Friday, November 29, 2019

Future Proofing Careers for Middle & Senior Managers in the age of T20

It is a no brainer. We are probably in the midst of the most happening of all the decades in the history of mankind. The half life of  knowledge and skills is shrinking!

Technology, Globalisation, and Mother Nature (climate change & biodiversity) are all accelerating at once. And transforming the key realms of the workplace, politics, geopolitics, community and ethics.

Business models are becoming extinct faster. The mortality rates of organisations is suspect.
If the Industrial Revolutions 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 was about empowering corporations, and scalable efficiencies ( doing things right), the IR ver 4.0 is all about empowering people, and scalable adaptability ( doing the right things).

      In this new new world, one would be practical enough to change our mindset. It is best we sensitize ourselves that no job is forever. Employability equals Options. One must manage one's own career as a business.

In the past, experience bestowed a lot of respect to one. In today's world where we are likely to work with folks of  different generations - including GenX and  young millennial, there is a wonderful irreverence!

How do we as middle and senior managers future proof ones career?

Don’t let what you cannot do- interfere with what you can! Increasingly, it is the ability to dive deep into one's inventory of skills, and pick out what can be transplanted, in the pattern of things, and see how we can transplant the best practice to create a better impact.

Do we learn from the film industry on how they have been putting together team of experts, with complementary skills, extract the best of them, within the constraints and limitations of time and material, and deliver projects? The #futureofwork is about leveraging those in the gig economy, and entice them to bring out their best talents in the shortest of engagements!

Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. And from all those who we interact with.

Lets not hesitate to go out of our comfort zone, and learn new skills. And keep pivoting!

A lot of tasks are bound to be automated, and some even outsourced. It is increasingly those quintessential human traits that will become our greatest assets. Curiosity. Creativity.Caring.Changing. 

Networking. It is not about whom you know- but about who knows you too. It helps to extend our contact sphere to be able to educate others about -how we can potentially add value in the future.

In this interconnected world, only if one is google -able, does one exist :)! So, it yes, make every effort to leave enough social media footprints online, to be found by those looking for pain points to solve. Think in terms of key words...perhaps?

One has to constantly reinvent to stay relevant and survive.  As consumers, we are now accustomed to using so many new habits. We have taken to google, facebook, whatsapp, uber, swiggy, airbnb, dunzo...and improve our lives. Do we in our professional avataar, be as discerning?

Get inspired by sportsmen. Everyone fails more often than one wins. It is what you do when you fail, that matters! Increasingly we accept that the cricketers who play the T20 are perhaps the ones different from those who revel in Test Cricket. There is a place for everyone-it is just that we need to be conscious...

Not taking risks is perhaps the worst risk we take?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gaming is no Child's Play!?

Last Friday, when I stepped in to the Novotel hotel to attend the IGDC 2019 -in an attempt to get a ringside view of the Indian Gaming industry, I kind of lost my way!

There were a bunch of Class VIII students -who were pitching their games, after having learnt a few new design applications! The energy was palpable as they could legitimately spend time playing more games, and interact with gamers who producted them!!

The place seemed to be teeming with hundreds of youngsters-in early twenties,in what seemed like a hitech kumbhamela of sorts. Gadgets galore across all across, with huge stages, people keyed in-with headsets in front of monitors,it seemed an ecosystem of digital content creators, brands and agencies!

The 11th edition of the India Game Developer Conference, held at Hyderabad, was  held as part of India Joy 2019, the premier gaming, media, and entertainment event. With several talks, workshops, panel discussions, and esports tournaments, the conference showcased how India is becoming a game hungry nation.

It was interesing to note, apart from the usual tracks, business, design, art, technology,      applied games, I was impressed there was one that had 'career' as a focus. A great plaform for young professionals/aspirants to get a feel of what it takes to be successful in the Gaming industry. Loved the thoughts/deliberations that the different speakers shared- including what is expected of freshers- how do they design their portfolios etc! 

I must admit it was a little mindboggling at first -especially since I was conscious that I really didnt have any experience in playing mobile games -nor was I aware of the several genres associated ( at best, wondered how the millenials got so carried away by the hours of thumbing!). So it was enlightening to know, amongst other stuff, the kind of details a 2D artist gets into, a 'character sketch artist' actually spends hours of learning anatomy- to be able to come up with realistic figures!

