Wednesday, October 31, 2007


“A manager always needs to be a good leader but the vice versa is not a pre requisite for a leader though”. Throughout our life times we have read & listened to this phrase a thousand times and we agreed to it. B-schools across the globe were into producing good, infact, great managers. It was always believed that a manager always possesses the leadership qualities because initial part of his job is always to get the work done through others. Also, there was a myth prevalent that leaders are born, but the question is that ‘is it true?’ Many debates have been held and we have a lot of reviews but no results. Irony, isn’t it?

Well, leaving the past reviews and not indulging in one more debate, I would like to draw your attention to this new buzz word- LEADERSHIP. A leader is always believed to be an influencer; the person who is like the sandpiper whose flute has the magic to lead all the mice. He is the one who has the capability to be the role model. As a manager has functions like planning, organizing, directing, controlling & coordinating to perform, a leader has just one function, i.e., to influence.
Now, who can be a leader?

Just to make a distinction, I would like to give an example. You are in your campus/office and suddenly you get to know that in the next building of yours, two eminent people are coming in different auditoriums- Mr. Asaram ji Bapu & Mr. Xyz, COO of ABC CO. You have an option to go for one, who you think you will go for? You, and infact, 99% people of your age might go to attend the session of Mr. Xyz as you think you will gain some knowledge from him. But the irony is that if you compare the fan following of both, you will notice that Mr. Asaram ji Bapu has much larger, may be more than 10 times, fan following than Mr. Xyz.
This was the same point I wanted to draw your attention towards. Mr. Xyz is a manager; however, Mr. Asaram ji Bapu is a leader infact. He has the capability to draw a larger audience than Mr. Xyz. Now, we can mention as many leaders from different walks of life as you want, e.g., Amitabh Bachchan, Rajni Kant, Ratan Tata, Dhirubhai Ambani, George Bush, Osama Bin Laden, etc. We know that all these people have such a charisma that whatever they say, whatever they do, people follow. Now are there any pre requisites to be a leader?

The answer is both yes & no. Yes if you take a macro view of whatever I am going to mention below now and No if you take it specifically. So here are certain musts to be a great leader:

  • People Skills: No followers, no leader. Develop a liking for you in the hearts of the “junta”. No matter, be a heart-throb.

  • Voice: The best example is Amitabh Bachchan or for that matter, any of the movie star. Whatever they say becomes a dialog. Have a good tone.

  • Communication: Whether you have a great voice or not, if you are unable to send your message across, you can’t be a good leader. Learn to imbibe all the principles of communication.

  • Memory: Sharpen your memory. You must remember your followers to make your impact not just a one time exercise but continuously. It’s a process, remember it. Start remembering the faces, names, telephone numbers, and their last comments.

  • Appearance: It is not necessary that you must be tall like Amitabh Bachchan or powerful like Muhammad Ali to be a leader. But appearance means that you must display an image with which you want to get recognized. It includes your inner charisma too. Also, remember that you must be conscious about your cleanliness and hygiene.

  • Aggressiveness: “slow & steady wins the race”, “speed thrills, but kills” and similar phrases I would associate with losers. The person, who is not aggressive in his approach and is not fast, can’t be a good leader. By aggressiveness and speed, I do not mean that you should work in haste but do not waste time. Kill the snake as soon as you see its tail; don’t wait to see his head or you will be killed.

    The list is not exhaustive. One can go on and on but these are the qualities one must have or develop to be a great leader. So now the question comes, if there is so much buzz about leadership, what about management? Is it a waste material to study? Are managers somewhat below the leaders?

    Well, I have started writing with the answer only. Look at the first line of the article. And that is the answer. It’s not about who is above or who is below, it all about who can do what. I would say that it’s easy to be a leader than a manager as leadership is an integral part of management. As of today we have a dearth of leaders in India but might be with some insight we can produce great leaders within home.

    So what are you waiting for guys, get up, the world is yours,

    “Let’s make a dent in the universe.”

Contemplated & Written by: Gaurav Goel, MHROD (Batch of 2008), Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Since the designation of the candidate we wanted to recruit was unusual, we were discussing how to address the issue, especially in the context of managing the equity within. The junior team came up with several recommendations on how we should change the titles of some of the other positions within the organisation. One senior manager asked, “Why don’t we find out what other companies are doing?” The members of the junior team looked at each other and shrugged indicating their reluctance. The reason was that in fact, they had come up with innovative suggestions.

