Indian companies need to start grooming leaders right away -PEOPLE POWER-The Key to an organisation's success-Sucking up to your boss remains the shortest route to corporate success-A truly global organization is determined not only by the percentage of business outside its headquarters location but also the number of associates with global assignments. Explore this trend - Take the time at work to connect and let others know of your achievements -Build a rewarding relationship with your team for greater fulfillment at work -
Creating tomorrow’s leaders
Indian companies need to start grooming leaders right away
Everybody agrees that leaders are the ones who make a difference to an organization. But no one is quite sure how you create him or her. Several years after conducting its studies on the top companies for leaders, global human resources Services Company Hewitt Associates seems to have gone back to the basics. Its 2007 study, which has just been flagged off, intends to “explore the organizational levers that contribute to the development of leadership capability; examine how organizations identify and develop future leadership potential; and analyze the links between leadership practices and organizational performance”.
“In an era of globalization, with Indian companies making rapid strides all over the world, you need to develop leaders,” says Mumbai-based HR consultant D. Singh. “There is a sense of complacency still because many Indian companies don’t realize what it involves. Secondly, they feel that there is a huge mass of people of Indian origin working aboard at very senior executive levels. Today, this seems good enough for all eventualities”.
Companies like Unilever and IBM have a large number of Indians in their ranks. But if, say, a Dabur or an Infosys wants to poach from these multinationals for their international operations, they won’t find it too easy. Infosys is certainly a professionally managed company, but its style of working is different from IBM’s.
The only solution for Indian companies is to develop their own leaders. But the pressures have begun to tell. Hindustan Lever, the Indian subsidiary of Unilever, was once known as a school for CEOs. It stood supreme as a marketing company. Today, it has had to import a CEO from Unilever.
The lever view, of course, is that there is nothing wrong with that. Indians have headed Unilever operations in various countries. So this is, in a sense, more of the same. But a few years ago, if you had to look for a marketing man, your first port of call would have been Hindustan Lever. That is no longer the case today.
A business magazine that wanted to do a story on India’s best marketing men – a follow-up on a story done two decades ago – couldn’t even draw up a shortlist.
The advertising industry – where you could once find much marketing talent – has become a weird place. TV ads, in particular, have gone totally over the top. There are many “brilliant” ads that make you sit up and take notice. But tomorrow, you won’t be able to recall the brand and sometimes, even the product. Marketing has always been the preferred route to the corner office. In India, that’s no longer true.
It’s not that people don’t realize the problem. At The Conference Board’s annual Global Leadership Conference in Mumbai last year, CEOs expressed concern at the lack of development on this front. The only consolation is that when it comes to creating business leaders, China is much worse off than India.
There are no easy answers to the problem. The Hay Group, which has, along with Chief Executive magazine, identified the best US Companies for leaders, has also published a list of the best practices for leadership development. The top three are:
1. Having leaders at all levels that focus on creating a work climate to motivate employees.
2. Ensuring that the company and its senior management make leadership development a top priority.
3. Providing training and coaching to help leadership teams, as well as the individual leaders.
“Leadership development in India will work if executives are given more freedom,” says Singh. “You must create entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, Indian CEOs have not got out of the mindset of micromanagement”.
THOUGH MARKETING AND FINANCE HAVE GENERALLY BEEN POPULAR OPTIONS WITH MBA STUDENTS THE TIDE HAS TURNED. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (HRM) IS NOW ACKNOWLEDGED AS THE KEY TO AN ORGANISATION’S SUCCESS, DEALING WITH ALL ASPECTS OF ACQUIRING, MOTIVATING AND RETAINING EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE ORGANISATION. APPRAISES THE SCOPE OF HRM
This proposition has led to a change in business mindsets and is today, prompting management to take a greater interest in the utilization of their organization’s human resources. Thus, Human Resource Management (HRM) is emerging as a vital component in the growth of every economy. “As a discipline, HR has matured over the years and the whole outlook towards HR has undergone tectonic changes,” said G Ravindran, managing director, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – India, who has over three decades of experience in various specializations in HR. By definition, “Human Resource Management is the function within an organization that focuses on recruitment, management, and the direction of the people in the organization”.
