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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Policies to Ensure Two way Trust between Employer and Employee

Building two-way trust

Can organisations formulate policies to ensure two-way trust with their employees in most situations?
One of the basic tenets for smooth workflow in a team is to ensure proper skill sets among team members and leveraging upon them. Aay-ushi Kishore, Director, Glob-alite Industries suggests that companies need to, "Provide excellent training. An employee who knows what is required of him will feel more competent and content in his position.

Have high expectations for your employee from the start. Valuing his job with expectations will increase his willingness to be punctual and to perform." Indeed, such pol-
icies to train employees should be the foremost aspect and should never be neglected under any circumstances.

While policies can make people adhere to rules and principles, it is difficult to use policies to handle the human element in these relationships.

However, there cari be some policies that facilitate a culture where both the employee and employer steer away from misconceptions and work in tandem and with clarity.

Randeep Sisodia, Director HR, Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. says, "Listening to employees, involving them, empowering them are significant factors in building trust. Any policies or processes encouraging such aspects would go a long way in building two-way trust. For example, hav-
ing regular stipulated town hall or employee meetings could be a stated policy of a company which would help build trust."

When companies reinforce the importance of trust between leaders and team members with the help of policies that focus on employee betterment and development, it is obvious that everyone benefits.
Syed Raza, Head Recruitments, Fiserv India says, "Policies related to employee retention, their growth, learning and development, and employee engagement are the ones which aim at building employee trust. It is usually seen that employers who have more friendly policies find it easier to establish a sense of trust among their associates. Trust is psychological. It is in the heart and mind of an individual. Hence it becomes imperative that a organisation should build I culture which is conducive tl create trust. This culture trust should flow from top i bottom."

Handling the environmental impact
Handling employee or retaining it during fears recessions and lay-offs I quite a challenge even for 
seasoned leaders.

Says Randeep, "During times when the organisation is going through tough eml ronmental changes, leadel need to be totally honest ail upfront with the employer about them.

It has been observed th organisations/leaders    that communicate,     encourage participation and strive to build buy in of employees during enough changes end up  building a huge trust credit with them."

 The management should take into consideration employee morale during organisational planning, especially, when the environmental conditions are not so conducive. Aayushi adds, "The organisations that improve engagement   during   challenging times focus on a number of  factors   that   differentiate them in the marketplace.

The Employees need to take ownerships of their work i.e outputs as well as mistakes. When you take ownership of faillure and learn from the experience , you win respect.

Ignite the innovative power of introverts

Ignite the innovative power of introverts

Our workplaces operate on an 'extrovert bias', assuming that the best talkers have the best ideas and thus can innovate better. Favouring constant interactions and over-sharing, its almost like innovation is the exclusive realm of charismatic extroverts. But is creativity all about being gregarious and putting on a show?

What about those introverts who embrace solitude, don't speak up often and feel drained by being with people? Is their quietude, inward-looking and reflective stance reason enough to undervalue their creative potential?

Sadly, the current mindset concentrates solely on extroverts. The tendency is to herd together as many people as possible, corralling them in forced brainstorming and Collaboration sessions. Welcome to the new 'Group Think'!

Yet, the fact is that the largely-discounted introverts hide great talent and innovative power as well. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking and a self-professed introvert exclaims, "[Introverts are] too often discounted because of an attribute that goes to the core of who they are, but poised on the edge of great change."

In her path-breaking New York Times article, 'The Rise of the New Groupthink', she further points out, "Research strongly suggests that people are more     % creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption."

She adds, "Studies suggest that many of the most creative people are introverts, and this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires." Think Newton, Van Gogh, Jesus, Buddha to name a few.

The question is not whether introverts are better innovators than . extroverts or vice versa. Both may possess creative ideas, but it is just that the more outgoing employees are prone to passionately jump up, wave their arms and proclaim grandiose brainwaves while the quieter ones find it difficult to express even their most ingenious suggestions. Their very nature holds them back; they are not very comfortable with opening up and sharing their thoughts.
On the other hand, the same extroverts are reluctant to listen to others' ideas and ignore them
blindly while the introverts are more receptive - they listen carefully and openly I accept others' proposals.
And with these introverts making up almost half of workforce at anytime, does it still make business sense to disregard their creative potential? With the best artists, inventors and innovators preferring to work alone, a critical objective for organisations I should be to help their introverted staff become innovative and competitive.
Fostering the lone inventor I
Introverts can come up with creative ways to solve I problems, improve procedures, meet customer 1 needs, create new products I and in short, make the        I organisation successful. But one cannot simply ask them to change their behaviour and open up. It's up to the management to devise ways to exploit their creativity   Iand maximise their inherent value.
The best way to help introverts innovate is ironically, to leave them alone! Yes, these people crave privacy and autonomy and are most creative when they are by themselves or working in silence. So let them go off on their own as uninterrupted solitude is what will fuel their thinking cells. As Picasso observed, "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible."
But how do you give them space in today's open plan offices or overlapping cubicles at best? If personal workspaces and closed doors are not possible, at least afford them the privilege of meeting rooms, break rooms or just comfortable corners where they can sit alone and think. Ensure to minimise interruptions as far as possible.

