Monday, February 26, 2018

#Careers. Can we afford to let someone retire??

Time to reflect if retirement is a myth!!

CREDIT: Getty Images

  • When the retirement age of 60/65 was mooted back in the 1950s or so, the average life expectancy was 61! Today average life expectancy is just under 80 years.
  • In fact, the percent of the workforce representing workers over 60 has doubled since 1992. We are heading for a economic disaster by ignoring the implications of increased life and work-life expectancy.
"Advances in longevity are making supporting retirement for another 20 to 30 years impossible for 90% of all workers."
A recent Guardian article about research on aging and retirement cast an interesting light on the topic.  Healthy retirees who worked a year longer (over the age of 65) had an 11% lower all-cause mortality risk. Even the unhealthy group reduced their likelihood of dying by 9% if they delayed retirement." An analysis on the study was also published in the Harvard Business Review.
And think of it - there is certainly some evidence that working longer, especially at something you love to do, contributes to a sense of well-being and purpose that may increase longevity and certainly the quality of your life.

Time to change the way we look ?

- Retirement was seen as a release from bondage--the liberating act from a lifetime of work. They were built for time when most work was manual, labor intensive, when brains were less valuable than brawn. In a world where knowledge is the universal currency for creating value, can we convert the experience of a lifetime - differently?

- With tenures in employment reducing, increasing technology to help automate the mundane and the routine, perhaps there is a case in leveraging remote working, part -time work, telecommuting? Add to the wealth of experience someone in the 60+ age brings, it could even help orchestrate a network of freelancers, and outsourced workers -perhaps  today one can achieve in 20 hours a week -than 40 earlier?

-Focus on the quality of the work, rather the quantity? Encourage more sabbaticals? More collaborative efforts in the gig economy? While the millenials can be depended on creativity and short term projects, do we see the retired folks complementing?

- Would we see 'retired ' employees as part of the Diversity & Inclusiveness policies of organisations soon? 

Well, seems like exciting times. And yes -the caveat? One needs to be constantly learning, unlearning, and re-learning.

Or am I missing something? Will love your inputs..

Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review : "Competing on Talent in Today’s Business World" written by Mr Pradeep Sahay

It is uncanny that, even after 25 years in the hiring solutions business, I hardly find any top notch recruitment practitioner who doesn’t confess that she/he forayed into Recruitment/Talent Acquisition by chance, luck or fate. I cannot remember anyone ever saying that when they grew up they wanted to be a recruiter/TA specialist!
And it has always psyched me. 
Time and again we hear: “People aren’t the best assets. The RIGHT people are.” But very little seems to have been done to institutionalize recruiting/ talent acquisition (TA) as a profession. 
Probing more deeply, I find that often, the TA role is perhaps an entry level role, at times even delegated to a contract employee – to a career in the HR domain, where people aspire to do more glamorous roles in Training, Organisation Development, Performance Management, and so on. 
Not many have found their way to the corner office. And so there are hardly any ‘role models’ that have inspired generations to consciously pursue a career in Recruitment/Talent Acquisition.
Consequently, the book Competing on Talent in Today’s Business World is – to me – manna from heaven! 
Pradeep Sahay’s book is the foundation for potential professionals to make a mark in Talent Acquisition. 
-Both the science and art of hiring have been dealt with very meticulously. 
-Enormous research has gone into collating hundreds of papers and articles from across the world to authenticate the findings, 
-Hundreds of tables and visual aids help the reader to assimilate the theory effectively. 
-And there is also an amazing range of templates that help us to get to the “Why” and figure out the “What” and “How”.
And just as one is assimilating these thoughts, the detailed case study (applying the principles to an organisation named Sigma group) leaves one fortified with concepts that have developed over time. It helps us understand how TA has transformed companies into “Great Places to Work” – from mere transactions that are part of the everyday life of hiring.
I would not hesitate to call this book the “Grey’s Anatomy” equivalent to help readers become the finest Talent Acquisition professionals! 
It is surely a textbook that ought to find its way into the best educational institutes – and hungry organisations – and ought to be a handbook that every TA professional can regularly refresh her/himself with.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#mustread :3 Reasons Global Firms Should Keep Investing in India

HBR recently published this article.

And Abhijit Bhaduri  produced this visual.  There is no way one can express it better.

Happy reading

Please do feel free to reach me -we help companies find talent they cannot find themselves. 

Options for professionals of Indian origin and international experience !!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AI- Bane or Boon for Recruiters?

Image courtesy HR Talent IQ

There are so many theories predicting dooms days ahead in the next 10-12 years
-McKinsey argues that demand for work will increase as automation grows. Technology will drive productivity growth, which will in turn lead to rising incomes and consumption, especially in developing countries. Meanwhile, there will be more jobs in health care to meet the demands of aging societies and more investment in infrastructure and energy. For these benefits to be realised, everyone needs to gain new skills, with governments and private companies taking on the unprecedented task of retraining millions of people in the middle of their careers.
- Accenture predicts that by 2030, the only full time jobs that exist would be the C-Suite roles. The rest would either be automated, or outsourced -and if not be done by freelancers.
With the reducing tenure of employment, it is anybody's guess that the present pricing models -linked to annual salaries would eventually change?
With the mortality rates of businesses increasing, would they be really invested in the careers of their employees?
Are we seeing larger companies building their own internal/in-house recruitment teams -and reducing the dependence on third party firms?
Do we see recruitment models being changed?
Recruiting is no longer about Networks and Convenience.
Is the future of recruiting in Candidate Management + Marketing! With thousands of firms selling to the same HR Audience, it definitely going to be getting tougher. The smart recruiters are going to leverage the digital tools to Market to Clients better and pull them in by creating specific and exclusive talent pools that they alone have access to?
Perhaps we would be better off -managing 'rejected' candidates, and building a niche talent pool- and managing their careers?
Just like private bankers help High Networth individuals manage their financial assets, do we, as recruiters have our roles cut out to become trusted advisors. Surely, for professionals, careers are much as a financial asset-that needs to be managed ?
What are your views on this? Would love to hear.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The future of work - We need to switch occupations & upgrade skills!

These days, it is easy to get confused about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)-and robots can have on the jobs of the future.

One of the key findings by McKinsey surveys is that while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging.

Automation and AI will lift productivity and economic growth,but millions of people worldwide may need to switch occupations/upgrade skills!

For a country like India, here is some interesting data -there will be increase in jobs..but they would be spread out..differently!

1) Creative (Artists, designers, entertainers, media workers)-58% increase

2) Technology professionals(Computer engineers/specialists) -129%

3) Teachers ( & education support workers)- 208%

4) Managers and executives-75%

5) Builders (Architects,surveyors, construction workers, installation and repair workers (buildings and infrastructure),crane and tower operators) -117%

6) Care providers (Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, 
therapists,health aides and health support, childcare workers, health technicians,community social worker)-242%

7) Professionals (Account managers, engineers, business and financial  specialists, lawyers and judges, legal industry support staff, math specialists , scientists, and academics)-46%

8) Office support (IT workers, information and record clerks, office-support workers, procurement, payroll, etc), administrative assistants) -21%

9) Predictable physical work ( ie equipment installation and repair workers, 
protective services, gaming- industry workers, dishwashers, cleaning- equipment operators, food-preparation workers, general mechanics)15%

10) Customer interaction ( Food-service workers, sales workers (retail& online),
 therapeutic workers (personal trainers), entertainment attendants, personal-appearance workers, hotel and travel workers) - 46%

11) Unpredictable physical work ( Specialized mechanics and repair, emergency 
first responders, material movers and loaders, machinery installation and repair workers,
agricultural field workers, transportation maintenance,building and grounds cleaners) -9%

So what could be the take away for us?

-Instead of being replaced by machines, humans must learn to collaborate with machines to enhance their own productivity and ingenuity. We must learn to ‘run with the machine'.

-The more predictable and repetitive the activities that make up the task, the more likely it is to be replicated by machines … and automated! Hard-to-automate jobs include tasks like influencing people, teaching people, programming, real-time discussions, advising people, negotiating and cooperating with co-workers

“The illiterate of the future will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” - Alvin Toffler (1928 – 2016), author of Future Shock

“Instead of teaching students to answer questions, we should teach them to ask them. Beyond creating better employees, we must aim to create better leaders and innovators.“ - Raya Bidshahri, Singularity University

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SHRMiAC -Reflections a week later!

