Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Focusing on employee relations in the recession is a cheap means to boosting profitability.

During tough economic times, it’s usually the most abstract aspects of a business that get trimmed to save money and streamline business. Such can be the case with employee relations, an element of business that often is taken for granted.
But experts and analysts warn that owners and operators should not only be sparing their employee-relations programs during this recession, they should be strengthening them. Solid, consistent employee relations are fundamental to a restaurant’s success, and during these fiscally dour times, these programs may make all the difference.
Jackie Wells Smith is the publisher of Your Employee Handbook and a former human resources executive and consultant of 25 years. She says fostering positive employee relations is the single most important area owners and operators should focus on, especially in the small-business sector. Not only does it improve productivity, but it may also address larger problems occurring at a restaurant.
“In my experience, lack of attention to employee relations is usually the source of whatever problems [an owner or operator] is having,” Smith says. “If they have retention problems, turnover problems, problems with frequent accidents, I generally find that the source of it was always the same place: Employees were unhappy with their jobs.”
Restaurant consultant David Scott Peters, founder of Smile Button Enterprises, says that most quick-service managers have an overly simplistic understanding of why employees are discontented with their jobs, which breeds an even more simplistic understanding of what their happiness looks like.
Even more important than fostering positive morale, Peters says managers need to give employees a sense of how their performance will be measured. The absence of that understanding breeds displeasure, and that, in turn, leads to poor performance.
“I believe there are five major reasons why your employees leave you, and the first three are critical,” Peters says. “They don’t know what they’re supposed to do, they don’t know how to do what they’re supposed to do, and they don’t know how well it’s supposed to be done.”
This, Peters says, is yet another example of underestimating the importance of employee relations. It all begins with management clearly communicating to the employee what his or her goals are, and what will be the measurements of their success. If each staff member knows the “what, how, and how well” of his position, he will be more self-motivated on the job.
“The games, the manager bonuses, the prize incentives, they’re all great. And they may create a new behavior for the time being,” Peters says. “But they don’t change and motivate everyone. The key is creating an atmosphere that motivates. If you don’t have the fundamentals down, none of that warm and fuzzy, one-minute-manager stuff will work.”
Dan Simons is co-founder of Vucurevich|Simons Advisory Group, a hospitality and restaurant consulting firm that works with chains like Fuddruckers and Terra Burger. He, too, believes employee relations is the area to which owners and operators should first look if they are needing to boost profitability.
“Human performance is directly related to human emotion,” Simons says. “You simply cannot separate your restaurant’s culture from your profitability. If I have a client with a food cost problem, I start with their employee relations. How do they feel? How do they look? Do they have pride in their appearance? The self esteem and the pride of the employees translate in measurable ways.”
But fostering that culture of profitability has less to do with nurturing the egos and emotions of one’s employees and more to do with creating an atmosphere where high performance and efficiency are expected and rewarded. Simons says that too often, owners and operators talk about the workplace culture in terms of being soft and caring and possessing good listening skills. But that’s just the surface.
“I’m talking about a high-performance environment that inspires people and holds people accountable to give their best,” Simons says. “Humans play to the level of the competition, and the boss has to set the bar high.”
In addition to setting clear employee expectations, owners and operators can also encourage a culture of high performance by making sure each staff member feels important to the overall operation. This is something that restaurant consultant Ron Wilkinson says is often overlooked in the realm of employee relations.

