workplace and discussions about the need to strike a balance between professional and personal life is gaining momentum - A salary hike doesn’t necessarily motivate people to perform better -A WARM WELCOME-CREATIVE BURNOUT-
At a time when people spend a major portion of their waking hours at the workplace and discussions about the need to strike a balance between professional and personal life is gaining momentum, many firms today are encouraging spouses to work with each other, as colleagues. Discusses this growing recruitment trend.
Balpreet Singh and Amarpreet Kaur, a new age tech couple, based in Pune were working with different firms, at different locations. Even though they were content with their work lives, they were finding it difficult to strike a chord between their personal and work lives because the proximity to their respective workplaces was a growing concern, for them. So they eventually decided to look out for jobs, within closer proximities. Luckily, Kaur got a job at the same firm where Singh was working and the firm was more than happy to have both the spouses onboard. “Now we make sure that we travel together, lunch together and are reachable, at all times. Also, we not only get to discuss our work issues during office hours but also network across practices/functions as we both work in different departments,” says Amarpreet Kaur, Senior Systems Executive – Information Management Practice, Fujitsu Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. “We consistently work on resolving work issues at the work place. While taking work home isn’t completely avoidable, we ensure that we take turns with spending quality time with our kid,” adds Balpreet Singh who is the Practice Manager – Industry Standards Practice at the same firm.
Welcome to the world of new age spouses who live together and work together. There are many like Singh and Kaur who lead a happy work life together. And several organizations are enabling this by introducing policies that allow spouses to work with one another.
An Infosys BPO spokesperson points out,“A decade ago, most companies were not too comfortable with couples working together. But today, this trend seems to be slowly catching up. That’s not all, many young professionals prefer to marry someone from the same profession as they would prefer being with someone they can connect to at an intellectual level, personally and professionally”.“Couples tend to balance their work and life better since they are aware of each others situation in the organization. Senior couples that work in the same project understand each other and share a great personal and professional rapport hence making it easier for them to manage large teams and projects well. Synygy has many couples working together. Some of them met within the company and got married and some have referred their respective spouses for various positions,” adds Chetan Shah, Managing Director, and Synygy India.
According to Anagha Wankar, Group Manager – HR, Fujitsu Consulting India Pvt. Ltd, employing spouses in the same company makes for a better retention strategy. There is better understanding of work pressures faced by the couple. “Many a times, the pairing happens once they start working together and this makes for a more cohesive and happier work atmosphere”. But as always, along with the gains, there are some negative factors also associated with employing the husband and wife together in the same firm. The organizations need to be cautious of certain issues. “The respective spouses may be biased towards each other, especially if they are working together in the same team and if one of them is reporting to the other. This could mean being unfair to the other deserving employees. Another disadvantage is that if both of them are working separately in critical depart–ments, there is a risk of them disclosing confidential departmental information to each other,” says Shah. “If one partner decides to move on, there is a likelihood that the organization may lose both the employees. Also, there can beunhealthy competition, especially when both the partners are in a similar role and designation and even ago clashes are inevitable, but that is very much based on the personalities and maturity levels of people involved,” adds Wankar.
It is evident that organizations are open to the idea of spouses working together, because if it helps reduce stress levels and helps foster comfort in a couple’s relationship, this change can prove to be a win-win situation for both, the couple and the organization.
It’s not all about money, honey
A salary hike doesn’t necessarily motivate people to perform better
The Indian government has just announced additional largesse for babuls and their ilk. With the rate of inflation at nearly its highest level for two decades, this is likely to further compound the situation. Most people do, however, unwillingly accept that if the salary hikes pay dividends they are worth it. The moot question is: will they?
If you go by accepted Western theory, the answer is clearly no. From the time of Frederick Her berg and his two factors (motivators and hygiene), it has been acknowledged that salary isn’t really a key driver in the workplace. Other writers don’t accept that fully. They feel that if you are the bottom end of Maslov’s chain – when you have to satisfy your physiological needs – “salary” does matter. On the other hand, the very definition of a “workplace” in today’s world implies that you are not some sort of serf.
Assume, therefore, that our babuls – even the lesser gods among them – never needed to worry about how to feed and clothe themselves and their families. Will the Sixth Pay Commission award and the topping that the government has added to it help improve performance? If past experience is any guide, this is unlikely.
The Indian bureaucracy has sometimes been likened to the biggest dole system in the world. And not without reason. Try getting anything done at a government office and you will find that files sim–ply don’t move without you’re greasing the right elbow. It has, in fact, been institutionalized in the tatkal scheme in which you can get papers (your passport application, say) to move faster if you pay an official bribe. A Transparency International survey has found that even below-the-poverty-line families have to pay Rs.171 in bribes apiece to get their children into school. And politicians pontific-ate on what keeps the country in poverty.
What you need to look for, therefore, are other motivators besides money. Some business houses have recently started campaigns to instill a sense of social work and responsibility in young India. They may be marketing gimmicks, but they seem to be working in a limited way.
