April 28, 2009

Impacting human resources positively!

Does your company have what it takes to impact employees positively?

While reading an interview of a CxO of an organization stating 'companies must impact employees positively', I had mixed reactions from my friends who tried to interpret the statement. Such statements mean different things to different people depending on their roles. Many want to primarily examine it by linking it with their monetary health. After all, it's all about money, isn't it? For all such individuals who want to look at it in that light only, there's nothing but disappointment.

Let's try and understand this from the perspective of a business leader: We live in a capitalist world, where the most important objective for any business and the business leaders is to create wealth for their shareholders (in an extended way, create value (may not be wealth) for stakeholders). With such objectives, anything that doesn't make a business sense can't, and will not find place in any corporate business organization. For example, let's get back to the statement 'impacting people positively'. What impact on employees would make business sense to a CxO? To paraphrase it, what impact by an organization on its employees would generate more wealth for the shareholders?

The following are 4 primary areas which I can think can impact employees and directly contribute towards creation of wealth:
  • Talent Development: Up-skilling through Training & Development interventions: Talent management finds its place on the top 3 agendas in any mature organization today. In simple terms it means ensuring that the right person with the exact skill-set requirement is available at the right place and at the right time. With various pressures of attrition, skill availability, pricing of talent etc., training and development of internal resources through various methodologies makes more business sense to any CxO.
  • Conducive Work Environment & Relations for performance: Ensuring required resources are available to employees is the first step to create conducive work environment in any organization. These resources may be hardware - physical resources, as well as software which includes policies, procedures, practices, communication channels among others. Another important aspect which has taken more significance is Employee relations – both horizontal (peers) and vertical (subordinate-supervisor) relations, and practices around the same.
  • Compensation: Fair & Equitable Pay: When it comes to compensation – the definition of fairness and equity has no uniformity between two individuals, more so with employers and employee. This conflict has always been, is, and shall always be. Everybody wants a greater share, not a fair one. Notwithstanding the fact that ‘exceptions are always there’, I support the first classical / rational school of thought with one of its basic assumptions: “Every human being works for monetary benefits.” Money makes the world go round, isn’t it? For organizations it means giving a pay that’s benchmarked against the market. Not necessarily the best.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Guess it won’t be a surprise to know this area is witnessing a loss of interest from employers. In fact, this focus on ‘employee satisfaction’ has evolved with the passing of time and various landmark studies of human behavior and other politico-economic movements. The focus has now shifted to what is called ‘employee engagement’.
So, we’re talking of impacting employees positively and what do business leaders mean when they say that? But, the questions thrown up by any employee to that is WIIFM (What’s in it for me)? Being a HR professional and interacting with employees – frustrated, separating, engaged, disengaged and all other types, this question is quite frequently thrown at me. But yes, if employees use their monetary health alone as a yardstick to measure organizational impact on them, it’s quite a myopic approach.

So, friend, considering all the facts above, is your company impacting its employees positively? At a macro level, you need to consider at least the above all areas. If they’re not being met, you’ve got serious issues.

April 21, 2009

Called to love, endlessly!

Do read my post written for the weekly meditation in the Butler Methodist Church blog here.

The last two weeks have been intense on me on the subject of demonstrating Love and Relationships. Perhaps my previous posts also indicate on that. Most importantly, I had a practical talk to take on Relationships in God's plan with the 'South-West Delhi EU students'. After I'd finished that and joined the EGF weekly meeting, we had Bro. Richard Masih again sharing about 'How we ought to Love', and be called 'the greatest lovers'. Well, that's the basis of all Christian living too. Love! And, so when it had come to write a weekly meditation for the Church, it had to Love! To love, endlessly, just as Jesus Christ does.

April 18, 2009

How can I be called a Christian?

If I search for failures in others
Their faults, the slip of their tongues
Their inconsequential daily errors

If I highlight their weaknesses
Their mistakes, their imperfections
Their cultural poverty

If I gossip about others
Treat them as outside ‘my group’
Ruin their confidence
Make them feel alienated

If I think highly of myself
My achievements, my way of life
My march towards success

How can I be called a Christian?