HRM vs HRD:
HRM is essentially concerned with basic employee management. “It encompasses the traditional area that most people think of as HR, including compensation and benefits, recruiting and staffing employ-ees and labor relations and occupational health and safety” explains Shreya Banerjee an HR executive with a cellular service provider.
Dave Ulrich, Professor of Business at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, defines four fields for HRM:
1. Strategic business partner
2. Change agent
3. Employee champion
Human Resource Development (HRD) on the other hand, deals with the development of the resou-rces in a company – organizational development, performance management, training and learning, and coaching. In the broader sense it means evaluating the performance of employees and helping employees learn new skills.
Make an informed choice:
A good way to start a career in HR is to determine what side of HR you want to work on: HRM or HRD. A good question to ask yourself is: “Do I want to build and implement processes and program-mes at the workplace, or do I want to help develop people and transform behavior at the workplace”? However, choosing one does not mean you are stuck with it forever. Many HR professionals start out in HRM to understand the field and then move into HRD to hone their development.
HRM is an evolving and dynamic field that challenges the ability of even the most seasoned profe-ssionals to keep abreast of policies, procedures, compliance requirements and best practices. “In today economy, talent acquisition is the foremost business challenge that the HR function faces,” declares Judhajit Das, Chief, Human Resource, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, adding, “The lack of invest–ment in education has led to an acute shortage of talented professionals, who can take the onus for change in a developing economy like India, and thus the challenge gets even tougher”.
Business schools worldwide have incorporated HR as an important subject of study. “At the Indian School of Business, ‘organizational behavior’ is a compulsory course, hence all students have to complete it successfully. The electives we offer include a variety of subjects, including negotiation skills, conflict resolution and strategic HR among others,” states Bhuvana Ram lingam, Senior Director – Communications, Indian School of Business (ISB).
If you like systems, analytics and processes, a career in HRM may just are the thing for you. Remember, the key ingredients to success as an HRM professional lie in one’s understanding of the business and overall alignment of all activities to the core business strategies.
In the administrative role, there isn’t much specialized training required. However, to become a strate-gic business partner, a change agent or an employee champion (specialist roles), one needs to have substantial knowledge of the business and processes. “The industry expects a qualified HR professio-nal to bring on board specialty knowledge by virtue of which they can ‘make visible the unseen’,” avers Ravindran. For instance, in a renowned FMCG company, it is imperative for HR professionals to come with an experience of a stint outside the realm of HR (say the sales or plant), which is crucial for better understanding of the business. This helps them earn the credibility of line managers and also facilitates creation of a synergy within the organization.
Eligibility and money matters:
A bachelor’s degree in management allows entry into a junior cadre of HRM, and an MBA is gener-ally a prerequisite for entry into mid-level/senior positions in HR. You should be able to manage a huge workload in a fast-paced environment and have excellent verbal ability and written communicat-ion skills. The skill that sets apart HRM professionals from others is their ability to leverage their specialized knowledge of people for better business.
The money in this field is also reasonably high. “Students from tier two B-schools can look forward to a package of about Rs.5,50,000 (fixed) and a bonus of about Rs.1,50,000 (dependent on performan-ce) in our organization,” reveals Das.
The growth curve:
The Vault Guide to Human Resources Careers says: “An HRM professional might start out as a generalist, then choose a specialty area of HRM, such as benefits, and become a benefits manager. After that, the candidate may choose to remain in the specialty area, or move into an HR leadership role”. Today, the traditional HR functions of staffing, recruiting, compensation and benefits are losing ground to a new generation of value-added core HR functions that include career planning, executive development, training, succession planning and organizational development. Juggling responsibilities of talent management and organizational development with equal ease is the need of the hour for HRM professionals. If a person is interested in academics, then an MBA with a specialization in HR or organizational behavior is the best option. This, followed by doctorate in the same field, would make you eligible to teach HR or OB at any institution.
