Tuesday, April 17, 2007

India's best companies to work for!

It is indeed interesting to read the top 25 companies -that are listed by the popular media- one in Economic Times and the magazine Businessworld which have published the survey reports conducted respectively by Hewitt and GrowTalent respectively!

Both the articles are a good read- both analysing in depth-what the prospective jobseekers can expect to find opportunities in!

To me, there have been some good insights:

1.Despite Bangalore's emergence, it is still Delhi that houses the happiest employees!

2.17 of the top 25 companies listed as "great places to work " are foreign owned!!

3. The average age of the employees in these companies is 25. ( what happens to older employees??)

4. No matter what the different parameters that are used to identify the best employers, there are SIX employers who are common to both the shortlists-namely :

Ajuba Solutions India Private Limited

Agilent Technologies Ltd

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.

Johnson and Johnson Medical, India

Marriott Hotels India

Standard Chartered Scope International - India

There is no doubt they have all aligned their practices with the organisation's strategy and goals specific to their industry needs, and have created an environment that produces a positive employee experience and results.

The succesful companies apparently follow some of the mantras given below:

-Hiring through referrals. Happy employees will only refer those who fit the company’s needs

-Being a centre for learning. Providing extensive training including using internal specialists.

-Offering cross-functional growth opportunities. Growth is no longer in a department silo.

-Always completing the feedback loop. Great workplaces correct the wrongs.

-Not leaving flanks open to talent outage. They make concrete succession plans.

-Building empowerment into systems. No amount of training can ensure this.

-Ensuring fun. Impromptu parties, family outings, etc. for staffers create profitable companies.

Apparently, the challenge for the HR manager is to devise ways of getting employees to leave work and go home!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Meeting customer demands- the moment of truth??

This blog has perhaps nothing to do with jobs in India, or the burgeoning opportunities in senior management-but in a way- has to do a lot of issues-cultural and emotional-related to it, and so I just cant resist articulating my thoughts!!

It is more a request for some of you to help me attend to a 'major problem area'!!

Yesterday I recieved a very crisp mail.

"Is it too much to expect a response from your end whatever your response might be? This is basic business etiquette that you respond to your emails. It surprises me because you claim to relocate expats and talk about personnel attention as one of your organizations key differentiators. I would have expected a little more professionalism from your end.

"Anyways thank you for your time . I have found the change that I was looking for and do not require your services anymore . My only feedback is that since you guys came highly recommended by my business/personal network in North America I was quite surprised at your response.Wish you all the very best . "

As I sat down this morning to respond to it, I realise there are dozens of others-who would have reached out to me, even following up with emails and innumerable phonecalls, who would be certainly apalled at the (lack of ) a response. I also shudder to think there must be a few hundred others-who simply didnt even care -as they would have been justified not to waste more of their valuable time!!

This is what I tried to explain-and that I sincerely believe in!

"I appreciate the candidness and the disappointment expressed by you –it is perfectly legitimate and truly a matter of concern for us.

I am glad that you have been able to find the change you desired-and do hope we can connect with you, sometime in future, where we can perhaps prove that this exchange (or the lack of it !!) was indeed an aberration!!

I guess the buck stops with me-as I am personally looking after the segment of ‘returning Indians’ and so it is I who normally responds to such queries. –I am still in the process of figuring out how to ‘manage mails’ as a first step!! "

Interestingly, as recruitment firms, we are actually paid by the clients who hire our services-while we have to leverage relationships with several ‘job aspirants’ to enable the former. So it is indeed a thin line..between which prospect is right for our business model..and which isn’t !!

Actually, while I am not trying to justify the lack/delay in response, you would be surprised –thanks to the ‘one click culture’ and the sheer number of people in India looking at exploring jobs, one is flooded with a huge pile of mails. Funnily, an ad for a VP wd get responses from even freshers just trying their luck !! As a result, I wdnt be exaggerating if I mention I get a mail every minute..thru which ofcourse, only 15-20% wd be really the ones we would like to pursue. And while I do attempt –often there are many unread messages in my inbox! So much so, that I have started reacting only to mails sent to me, addressing me, first!