I started thinking about the whole incident. “How many times do we tell our team members to find out what is happening elsewhere and kill their creativity and enthusiasm?”

Finding out existing available practices and leveraging on them is logical and benchmarking is an accepted practice of sharing information among organisations. It is effectively used by so many organisations across the world to improve their processes, operations and quality. The most important argument in favour of benchmarking is that it saves “reinventing the wheel” and in many cases reduces or eliminates “cycle time”. A lot of literature exists on the basic process of benchmarking, how it is used, the pros and cons of the same etc.

Many a times, benchmarking kills creativity. It is just possible that a team of talented executives comes up with very innovative ideas, which have not been tried by others till then. Comparison with others takes away the joy of their creativity and distorts their original proposal beyond recognition. No invention would have been made if everyone had used benchmarking before putting up a theory. In fact, there would have been nothing to benchmark with, if someone would have not come up with “original” ideas. Imagine Sir Isaac Newton doing benchmarking before announcing his “law of gravity”!

Some leaders use benchmarking to postpone decision-making. One has observed in meeting after meeting managers coming to a conclusion or suggesting that we would check with so and so company and find out what they are doing, so that we could also decide in the next meeting. Those who hesitate to decide anything without comparing with what is happening around can never be path-breakers or leaders.

There are others who give examples of what other companies are doing, which are convenient and do not take into consideration the totality of the situation. Just as while citing case laws, the context of the case and other details are very important, we cannot compare just one aspect of the other company ignoring the other relevant details. For instance, if a comparison is made for higher stock options for employees, it is also necessary to check the compensation levels. If we are comparing the quality of services, we must also understand the commitment of the top management to quality. If we are citing the commitment of the employees between two organisations, we must also understand the work culture and empowerment differences between these organisations.

I remember a situation when the top management was very upset about the quality of telephone operations in the organisation. They called the HR manager and asked him to experience the way the operation is handled in a five star hotel and questioned why we cannot have equally competent telephone operations. When the HR manager went into depth, he found so many details of practices that were different. To begin with, the five star hotel that was the reference point had operators in three shifts. Each operator was hired as a trainee and trained for more than 6 months on the job. The quality of the telephone board was top class. Above all, the compensation was about three times higher than paid by this company. Thus, the top management was demanding only one aspect of performance without regard to the reasons for the difference in service.

What is interesting is even the employees many a times, do very selective comparison, though quite in an unstructured manner. They expect the compensation, stock options, holidays, five day week, top class IT support for the job, the required empowerment, exciting work place, without comparing the nature of business, operating margins and productivity ratios of the organisations with whom then compare.

The other problem of benchmarking is when you do it with organisations that are anyway not the best in the aspects you are looking for. The most critical decision the organisations have to make is whether you want to create conditions wherein you lead the performance with which others would benchmark or keep comparing yourself with the established leaders and chase their performance.

The reality in many cases is that transfer of best practices is not strictly possible. Each best practice has its own human setting, cultural setting, environmental setting, ecological setting and many other conditions that are not replicable. Transferring best practices is uprooting a fully grown up tree and planting it in a new place. Unless you are able to uproot it carefully alongwith its existing roots and plant it with those roots, the tree may not survive in a new place. If this was not the case, all organisations would have been successful following one single success route.

Contemplated & Written by: Mr. Dileep Ranjekar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation. [Originally appeared in Jigyasa 2004 (Jigyasa is the Annual Journal of MHROD)]



Leadership is an organization’s lifeline, the critical bridge that spans all organizational levels to cross over from the ideal world of vision to the real world of making it happen. Forming the bridge, leaders throughout the organization define, communicate and clarify the vision. They then provide clear direction and consistent support for the people attempting to realize the vision. The mantle of leadership carries the great responsibility of building trust and meeting the expectations of people throughout the organization.

Being an effective, vital leader demands skills and knowledge in critical areas such as coaching and reinforcing, building strong relationships, developing organizational talent, encouraging initiative, and delegating and sharing responsibility and authority. The effectiveness also depends on specific communication skills and relationship behaviors that will motivate people to do their best, support them through difficult situations, build mutual trust and inspire commitment to organizational objectives.


