The Recruitment Process Conducted By HR Professionals Does Not Always Zero In On The Best --Performance Appraisals Are No Longer About Monetary Increments And Designation Hikes,Finds Out How Several Organisations React To These --Workplace Question is 'Should A Moral Policy Officer Be Introduced At The Workplace' ? --Organisations Are Using Their 'Green' Image To Build A Positive Brand Internally And Externally --
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DON’T LET HR HIRE: The recruitment process conducted by HR professionals does not always zero in on the best.
The one-thing HR professionals seem agreed on is that the maximum mistakes their department make is in the hiring process. In fact, recent research by recruitment and HR advisory firm Recruitment Roundtable says that only 50% of all new hires are the right fit for their jobs.
This does not mean that half the intake comprises total duds. It’s just that a little bit of care would have ensured a better fit. “You end up with the passable instead of the best,” says Mumbai-based HR consultant D. Singh.
This matters but not too much when the economy is booming and candidates are tougher to find than jobs. But when the situation reverses – as has happened today, albeit temporarily – the warts in the selection process are there for all to see.
Recruitment experts say that the problem starts with the HR department itself. Nick Crocodiles enumerates the 10 Stupid Hiring Mistakes employers make. At No.1 is the desire to get an exact fit and not a best fit. You want a certain portfolio of talents with the candidate. The chances are you will never get all of them. This approach is for specialized jobs and you must go out and seek rather than wait for applicants to reply to your ad. HR professionals within an organization are notoriously desk–bound; you can recognize a star that you want to have in your organization only if you meet him in the field.
Crocodiles’ second “mistake” takes a further potshot at the HR department. The problem, he says, is that HR does the recruiting. “Consider that the person who first talks to a prospective hire is your company’s front line of communication with your professional community. What does an HR representative – even the best one in your company – really know about the work your department does”? His solution: if you want an engineer, get the engineers in your company to vet him.
“All these things work when you have the time and the resources to go about recruitment in a systematic fashion,” says Singh. “Over the past few years in India, it has been more of taking people in without many checks”. This has resulted in the recruitment of both dishonest (with a fudged track record and sometimes even a criminal past) and incompetent employees.
Today, IT and BPO companies are getting rid of the chaff. That’s good news. What is not is the fact that if business hadn’t hit a rough patch because of the financial crisis and the possible recession in the West, these employees would have continued on the rolls. “What is worse news is that companies are not using this opportunity to put systems in place,” says Singh.
If anything, companies have been shirking the responsibility. Most large organizations today believe in pre-screening. They give this job to an outside agency. HR professionals confess that one of the reasons for this is to avoid nepotism; it is standard practice in India to get as many jobs as you can for your extended family. (Curiously, it has become a best practice in the West also. But there the performance of those you bring in reflects on you). But pre-screening may eliminate some of the deadwood; it doesn’t ensure the candidate fits your organizational culture.
Crocodiles are not alone in giving recruitment advice. The Internet is full of lists of top recruitment mistakes. It is a problem not for the company alone. The Recruitment Roundtable survey reveals that 40% of all hires feel that they are misled to some extent during the recruitment process. The result: unhappy employees and post-purchase dissonance.
“We may have a windows of six months to a year when the mad recruitment of recent times will slow down,” says Singh. “The wise will use the opportunity to put their house in order”.
Performance appraisals are no longer about monetary increments and designation hikes. Finds out how several organizations, today, in an endeavor to recognize the relentless efforts put in by their employees and also win their loyalty are switching over to half-yearly appraisal systems.
At a time when many companies are engaged in unrelenting searches for ways to improve operations, reduce costs, fight attrition and increase retention, there is one aspect of organizational life that has gained immense impetus: performance appraisal. Since, switching jobs is no big deal nowadays, performance reviews play a crucial part in ensuring that an employee stays in the organization and is constantly engaged. As the rate of employment continues to decline drastically due to the economic slump, most companies are working towards retaining and strengthening the talent pool that they already have. And in order to achieve that, organizations are introducing half-yearly appraisal systems.
Unbiased and timely… Nirula’s has a half-yearly appraisal system, which was started a year go. “This activity was started keeping in mind the dynamic behavior of the industry. With a half-yearly appraisal system, the employee gets feedback twice a year, which gives him/her a chance to re-look at his/her approach of working. Necessary steps are also undertaken for employees who deviate from their goals,” informs Ajeet Chauhan, VP, HR & Training and Nirula’s. “We have introduced a comprehensive system of ‘quarterly appraisals’ where an employee selects his/her own goals or Key Result Areas (KRA), every quarter and himself/herself assesses his/her own performance against these parameters,” states Pradeep Chak, VP and Owner – Marketing & Corporate Communication, Topsgrup. At Spice Jet, while formally the process is annual, for several of the frontline employees, there are performance related quarterly payouts designed to incentives their performance. “This has resulted in quarterly assessments which are aligned overall to annual KRA,” expresses Surajit Banerjee, VP HR, Spice Jet Limited.
