Conversations on your doubts & queries

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. 

Meetings, meetings and more meetings.

Actioned meetings - unactioned meetings. Short meetings - long meetings. Planned meetings , unplanned meetings. Meetings with agenda, meetings without agenda. Meetings to cut-costs...Meetings to Invest !!!

Beat it...last week we actually had a meeting to cut down meetings. Organisation was not executing anything that was agreed in our meetings. Are you surprised ?  I really do not know when to find time to execute the outcomes of these meetings. Infact,  don't find time to even download my team on actionables. 

Is this only a problem with my Co or is it generally a Corporate problem...?

                                                                                        Ms. Nabo Gangooly,

                                                                                   PBX Corporation, Indore.

Dear Ms Nabo,

Invitation to and participation in meetings is perceived as a status symbol in the Corporate World acutely suffering from Meeting mania. 

 

At times,  meetings are merely platforms to showcase internal power structure or to provide a notional cover insurance - after all waren't you also part of that meeting where this discussion took place ?. Hence, equally accountable.

 

Effective Meetings have their own importance in facilitating group outcomes and they contribute largely to a participative and collective synergistic  decision making process in the Co. However,  left unregulated, it also has a huge potential to be a major time-waster, sputing venom and fire of conflicts and leaking critical Value from being delivered thru quick actions, in the enterprise. 

 

Meeting unfortunately appears to be taking a precedence over execution. Businesses of Meetings should not be the business of business !!!

 

 Generally, I classify meetings into 3 categories : 

 

a. Process Meetings ( that enable Work based on going process reviews)

b. Progress Meetings ( track itemized performance of work based large projects and activities) and 

c. Problem Meetings ( to solve Unique/New problems that may have arisen).

 

The following are my 6 recommendations to effectively manage this malaisse of meetings.... 

 

1. Do not call for structured physical meetings if the issues can be resolved over phone : one-on-one or thru group conferences, bridge calls or W-App chats etc. Whatever,  avoid unwanted, non-value adding meetings. 

 

2. Be clear why the meeting is being called and what are the problems or challenges at hand that need to be managed at the end of the meeting. All the relevant (bare minimum) required people should be present to arrive at actionable conclusions.

 

3. Track progress of action items arising out of meetings on PERT charts which reflect clear responsibilities and maintain them on Common DMS for follow-up and action.

 

4. Have shortest possible meetings. Avoid over shooting. Have sit down meetings only if necessary. Generally meetings should be stand up meetings.

 

5. Please clear all outcomes and action items of old meetings before taking new ones up. 

 

5. Do not build facilities or make available unnecessary large meeting rooms where such meetings can be held

 

6. To control the situation, every leader grade wise has entitlements in certain cos. In a week, he can allocate time to attend 3 meeting called by others of 1 hour each and himself call only for 2 meetings as the Chairperson. Such regulations may help if the situation is drastically going out of hand !

 

Meetings uncontrolled can become a very frustrating and time leaking proposition. Learn to create value by managing it effectively.

Dear  Sir,
THIS IS WHY OTHER DEPARTMENTS HATE HR. As a senior HR Person, share me your views.  I travel everyday to Kalina which is my workplace from Vasai where I stay. I am a senior Supply Chain professional.

This false and regressive sense of discipline is what I am resisting. Our office starts at 8:45 am. The biometric attendance system marks attendance and anyone coming 30 later than 8:45am on more than 50 occassions in a year, do not get eligible for their increments. 
This is irrespective of the performance of the personally  (my boss says it is superlative) OR even a more critical fact that being a Global Co., we work for atleast 100 days in a year, 2 hrs beyond our closing time on emails or conference calls and thus leave office late. This is frustrating. Tell me your experiences considering you have worked with some very progressive Companies. Isn't this too regressive, rigid and archiac sense of discipline in digital times ??

Also let me tell you that being in Management cadre, no OT is paid for extra work done after office hours.
                                                                                        - Lokesh Singh, Vasai

There are many very relevant responses to Lokesh. Each one so well thought out - and with experience, knowledge and wisdom.

My response to Lokesh Singh (and you all as well from a learning perspective)


Whilst it may sound a rather simple and straight-forward issue of an organisation dealing with a real time situation created byvinsensitively through its rigid attendance policy - (which it expects adherance to in the name of discipline), on the one hand, and its reflections on people sensitive issues issues like :

- organisational rigid and insensitive

   policies

- fairness and governance...inability to 

  deal with Equity and Equalty issues

- obsolescence  of its policies thus 

  reflecting prevalence of old school  

  thinking in changing times.

- Concern for Employee Wellness and 

  thus Employee Engagement

- Employer Brand value projections


Firstly, let me say that these are my thoughts and there can certainly be other relevant and valid arguments and ways of handling it. Blame my inexperience if you like.

😁I believe that all processes are made to support human engagement and success. They thus have to be flexible and humane wherever discipline of a process is dead-locked with fairness of its human application. . Rules should generally be made applicable under normal circumstances. Abnormal circumstances can have exempt rules. Lokesh is expected to work for over a 100 days for 2 hours beyond his normal time attending international calls !!!

🤔 50 Occassions of late coming in a year allowed...generally,  are more than fair. If without giving a real explanation, if an employee utilises full 50 days of late coming year on year imaging that to be his 'entitlement', I would have a serious chat with him on his engagement. With reasons, understandable.

🤔 If due to the nature of official work, certain employees need to work and invest time regularly (not only on a couple of rare occassions -100 times a year)  beyond their office hours, seriously HR should study the situation and work on a different time shift for him and similar others. Don't be rigid, HR.  This is not an ego game

🤔 The employee is complaining about double jeopardy...absence of reward for working regularly beyond the normal call of duty on the one hand and visitation by penalty for coming late due to energy exhaustion by working late the previous  night. If you have a reward mechanism for the extra mile run, you would not have heard Lokesh complaining about this.

🤔 Ideally, Lokesh should have a serious conversation with his Reporting Manager

who seems to be appreciating his performance and take it up with HR to work out a different time shift for him.

🤔 HR departments should constantly review their 'antiquated' policies and make them relevant. 

Remember, even Constitution has provisions to make amendments. Organisation policies should like-wise wherever fair, make exceptions.

I believe in 'freedom within frame-work'....frame-work are the rules. Freedom is about ability to make genuine exceptions, when real time situations so demand !

Dear Adil,     


 - a doubter in search for 
     a practical answer

Funny that I should ask you... but I need your help. I am personally very friendly with my reporting Manager. Unfortunately, my Manager and his boss (my Super Manager) are always at logger heads fighting with each other. 

My super manager keeps calling and wants departmental information from me. I can't tell him - NO ! He is the big-boss.

If I give such information to the Super boss, surely my boss would know the supply source of data to be me...else where this data does not exist.
Please tell me how to handle this dilemma...
                                                                                               Suruchi Gautam

Suruchi is experiencing, what we call in psychology , an 'Approach - Avoidance' conflict. She would like to be in the good books of her Super Manager (like all of us would 'curry favour' by complying to his requests). BUT in the process of doing so, she would be destroying her relationship with her reporting Manager with whom she has good relations. This also has potential to destroy the departmental climate.

Suruchi should, if the Super Manager is seeking official work related information directly from her, provide the same to him but immediately inform the Manager that such information was provided by her upon being asked by the Super Manager.

If the information sought from her is not in official capacity, she should smartly avoid giving the information to him. Such information is generally sought in indirect rhetoric ways by asking leading questions...how are things in your dept going, Surichi ?... Is your boss behaving well ?....Are you sure everyone is happy with his style ? What happened in the Department party, etc. ?

I would say play the dumb card. Give generally evasive answers. He will get the message and understand that Suruchi is not desiring to play ball with him on that count. After a couple of attempts he will give up seeking such information. Don't play the political card. When two elephants battle, the poor bush gets destroyed in between. Often, people play the political sweet-hearting card but upon this being revealed will howl victimisation !

However, if the Super Manager is insistent and asks for such information, tell him very courteously that she does not personally want to indulge in being a party to such issues and would prefer to keep herself away and thus be excused from such conversations.

The worry for Suruchi is..would she be thus penalised for this ? Would she lose her possible promotion ? Increment ? Would she be visited by negative consequences ? 

Yes and no. If she notices such a tendency she should have a contextual discussion with HR and keep them duly informed. 

Working tracks of organisations throw up such political dilemmas. One has got to be bold at such times and believe in ones own power of performance. If one is performing well, no one can find faults. Don't let such imaginary consequences worry you. Do what is right and best. Fortune favours the brave !

Sir, as I see from your LinkedIn profile, you have more than 3 decades of work experience. My question to you is a fairly simple one - DOES HARD WORK PAY ? Promise by God, I work very hard and yet can't for sure say that Hard work ultimately pays.

                                                                             - Shahnaz Mazda, Mumbai

                                                                           (I work in the media industry)

Some of these simple sounding basic existential questions are the toughest to answer. My 3 decades of experience makes me answer your question in the affirmative but with qualifications - YES, HARD-WORK PAYS...in its own time, if properly channelised and in combination with other elements. But remember, mindless hard-work never pays.

 

Hard-work is critical but not the sole factor of success. There are many other elements for success...smart work, agility, net-working relationships, constant relearning and several such other elements which are required and which contribute to success. Hard-work needs to be combined with these other elements to get the desired results. 

 

Suppose you are on an expedition and the direction of the road you have taken is clearly wrong. Without checking your GPRS you keep walking on that path mindlessly for long hours. Now, what are the chances that you will reach the desired destination merely because you walked for many hours and long miles ???

 

Hard-work is like sugar. You can make great desserts with it in combination with other right ingredients. But by itself, no one ingredient can make a great dish. In fact excess of sugar may actually make the dish unpalatable. But if added in right proportions to a dish, it creates Magic !!

Dear Adil...let me tease your experience and see if you can help us. I am a member of ExCo of my Co. We are a 1500 Cr MNC, operating from Gurgaon. Professionally, the name of my Co, I prefer to keep it confidential. And for the same reason, my name. 

 

All 8 members are highly educated and bright professionals. All 8 are positive minded people.  Problem we have is with the decision making process of this group. There are multiple thoughts within the group on how the problem can be sorted. Because the group believes in harmony, people compromise one way or the other. Decision is arrived at but I find that it is not the best decision that the Group could have taken. Not that the Group lacks the capacity to arrive at the best/most optimum decision but that the predominant desire to not create conflicts within , prompted them to not assert their point of view sufficiently. Thus a 'not the best' approach to the challenge is arrived at. 

 

How does one handle this peculiar situation...???

 

                                                                                   - Trimbak Seth - Gurgaon

                                                                   (Changed name for confidentiality)

Trimbak (or whoever), Name doesn't matter. Learning does and therefore we focus on providing a solution to handle a challenge like this - should someone else in our group face a similar situation. 

 

Your 'happy' group is certainly not operating in the best interest of your Enterprise. I would have a serious chat with it and if it continues further, suggest disband it..The inability to manage agreement and not the inability to manage conflict apparently seems to be the problem of your ExCom.

 

Your group is suffering from what is known in group psychology as ​'The Abilene Paradox' . It occurs when a group of people collectively decide on an outcome or on a course of action that is contrary to the preferences of most of the individuals in the group or which does not give the Group the optimum benefit of collective thought or creates optimum value for the Enterprise. 

 

This ExCom actually needs :

a. A serious analysis of the 5 last occasions when such 'pleasant' decisions were taken by them and how it proved to be the not most optimum outcome.

 

b. A 2 day collective outbound with the group to do a collective analysis by the Group of the causes...kind of an 'Agenda Anchored Behaviour Lab'. Outcome of this should draw how team would learn together on a decision making with a 'positive disagreement agenda'.

 

c. A serious 2 hour per ExCo member 'Appreciative Coaching' session is strongly recommended.

 

I am reminded of Ayn Rands very impressive words which should guide you Trimbak ji...."if we have an endless number of individual minds who are weak, meek, submissive and impotent – who renounce their creative supremacy for the sake of the “whole” and accept humbly the ‘whole’s verdict’ – we don’t get a collective super-brain. We get only the weak, meek, submissive and impotent collection of minds.”

All Cos have practically the same Employer Brand Value Propositions. There is no differentiator . How does that help the branding efforts at all ? The first B-School lesson in brand marketing was always about offering a unique differentiator so that one brand would stand out against the universe of other brands in the choice and recall of the potential customer.

                                                                                        - Ms.H.Mehtani, Indore


 Yes Madam, you are right. Most Cos claim their 'EBVP' (from a kind of pre-fixed Menu-list) to be either...

👉an Equal Opportunity Employers or

👉a Learning Organisation or 

👉a Family Cultured Enterprise or 

👉a Nursery for Career Growth or 

👉a Co Fanning Advancement Thru 

        Technological Edge

👉a Co Offering Early P&L responsibility


Certainly, 'Raju', the poor potential employee would not gain anything of value that could prompt his choice or help him discern, if all Cos proclaim some of the above or a combination of the above as its EVPs. Three things therefore bear in mind about EVPs...


1. EVPs are not slogans or a marketing gimmick. It is the spontaneous (note, not prompted) live experiences of employees working currently or having worked in the past in that enterprise, which is then subtly broadcast and made known around that would help Raju (a potential employee) discern and which would help him decide between conflicting options to choose from. 


2. EVPs are not merely statements of intent. They are in a way actually promises made to the potential employees like Raju,  that need to be delivered when they subsequently join the Enterprise..


3. Only that which will be delivered should be broadcasted as the Enterprises'  EVP. A false promise detected upon actual experiences by the employees working in the enterprise actually does greater harm than create any value. It ends up giving a feeling of breach of trust and in a way, leads to breakdown in the trust attrition in that enterprise. 

Does a team player have a distinct role on a team or does he just have to be a mindless follower ? Is a 'team player' and a 'follower' , the same ?

                                                 - Bharat Khanna, Vapi-Apex Industrial Estate


A team player has 5 distinct roles to be performed on the team. He is expected to : 

1. Give unbiased operating ground level feedback of the leaders instructions on execution of his instructions, to the leader himself

2. Communicate informally the larger purpose of the leader's vision to the team whenever such a need is perceived

3. Be a model compliant follower sharing his knowledge and resources

4. Use convincing logic to convince other passively resisting groups within the team to try and build concensus around the leaders vision

5. Provide accurate ground level concerns and insights to the leader so that proper directions can be given by the leader to 


So as you will see, a good team player has many roles to perform in which to be a 'compliant follower' is only one !!! On the other end, a 'follower' has only one role - be a totally compliant follower !!


Like all classical answers, this answer also renders itself to a cliched reality....all team players are followers but all followers are not necessarily team players !!!

Adil ji,  

 'Lean' has now acquired a bad image in our Co. It is seen as the new ploy of the Management to justify and down-size departments and team sizes ( cutting the org flab and thus making its organisation size lean). My friends else where say this is not correct as 'Lean' has many other meaningful purposes other than downsizing. Can you in simple language explain to me what is 'Lean' if not thinning the organisation ?

                                                  - Mohsin Kabuli, Vallabh-vidyanagar


You have intelligent friends, Mohsin. 'Lean Solutions' (and let me up-front confess that I am no expert on this subject ), are about programs that Cos run to focus on creating their efficiency to maximise value for their customers.  Re-evaluation of their value-streams to remove the tartar of unwanted cost that gets built over a period of time predominantly with an intention to only finally create efficiency is but natural. Focus of Lean Solutions therefore should be on supplying same quality of goods and services to customers at lower costs by cutting-down human efforts, material used, inventory held in stocks, space occupied, capital employed and time involved to deliver value to customers. Idea of Lean is to optimize the flow of products and services thru their value-streams thus creating efficiency for the customers.

Now it is possible that in the process of creating such efficiency,  human organisations may get trimmed. Actually down-sizing departments for such reasons to create efficiency may lead to retrenchment of people etc. That one can appreciate. What however is not fair for your organisation is to use 'Lean Systems' as an explanation to justify its independent manpower rationalisation/ down-sizing agenda. This will only bring 'Lean Solutions' a bad name in your enterprise and all other genuine Lean Programs initiated by your Company may also get abandoned due to lack of buy-in and systems' support. The net impact of this negativity will ultimately befall the organisation.

I keep reading in Management literature need for people and organisations to be 'Agile'. Whilst I understand meaning of the word in language,  I would like to know effectively what does it take to be 'Agile'? I really believe in it.

                                                                   - Ishwar Shergill,  Mysore Institute

Most people understand the linguistic meaning of such often used Management terminologies like Agility ('Emotional Intelligence' being yet another) without investing rigour to actually know what is involved in action to bring a concept like 'Agility' into breathing life.

'Agility' involves being in the following Five states :

1. A Winning mind-set. A Continuous desire, mental make-up and resolve to keep succeeding and winning. You have never arrived. You will always be in a state of 'expected time for arrival' at the new destination. Discomfort with status-quo.

2.  A certain degree of foresight and alertness to emerging patterns, contemporary thoughts and familiarity with a new world view so to be able to determine what is happening 

around and what therefore will be changing in your own world.

3. A desire to be innovative and continuously experimenting to learn new things with SPEED and build new capabilities. Being forever in a learning mode and never a slave of patterns.

4. Risk taking & guts to walk the unknown terrains along with a few unknown others. Most who are currently known to you will be laggards still tinkering around to repair and make the old failing and ailing options work. Ability to walk alone.

5. Never procrastinating action. Always energetic and action oriented to do the things required - now !

Adil San, in this day and age when  'individualism' is celebrated, why do some Cos insist on their staff wearing Company Branded uniforms ?? Does it deliver any different advantage??? I hate to lose my personal identity and have it replaced with a brand identity of a commodity brand during many waking hours...right on my chest.  

                                       - Gill Duran, Gurugram, Supply-chain professional


Gill, surely you work for some Japanese Co. It appears so contextually from your message. Certain strong (and at times closed) corporate cultures have deep belief in such philosophical systems. They believe that individuals should dissolve (leave behind at home) their personal identities, when they come to work and assume a new ever smiling and professional identity for themselves, which they will have in common with their other colleagues. Generally such beliefs prevail more in Customer facing businesses. The brand value is expected to prompt people to behave in a particular way at their work place and their uniform is actually supposed to be a  reminder of that. To a large extent this is symbolism. Surely one has experienced deviant behaviours from people in Corporates even whilst wearing uniform and vice- versa. So does uniform by itself get you results...NO. Does it have the potential to trigger different behaviours. Yes, it has that potential to trigger such  behaviours by strong associations under certain circumstances.


I suggest that if it is a great and interesting assignment and you are enjoying it, do not mind or wear your individualism on the skin of your sleeve. Your personal identity has to be stronger than only what a uniform can dictate to you. 

Sir, I run a colour and Pigmentation plant near Thane in Mumbai. My HR Department is unable to retain talent. Why is a simple thing like Retaining People, made out to be a complex subject by these HR Managers ? 

                                                                                     - Asit Vyas , CEO, ColTec

Retention becomes a critical issues for the following reasons..

1. Market factors demand quick manning at short notices. Others pry your talent. That is faster than training theirs.

2. Cost structures do not allow huge lead times for them to pay and train resources in the course of getting itself ready. They dont mind instead paying a little higher than market for rather ready-made talent

3. Organisations do not do their performance management well thus they do not know who they should retain and who not ? At times they are attempting to retain resources they should actually have been exiting

4. Due to poor talent analysis, HR mgt does not know how much to put on their budgets for which candidate in their retention budget. Infact 'Retention Budgets' in most Cos are an unheard of concept.

5. Cos tend in absence of proper study not have a Retention Strategy. Thus they generally socialise and try to save every fish wanting to move  out of the acquarium not knowing their utility or value thus at times overpaying and disturbing the prevailing market conditions. 

As a Shop floor Supervisor, I loan money to my workmen when they have a need. It helps them to tide over their financial crisis. I charge them 7% interest. Sometimes it becomes very awkward to recover this money for some of them pretend as if they don't remember. Pl advise

                                                                                        – Vibha Pulkit, Meerut

As a leader your emotional desire to economically support your team members in moments of their financial needs is appreciable. But in a corporate context moreso as a leader, it is advisable for you to avoid inter-play and involving your personal money in official relationships. It will make the situation very awkward for both of you. Incidentally , the Certified Standing Orders of most Industries &  Companies identify the act of money-lending as an act of Misconduct. Particularly as you charge interest on loans at (7%), it is like money-lending business. Technically in India you need a special license under the Money Lending Act to lend money or you will not be able to recover it. It may also lead to a 'conflict -of-interest' kind of situation for you because despite the performance of the employee taking the loan from you being  otherwise good, your objective decision to either reward him, give him hikes, promote him etc will always be viewed as a biased action. If you dont give him, even he may complain to HR and accuse you of preassurising him to return his money by not granting him promotion or rewards otherwise due to him !!! I would strongly advise you to avoid this please.

What is the difference between Organization Structure & Organization Design? Are they

interchangeable terms? Until now, our company was working on product-based structure & now they are shifting to category-based structure. So, do we need to work on different

Organization Design or a different Organizational Structure?

                                                                                               - R. Tiwari, Kolkata

Every organization manages its value chain in its own unique manner. Even competitors serving the same customer base with similar products tend to design their value chains very differently…depending on what each one of them sees as its distinct advantage in the process of creating value. Illustration: Coca-Cola & Pepsi may be servicing similar customer base with a near about similar beverage product offering refreshment to the customers. However, both of them are organized differently depending on what each company believes are its unique strengths, organizational capabilities & distinct advantages in the value chain. Coca-Cola, does it with COBOs (Company Owned Bottling Operations) & Pepsi does it with FOBOs (Franchisee Owned Bottling Operations). Organization structure is the formal work organization & resource allocation & power distribution setup created to make the organizational design operating & effective. The two are therefore distinctly different & serve two totally different purposes. Lay professionals mistakenly confuse the same & use it interchangeably. Category based structure actually indicates that the organizational design of the value chain is fundamentally built around different product categories & therefore the structure of the organization has to reflect that. If there is a change in the design, the structure has to reflect that change.

My manager hangs around with his office friends, talking & gossiping with his colleagues & indulges in office politics. Post 6:00pm, he comes to his cabin & expects me to attend to what his work-related issues may be. This appears to be his general style of working…family upset as this means for me going home late every day.

                                                                              – Sheela Singh, Chandigarh

 

You need not play Sherlock Holmes & keep a track on what your boss discusses with his peers & colleagues. Let that be for a while. What you need to really do is to have a crucial conversation with your manager, in which you sincerely put your concerns to him. You need to show him your sincerity & willingness to work beyond office hours, should there be a genuine & authentic need for you to do so. However, let him understand your plight of wasting your time day long & going home late every day. I’m sure your plight will be understood by your boss. However, if it does not, despite of all your serious attempts, you may have to cautiously take it up with the HR department…but be cautioned of the consequences.

We do a lot of activities at work like family get-togethers, sports events, indoor activities, dramatics & debates for employees…a whole load of activities. Company also spends a lot of money with 3rd party agencies to organize these events. Yet, employees are not engaged. What is the value of all these activities & expenses incurred by the company?

                                                                         – Kishen Daswani, Pune

 

It is fallacy & many HR managers mistake social activities for engagement. They believe that by publishing a calendar of employee events & activities like sports, games & musical evenings, they would be able to create meaningful engagement of their employees. This is where they fail! While social activities create an environment of positivity in the enterprise, it does not necessarily enhance the level of employee engagement. Engagement deals with critical issues like about the employee’s role & contribution, about his learning & growth, about his career & about being a meaningful partner in the growth of the enterprise. It is influenced by positive processes in the talent ecosystem which makes him valued as a meaningful partner in the larger enterprise prosperity. Money spent on employee activities can get a temporary high, but will not lead to enhanced employee engagement. It’s like steroids – it may give you a temporary high, but doesn’t necessarily lead to good health. To effectively shift or enhance the engagement of an employee, one needs to be able to keep a finger on the pulse of the engagement on an ongoing basis to keep a look-out for critical employee insights.

In today’s age & time, where wholesomeness of relations is critical, are biometric attendance systems really required? People mark seconds but waste hours…management are none the wiser.

                                                                            – K.V. Vachaspati, Bengaluru

It is not about mechanical or biometric systems of marking attendance. It is about accountability & trust. Unless an organization genuinely believes that it has been taken round the bend by employees, archaic & rigid attendance systems do not need to be overstressed; while on the other hand we are focusing on building high levels of trust between the company & employees. Few basic norms pertaining to attendance need to be clarified so that employees are mindful. However, attendance systems should be used more for physical reasons of safety of the employees & not so much on the payroll aspects of the same. I agree with you observation that when organizations don’t trust employees, their attendance systems tend to focus on minutes, while employee wastes hours…literally like catching the tail of the elephant after it has run through the net.

Dear Adil Sir,

I am from Marathwada and I am a B.Sc. graduate. I work in a private bank. After 6 years of working our bank put up a Internel Job Advertisement for promotion to officer grade. Many applied - HR Department said 5. 2 were shortlisted. My performance in last 3 years was 4/5/4. The other persons was 3/4/4. Mine is therefire better. He is not even graduate. I am higher.

We were given one esay composition to write. There was 3 member interview of panel. After that they informed me that other person was selected.

I am upset and want to know that just because a person speaks better english, can he be selected when I am higher qualification person and performance better also for last 3 years? I wrote to my manager and send copy to HR department . What is the cure ?

                           Prabha Midde

 

Dear Prabha ji,


I see your frustration and I understand. Were any such criterias sought by your Co as mandatory preconditions in the job posting ... namely, 'graduation' as a qualification criteria or particular ratings as performance standards or ratings as conditions precedent for selection to tje advertised job ?? If they did...did they ask for these as 'preferred conditions' or qualifying conditions ?? These answers are critical.


If such conditions were not asked in job posting as qualifying conditions or preconditions, then you will not be able to challenge the selection of the other person over you.


By the way, fairly speaking,  how did you arrive at a conclusion that you were better suited for the job. An independent committee has assessed the two of you and has arrived at the conclusion that he was better suited. Do not double judge them. It is futile.


You should now seek posotive feedback from your HR Department on your performance in the interview with indications on areas of your development. Start work on that for your future preparedness.


By the way, if the committee was to not select the other candidate citing lower qualifications and performance criterias, they would be in trouble for having considered for selection, criterias that were not even originally sought for in the Job Posting !!!


Language is not the only criteria for growth as you appear to think. There are many other factors. But language is an important one, you should know. Though not necessary, it leads to better Communications for a leader. Check out if that was the assessment of the Interviewing Panel and if so, please invest time valuable tine in improving the same.

I am not an HR professional. I face this situation. One of our visiting Managerial employee slapped a guesthouse keeper in an argument that took place between them over burning his shirt whislt ironing it. Our guest house is situated within limits of our industrial township. (We do not have what my HR Manager subsequently told me some Certified Standing Orders thus some Model Orders were to be applied). I don't actually understand much of this. I have a simple question. Can I punish the the Manager for misbehaving with the Guest House employee ? To some Charge-document that my HR Manager made my send him, the Manager's lawyer responded saying that the said Standing Orders were not applicable to him. O God, now I am a confused Man. Please advise.

 

 

Firstly, you please need to fire your HR Manager. He not only seems to be ignorant about law but is clearly misguiding you on matters of labour laws. If you don't know law, that is ok. But he should have advised you to approach a labour lawyer and get correct advise in the first - place, which he has not done.

 

Neither the Certified nor the Model Standing Orders are applicable to the Manager. However, that doesn't mean that no law is applicable to him for indulging in misbehaviour. I would suggest you act as under...

 

Give a Charge Sheet narrating the incident to the Manager.

Say that such behaviour is unacceptable and unbecoming from a Senior Manager of the Co. Seek an explanation.

 Conduct a domestic Enquiry through an Independent Enquiry Officer

 Follow principles of natural justice...give him opportunity to defend etc

 If found guilty give him proportonate punishment.

 

Please ask your lawyer to guide you thru this process. If you need free advise on this process, do not hesitate to call me !!!

Why do God-men end-up giving their discourses on Management issues ? I have heard several Management discourses of late Swamy Chinmayanand, Osho, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Jaggi Maharaj, Swamy Sukhbodhanand and so many others. What is their real claim to fame to do this  with not a single day's experience of working in Corporate environment nor any qualification or degree in Management ?

                                                                                - Dr. Prit Pal Singh, Mumbai

Singh Saab,  I certainly do not know of their claim to fame. But I certainly wish that like the very way some of them produce those Rolex Watches and other luxary items from thin air to give as gifts to their disciples, they are also able to help the Managers who are listening to their discourses with solutions seemingly out of thin air for their corporate problems of VUCA markets in digital times !!!! 

 

But logically, I can see several reasons why they are able to connect so fast as they do that :

 

1.  The Bhadvad Geeta is one of the most complete books of life and knowledge (Management included !). Its learnings and lessons cover every aspect of universal life....Management is only one miniscule aspect of that. Deep study of 'The Geeta ji'  by these Godmen provides them with mastery over that subject. They are therefore by creative and deductive logic covincingly able to apply their learning of Geeta ji and give specific discourses on a variety of Corporate themes which they are also suffeciently briefed and primed  by their various disciples with Management background. Most God-men are brilliant speakers and dramatists. They certainly look convincing in their renditions. They also provide lovely relief in Corpirate Conferences which cover mundane and value-creation linked subjects.

 

2. Please also don't forget...each such God-men is also a Business-man. In the background each one of them is running a very sucessful 'low-cost : high returns'  business empire where 'Spirituality' is the 'Value Chain'. They certainly have business acumen and experience to talk about. Why not learn from them as well if one was open to learn from lesser organisation Champions addressing them  ???

 

3. Corporate Managers generally are energy exhausted , market beaten and spiritually drained. They generally feel drip-dried. They are therefore represent classically the best SEC A+ category potential customer profile. Spiritual connections therefore drawn by these God-men to their internal anxieties with oblique references to corporate woes makes them feel very soothing. Just like a strained muscle being massaged with pain relieving balm !!! Thus the God-men appeal to the new Corporate Aristocrats !!

I know that whilst you are currently a seasoned and a rather well recognised  OD and HR thought leader and consultant, you actually started your career as a labour lawyer and then an IR professional for many years. Unfortunately, the new generation of HR practisioneers seem to look down upon any kind of IR Exposure as if it has become obsolete and is a punishment. What are your views on this please ?

                                                                                       - Ajit Sorathia, Baroda 


I have answered queries in this domain on earlier occasions as well. I understand that some millennial HR practisioneers look down upon IR as if it is an obsolete area...however, only until such time that the new sector employees (IT, BPO, Outsourcing COs etc ) unionise themselves  (or a serious murder of some professional Manager takes place in a factory for issues directly connected with IR). Suddenly then Rip van Winkle wakes up and IR/ER becomes the hot topic of discussion.


Employee Relations are very critical and will continue to remain so. Here I am not going by the classical labour law definitions  of including /excluding employees for  reasons of IR coverage either as 'Workman', or 'Worker' or 'Employee' under the different labour enactments. I refer to all employees in  Co (including seniormost employees) with which the Management should focus on developing and maintaining ongoing harmonious relations. 


Whilst labour laws in India provide coverage and protection only to limited categories of employed people , one needs to understand that the 'Right to Form an Association' to protect inserest of a common class of people, is a Fundemental Right of Indian Citizens, under Article 19 to the Constitution of India. 


Thus even Managers and Sr Managers in India can form Union like Associations to protect themselves and use their collective strength to negotiate and protect their interests favourably against their Management..e.g. Pilots, Journalists, Sales Representatives etc


Unless therefore Management proactively works on managing positive and harmonious relationships with all the categories of people. employed by them - (those that are protected under labour laws as well as those that are not covered under labour laws), Companies will remain vulnerable and at risk of collective and direct ER actions. The millenials need to wake up from their stupour and smell the coffee. You are welcome to have a contrarian view but I am sure that most seasoned IR/ER Managers will agree with my views. ER is critical and in years to cone will become more critical for Industry.

Is time-keeping really necessary in this age and time ? Isn't it an outdated administrative practice straight out of the Mohan-je-daro times, adopted from the post slavery period ??? Maybe it is still relevant for pay-roll computation in blue-collared jobs, but why do companies still continue it for Managerial jobs ??? You pay for time and you can get only time in return...not responsibility. Does mature management thought not enlighten powers that be ??

                                                                              - Bejan Doriawalla. Mumbai


Responsibility begets responsibility. If an organisation does not trust its people, how does it expect it's people in return, to trust the organisation ??? If organisation expects it people to mark time, what it can expect to get in return, is time. It is a false sense of discipline if that apparently is the reason for which the Management seeks to impose such attendance system. It then loses its moral right to expect responsible delivery from the employees.


Time-keeping systems at best have utility in production and such group or collective delivery based line operations where work needs to start and end all together at a given fixed time say in shifts. 


For all responsible senior management roles which expects deliveries that often demand late working, being unmindful of the day and place , non payment of OTs , non grant of Compensatory off etc., imposing such rigid attendance systems is a very disengaging one-way organisational practice. I strongly suggest that such archaic systems to mark attendance should be reconsidered at the earliest. If someone is misusing the positive attendance process, strict action on him for such misuse and indulgence.


This of course is my personal view based on my experiences.

We here a lot about talent review across organizations. PPA, 360 degree feedback, potential assessment, performance management, so much data collected. Sometimes through assessment centers some times internally, but how actually one should use these inputs to have an effective talent pipe line in a organization, When is the best time to start this process?

                                                                                                              - Nagaraj

The organisation leadership needs to decide the right time for giving such feedback. Whilst timing is critical, the way (particularly ampathy) with which such feedback is given also matters. I have seen Employee Anniversary working as an effective time for giving such feedback and embarking upon a Developmental journey.

 

The feedback has to focus on 'Appreciative Coaching' and objective development. Therefore it must be backed by an authetic Development Plan and structured learning inputs that the person would have to undergo to emerge the Winner that his/ her company wants him/her to become. 

 

The information can be used for:

  1.  Coaching / mentoring

  2.  Designing a specific learning agenda

  3.  Job Rotations to provide learning exposures

  4.  Assignment to special projects

  5.  To Design Rewards and Motivation plans

Sir, I am qualified Engineer - and a Management graduate from a reputed Management Institute. In most Business Management review meeting, the discussions tend to veer around Finance. And this is where I switch off and get disengaged. In the last meeting they went down to discussing different types of accounting systems etc.I was switched-off but felt sheepish about this. Can you help.please ???


You will have to invest your time and understand Accounting if you wish to succeed professionally. Finance is critical to any business Firm and this you better understand.

There are no short-cuts. Suggest that you either sign-up for a special course in Finance & Accounting particularly or identify a friendly finance coach to make you understand what professionally happens around you in the Finance Function. It is not true that unless you are a finance professional, Business Managers and other non finance functional Managers cannot really understand different types of accounting. It is not that all difficult to understand it. Anyways, let me explain it briefly to you and hope you understand. Take it forward from that for your development.


There are actually  7 types of accounting and these are :

👉 Financial Accounting..drawn up by accountants as required by law but used by investors, creditors and management to know the accurate state of its affairs and determine the financial health of the Company

👉 Management Accounting..Managers use to control cash-flow and budgets of their Co. Also helps forecast sales

👉 Tax Accounting...helps Cos and individuals file tax returns

👉 Governmental Accounting..is Public Finance Acctng. This is used by the Public Sector to do non-commercial accounting

👉 Forensic Accounting...used for disputes, fraud investigation and in litigation 

👉 Project Accounting to account whilst dealing with specific Projects ; AND

👉 Social Accounting...accounting that helps a Co determine if it is making a positive difference to the community and the environment.


Invest time and study the subject that sincerely troubles you.

Why is 'Predictive Analysis' assuming such great a demand now ?

                                                                                 - Ravi Venkatesh, Mumbai


If something is based on a science there has to be a pattern in the relationships between its interacting variables and therefore its repeatable by choice if the same elements, in the same quantum are present again in the same conditions. Huge data that we have now collected and analyzed has to indicate their prevailing inter se  patterns and relationships. But this is 'post mortem'....analysis that at best helps to determine the cause of death after the patient has died. What good is that to man-kind ???? It has value only if such information and knowledge is available in advance and used to predict and save lives...


Likewise in business. Predictive Analysis helps the decision makers to interpret tons of available data at his end to be then predict its behaviour in advance for aporopriate decision making.  Suitability of a candidate, culture-fit, absenteeism patterns, exits, stay, compliance, comprehension, comp increases, likely acceptance of policies...sever such critical success criterias and conditions can now be predicted by analysis and better usage value can be created out of applied studies of these conditions. 

PA  has now become more critical because it enables Managements to extract better value from its most valueable, scarce, costly and highly contributing asset called talented  'People' !!!

Kindly suggest what is the best way to resolve wherein an employer does not settle F & F and issue relieving letter to its employee even after handover. The employee has been mailing them since more than a month but there is no response

                                                                                                    - Lipsa Mohanty

Confirm to me first Lipsa that you are in full compliance with all that is expected of you. Which means:

1. Complied with terms of your notice

2. Not been terminated by Co for fraud

3. Have returned all Co assets, properties and 

     papers to Co

4. Have settled all your advances and expenses

5. Have not signed any bonds or contracts, the 

    terms of which have been violated.

 

If that is the case: 

Confirm to me whether the unsettled dues you are referring to are 

(A)Statutory dues (PF/Gratuity/S'Annuation) 

                        or 

(B)Contractual dues as payable to you upon fulfillment of your terms of employment and conditions of service.

In the context, I suggest that : 

i. You write a letter to your Manager, your HR Manager and your Finance Dept seeking settlement. If despite that they do not respond

ii. Write to Board of Directors and Promoters

iii. Still fails...for Statutory Payments take up the issue with appropriate authorities

iv. For non-statutory send a legal notice thru your lawyer. If still no payments, ask your lawyer to file a 'Winding-up Petition' under provision of the Companies Act before the appropriate authorities...Co Law Board etc.


You can also take the issue up for mass pressure on Social Media and sites like Glass-door etc. as that impacts Employer Branding and impacts influence on potential employees of the Co.

My manager passes on the most complicated problems that his boss gives to him. Does not add any value or any information when I ask him questions. However, when things do not match the expectations of the super-boss, he’s the first one to point the finger at me & tells him that I goofed it up. Can you suggest the best way to tackle such a problem?

                                                                                          - Rishi Khanna, Noida

Lucky are those who get to work with great managers! But luckier are those who get to work with incompetent managers for they get 3 distinct advantages, viz., learn through self-reliance, learn to survive in cutthroat waters & a distinct opportunity to grow considering the evident behaviour of such a manager is that of an incompetent boss…soon the position of such a manager will be open for grabs. I can reassure you that most people would be able to recall stories of their experiences at some point of time or the other in their careers of working with ‘bad bosses’. To that end, you are not alone. Incompetent bosses do not answer queries of their subordinates partly because they do not know the right answers & also, the fact that being insecure, they have to be on the lookout for the ‘fall-guy’ to blame. Incompetent bosses are blame game champions. But, worry not, for competent super-bosses can see through such behaviours as exhibited by your manager. Keep all your work-related matters, targets, achievements & KRAs/KPIs updated & well-documented in your ‘little black diary’, which should come in handy during your periodic performance reviews. Over 3 decades of my experience has taught me that incompetent leaders can indulge in all kinds of their monkey tricks for a short time, but in the long run, their incompetence will show up & they will have no curtain to hide behind.

What is the difference between KRAs that we used to normally write in our performance appraisals earlier (which were in their own ways smart & detailed) & the now famous ‘business’ scorecard? Are these 2 really different or another jargon to do the same thing?

                                                                                      – S.W. Wright, Mumbai

 

Metrics & measurements are critical aspects of a performance-driven organization. To that limited extent, both, smartly written classical KRAs & Business Scorecards are focused to make the organization measurements & performance driven. Thus, the two, in a limited way, are the same. However, they are a lot different as well. KRAs are written on individual roles, tasks & duties performed & they don’t need to be aligned specifically to the strategy of the enterprise. On the other hand, Business Scorecards, as conceptualized by Kaplan & Norton, are more structured. They focus on linking individual performances directly to the strategic goals of the enterprise. All goals of all employees under the scorecard are categorized, linked & structured around the 4 critical drivers of value creation, viz., Financial perspective, Customer perspective, Internal Process perspective & Learning & Growth perspective. More than half of major companies in the US, Europe, Asia, Middle East & Africa are using balanced scorecard approaches. Quite a good number of companies in India have also adopted the balanced scorecard approach.

I’m the CEO of a mid-cap company. My HR manager has impressed me that living in the world of technology, applications is the only tool that helps us reach-out to our employees. We today have apps for everything & yet our employees are as disconnected as they were earlier. In fact, the problem is worst. Now, supervisors & managers don’t talk to people because they feel that the apps would be reaching out to the employees. How do you solve this issue?

                                                                                  – Aniket Agarwal, Nashik

All technological tools & applications are only aids that should enhance the purpose of building strong relationships & a positive workplace environment. We are not robots who simply take commands & keep communicating from computers & apps…period! Personal communication is one of the organizational functions that helps a company to stay connected, efficient & productive…moreover keeps employees well-engaged. The importance of communication between different departments / personnel in an organization becomes most evident when that communication breaks down. The continuous ‘App Bombing’ with a view to showcase the ‘coolness’ quotient of the organization may not be so ‘cool’ after all. There has to be human intervention in communication for sure. While there may be state-of-the art apps implemented in an organization, there will be nothing stronger than interpersonal communication to maintain an efficient flow of information & above all, maintain high levels of engagement among employees.

What is the harm if an employee is given free access to all sites & maybe once in a while does even personal shopping during business hours, till he delivers what his role expects him to deliver?

                                                                                        – Fred Mehta, Mumbai

I'm simply going to assume (& rightfully so) that all employees have access to the internet throughout the day. A study (conducted in Australia) that I came across pointed out that if an employee spends 75 minutes per day on non-work-related tasks, it translates to an annual loss of almost $10,000 (based on the average Australian salary in 2012). Clearly business owners have a case when it comes to limiting workplace internet usage. On the converse, I’ve also come across some studies which state that employees who do surf the internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office - are more productive by about 9% & therefore more valuable - than those who don't. They believe that it enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day's work & as a result, increased productivity. And so, business owners around the world are trying to solve the internet conundrum; how much is too much is still being debated. Personally, I believe that if you trust your employees & they deliver to the pre-determined goals, then the organization doesn’t need to play James Bond.

What is the difference between ‘Total Cost to Company’ & ‘Value of Gross Remuneration’?

                                                                               – Evon D’Souza, Jharkhand

 

Most employees & sadly quite a few compensation managers are confused between ‘Total Cost to Company’ & ‘Value of Gross Remuneration’. Total Cost to Company includes all payments made to an employee whether such payments are daily, monthly or annual, base pay allowances, social security payments or reimbursements which an employee is eligible to get upon fulfilling the terms for which he was appointed by the company. The employee, as a part of his contract of employment, is eligible for certain benefits. These are additional costs that the company has to incur whilst continuing to employ the person. It could be in the nature of house provided, car provided, free canteen food provided, etc. Companies find out cost of these services & for reasons of benchmarking labour cost in their budgets, add the value of such benefits to the Total Cost to Company. This new composite figure so arrived at is called ‘Value of Gross Remuneration’. Value of Gross Remuneration is generally computed for reasons of budgeting & cost controls as also labour cost comparisons in the market.

After so many years of experience, can one really look at a candidate & maybe speak to him for 10 minutes & come to the conclusion whether he’s the right candidate or not. Can you after so many years of experience in the industry recruiting senior leaders, look at a candidate, maybe speak to him for 5-10 minutes & arrive at a decision if he’s the right candidate or not? May boss says that he can & does not approve of us investing so much time in the selection process.

                                                                                                  – S.K. Khan, U.P.

Even Aladdin with his Magical Lamp & a powerful Genie to back him can’t assess a candidate’s suitability of a job in 5 minutes. Of course, if you see it as a gamble, toss a coin & take a call. Then, you may perhaps be able to do what your boss has suggested. Selecting senior candidates (or as a matter of fact selecting even junior candidates) is a very serious process & wrong selection attracts serious consequences. I’m surprised that your seasoned boss is influencing you & the team to invent less time. I would actually recommend you to do the contrary. I believe your boss seriously needs coaching on sourcing of the right talent.

Whist HR guys keep throwing a lot of gibberish about money not being the most important motivator, I’ve had HR managers leaving jobs for even as little as 5% increase in salary. Unless, the HR managers become real, their credibility will always be low.

                                                                                  – M.K. Shah, Ahmedabad

It is a fact & several industry-wide surveys have indicated that compensation continues to be an important decider when it comes to job choices, but, it is NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT determinant of job choice. There are several psychogenetic factors which influence a person’s choice of job. Compensation becomes the last straw that breaks the camel’s back when all the other elements which retains a person to a job fail. Therefore, this is true as much for HR managers as much it is for the others. The vegetable vendors do not offer discounts to HR managers!

Organizations keep telling employees that they are part of one large ‘family’. However, come one adversity & the so imaginary ‘family tree’ will be the first to get chopped. And, actually the employers believe that the employees cannot see through this so called ‘family’ propaganda.

                                                                                              – Anil Dixit, Nagpur

A sense of ‘family’ feeling is consciously fostered within an enterprise generally to create positive harmony & happiness when groups of people work together. Paying attention to the struggles of employees & creating a supportive environment helps improve the ability of the company to handle external adversities as a cohesive unit. Its only with the robust support of employees will the organization be well-shielded / be able to arise out of adversity. This should not be misunderstood as an insurance or an assurance that jobs would remain protected, irrespective of the market situation. Or else, the ship will sink & everybody will drown. And, this would therefore be a very unrealistic expectation. In fact, in adverse moments, employees need to help the company find its survival solutions & may be sacrifices would be justifiable in the lager interest of the organization & the rest of the people. Once the company is out of adversity, it can re-hire the employees that were laid-off & the ‘family’ can be happy & harmonious all over again.

When it comes to work, the organization philosophy is - ‘everyone is equal’. But, when it comes to compensation, rewards & benefits, we suddenly become unequal. And, this has nothing to do with actual performance or contributions.

                                                                                    – Amit Bedi, Hoshiarpur


Equity & equality in an organization are critical spiritual values of governance. However, the underpinning guidelines for this to operate is ‘under equal conditions’. Pay & benefits are given grade-wise & if the organization has an objective performance management system; rewards are linked to actual performance. If organizations follow unprofessional systems & violate some of the spiritual principles of equity & equality, they tend to suffer & have to bear the consequences. Unequal treatment can be justified only under reasonable classifications. A company is dutybound to explain such ‘differentiated’ treatment, which may be misunderstood as ‘unequal’ treatment, whenever such concerns are raised by the employees.

Market pressures require passionate applications on the job. Speed is of criticality. This requires us as managers to expect our teams to work & give turn-arounds overnight. Whilst one appreciates the concept of work life balance, it is not possible to continuously offer work life balance. How do you manage this?

                                                                                  – Dinesh Wadhwa, Delhi

Let me ask you a question here - do you think that work life balance is the ‘Nirvana of Happiness’? Happiness is not a destination; it’s a state of mind. Sometimes, people enjoy their work so much that, if you do not involve them in high pressure assignments, they may actually feel neglected & ignored. Achieving work-life balance at all times is impossible. We have the overwhelming desire to say yes to everything because we are so caught up under our misbelief that saying no would impact our future career. What is unacceptable is ‘fake work’…work which has no meaning, relevance, criticality or importance being made to look otherwise important & urgent. This consequently, takes an employee away from his personal time to work on a meaningless assignment. It is this meaningless fake work that people object to. Our life is not binary as it has multiple components - partner, parent, professional career, sibling, friend…the list is endless. So, I suggest you should have a goal to manage harmony among these claimants for your time & attention.

Whilst inclusion & diversity are spiritual values, is competency really not becoming a victim at the hands of imaginary ‘fair’ play & protectionism?                                                                                          – Ravi Kejriwal, Jaipur

It is a fact that organizations can create value only through its own capabilities & the competencies of its people. Competencies come in multiple shapes, sizes & colours. It is no monopoly of any complexion, gender, region, religion or such cohorts. Thus, at the time of talent acquisition or promotion, the only metric to be used should be competence. Unfortunately, centuries & generations of bias have made people be stereotyped, creating exclusive biases which have been counter-productive for certain genders, religions, etc. To create social equality, corporates have initiated inclusion & diversity programmes. Only after organizations achieve equanimity in its socio-demographic balance, competency should ideally be the only parameter for consideration…this I agree with you.

There are so many psychometric tools that one literally is confused as to which tool to adopt for what purpose. As a consequence, a very simplistic tool suddenly becomes the most used tool purely because it is simple to understand, though it does not measure critical competencies.                                                                               – Anubhav Krishna, Mumbai

Let me at the outset tell you that psychometric tools only aid & assist you to arrive at appropriate judgements pertaining to people, i.e., their selection, development or promotion. It cannot by itself generate the right answer. However, in combination with other assessment tools, psychometric testing can provide immense value to your selection decisions. When selecting a psychometric test for your organization, it is important that the test be scientifically validated & reliable - it should consistently produce similar results & scientifically measure what it intends to measure. Budget & time for such tests are also to be considered. It is important to choose a psychometric test that is easy to interpret but not at the detriment of its precision and dependability. You need to be clear at the outset when you design your selection plan as to which competencies will you assess thorough which tests. Once you are clear about this, your task of selecting the right psychometric test will become easier.

Do you think that the recent changes made in the Maternity Benefit Act may actually hinder the employment of women in the industry? Let me ask you blatantly. If a pregnant lady came to you as a candidate for a job, would you hire her for the role knowing fully well that soon upon joining, she will immediately not be working for 6 months. Your candid opinion please.

                                                                    – Sharmila Charavarty, Bengaluru

The advantages of having employed the right talent benefits the organization in the long term. If one finds a talented & competent lady in an interview & thereafter, not hiring her purely for reasons of her being pregnant, would be taking a very myopic view of the situation. In a gender-balanced organization, taking such factors into consideration could only push the organization into several decades behind time & would actually indicate to potential talent in the market; the archaic culture of the enterprise. Such a company would lose its EVP vis-a-vis potential talent in the market. Such a decision to not hire a lady purely for reasons of pregnancy, if otherwise fully competent & better than other available candidates, could even invite legal action against the company for gender discrimination. Read my lips…I will appoint such a competent lady even if she was pregnant & going on maternity leave for 26 weeks after working for 80 days in the company under the recently amended Act.

We had won several ‘Best Employer’ awards as per company-wide surveys undertaken by 3rd party agencies. Whilst the survey results indicate we are the Best Employer, one needs to just walk down to the coffee point to know the real views of how ‘best’ our employer really is. How can people in organizations live with such a façade?

                                                                                   – Vijay Bhosale, Dharwad

Unfortunately, some organizations see these ‘Best Employer’ assessments purely as an employer brand-building initiative. The idea behind participating in such surveys & winning the award is to influence the choice of potential talent to join the company. Thus, the seriousness with which the subject needs to approached is compromised. Sometimes, some companies influence their employees to give positive responses…which is so unfair. Winning such Best Employer awards doesn’t necessarily guarantee one an indication of that workplace being a great organization. Some companies believe they have reached where they wanted to; thus, they follow the current practices only which won them the award & they do no further. Some companies want to just wait & watch…for the right time to roll-out the ‘Road Ahead’ plan. In the midst of these morbid decisions, they forget the real purpose - it’s not a temporary exercise or a check-in-the-box! It is a serious & meaningful assessment of ‘happiness’ of the people at their workplace.

I had made a serious mistake once in my life. I was found guilty of sexual harassment at workplace. I seriously thought over it & sufficiently repented & many times over, apologized. However, the ghost of this incident doesn’t seem to stop chasing me. If I disclose it in subsequent interviews, surely, I won’t get selected. If I do not disclose, I could be penalized for non-disclosure. Even hardened criminals, after they have taken their punishments, are rejuvenated. How do I get rejuvenated?

                                                                   – VD, Kolhapur (confidential)

 

A person fired for sexual harassment has a career-destroying situation on his hands. Whatever the circumstances, your employment issues are now defined by the reason for termination of employment. There are several options available to deal with these problems. However, it must be recognized that employers will require significant & highly credible evidence that the issues are now all in the past before you are re-hired. Immediately after the termination, it's advisable to seek help & professional guidance from a counsellor to deal with the personal issues. Employers will also want to know what you've done about the issues related to the termination. The employment situation will take some time to rectify. It may be advisable to take up new studies or otherwise build your skills base & also seek help from a professional mentor who will over the time, help you rehabilitate. During this period, you may evaluate options to start a venture of your own. This also operates as a cooling-off period, in which you are no longer confronted with the immediate effects of the termination. Trust this will help you in your journey to rebuild your career & get you a job opportunity you’ve so been waiting for.

Merits are critical. However, how do you manage an organization when all the meritorious guys take options outside & the organization is left with workhorses who may not be so meritorious? Doesn’t it necessitate loyalty to be considered as a factor for promotion?

                                                                                      – Ramnik Patel, Surat

Meritorious employees are bred by employers who can grow their flame the fastest, value them the most & give them the best learning experiences over old-fashioned notions of tenure-anchored loyalty. They build their own marketability & then carry it around with them. Meritorious employees keep moving ahead & keep learning just to keep up with the rapid changes in the business world. Companies will have to devise creative ways to retain meritorious talent than to think of diluting the promotion policy by adding the ‘time-bound loyalty’ factor to it. Loyalty is critical, but not at the cost of merit.

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