Successful leaders focus on coaching, reinforcing and supporting people who are encountering new challenges or working more independently. They relinquish and delegate tasks others can do and encourage people to take appropriate risks without penalty. These leaders make people feel important, valued, and respected. They inspire full commitment by practicing the following key principles:-

- Maintain or enhance self-esteem

- Listen and respond with empathy

- Ask for help and encourage innovation.

- Share thoughts, feelings and rationale.

- Provide support without removing responsibility

These key principles address the personal needs. When leaders use them effectively, they support people through difficult situations, build trust and inspire commitment to actions and ideas.

Maintain or enhance self-esteem

Self-esteem is defined as having a good opinion of oneself. People who feel good about themselves are motivated, productive, cooperative and committed.

Leaders who maintain other’s self-esteem demonstrate sensitivity to people’s self-worth, especially in developmental or problem discussions. Effective leaders make these types of discussions productive and enhance self-esteem in the process by focussing on facts, not people and by specifically acknowledging others and their good ideas. They express confidence in people’s abilities and treat them with respect.

Leaders who use this key principle get:

- Open lines of communication

- Inspire commitment to action

- Reduce defensiveness

- Increase cooperation among team members

Listen and respond with empathy

Leaders, who talk the time to really listen to people, then convey understanding and empathy have grasped the heart of open, two-way communication. Responding empathetically and acknowledging people’s concerns and feelings as well as the situations builds trust and promotes cooperation.

Leaders using these key principles helps to defuse negative emotions, such as anger, resentment, frustration, and embarrassment, before they cause significant problems.

Leaders who use this key principle effectively get:

- reduced defensiveness

- enhance self esteem

- encourage cooperation

- share ideas, solutions and actions.

Ask for help and encourage involvement

Involving people in day-to-day activities and decisions is the key to discovering effective solutions to problems, gathering ideas, and getting the job done. Asking people for help in solutions ranging from major cultural or technological changes to small, but important improvements allows leaders to tap people as valuable resources, while inspiring commitment and maintaining others self-esteem.

Leaders who ask for input gain buy-in and make people feel valued. When people “own” an idea, they give their best effort. And, when solutions are not feasible, it is still to maintain other’s self esteem by explaining why and following up by seeking additional ideas.

Leaders who use this key principle help others to:

- Encourage people to become involved in making work solutions.

- improve teamwork and collaboration

- Enhance self-esteem

- Encourage brainstorming

Share thoughts, feelings and rationale

Leaders who sincerely use this key principle demonstrate confidence and trust in people by sharing issues and problems, rationale behind decisions, personal vision, information that might not be a common knowledge. Having information that is not available to others put leaders in a position that demands good judgement and sincerity. If people perceive insincerity or a hidden agenda they will feel manipulated and the value of disclosing will be lost.

People who do not share their thoughts, feelings or rationale in matters that affect others might be perceived as untrustworthy. Sharing or disclosing prevents misunderstandings and reduces resistance.

Leaders using this key principle help to:

- build trust

- communicate openly

- express concerns

Provide support without removing responsibility

People want and need leaders support effective leaders support people’s efforts without taking over, particularly in difficult or risky situations. Support comes in many forms, coaching people to overcome resistance, paving the way to build working partnerships, or encouraging people to see a job through in challenging circumstances.

Coupling responsibility with support encourages people to take ownership of their work and creates a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. People with ownership are enthusiastic about taking on new responsibilities and helping to determine how work is done.

Leaders using this key principle help to:-

- Provide job ownership

- Enhance work satisfaction

- Increase participation and commitment.

Contemplated & Written by: Mr. D.K.Bakshi, Head-HR, Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt. Ltd.[Originally appeared in Jigyasa 2004 (Jigyasa is the Annual Journal of MHROD)]


“Nothing endures but change."
Recent times certainly have proven this maxim to be true. Starting with the Internet boom through the recent economic downturn and on to today's anticipation of recovery, companies have been forced to continuously adjust their corporate strategies to keep up with the relentless pace of change in the economic environment.

The human resource function has been at the center of this period of upheaval. During the economic good times, companies looked to HR to attract, retain and motivate the critical-skill workers necessary for rapid business growth. As the economy cooled, organizations depended on HR to find ways to reduce costs while getting the most from existing, limited, resources. Now, as the focus shifts to recovery, HR executives must ensure their workforces have the skills required to restore organizational competitiveness and to contribute to long-term business objectives.