While I have grappled to understand how to use instagram,or snapchat, and wondered at the pace of it I have had a fleeting affair with a couple of videos on tik tok. I realise it was increasingly necessary for me to come with terms -and accept that I could not longer be tech-averse- and atleast appreciate the changes as it happen! The key note speeches -sensitised me on how -in a period of less than 18 months, India has seen millions of people getting to 'PUBG with each other', and how there was even a Premier League (MPL) that had captured the attention of all the 'gig economy' adopting developers -who could now produce games for more millions..playing not just pool or card games, but also quizzes, cricket!

Hey stuck me -we were in the midst of increased bandwidth, 4G, 5G..and folks spending more time on mobile phones -and less and less on web. This is indeed the #futureofwork!                                                                                                                                       

Perhaps it was indeed the #signoftimes-that the key note speaker on the second day- in a Gaming conference - was a pioneer from the Animation industry!! Rajeev Chilaka of Green Gold Animation sharing his story of gowth of Chhota Bheem-the company had gone beyond making animation films, (including providing services to other labels for sustaining their revenues), licensing, merchandising, reail, TV films, Apps and Games. And banking on the new media -OTT- they even launched a global extension- Little Mighty Bheem for cover an international market of over 100 countries, riding on the network on Netflix!

And would you believe it? 

Telangana Government has actually had its act together to getting investment to Hyderabad by providing exclusive infrastructure -providing plug n play office spaces in a building called IMAGE -an acronym for Innovation in Animation, Multimedia, Gaming and Entertainment! And yes, they are also on the verge of announcing a new tie up with foreign Universities to usher in the best and latest curriculums required to keep in sync with the changing world!

This is indeed a new new world. It is said that there are almost 300 game development companies in India..which is likely to be a 12000 Crores industry in 3 years -and over 2 crore gamers in India.

And yes, the future looks there is a yet another unconventional career opportunity for professionals..opening up!

And it is indeed ironical that one feels the gaming industry starves for talent!!? Time to change the way we all look for talent?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Elevate! Creating Better Workplaces -Recruiting on Demand!

The SHRM India’s Annual Conference 2019 is just about to begin today. And the theme this year is #Better Workplaces, for a better world.And while we have a bevy of professionals sharing and learning the best practices across the gamut of Human Resources as a domain, over the next two days, I have always felt very passionate that the key to any great organization is hiring/recruitment. I am of the belief, that if one were to hire right, each time, every time, then an organization has to spendless time focusing on engaging, managing or motivating them. Also, one is automatically enabling/leveraging the Business with the right Culture & People- the intersection of which is the #Better Workplace.

From time immemorial, there have been several debates on the best way to hire top talent, be it "make or buy"(using internal recruiting teams or utilising third party specialist firms), or the costs/ownership involved in hiring ( ranging from Executive Search vs. Retained /Exclusive vs. Contingent search vs. Recruitment Process Outsourcing). To be fair, they have been a lot of pros and cons, both ways, and depending on the life cycle of growth of organizations, one is tempted to take one route or the other, if not a multi pronged approach. However, all of them hinged on the "speed vs. quality"! Not to mention, amidst all the claims that recruitment agency business model is grotesquely dysfunctional.

And so, it is indeed appropriate that the Welcome address is by David Windley, SHRM Board Chair, who is the CEO of IQTalent Partners -which is revolutionizing Talent Acquisition, by providing innovative solutions and offering on -demand services -working as an extension of the in-house Recruiting team -(or a virtual team if one doesn’t exist) by tweaking the traditional models of Executive Search, and Contingency recruiting - to provide it as a service that is on-demand and bill by the hour without minimums or restrictive contracts -be it research, sourcing, or full life cycle recruiting you need and only when you need them. (Psst- they have impressed clients like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Intuit, Splunk, Pie Insurance, among others!)

The shift is essentially a mindset change -from a Transactional Reactive business model to one that focusses on Proactive Partnership with clients! By treating each offering as a professional service where both parties are on the same team, running toward the same end zone and reading from the same playbook!