I must confess I got off a false start -despite all the preparations/expectations. At 435am I was 5 minutes as the Indigo boarding gates, for my flight to Delhi, had closed. Which meant, I missed the first half of the first day-instead spending time reflecting, and meditating in a very quiet and hep looking Raipur airport!
Well, it was 'paisa vasool', as I was able to attend the sessions I was looking forward to, and the people I had set up 1-2-1 meetings with-apart from a lot of extra bonus points! Awesome learning, takeaways, points to ponder, and wonder who would be THE folks to bell the cat. If there was a theme that was underlying it was the adage- "what got you here will not get you there'!
SHRMiAC was rocking. Let me curate the Update from the SHRM India team
#SHRMiAC was the buzz-word on social, with 8k+ tweets generating more than 9mn+ impressions. Our great content was very well supported by the #SHRMiAC Bloggers & Influencers, and helped us garner the number "Second" trending spot for India on Twitter on both days.
Well, I would not attempt to share my reflections on 'what happened ' or 'Light not a candle to the Sun'. One cannot have it put it better than Gautam Ghosh did. It has all the elements of a box office hit, and at last count, has had over a 1000 readers.
Considering 1300 people, with probably the Whos Who in the Indian HR industry, not to mention some global leaders visiting India, the ecosystem was simply apt. Wonderful mix of delegates from the corporate field,(the decision makers & the influencers), and a bevy of professionals from the "business of HR"- the consultants, the techies, the startups, and others partnering the process of leveraging on human capital, it was learning on the go.
With so many thought leaders, and wonderful energies, I shudder to think of the possibilities that could be realised, if only we had a lot more opportunities to interact & engage -while being under the same roof. It was heartbreaking to choose between 4-5 concurrent sessions. And even more, as we rushed past familiar faces, often off in different directions, with promises to catch up...soon! Thankfully, whatsApp and Skypes are there as glue to build on the handshakes.
Infact, there are lot more opportunities these days, that need the best of specialists, and in a world -where the half life is constantly changing, the margins for errors are negligible, there is no substitute to collaboration and crowdsourcing.
And yes, stay tuned -as I have come away with some exciting ideas/options for making a difference to the stakeholders in my area of specialisation- clients, candidates, and other collaborative consultants. Rearing to WIN!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yes, we recruit there!

We help companies find talent they cannot find themselves. The right LOCAL talent GLOBALLY.

You've got to be IN it to WIN it!

The countdown has begun. I am excited to be in Delhi later this week for attending The SHRM India Annual Conference & Exposition!
I am positive the sixth #SHRMiAC will help me stay abreast with the driving factors of business units, and listen to some of the top thought leaders from across the globe as they share key insights, best practices and as also get a peek into some of the exciting tools that will shape the future.
As the world has changed from an industrial economy to the connected economy, the power of choice has significantly changed from the employer to the jobseeker. I strongly believe the recruiter therefore has to be playing the role of a trusted advisor -both to the client and the candidates, as well as to a fraternity of fellow recruiters globally.

People Are Not Your Best Asset, the Right People Are

As a Talent Scout, I shall be particularly keen to see how companies are gearing up for better Candidate Experience, and how we can make people the centre of our business.
I would not miss the two deliberations that Abhijit Bhaduri would be engaging in:
-What is it that TA leaders should look for when they are looking to hire truly transformational talent? Business success is about working with people and communicating effectively, and not just about narrowly defined skills. And the relevance of Liberal Education graduates in a country that been obsessed with Engineers and Doctors!
-The conversation with actor Ashish Vidyarthi promising to bring about awareness of careers that are being transformed by technology and societal shifts. It is time all of us think 'inside out' and find our calling -rather than follow the herd mentality that was the norm in the past few decades.
I must confess I have always been intrigued by the way Team Belong is able to conjure up ways to replicate/enhance (or is it magnify?) Human touch and see the world from their perspective. ( They never cease to surprise me-packing in so much of wisdom in their young years!). And get some gyan on Artificial Intelligence in HR: Myth or RealityAnd how we can leverage the power of technology!
Yes, it could be myopic of me to look at the world -purely thru the 'talent perspective'. But I can bank on some of the old pals, as well as the cronies in the blog squad to sensitize me with the other jargon in the industry.
Give me a shout out-am open to unlearning some of my stuff -and get influenced!!