As the human capital takes center stage in today’s economy the HR function is a strategic power house in organizations. The HR’s strategic race begins with designing an HR architecture i.e. the HR functions, HR systems and strategic employee behaviors that relentlessly emphasize and reinforce the implementation of the organizations strategy.
Summing up the importance of Human Resource

“You can take my factories and burn up my buildings, but give me my people and I’ll build it right back again” – Henry Ford


What will it take to succeed as an HR professional in the next decade. Recent research reveals that HR managers and executives will need to excel in a number of area, including HR delivery, strategic contribution, business knowledge, HR technology and personal credibility. The new avatar is the knowledge professional that is innovative, business savvy quick on the uptake, has an instinctive ability to network and possessing unbridled ambition. They are propelled by an urge to experiment scan new avenues that can spur their creativity. This knowledge professional will gravitate to an organization that is flexible has strong values, a robust performance ethic and provides challenging work on latest technology.

“The world hates change, Yet it is the only thing that has brought progress”-Kettring

Trends or fads emerge constantly dealing with issues such as organizational culture and strategy, personal development, staff retention etc. Pervasive use of technology…work place stress… sluggish economic growth...aging workers... soaring benefits costs…increased security concerns… greater government scrutiny... HR is at the center of powerful forces that are changing the way organizations do business. These new ways of doing business are requiring new ways of utilizing people...and putting unprecedented demands on HR.

Trends in technology are changing the way we do business and they may have the power to change the very nature of work. The pervasive use of technologies like the Internet and wireless telecommunications means that thousands of workers have been or will be freed from the bonds of time and location. Workers in many industries will be able to work when they want, from where they want. The good news is that this could make them happier and thus more productive employees. Employers also will be able to choose from a much wider labor pool due to fewer restrictions on where work gets done. But there also may be a downside to this freedom as the line between work time and personal time becomes blurred. The 24/7 nature of work may produce tremendous gains in productivity, but it also increases stress on employees. Companies are, thus, constantly striving towards enhancing the quality of work life and also the personal life of its employees and this does not stop with the employees but gets extended to his or her family as well. In house health clubs, yoga and meditation centers to relieve stress, sports and cultural activities and the like are being provided by companies.

Also the external economic environment plays an important role. While few people consider the cost of the war on terrorism to be a workplace issue, the tremendous outlays associated with the war, both at home and abroad, are likely to influence the future tax cuts/reforms, pension reform, health care funding, and so on — issues that trickle down to affect employers as frustrated employees turn to them to fill in the gaps.

Another emerging trend is the downsizing. Management of issues of downsizing poses a permanent challenge to the HR managers. Perhaps one of the sensitive challenges which a human resource manager or a personnel manager has to face today is the problem of managing redundancy. Competition has become tough and thanks to globalization, even within the domestic market, the intensity of competition in every sector is increasing. When competition increases, one can attract and retain a customer only by giving better quality goods and services. Quality takes a major share in deciding success in the market place. But then ultimately an enterprise also has to take care of its bottom line. So, it becomes necessary for any manager, any enterprise to think in terms of keeping the costs to the minimum while trying to improve the market share, profitability and productivity.
To conclude, change is here to stay, and we need to understand that all the practices that are working today may not be necessarily there tomorrow. Customer’s expectations, market changes and strategies decisions will derive the tools to managing human assets.

ETHICAL ISSUES IN HR- The Corporate “Conscience”

Doing the "right" thing as an HR professional is sometimes easier said than done in today's corporate environment. But, no matter how tough it is, HR must rise to the challenge. There is simply too much at stake to do otherwise. Organizations need to have a philosophy in place that explains their general corporate values. It should define the values a company wants to practice. However, simple incantation of these rules would never guarantee moral behavior. Only when they are practiced from the top down can they be inspiring. From establishing guiding principles to devising systems for reporting and investigation to sometimes simply just standing up for what's right, HR professionals have a critical role to play in creating ethical cultures within their organizations. The ethical code needs to specify duties of employees towards their company and suppliers or customers. However, the more specific they are the more tempting it becomes to flaunt them. The best course of action is to foster a positive commitment. Personnel training and monitoring, to motivate the staff to apply the spirit behind the rules is one such action.

