ahead of your interviewer in the hall, don’t sit down until a chair is indicated for you, don’t start the conversation. And if all that’s got you frowning in concentration, relax and smile. It will make the other person feel more comfortable.When discussing past positions: now you have to be polite to your future and past employers. To start, don’t say anything negative about any people, or any difficult conditions you worked under. And don’t tell company secrets. Your interviewer will appreciate your discretion more than your gossip. Negotiating your salary: whatever technique you use, remember that if you are successful, you will eventually work with the person you are negotiating with. Seek the middle ground.If the interviewer doesn’t call you after the interview: of course, you can contact him or her. But if the silence continues, you will be faced with a dilemma. Should you keep up the contact, or take the very broad hint that you are no longer being considered? The only wrong answer is to send and etiquette article to the interview in question. That is not only bad strategy, but also could be considered impolite.

              

Chin up when chips are down

Motivation can work wonders for your team in times of salary cuts and layoffs

TODAY’S MANAGERS ARE entrusted with the responsibility of getting the most out of workers no matter what. But the reality is that many managers must coax top performances from employees while working on a minimal budget that may require a salary freeze; cuts in benefits, bonuses or perks; reduction in hours; or even layoffs. If youre faced with a less-than-optimal budget situation, follow these tips to minimize the damage and keep your team motivated.

Budget basics

A managers job is to make his or her employees look good and make their lives easy by providing everything possible to help them do their job well,” says an expert, who managers both people and budgets as part of his job as a senior consultant and director of sales and marketing. This doesnt always take a lot of money to do – just a bit of extra attention”.

         Other experts say budgets shouldnt dictate how much a manager should work on motivating the team – motivation must be a constant priority. He says its important for managers to show that success depends on collective effort. If employees know their supervisors are working hard for them, theyll work hard for their supervisors, regardless of a bare-bones budget or other factors.

         If a company starts to show signs of budget trouble – such as taking extra time to fix office equipment or changing that once-large holiday bonus to a gift card – morale can drop, and employees may begin to lose faith in the company. This is the biggest issue mangers face when budgets are slashed, say experts.

         However, a manager can play a key role in employees attitudes, says an expert in the field. If the managers internal dialogue is negative, the entire team is affected,” she explains. Youll hear things like, I cant believe this! Why cant they pay a living wage? I have to work twice as hard now’.” But when the manager comes across with a positive attitude – for example, by saying, OK, how are we going to make this work without long hours?” or How can we make this fun?” – the results can be amazing, she adds.

Hot tips

Obert Mortimer, a media communications manager with BizHelp24.com, a business and finance resource for individuals and small businesses, recommends that managers consider these tips when dealing with budget cuts and the resulting morale issues:

·    Talk to senior management about budget cuts. You may be able to escape your share if you put forward a convincing argument.

·    Try to avoid wholesale changes. Ask senior management for structured reductions over time.

·    Take some time to reassure remaining staff that their jobs are safe; explain the market issues that forced the cuts. Mutual understanding and a desire to get back to normal will rub off on your employees.

·    Assign your top staff members the most important tasks; re-deploy staff to new tasks if doing so would benefit the team.

·    If the changes are not truly destructive, remember that good staff will adapt.

·    Be consistently positive as you manage and lead. Even if you cant provide monetary rewards, you can still reward, honour and motivate employees. Thanking your workers in front of the group, sending a thank-you email, giving workers the afternoon off or buying your staff lunch can go a long way in keeping workers happy.

         Saying thank you is one of the most popular forms of recognition for employees. Showing you appreciate their efforts can go a long way toward inspiring them,” an expert says.

         With less money to throw around, you have to be an even better manager and find ways to reward your employees.

 

 

CRITICS' CHOICE

No employee wants his/her boss to tell him or her how he or she has failed to do his or her jobs. After all, every employee wants to be constantly productive, right? A negative review, say experts, can be used as a feedback-generating tool to enhance productivity and foster better results

Deepesh Das

Everyone, in course of ones life, has received criticism. However, at the workplace, though accolades are motivational tools every employee work towards receiving, there are often times when they are showered with anything but praises. However, organizations have realized that when criticism is given in a poor manner, it will not only lower engagement levels but also hamper productivity. But when shared with a noble intent can increase employee motivation and foster productivity. Hence, employees need to understand that its simply an uncomfortable way of improving ones job performance and learning new skills.