Forget for a moment the bureaucracy and the public sector. What motivator’s work in what suppos-edly has a better work culture – the private sector? Alexander Kjerulf, the author of several books and articles on motivation in the workplace, says that motivation must come from within. The job of the manager is to “help employees find their own intrinsic motivation”.
The manager or company can create the right environment. According to Kjerulf, the factors that enhance intrinsic motivation include:
1. Challenge: Being able to challenge you and accomplish new tasks.
2. Control: Having a choice over what you do.
3. Co-operation: Being able to work with and help others.
4. Recognition: Getting meaningful, positive recognition for your work.
5. Happiness at work: People who like their job and their workplace are much more likely to find intrinsic motivation.
6. Trust: When you trust the people you work with, intrinsic motivation in much easier. It is difficult to achieve all or part of this even in a healthy corporate environment. One problem is that most managers and HR professionals feel that they must be seen to be doing something. If they aren’t busy bees, how will they get noticed and move up the ladder?
Another problem is that the HR profession is only now maturing in India; for too long has it been associated with managing payrolls and attendance rosters. With growth will hopefully come a realisat-ion of the right buttons to press?
As for the babuls we spoke about in the beginning, there really is no solution in the current frame-work. Privatization of everything possible is the only way out.
A WARM WELCOME
AFTER JOINING A NEW ORGANISATION, MANY OF US FIND OURSELVES THROWN INTO A NEW ENVIRONMENT, WITH A LOT OF APPREHENSIONS. THIS IS WHERE INDUCTION TRAINING CAN HELP FAMILIARISE US WITH THE ORGANISATION’S PHILOSOPHY, ALONG WITH KEY BUSINESS PROCESSES AND OUR WORK RESPON-SIBILITIES. TALKS TO ORGANISATIONS THAT HAVE FORMULATED UNIQUE INDU-CTION PROGRAMMES FOR THEIR NEW RECRUITS
It has been very rightly said that if the beginning of a new voyage in our lives is good, all goes well after that. The adage,‘the first impression is the last impression’ still rings true in many organizations, which goes an extra mile when they have new employees on board. If a new hire gets inducted into the organization in a proper manner, he/she feels more connected to the organization and eventually, loyalty and long-term association follows. Hence, having an all encompassing, interesting and inform-ative induction programme as a part of the organizational policy, is highly imperative.
WELCOME ABOARD: For the first time in India and the Asia-Pacific Region, Marriott Internation-al unveiled an exclusive induction programme,‘Voyage’ for all its new recruits, for its properties in India, Malaysia, Maldives and Pakistan, across functions like sales, marketing, finance, communicat–ion, etc. The two-day event was held in Goa, wherein 70 fresh recruit from across hotel management and other institutes were brought together and introduced to the ‘unique’ Marriott culture, practices and properties.
“Marriott is growing extensively and hence it has become all the more important for us, to have the best talent on board and make sure they understand how vital they are to the organization. That is why ‘Voyage,’ our induction and graduate programme was a very important initiative, for all of us,” says Gurmeet Singh, Area Director – HR, Marriott International (India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Maldives). The event kicked off with an icebreaker interaction session where all the new hires were divided into groups. Interestingly, each new recruit was given a chit with an animal picture on it and as they enter-ed the ballroom, they had to make the sound of that particular animal to find his/her group. Along with having lectures and presentations by area heads and general managers from all the brands and properties under the Marriott bandwagon, there were ample fun activities for the Voyage participants to unwind. The programme also gave new recruits an opportunity to interact with the senior manage–ment of Marriott International, at large. The induction programme also brought together employees who have been with the organization for sometime, to share their growth and experience at Marriott, which helped the new hires get a deeper insight into the organization. The fun activities at the prog–ramme included a football match between the management and new employees and some interesting team-building activities. In one of the team building activities, all groups were given certain ingredi–ents and instructions to prepare a salad and a cake. The idea behind this activity was to see how teams work together and interestingly, they all came up with their own versions of the salad and the cake! In another one, all groups were asked to prepare a theme hotel of their own and sell it. The teams got quite innovative at this and came up with interesting themes of environmental-friendly hotels and ho–tels on space. “Voyage is a 24 month programme for people who are talented, ambitious, self-motivat-ed and are going to be our future leaders,” informs Nayna Panjanani, Director of HR, JW Marriott and Mumbai.
BONDING WITH THE BEST: An induction programme with the same objective but one that takes a different route, NIIT effectively utilizes technology to enable new members of the NIIT family to get acquainted with the organization. “Being a technology driven company, we have managed to create a unique induction programme that addresses new joiners located at different locations, simult-aneously,” informs Asim Taluqdar, Senior VP & Head – Human Resources, NIIT. It starts with a four-day face-to-face exhaustive induction programme at NIIT SEED (School for Employee Educat–ion and Development) located at New Delhi. During this session, new joiners at NIIT are taken through the company’s vision, growth over the last 27 years, business verticals, products and services, systems and processes, etc., by the senior management of the company. “Last year, NIIT created a breakthrough in the way induction is done, when it conducted a NIIT Induction Programme (NIP) session through its innovative ‘Synchronous Learning Technology’ platform, which is otherwise used by the country’s premier B-schools such as the IIMs to offer executive management programmes to working professionals, across over 20 locations in the country. During this first-of-its-kind induction session, 114 new NIITians from 8 Indian cities, attended their first-day of NIP on the Synchronous Learning platform of the NIIT imperia,” states Taluqdar.
