KNOWLEDGE IS POWER FOR THE ONGOERS --PASSIVE SEEKERS --SAFE HAVENS IN CHOPPY TIMES --JUST IN TIME --AT YOUR SERVICE --
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Knowledge is an essential part of our individual and organizational ability to innovate, compete and succeed. Competence in knowledge and information management is crucial to success in the global economy. Such competence enables organizations to make sense of the increasing complexity and change in business and socio-political environments, make sound decisions under conditions of uncertainty, and innovate and implement on the basis of distinctive knowledge and expertise.
True knowledge-based organizations develop their knowledge and information management practices as a generic core competence that supports and enhances all their business processes. They remain at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines through continuous research, training and application of these practices.
What do I have to do?
This is the beginning of a new era in which individuals are leading rather than managing knowledge. In the past, many knowledge-based initiatives have failed because leaders underestimated the powerful link between knowledge and performance improvement – and also because they mistakenly thought that information was the same as knowledge. Knowledge leadership authors Steven A. Cavaleri and Sharon Seivert claim that while information is a necessary precursor to knowledge, it is not sufficient in itself for improving business performance. The authors describe notable organizations that use pragmatic knowledge strategies to gain competitive advantage. Pragmatic knowledge is the result of individuals developing a deeper understanding of how (and why) things work best in practice. Knowledge leaders build high-performing, knowledge-based organizations.
Only by executing your knowledge leadership responsibilities effectively will the organization benefit from your experience. Generative knowledge creation occurs only when people strive to accomplish something that matters deeply to them. The whole notion of generative knowledge creation can appear to be abstract and meaningless unless people become enthused about a shared vision to which they are committed. Knowledge leadership is flexible and adaptive as new knowledge is assimilated by the members and distributed via the organization’s culture.
Knowledge leaders have to lead from the rear as well as from the front. Engaging the ideas and opinions of staff at all levels of the organization is essential to establishing credibility and building trust. They have to stimulate sharing and collaboration by demonstrating their value. Successful collaborative projects have to be celebrated and communicated; knowledge sharing has to be incentives and rewarded (great ideas should never be “stolen” by management); original thinking has to be encouraged and where necessary, long-standing organizational orthodoxies have to be opened to revision.
“Soft skills” feature high among the requirements for 21st century knowledge leaders. Knowledge leaders must have the ability to:
1. Engage with staff at all levels of the organization and demonstrate empathy with the challenges they face
2. Understand the interests and motivations of staff and in doing so, nurture their innovation and sense of inquiry
3. Offer feedback and be open to criticism
4. Recognize others for their efforts, ideas and contribution
5. Create the right work environment and establish a culture of mutual trust and respect; ensure that no one gets ahead at someone else’s expense
6. Change the behaviour of others by personally demonstrating the qualities they hope to inspire
7. Encourage leadership and initiative at all levels of the organization, and recognize that by doing so they strengthen their own authority as leaders
8. Champion further education and personal and professional development of all staff
What should I study?
You should be a graduate from any stream with the requisite soft skills. An MBA degree will be useful.
Recognition of the skills necessary to manage people and increase productivity in the workplace means there is a high demand for graduates with the skills to communicate effectively, manage conflict, and respond to change, think strategically and act ethically. Knowledge leadership prepares you for a career in a fast-paced business environment in a leadership position. Knowledge leaders can pursue careers in leadership in a wider range of organizations as well as in human resource management, strategic business development, government, consultancy, teaching and research.
COMPETENCE IN KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT IS CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.
PASSIVE CANDIDATES, WHO ARE NOT ACTIVELY LOOKING OUT FOR A JOB CHANGE ARE HIGHLY DESIRED BY ORGANISATIONS THESE DAYS. DEEPESH DAS FINDS OUT WHY ORGANISATIONS ARE REACHING OUT TO THIS NEW BATCH OF JOB SEEKERS
Are you content and happy with your job? Is there nothing about your organization that annoys you? When was the last time you checked out any opening or looked out for another opportunity? If your answer is ‘yes’ to most of these questions, then you certainly qualify to be a ‘passive candidate’!
Yes, a ‘passive candidate’ is the latest buzzword amongst recruiters and the HR circle these days. The passive candidate – is hard to comprehend and very challenging to recruit and is generally ‘content’ with his/her job. But it is not an easy task to actually identify and approach these passive candidates since they are not out in the open. So, how does an organization do this and what is the best way to do it?
Potential and passive:
Raj Bowen, Managing Director (India), Personnel Decisions International India Private Limited avers, “A passive candidate, in the technical definition, is one who is doing very well in his/her current role/job and would have nil motivation to think of a change in the near future. The most common route to identifying suitable passive candidates is through referral networks where company employees have their own associate circles in other firms and are willing to share that as a recruiting source with HR”.