The Need For Employer– Employee Relationship

Employee relations or industrial relations as it is commonly referred to as is a discipline that covers the relationship of employees with the organisation and with each other. Industrial relations is concerned with anticipating, addressing and diffusing workplace issues that may interfere with an organisation’s business objectives, as also with resolving disputes between  an among management and employees. It includes the processes of analysing the employer –employee relationship; ensuring that relations with employees comply with applicable central and local laws and regulations; and resolving workplace disputes. Industrial relations touch all aspects of labour such as union policies, personnel policies and practices including wages, welfare, social security, service conditions, supervision and communications, collective bargaining; attitude of management, trade unions and Government action on labor matters. The practice of counselling, disciplining and terminating employees falls within the domain of this discipline. India is being rapidly transformed from a state-driven economy into a market-driven economy committed to privatization, liberalization, and globalization. At the regional level, the states are forced to enter the rat race of liberalization among them to attract funds for investment and development. Owing to this fact India has seen a rise in misunderstandings and conflict of interest, particularly between the employer and the employee over industrial issues which can’t be easily resolved. It is of vital concern to all in the society, viz., management, workers, shareholders, Government, creditors, consumers, suppliers and the general public as well. With the rise of trade unions as powerful organizations, the conflict between labour and management often gets intensified, and this results in strikes, lockouts and other industrial disturbances.
                                                                                         by Sarthak Daing

Walmart’s Latest Employee-Relations Debacle

A Kemptville, Ontario, Walmart employee was fired  this week after urging a customer to not leave his dog in his car while he shopped. The story quickly grew legs and amounts to yet another PR black eye for the company. 
Walmart had enjoyed a wave of decent PR for a while, but now it finds itself back in a defensive posture–both because of this incident and also for other employee-relations horror stories that play to a now-familiar narrative.  In fact, it’s hard to stay on top of all the negative stories about the big-box retailer. However, this particular story might have been avoided had the company weighed its options more carefully and recognized the value of quality employee-relations.
The lesson for PR pros is to think ahead. That may seem to be a simple notion, but when you dive into Walmart’s handling of the situation, it seems clear that management responded in a knee-jerk fashion.
The employee admits that she directly addressed the customer who allegedly left his dog in the car. She also indicates that the customer responded with anger and claimed that he would not shop at the store again. Later that day the she was called into her manager’s office and told that such issues should be taken up with him directly. Unsatisfied with this solution, she instead declared that the next time she would contact the police. Following that statement, she alleges, she was terminated.
The manager was correct to ask his employee to openly communicate troublesome situations with management, and to avoid confronting the company’s stakeholders directly. Where he arguably went wrong was in terminating an employee who was acting on a humane impulse—rather than exploring alternative solutions or council from human resources. Not only that, but the manager’s decision to let his employee go helps reaffirm a popular narrative that Walmart cares considerably more about its bottom line than its employees.
Walmart (and others) should consider ahead of time how actions can impact reputation. And that goes for a company's entire personnel—from a store greeter all the way up to the CEO.

9 tips how to Develop an Employee Engagement Programs

together some helpful tips Human Resources professionals should keep in mind when it comes to engagement programs:
1) There is no magic formula. Enough said here.
2) Each employer's idea of engagement and how to bring it about is different. Respect that what may work at another company, may not be the right fit for yours. Understand, and be true to your culture.
3) Determine what are the key drivers of engagement at your organization. Whether through employee opinion surveys or walking the halls, determine what drives employee engagement at your company. Is it work/life balance, compensation, career paths and personal growth? Having this information will help guide your efforts and focus.
4) Alignment. Make sure your programs, the messages, and actions are aligned with the business strategy.
5) Measure, measure, measure. Have the data ready to show how the programs are working (or not). Make sure it answers some of the following questions:
a. How are the initiatives making a difference? 
b. Has turnover been reduced? By how much?
c. Has your engagement scores improved? By how much?
d. Has your time-to-fill been reduced due to increased applicants?
e. How do these statistics impact the bottom line?
6) Be Flexible, be adaptable. Understand that sometimes the one constant is change. What may be the strategy today can change in an instant tomorrow with new leadership, as a result of economic changes, competition and the like.
7) Communicate. Do not make the assumption that the whole organization knows what you are working on when it comes to engagement programs. Communicate constantly, hold small information sessions or Town Halls to introduce new programs.
8) Don't lose momentum. Once you start the engagement initiatives keep them going. Build upon the buzz and the energy. Also once rolled out, revisit your programs periodically to keep them fresh and updated.
9) Get Buy In! I cannot stress this enough. The issue of buy in came up time and again over the course of the conference and programs that have succeeded were those that had buy in from the senior most executives and business unit heads before embarking on these initiatives.
Every company is on a quest to attract, retain, and motivate a high performing team. How we each achieve this may take different paths respecting what makes each of our companies unique. But just remember that no matter where in the world you may be, or in what industry, you are not alone in your quest to build engagement.

India on top in 'employer-employee relationships'

A new survey has found that the "positive relationship" between the staff and management has increased in countries like India and China, whereas Australia dropped four places to take the 13th spot on the list.
According to ORC International's annual workplace engagement index, just under half (48 percent) of Australian workers reported a positive relationship this year, which is 6 percent less than last year, reported.
The survey conducted on almost 10,000 workers surveyed them on their attitude towards their organisation, as well as whether they felt a sense of loyalty towards their job and whether they were willing to go beyond their usual duties to help their organisation to achieve its goals.
The survey found that while India and China's rankings jumped by at least eight places from last year's survey, to occupy the top two places on the list of 18 countries, merely 38 percent of Australian employees said their manager inspired them to be effective in their job.
Countries with a lower percentage of positive relationships between the staff and management than the global average of 53 percent, occupied the seven lowest spots on ORC's Employee Engagement Index (EEI)
ORC International's Global Engagement Index for 2014:
1. India
2. China
3. Brazil
4. Switzerland
5. USA
6. Austria
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. Germany
10. Russia
11. Singapore
12. Italy
13. Australia
14. Spain
15. France
16. Hong Kong
17. UK
18. Japan (ANI)

The Stories That Impacted HR in 2014

HR trends, identify the most popular content and provide a unique and real-time look into what’s happening in the HR marketplace.
So without further delay, here is a selection of the hot HR topics throughout 2014:


Continuing the trend from 2013, flexible working was a hot topic, as there was significant growth in companies hiring remote workers and offering expanded telecommuting policies. Driving the spike in the topic was one of the most popular articles for the month of January — Telecommuting Is The Future of Work, by Meghan M. Biro. And we continued to see the topics of remote workers, telework and flexible working popular throughout the year.


When the president of the United States gives his annual State of the Union address, the ideas and plans he announces impact HR trends. Two topics President Obama talked about relating to the world of work — equal pay and retirement savings — spiked after his speech. He announced a new “myRA plan” to allow lower income workers to enroll in a new retirement savings plan.


EmployeeAppreciationDay_2014Employee appreciation and employee motivation were top trends as Employee Appreciation Day was recognized on March 7, 2014, and many vendors and HR bloggers took advantage by putting out content on how and why to show appreciation to employees, like this post from Blogging4Jobs. Plus, workplace wellness vendor Virgin Pulse released its U.S. employee survey, which revealed some fascinating insights about how employees really feel about their employers. The results also provided some ideas in what works to motivate employees – it’s not massage chairs or nap rooms.


Two independent surveys released this month focused on the issue of workplace stress. Monster Worldwide’s survey revealed how commonly stress at work causes employees to look for new jobs — a whopping 42% have left jobs due to stress. And a Harris Interactive survey looked at the causes of workplace stress — low pay and long commutes topped the list.


The big topic, and one that continued for several more months, was HR Certification. SHRM’s announcement that it would be launching its own certification program, in direct competition with the longstanding HRCI, was like“dropping a bomb on the HR community,” John Hollon of TLNT stated. And the ripple effects are still being felt.

Working Families SummitJune

Paid leave became a trending topic following the White House Summit on Working Families. The summit put a spotlight on paid parental leave, as well as other issues impacting working families. It is well documented that the United States is the only industrialized nation to not provide paid parental leave.


The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby caused the topics of contraception mandate, health insurance coverage and Affordable Care Act to spike. However, in spite of the overwhelming media coverage of the decision, some experts in the HR space wrote that the impact on employers would be limited.


The topic of job growth typically spikes once each month with the release of the monthly U.S. jobs report. However, this month the focus was on the increase in higher-paying jobs over lower-paying ones — a good sign for the economy.
And the release of PwC’s Future of Work Report drove the workforce analytics trend. The report revealed that 30% of employees would allow their employers to access personal data such as social media profiles. Doing so could expand employers’ access to new data to analyze performance, productivity and motivation.


Living wage was trending as the United States celebrated Labor Day and the debate on raising the minimum wage carried on. Additionally, in spite of President Obama not getting workforce-related legislation passed through Congress, he brought about changes through executive orders and new rules such as establishing a living wage requirement for federal contractors. Some HR thought leaders opined that this new policy, which impacts nearly one-quarter of the private sector workforce, will eventually filter through the rest of corporate America.


The topic of remote workers spiked again after Reddit announced all of its remote workers had to relocate to its headquarters or be fired. But in spite of this policy change, the growth in telework/flexible working arrangements remained strong.
And another consistently hot topic — equal pay — spiked following a major gaffe by Microsoft’s CEO. Satya Nadella apologized after his comment stating that women should not ask for raises caused a serious backlash. At the same time Gallup released survey results revealing that 30% of Americans think equal pay is the top issue for working women.


Open enrollment was hot in part due to the U.S. Affordable Care Act’s health insurance website launching its second open enrollment season. The launch featured significantly fewer problems than the initial launch.
Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day pushed the veteran employment trend in November, with new data revealing significant growth in the hiring of veterans over the past year.


With the holiday season in full swing, the topic of employee rewards has trended as voices weighed in on how to best recognize and reward employees during this busy and often stressful time of year.
And wage growth spiked as new stats out of the U.S. and the U.K. revealed very different perspectives on what’s happening in regard to wages in these two countries. In the U.S. they appear to be on the rise, while in the U.K. they experienced a decline.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Attrition a major challenge

Attrition simply means “A reduction in the number of employees through retirement, resignation or death. “Attrition can be conceptualized in many forms; the two prominent forms of attrition for the constraints of this endeavor are attrition due to employees leaving 
Attrition has always been a sensitive issue with firms. Despite offering the highest salaries across all business segments, the industry has been plagued with attrition across the board, particularly in the past few years. This ever-growing wage inflation and attrition rates have put financial pressures on firms.

For a generation used to constantly seeing and adapting to change, "getting bored" will happen quickly and easily. Jobs will be increasingly treated like projects and assignments that workers would like to complete and move on. And they would want to have the option of multiple employment contracts - full-time jobs, consultancy, and project-based jobs to retain them. Companies will have to either cater to these needs or lose them to competition.

It is not easy to find out, who contributes and who has the control on the attrition of employees. Various studies/survey conducted indicates that everyone is contributing to the prevailing attrition. Attrition does not happen for one or two reasons. The way the industry is projected and speed at which the companies are expanding has a major part in attrition. If you look within, the specific reasons for attrition are varied in nature and it is interesting to know why the people change jobs so quickly. Even today, the main reason for changing jobs is for higher salary and better benefits.

Employee attrition rate can be never being entirely eradicated. It can only be influenced to keep it in control. How a company can best retain its staff in a competitive environment is the topmost challenge of HR professionals. When employees leave, it is usually due to either lack of appreciation or due to an inability of nurturing employees according to their skills. Following are some strategies to combat the attrition problem

Some ways to curb the Attrition are:
o   Exit Interviews
o   Mentoring
o   Align Career to Business Goals
o   Strategic Compensation Package
o   Learning and Development

       The current scenario where every organization wants to be at its competitive best, high attrition rate can really act as a threat to success. Attrition is a very serious challenge.
         Especially to rapidly growing organizations. Before it explodes, the organizations should seriously workout strategies to reduce the turnover so that the organizations should not suffer. Organizations planning for the future should be giving close attention to why attrition is occurring in the present.

