Sunday, June 08, 2014

Smriti Irani - HRD Minister

Millions of arguments…. this week on Smiriti Irani… who is she? What’s the problem? Let’s have a detailed look at:

Smriti Zubin Irani (née Malhotra, born 23 March 1976) is an Indian politician and former model, television actress and producer. She represents the Bharatiya Janata Party and is the incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India.

Smriti was born in Delhi to a family of Punjabi–Bengali background, and was eldest amongst three sisters. Before finding modeling stardom, she worked as a waitress at McDonald's. She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School and discontinued further education

Irani joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003. She became vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing in 2004.In the 2004 general elections for the 14th Lok Sabha, she contested unsuccessfully against Kapil Sabil from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. She was nominated as executive member of the central committee of the BJP. In December 2004, Irani threatened to "fast unto death" until then Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi resigned, blaming him for BJP's electoral losses. However she later retracted this demand after BJP's central leadership threatened to take action against her. In early 2010, Irani was appointed as the National Secretary of BJP and on 24 June, she was appointed as All India President of the BJP's women's wing, BJP Mahila Morcha. In August 2011, she was sworn in as a Member of Parliament from Gujarat to the Rajya Sabha.
Irani contested the 2014 general elections against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. Gandhi held the seat with a reduced margin of victory of 1.07 lakh compared to 3.70 lakh votes in the previous 2009 election.On 26 May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed her as the Minister of Human Resource Development in his cabinet. At 38, she was the youngest member of the cabinet.

Honda plans to hire 1,000 people in India by end of FY'15

Japanese auto major Honda Motor Company plans to hire around 1,000 people in India as it looks to start a second production shift at its plant here by the end of this financial year.
The company's wholly-owned subsidiary Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) is targeting an almost 50 per cent jump in sales to 2 lakh units in 2014-15.
"When we will start the second shift at the Tapukara facility, we will require more manpower. We think we will add 800-1,000 people in our overall headcount in India by the end of this fiscal," HCIL Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) Jnaneswar Sen told PTI here.
HCIL currently has a total strength of around 9,000 employees through direct and indirect employment at its two facilities in Greater Noida and Tapukara, he added.
"Over 3,000 people are working at this moment in the Tapukara complex, of which 2,200 are direct staff of HCIL.
All the new people that we are planning to hire will be employed here," Sen said.
The total installed capacity of the plant is 1.2 lakh units in two shifts and the company may also consider to ramp it up in the next 2-3 years as it targets sales of 3 lakh units a year by 2016-17, he added.
Honda Motor Company also plans to nearly double sourcing of auto components, including engine parts, from India to over Rs 800 crore during 2014-15.
The company has invested Rs 3,526 crore on the Tapukara plant, which also makes engines and exports components to South-East Asia, the UK and Latin America.

Crosswords 9- Cross Culture


3. MITBESTIMMUNG--German word for Co-determination (13)
4. PATRONAGE--The power to control appointments to office (9)
5. GLOCALIZATION--The practice of global branding and localized marketing, where a global brand adapts to the differences in local culture (13)
10. INPATRIATE--A foreign employee who is assigned to work in the home country of the parent multinational (10)
11. ETHNOCENTRISM--Believing that the people, customs and traditions of your own race are better than those of others (13)
12. ETIQUETTE--Conventional requirements as to social behavior (9)
13. PROXEMICS--The study of how different cultures use space in different ways(9)
15. CHARISMA--A divinely conferred power or talent (8)
16. IGVAR KAMPRAD--The founder of IKEA (12)


1. EXPATRIATE--An individual who works outside his/her country, been relocated
by their company to a foreign country (10)
2. NEPOTISM--Favoritism granted in politics or business to relatives (8)
6. PATRIARCHY--A social system in which males are the primary authority figures
central to social organization (10)
7. UNIVERSALISM--The approach that believes rules and principles are always
applicable (12)
8. PAROCHIALISM--Narrow-mindedness is also termed as ________ (12)
9. OCULESICS--_______ is the study of eye-related nonverbal communication (9)
14. EGALITARIAN--A person who advocates or supports the principle of equality
for all people (11)

Companies Best Pay & Perks

Everyone wants to work for an organisation which knows for its competitive base salaries and innovative and alluring benefits.

This is particularly true in today’s economic climate where salary is at the forefront of everyone’s minds – from the fast-food workers in America demanding higher minimum wages, to Asia’s ongoing struggle with pay disparity.

Glassdoor has just released its latest compilation of the top organisations for compensation and benefits, which is based on the workplace insights of employees via their website.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the technology industry makes up almost half of the list, with companies like Google (1st), Facebook (3rd), Adobe (4th) and Epic (5th) rounding up the top five. Costo (2nd) is the only retailer to make the list.Take a look at which companies made the list this year.

1. Google
2. Costco
3. Facebook
4. Adobe
5. Epic
6. Intuit
8. Chevron
10. Monsanto
11. Genentech
12. Kaiser Permanente
13. Qualcomm
14. Riverbed
15. Verizon
16. Vmware
17. T-Mobile
18. Microsoft
19. Amgen
20. Pfizer
21. Southern California Edison
22. Orbitz
23. Procter & Gamble
24. Union Pacific

25. eBay

Investing in Employee's Holistic Wellness

When you hire a new employee in your organization from the first day itself you should start having high hopes from him / her. You want the employee to work hard using all his abilities and take the company to a new level of success. What happens when the employee feels sick and is unable to attend office? Won’t it be a headache even if he / she take a leave for one day? A planned leave is manageable but an unplanned leave often incurs loss.

Everyone knows ‘Health is Wealth’ but according to some people being healthy means only to look slim but they forget about the interior well being. Holistic wellness for employees is a very important topic these days. If employers start paying more attention towards the employees, organizations will be able to bring down its losses.

Ankit Agarwal on states that although organizations provide a number of benefits and facilities to the employees they also expose them to a stressful work environment. Work stress and mental pressure automatically creates a situation where it leads to poor concentration, reduced work productivity and irritability. It also makes employees suffer from diseases like neurotic disorders, anxiety and stress. So, if the organizations start developing a healthy workplace it can benefit them in the future and expect a positive growth from the employees.

HRs can play a great role in this because whenever an employee is unwell there is a break in their work consistency. So, you can ask them to take up a healthy practice and avoid falling sick. Even if the worker attends office they won’t be able to become much productive and this will affect the imposed deadline. It is seen that when an employee attends the office in spite of the fact that he / she is sick, chances of spreading the disease is more.

HRs can help the organizations adopt corporate health programs for employees like most of the countries such as UK and US. This is important because when an employee is physically fit and happy it reflects in the work they do and it ultimately helps in the growth of the company. Rather than incurring loss frequently it is better to adopt some precautionary steps.

25% of HR leaders fell into the profession “by chance”

How did you get into human resources as a profession?

If you’re like 25% of participants in a recent survey, you probably fell into this career path by some sort of accident. It’s not a bad thing at all – it’s simply an interesting insight into how HR leaders entered their careers.
According to research conducted by XpertHR, which explored the careers of HR professionals in the US, it appears the HR profession as a whole is happy with itself. The majority of HR heads interviewed said they are happy with the career choice they’ve made and they believe senior managers value what they do.
So it’s surprising that more than half of respondents felt their reasons for getting into HR were “heavily influenced by chance and external forces rather than through an active desire to work in HR”.
When asked to give three reasons for choosing HR as a career, 36% said they had been asked to take on HR responsibilities while they were in a previous role, while 25% said they found themselves in HR “by chance”.
Additionally, 84% said their first job was not in HR.
However, there were a significant amount of professionals who deliberately chose HR as a career path. Nearly one in three said they chose HR “because they want to work with people”, while 22% said it had been an attractive career proposition.
Another 22% saw it as a natural progression from their previous role, while 13% took on a job in HR after being mentored by an HR professional.
When it comes to career advancement, the top enabling factors for HR professionals to boost their careers was experience gained through HR generalist roles (48.5%), personal drive (41.5%) and business awareness (31.5%).
By contrast, the factors cited as having held them back in their careers are their employer’s failure to view HR as important (40%), the lack of a clear HR strategy in their organisation (31.6%) and the lack of a structured HR career progression framework in the profession (29.3%).

Additionally, only one in 10 respondents said they never scan the job market for new opportunities. Of those who do, LinkedIn is where they search through the most, followed by general recruitment websites and job boards, and careers websites of specific employers.

GM CEO Fires 15 after investigation into fatal recall reveals neglect

This should have never happened. It is unacceptable.”

Those were the words from General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who yesterday fired 15 people – more than half of them top executives – following an internal inquiry into a recall of cars with a faulty ignition switch.

The decade-long recall has been linked to at least 13 fatal crashes and eventually led to the recall of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Irons and a number of other models fitted with the faulty switch.

Announcing the findings of the internal report, Barra said she had fired numerous people and disciplined five others, after concluding they were responsible for the “pattern of incompetence and neglect”.

In a global town hall meeting addressing the internal report and its findings, Barra said former US Attorney Anton R. Valukas had found no internal, deliberate cover up by the company in relation to the recall.

Rather, Barra blamed a break-down of company culture for the 11-year “history of failures”, saying numerous individuals did not accept responsibility for what had happened.

“The report highlights a company that operated in silos, with a number of individuals looking for reasons not to act, instead of finding ways to protect our customers,” she said at the meeting, which was broadcast live.

Six HR trends for 2014

With 2013 winding down, HR professionals and business leaders alike are turning their attention to the trials, opportunities and trends that the new year will bring.

“There are six key HR developments that will be crucial to growth and continued success,” Karen Cariss, global CEO of PageUp People, explained. “These trends need to be front-and-centre on the global executive agenda when planning for next year.”

The six key developments, as highlighted by Cariss, are:

Talent intelligence
With organisations gaining ground on their understanding of big data, the importance of HR-themed analytics will become more crucial in 2014. The uses of these analytics will range from developing people strategies to exploring ‘what if’ scenarios.

Involvement of the C-suite

Not only is HR expected to enter the C-suite, but a further emphasis on the workforce’s presence there is also expected. “The complexities and challenges created by the global economic landscape require leadership teams to continually re-evaluate their organisation’s strategies. Doing so enables organisations to determine how workforce assets can be fully leveraged,” Cariss said.

How mobile has changed HR
Mobile applications are expected to play a more crucial role in 2014. Mobile career sites and applications will be leveraged by organisations to reduce time and cost-to-hire in an attempt to combat the widening gap between skills availability and business requirements.

Invest for success
New solutions to technology investments that offer deeper functionality will be delivered via a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model. These tools will be used for functions such as candidate relationship management and career path planning.

Borderless talent management
‘Globalisation’ is a term that was thrown around in 2013, with its true colours set to be revealed in the New Year. As organisations and workforces become borderless, the ability to manage globally and execute locally is becoming increasingly important. The ability to respect and reward cultural nuances and expectations must be coupled with a talent management solution that supports compliance and enterprise visibility for organisations to remain relevant in 2014.

Social is here to stay

Social media has become an important utility for recruitment. The usage of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for recruitment is set to intensify in 2014, with organisations seeking to keep track of both alumni and new talent pools. The use of social tools for L&D functions will also come to fruition in 2014.

Why Facebook’s HR team encourage staff to ‘break things’

Needless to say, the social media mavens at Facebook have experienced a wide array of ups and downs throughout the years.
For this reason, it is critical that the website’s engineers, technicians, and web developers remain versatile, flexible, and prepared for whatever may lie ahead.

Unconventional Welcoming
The organisation has instituted a number of strategies to ensure that their employees can handle a variety of challenges, even ones that may be outside an individual’s area of expertise.

Even though any potential Facebook engineer has to undergo several rounds of demanding interviews before joining the social media site’s team, that employee still faces six weeks of “Bootcamp” training before being placed in a position.

During Bootcamp, the staff member completes minor jobs for different groups throughout the company.

The goal of this exercise is not just to determine where the employee’s skillset best matches a position’s responsibilities, but it allows the newcomer to access and work with a variety of Facebook’s technical undertakings.

Training for Adaptability
In addition to this unorthodox way of orienting new employees, Facebook also trains staff to adapt to new situations quickly.

To achieve this, Bootcamp includes a rotation schedule that allows new employees to take turns working with different groups and understand how each team contributes to the larger goal.

While this may seem as if it may make new employees feel uncomfortable, that is precisely the point.

Facebook encourages its staff to “move fast and break things,” because the website would rather have imperfect systems that are innovative over flawless technology that’s outdated or obsolete.

Finally, after employees complete their time in Bootcamp, they are still expected to understand operations outside of their domain. 
Engineers frequently participate in a yearly “hack-a-month,” where they set their own projects aside and temporarily work in another area.

Strategies for Success
Facebook undertakes many strategies in order to maximize the talent in their workforce, including:

 - Encouraging a mindset, not just result
 - Connecting short-term projects with long-term goals
 - Fostering accountability

Although their web operations will never be seamless, with the right employee management policies in place, Facebook has created an environment where innovation and forward-thinking should continue to thrive for years to come.

Don’t punish officials for leak: SmritiIrani

Many critics raised relate to his educational qualifications. SmritiIrani asked Delhi University to "reinstate" five non-teaching staff members, who were suspended for allegedly leaking purported documents relating to her undergraduate admission and admit card following a row over her educational qualifications. Despite more than one DU official confirming on Friday that five of SOL's non-teaching staff had been suspended, Singh's statement said, "The news reports appearing in a section of the press on the suspension of five employees of the School of Open Learning are incorrect. The university has learnt that no suspension order has been issued to any employee of the School of Open Learning."

Students question HRD minister over 8 new IITs

Decision to set up eight new IITs has sparked an interesting debate. Students from the older IITs have begun an online petition seeking review of the move, and 6,000 signatures were gathered in less than a week. Among the issues raised by the students are acute shortage of competent teaching staff, and inadequate facilities.

Available reports indicate that existing IITs in India have 6,591 sanctioned posts. Only 4,079 have been filled, a mere 62% of total requirement. Among these faculty positions are also teachers on visiting, adjunct and contractual arrangements.

What is more, the eight IITs set up in 2009 have not yet shifted to permanent campuses.Students fear that if eight new institutes are set up in such a situation, they will be no better than the eight struggling IITs set up in 2009. Such a state of affairs would result in the dilution of the IIT brand, said Manu Agarwal, a student of IT at the Banaras Hindu University-IIT.

Agarwal pointed out that the average strength of any IIT is around 1,000 students, while the eight IITs set up in 2009 have confined the maximum number of students to 500.

What this means is that these eight IITs have been running at half capacity because of the lack of teachers and necessary infrastructure.
In many IITs, students share rooms meant for single occupancy in the hostels, and three students are sometimes expected to live in rooms meant for only two. Laboratories and classrooms are inadequately furnished, Agarwal said.

Recent trends in critical HR management practices

Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary S. Becker, who coined the term “human capital,” says that “the basic resource in any company is the people. The most successful companies will be those that manage human capital in the most effective and efficient manner.”

The present day economy has been titled as “Knowledge economy”.  In such an economy, it is people who make all the difference.  In political economy capital or market was important.  Talent occupies centre stage in the Indian workplace.  In view of this, managing and retaining manpower is becoming crucial to an organization’s success.  To achieve this, companies across sectors are focusing on some of the more critical HR practices. Some of the trends that have been noticed are:

Leadership development
Creating a pipeline of leadership talent is key to a business’ future growth.  It is imperative for the top level of an organization to make leadership talent management a priority, and put its money into long-term plans, as opposed to short-term ones. If companies are worried about their talent pipeline, they have to develop their people.

Work-life balance
No company or employee has found the Holy Grail of balancing work and life, but that is a work in progress. However, multinationals, information technology (IT) and IT enabled services (ITeS) companies have been able to promote the balance between career, family and leisure-time better. Other sectors have also been increasingly promoting a work-life balance.
Interestingly, most companies in India use benefits such as flexible timings, telecommuting, crèche facilities and concierge services as an attraction and retention strategy. Experts say companies should see the work-life balance as a business proposition since progressive companies carry business forward with employees and families.

Inclusion and diversity
With higher numbers of Gen Yers joining the workforce in India at a time when companies across the world have an ageing workforce on their rolls, conflicts are to be expected.  Therefore, companies are investing both time and resources in ensuring that all age groups are comfortable working together.
Organisations in India have also been focusing on making workplaces more representative. For companies such as ICICI Bank Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Vedanta Resources, PepsiCo India, Shell Companies in India and Bharti Airtel Ltd, gender diversity has become a critical area of focus.