1. Indian Institutes of Management
4. Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai (www.nmims.edu)
5. Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, (www.fswmsu.in)
6. The TATA Institute of Social Sciences, (http://www.tiss.edu/mapmir.htm)
7. Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISW & BM), Kolkata (www.iiswbm.edu)
8. XLRI Jamshedpur (www.xlri.ac.in)
9. University of Lucknow, Lucknow (www.lkouniv.ac.in)
The way up to heaven
Sucking up to your boss remains the shortest route to corporate success
If you trawl the Net for ways you can skill your career, you will probably wonder why you have a job at all. The short of things you can do wrong range from the obvious to the recondite.
Power Etiquette: What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Career, a book by Dana May Cabperson, tells you how much you should tip the waiter when you have taken a client to a meal. If you are too tight-fisted you could kiss your next deal – and career – goodbye. Use the wrong knife or fork and you are well on your way to slipping down the corporate ladder.
That’s debatable. Today, business and deal making has moved out of shift-upper-lip British confines to an earthier environment. Today, you can come wearing a clown’s dress. Of course, there will be eye-browns raised. But it won’t kill your career, if you can deliver.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are issues of good personal housekeeping. John West, author of The Only Trait of a Leader, lists five fatal flaws: ignoring dead-lines; sloppy work; assuming that you are always right; using jaw-breaking communication to look smarter; and refusing to be a team member.
CNN.com has another list of how not to progress in today’s cubicle farms that are typical of most workplaces. Among the things you can do wrong are: Don’t censor your decorations; conduct all your calls on speakerphone; use your cube walls to sound off on political issues; use your shelves for your teddy bear collection; eat lost of tuna at your desk; don’t bother cleaning up after yourself; spend loads of time surfing the Net; keep your cell phone ringer on high; and come to work sick.
How to kill your career
Failing to follow through: You may be the hardest worker in the company, but if your boss and colleagues cannot rely on you to deliver results as promi-sed, you may be passed over for plum assignments.
Refusing to admit your mistakes: Cr-eating an excuse to justify poor perfor-mance is dishonest and unprofessional.
Becoming complacent: Those who simply serve their time often get lost in the organization.
Running on empty: Working on over-drive can be just as dangerous to your career as simply getting by.
Being too modest: It’s all right to blow your own trumpet in the office once in a while. Not receiving the cre-dit you deserve can hinder your career growth.
Damaging team spirit: You are likely to work with members of the group again and need their assistance so keep relationships friendly.
And there are some things you can’t do much about. A survey by Just For Men Haircolour says that looks count; handsome people go further in life. You can’t change your looks. But, expectedly, JFM has its own solution. Says the company: “According to the JFM strategies for job success survey, more than 77% of career consultants agree that in today’s economy, looking younger gives men a competitive edge in the job market. Don’t let gray hair limit your opportunities in getting your dream job. It’s one feature that can be changed”.
In today world, the senior executive is more likely to be pulling out his hair than dyeing it. “Levels of frustration are very high,” says Mumbai-based HR consultant Shashi Rao. “And they become higher with all these lists of the things you can do wrong”.
Rao says one should instead focus on the things one can do right. However, with the several screen-ing processes most companies have, it is assumed that none will fall short in basic skills. Of course, you can never measure attributes like capacity for hard work. But every company will have its quota of time-servers.
The real secret to progress remains effective networking. This actually incorporates such diverse factors as team building and table manners; if you splutter into your soup, you won’t get that second invite.
Networking is important in all segments. But as far as your career within the company goes, the most important players are your bosses. Unfortunately, though no HR professional will admit it, what works best is still as osmosis, defined as “a process by which people absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss”. For many, that doesn’t sound very feel-good either.
Ready for take-off?
It is said that the most familiar sight after the snow-capped mountains in Europe is that of an Indian tetchier trudging up those mountains. A truly global organization is determined not only by the percentage of business outside its headquarters location but also the number of associates with global assignments. Explore this trend.
Overseas operations used to be thought of as subsidiaries to help increase sales; now they’re part of a network for accessing knowledge and human capital around the world. Employees in the Hyderabad office might know something about product development that Tokyo office does not, and you need them for that knowledge not just for additional sales. For many organizations, preparing and support-ing expatriate workforce represents an important investment of company resources. In fact, the stakes are high for all involved. For employees, such an assignment is often viewed as an opportunity, yet they must also contend with unfamiliar surroundings and cultural adjustments that can be particularly challenging. For the employer, providing ongoing support for an expatriate worker involves many judgment calls. Thus, identifying an approach to expatriate benefits that works well both for the company and its employees is critically important. A recent Mercer report, “Expatriate Management Survey – India,” identifies the latest international assignment policies for managing a globally mobile group of employees. The report describes expatriate compensation approaches, trends in expatriate allowances and support, and the use of varying assignments (including short term, long term and commuter assignments).