Attrition is not bad always if it happens in a controlled manner. Some attrition is always desirable and necessary for organizational growth and development. 

                                                                                                                         - Ajeya Krishna

Infosys's attrition rate crosses 20%

Even as high attrition rates continue to haunt Infosys, the country's second-largest IT services firm is confident of bringing it down to 12-14% in the next two quarters as it gets back to the growth trajectory.
The attrition level grew higher to 20.1% in the July-September 2014 quarter as compared to 19.5% in the April-June 2014 quarter and 17.3% in Q2 last fiscal. In comparison, TCS had reported an attrition rate of 12%, while that at Wipro (IT services) and HCL Services stood at about 16% and 15%, respectively, in the April-June 2014 quarter (last 12 month basis). Historically, attrition rates have hovered around the 12-14% range. Infosys made a gross addition of 14,255 employees (net addition of 4,127) during the quarter under review, taking its total headcount to 1,65,411 as of September 30, 2014. Infosys chief operating officer Pravin Rao said.  The firm has already given about 12,000 promotions in April; Infosys had announced a wage hike of 6-7% for offshore employees and 1-2% onsite employees. Analysts had expected the country's second-largest IT exporter to post attrition of around 22% in the second quarter, despite CEO Vishal Sikka engaging with employees, and promoting around 5,000 employees since he took over. Infosys has grappled with rising attrition over the past year, and saw several high-profile exits.

Infosys said it has increased its utilization rate to 75.2% (including trainees) in the said quarter, while that excluding trainees stood at 82.3%. However, most analysts believe that Infosys will be able to slow the exits by the end of the third quarter in December. 

High attrition rates, talent shortage worry recruiters

Talent shortage and high attrition rates are now issues weighing on the minds of recruiters and company chiefs in Asia, as companies expand more aggressively in Asian growth markets.
Nearly two-thirds of CEOs based in Asia told consultancy PwC in a survey they face a 'limited supply of candidates with the right skills'. Also, 47 per cent said they lose their top people to competitors.
In a report by boutique recruitment agency Ambition Group, about half of the 200 Singaporean executive respondents said attrition rates have risen in 2010 and have raised the trend as a key concern.
The tight talent pool comes at a time when companies are looking to expand in Asia. PwC says that nine in 10 CEOs surveyed in their global CEO survey are expecting their operations to grow in Asia, with a focus on China and India.
Gautam Banerjee, executive chairman for PwC Singapore, notes that Singapore is also a strong destination for businesses and talent.
Paul Endacott, managing director of Ambition Group Singapore, said the recruitment pick-up was at first driven by replacement hiring in Q1 through mid-Q2 2010. 'But by Q2 onwards, it was attrition that began to drive hiring and investment in key areas that led to a candidate-short market.'
Seven in 10 executives in Ambition's report have seen people wooed by higher remuneration packages from other firms. On average, Singaporean candidates are offered pay packages 10 to 15 per cent higher than they used to earn and in Hongkong, they can be as much as 20 per cent higher.
About 41 per cent say people leave because of a lack of career opportunities available.
'Attrition is extremely costly to a company. Some research has shown that replacing a person into a role can cost the company 150 per cent of the person's annual salary,' says Mr Endacott.
About 62 per cent of Singaporean executives have to cast their eyes to overseas talent because they are unable to find the right people here.
In banking, Ambition CEO Guy Day finds recruiters tend to pick from other financial hubs like Hongkong, Japan, Australia.
It gets trickier when the roles get more niches, like in digital marketing, where it's rare to find someone with experience in Asia. Typically, says Mr Day, such companies recruit from the US, the UK or Australia.
Companies are resorting to non-monetary means of shoring up talent erosion. About 65 per cent of CEOs in PwC's survey say they are deploying key employees overseas.
Other popular strategies include retaining workers past their retirement age and tapping more female talent.
'If it's purely money, then it’s going to be very challenging for companies to retain people,' notes Mr Endacott. 'However, if it's career development that's the issue, companies can invest more in training, learning and do more to improve work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can we combat attrition

When we wander in the humongous land of Google, we come across numerous definitions and meanings of the word attrition. Amusingly it is extensively used in the fields of warfare, medicine, geology, language etc. The one apt to our context is that the attrition is the measure of number of employees moving out of an organization during a specific period of time. A classic example would be the case of Wipro, one of the top IT companies in India. In 2014 Wipro witnessed an attrition level of 17% and employees with 5-6 years of work experience recorded the highest in this category. So, how did Wipro combat this situation?
Well, like the famous quotation “solution lies within the problem”. The crux of this solution was with the employees itself. Thus, came the “NOTCH UP” one of the biggest employee retention initiatives.
Most of the employees are opting for higher studies after acquiring 5-6 years of work experience. To minimize this trend Wipro is now offering employees with more than 2 years of experience in the company a chance to pursue higher studies at Pune based Symbiosis, Pilani's Birla Institute of Technology and Science or VIT University in Vellore. It has also partnered with ICFA to offer two year professional accounting programme. The organization is anticipating positive results in retaining the talent. The fee structure has been worked out between the colleges and Wipro. The fee would be reimbursed to students depending on their scores.
Some popular reasons for high attrition levels are better opportunities in the industry, poor job prospectus, lack of acknowledgement, poor working conditions, autocratic management, less challenging work etc.
Another example is the case of Infosys. Infosys has seen an attrition level of 19.5% in 2014. Henceforth, they have given 6-7% hike in the salaries and promotions to around 5000 employees to improve retention levels.
Hence, critical aspects for reducing attrition levels are employee satisfaction, better career growth opportunities, manager’s support and consideration, qualitative company culture, trust in leadership, job autonomy last but not the least good team dynamics.


Don’t worry, we’ll be fine...

Employers must put contingency plans in place to minimize disruptions if top-level managers leave. Knowing why a senior executive has resigned can help employers prevent or prepare for similar exits in future. 

This article looks at five more:
·         Poor communication
Clear and consistent communication between the senior management team ensures senior executives are fully involved within a business.
Without this, they are likely to feel excluded, undervalued and lack the confidence to make suggestions to company management.
Poor communication can also cause feelings of insecurity and paranoia about their position within the business, all of which can lead top-level managers to consider moving on.
By involving them in key decision-making from day one and valuing their opinions, employers are more likely to make senior executives feel part of the senior management team and businesses are more likely to retain them.
·         Company direction
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses are under constant pressure to re-evaluate their strategy and direction. This can create problems for senior management.
Over time, some executives may become detached from the route that the organisation is heading in, while those who are prepared to run with the change — but who lack the support to bring it about — are likely to become frustrated.
Either way, it is difficult for executives with differing beliefs from the rest of the company to justify remaining with the business.
In these circumstances, effective communication between executives and management can ensure both sides are fully aware of the facts before either makes a rash decision.
·         Dilution of company brand
To be successful, senior management must believe in the fundamental brand values of the business.
As companies and their brands evolve over time, executives need to buy into this change. However, some may be unable or unwilling to do this.
For example, a senior executive may have little belief in a new product or service or may not have the appetite required to rebuild a diminished brand.
Although it depends on the exact circumstances of the situation, this may be a sensible time to part ways.
·         Loss of company support
A senior executive who loses the support of the company — be it through internal or external politics, change in company direction, communication difficulties or under performance of the company — will find regaining it difficult.
Even if he is able to develop a solution for the bigger problem, he will be unable to push this through without the full and committed backing of the board and company as a whole.
Losing company support is a particularly common problem for senior executives at public-listed companies, which need to take shareholder opinion into account.
·         Personal circumstances
Personal circumstances can be the primary motivation for a senior executive to consider leaving his position.
Senior managers may decide against moving as part of a wider company relocation.
Executives who look for new positions may want a shorter commute to work, or to spend less time travelling on business.
Family commitments are often pivotal to their decision. In the right circumstances, businesses have allowed executives to carry out a suitable portion of their working week from home to retain them.
Long- or short-term illness can also be a difficult barrier to overcome.
In these circumstances, some businesses have employed affected executives in smaller advisory roles so that they can continue to contribute their expertise and experience, while at the same time reducing their personal commitment.
·         Explore options
The success of a senior executive is aligned with the wider success of a company — depending on circumstances, his resignation may or may not therefore be welcomed by the business.
If it is not, senior management should carefully consider the cause of resignation and explore the options available.
Where appropriate, improved remuneration packages, greater opportunities for career progression and demonstrating a reasonable understanding for individual personal circumstances can all persuade executives to stay.
Where senior managers are not prepared to reconsider, the business does not need to suffer.
Most organisations realize that the best executives are ambitious and are likely to seek new challenges in time.
Employers who prepare for these circumstances and put contingency plans in place are unlikely to experience too much disruption when a senior member of the staff leaves.
A parting of ways may sometimes be in the best interest of both parties.

