Thursday, December 01, 2016

Mentoring Women on a Career break

I was lucky to be drafted at the eleventh hour to be a Mentor -at an event, that was the Hyderabad leg in the launch of a pan-India Group Mentoring program for women who are looking to restart their careers after taking breaks for marriage/motherhood/elderly-career, etc.
I have known Neha Bagaria, the Founder of Jobsforher & been following their interesting initiatives over the past year and a half, and am glad the movement has been beginning to get lapped up by the industry. Some of their success stories are chronicled here!
Yesterday, they had some stalwarts of the corporate world -who were willing to share their experience and wisdom. Meenakshi DhingraSmita Nair JainSharada Rao and Tanay Kediyal, who was the only other male member in the venue.
There were about 15+ ladies who had made it convenient to participate, and I am sure they would have benefitted from the opportunity to get a 1-on-1 with the senior professionals and get some insights on the opportunities in the specific domain/company and some tips to find themselves closer to their dream job
Here are my thoughts:
-I loved the energies. All the mentees had the luxury of picking the Mentor they wanted, And in turn, as a Mentor shared " had a great time today as well and definitely want to help".
-It was ironical that almost all the ladies seemed low on confidence, almost at the end of their wits. And that despite being well qualified, had stints in the industry, in India and some even abroad, and post a sabbatical! It was admirable that they had shed their inhibition and made it to the event, keen to explore how they could catch the attention of those who mattered. The senior professionals from companies like Cognizant, Google, Sears, & Wells Fargo!
As a recruiter -I let each aspirant know, that just as anxious as they were, in finding a good break, a lot of hiring managers spend sleepless nights hoping to find a talented colleague too. And rather than being defensive about the tenure/break, they ought to be focussed on being able to connect to the right decision makers, showcase their strengths, and validate their interests with testimonials of being abreast with the latest.
I parrotted that
- it wasn't always the best who got the best jobs, but often the right person at the right time- emphasising the need to be found by those looking to fill in positions.
-By being visible on social media (completed Linkedin profiles, participating in online meet-ups / groups of interest), they would do well increasing their credibility with physical networking with industry.
-Perhaps they needed to get back into the groove, by taking on projects/roles, rather than waiting for the dream job on a platter the first time. Instead consider SMEs and Startups who value their impact, and not merely apply for large MNCs-that may have a lot of systems already in place..& may tend to be bureaucratic in appreciating the value one brings.
-And yes, by tailor making a resume/CV for the specific opportunity by highlighting their accomplishments for the role in question.
Takeaways for Corporate recruiters?
-Access to experienced & committed talent pool, hungry to make a difference
-Reflect on the quality of the candidature, and the 'years on the job'.
-Time to consider flexible options -interns, part time or virtual jobs for mature professionals than eager freshers who are'nt yet sure of what they wish to do.
-And yes, those who can join at short notice, with negligible notice period.
#Dontmiss
Shout to all those reading this, there are events -happening at the major cities in India, with some topnotch women professionals from leading corporates,(Whos Who?) willing to be at Gurgaon (Dec 1st).Mumbai (Dec 2nd), Pune (Dec3rd) and Bangalore (Dec 6th)
And for the rest, bookmark the events page- that have webinars, and offline meetings offering career counselling, resume writing, and among other things -entrepreneurship!
PS. I would not be doing justice if I didn't mention the hospitality of Fusion9 ( awesome snacks!) -being just round the corner, that perhaps was the trigger to make it at gunpoint notice. Do pick up the e-book " The Way Back to the Way forward- Restarter journeys"


Monday, October 24, 2016

The best time to look for a better job is when you do not HAVE to look for one!




Is it only me? As a consumer, I feel my shopping habits have changed in the past couple of years. The Big Billion day, the great Indian Sale or the unbox sales notwithstanding. The malls and stores have bargain sales almost every other month. My impulse purchases are becoming increasingly lesser. With more apps in tow,  WhatsApp to get instant feedback from those that matter, window shopping and comparing online prices is less stressful- after all, I am making more informed decisions and value purchases.

We as consumers have come to accept disruption as a new normal in all ways of life, but when it comes to looking for jobs, we still tend to be in a time warp!

Did you know in the last 6 months, hiring in B2B has picked up and those in B2C are consolidating?

It pains me every day as acquaintances call me- when in between jobs..and frustrated about the pace of hiring action. "Am looking at the portals, and have reached out to pals -but nothing seems to happen. How do I find the jobs that I want"?

Almost every day, I have to educate that recruiters are in the business of finding people for jobs. We are mandated by employers looking to fill in critical positions & their specs are becoming more demanding.

And would you believe it..employers have changed their shopping habits over the past couple of decades!! 

If you are looking for a change of job, change the way you are looking! Stop posting CVs on portals and hope that a recruiter from your dream company will call you.

Professional networking sites is passe as Ver. 3.0 -as companies are in Recruitment 4.0 are more focussed on 'catching the early bird' as they have been investing in big data and AI and adopting 'outbound hiring' strategy!

So how does one make oneself prepared for a new job?

