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IIM Shillong HR Magazine

Issue 12 | JUL - AUG 2013

Interview with Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh Director, Maruma Consultancy

Editorial Dear Readers, We are ecstatic to bring to you the next issue of TogetHR with diverse features. In the context of the ‘Cover story’, we deliver the unique characteristics of “Employee Engagement”. This is an unexplained science as far as the field of human resources is concerned, in the sense that an organization can promote their potential or wax and wane in the manner in which they capitalize or broach this subject. Why disengagement happens and why is it such a stark reality in companies which grapple with issues related to employee engagement.

Faculty Advisors Prof. Rohit Dwivedi Prof. Sonia Nongmaithem

Team usHR Apoorvaa P Lokesh Malviya Romita Choudhury Savitha B Tanya Beniwal

In the ‘Concoction’ section, articles encompassing the spheres of HR are presented with clarity. The Article of the issue speaks about the influence in the minds of the employees that can be had after a thorough understanding of the field of Neuroscience“Neuroscience: Winning over your employees’ minds!” In the article, “Which has a greater effect on Productivity and Performance? Employee Ownership or Employee Satisfaction”, the distinction between two features are detailed by the author to reinforce their significance in this domain. We have all heard of Customer Relationship Management, but what exactly is “Candidate Relationship Management”? The topic of “Stay Interviews” in the context of the organization has been elucidated in a highly descriptive manner by the author in this unique article. “Human Resource to Human Capital”, extrapolates the necessity and pertinence of Human capital in a company and how the Human capital management functions in this era. In the section of ‘Conflux’, we present to you the engaging interaction with Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh, Director, Maruma Consultancy, who has spoken extensively regarding his career and the intricacies associated with the same. He has also dealt with how he has tackled the nuances in his progress towards development. ‘Campus Buzz’, in this edition delivers to the readers the excerpt of the Podium session conducted at IIM Shillong. Podium is an annual corporate interaction session of the institute- and in the second instance of it, we had eminent speakers from the HR domain gracing the occasion with their insights from their experiences- the grand “HR Conclave”. To sharpen your HR acumen, ‘Contest with the best’is enriched with an “Unscrambler” section, where jumbled words are rearranged and the unearthing of each and every word opens the curtain to a unique word at the end. Rs.500/- awaits you if you get it right! Team usHR has been continuously garnering your support and we warmly extend our gratitude for the same. Do provide your feedback @ Happy Reading!!!

Team usHR


JUL - AUG 2013

Coverstory 11

Employee Engagement- It’s time to engage Lokesh Malviya, Arnab Pramanick, Priyankar Pandit | IIM Shillong What the employees of today want and most importantly - what they don’t want? An article that touches the various aspects of employee engagement and the force that is driving the mindset of working individuals these days.



Conflux 04

Excerpts of Interview Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh Director, Maruma Consultancy


Concoction 06

Human Resource to Human Capital Rashmi Tripathy | IMT , Ghaziabad


Which has a greater effect on Productivity and Performance? - Employee Ownership or Employee Satisfaction Pritam Roy Choudhury | SIBM Pune


Candidate Relationship Management Prajakta Shikarkhane | NMIMS, Mumbai


Stay Interviews Rishi Jain | SIBM, Pune


Neuroscience: Winning over your employees’ minds! Pushpa Gopalakrishnan | TISS, Mumbai

Connoisseur Speaks 24

Ask the Expert

Contest With The Best 26


Campuss Buzz 23

HR Conclave at Podium’13

Disclaimer: The views presented are the opinion/work of the individual author and The HR Club of IIM Shillong bears no responsibility whatsoever.




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Director Maruma Consultancy

corner Can you offer us a snapshot of your experience in HR so far? Most of the work which I have done is in the space of internal / external consulting, primarily which is more research based. So, whatever I am going to say will have this colour. Initial part of my work as a youngster, I entered with idealistic goals without understanding the practical difficulties in deploying some of your theories. That was a huge setback initially but then I realized quickly that in order to apply some of your work, you need to understand the work processes, how organizations function is completely different from what you study in the textbooks because textbooks cannot capture everything about a structure, everything about interpersonal relationship or

The mindset and the competencies an aspiring HR professional should cultivate everything about leadership. So, it took me a while to really understand how organizations function, especially you need to be mindful because you’ll be there in another 8 – 10 months’ time, to understand the politics of the organization. That really defines how you want to shape your organization and I come from a background of strong ethics and values and there are people who are willing to bend their values and ethics. I wasn’t willing to do that. Thanks to my ethics and values, I moved out of a full time job and got into my consulting. This made things more exciting and it offered TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh

a lot of creativity with lot of research support. That’s what keep my clients coming back to us and I continue to work with the client based on the value that I bring to the table. What really drives you should be your value and ethics more than anything. Do you sometimes gauge that your suggestions might not be carried forth? How do you respond in such a scenario? This was very true in the initial years of my consulting where you wanted the business to survive but for the last five or six years I am actually telling the client what can go wrong upfront so that either the client is prepared for that or says, “I can’t do it now”. So, the question of what happens after that whether it will get implemented/ executed, I am actually trying to address that upfront even before the project begins. There are several instances where I actually said no to projects because they are not ready. Sometimes in organizations, HR is actually seen as a last resort that individuals come to when they are searching for a viable solution. Had they come earlier, a different result could have emerged possibly. Do you direct the people who you are working with about what they would have done differently? Initial years, yes, I did that based on my experience working in research organizations but these days, I am bringing in my coaching perspective into 4