Conducting the Band: Leading A DIVERSE WORK FORCE

The management of diversity goes beyond equal opportunity. Instead of merely allowing a greater range of people the opportunity to 'fit in' or to be an honorary 'large, white male', the concept of diversity embodies the belief that people should be valued for their difference and variety. Diversity is perceived to enrich an organization's human capital. Whereas equal opportunity focuses on various disadvantaged groups, the management of diversity is about individuals. It entails a minimization of cloning in selection and promotion procedures and a model of resourcing aimed at finding flexible employees.

Every day, our country is becoming more diverse and our workforce reflects that rich diversity. Increasing numbers of women, non-traditional families, immigrants, Hispanics, older workers and people with disabilities in the workforce may mean change as well as important opportunities. Human resource professionals will need to tailor workplace policies to fit the needs of the increasingly diverse workforce by offering flextime, sabbaticals, technology training, cultural training, and child care or elder care assistance on a much greater level than now offered. Perhaps more importantly, basic assumptions about employment policies such as compensation, benefits and training may need to be rethought in order to better serve the needs of workforce diversity.


“When people go to work , they should not have to leave their hearts at home.”-Betty Bender

Human Capital Index is emerging as a measure of understanding the development of human capital. Human capital is becoming increasingly recognized as the most important element because all of us are today in the knowledge economy. There was a time when material content in any product was more than the technology element. On the other hand, 90% of the price of software like Windows would be for the technology and only 10% for the material. It is therefore rightly said that we are all in the knowledge economy. In the knowledge economy, technology is important. Technology is congealed knowledge and that resides in the minds of the people. Hence the importance of human beings .There was a time when human beings were called human resources on par with the physical and the financial resources. Now they are treated as valuable assets and capital because it is the human beings who are going to come up with ideas to give the competitive edge for any enterprise or even a country in the knowledge economy. Organizations now apply a systematic approach of measuring individual competencies, which help build ongoing snapshots of the overall knowledge capital of the organization. This information is thereafter used to perform individual and organizational analysis, reduce education costs, improve hiring practices, improve retention, improve HR performance and developmental planning processes.


“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress , working together is success.” Henry Ford

The environment in which business competes today is rapidly becoming globalized. More and more companies are entering the international markets by exploiting their products overseas, building plants in other companies and entering into alliances with foreign companies. Even organizations without foreign operations are affected by global developments. For companies large and small, competition today comes from around the world, not just around the corner. From the push for paid leave to changes in pensions to growing security concerns, the future direction of HR increasingly will be shaped by events that take place outside its boundaries.

International human resource management differs from domestic human resource management in several ways. First of all, it places greater emphasis on functions and activities such as relocation orientation and translation services to help employees adapt to a new and different environment outside their own country. Large corporations have a full time staff of HR managers devoted to assisting globalization.

Secondly, the selection process for an international assignment should provide a true picture of the life, work and culture to which the employees may be sent. HR managers should prepare a comprehensive description of the job to be done and the responsibilities which may be unusual in home country.
Contemplated & Written by: Dr. N.K.Chaddha, Department of
Psychology, Delhi university
[Originally appeared in Jigyasa 2004 (Jigyasa is the annual journal of MHROD)]

Thursday, October 25, 2007


A “good place to work” tag is critical to a company’s ability to attract, motivate and retain the best and the brightest, thus gaining competitive advantage in the marketplace. Globally, those companies that are voted as ‘Best Companies to Work For’ also yield higher returns for shareholders. In the era where Talent war is in such an aggressive phase as never seen before, the question is how an organization can create a niche for itself in the industry so that people look forward to join it, and those who are a part of it right now, will think thrice before any job hopping and will give 100% at workplace. How the organization creates that magnetism for talent, how it develops brand ambassadors out of its employees, and how it becomes “The Great Place to Work For”.

Employer Branding?
A brand is a relationship. It is a process to reinforce company values, and to gain credit for all the things the corporation does right. . “Employer Branding” is the process of creating an identity and managing the company’s image in its role as an employer. As organizations are complex, open systems, single interventions are not enough. The employer brand has to be aligned and congruent with what the company delivers to the employee, customer, public and shareholder.

Employer branding is the employer’s chance to set itself apart from its competitors in the war for talent. If your brand execution is poor, your company should revisit its communications strategy to ensure it's delivering clear, consistent messages. If carried out successfully, employer branding helps employees answer the question ‘what's in it for me?' Employer branding is very much a reality for almost all successful companies today.

Making of a Brand
Gone are the days when HR used to confine itself in the cozy corners of the offices, keeping themselves busy enforcing the policies thrust upon them by the figureheads of the organization. Now they are into the boardrooms developing the people side of the business strategy. Corporate leaders have historically looked to other functions, such as product development, marketing, and sales, to drive corporate success, today more and more eyes are looking to HR for help.
Today’s organizations aware of the fact that the only way to communicate the corporate brand to customers is the employee and the customer experience they are capable of providing. Customer service is a factor that is largely influenced by the quality of the workforce, which in turn is largely influenced by the quality of recruiting and workforce management systems developed and maintained by HR.

Explore your Customers (internal and external):
The first step in creating or enhancing a brand identity is to determine who your customers are and what they need from the HR function. HR must also know its customers’ current perceptions of the HR department (Branding relies upon their perception, not yours). Begin this process by identifying your customers. Are your primary customers’ executive managers, line managers or the entire workforce? What products and services do they use from HR? What would they like to receive from HR?

More Things to do:

Stop execution of HR in a vacuum. Managing the most valuable corporate asset in a world-class way requires cooperation with marketing and finance.

  • Organization should measure the success of its recruiting and training initiatives based on the customer perception of the quality of its workforce; after all, it is their opinion that matters most!

  • Develop a people-program inventory that lists each of the organization's unique human resource or people programs. This list should be used as ammunition to highlight organization’s best practices in marketing pieces and in media articles.

  • Rename some of company’s successful people programs with "catchy" names that grab people’s attention.

  • Invite family and friends of employees on site to see "what it is like to work here" and the importance of employees' work so that they will help spread the word on what a great place your organization is to work.

  • Profile key employee success stories and best management practices on your corporate career web site. Periodically highlight organization’s great people practices in internal publications to remind employees of the great things you do.

  • Bolster the support of union, if the organization has one, to help spread the word about what a great place to work it is.
  • Is it paying off??

    Whether the branding is working for you or not. There is no set standard of measurements that fits every organization, nor should there be – all organizations are different. Still, some examples of metrics that will assist managers to measure their ROI on employer brand programs are as follows
    · Cost-per-hire by sourcing channel
    · Total yield by sourcing channel (quantity and quality)
    · Candidate retention by channel
    · Interview-to-offer ratio among candidates by channel
    · Offer-to-acceptance ratio among candidates by channel

    Other less traditional measures include promotion readiness rating, external v internal hire ratio, quality-hire ratio, performance ratings of newly promoted managers and manager/executive failure rate.

    The last word

    The branding process is a complex orchestration of research, planning, and implementation. It takes an integrated approach to align your corporate and employer brand communication. Your employer brand is established within and extends outward, connecting your promise with current and potential talent. Today, new products are emerging by the minute, introducing new technologies and new choices. At the same time, the Internet is diffusing and accelerating the flow of information. In this unpredictable business environment, today’s premium brand can be an anachronism tomorrow.

    Thus, HR has much greater role to perform. This role will be responsible for developing systems that identify and manage how the organization is perceived by both internal and external key talent constituencies to ensure that the organization develops and maintains a dominant position in relevant labor markets as the employer of choice.

    Contemplated & Written by: Virender Pratap Singh, MHROD (Batch of 2008), Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University


    To integrate HR into business-performance measurement system, managers must identify the point of intersection between HR and the organization’s strategy implementation plan. The drivers of new business inevitably shift the focus to HR wherein HR practices of staffing, training, skills audit, ability and personality assessment, performance management systems, remuneration and incentives design are aligned around building organizational capability.

    But can’t Humor and fun at work also add to organizational capability?

    The points which are the outcomes of the HR architecture that serve to execute the firm’s strategy are the strategic HR deliverables. These HR deliverables need to be measured and quantified to be able to deliver value to the customers and stakeholders.

    These HR deliverables come in two categories:
    Performance drivers

    Performance drivers are core people-related capabilities or assets, such as employee productivity or employee engagement.
    Enablers reinforce performance drivers. For example Fun and Humor at work will enable a performance driver called employee engagement.

    Taking about enablers, one of the HR enablers that drive the deliverables is creating an environment of fun & humor at the workplace. Having fun at work can be described as living and loving the work that you do. In our lives we tend to remember the moments that give us happiness and those which made us laugh. Thus fun will make an employee explore deep source of energy and passion that will affect his standards of work.

    Fun can be used to create a climate wherein competition is not adverse but is healthy and motivating. Fun also effects learning, as adults try to learn best in a professionally relaxed manner. Training programs wherein trainers included humor in the process are always cherished, enjoyed and prove to be more effective. Fun brings an informal relaxed atmosphere which is best suited for team building, its working and impacts its performance positively.
    Fun is one thing that is desired by every individual and when one finds it at his/her workplace, they would not mind spending time in the organization. This results in lower absenteeism and higher turnout. Employees having fun together at work or during work hours lead to creation of an informal relationship among them and foster ties that make organization a more comfortable place. This would impact the employee turnover by reducing the attrition rate.

    All these advantages of creating an atmosphere of fun can be utilized by an organization through the following process:
    Creating an environment of fun.
    Measuring the impact of Fun & Humor at work.
    Comparing the impact with other departments/processes.
    Outlining a system which involves each employee in fun activities
    Measure consistently the level of fun and its corresponding influence on the organization.

    Introducing fun element at work seems to be tough and it is. But quantifying the impact of various fun activities on the bottom line will project a favorable case for incorporating a fun culture in the organization and getting the Chief Financial Officer on your side.
    Measuring the impact of fun as compared to a department which does not involve fun at work will silence the finance people. Measurement can be done by studying:

    Absenteeism Rate.
    Departmental Attrition Rates.
    Employee Satisfaction.
    Performances and number high of performers.
    Rate of completion of work by teams as compared to targeted figure.

    All this studies would provide the HR department with hard core data (figures) which could be then utilized to show its positive impact on company’s revenue.

    The real test is to devise a framework which would measure corresponding activities of fun, their levels and their proportionate impact. A way to formalize this framework would be to implement various categorized fun activities, measure impact category-wise, segment employees who are affected more by one fun activity than another and then draft an action plan to link it to the internal business processes of the organization.

    Hence, an enabler like fun at work which impacts employee engagement can be effectively measured, quantified and linked to positive financial returns.

    Contemplated & Written by: Smiti Saha, MHROD (Batch of 2008),
    Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

    Anirudh Kaushik, Faculty of
    Management Studies (Batch of 2009), Delhi University

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007


    A typical executive team has a high degree of awareness and consensus around the financial strategy, as well as the priorities for operational process improvement. They typically have fewer consensuses around customer strategies but the worst grades are reserved for the understanding of strategies for developing human capital. There was little consensus, little creativity but fortunately, the situation has been undergoing a change for the past couple of years.

    The greatest concern here is that, in the new economy, human capital is the foundation of value creation (Various studies show that up to 85% of the corporation’s value is based on intangible assets.) This presents an interesting dilemma: The asset that is most important is the least understood, least prone to measurement and hence, least prone to management. In an economy where value creation is dominated by human capital and other intangible assets, there can be no better starting point than with the measurement and quantification of human resource strategies.

    As HR professionals respond to the challenge of being strategic partners, measuring HR’s performance and its contribution to the firm’s performance consistently emerged as a key theme. This comes as no surprise as the last decade has been highlighted by an ever-increasing appreciation for the value of intangible assets and the associated trends towards strategic performance measurement systems.

    Investors now look beyond the financial numbers to determine the value of the firm. They have started to look at intangibles that predict future results. They don’t just want financial results today, but confidence in future results. Intangibles such as quality of leadership, speed of response, ability to innovate, organization’s culture, social capital, and intellectual capital have become an increasingly central part of a firm’s total shareholder value proposition. The drivers of new business will inevitably shift the focus to HR wherein HR practices of staffing, training, skills audit, ability and personality assessment, performance management systems, remuneration and incentives design are aligned around building organizational capability.

    To integrate HR into business-performance measurement system, managers must identify the point of intersection between HR and the organization’s strategy implementation plan. These points which are the outcomes of the HR architecture that serve to execute the firm’s strategy are the strategic HR deliverables. These HR deliverables need to be measured and quantified to be able to deliver value to the customers and stakeholders.
    Contemplated & Written by: Smiti Saha, MHROD (Batch of 2008), Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
    Anirudh Kaushik, Faculty of
    Management Studies (Batch of 2009), Delhi University