“At Era Group, it was decided in 2002 that they shall have a midterm review for all those who have been performer, thereby creating an expectation amongst the employees of an increase in salary, twice a year if they perform well,” adds Raj Sharma (Vice President – HR) Era Group. According to Sachin Marya, CEO, Franchise India Holdings Ltd (FIHL), “We used to have annual appraisals earlier, but then we felt that the incentives were not enough to motivate the sales department, which generates major revenues for the organization. So, we introduced the system of quarterly appraisals about one and a half year ago”.
On the other hand, though VLCC does not have a half yearly performance appraisal system, they have gone a step further and introduced a monthly review system, three months ago.
Effective and rewarding… Until a while ago, most companies were doing half-yearly reviews which meant overall assessing an employees performance in the past six months and giving deserving increments and designation hikes that commensurate with their performance. But, now, several organizations have revised their appraisal systems and added monetary increments and designation hikes too.
“At FIHL, we do give monetary increments and designation hikes, according to the performance. If the employee deserves both, we give him/her both the advantages; otherwise at least one of them. Designation hikes are given annually. These are proportional to efforts of the individual, team and the department. Designation changes are given keeping in mind the immense responsibility one has to shoulder in a high rank. Monetary increments are primarily incentives that are given either in cash or kind; for example, we give them travel packages within India or outside. Also, we have an accumulating incentive scheme in which employees can accumulate incentives and get them annually, with interest,” informs Marya. Similarly, at Nirula’s, the company has a half yearly performance appraisal system. “To meet the new demands of the business and to motivate the employees for higher performance, we have started linking a part of the salary increase to individual performance measures as variable pay. At present, between 6 to 8% of the compensation is variable pay, which we are planning to increase over a period of time. Executives are categorized in levels based on their performance in a relative ranking and based on outcome, performance-linked pay is awarded,” explains Chauhan.
“VLCC monthly reviews are conducted at the beginning of every month by the supervisors. For example, the monthly target setting and monthly review is done for the senior leadership by the CMD in a one to one meeting. Likewise, the head of departments do it for their team members. Even though there are no monetary increment and designation hikes, achievements are celebrated,” adds Subhasish Das Gupta, Group VP – HR and Administration Indian Subcontinent, VLCC. Banerjee adds, “At Spice Jet, we give incentives, but all salary hikes outside the annual appraisal are market driven. If that merits correction, it is done based on market data”.
Friendly and fair… For this initiative to be effective, it’s essential that the top management show their commitment and contributes towards translating organizational goals into personalized employee specific objectives. “It is important to have regular performance appraisals in an organization because it helps make appropriate reward decision, enhance productivity, boost employee morale, identify potential leaders, identify training needs and promote a healthy manager-subordinate dialogue, “Chauhan elucidated.
Gupta says, “Monthly reviews are beneficial, both for the company as well as the employee. A company can take stock of what is being done on a monthly basis and update and channels an employee’s efforts on what is the focus for that month”.
Marya adds that such appraisals have proven to be very beneficial for their organization, as when one gets an incentive, other team members also get motivated and show good results. “It is very important to be sensitive to people. We are lucky to have some people in our organization who have been there since inception and have now become a valuable asset for us. We have been able to retain several employees in our organization through this new system of appraisals, in the last one and a half year,” adds Marya. In a nutshell half-yearly appraisals act as excellent motivational tools for employees and also help fetch more productivity from the workforce. It’s a win-win situation for both as the organizations, too, benefit from this practice by winning the loyalty of their employees. So, have you introduced a half-yearly appraisal system, yet?
WITH MORAL POLICING BECOMING AN ONGOING ACTIVITY IN MOST SEGMENTS OF THE SOCIETY, IT SEEMS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT IN THE NEAR FUTURE, THESE MORAL OFFICERS MIGHT JUST DICTATE THE WAY EMPLOYEES CONDUCT THEM-SELVES AT THE WORKPLACE. THEREFORE THE QUESTION IS, “SHOULD A MORAL POLICY OFFICER BE INTRODUCED AT THE WORKPLACE”?
Towards greener pastures…
WITH TECHNOLOGIES CHANGING RAPIDLY, AND KNOWLEDGE OF GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES BEING SO EASILY ACCESSIBLE (THANKS TO THE INTERNET), THE CONCEPT OF GREEN ARCHITECTURE IS NO LONGER JUST TEXTBOOK KNOWLED-GE. INFACT, ORGANISATIONS ARE USING THEIR ‘GREEN’ IMAGE TO BUILD A PO-SITIVE BRAND INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY.
You enter your office building and go straight to the parking lot. What do you get to see there? Parking is not allowed in the basement. Wonder why? Just to increase vegetation. Not only this, there are preferred car parking areas for car-pooling vehicles and recharge stations for alternative fuel vehicles. Now imagine this! Your office uses sensitive air conditioners that automatically alter the room temperature depending on the number of people in the room. It also uses eco-friendly paint on the walls. The structure of the office building is designed in such a way that it uses 95% natural light. Well, don’t be surprised. You are simply working in a green environment! Corporate India is steadily waking up to the benefits of green architecture including significantly lower running costs and a better brand image. Companies are also increasingly acknowledging the benefits of green architecture not just from an environmental perspective, but also even from a cost management angle.