“The pre-requisite for such identification is an understanding of the characteristics of passive candidates. One cannot rely on technology for this as it needs the personal involvement and recruiters need to play the role of sales people. Recruiters need to have special training to be able to identify, approach and recruit a passive candidate,” informs Reuel Ghosh, CEO and Rev Max Technologies.
Approaching the passive:
Identifying a passive candidate is one thing and approaching one is a different ball game altogether. What would then be the best approach to grab a passive candidate’s attention? What might turn a passive candidate’s head when it comes to recruitment? Yogi Sriram, Program Director, AIMA expresses, “Be crystal clear about the role and reporting relationships and the deliverables. Know the business and business prospects thoroughly. Do proper ‘home work’ about the candidate. Respect the candidates’ need for confidentiality and provide space and time for enquiry”. According to Poonam Sharma, Director, Human Resource, Carrier Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Ltd, “He/she can be approached through a professional head hunter who not only tries to understand the trigger points that could initiate the desire to change but also create an interest level in the new role by highlighting the merits of the role. The candidate can also be approached for his or her recommendation of a suitable candidate for the role that you want to offer him/her”.
Active versus passive:
The employment market is already flooding with active candidates seeking job opportunities or looking for a role change. Why should any organization opt for identifying a passive candidate and approaching him/her instead? What are the advantages of approaching passive candidates? Bowen explains, “A passive candidate has an edge over an otherwise regular active one only when he/she has ‘turned around’ and is excited at the opportunity. The reason for this is that, at this stage, he/she is engaged in a single conversation only and is not actively doing a multi-source job-search. If things move as per plan, the commitment to close is focused and more dependable, making it worth the effort”.
Mohan Sekhar, President & Chief Operating Officer, Collabra shares, “There is always a shortage when it comes to qualified professionals in the market place. Passive candidates are more stable, focused in their careers and loyal to the organizations they belong to. When we recruit such candidates, we can be assured of having added an asset to the company, whereas, an active candidate could potentially be carrying baggage from their previous employment experiences and may not end up being the right fit for us. Both, risk as well as the cost of recruitment are definitely higher with active candidates compared to passive ones”.
Though active candidates have been the most sought after for a long time now in organizations, passive candidates are grabbing the limelight these days making organizations wanting to identify, approach and hence recruit them.
JOBSEEKERS SHOULD CONSIDER INDUSTRIES THAT HAVE REMAINED UNAFFECTED BY THE SLUMP, ADVISES DEEPESH DAS.
Sanush Vijay was all starry-eyed when he filled in his forms for a postgraduate course in travel and tourism. The 23-year-old was confident of a successful career in this sector, as the tourism industry was heading north and the aviation business was enjoying its glorious days. But within a year, things turned topsy-turvy, leaving the Delhi boy in a state of confusion.
“I have been searching for a job for the past three months. I contacted a couple of airlines and travel companies. But so far, I haven’t received any interview calls,” says Vijay who regularly updates his resume on job sites and is in constant touch with consultants. “Maybe I should look for other options,” he laments.
The global economic crisis has ushered in some major changes on the job horizon. Some organizations are retrenching people, some have frozen recruitments, and others are opting to push employees into taking forced have or to consider outplacement options.
“A few companies are scaling down staff strength, which definitely means fewer jobs in the market. The coming year will be challenging from a demand perspective,” says Sanjeev Bhikchandani, CEO of Info Edge, the parent company of Naukri.com, the jobs portal.
However, not everything is as bleak as it seems, and recruiters feel that it is not yet time to hit the panic button. Jobs are still available, even for people with diplomas or degrees in travel and tourism, an area that has taken a beating in recent months.
The good news is that some sectors have so far remained unaffected by the global meltdown. It is time to look at options that may not be as high paying as jobs in the information technology (IT) sector or investment banking, but offer a secure work environment.
“Business that are domestic-centric are more insulated than other sectors,” says Bhikchandani. This would mean looking at recession-proof sectors such as consultancy, healthcare and education.
One has to keep in mind that employment is like a Ferris Wheel – sometimes the rate goes up and sometimes down. Today some of the most sought-after industries are shedding people. According to a recent report by the New Delhi-based industry body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), Indian firms are likely to lay off a quarter of their employees in the next few years. Not everyone shares that assessment, but the apex chamber forecasts that the cuts would be in sectors such as steel, cement, construction, real estate, aviation, IT-enabled services and financial services.
According to Bhikchandani, a few other areas that have been heavily affected include the stock markets and the banking and export industries. “The high interest rates and unavailability of credit has also affected sectors such as real estate and automobiles,” he adds.
