Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Creating an Employer Brand - Critical Success Factors

In reference to Employer branding, the Business Leaders are facing tough people questions and in turn looking up to HR for an answer. Some of the common questions are -
  • Do you have an employee value proposition to attract, retain and engage the very best?
  • Have you effectively aligned your EVP to your Customer Value Proposition?
  • Have you created a high performance culture that aligns people to execute your strategy?
  • How aligned is your total reward strategy to business outcomes?
It is important that each of these questions is looked into separately for an answer however creating Brand of respect is important and possibly a very common concern for most Organizations. Some of the ways to do so are as follows:
  • Find your USPs as an organization and as an employer; find your differentiators vis-à-vis competition
  • Build your organization and people practices on core values
  • Align your entire leadership to your culture and values
  • Build the EVP around your particular context – no cookie-cutter approach!
  • Attract the “right” talent, not necessarily the “best”
  • Don’t rest on your laurels; continually benchmark and improve
Some of the Pitfalls to avoid are:
  • An employer brand is not a mere advertisement or slogan
  • Do not merely replicate someone else’s employer brand strategy
  • Do not create an EVP merely to just attract, but also to retain
Cotributed By:
Ranjan Sarkar
Senior Vice President - HR & Corporate Communication
(Acclaris Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guiding Principles for Organizations

We often hear about the various terminologies which creates the guiding principles of any Organizations. It is important to understand the flow and its impact.

  • Vision & Mission
  • Core Values
    • Values – Personal & Cultural
    • Value System – Personal, Communal & Corporate
    • Corporate Value System – Core Values, Protected Values & Created Values
  • Ethical Code
    • Code of Ethics – Corporate or Business Ethics
      • Corporate Tenets
    • Code of Conduct – Employee Ethics
      • HR Code of Conduct
    • Code of Practice

Coming to the Corporate Value System, Fred Wenstop and Arild Myrmel have proposed a structure for corporate value systems that consists of three value categories. These are however considered complimentary and juxtaposed on the same level if illustrated graphically.

  • Core Values:
    • The 1st value category is Core Values, which prescribe the attitude and character of the Organization
  • Protected Values:
    • The 2nd value category is Protected Values, which are protected through rules, standards and certifications (usually related to Health, Environment, Safety)
  • Created Values:
    • The 3rd value is Created Values, which are the values that stakeholders expect in return for their contributions to the firm. These values are subject to trade-off by decision makers or bargaining process ( Usually explained in details under Stakeholder theory)

Coming to Ethical Code we have three distinct categories which can be explained as -

  • Code of Ethics – Corporate or Business Ethics:
    • A code of ethics often focuses on social issues. It may set out general principles about an organization's beliefs on matters such as mission, quality, privacy or the environment. It may delineate proper procedures to determine whether a violation of the code of ethics has occurred and, if so, what remedies should be imposed. The effectiveness of such codes of ethics depends on the extent to which management supports them with sanctions and rewards
  • Code of Conduct – Employee Ethics:
    • A code of conduct is a document designed to influence the behaviour of employees. They set out the procedures to be used in specific ethical situations, such as conflicts of interest or the acceptance of gifts, and delineate the procedures to determine whether a violation of the code of ethics occurred and, if so, what remedies should be imposed. The effectiveness of such codes of ethics depends on the extent to which management supports them with sanctions and rewards
  • Code of Practice – Professional Ethics:
    • A code of practice is adopted by a profession or by a governmental or non-governmental organization to regulate that profession. A code of practice may be styled as a code of professional responsibility, which will discuss difficult issues, difficult decisions that will often need to be made, and provide a clear account of what behaviour is considered "ethical" or "correct" or "right" in the circumstances. In a membership context, failure to comply with a code of practice can result in expulsion from the professional organization

Contributed By:
Ranjan Sarkar
Senior Vice President - HR & Corporate Communication
(Acclaris Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd. )

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Effective Learning

Learning is any activity that leads to a relatively permanent change in behavior. It occurs through experience. Learning can take place through any of the four approaches:
  • Intuitive Learning : This takes place primarily through guesswork
  • Incidental Learning : This takes place through any unplanned event
  • Retrospective Learning : This takes place by reviewing one’s past experiences
  • Prospective Learning : This takes place by planning to learning ahead

David Kolb proposed the learning cycle which consists of four stages commencing from Concrete Experience leading to Reflective Observation transcending into Abstract Conceptualisation and culminating into Active Experimentation.

Peter Honey and Allan Mumford took the above findings forward and labeled the four categories of learners as under:

  • Activists : Concrete Experiencers
  • Reflectors : Reflective Observers
  • Theorists : Abstract Conceptualisers
  • Pragmatists : Active Experimenters

It therefore behoves on a trainer to appreciate that learners are not homogenous in their learning styles. Because of this heterogenecity, a trainer should tailor-make his/her presentation to match the interests of the concerned learner. So, Activists will prefer business games, outbound training, Reflectors will like case-studies, brainstorming through group discussions, Theorists will look forward to concept sharing, lecture methods, while Pragmatists will be comfortable with a blend of the foregoing techniques.