Health and wellness
The work culture at globalized workplaces involves long working hours, frequent travel, multitasking and tight deadlines - and all this often leaves employees mentally and physically stressed. Companies have begun to realize that healthy employees contribute to higher efficiency and productivity. Apart from medical benefits, companies are also offering yoga classes and health camps and have doctors on campus.HCL Technologies Ltd, for instance, like many other IT companies, has 24/7 medical facilities in all its centres. DuPont has an Intranet-based tool, which assesses an employee’s health through a questionnaire and makes recommendations based on the scores.

Right skilling
Right skilling, or matching jobs with a particular level of training rather than hiring overskilled workers, is gaining currency. Companies use this strategy to tide over a manpower supply crunch and to broaden their talent baseApart from IT and ITeS firms, organizations in the banking and financial services sector, too, have been increasingly hiring graduates and training them. The upside? Lower attrition rates and wage costs. Pai explains that when you have an over-qualified employee, it is very difficult to meet her aspiration levels and, therefore, the chances of the employee moving on to something more challenging are higher.

Managing ‘solid citizens
Organizations which neglect their solid citizens are doing this at their own peril, say experts. Unlike star performers who are potential leaders, and therefore more likely to move out of an organization faster, this group provides stability and bench strength to an organization. Experts say companies need to take a fresh look at solid citizens and invest time and resources in managing and developing this group.

Instant rewards
Recognizing and rewarding performers is one of the most effective tools to attract and retain the right talent. Companies in India are looking at rewards systems more seriously, and are adopting total rewards practices that include compensation in both cash and kind.
Apart from lifestyle perquisites such as a house, a car or a club membership, profit-linked incentives, deferred gratuity, and wealth-building programmes in the form of stock options and soft loans, companies are also including work-life balance programmes; competency pay packages where niche skills are compensated; and career opportunities, such as overseas assignments, new projects, etc., to reward staff. These rewards can be tailored to suit the top performers’ aspirations to achieve maximum effect.

Measuring human capital:
Evaluation of performance plays a key role, not just in rewarding an individual employee, but also in setting performance benchmarks. And hence, the need for fair and transparent performance management system. A strong performance analysis helps make human resources both efficient and effective.

Managing aspirations
As aspirations of organizations grow, so do those of employees. And, with the changing lifestyles and profiles of the workforce, personal and professional aspirations of employees are not just varied, but are increasingly on the rise. Experts say people as well as organizations have aspirations, and when the two get aligned, achieving business goals becomes easier.  Companies should be clear about goals of individuals as well as of the organization, and the role each needs to play. The firm should also communicate the goals, and have robust and reliable processes to execute them.

360 degrees feedback
Finally, recognizing the need to make performance appraisal systems more effective, an increasing number of companies are using the 360 degrees or multi-rate feedback process. Unlike the traditional appraisal system, which gives one-dimensional feedback, this one allows an employee to give feedback to her reporting manager, peers, direct reports and others. While most companies started using this system as a means for performance appraisal, most of them now use the 360 degrees feedback system to identify the learning and development needs of employees.
Since companies are finally valuing people and their softer skills, does that make it easier to hire good people? The answer is no.  In today’s business climate, attracting and retaining the best employees is very difficult. The reason is a combination of the change in business practices and the shift in employee attitudes. 
The business landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade as a result of many factors from the feverish hiring boom of the 90s to the economic slowdown in the later part of the last decade.  During this same period of time, employee attitudes have changed dramatically.  Exposure to widespread layoffs and corporate scandals has led to an erosion of company loyalty and reevaluation of career and life priorities by many employees. 
So now we have companies looking to acquire the best talent and a growing workforce of talented individuals who are no longer attracted by compensation alone, but who require and value intangibles as well.
The bottom line is this. In order to achieve professional growth and success in the next period of increased talent acquisition, technology professionals are going to have to step out of their comfort zone and develop the holistic, relationship-focused business skills that companies are requiring.

And by the same token, companies are going to have to take a more strategic and supportive approach to recruiting and retention if they want to find and keep the new breed of evolving talent.