But if some segments are feeling the heat of the global economic crisis, some are sailing through. “Industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy and education are still growing,” says E. Balaji, CEO of Ma Foi, the Chennai-based management consultant company. Ma Foi, however, projects a 12% reduction in the number of recruiters approaching it for candidates.
Education, as the expert’s stress, is a sector that is not going to see a southward dip. The spurt in the number of schools and higher learning institutes has opened up new avenues for students who have studied different disciplines. Apart from teachers, educational institutes need administrators, finance and IT experts, public relations managers, counselors and so on.
“The options for back-end operations people are aplenty. People with a corporate background are given preference in educational institutions,” says Poonam Arora, a client service manager who recently switched from a bank to a prominent playschool in New Delhi.
Hospitals are again an area that is flourishing. Medical tourism in India is projected to grow by 30% annually, indicating a huge demand for marketing professionals, doctor-patient relation’s managers and back-office employees. MBA graduates can consider hospital administration as a specialization as administrators are in high demand in state-of-the-art hospitals in major cities.
“These are areas where people from the aviation and hospitality sectors can fit in. A cabin crewmember can work as a client manager anywhere. It’s just a matter of broadening one’s job search,” says Jitin Chawla, director of the Center Career Development, New Delhi, and a career-counseling organization.
In the current scenario, consultants are advising jobseekers to switch streams and consider long-term career goals, instead of focusing on immediate benefits only. For example, it may be worthwhile for MBA students to contemplate specialization in human resources or marketing over the much sought-after options such as finance and retail. IT graduates too can think of jobs outside of software concerns. In fact, IT professionals are much in demand in media houses and health and educational institutes.
Other promising sectors are consultancy and counseling. “During the gloom period, more and more people approach consultants and counselors. Manpower consultancy and outplacement consultancy will be booming during this period,” says Chawla. There are a few organizations that lay off their workers but ask an outplacement consultancy to place the retrenched employees.
There’s also a silver lining to the recession could – talented people will be more in demand than ever before, for companies are going to be choosy about whom they hire. It is a time to polish your soft skills – learning languages, for instance – while adding more strength to your resume. “This is a time when only skilled workers will find an edge. Pick up skills that will give you additional qualifications and broaden your job search,” says Shiv Agrawal of ABC Consultants.
Consultants would also advise a jobseeker to opt for a brand rather than money. According to Agrawal, a person on the job hunt should focus more on the organization than the salary offered. “Get the best possible experience and money will follow suit,” he says. “Across sectors, rationalization of salaries will happen,” adds Balaji.
On a positive note, recruiters are confident that the gloom won’t last long. “This is a temporary phase and things will fall back in place soon. A positive outlook will help you sail through the tough times,” says Chawla.
As job descriptions seem to be encompassing many tasks, deadlines continue to shrink. And at any given point, there is an unsaid demand to improve performance. Thus, time needs management, as employees are strapped of it. Though it is great to be busy but it is more critical to be productive. Deepesh Das discovers.
A multi-tasking employee is never a diminishing asset to an organization. And it is time management that churns out this skill in an employee. “Time management makes an employee more productive, helps him/her reach his/her goal at a faster pace, and most importantly, gives a feeling of contentment and joy,” confirms Arun Rao, VP-HR, and Applabs.
It also helps employees to maintain a work-life balance, which is of paramount importance in today’s stressful environment. Optimum utilization of available time and reducing procrastination are some of the areas that professionals focus on for maximum results. “We encourage our employees to set realistic goals and prioritize them. It is important that they decipher the relevance of goal setting, handling interruptions and find the most effective means to complete their work,” says Nishikant Kadam, vice president-HR, C Bay Systems.
So do employees feel they are organized enough when it comes to managing time? Professionals understand that it is imperative for them to relax and recoup after a hard day’s work. From multi-tasking to prioritization, employees are looking to hone these necessary skills and move steadily up the corporate ladder – while maintaining a life beyond work. At C Bay Systems, where TAT (Turn around Time) is a critical factor for the delivery of services, employee plan and adhere to pre-decided schedules – ensuring they optimally utilize their time during work. During such times, managers or other senior members in the teams support them by mentoring at regular intervals or through workshops.
Similarly at Pangea3, lawyers and engineers are extremely focused on how much time they spend doing a particular task, thereby, achieving maximum efficiency. They know that efficiency not only results in timely production and delivery of work, but also results in substantial quality improvement. “Our people feel organized and believe that they manage their time well because as an organization, we are laser-focused on efficiency and time management,” avers Sanjay Kamlani, Co-CEO, and Pangea3.
While most people use the ubiquitous post-it or people for a To-Do list, an increasingly growing corporate population deploys effective time management tools such as Time Manager toolkit, or electronic ones like Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, the calendar and To Do features on mobile phones, PDAs, Smart Phones and Blackberry devices.