Accept that introverts cannot be forced to participate in traditional brainstorming sessions as they prefer to fade in the background. Design befitting styles and techniques to get the best out of them - like making smaller groups or pairs, if not leaving them alone. Or let technology come to the rescue. Using an intranet, internal social networking page or productivity software where people can share ideas online can get many introverts to 'speak up'.

Some introverts may still be reluctant to share their ideas on their own. Managers have to draw them out in a subtle and delicate manner. Prompt them to open up and air their thoughts with comfortable questions so that they don't feel backed into a corner. And when it comes to the implementation part, do enable them to come together in thoughtfully-managed collaborative groups rather than competitive ones.

Don't forget to capitalise on the introverts' introspective and listening skills as well. They are skilled at thoroughly analysing the quality of others' ideas, rationally thinking through the ramifications and cautiously working at best/worst-case scenarios. Apart from evaluating the feasibility, they can also ask the right questions to bring out the innovative ideas of others!

To sum up, in the words of the largely-ignored other crucial figure in Apple's creation - a kindly, introverted engineering wizard, Steve Wozniak, "I'm going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone... Not on a committee. Not on a team!"

Ensuring a happy motivated work culture, Interview with Aadesh Goyal, Global Head, Human Resources of Tata Communications

Ensuring a happy motivated work culture
Interview with Aadesh Goyal, Global Head, Human Resources of Tata Communications,

Tata Communications is a leading global communications and enterprise IT service provider that owns and operates the world's most advanced subsea cable network, delivering first class infrastructure, enterprise solutions and partnerships to carriers and businesses worldwide. Tata Communications' network is truly global, extending from developed markets to the world's fastest growing emerging

Aadesh has over 25 years of experience in P&L Management, Human Resources, Operations, Information Technology, Corporate Communications and Program Management and has held global leadership roles in these functions across multiple geographies.

What are your unique HR practices regarding recruitment?
Everyone is looking for the best person to hire for a particular role. To find a perfect match is not the easiest thing. You have to get innovative with the recruitment process in order to ensure you find the right fit.

To begin with, we start from within. Our aim is to ensure that all employees are made aware of and have the opportunity to apply for open positions either before or concurrent with the consideration of external candidates for employment. Internal Job Postings Programme not only helps promote greater opportunities within an organisation for employees' career growth but also increase their engagement levels. Last year, more than 300 positions globally were closed through UP, the Internal Jobs Programme; through which all available positions are open for employees to apply and more than 50% positions in the top half of the pyramid were closed through UP. At TCL, employees can apply for any position open in any of the 40 countries; many times the position is at a higher level and/ or with higher salary.

Secondly, for any organisation, employees are the most important assets and we believe our employees can aid us tremendously in helping find the right new talent. Our Employee Referral Programme encourages current employees to recommend their friends or old colleagues for a role they might b/2 suited. Current employees are well aware of our work culture, ethics and roles and tend to take that into consideration while referring candidates. While the referring employees get recognition and appreciation for helping fill a position, the current employees benefit from being able to work with great competent team mates. Also, in this day and age, you can't ignore the power of social media. Networks are larger, connections are wider, no one is too far away - you can recruit someone from France while sitting in your office in New Delhi. A considerable number of hiring is through Linkedln.
The fact that we are a part of the Tata Group lends a halo to our brand. It has always been aspirational to work with the Tata brand and its companies. The Tatas were the first to introduce employee welfare rules, ahead of the actual laws. So, we try and
take a leaf out of that book as well and strive to ensure a happy and motivated work culture for our employees.

Give us some details about your employee welfare programmes.
In order to enable the employees to take care of their health, the company provides free annual health check-up to those who are 40 years and above. In addition to covering employees and family in the health insurance programme, we also cover parents and/or parents-in-law.

Another unique welfare programme we offer to our employees is the APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence) programme that helps in alleviating Stress, maintain work-life balance and learn self-management and leadership skills.

What are your initiatives regarding development of employee relations, employee development and growth?
At TCL, our goal is to hire people for various positions from "within. Over the next few years, we will create a talent pipeline so that we are able to fill almost all the open positions from within. To achieve this, we use a unique Learning Management System through which employees can choose more than 1000 programmes to participate in. And for each top performer, a unique and customised Career Action Plan is developed not only to just meet his/her career aspirations, but also develop the employee for one or more future roles. We also leverage the leadership development programmes offered by Tata Management and Training Centre which benchmark with the best in the world.

In a broad sense, whatever the role, may be, employees are looking for intellectual stimulation and commensurate compensation. At Tata Communications, we work towards creating a culture where people are encouraged to learn, develop new skills and grow. It is endemic in our work culture.

When it comes to employee development, we have a quarterly training calendar which focuses on various aspects such as management development; career development; basic skills; professional skills; technical training; supervisory skills and creative skills.

Training is a planned effort on our part to facilitate job learning, knowledge and skill. It is an important factor for enhancing productivity and we have found that providing on-going learning as well as training has a highly significant effect on job satisfaction. Group training sessions also enhance employee motivation and commitment.