( Naturally I put on hold -trying to figure out who among those that are probably exploring options- compared to those who are visiting India in the next 45days!!)

Personally, thanks to the word of mouth references from ‘returned Indians’, (ironically- a large majority of those whom I may not have even found interviews for !) I typically get over a hundred calls /mails every month from people of Indian origin –each of which does need a certain amount of ‘focussed attention’. (atleast 30-40 minutes per interaction!)

"Fortunately recruitment isn’t rocket science-and perhaps 10 of every 100 are placeable..and it is our dream to add value to all –whom we are in touch with!

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to review our operations, and you can be sure, we shall strive to rise up to the expectations!"

I shall be glad to hear from anyone who can help me manage better!! Am implementing automated 'applicant tracking systems', perhaps delegating a few to my colleagues,...saying NO to quite a few wherever I cant add value...

I am convinced talking about one's career -the aspirations, and discussing about going about it, is a very intimate sentiment, and one doesnt feel the comfort to talking to a stranger about such nuances...and so, this needs a very customised personalised feel.

Please do connect with me offline at [email protected] and I shall surely connect with you asap!!?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Increased global mobility -Salary packages in India

I just read an interesting article by Shreya Biswas of Economic Times on the challenges for the HR heads- as they need to design salaries for executives being relocated from international locations to India!

Talking to specialists from firms like Mercer, Hewitt & Korn/Ferry, she hints out
1. An expat is paid more for the same role -when compared to an Indian- for senior management roles.
2. The salaries at the middle management and entry-level people may have to be content with the same package as the local employee for a particular position. Perhaps, the logic being that the trip to the country of relocation is in their interest and not the company’s.
3. The gap in expat compensation and that of a local has been reducing in recent years. The transformation is taking place since India now has local talent.
4. Companies typically bring in expatriates “only for specialised roles - for example, specific capital markets positions, actuarial positions in insurance , risk management positions in real estate, positions in R&D, because in these areas , executives with a similar expertise are rare in India.”
My own personal observations are
-it has lot to do with the MNCs entry/focus on how important the "India component" is in their overall strategy, as also the very much dependent on the stage of their operations in India.
-increasingly in future, the demand for returning Indians -especially those who have had prior India management experience-before going abroad, will be much more than those -who are of Indian origin and have been educated/have had all their management experience overseas! This is more in the light of the increasing numbers of mergers& acquisitions that are happening globally, and the integration issues that are likely to crop up.
-eventually it boils down to the 'incremental value add' a professional can bring to any business-a la 'ROI"!!
The good news, anyway, is that the roles are increasingly becoming more strategic -and hence, it would be imperative to review the scope of the role and the impact one can make to the company's bottomline-and so, the salary compatibility is just a given factor!!
Happy hunting :-)!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Inflation check measures in India-increasing job hopping??

During the last few months, the regular interest hikes in the lending rates by banks – have had an interesting by product- more professionals are looking to change jobs :-)!!

In the past four months, the Reserve Bank has mandated as many as three increases in the cash-reserve ratio, or the proportion of deposits that commercial lenders must keep with the central bank as cash. Between December and now, the reserve requirement has risen 1.5 percentage points, with the most recent 50-basis-point increase announced on March 30. This preemption of cash has removed about $10 billion of liquidity from the banking system. As a result, the banks are now scurrying to woo depositors by promising them higher interest rates. The rising cost of attracting deposits is, in turn, passed on to the retail borrowers, who are getting squeezed.

To the layman it translates as below :

A new homeowner who took out a Rs 20 lakh 15-year variable-rate mortgage, say, two months ago was better off as a tenant. His loan’smaturity has increased by about eight years.

And how do ones think that this wd effect the sentiments of the salaried class in India? A recently published survey points out

-for 71% of respondents -Cars, houses, gizmos are rapidly getting off the shopping list

-27% of the respondents plan to bolster ones earnings by changing ones job!!

Are HR Managers thinking of any retention strategies??