While a lot of people come in with the mindset that their environment does not allow them to manage their time well, a large number of them see a paradigm shift after the training sessions, and realize their own contribution to ineffective time management. In addition to their own attitudes, people express a need for tools/techniques that will help them prioritize and multi-task better. Another often-expressed need is the ability to organize themselves, their tasks, and work areas.
According to Subhasish Das Gupta, group VP-HR and administration (Indian Subcontinent), VLCC, “It is a combination of seamless and clear-cut work management, prioritizing, aid tools, and then if required workshops and trainings to enhance the skills”.
Keep this in mind organizations are taking initiatives to help employees manage their time. Many companies, now waking up to the power of time management, have become conscious of imparting its benefits to its employees.
Yes, more and more corporate are realizing the essence of time now. With increased competition, accountability and constant timeline pressures, top honchos now feel that it is can integral business tool to drive employees’ performance.
SIX YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS FROM THE EAST NOMINATED FOR PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS FOR THE BEST START-UP BUSINESS,
Hassled arranging for a movie ticket or reserving a table for two at your favourite restaurant? There’s an easy solution just a click away. Log on to kitnebaje.com, a start-up that helps one plan what he wants to do at a given time.
This, and another five start-ups from the city, are now vying with each other – and with 24 others from the rest of the country – for an award that promises them better networking, support and visibility.
From web designing to market research to leisure and B2B, these six young minds from the city are now set to prove their worth through innovative business plans that could make them a winner among the best.
And aiding them in their journey is the TATA-NEN Hottest Start-ups Awards, a first-of-its kind people’s choice awards that invites the Indian public to nominate and vote for the best young start-ups in the country. The awards are an initiative to attract visibility for over 800 entrepreneurs and their ventures in India.
Twenty-five-years-old Siddharth Goyal, a mechanical engineer and IIMC pass-out, says: “While we were on the IIMC campus – far away from the main city – we realized the amount of effort it takes for one to actually enjoy a weekend. We surveyed about 200 people, 70% of who were into active planning on how to spend the weekend. It was then that I hit upon the idea of such a one stop-shop for leisure and outings.
Through kitnebaje.com, one can plan meeting up friends in a coffee shop, head off for a lunch or dinner after a movie and even order radio cabs for a ride home or to a night club”. Through his portal, one can plan not only travel (airlines, hotel, car and bus) but also schedule. “You plan your dates, birthdays, anniversaries and order flowers, cakes and chocolates online. It’s a complete service delivery portal, not just a local search,” he adds.
For a middle-class Bengali to take the plunge into an entrepreneurial venture is the outcome of tremendous passion backed by technological excellence. “What I realize is that such risk-taking happens not only with a change in technological advancement but also with a change in perception,” says the 33-year-old techie. With very good family support and an IIMC qualification to back up his dreams, Joy dip Chakladar is an ardent believer in business planning and is the proud founder of Allindialive.com.
“My company is about 16-months-old. Allindialive.com serves a niche requirement of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) for planning solutions and market research. At the same time, we also connect the SMEs with financial institutions. We work with the government as well,” says Joy dip.
Professor Anjan Raichaudhuri of IIMC says, “There has been a definite change in mindset. One reason is that management institutes are now giving entrepreneurship its due importance, the students are getting to know the natty grit ties of starting a business, and then again the media interest in start-ups has also helped”.
A nagging question for many of us is do we always feel lucky when we log on to the Internet or look up a web page? Prabhat Singh tried to find an answer to this and thus was born Reavirl Technology.
A new age search and collaboration platform for the Internet, it’s easy for one to get to know more about the sites, which one is on. “Talk to people who have similar interests as you, and when you need them the most, search and share on Reavirl,” adds Prabhat.
Application developer Shabbir Bhimani, all of 29 years, owns Go4Expert.com. A programming and web development forum, this start-up provides advice and opinions to queries and questions coupled with a vast variety of tutorials and articles related to programming. “Go4Expert.com has over 32000 registered users and has over 13000 articles and discussions on board. It gets over three lakh impressions per month and is one of the best source of information for the programming community,” says Shabbir. For Shailen Lakhani, there’s nothing better than moving around in a world of programmes. Likewise, was born Lakhani Developers, a three-year-old start-up that offers a wide range of custom IT programming services? “We specialize in the development of e-commerce Solutions (B2B & B2C), content management system, etc,” says a very confident Shailen. “It was my educational background in e-commerce and my experiences at a software company that made me visualize the idea of forming a start-up”.
Also in the bandwagon is Rahul Nandi, proud owner of Tunes pray, a free service that allows one to create and deliver multimedia messages to mobile phones in a single download. “Users log onto our online design tool and create unique personalized user mobile promos (PUMPs) with any combination of text, pictures and audio within seconds,” says Rahul.