Doing it right

Kishore Poduri, HR head, e Clerx Service Ltd. explains, This kind of feedback is never individual targeted but fact based or work related. And it works best if criticism is not directed to an individual, but is more in the form of specific areas of work that need improvement”.

         Deodutta Kurane, president-human capital, Yes Bank, who says that the best time to give a negative feedback is immediately after a project or an event that has lead to it, says, It is advisable not to store such negative feedback and deliver it in one shot long after the incident/event is over. However, a negative feedback should also include positive elements on how the employees can improve themselves and avoid such mistakes in their future endeavours”.

The learning curve

Experts also say that it is imperative for employees to take these kinds of reviews in their stride and derive maximum learnings out of it. They say that accepting a negative review as a performance-enhancing tool can help the employee grow in his/her career. The employee needs to evaluate the feedback as being pertaining to his/her work. Instead of being defensive, the employee should display maturity to objectively evaluate the feedback and undertake corrective action on any points where there is a slippage in performance,” explains Kurane.

         Rajeev Waghre, director HR, CREMA (Clinical Research Education & Management Academy) adds, Constructive criticism has the potential to bring consciousness about mistakes, negative traits and helps take corrective steps for improving productivity”. Chitra Sharan, head – talent development, Omega Healthcare Management Services adds, Review sessions, if used as a mirror can provide an opportunity for the employee to learn about her/his strengths, areas of improvement and come up with action plans to bridge gaps in skills or behaviour”.

         Look at the constructive side of such a feedback and try and work out an action plan, share it with your manager and keep him/her posted on the progress that is being made. Remember not to repeat those mistakes again,” explains Poduri. Negative reviews can have a positive impact on the employee in the long run provided it is offered by someone who has a certain level of credibility, has objectivity, focuses on actions/performance rather than individual/persons and is intended to bring about positive changes in an employee behaviour,” adds Waghre.

         In the end, it is all about improvement. No manager or boss will criticize you without a reason. So the next time you feel that you are about to be reviewed negatively, take it as a positive sign for improvement, because it can only get better.

Out with the old…

Hiring managers, in order to have only the best talent on board are resorting to innovative (or desperate?) way of interviewing. Candidates, are you geared for this change

Edited by Deepesh Das

Innovative interview techniques help us to bring out the strengths of the individual. We do not believe in putting the candidate into a reactive situation, as it does not facilitate a proactive process,” says T N Radhakrishna, head HR, UTI Mutual Fund. He adds, There are cases where I had used real life business scenarios which required the candidates to formulate plans to address the situation within a short time span. This provides an opportunity to assess the situational leadership ability and his/her analytical, communication and interpersonal skills”. He has also witnessed situations where the prospective candidates are made to participate in conferences and some have even gone to the extent of making the candidates meet the customers/business partners.

         At Escort Group of Companies, in case of senior level recruitment, the approach is dialogue and discussion based evaluation wherein the candidate is given a brief in advance about the companys present and future plans and the challenges ahead and he/she is asked to make a presentation in front of a panel consisting of the board of management. This gives an opportunity to both the parties to understand each other in the light of business priorities and expectations from the position,” adds Partho P Dasgupta, group head-HR and employee relations. In addition, they also use random stimulation method’. The idea, in this case, is to check the ability of the candidate to use any information constructively. Questions on re-designing of common items like umbrella, chair, clock, etc. to assess the ability to shift from structured thinking to unstructured thinking and ultimately reaching to a meaningful conclusion are asked. The other technique used is the sharing of psychometric test results (in selective cases). In normal course, the psychometric test reports are not shared with the candidate. We, however do. It helps candidates to discover something unique about themselves (including some aspect of their personality which might have undergone change over a period of time),” adds Dasgupta. The job landscape will continue to evolve and candidates need to be readyforit!

Experts of India Inc. say that behind every negative feedback is a performance-enhancing lesson. Shankar Velayudhan, executive VP – India & Europe, Mindteck (India) Ltd enlists a few:

Evaluate:

The employee can evaluate the benefits of transforming himself/herself accordingly, which would further make the communication more efficient with his/her seniors.