For the automakers and real estate industry- it is slowly dawning that there is an increasing pile of loan defaults of the housing loans/ luxury car segment –and more so, among those who have plunged in for the loans last year. Now, will it affect the retail and consumer industry is anybody's guess!!

Will there be a review of hiring strategies..?? Especially if the reduced consumerism is likely to affect the growth and profitability plans of the Indian industry in an adverse manner?
Will the corporates stop investing in training ?
Would the focus be on attracting readymade qualified professionals with proven track records?
Or are we HR fraternity still cocooned in the time warp, and looking at the annual performance appraisals on a historical basis??

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Talent crunch-Corporate India forced to widen their pool!!

The latest issue of Business World has an interesting article on how India Inc. is trying to overcome the the inability of the Education system to churn out the talent it requires-both quantity and quality!!

There is an imperative need to learn from the American tradition of companies contributing to education with endowments and collaboration with universities in developing skills and intellectual property.

In the meanwhile, the companies are fending for themselves :

1.Some companies have resorted to setting up own education institutions. ICICI Bank has collaborated with NIIT to set up the Institute of Finance Banking & Insurance (IFBI). -to churn out about 100,000 trained professionals over the next three years.

2. Ernst & Young India, the Gurgaon-based arm of the global accounting and consulting major, has set up in-house academies for taxation and auditing skills in order to service its global clients from India.

3.Some IT companies are trying to spot talent to prepare potential recruits for prompt deployment by putting their software development tools in the hands of students and teachers in colleges.

4.Importing talent is catching on in emerging businesses, such as retail and aviation..Media too!! Delhi’s Hindustan Times (HT) group has brought in three editors from abroad, all Indians because the law forbids having foreigners in control of editorial content

5.Lowering the qualification bar is the way out for less skill-intensive jobs in relatively low-paying businesses,such as hospitality. With BPO, aviation and retail poaching hotels for polished youngsters, Delhi-based hotel company, Oberoi group of hotels, has experimented with hiring school passouts and sponsoring their graduation studies to enlarge its recruitment base.

However what caught my eye –was the ‘catching them young’!!initiative by Infosys recently at Hyderabad. They invited a few hundred students –of Class VIII across some of the popular schools for a screening examination that involved some logical ability and IQ. About 20 of them –who have been shortlisted –would qualify to have 2 week training session at the company-followed by some exposure to ‘real life ‘ jobs!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Recruiting in India- video recording by Jim Stroud

My last post on this blog was on the 18th March- THREE weeks have almost passed by!!

It has been one hectic of a period- since there were many events that kept me preoccupied -among which I can certainly share- the ERA national conference, the fiscal year end accounting blues, and annual planning exercise for YE Mar '08, and not to mention the World Cup Cricket that has encroached a lot into one's personal life !! ( guess now that India isnt in the running, I can truly follow the sport without any bias :-)! )

But if I do have to blame someone for the hibernation, I must confess it is Jim Stroud -who had visited Hyderabad around the 20thMarch and the time I spent with him!!

As an internet sourcer and a recruiter with a keen eye for the best 'hidden' talent, it was a pleasure interacting with him, sharing our respective experiences and getting a ringside view of the latest technologies that are available on the net..free and also those paid!!

In hindsight, I came back from the meeting -almost like a kid returning from a magic show-excited to implement all that I have learnt, and unearth with ease, a dot net project manager here, a C++ guru there, a VLSI design engineer from the depths of a conference, etc..and have since spent a few hours searching!! Well, searching is a euphemistic expression, for I am yet to see the fraction of the results that seem to emerge when Jim was weaving thru the internet :-)!!

I have now reconciled to the fact that while I should perhaps do things I am good at- post sourcing- trying to sell the right opportunity to the right person -and convince my clients to hire the best talent-and surely, leverage on the potential that Blogger gives me :-)!

Well, I am flattered Jim has had the gumption to feature me on his first ever video podcast of the Recruiters lounge . It is a 20 minute chat -do check it out and let me have your impressions!

Jim also featured me in a comic series. Well for one, a recruiter is found good enough to be hired!! And who knows, with Jim's eye for spotting talent, yours truly might just as well be playing in the next edition of the World cup cricket!!