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play because coaching is just not a practice, it’s a way of life, the way you approach, the way you question, the way you deal with people. So, once it becomes a way of life, what you are actually getting to do with the person in times of crisis, in times of problems is supporting him ask right questions because as an individual, you have the best possible scenario of the context you are in which I am not privy to. So, I use my coaching way of life to actually generate those solutions for him, support you in questioning yourself, challenging you, being a devil’s advocate so as to ensure that instead of thinking why it can’t be done or how it can be done, I go one step ahead and ask, “What will make it happen?”. This completely changes the paradigm of the way you are thinking about a problem and once the process of paradigm shift happens, you’ll see different possibilities and then, I don’t have to offer you a solution. Solution is there, I only support you to look for the right one. From your years of expertise in this domain, how do you see this career growing further into the future? Will the importance diminish or escalate further? It’s like Science being a double edged knife. You need to be mindful that there are two things that are coming up against the HR professionals – one is not being business savvy and second is not being driven by numbers. So, if we can take care of this, there is a lot we can do to support the business and with more and more workforce becoming millennial workforce, the challenge of managing them actually is going to be the onus of the HR more than anybody, the reason being, I think, as a fraternity we are more trained to deal with human behaviour than any other specialization and we need to leverage this. Possibly, more and more of our courses need to have electives in subjects like Psychology and Sociology which will help us understand how these groups shape up, how they function TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

and the kind of group dynamics that they will demonstrate. That will add to our capacity to deliver better and support the organization. Has it happened that your suggestions have been taken into consideration without contention or do you think that it is actually better to have negotiations before your thoughts are being – implemented in any consulting? See, in any talent management process, what we do or what we offer to an organization is only one of the inputs. I am not privy to the business/ achievements of that person, how he conducts business, how he is there in the market with the customers though we can do an assessment of that, I am only looking at the potential of that person but there is also a history of performance attached to that person. That history tells a lot about how he will shape up in future also. That part has to be integrated into decision making. So, if you are asking me whether they accept it without questioning – Yes, but the final decision will have to be moderate based on what other pieces of data are available with the organization. What competencies do you think an aspiring HR consultant should possess to be successful in this field on a long run? Analytical ability, lots of it, not a synthesis of information data, being curious about what is happening around, being able to link up on particular data set to what is happening around in the organization/with the person, should be a continuous learner, you can’t be satisfied with the status quo and being business savvy – glued to the business goals of the organization, understand the business of that organization. These are some of the critical things. To be a good consultant, you got to be extremely creative.


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Historically, the perception was that managing Human Resources was an easy and straightforward task. Earlier Human Resources was looked upon as a support function, with the objective of cutting down costs. However, this perception of Human Resources is slowly changing and the concept of Human Resource Management has given way to Human Capital Management. Human capital refers to the stock of value available to an organisation in the form of the knowledge, qualification, experience and expertise of the personnel associated with it. Managing Human capital is one of the biggest challenges that organisations face today. Capital TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

is also available to an organisation in the form of technology, money, assets, etc. This form of capital can easily be measured and varied according to the needs of the organisation. However, it is Human Capital that drives an organisation and adds value by productively utilising the other available capital resources. Human capital is constantly appreciated by training, experience and knowledge and information sharing. Many have referred to human capital as a non depreciating asset. However, if proper training and grooming is not provided to the personnel, it is quite possible that their knowledge and skills become obsolete 6

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in this ever evolving competitive space. The importance and value of human capital is very evident in organisations like Google. Google has been spearheading the technological revolution for quite some time. When one looks at surveys like “best places to work�, Google constantly features on the top. Organisations like Google strive towards retaining and developing human capital so that in the long run value addition takes place. Human Resources Management focused more on cost cutting and cost efficiency which was more of a short term goal oriented strategy. However in order to gain competitive advantage organizations are focusing more on Human Capital Management, which is a long term focused approach. In the latter case there is a focus on cost effectiveness as well as on value addition of the employees to the organization over a period of time. A of

few of Human

the important components Capital Management are:

It is essential that right people are assigned to the right job. During recruitment and selection itself, skill mapping should be carried out

workplace where there is job security. Thus, it is important to develop the policies in a manner that the human capital of the organization feels secure and takes risks without the fear of being laid off. This culture encourages employees to be more innovative over time Companies these days understand the fact that Human capital is the new differentiator between a great company and a good company. Ever changing information technology, 24*7 work environment and global presence are the drivers of the new age economy. Thus, it is essential that Human Capital is properly honed to maintain competitive advantage.

In this 24*7 and ever evolving work environment, it is important that human capital is motivated constantly. In addition to monetary benefits organizations are looking towards personalization of benefits

Also, it is essential in today’s dynamic economy that employers maintain a good hiring and lay off policy. These days employees are increasingly looking to work in a stable

TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

Rashmi Tripathy, IMT G


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Which has a greater effect on Productivity and Performance? Employee Ownership or Employee Satisfaction

So often in life, it isn’t what we do, but how we do it that makes the difference. Studies show that job satisfaction among employees by itself doesn’t lead to productivity. It is only when job satisfaction is clubbed with psychological wellbeing at work that performance is high, and which in turn reaps more productivity. Psychological well-being at work includes a sense of purpose in one’s job and a feeling of accomplishment. Employees’ sense of purpose can be supported by developing in them an ownership towards their job. Surely everyone has some possession that he cares about- a house, a cricket bat, an old greetings card, an autographed book etc. Suppose you have a house, which you have constructed with TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

your hard earned money. From buying the land, to laying the first brick, to stepping the first foot inside the house you were an intricate part of it. You proudly say that the “house is yours” and most likely would not sell it unless you are under some dire need. You might have bought various cricket bats in your youth but all are replaceable except the one with which you scored a century in the Inter-school finals, which is irreplaceable. Similarly among all the greetings card one which your grandfather gave you might be your favourite, irrespective of its size or cost. You have an emotional attachment to these items. Others may not feel the same for those objects as you do, they might not understand your attachment since the more stories one knows 8