For example, if an executive does not agree with a company’s change in direction or branding strategy or has lost the support of the organisation, a new appointment may be more willing and better suited to driving the business forward.

Best workplaces are 'female-friendly'

Just what makes a workplace great?
The answer is more elusive than you might think, given that more people are versed in the dysfunctional work environment than in the truly exceptional workplace. Fortunately, the research consultancy that produces Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For rankings - the Great Place to Work Institute - knows a thing or two about what builds trust and engagement among workers.
What stands out on this year's list, published last week - software provider SAS took top place - is that many of the firms picked represent 'female-friendly' workplaces. Groups not typically found in the highest ranks, such as minorities and women, tend to be more visible in these environments. Furthermore, these organisations bend and adapt to their employee base - they do not ask their staff to conform to the corporate 'way'.
So what else is key to their success?
Among other things, their work-life policies are stigma-free.
Take one firm's well-intentioned policy. A part-time partnership track was carved out, allowing top performers to assume more responsibility while simultaneously cutting down hours. The problem? Only women took advantage of the benefit. The result was that, companywide, part-time partners found they were not taken all that seriously.
The best workplaces offer work-life accommodations that all employees are encouraged to use - top-down and bottom-up - including sabbaticals, compressed work weeks, remote working and job sharing. It is understood at leading companies that the wide adoption of benefits long considered mainly for women helps the workforce at large.
Top-ranking firms also have zero tolerance for unfairness.
In their new book, The Great Workplace, Dr Michael Burchell and Dr Jennifer Robin note the strong message sent by SC Johnson, a company that institutes real consequences for unfair treatment. If the consumer products company sees prejudiced judgment, it handles the problem swiftly by not tolerating such behaviour at all.
In addition, top firms that truly care about fairness provide an appeals process that allows grievances to be addressed.
Dr Burchell and Dr Robin point out this best practice at American Express, where the office of the ombudsman acts as 'a confidential and neutral resource where employees can seek guidance without fear of retribution'.
Taking a stand on equitable treatment can be particularly important for women, some of whom have sounded their grievances only to be ignored, sidelined or even fired. Industries dominated by males can take a page from this book, and recognise that filing complaints about unfair treatment often results in a more harrowing experience than the initial harassment or abuse.
Last but not least, firms that provide the best workplaces acknowledge the power of the unspoken.
Kraft, a company acknowledged for its diversity policies, understands that not all success criteria are spelt out for new employees. Its Jump Start programme offers new staff an orientation in the unwritten rules and strategies for succeeding in the corporate culture. The programme is designed to help collapse the learning curve in terms of how to build influence, find mentors and maintain strong relationships.
Other companies could benefit from adopting this practice, helping those not in the key power constituency by sharing the secret rules of the game.