S.W. Chandrashekhar
Published inYouth Touch, May-June ‘97, a bi-monthly publication of India Youth for Christ

April 16, 2009

Hard to say I'm sorry...

We all screw up our relationships with friends and family, even though in some cases we ourselves are not the ones to have started it. We make it worse by reacting or sometimes even overreacting to it, and bingo - an endless argument of accusations ensues - forgotten events are brought to life, past hurts are all dug up. Not only that, discussions begin (call it gossip, if you agree) with others trying to gather opinions, satisfying ones own curiosity and the need to reaffirm that 'I'm right'. Blood boils under the skin, hate slips out of control attempting to find any new way of manifesting itself and give back the other person what s/he deserves...

In all the process, many at time, the prime issue loses focus, and our thoughts become so extreme that words and actions start targeting the person and not the issue. That certainly will not only ensure that the issue is not sorted but also the relationship is destroyed. At times the hurt a closed one causes may be so great that you just cannot think of anything else at all. After some reflection and personal experiences, I believe one should hold themselves back from reacting to it immediately. If required sleep over it even for days till one's ready to handle the situation with a cool avoiding any bitter confrontation.

However, it all depends on how much value you attribute to the person and a relationship, and whether or not you want to save that relationship. Similarly, there may be many other variables attached which need to be considered. At the end, remember, everything is personal! If you will, you will!

In all of this, "It takes less time to do a thing RIGHT than it does to explain why you did it WRONG!" Take the first step, it's hard to say sorry, but do it. I've done it, so, I'm sharing it. It's much better, try it. Mend your relationships!

Learn from wherever, if you don't apply, it's a waste!

We get to hear a lot about learning these days, learn from this, learn from that.. "Look at their child, or your friend," some parents say "you must learn from them." That's one of the common things to hear during student days and even till much later I guess. At work, there's trainings, experiential learning etc., etc., These days, many trainers even talk about learning from movies..
Then we have lot of quotes people keep flashing in email signatures, status messages, everywhere around..

What matters in all learning is, if that's not seen in action or application, all that learning is a waste! So, if you're one of those millions who talks of learning from them, that, this and how! Take time to apply it. Demonstrate the learning in action.

April 13, 2009

Everyone wants recession cover..

Given the times of lull in world business and the impact on top-line and bottom-line of organizations, companies have become extra-careful, even the overtly conservative ones (including Lalas) have gone ahead taking measures from announcing job cuts, pay cuts, umpteen internal cost cutting measures, right-sizing etcetera..

But, as they say, in business the rear-view mirror is clearer than the windshield. Most companies looking at the past year performance have announced no salary hikes for the coming financial year. On top of it, there's no significant inflation in India which demands a correction in salaries. That quite justifies action on any company's part. It's about time in a day or two that Indian corporate would start announcing posting to the public their financial statements, and it would be no wonder if most of them had shown significant achievement, if not achieving their set targets for the financial year 2008-09.

Organizations are certain they want to grow, and the results would show that they have grown and the future, though not as certain, fairly indicates that growth is assured. I believe companies should make their employees (they're pampered as talent assets) a part of their growth by showing some sign of sharing through increments if not bonuses (even as some companies have). How else would a company more emphatically reinforce their belief in their workforce? How else does a company assure that they are interested in the employees growth and not only the financial growth of the organization? How else can a company make sure the partners are actively involved in mutual growth without giving them a taste of the growth? There's no promises made for future even if companies do not want to announce salary hikes currently. Would that not be a question of will and just running for cover of recession?

I would like to do a little bit of analysis on growth of organizations, at least 5-10 big ones and see the impact.. but, let's wait till the announcements..

April 11, 2009

Politically correct or not..

There's a dangerous trend these days - 'of being politically correct'. I realize that as I'm often accused of not being politically correct. While I always looked at as being frank, sometimes rather 'brutally honest', whether invited or not, but always with good intentions only, allegedly not being politically correct has affected me a great deal, and still continues to. What I often find a challenge is - Why should one be politically correct with persons close to them, like friends for example?