Monday, August 21, 2017


I am glad I invested a day long training program in honing my skills on Saturday the 19th!
There is enough and more information on the internet. Tons of amazing insights are shared by several practitioners and passionate professionals, that help us to be 'better than yesterday', courtesy tweets, blogs, podcasts. But there is no real substitute for the 'human touch'.
Raghunandan Patre and Ashfaq Ahmed simply regaled some 25 plus participants on how as sourcers /recruiters, we could be prepared for the #futureofwork ! Their firm, Skill Scaler Learning Solutions is a Recruitment Capability Building organisation that endeavors to  improve
-candidate/client proximity
-recruiter productivity
-process excellence.
For a person whose learning was very much self taught, by trial and error, picking up nuggets from the social media buzz, it was awesome to be tuning into a structured presentation- as Raghu played the role of the philosopher & Ashfaq the hacker! The mantra - to not just unearth the unique candidates, but to engage and influence them -and 'manage clients' -in a market that is increasingly becoming in favour of the candidates.
Let me record a few takeaways for posterity :
-Hiring per se hasn't reduced in the post Brexit/Trump/Demonetisation/GST era. Only the pattern of hiring has changed. Expectations have rised. Customer focus and delighting them is the only route ahead.
-All the sourcing tools essentially help in identifying just those 'who are willing to leave their social media footprints'. Would you believe 70% is Dark matter?
-With sourcing increasingly becoming AI/ML focussed, the art of engaging candidates boils how to asking the right questions!
- It is essential to deconstruct a job description to be able to understand the real need of whom we are looking for. In a keyword infested world, to be in sync with what the client wants- it is essential to get under the skin of how the candidate conveys the competency!! ( for eg :Technical keywords showcase skills, Functional keywords help understand the nature of work and the Anchor keywords relate to identifying roles.)
- Horses for courses. Every search engine or social networking site is driven by algorithms-that often get changed. While there are n number of tools that are being generated daily -to help us hack our way, the trainers got us to be sensitive to the subtleties -and pivot our way. Be it in Naukri, LinkedIn, Facebook, Git Hub or Stackoverflow. Understanding the logic is imperative before we dive deep into the search.
-The basics of talent branding in an increasingly cluttered world!
As I refer my notes today, I cannot believe the range of tools and best practices that they alluded to. I already have doubts if I can navigate -with the ease Ashfaq the magician -did!
Well, knowledge is available on demand. It is how one applies it -that makes the difference between the best and the rest, right?
I look forward to a new day today..
And with a thought that ought to be a wake up alarm.
Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments. -- Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
"It is 25 years to the day, since the birth of Options," my mother reminded me this morning. And so the family is getting ready to celebrate.
Flashback to July 14th 1992.
Looking back, the journey has been simply amazing. "Helping others to find their calling" has been the pivot as we have tried to help several hundreds of clients find talent aligned to the similar values. We have worked with clients at different stages in their lifecycle of growth, (why even offering outplacement services during a stint that saw a temporary de-growth!), across different management ownerships/styles, and across functions, industries, levels and locations. Amidst very exhilarating times that has spanned from post liberalisation days in India, as India opened up to foreign investments, and abroad, even as clients survived the dot com boom/worldwide financial crisis, and now coming to terms with Brexit et al, totally changing the dynamics of global migration.
Internet, globalisation, disruptions in the VUCA times, have all forced us to change with times, stay relevant with the best business practices, and look to the future with more hope and conviction.
Options is now poised to leverage on orchestrating a global network and add value to each of our stakeholders- be it aspiring job seekers, or hungry clients, or like-minded fellow recruitment specialists with whom we collaborate, to be able to make a better impact!
With 92 Sales Directors and 1300 recruiters, the potential reach of Options is simply mindboggling-considering we have partnerships across 41 countries.
I take this opportunity to thank each one of you -who has been part of the journey, helping me learn, relearn, and even unlearn.
I am grateful, as they say in the cricketing parlance, as I take a 'fresh guard' to continue to make a difference, one individual at a time.
There are more milestones...waiting :)!

Life is now and now is amazing.