-Get yourself found by employers looking for great bargains! Review your social media footprint. Invest in Personal branding. Position yourself to stand out amongst peers.

-Take stock of your inventory of skills. It is predicted that 69% of the jobs in India will be made redundant by AI. Don't despair- there will be a new set of jobs/skills that would be in demand. Can you transplant some of your competencies to leverage them in a new environment?

-Embrace change the right way. Here is a hint to manage your career better. You can choose one among the four options :
  • Step up is where you use computers or artificial intelligence to step up their skills, be it decision-making or knowledge production.
  • Next, you step aside by opting for jobs machines cannot do.
  • By stepping in, you can act as links between the man and the machine
  • Stepping narrowly is you can focus your skills so narrow and sharp that you attain great expertise in some super special areas so that automating them won’t make economic sense at all.
  • Finally, stepping forward is about “creating new cognitive technology solutions for the rest of the world to use”. 
Finding a job can be a full-time job in itself. I shall be glad to have your impressions.


Monday, October 17, 2016

#futureofwork : Careers that need a digital mindset!

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to be gifted an autographed copy of Abhijit  Bhaduri's latest book -The digital tsunami. The book is now available at Amazon

It is simply unputdownable.Abhijit has included so many examples of how disruption has become very much a part of our daily life, that it is hazardous to ignore the changes that are being thrust all around us. And with the accelerated pace technology and globalization, we can no longer be complacent & sit back..and say it will not affect us!! 

It will. The questions, therefore to be asked, are

-how soon do our jobs/skills get redundant
-what can we do to prevent ourselves from being extinct in the job market

And the book is an amazing aid for self-help. T here are a large number of examples that keep reminding us to move from an analog way of thinking to the digital way.

Appendix 1 gives us exercises to build digital appreciation. Some habits we ought to do by ourselves, and some by engaging our extended network

Appendix 2 goads us to be open to a workshop..required for boundary-less thinking!

For me, there were quite a few suspicions vindicated.

1.       The digital world is about discovering the uniqueness of the human being and technology is merely the enabler..to be faster , data driven (individualized) and so one will see the repercussions in hiring the right talent.
2.       He also referred to a pyramid of skills. Commoditized (that quickly taken as granted), Marketable ( that can be acquired by formal education) and Niche ( that are learnt informally by talent networks). And one must constantly be reinventing ourselves to pursue and possess the skills to navigate the career ahead!
3.       If in the past one could get by, being a specialist in one domain ( referred to as"I" in the past), being a “T shaped” person  (“great at this one thing and familiar with all this other stuff”), one is likely to be a handicapped in a world being taken over by “Pi” shaped thinking talent (building expertise in multiple domains)


Now its time for us to walk the talk. Do let me know what your takeaways were from the book!!

PS And yes, here is a fine summary- again from a Forbes article that Abhijit has contributed to last year!




Friday, October 07, 2016

#SHRMI16 : Reflections a week later



To say that the conference, DARE -A BOLD NEW HR, was a successful one is an understatement. With 1000+ delegates listening to the thoughts shared by over 70 speakers, social media was agog as #SHRM16 trended during the days- with over 10000 tweets and 45 million impressions. A lot of the action has been documented/ reinforced by many already, and so I shall stick to reflecting on the impact it had on me!
Pramod Bhasin shared his journey in creating a new industry (BPO) in the 90s that provided more than a million jobs, and touching lives of more Indian families alluded that context was going to be different. India would soon form about 35% of the global workforce, and the changing aspirations ( loyalty, tenure, willingness to be mobile) would need an (HR) mindset that encourages more risk-taking, building of leaders, breaking rules to ensure innovation and competitiveness.
Sharing that only 13% of the global workforce was highly engaged, Jim Keane treated us to some insights on a survey about how workplace had an impact on employee engagement. and drove home the point that meaningful work was the crux.
There were a lot of interesting panels – debating, crystal gazing and showcasing some best practices in the industry. A mixture of some banter, some prepared presentations, some last minute dropouts forcing some to get think on their feet (yes,some self plugs)-and a lot of clich├ęd jargons as there were a bunch of parallel sessions. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, borderless talent, actionable insights, struggle to make sense of data, and application of technology for sourcing, L&D etc. For one, the predictive diversity modelling example -ie deep data analysis that led to the adoption of the extension of maternity leave.
To me, the deliberations of Talent acquisition & management resonated the best- perhaps because of the mix of the practitioners on the panel –who debated on the pros and cons of the industry adopting technology and digital faster than ever.
-Candidate experience was a popular share. Given that companies reject more than they select, is it time to have a new metric “Consideration Index’ –the likelihood of the employer being considered by rejected aspirants?
-No longer about individual productivity as the aligning factor, while hiring but effectiveness in a team.
-Hiring with a view of the capability of the future, not the traditional rear view mirror approach.
-While one can perhaps use technology to predict attrition, can it be used to prevent from happening? Especially when a replacement is rarely ‘like for like’, but in realitythe replacement is often done with some additional skills thrown in..for the new hire.
-Hierarchy is changing. Career ladders giving way to matrix structures. New titles are increasingly being found. Eg EVP Customer & Employee Experience.
Yet another interesting presentation that I liked was the one by PamelaDave and Jonasevangelising the power personal branding. The Dos & don'ts .Myths, stories, on how to position oneself with the 4-5 generations of colleagues, use of different platforms/tools to cross-pollinate content to connect with people better with conversations.
Amitabh Kant's perspective of how the Indian Government is sensitive to 'ease of doing business' was energising. Eloquently quoting statistics about the increasing impact of India ( country with larger area than 24 European countries put together, 65% of population of India belonging to East India), for the Nation to grow @9%, there is a need for 12 Champion States to grow at over 12% -and compete -not just in providing access but quality of education. In a bid to transform India by accelerating the pace of disruption, tapping the energy of young India. the key was
-to enhance the productivity per person, not just merely increase in jobs
-to redesign labour laws keeping the socialistic society in mind
-HR professionals to use technology to leapfrog as global markets needs companies of larger size and scale -especially if India were to move from an agricultural to a manufacturing revolution.
Deep Kalra shared some inspiring thoughts about entrepreneurship, and the importance of the team more than the idea, hiring being more an art than science, to create a culture where people enjoy their days of work so that ' they brim with confidence and seek the chance to change the world'. "Culture is the glue which makes all the magic happen. A company is as great as its culture is'. 'Hire for values -but with skill diversity.'
All in all, it was a perfect setting for the book launch of Abhijit Bhaduri's The Digital Tsunami on how the jobs of the future digital world are going to be different from those we have seen in the analog world. The dare-will each of us who anyway are in sync, make it a point to share the book with the youth in tier2/3 towns personally? Or through Corporates donate books to colleges 'in any town of your choice'- so that the next generation is aware of the demands of the digital world. Abhijit has promised to spend an hour -for every 1000 books donated to such colleges -coaching the students in terms of the opportunities that the digital world is going to throw open!
2days of lots of networking, learning and to paraphrase Kavi- now is the time for the explorer's journey to begin!
Oh yes,there were some interesting one-liners that stuck with me. I loved the quip made by Jonas about Facebook being like an old girlfriend -that one cannot dump after investing so much time in the past :)!
Sonali Roychowdhury " fall in love with the problem, not the solution". The need for a HR professional to be "credible activist" ( knowledge to influence) and a 'network integrator".
Rajesh Padmanabhan ‘precedence is the enemy of innovations'
Harlina Sodhi: I may not know what I want in a hire, but I definitely know what I don’t want!
UnmeshPawar : Using hitechto hi-touch to match 'people for roles' vs 'roles for people'
PramodSadarjoshi : algorithms do not build relationships
Indeed..we are in for some interesting times ahead...as the world unfolds. So, are we prepared enough??

Monday, September 26, 2016

#mydaremantra: Candidate Experience

Recruitment is a cost to every business right? Virgin Media plan to make it a revenue stream by radically changing their candidate experience. This is after Virgin estimated $6 million of lost revenue each year as upsetting job seekers who signed up with competitors!
Facebook learnt the cost of 'not hiring the right person', in hindsight, and eked out $19 billion to get back Brian Acton onto their team for the messaging app.
The world is changing. So shouldn't our perspectives too? Only when we dare to explore beyond the accepted rules do we see a new light, a new beginning to a brighter #futureofwork!
Talent Acquisition. The game has changed. Have you?
Well, for one, finding the right candidates is more about them to find YOU. And a personal brand will help in building the credibility necessary to attract, engage, nurture and influence the future associates. Investing in relationshipsBuild our personal brand.
Here is a peek into some best practices being adopted :
  1. Proactively attracting and engaging digital talent. Engaged employees add financial value to the bottom line.  Developing a corporate narrative around investing in people, empowering teams and by sharing successes, companies build brand awareness amongst new and existing employees, partners and customers.
  2. Investing in vertical social networks. Designed to be an ecosystem for a particular industry, function, or profession. Some of the popular examples are Edmondo (an education network for students and parents), GitHub (a community for software professionals) Muckrack in the US, a platform that connects journalists and PR professionals, and Doximity (a social network for physicians in the US). And yes, in India, there is Curofy on which 150,000 verified doctors from 1200+ cities are using to get 2nd opinions on medical cases, read latest medical news and browse premium medical jobs
  3. Building talent communities. Establishing mutually beneficial relationships in a way where the power is in community members’ hands as they dictate the topics for discussion. Thereby forming positive opinions about the company, as well as puts the company top of mind when members decide to make a career move. And all this being in a subtle manner- in that career opportunities are not at the forefront of the communication.
Want to know more & interact with some of the practitioners who are at the forefront? Come over to the SHRM conference later this week in Delhi. And listen to the experiences of Pamela HardingDave Sumner Smith and Jonas Prasanna -as they share some of the ideas that we as professionals need to invest in our personal brands!  
Of course please do follow #SHRM16 and@SHRMIndia on twitter!