The strategic challenge:
Due to significant investments that are involved, organizations have to consider how to select the right people for the assignment, manage performance and communication issues and ensure that expatriates are successfully repatriated or reassigned when their assignments are done. “While considering exec-utives for international assignments it will not make business sense to make the movement if the same skill set can be hired locally at lower costs. So companies need to look at international assignments much beyond the need of just filling in a position – but from a larger angle of developing the talent pipeline within the company by planned job rotations and cross-country exposure. Here numbers involved may to be very large – but the long term benefits will outweigh the short term costs,” says a spokesperson from Tata Communications. Organizations also ensure that assignees commit to a minimum timeframe of international work to ensure learning and knowledge transfer.
Show me the money:
Some of the most common challenges faced by employers of international assignees are those regard-ing the competitiveness of expatriate packages, issues with different tax structures and of overall cost containment. Says Rupam Mishra, who leads Mercer’s global mobility practice in India, “While inter-national assignment policies typically contain localization terms and conditions, companies often deal with localization on a case by case basis so as not to demotivate employees”. Richa Tripathi, Vice President, Talent Engagement & Development, Wipro BPO, explains their compensation approach: (1) Compensation is a healthy mix of base pay and variable component, (2) Domain based differential compensation grids, language premium, etc, (3) Applicable local regulations are considered for incen-tive and bonus payouts, (4) Support from international consulting firms for practices alignment and (5) Ensuring participation in market survey for bench–marking compensation data and benefits. Keep-ing in mind that compensation is a key area of concern for international assignees, as well as the employers, most progressive organizations follow the trend of custom designed resettlement packages depending on the needs of the executive who is relocating.
Setting up house:
When you hire someone, you are not only hiring his/her knowledge and expertise but also his/her culture, social beliefs and values. The Mercer survey results show that unlike frameworks of their Western counterparts, policies around softer issues such as pre assignment, during assignment and end of assignment support have not yet been developed well by the Indian companies. “Although acknowledged universally and addressed increasingly, ‘softer’ issues such as spouse support measures and repatriation planning still often take second place to daily operational aspects of international assignment management,” adds Mishra.
In fact, Tata Communications considers the “setting down” process a challenge and says that it impacts employee “readiness” on the job. Prince Augustine, Senior Vice President, Human Capital, Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive Sector, explains their approach, “In the initial phase, there are culture familiarization visits involved for the expert and his/her family to help him/her and family get adapted to the new surroundings. Help is also extended by companies by offering them a consultant or coach’s assistance that can help them settle down”. Adds Tripathi, “We have a dedicated team of overseas operations team that takes care of all such movements and ensures that it provides the neces-sary support to the family members for such movements. The support varies from helping to fill the visa forms to help them settle, once they are aboard. Assignees also commit for a minimum timeframe of international work to ensure learning and knowledge transfer. Employee friendly policies like on–site leave, initial salary advance, extra baggage allowance, children’s education allowance, family health policies, mandated insurance coverage, etc”.
Such Rita Pileup – Head, Talent Management, System Computer Services says that to address the spouse dissatisfaction issue, they try provide opportunities for the spouse as well provided they are also System employees.
Historically, companies produced their goods and services locally and sold them globally. Truly global companies now produce, buy, and sell globally thus making it imperative for organizations to design a strategy for their globally mobile workforce.
Count on your contacts
Take the time at work to connect and let others know of your achievements
Between two jobs, a three-year-old son, marriage, a house in mid-renovation and eldercare responsibi-lities, Susan Diachisin doesn’t have the time to fill out a nametag, let alone attend events or make networking rounds at work. Lucky for her – and her career – she isn’t afraid to network outside traditional arenas. Today, women are busier than ever.