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to better performance, because happy employees are productive employees, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a consulting firm to figure it out. But the buck doesn’t stop there. It has an ugly side too. Negative attitudes or vibes of dissatisfaction can torpedo employee productivity much faster than nonstop cricket being streamed over the Web.

the more value one puts on an item. Everyone needs their organization to be that house, that cricket bat, that greeting card. But how do you do that? Make a personal connection between your company and your employees through the company’s stories. Let them know their importance in the company; let them take decisions on behalf of their project, their department, their organization. Let them be a part of the rise and fall of the company but at the cost of their self-involvement. Giving employees, a feeling of job ownership can mean putting them in charge of how they do their job. For example, in the hospitality business ownership would mean to provide the best quality service to the customers, but their way. No one dictates them how they serve; they simply need to achieve their goal, i.e. to satisfy the customers in the best fashion so that they visit them again. The organization would provide them with all the trainings which they feel they need, but it is voluntary, not imposed. Another way of inducing job ownership can be by sharing information about the company, their company- the future challenges and the direction in which it’s heading. When employees feel that they are a part of the organization they feel more valuable.

Satisfaction is a positive attribute, while more proactive measures such as job enrichment and employee engagement are more closely linked to behavioral change, bottom line performance, and, ultimately, to production. Job satisfaction is an outcome of a host of factors like pay, quality of work, the respect one commands in office, supervision, and relationship with co-workers and opportunities for promotions. Even if one of the factor is out of balance it impacts the overall satisfaction level of an employee and affects his performance and hence productivity. The sole reason for this is the concept of give and take policy which is prevalent in each of our minds. If the organization in which we work treats us as a mere employee there will always be a glass wall between the management and the employees, difficult to be broken. The employees would demand for remunerations and other amenities in return for the amount of work they have done, as there is no sense of ownership.

It’s true that employee satisfaction leads TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


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Satisfaction is a very volatile factor, the constituents of which changes with time. If someone only follows orders and has no say he can never be satisfied even with all the luxuries and amenities at his disposal. What a person yearns for is an identity, and this is what employee ownership is all about. In today’s world everyone is aware of the topsyturvy economic conditions, but an employee who thinks himself to be an integral part of an organization, an important member of the organizational family, will not look for options to join another company for a better pay but will look for ways of reviving the organization which he knows is his. This sense of ownership exceeds all factors of short-term satisfaction. Like a captain prefers to sink with the ship rather than abandon it, an employee with a sense of belongingness would rather stay in the organization in the hard times to see it emerge out of the tumultuous times stronger and fitter, than leave it. Employee ownership results in more responsibility and selfmotivation which leads to better performance.

the growth potential without its people to make it happen. Now it is time to look forward and take a further step from the employee satisfaction regime in the coming decades. Employee satisfaction increases production but employee ownership increases productivity. Thus organizations need a systematic and a robust approach through the efforts of leaders in order to leverage their human capital assets and make the employees believe that what they do matters, and it is their organization and they are working for themselves.

Pritam Roy Choudhury, SIBM Pune

The leaders of today thus need to focus more on the aspect of employee ownership and consciously consider the implications of giving every employee an individual identity/character in the story of the organization. It cannot realise TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


Cove r Sto r y






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Employee Engagement-What is it? ‘Employee engagement’ seems to be the buzz-word in recent HR management. Most organizations are looking for an engaged workforce to reduce turnover or get that extra bit of commitment. But are we aware of what engagement really is? Can it be measured? How does it manifest itself? Maybe it would be a good idea to find some answers. Kahn in 1990 propagated that engagement was a state based upon motivation theory, working environment and the socio-organizational context. He laid down the requirements of engagement as work-role focus, activation and positive affect. To put it simply, work-role focus implies alignment of self-goals with that of the organizational role one is supposed to play, so that it brings personal satisfaction and motivation to excel. Activation is responding to some stimulus in a positive manner which is manifested by enthusiastic approach to work. Positive affect refers to some expressed emotion in a positive manner which can act as a driver to engaging with one’s surroundings. In an article published in the Human Resource Development International in 2012, titled Development and application of a new measure of employee engagement: The ISA Engagement Scale, the authors Emma Soane have come up TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

with a model to measure employee engagement through the Intellectual, Social, Affective (ISA) Engagement Scale. Based on this model we can loosely define three types of engagement like intellectual engagement which is the level of intellect put to use in the work-role manifested by innovative solutions to problems or the ability to think laterally. Affective engagement pertains to the level of positive emotions generated in the workplace which has the capacity to sustain a healthy work environment as well as motivate others. Social engagement relates to the collaborations and connectedness with the stakeholders to whom an employee is exposed due to work related interactions. Better social engagement is displayed by improved team oriented activities like sharing of knowledge and developing a positive relationship with stakeholders. The sole purpose of going through the above jargons is to realize the true features of engagement so as to device effective engagement strategies which might help in career advancement for the employees and keep them motivated and engaged. 12

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Disengagement-Is it a reality? The current job market is very flexible and mobile with the Millenial workforce hopping jobs frequently. They are prepared to put in long hours but are not willing to stay in the organization for long. Hence, in order to retain them companies are empowering individuals with more autonomy, responsibility and flexible working conditions. This is creating a sense of alienation and more responsibilities often translate into the desire to ‘catch the eye’ leading to even more personal stress and consequent disenchantment with the work and the organization. There is little scope for organizational learning in this model, which is only possible if we address the collective rather than the individual. Sharing can not only be an enabler for learning but also provide a healthy camaraderie with colleagues which can help develop a sense of bonding and engagement. Thus we can say that individual self-management creates individualization, alienates the employees from the group and hampers learning all of which contribute to employee disengagement. Further, compensation is not the sole motivator when it comes to choosing jobs and workplace. Many other factors have come into play these days that result in long term satisfaction and continued motivation for an employee. Among them, the major ones are interesting and challenging roles and scope for professional growth. In addition to that, if an employee feels disconnected with TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

the goals of the organization, there is a high probability that (s)he may quit his/her post in near future. People want their voices to be heard, their talents to be realized and that is why top management practicing closed black box policy and not encouraging two way communication between them and the employees, will find it difficult to operate in this highly competitive environment. Individuals feel disengaged and frustrated particularly when they feel that the team in which they are working is not moving forward towards the predetermined goal due to organizational problems in which they have a little say. These days, workers of an organization feel a certain degree of trust and loyalty towards it if the top management promotes CSR activities through different initiatives. If the activities are meant for the local community of which the employee is a member, then its even better. Therefore, if there is any part of the company’s supply chain that is not helping sustain the natural order or the mention of CSR is only on paper the employees may get motivated to leave the organization altogether with the intention of not returning. An unethical and unhealthy work environment brings with it the diseases of disconnect, boredom at work, burnouts and high employee turnover. There should not be any friction between an employee and his/her senior in the workplace as it may bring personal opinions into picture and hence, may lead to decisions that may be skewed. Withholding of essential information, not delegating sufficient responsibility to subordinates and bad working conditions, induce distrust and cynicism among employees. They feel powerless in the organization and emotion, which is the basis for happiness and satisfaction, seem to be compromised with.

Key drivers for Employee Engagement Globalization has made skilled labor (talent) more mobile. They are familiar with a wide


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range of technologies and are more empowered than their predecessors. The main challenge for companies now (specially multinational and global companies) is to tap into this global talent pool and retain those who are capable of making key contribution to a company’s success (critical workforce). So Engagement (often used interchangeably with employee satisfaction) is a way to capture the hearts and minds of this critical workforce which has a direct impact on employee retention, productivity and loyalty, company reputation and overall stakeholder value. The driving factors that make employee engagement indispensable are: The employee-employer relationship are now evolving into partnerships Demand for work/life balance Linking of performance with business goals Focus on selective retention for retaining mission critical talent Work intensification to increase productivity with fewer employees and resources Acquiring and keeping key talent is emerging as one of the top organizational priority Decrease of traditional modes of communication and an increase in cyber communication (social media etc.) Changing needs, wants and behavior of the new workforce(millennial) driving alterations in attraction, selection and retention policies and practices

and requirement.

Is the time ripe for indulging in engagement? 3 C’s: Connection, Contribution and Credibility is essential for ensuring a sustainable organizational culture that drives employee engagement. Further, a uniform code of conduct with everyone, even the top management, under the scanner of justice, will create a sense of trust in the employees. Actively disengaged employees should be recognized as quickly as possible and remedial steps should be taken promptly. Further, if an employer is providing the employee with adequate challenging opportunities, then the system of giving rewards or incentives after achieving milestones should be followed. Let’s face it, nobody works for free unless it is a social cause. Another important thing to keep in mind is that a disengaged employee, in addition to threatening his/her career, tends to induce his/her attributes in others thereby leading to a steady increase of disconnected workforce. As the old adage goes, “A stitch in time saves nine”. Hence it is time for the strategic thinkers to start thinking about engaging their employees and build a bond that proves strong enough to weather the storm of an uncertain and unfavorable global scenario.

So is there any one big idea to engage employees? We are afraid the answer is “no”. Employee engagement is a complex construct with many factors that influence employee engagement. There may be many roads to employee engagement and there is no “One Size Fits All” strategy to engage employees. Employee engagement may vary across the depth and breadth of the organization depending on culture TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


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Candidate Relationship Management

We are constantly reminded of the importance of talent management in the text books we read, the HR magazines we subscribe to and management blogs we peruse. Why is managing talent important when the job market is hailed nothing less than an “Employer’s Market”? Why we are increasingly concerned about ‘Employer Branding’ when pools of unemployed candidates are available in every pocket of the country? What about candidates, the potential employees of a company? Is candidate management a part of talent management? HR departments in companies know the inescapable truth: There is a scarcity of finding the ‘Right Candidate’ at the ‘Right Cost’ and at the ‘Right Time’. The result is all competing companies fighting for the same cream de la cream of the larger candidate pool. It is this set of sought after candidates that companies are increasingly looking to woo. And so, companies are moving beyond attractive compensation packages to the best candidates, companies are increasingly looking at Candidate Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is increasingly looked at as an important aspect of Talent Management. The main goal of CRM is developing a ready talent pool of candidates for present or future job opportunities with the company. It includes building strong

TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

personal relationships with candidates and also aims to attract high potential candidates to the company.

Why is it important? The period between the candidate getting the offer letter and joining the company is crucial. In this time period there are a number of contingencies that may arise, some of them being; a job offer to the candidate from a rival company , candidate’s uncertainty about joining the company and the candidate declining the offer as a result of his employer retaining the candidate with attractive offers.Not only has the company lost out on a potential candidate but also caused the crucial position in the company to stay vacant resulting in revenue loses. Often recruiters send in offer letters to successful candidates and disconnect with the candidate entirely. The causes may vary with recruiters not finding the ‘need’ to communicate with candidates to the recruiter’s bandwidth being too low to engage candidates. When this disconnects happens with potential employees, the conversion ratio falls dramatically. Conversion Ratio is the number of offered candidates who actually join the company among the total pool of offered candidates. Higher conversion ratios result it reduced turnaround time for a job position 15

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and arresting the consequent revenue loses. The HR initiative of CRM in this backdrop is noteworthy.

Is CRM a present fancy or is it here to stay? Trends not only in the International HRM arena but also in India point to the belief that CRM is here to stay in a big way! One of the leading recruiters from B school campuses, Godrej Properties Ltd (GPL), has an innovative CRM practice in place. Candidates are sent offer letters with personalized gift hampers that contain books and music in sync with their respective taste and interest. That’s not all! These new prospective employees are then invited for lunch with senior management and HR personnel to better understand the organizations’ strategy in

an informal set up. A bouquet is sent to lateral hires to let them know that the company is eager to welcome the person on board. Sumit Mitra, executive vice-president (human resources), Godrej Industries believes these initiatives are important to build relationship with candidates and help them feel part of the company. He says, “It goes a long way towards exciting people and getting them geared up for the job, helping with the integration post joining.” Naveen Narayanan, global head-talent acquisition at HCL Technologies, said: “Preemployment engagement plays a significant part in bringing down the renege scores and enable the new joiners to get a 360 view of the company. Prospective employees feel valued and this gives the candidates the impetus and drive to excel post joining.” HCL technologies have an interactive new joiner portal that helps candidates know about the organization in advance. Informal sessions with senior managers and HR are conducted to monitor candidates’ progress and avoid last minute surprises. Campus Conjoin is another initiative in this area that aims to acquaint prospective B-school hires with the HCL culture. Many MNCs in an attempt to enhance candidate experience for senior hires now send birthday

TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


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cakes to the candidates’ residence. Gift vouchers on birthdays & anniversaries are increasingly gaining strength. Although CRM may result in the companies incurring nominal costs, the benefits of an enhanced conversion ratio, reduced turnaround time and decreasing revenues lost due to vacant positions are not to be underestimated.

Special edition newsletters keep candidates involved with company achievements and successes will help candidates feel a part of the wider organization. Companies usually treat candidates as outsiders and prevent any information release. Keeping them abreast of updated project details not confidential, will help build trust with candidates.

What can companies do?

Lastly, one of the most important benefits of CRM is that recruiters would be well aware of the candidates who are not likely to join the company. Recruiters can then keep ‘buffer’ candidates for crucial positions thereby saving on costs and providing business with human resources at the right time.

Communication with candidates on a timely basis informing them of their standing in the recruitment process is a major tool with employers for an enhanced CRM. It helps make job search easier and also brands the organization as a responsible employer.

Prajakta Shikarkhane, NMIMS

Understanding concerns, like relocation or compensation (variable/fixed) details and providing assistance will help reduce uncertainty. Additional touch points with the candidates, sending them personalized seasonal, birthday and anniversary greetings, not only reinforce the positive employer brand but are also a tangible proof that the company cares. Assigning ‘buddies’ to candidates in the company acts as a two pronged approach; helping the candidate feel comfortable and reducing their impulse to switch to another rival company. TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong


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As the global economic condition slowly improves organizations will start losing their top performers. In light of this fact what can companies do to keep hold of their talent? We explore one of the possible solutions in this article According to a recent survey by the Hay Consulting Group the attrition levels in India are going to be the highest in the world by the end of 2013. One in 4 employees in the organized sector will shift jobs. To put that in context, out of an employee base of 3 crore people, 75 lakh people will shift jobs by the end of the year. One thing which organizations can do to reduce attrition is to develop the concept of stay interviews. This idea has grown in popularity in some of the western countries and it is time that the Indian companies also embrace this.

What are stay interviews? Stay interviews are a formal/informal interaction between an employee and his manager or skip level manager or HR manager. They are conducted so that the organization can judge the effectiveness of its policies and design new policies to help engage with employees better. Unlike exit interviews, which are taken when an employee is about to leave the organization and there is very little that can be done to retain them, stay interviews can be used as retention tools.

When should they be conducted? It is a widely accepted belief that the first few months that TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

an employee spends in an organization largely determine his length of stay and his level of commitment to the company. Therefore, stay interviews need to be conducted after the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. For those organizations which conduct engagement surveys, stay interviews must take place right after the results of the survey are available. This will ensure that that the interviewer asks relevant questions. It is also important to keep these interviews independent of the performance reviews so as to ensure that the employee is honest when giving the feedback.

How will they be useful? In a performance review it is the manager who briefs the employee on the areas that he/she must improve upon but in the case of stay interviews it is the employee who tells the manager what the company must do to keep him/her performing. The organization might be under the impression that by offering flexi timings, day care, health insurance, etc. it is doing all it can to retain the top talent but the employee might want something different. Therefore, through these stay interviews the company can capture the needs of the employee better and can then act on them. The 19

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addressed – This particular question will give rise to a yes/no result and there will be no information with regards to what needs are not getting addressed and the ways in which that can be done. What could we do to make you stay – Here the employee might make some demands which might not be financially possible. Examples of some good questions are: resources of the organization can then be spent on those facets which the employee actually values.

Who should conduct the stay interviews? The direct managers should act as the interviewers as they are in the best position to get a candid response from the employees. However, the managers must be trained by the HR managers so that they ask the questions in the right manner and can solicit feedback which would help the organization. They must also be trained so that they can build on the questions they ask on the basis of the feedback which they have received during the earlier question(s). The managers must always be aware that the purpose of these interviews is to ascertain the feelings of the employee towards his/her workplace during the last year or thereabouts.

How to frame the right questions? This is probably the most crucial aspect of the interview. The questions should be designed in such a way that they do not elicit generic responses but allow the employee to identify specific problems and the ways in which it can be fixed. Examples of some poor questions are:

If you quit today what would you miss the most/least about your job – This question will make the employee list atleast a few pros/cons about the current job which can help to take the discussion further. Are there any issues in the workplace which might cause you to leave – This is an open ended question which can help to throw light on any possible issues which the employee might be facing in the organization. On the basis of the feedback further questions can then be asked. After the interview it is essential that the manager explains that he/she will do his/her best to redress the concerns of the employee wherever possible. It is also important that they get back to the employees with any action taken on the various issues which were highlighted during the interview.

Conclusion In this era when the war for talent has taken centre stage it is imperative that organizations use innovative tools to keep hold of its best performing employees and they can do a lot worse than implementing stay interviews. Rishi Jain, SIBM Pune

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Neuroscience: Winning over your employees’ minds! “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone As HR professionals, we are concerned about the people we work with in our organizations. The ideas they create and the physical labor that they exert produce the tangible and intangible assets that oil the engines of our organizations. The policies we follow flow from certain beliefs about the nature of humankind. We know how an individual or a group of individuals would behave in a certain context and what can we do to maximize their performance. However, we don’t have answers as to why do humans behave in a certain way. The trick is to understand their brain so as to understand their minds. Neuroscience does precisely that. Increased complexity, rapid change and more interconnectedness exists in the workplace today. Work today does not the deep discontinuities that made Taylorian specialization possible. So we need to improve that way people work together- behaviorism does not tell us what the true drivers of human social behavior are. This is where neuroscience- a study of the brain, right from its basic unit, neuron, to its neural networkssteps in. The first neuroscientific experiment was conducted in the 1970s when functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to study the brain response of subjects to various stimuli. Several branches of neuroscience exist today but social, cognitive and affective neurosciences particularly have wide implications for the modern day workplace. The human brain has, to put it simplistically, three

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kinds of brains- the reptilian brain, the emotional brain and the thinking brain. The reptilian brain is concerned with eating, sleeping and procreation. The emotional brain consists of the limbic system. This brain has the basal ganglia, hippocampus and the amygdala. The thinking brain consists of the Pre-Frontal Cortex and other systems that help us ‘think’. The reptilian brain is something we possess in common with animal-kind. The emotional brain is a part of the ancient survival mechanism that our bodies developed during evolution. It responds to ‘Reward/Threats”. The amygdala, particularly, plays an important role in remembering emotions associated with various stimuli we receive from our environment and instinctively responds. The amygdala response determines our response to stimuli and our response, which is ‘approach/avoid’. When the amygdala recognizes a stimulus as ‘approach’, the neurochemical transmitter ‘dopamine’ is released. When the amygdala picks up a ‘avoid’ signal, cortisol and adrenaline are released as our ‘fight/flight’ responses are activated. Though approach/avoid responses are instinctive, the avoid response is much stronger. The thinking brain consists of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) which does all of our ‘rational’ 21

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thinking. It has limited working memory and can work for a maximum of 3-4 hours a day. Contrary to what we humans like to believe, thinking is not instinctive and hence requires additional fuel like oxygen, glucose and dopamine. When under stress (under the ‘avoid’ condition), the supply of glucose and oxygen to the PFC reduces, leading to constrained thinking abilities. Under an approach stimulus, PFC works better due to increased surge in dopamine. All this has implications for us because it means that we need to identify drivers that minimize threat and maximize rewards in our workplaces. The emotional brain has to be in sync with the thinking brain to maximize performance. We need to determine the levers that enable employee engagement in the workplace. There are several models that suggest what these levers could be. The SCARF model, proposed by David Rock, suggest that changes in Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness (SCARF) are the drivers which can trigger an approach/avoid response. So improvements in one’s learning (improvement over oneself ), public acknowledgement (better performance than others) are certain status triggers than release dopamine and enable better performance. Similarly, giving more control to people over their projects (autonomy) feels rewarding and enables better performance. One of the biggest discoveries in neuroscience has been the fact that social needs are as important as other basic needs- being left out from a group (lack of relatedness) can cause as much pain as a physical fall. Similarly, perceptions of unfairness generate strong threat response and people may even feel a sense of reward when unfairness is punished. Perhaps the Manesar incident can be better understood in light of this information. There are other factors that modulate our performance in the workplace. Sleep deprivation causes a loss in ability to read social cues accurately. Diet too plays a role. The brain demands TogetHR | HR Magazine of IIM Shillong

20% of the body’s resources and hence we are unproductive when we are hungry. Similarly, exercise improves the cognitive performance of the brain. Similarly, multi-tasking can also be an impediment to performance as the PFC has only limited working capacity. Some other interesting theories in neuroscience abound. Neuroplasticity (ability of the brain to generate new cells) is something that would tickle the interest of L&D enthusiasts around us. The oldest individual to grow a neuron was 92 years old. That means all the old theory we leant about how we don’t learn anything after adulthood could be challenged in light of this new insight. Similarly, it has been recently discovered that we have three intelligence centers- in the mind, the heart and the gut. The ‘gut brain’ is inside the intestines, has 100 million neurons. The ‘heart brain’ has around 40000 nerve cells that have sophisticated computational capabilities. Both the heart brain and the gut brain are connected to the brain in our heads. This gives credence to the idea that emotions felt in the heart and ‘gut instincts’ play a very important role in decisionmaking, especially at leadership levels. This is just the tip of the iceberg. As neuroscience gives us more insights on the workings of the brain, we would be in a better position to apply these findings and literally open our minds to peak performances at the workplace. After all, the key to an employee’s mind is his brain! Pushpa Gopalakrishnan, TISS Mumbai


Ca m p u s B u zz

A weekend dedicated to the Human Resource Domain of Management was conducted during the Podium 2013 at IIM Shillong. Podium, the annual corporate interaction of the institute in its second season was graced by the presence of some of the brightest minds of HRM in India on 27th and 28th July 2013. It commenced with an interactive session with Mr. Mark Driscoll, Human Capital Leader, PwC India followed by a session by the VP, Head HR, L&T Constructions, Buildings and Factories Independent Company, Mr. N Dharmarajan. Mr. Mark Driscoll shared with the participants of IIM Shillong some insights on the perceptions and realities of the job environment for the Gen X and Y whereas Mr. Dharmarajan presented his views on the topic “How HR fits into the Construction business?� Both the speakers engaged the audience with discussions

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on contemporary HR issues and encouraged them to share their views on the same. The weekend concluded with an HR Conclave that witnessed the presence of Mr. Sandeep Tyagi, VP HR, Videocon Industries along with Mr. Mark Driscoll and Mr. N Dharmarajan. The discussion moderated by Prof. Rohit Dwivedi, Faculty IIM Shillong focused on gaining better understanding and deeper insights into the realities of HR Consulting. The esteemed panelists shared their perspectives on the topic based on their real life experiences and addressed the queries of the IIM Shillong participants related to careers in the domain of HR and HR Consulting. The conclave concluded successfully and left the participants intrigued and motivated by the array of radical ideas shared.


Co n co c t i o n Speaks Connoisseur

Greetings from ABC Company. In the Q first place, I would like to congratulate your

Thank you for being an avid reader of our A magazine. We hope to raise it to great heights and

team for coming up with a quality magazine for the past 2 years. I follow this section in particular religiously and finally have found an issue to write to you. Rather than calling it an issue, I would like to get your opinion on a latest trend that has been catching on“Recruiting through Social Media�. I read an article which highlighted various companies which are using social media to hunt for new talent. I have been thinking on the same line for hiring for various role for my company as well. As the HR manager, I need to have substantial points to convince my boss that this is indeed an effective idea. Can you help me with the same? Expecting a reply.

are hopeful that with companies like you, following our releases, we are close to accomplishing our objective. Recruiting by Social Networking, is on the increase, observing today’s trends. Companies are looking to implement creative methods to capture talent and social media proves to be a promising entrant to the ways of hiring. Top organizations actually realize that, when they compare the return on investment from different recruitment channels, recruitment from social media forms a major contributor rather than through agencies and other employment channels. This is a lucrative option also because of the possibility of attaching videos of job descriptions on Facebook and YouTube and attracting more talented employees. It primarily depends on the company that is looking to hire from the market, so, we also advise you to study the viability of going forward with the alternative of Social media recruitment in accordance with your organization type. Consider the example of Cisco, which is taking the organization a long way by this method of hiring- brings social collaboration to Mobile devices, Email and Business Productivity applications. It increases the participation of people, regardless of where they are working, by bringing social capabilities to the devices and applications that workers utilize most often.



Hi, Team usHR. I am working as HR Thanks for writing to us. We would manager in XYZ Company for the past initially like to state that a Talent Management few years. I have been given the task of plan or overview is never generic, but it is highly attracting and retaining new employees specific to the organization which implements for the company. I need your help from the it. So, whatever we might suggest here can be a perspective of talent management as my beacon of light to guide you, nevertheless tailorboss is pressurizing me to come up with a make it so that it is suggestive to your company. concrete plan within the next two months. Making the recruitment process more efficacious Expecting your reply. by implementing competency based recruitment instead of the mundane process of going ahead with the resume process of selection is critical- when competency gaps are identified, training can possibly be delivered through development programs or learning through any other viable methodologies according to the culture of the organization. Identifying high performers and consistent facilitators by tracking their contribution to the company and ranking them accordingly for remuneration and reward systems thereon would be a pertinent step towards talent management. Ensuring a sustainable leadership pipeline, reinforcing the culture and values in the organization and providing learning that is standardized across all domains and roles as far as the employees are concerned- these are few ways in which organizations attempt to cope with talent management plans in their respective organizations. We hope our answer gives you a sense of direction for implementing the same in your company.

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I am working as the HR partner in XYZ Company and am writing to you regarding a problem that I am facing. In my department there is always a lack of enthusiasm amongst the employees with respect to taking new initiatives or team outing etc. The reason behind this is my predecessor who had a very strict approach and never interacted with the employees on a friendly level. He did not bother much about the welfare of the employees and happiness of the employees was never on his agenda. I came to know about his behavior from my boss who was very upset with the employees mind frame. My boss has entrusted me with the responsibility of bringing about a change in the department and I want to do a good job. Awaiting your help.

It is a reality that a good and congenial A work atmosphere will go a long way in promoting

results as far as the organization is concerned. It also assists in the overall development of an individual and if an individual faces a growth prospect in his career, his contribution to the organization improves dramatically. An important factor to instill happiness and enthusiasm in the employees is to organize events intermittently in the office space that facilitates co-ordination and co-operation in the individuals. It accentuates the work relationship that is existent and the rapport escalates to an extent that it directly affects the atmosphere and makes it conducive. And moreover organizing such events helps in maintaining the positive ambiance in the work space- employees will not easily get demotivated and deterrence will seldom be a bothering issue. Establish a stronger reward system in place, motivate when necessary- ‘carrot and stick’, if there seems to be any hassles with communication/ problems with the completion of a work, get down to the root of the problem and view it from the employee’s perspective. When an employee feels that he is trusted, he is naturally able to contribute in a better manner in the work that engages him and the organization would benefit from his motivated demeanor. We believe and hope that the methods suggested would attempt to uplift the atmosphere and in turn promote growth in the company, let this be a feather in your cap!

Call for Articles & Participation Team usHR invites articles from B-Schools all across India. We are looking for original articles related to field of Human Resources. References should be cited wherever necessary. The best article will be featured as the “Article of the Issue” and would be awarded cash prize of INR 1000 Few of the good unpublished articles are put up in our blog: Contest Winner of every issue gets a prize money worth INR 500 along with a certificate of appreciation For other updates, check our Facebook page – “usHR-HR Club of IIM Shillong”. The issue details can be checked on our blog

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Co nte s t

Contest With the Best Unscrambler Use all your THINKING HATS to unscramble the given jumbled words to form words related to HRM. After this, collect all the circled letters to get another anagram and arrange it to get the name of a famous personality. Also state his/her contribution to HRM and win the prize money

Last date for sending the answers for Contest: Sep 15th, 2013 Email ID: Subject of the email: TogetHRContest12_CollegeName_Name of Person

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Internship Speaks I had a very enriching experience during my summer internship stint. The practical experience that I gained was rewarding, challenging and increased my scope of thinking. I got the opportunity to intern with Larsen & Toubro, an Indian multinational conglomerate, with their Buildings & Factories Independent Company, HR division. I had a forty five minutes interview round before getting selected as an intern for the batch Apr – Jun 2013. My work location was Chennai. I was one among the 27 interns who got selected from various B-Schools throughout the nation. On the day of induction, I got to meet only 9 interns since the other 18 interns had an induction program in Powai, Mumbai, L&T Corporate Office. During induction, we were allotted mentors for the project(s) that we were going to undertake. I was fortunate enough to have a highly knowledgeable person as my mentor, whose guidance streamlined my wandering thoughts about the project. I was given a choice to choose my project between two projects – one on training effectiveness and the other on employee engagement of millennial workforce. After studying various models like Kirkpatrick’s model to measure effectiveness of training and Gallup’s model, Hewitt’s model of employee engagement, my interest shifted towards developing a framework for millennial workforce engagement and I chose the same, set my objectives and scope of study for the project. I felt that this topic is vast and has scope for articulating and proposing solutions from my own findings through various kinds of interactions. Since B&F IC is majorly into construction activities, it was really challenging to develop a framework to engage millennial workforce of this industry. Choosing the population set for my study is the first step for which I had to contact HR system administrator to get the details of employees under my study. DevelopingquestionnairewasachallengesinceIwantedtocovereightparameters in my study without having a very lengthy questionnaire. I got it reviewed with my mentor and the Vice president, HR of the division with whom I had frequent interactions throughout my internship. I used Gallup Q12 and added some more questions that covered the parameters that I chose to measure engagement

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levels of employees. Employee engagement, being a sensitive area, there were discussions if I had to continue the project or scrap it and start the other choice that I was provided with. But, with immense support from my mentor, I could carry out the study. The population of my study was nearly 4000 out of which 353 employees respondents gave their inputs. I understood the importance of written communication all over again since each and every word mattered in the request letter I sent to the employees about the project and asking for their inputs. Mid Term Review of my project went really well with my mentor mentioning to the Corporate HR that I am a dedicated student and one who works professionally. Data analysis and interpretation, creation of dashboard had to be on the basis of my previous study; my analysis led to different thoughts, where I wanted to interact with some employees working in construction segments of B&F IC. I had an opportunity to meet HR managers at each location who engaged in informative sessions on the sites directly. My mentor appreciated this idea and encouraged me to visit three sites under different discussions. I got a chance to conduct the first ‘Focus Group Discussion’ series in my life during this project which was a great experience that helped me in moderating a group of 10-12 employees in each site and gather qualitative data on which I had to work further to come up with my recommendations and final framework. A key take away that I learnt from my mentor is a good practice that will help any manager to succeed in his/her career – ‘Praise in public and criticize in private’. And from the employees, I have learnt that – ‘My immediate manager’s behaviour towards me determines my dedication to work’. The work environment was healthy with all the employees interacting well and making me do hands on work with which I understood the work culture of the Business unit along with my project work. Also, interaction with employees in both formal and informal discussions helped me understand the organization culture, problems in the industry and refine the suggested proposals. On the whole, I received the allround experience that one would face as an OD practitioner or an external consultant for an organization. The organization is a ‘Great place to work at’.

Prasanthi Bitrakanti, IIM Shillong

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Announcement of Results The prize for “Article of the Issue” has been awarded to Pushpa Gopalakrishnan from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai for her Article “Neuroscience: Winning over your employees’ minds!”. She is awarded a cash prize of INR 1000 and Certificate of Appreciation All other authors whose articles are published in this issue shall also receive Certificate of Appreciation The prize for “Contest with the Best” of MAY - JUN 2013 Issue has been awarded to Prasanthi Bitrakanti from Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. She is awarded with a cash prize of INR 500 and a Certificate of Appreciation

Instructions for Submission Article should not have been published anywhere earlier • The Article should have a single author • Kindly email your article with the file name and the subject as <Title of Article> _<Institute Name>_<Author’s name> by Sep 15th, 2013 to hrclub. Article must be sent in Microsoft Word Document (doc/docx), Font: Times New Roman, Font Size: 12, Line spacing: 1.5. The size of the article should be between 700-1000 words The cover page of the article should only contain the Title of the Article, the Author’s Name and the Institute’s Name Results of this issue contest and selected artilces shall be announced in the next issue of TogetHR

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Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management Shillong Mayurbhanj Complex, Nongthymmai Shillong - 793014 email: Mobile: +91 8730002445 c Team usHR, IIM Shillong

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Togethr Jul - Aug 2013 Issue  
Togethr Jul - Aug 2013 Issue