Why should one beat a little around the bush, disguise statements a little there and a little here, sugarcoat and speak with a friend, when they can go and almost bluntly blurt out about what's wrong - it's a close friend after all! What's in it to be politically correct?

The last two weeks have been quite trying and taught me a great deal about conducting my communication and weighing my words before uttering, sadly even with the closest of friends (I thought). To my understanding, unfortunately it was less due to the words communicated and more about my estimate about the receptiveness or maturity-to-understand of the person at the receiving end that has caused few issues. Well, who's to blame? Guess it's still me.

Politically correct answers or statements are strategies, or at least ideally are to be used strategically to minimize any offense while conveying the core message. Well, there's an assumption to it, that the recipient is mature enough or has an understanding adequate to cut through the diplomacy or political nature of the statement made and receive the core message. And, like it's required for a complete / effective communication there's gotta be a feedback either in words or in deed.

I've taken few learnings from recent past to further refine my communication.
  1. To put into use something I've always known, and express it still better in words - that you're bothered/ attacking the issue and not the person.
  2. Refrain from making personal remarks
  3. Never make judgments about people's maturity to understand based on personal experiences - whether friends, even close or even people related to you.
  4. Talk to people as if you were talking to a kid from second grade unless you're very sure, still refer point 3.
  5. To understand when is the time to be silent; when is the time to speak, and be as slow to speak.
  6. To avoid speaking to fools - you''ll either be counted one among them; worse, they don't see any understanding in your words, and they'll hate you for it. Even worse, you engage in words with them and you will become one among them.
Even after all this, I still believe that when speaking to at least the close friends, aides, acquaintances we ought to keep our speech plain, to the point and edifying each other to the extent possible. But, politics has also touched individual lives so deeply and to such great extent, that a politically incorrect statement can buy you a load of trouble. I'm yet to see if they'll lead me to making always a politically correct speech or not.

April 10, 2009

Why is Good Friday good?

The fact that Good Friday is good because...

Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day,
The Roman soldiers tried to clear the narrow street,
But the crowd pressed in to see
The man condemned to die on Calvary (place where Jesus died)
He was bleeding from a beating -
there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
and He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death
Like a lamb came the Messiah Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love for you and me
Down the Via Dolorosa (a narrow street Christ walked on way to
calvary) all the way to Calvary

The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made its way through the heart of Jerusalem
Down the Via Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love for you
and me. Down the Via Dolorosa all the way to Calvary.

The miracle in the incident of Jesus Christ's death is that He brought salvation and reconciliation by his death for all the generations that were in eternity past, that are in eternity present and that which will yet come to be in future eternity! But it's not a sad day, for Jesus Christ rose up from the dead on the third day (when Easter is celebrated) and gave us victory over the bond of evil.

Salvation is at hand for anyone and everyone by God's abundant grace. All one needs to do is to ask for it in the name of Jesus Christ. Hope each of you experience 'His Love & Saving Grace'. Wish you a Good Friday!

April 9, 2009

Seen pigs fly?

There's somethings that are actually impossible. I don't want to write about what I am currently thinking about as I make this statement, but have you ever 'Seen pigs fly or wallow in slime?'

No matter how much you try, how much you hope against hope - You won't see pigs fly, only wallowing in slime!

Photographing Waterfalls..

I always wondered how photographers captured the milky-white color in the waterfalls, after some reading and trying out some settings in my little P&S Canon IXUS 7.1 MP Camera, I did capture some milky-white colors of a waterfall at Bhagsunath near Dharamshala..

For more pics of the Bhagsunath waterfall, click here..

Hanging out with office colleagues may not be a good idea!

It's time for me to reflect on my own thoughts again. I am revisiting one of my previous posts: Friends at workplace? Not Done! Also I'm reminded of an e-buddy's question which I found really absurd then: "Do you hang out with your office colleagues?" I now concur with his opinion "You should avoid it." Sad that I had to wait for a personal experience to come to an agreement. But, as I keep testing my own judgments and re-evaluate the lessons I learn, I still believe things can change. Because it's people we're talking and people are capable of learning, choosing their actions and becoming more competent and mature to mend their ways! Ever hopeful for the best..