In the end, employer and employee need only follow a simple formula: Commit to my long-term success, I commit to yours. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Companies go all out to win women over at work

Indian HR heads may not be in a hurry to roll out egg-freezing perks like tech giants Apple and Facebook. But several of them have introduced their own woman-centric policies to help attract and retain talent — from offering exclusive parking lots to IVF leave.

MTS India, for instance, has made available special parking spots for women employees who drive to work. "There are also cab drops for female employees who end up working late as well as a security guard in case any female employee needs escorting," says Tarun Katyal, chief human resources officer, MTS India.

Since fertility treatments can be both physically and emotionally demanding, ICICI Bank allows 180 days of leave to employees seeking to undergo fertility treatment. This is in addition to maternity, childcare and adoption leave.
At Citi India, which has three women networks (employee-initiated and employee-led units), there are rooms for new mothers to relax in. Anuranjita Kumar, chief human resources officer, Citi South Asia, says diversity is a "business imperative" for the group. "It is an imperative to build a workplace that nurtures and promotes career trajectories of men and women alike," she says.

Gloob, a home decor and improvement company, has a play area for toddlers and lets women employees bring them along on certain work days. "This ensures greater engagement with women employees, among other things," says Kunal Sharma, Gloob's founder and director.

In India, a perk similar to paying for egg-freezing like the one Apple and Facebook have instituted may be perceived as "culturally insensitive" say HR sources. Mayank Chandra, managing partner, Antal International, said such practices (companies paying for freezing eggs) are not on top of the mind of prospective employees. "A good company, safe working environment and career growth are the major factors in terms of job change or even to retain employees," he says.

However, given the stress on achieving gender balance across industries, DSM India president Bharath Sesha does not rule out the idea of Indian companies paying for freezing of eggs of women employees in the near future. Incidentally, DSM India has a special sabbatical policy for women employees, where if a woman takes, say, a six-month sabbatical, her performance is assessed on the time that she worked with the company, that is, the six-month period that she did work is assessed as 'one year'.

But the real question experts are asking is how exactly are such practices translating into driving organizations to attain gender diversity?

"While companies are offering a lot of benefits to women employees, the question that should really be asked is why are these not translating into a greater number of women employees at the mid levels or senior levels? Why are women not getting promotions as fast as men do? Why are there pay gaps between women employees and male employees? Organizations which focus on general inclusion must look deeper into these areas so as to ensure they attain gender diversity," says Shachi Irde, executive director, Catalyst India's western region centre who believes the practices that will actually bridge the gender gap are parity in salaries and promotions.


HR score card is a visual representation of key measures of human resource department. It includes achievement, productivity and other factors that are important to organisation like cost, training, hiring, turnover, performance management etc. HR score card was developed by academicians Bryan E. Becker, Mark A. huselid, and Dave Ulrich and presented in their book “THE HR SCORECARD: linking people, strategy, and performance “, issued by Harvard business school press, 2001. Actually it was a supplementary tool to Kaplan and Norton’s balanced scorecard, which does not focus on HR practice. Basically HR Score card provides a very useful framework for measuring HR. It sees human resource management practices as a strategic asset and provides road map to help organisations. It mainly focuses on accountability and prioritization to all Human Resources.
HR scorecard is used by the entire organization it is not limited to just HR department.
1.    It enables cost control and value creation: HR scorecard helps HR professionals to drive out cost wherever appropriate and defend investment intangibles.

2.    It measures leading indicators: there are leading and lagging indicators in the overall balanced performance measurement system so HR scorecard helps in measuring the leading indicators of performance.

3.    It lets HR professionals effectively manage their strategic responsibilities: HR scorecard encourages HR managers to focus on exactly how their decisions affect the successful implementation of the firm’s strategy.

Lastly, we can say that HR scorecard has made it possible for HR managers to understand how to manage HR strategy with the overall business objective. It is a tool that moves HR managers to new goals and makes them more flexible and creative in supporting the changes.

-         Priyanka Gulati