September 30, 2009

Rudyard Kipling's 'IF'

I was reminded of this poem yet again, as one of my friend was pitching for a proposal to market a book written with this poem as the base material...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;  

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

September 29, 2009

Nasty Journalists!

Came across this news in Delhi times about Bipasha getting groped in a Pandal.. Sick, as the journalist called the fellow who did, and as embarrassing as the incident might have been to the actress, what's nasty is the last line of the story - "Despite repeated attempts, John and Bipasha remained unavailable for comment"

Despite repeated attempts, the stupid journalist, rather nasty - Yogesh must be thankful he didn't get slapped by Bips & knocked off by Ab..

September 24, 2009

Is HR alone responsible for firing employees?

It was in March, 08 that I had fired 3 people without quite being convinced myself of the reason for their sacking. Why am I thinking of that now? Cos, the news has it - one of my HR contacts - Roy Goerge, VP - HR of Pricol (Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu) was beaten to death in Coimbatore for laying off employees.. I'd known him through a student at IIPM, who'd done his thesis under his guidance while he was VP-HR with Satyam Cinemas.

I didn't know him personally a great deal, but hear from others that he was a good HR person, 'a seasoned one' I'd believe to have risen to the top positions in various organizations. But, what could he have done wrong as a VP - HR is the question? That anyways wouldn't justify the irreversible consequence of workers' outburst, but it's quite a thing to reflect on what went wrong when the action was taken and communicated; what were the workers thinking when they'd schemed his beating up?

I reflect on my own actions and the actions behind the curtains in March '08. Few observations--
  • Sacking an employee is not a decision by a singular department, the least - HR, which would first look at alternate employability of a person within the organization.
  • Many-a-time, management screws up.. I mean they make mistakes.. serious hiring mistakes, and then, in a fit to control damage and unnecessary cost, press on to sack employees.
  • HR Head, most of the time, unless the CEO & Board's leadership culture supports, is a mere puppet; compelled to yield to the demands of others.
  • Though the decision is taken by CEO, COO, Directors or others, HR is expected, and even asked to communicate the decision singularly. 

In case of Roy, I think of the manufacturing setup, the not so matured understanding of workers, and feel it was some mob mentality that drove them to do this. I may be generalizing here, but I'm reminded of my O|D Prof. S.C. Kapoor's statement "Masses are just Mindless ASSes!"

Sacking an employee of course, mostly happens at the end of the day, to keep it hush hush, when everyone's almost gone. Well, I had one of the three employees call me the next day morning when I was off for a vacation, threatening me to commit suicide and leaving a letter to the police. Hmm, it did freak me out for a few minutes though, however, it wasn't a pleasant experience then, nor is it a pleasant memory now.

I keep saying it time and again - Firing employees, is traumatic equally to the HR person, if not more than what is felt by the one getting fired!

The solution then - acting on all the reflections given above, and puhleez get this clear.. HR Dept is an employee champion, and a business partner!

September 23, 2009

What makes us Christian?

It is not what we eat, but what we digest that makes us strong;
not what we gain, but what we save that make us rich;
not what we read, but what we remember that makes us learned;
and not what we profess, but what we practice that makes us Christians.
--(came across this piece on the internet, author unknown)

September 10, 2009

When companies err in hiring the right candidate

A lot of gyaan is already floating around about the various mistakes that are made during hiring etc., but this piece is about how to deal with the mishire (mistake) when it is inside the organization.

Infant mortality, new-hire absconding are two primary indicators to the company's management that there's been a hiring mistake. Once realized, it's an impulse reaction by managers to find some way to get rid of the candidate and them him out of their team if not fire them. Well, here's the first thing, the hiring managers and recruitment team need to realize - "it's your mistake and not that of the candidate!"

The second type of mishires are identified over a period of time, when the candidates are exposed to production and their capabilities are put to test in live environment. Well, then again, it's an impulse reaction by managers to get them out of the system. Hmm.. yet again, "it's the hiring team's mistake, not the candidate's."

It's really important for any manager to understand I don't mean to this fact, that it's the mistake made by the hiring team, and not candidate. Having said that I don't mean to say live with it, cos one can't just keep the problem and think of performing optimally.

So, what's the action plan?
  • The hiring manager should have a communication plan in place to inform the newly joined about his misplacement and set expectations right.
  • Reassess, take a stock of the wrongly hired employee's skill set and the mismatch
  • Accordingly, either initiate a Performance Enhancement Plan, or
  • Look within the organization for any vacant job positions for right fitment
  • When no opportunity for utilizing the candidate exists, engage in a discussion to separate the employee without penalizing him
Be sensitive to the fact that:
  1. It was your mistake, not the candidate's
  2. Your mishire is within your system, and you may incur damage internally and even from outside.
In all actions taken, while being mindful of the of the cost involved, be fair. What else is a better impression of a 'good-employer', a title which all corporations vie for.