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


HR professionals' role has become challenging

With modern day companies striving hard to retain and develop talent, the role of human resource professionals has become more challenging and crucial, said industry experts.

"HR professionals, who were earlier deemed to be a part of the 'operational side' of the company, now have become 'strategists' as they have to retain, motivate and nurture talent to help an organization grow," said Kedia Infotech and e-Seva World chief executive officer Ashok Kumar Kedia, while addressing the seminar on 'Smart HR management: Working smarter and using technology for organization's advantage' organised by Kushmanv Information Technologies at the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fapcci) here.

Speaking about the role of IT in HR management, Greenco Group senior vice-president (Corporate development) K Sriram said, these days the role of IT department has transformed from being a 'control and administrative department' to a 'service department'.

Sriram pointed out that HR departments are using IT tools extensively in the area of performance management and administration. However, the data security aspect is a key challenge as all employees records are stored electronically, he added.

Meanwhile, Fapcci corporate law and intellectual property rights (IPR) committee chairman Abhay Kumar Jain said HR is the main asset of the company. "Only if we groom and train our HR, can we develop IPR in an organization."


Recruiters heading for campus placements will find the batch of 2015 free of the usual jitters. Placement cells of more than 11 top B-schools point out this may be the best placement season in the past few years.
Factors such as bigger pay packets, more job offers and companies waking up from a hiring freeze have resulted in students displaying a larger risk appetite and testing the market for recruitment despite pre-placement offers (PPOs) in hand.
Placement cells of IIM Indore, XLRI, MDI Gurgaon, NMIMS,IIM Calcutta and IIM Lucknow have found students in larger-than-expected groups, wanting to join the e-commerce and startup industry. “E-commerce is the most buzzing sector on campus,” says Prabudh Jain, student placement coordinator, MDI, Gurgaon. Agrees Suvarna Athavale, external relations secretary, IIM Calcutta, “E-commerce is growing rapidly in India, and many students are interested especially because of its unique challenges. Students are also expecting to bag more offers than before.”
Banking and consulting, the traditional favourities, are still popular on campus, especially when it comes to strategy consulting roles from the likes of McKinsey & Co, BCG, Bain & Co and the like.
An earlier indication of the popularity of e commerce was revealed during the ‘ET Top Recruiters in B-School’ survey when, for the first time, e-commerce recruiters such as Flipkart and Amazon joined the top 10 rankings, alongside traditional recruiters such as Cognizant, ICICI BankBSE -0.02 % and Deloitte, which have consistently been making it to the top 10 over the past few years.
At Mumbai-based NMIMS, the placement team is trying to double the number of start-ups they got last year to placate one-fourth of the batch who want to join these new-age firms. NMIMS has 450 students to place and had five start-ups hiring from their campus, last year.
“The students are rooting for smaller companies that are below the radar like Salt n Soap, and not just larger ones like Flipkart and Amazon,” says the chairperson, placements of one of the top B-schools who does not wish to be named. Students believe opportunities to learn may be more in smaller firms. Besides, the large number of deals in the startup phase has boosted their confidence, adds the chairperson.
Arpit M (name changed), an IIM Bangalore final year student has a PPO like many in his batch. However, most of his classmates, despite their PPOs, will sit for interviews again during final placements. “In any other year, a PPO would have sealed our decision, but those trying their luck this time despite PPOs could be higher,” he says.
Student placement committee member, Mahima Sushil of IMI Delhi, says, “It’s still early days but we are expecting a good number of first-time recruiters as well.” Deferred placements may also increase because more students want to start their own ventures, in an economy that whets the risktaking appetite. Around 20 graduates from the Class of 2014 across the six older IIMs alone had opted out of cushy corporate jobs to launch their own ventures.
Rajiv Mishra, chairperson, placements at XLRI has already seen a couple of students discussing deferred placements. XLRI has 180 students to place. Usually, a few students opt for deferred placements, but this year could see more doing so. B-schools offer deferred placements to top students who want to start their own businesses but in case of a failed attempt, get help from their alma mater for another shot at recruitment.
Indications are that companies may shell out more for their choice of candidates. A placement cell member at one of the newer IIMs, IIM Rohtak, says that freshers are expecting anywhere between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 16 lakh per annum. “This, despite the fact that average work experience for this batch is about 14 months as compared to three years last time. For the batch of 2014, the average salary was at Rs 9.72 lakh,” he says. “The season has begun with a bang,” says Jain from MDI Gurgaon. “It’s still early days, but as compared to last year when the average salary was at Rs 14.74 lakh, we are expecting around or above Rs 16 lakh.”
Although students are treading with caution, some positivity from the summers has rubbed off on the students of IIM Bangalore. “During summer placements, firms made more offers and if that happens again during finals, it will change the game,” says Sapna Agarwal, head, Career Development Services of IIM Bangalore. Summer placements ended in record time for most B-schools, and many companies across campuses had to be declined.
At XIM, Bhubaneswar, feelers have been sent from IT firms and FMCG companies that had not hired in the past four years, for IT system profile and roles in marketing.
At IIM Lucknow, PE firms and investment banks are returning with more profiles, says Pushpendra Priyadarshi, chairperson, placement. “The batch of 2015 has also shown signs of being selective about their roles and plans to wait for the right offer than accept the first one,” says a student placement cell member of IIM Indore.

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