However, whatever is the technique, the following principles should be borne in mind to foster an effective training climate:

  • Learning takes place in a relatively relaxed and non-threatening environment
  • Learning takes place when a reward is associated with the learning process
  • Learning takes place when the learner is given sufficient time to practice the learning content
  • Learning takes place when the learner sees practical utility in what is being learnt
  • Learning takes place when reinforcement is provided to the learning process

Once the above measures are taken into consideration, it will result in a ‘win-win situation’ for both the trainer and the learner. This forms the fulcrum of effective learning.

Contributed By:
Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Snippet

A snippet from the newsletter 'Breakthrough for Managers': October, 2010 issue
One day, all the employees reached the office and they saw a big notice on the door on which it was written:

"Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the Conference room."

At first everyone was sad to hear that one of their colleagues had died, but after a while they started getting curious about who this person might be. The excitement grew as the employees arrived at the Conference room to pay their last respects to the person.

Everyone wondered: "Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Thank God,he is no more." One by one the employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood over the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: "There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: it is YOU."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Management Lesson

When the former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was speaking at Wharton India Economic Forum, Philadelphia, on March 22, 2008, he was requested to cite an example of how leaders should manage failure.Dr. Kalam mentioned, in 1979 when "Rohini" satellite went haywire, though Dr. Kalam was the project director and morally owned this failure, Prof. Satish Dhawan, the leader of the organization, as Chairman, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), in a press conference at 7.45am, 45 minutes after the faulty satellite-launch, in ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota (in Andhra Pradesh) where journalists from around the world were present, took responsibility for the failure saying that the team had worked assiduously, but needed more technological support, assuring the media that in another year, the team will surely succeed. The following year, in July 1980, when the satellite lauch was successful and the whole nation was in a celebration mood, Prof. Dhawan told, Dr.Kalam,"You conduct the press conference today".

Thus the management lesson from the above was, when failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned the failure; when success came, he gave it to his team.

Contributed By:
Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)

Pic Source: www.dae.gov.in

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to avoid being overlooked at your job

Have you ever come across a situation when you were overlooked by your boss while at your job ?

Try out the following which could prove worthwhile:
  • Simply ignore certain things : When you ignore certain things you do not want, such an approach constitutes your self-respect.
  • Learn to say 'No' : This is a skill you ought to develop. Be polite, yet firm to say 'No' to things you wish to avoid as this helps to conserve your energy for things you desire to do.
  • Keep you temper on ice : Never allow your temper to fly. In other words, always be composed as it enhances your interpersonal relationship with others.
  • Be resourceful : Organizations love to have employees who can make things happen. This will increase your 'visibility'.
  • Set priorities : Avoid running into a stage of over-stress and 'burnout'. Yet do a little extra which others might not. This would enable you to get noticed.
  • Emerge as a leader: Creativity and innovation would help on this front. Ingenuity matters.
  • Concentrate on key issues: Do not let the trivial bother you. Once you focus on right things, you will eventually become conspicuous.
  • Remember the 'P-O' fit: Success results when P(for Preparation) meets O(for Opportunity). So, do not get bogged down with failuresHone you skills : Expanding your expertise makes you 'wanted'.
  • Learn the art of co-determination : This means to imbibe the habit of collective problem-solving.

Happy Working !!!

Contributed By:
Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Culture is the King

In today’s context, Culture of an Organization is the prime differentiator between a good and not so good company, however it is the only differentiator between a good and GREAT company!!!

The reason for this is as follows:
  • All performance is driven by Culture
  • Competitors can copy Product/Services/Branding but cannot copy CULTURE (Sustainable Competitive advantage)
  • Convey right perspective to all Stakeholders
  • Help to imbibe Organizational Pride which is critical to hold on to the talents
    • Trust & Commitment
    • Loyalty & Passion
    • Emotional Bonding
    • Contribution to Success
    • Ability to reach out to clients
    • High Performance
    • Creativity to think differently
    • Sense of ownership

The best way to develop Culture in a Company is through the 4 way approach -

  1. Awareness & Reflection – Some of the tools for doing so are as follows
    • Employee Survey
    • Trust Index/Trust Audits
    • Benchmark Cultural Practices
    • Study Missions/Awareness Workshops
    • Action Planning Workshops
    • Communication – Communication - Communication
    • Ownership Building Events
    • Stakeholders Feedback
  2. Capability Building – can be managed through the following initiatives
    • Leadership Training & Coaching
    • Training of the Line Manager
    • Coaching & Mentoring Skills
    • HR (Gurukul/Sherpa Approach)
    • People Leadership Assessment
    • Incubation approach
    • Rituals & Programs
    • Repetition & Sustenance
  3. Promotion & Engagement – this is important and can be facilitated through the following measures
    • Vision/Mission/Core Values (Review periodically)
    • Culture Alignment
    • Internal Branding
    • External Branding
    • Leveraging Unique Attributes
    • Aligning EVP with Customer Value Proposition
    • EVP to Attract & Retain
    • Innovation@Workplace
  4. Institutionalization – last but not the least this approach creates sustainability and scalability
    • Design of People Systems & Processes
    • Implementation & Support
    • Create High Performance Culture which facilitates to execute Strategy
    • Align Total Reward Strategy to Business Outcomes
    • Establish Emerging People Paradigm – Employee as an Investor
    • Aligning Leadership to Culture Building

Contributed By:
Mr. Ranjan Sarkar
Senior Vice President - HR & Corporate Communication,
Acclaris Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd.