Walking Interview


Employee engagement is an imperative activity but it should not be practiced in isolation only by the HR department. The real strength of organisations are its informal teams. Engagements activities are the starting points of understanding employee expectations. Managers need to diagnose the sentiments initially in the most informal approach and graduate it to a formal process that collects vital data and helps in retaining the talent.

We all have heard the concept of Walk in Interview

I recommend a concept of Walking Interview.

It involves interacting with the potential candidates who has cleared the initial rounds of hiring and is close to a decision for a job offer. Smart Entrepreneurs or senior managers can engage their future employees through Walking Interviews.

The walking interviews can be in an informal discussions with candidate while showing them the various departments in your organization or taking a walk with them in your premises. This is the best engagement with your workforce even before they are on board.

Walk the interview is an idea which came to my notice while discussing the recruitment challenges at an Entrepreneurship forum

For better results all other teams must contribute in this process and focus on creating a vibrant culture that will sustain the workforce. Engagement is a committed activity and will give perceptible results in the long run.  It has to be a long sustained effort involving various levels of stakeholders.

Knowing whether employees are engaged or disengaged is an important input to take strategic decisions for organisations.

Fundamentals that energies engagement are usually similar across most organisation but the specific concerns and level of importance are exceptional and specific in every company and even in different geographies.

Employees must not only be engaged with organisations but committed and productive. All employees that may be active in engagement activities and team building programs may not be productive. Dialogue and consultation with correct interventions is a vital support in the employee engagement process. All engagement activities must have the ultimate goal of employee productivity. The time required to achieve it may be altered for different employees.

My experience has taught me that that engagement can sometimes be challenging. Dangers of the process is that your engaged and devoted employees face the hidden obstacles that are encountered along the journey. Engaged and committed employees who are in the front and actively helping the HR team in the process encounter bumps along the way, and the threat comes when these bumps become frustrations.

It’s like a classic military scenario where the infantry faces the most casualties. The trick is to use the energy of engaged and committed employees to appropriately clear the obstacle so the engagement activity can keep moving. Organisations have Employee engagement committee with representations from various departments and members are rotated so various inputs can be originated and formal work and informal activities can be shared and balanced.

Employee engagement is necessary because groups that feel emotionally connected to their organisations are more likely to go the added mile, remain devoted and accomplish to the best of their ability. Employee engagement is the emotional anchor which keeps employees motivated during difficult economic and personal times.

Employee engagement platforms helps in Internal Branding of the organisations. HR departments can work closely with the marketing and branding teams to create programs and workshops fully loaded with fun, excitement and quiz which has company history and information that will help in internal branding. Employees must act as the brand ambassadors for every organisations. This helps in the retention process.

I believe that Employee retention is customer retention.

It’s always a challenge to find a right replacement for productive employees who resign and adding them to live projects in a short time. Employee Engagement will continue to be the need of the hour!!!

Gaurav Ambedkar

Marque HR Consultants

Cell: – 98224 34966

HR Analytics: Seek And Ye Shall Find

HR Analytics: Seek And Ye Shall Find
Did you know that cynical and disgruntled employees are likely to decrease team productivity by 40%? Are you aware that a 0.1% increase in employee engagement resulted in Rs.65 lakh incremental annual revenue for a mid-sized company? Or the fact that you can predict how many new recruits are likely to quit within the first 6 months, if they excelled at individual sports during college days. Welcome to the mystically bewitching yet befuddling world of HR analytics; known to all, understood by few. “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” Little did W. Edwards Deming know that his off-the-cuff remark would become the mantra by which businesses operate in the future.

If information is touted as the oil of the 21st century, then analytics is indisputably the engine chugging it forward. Data analytics has become so pervasive in business circles that the term is becoming hackneyed, with savants proliferating everywhere. Core business functions are embracing and harnessing the power of analytics to great effect, but data analytics is to HR what a comb is to a balding person. In recent years, we have witnessed technological innovations fundamentally disrupting and changing the way our clients operate, but the HR fraternity has been sluggish in reinventing itself. Data analytics holds the key for HR to justify its seat at the table and progress from a support function to a valued business partner.

HR analytics must be viewed across three primary areas: data management, interpretation of data, and implementation of actionable insights emanating thereof. The first base is already covered with most HR functions deploying either rudimentary or sophisticated HRMS solutions nowadays. The real treasure trove exists in the mining of employee-related data that gets churned out voluminously. For starters, recruitment provides enough fodder for analysis. Meaningful analysis of candidate data, coupled with correlation against background data available for existing high performers, can predict good quality of hiring, thereby improving effectiveness of recruitment and limiting future attrition. HR analytics decode the enablers or motivators for productivity, engagement and retention so that the success of few can be replicated across many.

We recently consulted with a large-sized organization where we put this theory to test and crafted ideal candidate profiles across job families; the resultant outcome was a 6% dip in early attrition. Analytics is taking the guesswork out of manpower planning and provides early indicators of shortage or excess of key competencies and capabilities within teams. Predictive analytics help tide over volatile business cycles and support strategic HR initiatives. Rigorous data analysis and integration with succession planning is ensuring human capital readiness for the future. All of this is possible only if HR professionals maintain high quality data and are willing to understand business a bit better to contextualize the data into business solutions. Knowledge of statistical modeling is useless if we don’t know what are the questions that we ought to be asking of the data. And that brings us to the final weapon in the arsenal – problem solving approach to decision making.

The success of HR analytics is inextricably linked to HR leaders acting and implementing in line with the findings, while eschewing their traditional beliefs or gut instincts. Building a winning team for tomorrow starts today, and data analytics will guide HR to stay ahead of the curve.

Article Written By: –
Eklavya Malhotra
Upohan Management Consultants

Hiring ‘The One’ in the Matrix

Hiring ‘The One’ in the Matrix

Number of job switches is one of the most commonly accepted factors in the screening process. The thumb rule is lesser the job switches, better the candidate. But is it always right? Based on the employment duration and career stage, I have identified few patterns among the job seekers.

1. Rabbits

“Short career span and high number of job switches”

Most of the times these are the candidates who have entered into the field because of peer pressure of parents, family, friends and society. They have seen tremendous growth of close friends or family members. However, they are living in the era where the industry is not as lucrative as it was before. Thus they choose the easiest option – Switch the job and go for better hike. These candidates absolutely no idea if they are acquiring right kind of skills which are useful in the long run. The moment they achieve financial stability, they get into comfort zone, just like the rabbit in the story!

2. Tortoise
“Short career plan and Minimal job switches”
These folks have chosen their career out of their own interest or might have chosen in peer pressure but have developed interest while walking on the path. This is the breed of candidates who understand that they will achieve whatever they want, not instantly but eventually – just like the tortoise in the story. They understand that it will take some time to create an impact and they are ready to give such time. In a way they equip themselves.

3. Settlers
“Long career span and constantly switched their jobs”
Just like the settlers used to roam around from one place to another in the quest of gold or diamonds, these guys keep moving from one job to another. The quest monitory or technical or positional, but they never spent significant time at a single organization

4. The One
“Long career span and minimal job switches”
‘Neo’ in the ‘Matrix’! Dream employees for every organization! They are the infinite players in the industry. They might have ups and down in their career but their career graph moves in upward direction. This is the breed which delivers maximum leaders.

How Organizations should define resource matrix?

Organizations not only require leaders but also followers and temporary performers. There are two basic criteria to be considered while selecting the employees.

Every organization is not always in the search of ‘The One’. If complex technological skills/architecture is need of the specific project for a shorter time span, it is always better to hire the settlers as it might be difficult to bear the cost of the ‘The One’ in the long run. If Organizations hires all the Tortoises, the project speed is likely to get hampered.
Stakeholders in the talent acquisition should consider all the dynamics while defining the hiring strategy. In the Era of globalization where technological and socio-economical paradigm is shifting at a rapid place, it would always be beneficial to have the right combination of all 4 types of organization and define the percentage of every category as per business requirements.

Post Script (PS)
As the name ‘Human Resource Management’ itself suggests, recruiters need to deal with ‘human beings’ and every human being is unique. His/her psychological quotient changes with age, socio-political-economic factors. A candidate, who was a ‘rabbit’ few years back, may transfer to ‘the One’ and ‘the One’ may transform into ‘settler’. It is always advisable to start the fresh discussion without preconceived mind while starting the process of Talent acquisition.

Blog Article By: –
Saurabh Karnik
Talent and Culture Strategist

Identity of HR in this “perceived” IT Industry slowdown

News of Indian IT companies going sluggish on growth is all over the papers, articles and blogs. H1B restrictions imposed by US are proving to be additional riders directly impacting top line of a number of companies with high dependence on US projects for Business.

Role of HR therefore is pivotal especially in such scenarios and it is important for HR folks to understand what the HR function should be identified as by Organizations going through such pressures impacting their growth.

In such situations, HR in any organization is suddenly expected to proactively take certain measures to “cut the flab”. Should HR succumb to the Business pressures? Should HR go ahead with layoffs as directed by Business? Should HR take the lead in making the bench policies further stringent by cutting the bench aging resulting in shorter turn around on separations? Should HR start scrutinizing every employee who may now have started pinching business by virtue of being paid well and in more common terms “high on cost”?

To me personally, role of HR function in any organization encompasses the following 3 areas:

  1. Enable Business Growth
  2. Strengthen the ecosystem & culture
  3. Enhance employee value proposition

While 2 & 3 are self-explanatory, it is extremely critical to understand how HR function can enable business growth. HR Business partners can truly play that role by being able to understand and comprehend the Business challenges and priorities thus working out Talent actions that can help Business address the issue(s) they are grappling with.

As an example to cover just one facet, if Business is looking for quicker turnaround on resource fulfilment so as to positively impact the top line, HR must device an innovative mechanism for faster redeployment by ensuring that the employee is mapped to future requirements and is equipped with necessary skills (through multiskilling/cross skilling) even before he/she hits the bench. The thrust therefore should be on making the employees relevant in terms of their skills against the industry demand.

HR must therefore act as solution provider to Business so as to be looked at as a true enabling function.

Separations therefore could address issues for shorter term but is likely to impact Business in the long run. As HR professionals, we must therefore invest all our effort to ensure that the value created by HR through creative and innovative ways far outweigh the short sighted decisions carried out by business especially on separations and cost cutting measures.

HR thus has to make a strategic shift in working closely with Business & help achieve its business goals which is the only way Identity of HR can truly be acknowledged and appreciated.

Views Shared By Ranjit Pandit

AVP HR, Zensar Technologies

Engaging with Fast Trackers by Vinod Bidwaik

Fast trackers are ambitious. They are hungry for growth. They are calibrated in top box of high performance and high potential. There is a correlation between their potential and ambition. Whenever they are with your company they will add value to the business and they need frequent changes. Hence, their engagement is crucial.

Most of the time companies hesitate to take risk on fast trackers. If you tag somebody as fast tracker, your next step should be their development plan and action plan for engaging them. I have few suggestions for keeping these guys (read girls as well) engaged in your organization.

Compensation: Compensation isn’t everything! Yes. True, but compensation is also important. You should have your compensation philosophy where you can position your fast tracker and high potential at specific percentile. Not necessary you pay above the market, but there should be reasonably good positioning as compared to your regular talent.

Development: Follow 70+20+10 rule. 70% development happens through on the job assignment, project assignment. You need to put your employees in the water directly. 20% development happens through coaching and 10% development through training programmes. Make the development plan based on this logic. You need to create it with concrete deliverables with timelines. Don’t hesitate to put the person on the project, assignment whenever you find it for this group. Coaching always takes back seat. The issues are with time investment required by bosses and seniors. If company is really serious about the development of these guys, seniors have to take time for coaching them. You may take the external help of an expert coach, but internal coaches are always beneficial.

Mentoring: Assign mentor from top management like board member, management team, other functional leader or any senior member. Employee would have priorities where he would like to take the help of mentor on development areas.

Define the next career step: Most of the time, line managers are unaware on what should be communicated on the next career move for the employee. When you identify the talent, you should have the plan for this. It is ok, if you don’t have next vacancies but at least possible move is always motivating for the employee. Whenever possible, try to define the career move and place the candidate whenever you find opportunities.

Long term incentive: I am sure, now every company has short term incentives like variable pay or performance bonus, but do you have long term incentive plan? ESOP or some other creative ways of rewards are necessary to engage the employees who are critical to your business.

Education: First assumption for identifying fast trackers is that they are future leaders. The question is how are you developing them as a leader and also improve their business acumen. Educate them in general management. Executive MBA or leadership programmes with top colleges is the top most motivation for these guys.

Shadowing of top management or functional leader: The most appropriate way to develop & also engage these guys is assigning them to shadow top management or any other functional leaders. By doing this they will understand the complexity of the job and skills sets required to perform the leadership jobs. Further, they will also get the exposure at top management level. Visibility and appreciation from top people always increase the engagement. You also need to be very critical while assessing this high potential and fast trackers. Hence, Identification of this talent group is always critical…

Vinod Bidwaik