THE GREEN REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN… Different companies may have different reasons but the most important reason for a company to move towards a green architecture is its commitment towards environment conservation. Patni’s green IT – BPO Knowledge Center in Noida is a case in point. It is designed to use less energy, water and natural resources as well as creates less waste. The state-of-art facility is built as per the guidelines of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) India Green Building Rating System for New Construction. According to Patni, it is one of the first few buildings in India that is being jointly audited by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
“People are the most important assets of a company and it is vital to provide them with a healthy work environment. This becomes all the more important to us, as we run our BPO and KPO operation on a 24x7 basis. Green environment provides occupants access to natural light and outside view, which has a pleasant and soothing effect on them. In addition, productivity of people having access to natural light can be about 15% higher,” says Sanjiv Kapur, senior vice president and head of Patni-BPO. Kapur stresses that while green buildings require between 5% and 7% additional investment, the cost can be recovered within 24 to 30 months.
In case of Cisco, the company feels that its employees need a green and a healthy environment to be truly productive. Cisco campuses have ergonomically designed workplaces, recreational facilities and green areas to provide employees with a “world class work environment”. Leveraging a new online community, ‘Let’s Talk Cisco Green,’ employees are now sharing best practices and their recommendations to help Cisco meet its environmental goals. Employees are also sharing their perspectives via short video clips downloadable from a new green-focused website. Cisco also has group (multiple) email aliases of green-minded employees who share information. Cisco’s Verges M. Thomas, vice president – Corporate Communication, CISCO – India and SAARC – Sales and Globalization Center East say, “We believe that the network can become a ‘green platform’ for technology to help transform the way in which we manage global environmental challengers”.
Adds Thomas, “Some of the green initiatives at the campus include – rain water harvesting for irrigation and fertilization, garbage/organic waste recycling into biogas for cooking, usage of socially responsible green materials, daylight harvesting for internal environment, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) with electronic ballasts, use of occupancy sensors in enclosed spaces, harmonic filters for power conditioning and energy saving, etc”.
Motorola’s manufacturing facility near Chennai was recently honored with the ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)’ silver certification by the Indian Green Building Council. Under the LEED Green Building Rating System, the facility was evaluated on several parameter such as efficiency of water usage, energy, material and resource selection, besides indoor environmental quality. Henry Mohan, director, manufacturing, Motorola India says, “The plant implement rain water harvesting capable of collecting about 10000 kilolitres of water. We have a green belt surrounding the premises covering approximately 120000 square feet. We have adopted a ‘whole-building’ approach to sustainability”.
THE GREEN EFFECT: Since buildings are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, to combat climatic change, it is critical for the building industry to rapidly adopt sustainable design practices.
According to Sunil MK, Head – AEC, AutoDesk (India & SAARC), “As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new phenomenon called green building is gaining momentum. Research and experience increasingly demonstrate that when buildings are designed and operated with their lifecycle impacts in mind, they can provide great environmental, economic and social benefits”.
Speaking about the AutoDesk Building Information Modeling (BIM), Sunil adds, “It is a strategy which uses technology to represent buildings as digital simulations rather than using technologies to make traditional CAD drafting drawings. It is a platform to understand the lifecycle of buildings, the relationship between the players and the project, methodologies for collaboration while giving the ability to create profound design information as part of the design process”.
THE GREEN CARPET IS SET … Setting standards in energy conservation, Tesco, Hindustan Service Center (HSC), Tesco’s global services arm in Bangalore, has become the first campus in India to completely change 2500 CFL lamps used for interior to LED. As a part of the company’s green initiatives, it has also changed 40 garden lights and 70 streetlights to LED installed in the 15-acre campus.
According to Captain Dayalu Arasappa, Head – Support and Facilities & Chief Security Officer, Tesco Hindustan Service Center, “The center has rainwater harvesting wells, waste water treatment plants, algae retardants in the water bodies, solar water heater in the gym and cafeteria, organic gardens and catalytic converters for generators on its campus”.
“Earlier successful brands were built around meeting consumer needs by providing the right product at the right price at the right place; now brands have to add another new dimension of ‘community building’ to be differentiated. CSR provides the emotional engagement with customers over and above that rational one. Consumers today want to be associated with companies which give something back to the community through tangible initiatives, values and ethics,” says Esha Anand, head – marketing & Visual Merchandising, Hyper City. As part of ‘Green Aid,’ hyper city uses non-polluting; eco friendly bikes and 100% biodegradable carry bags.
Whatever the route, as the world looks towards ways of combating an imminent energy crisis and ecological imbalance as a result of industrialization, going green is no longer just a business imperative, it is imperative for the planet’s future.
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