The IQTP consultants are salaried professionals who work with their clients’ internal teams and the client is billed for the hours spent on a job. The primary belief in this business model is that an executive recruiter who is salaried and not commissioned will not push a lesser qualified candidate through only in order to fill a role quickly and receive a paycheck. By billing by the hour, the essential conflict of interest is eliminated.

I am looking forward to sharing some of David’s insights in leading the company, that within 4 years of his leadership, finds itself among the top 35 Executive Search firms in a highly competitive scenario.

And the mantra? "When you create an inclusive and engaging workplace, employees flourish, and businesses succeed", quips David! For example,

- Open to hiring recruiters working from remote locations.

-Allow them to go where they want to go.

-Hire boomerangs (would you believe for the size of the company it is -it has perhaps the highest ratio of 'people returning to work' in IQ TP-after exploring greener pastures, and then choosing to head back!?)

Of course, the pricing model is also innovative as clients end up saving significant costs, as compared to a success based hiring mandates prevalent at most locations.

On the supply side, I can also imagine that being such a predictable business model, it also helps recruiting firms be able to attract more high quality recruiters -and retain them, thereby raising the bar for the professional recruiters. It has been my pet peeve that not many come into the recruitment profession, by design, and a lot more those who learn the ropes, use it as a stepping stone, as there really aren’t too many role models for aspiring Talent attraction pros!

Looking forward to interact with him, and get to know the more about what the future of work looks like? Am sure David will be available for discussions during the networking sessions. Or else tweet using #SHRMIAC19, and some of us from the #BlogSquad, would be happy to relay the questions/concerns -and have them addressed in due time.

On your marks, get set. The countdown is just a few more hours. Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. Share. And yes, don't forget to make new connections, have fun, and give it forward!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Are Conferences still relevant today?

The king is dead, long live the king!

The social media was still trending with #NHRDNC19 -after the completion of the 22nd National Conference of the National HRD Network (on Sept19th & 20th at Chennai), when Dr Krish Shankar, the National President, who wasn't able to be physically present at the event due to a prior commitment, tweeted from overseas, post his commendatory messages to the teams that mattered, asked "While we are at it, need your views on how might NHRDN ‘reimagine’ ourselves? What more can NHRDN do for the HR fraternity?"

There were some insights shared by fellow professionals, including suggestions of a more robust real time online community -a la Quora, that was more inclusive, and enhance sharing thoughts, learning, and seamless integration between different regional chapters !! 

But what caught my attention more -was the quality of discussions in another tweet thread  as a senior HR leader raised some issues that seem to be affecting the very credibility of the Conference format. Quite uncanny, the timing was a sheer coincidence, as he clarified it was more a generic observation that has been disturbing him, as a regular speaker at similar events for over a decade now..

And yes, they triggered some interesting debates, offline and online -that twitter allows in its 280 character limit, and the follow up discussions. It is the nature of the engagements and the speed-that often brings in clarity.

With increasing numbers of delegates, have conferences tended to become very 'sponsor' specific, and often one hears of how speaker slots too are driven by them?.

My take ?

Conferences are what you make of them.

As a stakeholder, a delegate- who is neither an organizer, nor a sponsor, but a self employed professional -investing hard earned money and time to travel and attend, I see tremendous value in them!

It is best to remember we are amidst the most disruptive of times, when most established business models find their way to oblivion faster than before. One truly doesnt have the benefit of leveraging on post mortem. In a world -where one is constantly expected to evolve, I feel the conferences of tomorrow -will need to be leveraged differently from the ways it was done before.

I personally attend anywhere from 4- 5 conferences annually, across different industries-as it is my window to keeping in touch with the domains I specialize in. If social media is the window to my learning world, conferences have become just another arrow, in the quiver. Audio books, webinars, podcasts, apart from smaller formats (meet ups, breakfast sessions, round tables, and manthans!)

I have found it a perfect opportunity to also network with experts and practitioners -who are the hubs for my extended reach/learning opportunities. Most of the interesting moments are the ones-not likely in the sessions! For most presenters consider you as potential recipients -one way traffic of experiences/ideas -and I must confess what I look forward to most, are the Q& A sessions that often showcase more of the speakers true insights!

Psst... Keynote speeches are usually the ones I skip-and use the time to head for the booths to meet with others who are seemingly bored with such sessions! Some of the best new products are often on display, and one gets abreast with the state-of-art best practices /services.

(Panels too, unless they are steered by competent moderators, often tend to be forgettable experiences -with some getting away with the lion's share of the interactions..At best one gets a couple of quotable quotes from each speaker in the limited time!)

Thanks to the Internet, one can find quite a lot of social media footprints these days of most speakers, and one can watch videos of the talks/view the slides- and get some insights-even one is away from the conference. So, you would be better off -being in sync, and have the advantage of comparing notes, interacting and engaging with similar minded professionals.

Tips for first timers attending conferences?

In a world where the onus of ones career is now with the individual, I would advocate each one, at whichever stage of the life cycle of the career one is in, to take charge of ones own learning and development. In an ecosystem -where the mortality of companies is increasing, I would advice you, to pick and choose the right conference(s) in your domain and attend it, one your own cost (if the employer has a budget constraint -to be in sync with the latest!)

Remember -Networking is good for your career. One great connection can lead to new leanings, partnerships, ideas, and perhaps new opportunities..changing the way one approaches one work

Pick and choose which sessions to attend- by studying the conference schedule, and figuring out the break out sessions you would want to hone your knowledge with.  Watch the videos of the speakers ahead of the conference, and then strategize as to the kind of relationships one would like to build! Even setting up a phone call -or 30 minutes of one-to-one meeting outside of the conference context, will be a killer!

Yes, one more tip. It helps to build ones brand too. Polish one's social media profile, and focus of generating, if not curating content, using the conference hash tag! The visibility will be in good stead for your credibility in time. 

And hey presto, you will see how conferences can enhance both your personal and professional development, as well as providing you with tools that cannot be taught in-house, or even online.

I am excited -looking forward to the SHRM India Annual Conference -within the coming fortnight!! Yes, it is in Delhi on the 10/11th October. I must make a submission. I am a proud member of the SHRMIAC19 BlogSquad and so have a ringside view of the some action that is being promised to be on show..On offer is a WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES TO ELEVATE YOUR GAME!

Psst -Should you register for the conference using the code BLOGSQUAD19, you will be entitled to an exclusive discount of 10%. Hurry up. Stay tuned for more social sharing messages using #SHRMIAC19 over the next fortnight. See you at the event!

Friday, April 05, 2019

Planning to #return2India? Here are some curated experiences!

Interesting to know the perspectives from a bunch of stakeholders.

Mani Karthik, yes, it is he -who is featured at his Kochi office -that triggered this piece. In his modest tone, he lets it slip that "It was just a weekend sprint, and a one page website. But soon after (as cliche as it may sound) it went viral and next thing you know there are strangers calling me up/messaging asking for more info. Now the community drives it and I'm enabling it."

Several whatsapp groups have sprouted- city wise, and seem to be a discussion forum on a wide variety of topics..from the why - to the detailed Hows and Whats. Questions you never knew whom to ask...there always seem to be experienced folks-who have very rich experiences.

About a couple of years ago, Nupur Dave had an amazing article on Linkedin that had over a 6000 comments -which perhaps gives you an idea of the kind of interest in the trend. You may like to hop over to her blog- that also gives you an option of consulting her - in the process of enabling over 8000 people make a decision to move/not move to India!

It is all happening..and so one can research to one's desire!

Btw, during Aarons trip to Hyderabad, we did have a 'offline' meet up orchestrated by Mani Karthik, and so there were a bunch who compared notes on the various stages of the lifecycle of the journey. Here is a 16 minute video of my candid views too -as I shared the perspective related to "jobs" part- setting expectations to both the potential employers and returnees

Would love to have your observations too!!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A day for a Recruiter? #Apna Time Aayega

You know what? Over the 26 years that I have been a recruiter, I have interacted with thousands of others recruiters..who confessed that they trespassed into Recruitment. Imagine it wasn't a planned 'career' move, at all. Ironic?