THE TIE THAT BINDS: A through induction process ensures that new managers get a good under-standing of the organization not only in terms of products and processes but also, much more import–antly, its unique culture and Reckitt Benckiser also believes in the same ideology. “We value the importance of building and nurturing talent from within. The Management Trainee (MT) programme, for example, aims at developing future leaders for Reckitt Benckiser India and its global operations,” informs Chander Mohan Sethi, Chairman and Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd.
The ‘Indian Management Trainee Program’ is a core programme of the company and gets ample visibility amongst the Reckitt Benckiser global top management as well.“Our management training approach is about creating a programme where people are supported to unleash their potential, early in their careers; it’s a place and a programme where you can make things happen, not just learn about how others make things happen,” states Sethi. The Management Trainee Induction is a one-year in–tensive, cross-functional programme. “For example, the programme for a sales and marketing trainee starts with a week long induction at the corporate head office in Gurgaon, withintroductions by the management committee. This is followed by presentations by various HODs (Head of Departments) who give the trainees an overview of the various functions. Post that, the trainees head off to the market, to understand Reckitt Benckiser products. These visits let them interface with products and consumers in real-life setting. They are put through a series of stints in sales that provide them expo–sure to diverse elements,” explains Sethi.
An effective induction programme today is more than merely introducing new employees to their roles and co-workers. And several organizations that understand that are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that their new family members get a warm welcome.
THE BUSINESS OF ADVERTISING IS DRIVEN BY ONE KEY RESOURCE – PEOPLE. BUT, TODAY, THE INDUSTRY WITNESSES ONE OF THE HIGHEST ATTRITION RATES. ANALYSE THE TREND
The primary reasons for people moving out of the advertising industry are the condescending attitude that prevails between the client and the advertising agency.“There is no real sense of ownership that the agency experiences or rather is allowed to experience in terms of the brand,” says Gautam Shiknis founder and managing director of Palador Cinema. He elaborates: “I used to work for Saatchi & Saatchi and was fortunate to be working on a brand like Procter & Gamble. My team was instrument-al in achieving the brand positioning for a number of P&G’s personal care products. So, we felt an emotional connection with the product and identified it as our brand. However, neither did the market acknowledge this nor did the client. Once, at a meeting with the P&G brand manager and a few others someone from our agency alluded to Head & Shoulders as our brand. This had everyone looking rather surprised”.
According to Shiknis, the dynamics of ownership in terms of brands is largely determined by money. He says: “It is not the people who are involved in the creative process of brand building but the people who pay for getting the creative work done who ultimately own the brand”. But, then, doesn’t getting promotions at an early age compensate?“Not really,” says Kaustav Sen, who was a creative director with a leading advertising firm for seven years. He reasons: “It is a rather faceless industry. The credit for outstanding creative work is accorded to the agency as a whole and never to the individuals who are involved in creative conceptualization”.
Sen also cites creativity in advertising being sublimated by the client’s brief as another reason for people leaving the advertising world. He adds: “Sooner or later, most creative people experience frus-tration and move out to other domains that offer more creative license”.
On the other hand, a senior copy supervisor for an advertising agency in Gurgaon says that it isn’t always a feeling of saturation that causes people to exit the industry. She feels that, in a way, the change is a done thing considering “almost everyone who enters the industry has a long-term plan to eventually progress into an allied sector”. She elaborates:“By the age of 30-35, one is already a creative director and then the only job left is that of a managing creative director (MCD). However, considering there are only some 10-odd positions for MCDs in the country, it isn’t a viable option for the hundreds that are employed by advertising agencies. As a result, one remains a creative director for a considerable amount of time and the only option left, then, is to change careers”.
Another trend that she points out is that people from creative divisions are most likely to change careers. “But, this change isn’t as much about the job as it is about the person. Creative people are restless by nature, which is probably why they are most likely to change career,” she explains.
According to Atish Munshi, senior copy supervisor, Quadrant Communications, Pune: “People move to other sectors because remunerations there are much higher. Besides, today, there are a variety of options for advertising professionals to choose from. For instance, there is digital media, which more or less requires the same set of skills but pays much better”.
Rahul Ghosh, creative director, TBWA-Mumbai, says: “A career in an advertising agency exposes an individual to multiple domains such as films, print, art and radio. However, there is not much scope for specialization. Hence, the people who want to specialize in one domain eventually venture out. For instance, people who are interested in artwork set up their own design studios, copywriters go to scriptwriting and so on”.
Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that at present the advertising industry is prone to a high rate of attrition. So, what needs to be done to control this? “There is a clear need for visionaries in adverti-sing,” says Shiknis. He opines: “The advertising industry has to undergo an attitudinal shift within itself so that on one level, it can retain and nurture talent and on a parallel level, it can contribute much more to the nation’s GDP. They have to move beyond the 15% commission theory in terms of client billings and work towards improving economies of scale”.
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