The silver lining is that busier also means more networking connections. For example, Diachisin has explored career change through contacts in her monthly women’s group and found one of her present jobs through a friend from graduate school.
“I’m constantly busy,” says Diachisin. “A lot of networking happens in my social life when I’m re-laxed and don’t have to get tasks done”.
Stay in touch: Career counselor, lecturer and author Valerie Young says that women have many opportunities for networking. She encourages women to build networking contacts by examining the components of their lives. Start with present and past work experience, but then also add places where you volunteer, groups you may meet through children or family, clubs and friends. Don’t rule out spots like the gym, the park and other casual and unstructured environments.
Sheer chance: Ali Marchildon isn’t one to dismiss a chance meeting. Her handmade bags, which she started as a hobby, garnered enough attention last year and she suddenly found herself in business. “I needed help, and I was whining about it to my hairdressers,” she says. Her hairdresser happened to have a friend who was trying to start a similar business. Marchildon and this contact founded Flash–bags and enrolled themselves in a women’s small-business programme. “That led to meeting all kinds of people,” says Marchildon. Her openness to networking has resulted in a booming business just a year and a half after moving to a new state.
Workplace wonders: Settings that have nothing to do with work may actually be natural places for women to make career connections. Deborah Vaughan, an independent career counselor, says that women in the workplace tend to be hardworking, to a fault.
“Women assume if what they are doing is high quality, it will be rewarded,” says Vaughan. Men, on the other hand, tend to take the time at work to connect and notify others of their accomplishments.
1. Learn to promote yourself: “There’s a social reality that can’t be ignored,” say Young. “A women who is self-promoting can be perceived differently from a man who is self-promoting”.
2. Be honest: Bringing up your career at a book club or a mom’s group may seem awkward, so Vaughan suggests practicing how to introduce career-related topics into such environments simply and honestly.
3. Stop feeling selfish: Asking for help on your career from someone who is not a business contact can feel like unfair exploitation. To quell this feeling, remember you have information and advice to offer.
Work your charm at Work
Build a rewarding relationship with your team for greater fulfillment at work
BEGINGING TODAY, TREAT everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster and do it with no thought of reward. Your life will never be the same again,” wrote Of Mandingo, the great inspiration thinker.
In this age of rapid technological change, where computers are obsolete the moment they come to the market and business models that have governed commerce for decades have been rendered use-less by the web, one time-honored principle endures: how high you rise in business will ultimately come down to how well you treat people. The more prevalent technology becomes, the more import-ant it becomes to master the art of developing deep connections with the people who surround you.
Here are four effective lessons to better your business relationships and correspondingly, raise the levels of your success and fulfillment at work.
Add value: Too many people in business are consumed by short-term thinking where they view a customer as a one-time source of revenue rather than as someone with whom a life-long relationship needs to be nurtured before it yields the win-win results you are seeking. I recently engaged a graphic design firm to create a new brochure for a leadership seminar I was to deliver to a group of investment advisers. While the quality of the brochure was excellent, the agency charged me triple the going rate for the work it did. I quietly paid the invoice but vowed never to do business with that company again.
Promises to keep: Doing what you say you will do is the best way to begin your relationships. It will also raise the level of your credibility vis-à-vis your colleagues and customers. We live in a world of hype where people say they will deliver a certain result and then, once they get the order, they never follow through on their commitment. Yet, success in business and in life lies in the follow-through. The smallest of actions is always better than the noblest of intentions and peak performers always do what they say they will do, even when it is not easy for them to deliver on the commitment.
Honesty counts: A strong commitment to working with integrity requires a daily commitment to honesty. In a crowded marketplace where customers have never had so many choices as to who they will do business with, people will drive many miles to give their business to someone who is honest and sincerely cares about their best interests. Make some time over the coming week to reflect on how often you tell little untruths and obscure minor facts. In business, as in life, the little things are the big things and your personal conduct in dealing with others is the most important driver of long-lasting success.
Hearty matter: As you enrich your relationships, always remember this cardinal rule: before some–one lends you a hand; you must touch their heart. The people who really succeed in business are those who dedicate themselves to astonishing their teammates and customers with daily acts of decency and common acts of humanity.
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