Yet, Linkedin, probably the only comprehensive global database of recruiters recently showed there are 1,144,463 individuals with the term "Recruiter" in their job title. It is estimated that there over 3.5 million people working directly in recruitment worldwide!

To me the personal journey has been driven by trying to help other people find their calling. (After ones' name, most people's individuality pivots on what their job is, right? Personal happiness follows professional happiness. Or is it the other way around :)!?

Back in 2001/02 Executive Recruiters Association came together. Over time, as things would change, most of us had forgotten to celebrate March 9th. A couple of years ago, #ZohoRecruit shared a lovely tribute to Recruiters  .   


Flashback to earlier times, I recall sharing thoughts on the same event back ,on this blog, as the role of a recruiter has been changing -amidst all the disruption happening in a world that has been transforming itself with the growth of computers, mobile, internet & increased bandwidth!

2015 the biz of finding people for jobs?                                        

Today, there are amazing online communities all over the net, and it seems like the fraternity is finally coming on its own. Recruiters, Sourcers, Talent acquisition specialists, Trainers, Coaches...all stretching the bar. Almost every week, there are tons of content being shared for all of us to hone our skills -not only to find others, but to be found by others. #Dont miss there are over 40+ Facebook groups where similar minded hang out!

Would you believe that the World Economic Forum in its "Future of Jobs" reports -that Recruiters will be no2  category in the professional services demanded by 2022?? 

Here is a caveat though. Unlike in the past though, where anyone and everyone with an email id or telephone number could pass of as a recruiter, the future professional will have to be different. Trust Greg Savage to have put it so well!!

Interestingly, an International Recruiters Day is being planned on 4th March .

PS : Listen to this rap #Apnatimeaayega ? Do you know any commercial feature film that has a recruiter as a character in it?

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Taking Fresh Guard!

The other day, as the Swiggy delivery boy exchanged the packet, I noticed he was a smart youngster. On probing, Ravi was a 2nd Engineering student, and confessed he was committed to it as as full time job -as he was getting paid, about Rs 35000 -monthly-including incentives. “What’s the point of going daily to college?” He wasn’t sure if he would even get half of that- after attending classes for 2 more years, and so would just do the enough to get the necessary attendance and pass his exams!
Earlier last month, I was invited as a panelist at the 9th Higher Education & Human Resource Conclave, Hyderabad 2019.
The topic : "Human Resource’s Role in the changing scenario of Employment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the New India".
The speakers were across some of the leading hiring community from the corporate world, and Government, and the event was well represented by the Educational institutions, pan India. It was inspiring to see 'those who matter' in the ecosystem, sharing their concerns, and setting expectations for improving employment, and their best practices .
As a ringside observer of the changing dynamics -amidst the perhaps the most disruptive of decades in the history of world, my observations, were, kind of tangential/ contrary to those being deliberated & I could sense some discomfort!!
My pointers?
-It is time to stop looking thru the 'rear view mirror' and achieve marginal increments. One needs to focus on the road ahead, 'windshield' and navigate the possible obstacles/ challenges.
-Focus on placements/employment is passe'. Instead 'employability'? The tenures of engagement have significantly reduced, and so the onus of career is now on the individual.
-Need to stop spoon feeding students. Teach one to fish-you give an occupation that will feed one for a lifetime
-Businesses are becoming hybrid. And we as consumers are so used to changing our lifestyles - but when it comes to our profession, are we in a time warp? Google has got into cars. Is Amazon a logistics company? General Motors has probably hired more IT professionals in the last 3 years than automobile engineers.
So are the skills needed in the new age employee . Given the technological advances, AI, ML, data science aren't new jargon anymore. Employers want people who have hybrid skills. App developers no longer content with coding skills, but with knowledge of design, marketing, and more. Marketing professionals strong with SQL queries to analyze customer needs better. The list goes on.
Perpetual learning is the key. So are the educational institutes able to impart the need for learning to learn, unlearn, and relearn?
Somehow I sense an increasing 'entitlement', across the stakeholders.Time to change the way we have been looking?
And yes, I see the millennial are a smarter lot. Perhaps with lesser attention spans. But lot more savvy to the changing habits.
Whose life is it anyway?