Discuss:

If the senior gives the feedback publicly, then the employee should share his/her action plan publicly. He/she should go back and learn from the issue and share it with his/her fellow colleagues.

Learn:

The employee can take all these initiatives as a learning experience and try to avoid such problems in the future. This will help to sharpen the employees confidence and groom him/her up for any future tasks.

Matter of trust

“Employee trust can make or break your workplace”

It’s time for business to restore the confidence that has been so widely lost

In times of trouble, when conmen are creeping out of every closet, the thoughts of many turn to trust. In the wake of the Sat-yam scam, several media organizations conducted surveys on trust and the corporate world. In India, most showed the regular suspects – the Tata Group, Infosys, the HDFC group – emerge on top. There were others who distributed haloes to a large private sector group, whose operational style has always been controversial. You cant trust these surveys on trust,” says Mumbai-based HR consultant D. Singh. They too can be rigged.”

           Indeed, trust the world over is at low ebb. The 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer says that there has been huge attrition in recent times. This year, the world had more reasons than ever before to suspend its trust Governments bailed out banks in New York and London. Melamine-laced baby formula rolled off assembly lines into the homes of Chinese parents. American auto executives descended on Washington hungry for handouts. An Illinois governor was led away in handcuffs. And as a $50 billion Ponzi scheme collapsed, an Indian tech moguls fraudulent enterprise started to crumble.”

           But India was perhaps less affected than most. The percentage of people who trust corporations less this year is 49 for India, against 62 globally, 77 in the US and 73 in Germany. China too was above the halfway mark at 56. Business has had the benefit of the doubt for 25 years,” concludes the report. It must now re-earn the mantle of authority by restoring the confidence that has been lost.” Without trust, it will be difficult for business to help rebuild the financial system or have the license to innovate – much less operate.

           Does trust really matter? From a companys point of view, it certainly does. Trust is what builds a brand; the Infosys brand name, for instance, is more valuable than its fixed assets. The Infosys brand value in 2007-2008 was estimated at Rs.31863 crore. Singularly, while its market capitalization fell 28% during the year, the brand value inched up marginally.

           Its in difficult times that trust begins to matter more. From the customers perspective, there is a tendency to go with a trusted name than a less reliable company. When the economy is booming, you can try out that new TV brand. When it is not, you buy a new model from the company that gave you yeoman service all these years.

           Trust matters even more for internal stakeholders. Company managements may have to resort to the pink slip. But they have to be seen to care (see box). You cant sack the junior staff and give bonuses to the brass. The American International Group (AIG), which has provoked anger in the US because of its $165 million bonus payouts while surviving on bailout funds, will inevitably have to change its name and image in the next few years. Remember Union Carbide?

           According to Watson Wyatt, in December, 20% US companies in its survey had frozen executive pay. In March 2009, the number rose to 55%. In India, companies are resorting to across-the-board pay cuts, with the biggest cuts coming at the top. There have been grumbles, but no protests.

           Singh says that this is an opportunity for Indian companies to build trust. The exercise with external stakeholders is necessarily more drawn out. But how you treat your employees in this downturn will affect your performance in later, better years. Companies like Maruti Suzuki and Dabur are even now working on innovative perks for their talented people. But the key is that everyone should get a shot at the rewards, not just the top people,” says Singh. Forget the raises. Just an office party and a lucky dip can build camaraderie and trust, provided everyone knows that they are together through thick and thin.”


KEEP THE FAITH

The road to rebuilding trust: The four pillars of public engagement

 

Private sector diplomacy: Business has the opportunity and responsibility to become an actor in developing solutions to global problems. Business must partner with governments and NGOs to address key policy issues and the most pressing problems, not merely the ones that impact their bottom line.

Mutual social responsibility: Companies must realign their business practices so they deliver dual objectives: benefit society and the bottom line.

Shared sacrifice: When workers are losing jobs and investors are seeing stock values plummet, voluntary executive pay cuts and forfeiting of bonuses send a powerful message that leaders are in tune with the realities facing employees.

Continuous conversation: 60% of the respondents said they need to hear information about a company three to five times before they believe it. The CEO should set forth the companys position, but then others including industry experts, academics and ordinary citizens must echo it.