When we hire talent to be part of our organisation, we consider it our responsibility to groom that talent. Alternatively, when we find that a particular employee may not be excelling at his/her role which may affect their appraisal, we work towards understanding the employee's key strengths and placing them in teams and entities within the organisation which will complement their strengths. Further, our senior management has an open door policy.

Whenever an employee requires help or advice, they can always approach their seniors for guidance.
We also make it a point to recognise employee contribution. We have several programmes such our Rewards and Recognition programme and Pro Club to celebrate achievers.

Through the Rewards and Recognition programme, we felicitate the employees and give them awards on a quarterly basis for exceptional performance; this includes monetary rewards as well. Amongst all the incentives we offer, Pro Club is the most coveted award. Every year, we select the top 1% of the company - these are employees who have truly over achieved their target and contributed their very best and stood out from the rest - and send them on an all-expense paid trip to an exotic location along with other winners and our team of senior executives.

What are your initiatives regarding gender equality and diversity?
Tata Communications is an equal opportunity employer. We have employees across 40 different nationalities. Nearly half of our managers have a global team with people from across the world.
And of course, there is equal opportunity for everyone irrespective of their gender, language, nationality, religion, belief, caste or creed. Women employees are amongst the highest achievers in the company at malty' senior positions. As more and more women are joining the global workforce, we believe, they would be adding even greater value and numbers over the coming years.

What do you think makes you unique in terms of HR practices as compared to other companies in your domain?
The thing that is most unique is our philosophy of hiring for open positions from within. This gives a strong message to the employees that they do not have just a job at TCL, but an opportunity to build a career. Secondly, we are embedding the people strategy into the heart of the business strategy. Like each business has a marketing strategy, we are building a people strategy in a similar manner. This puts people right at the forefront.

We also place great importance on employee engagement. We use our Employee Engagement programme to drive our leadership programmes, demonstrate company strategy, create a sense of purpose and unity and provide regular feedback to employees.

We try to keep it informal as well to create a sense of openness. We really try to keep an open communication between senior management and the employees so that we all get a sense of working towards common company goal and objectives, together, as a team.

What are the HR policies you have planned for your employees in the future?
One very exciting programme we are working on currently is to build multi-faceted leaders for the future - identify people at the middle level and groom them for CXO positions. We want to be able to hire all CXO candidates internally. The second one is to have a Capability Development Plan for each and every employee.

We are also very excited about The Career Action Plan for top performers through which the managers develop the top performers in their team for future/higher roles.

We also have many HR policies lined up for our employees such as the 'Cross cultural training programme' which we plan to roll out soon.

Motivational Factors Essential for Sustained Creativity

We all know - an organisation's ability to develop new products and services depends on highest levels of creativity. However, the million-dollar question is -how to get creativity soaring? Do monetary rewards spur creativity? Not really.

Money motivates a person to work but not necessarily in the most creative manner. Then, does time pressure foster great creativity? It usually doesn't. Organisations often assume that time pressure leads people on to great leaps of creativity but research reveals if s not true. Fake deadlines and overly tight schedules actually cause burnout and dampen creativity like nothing does. What then lets creativity bloom? Nurturing creativity, in fact, requires you to fundamentally change the work environment. Balancing the motivational factors often holds the key. Here are some insights.

Motivation is usually of two types - extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources and usually takes the form of a reward or punishment. Also known as carrot and stick, these often have the negative effect of making people feel as being bribed or controlled, at least with respect to creativity if not otherwise. The promise of a cash reward or the threat of a pink slip doesn't magically prompt people to find creative solutions to problems. But intrinsic motivation, coming from genuine interest or passion for work is actually what sparks creativity. It is here that a link between work environment and creativity gets established. A favourable work climate is a must to foster intrinsic motivation that causes unparalleled creative surge.

Identify and eliminate the creativity killers
Research indicates that internal politics, too much of conservatism, rigid and formal management structures often impede creativity. This is because people perceive these factors as forms of tight control. Tight controls usually negatively impact intrinsic motivation of people. And without intrinsic motivation, there can be no creativity. Organisations with a rigid culture expend a lot of energy to maintain the status quo rather than to move ahead. New ideas are harshly criticised and throttled to death. Internal politics usually lead to blame games and as these become rampant people avoid taking risks. Thus, the creative talent of people evaporates into thin air. If you find these creativity killers taking root in your organisation, it is time you paved the way for a more flexible culture to take over. To ignite intrinsic motivation creation of the right stimulants is a must. And these include:

Right matches: The simplest way to promote creativity is to match people with projects that play to
their expertise. And the amount of challenge in the work should be neither too low nor too high but just right to keep boredom and exhaustion at bay.
Stable goals: Define clear goals and set the right expectations but allow enough latitude to let people decide how to accomplish them. Also, let the goals remain stable for a reasonable period of time for people to pursue them with vigour.
Open minds: Do away with time-consuming layers of evaluation and welcome new ideas with an open mind. Let not fear of failure or rebuke deter creativity from taking shape. 
Encouraging pats: To sustain creative passion people must feel that their work is valuable for the organisation. So, generously and spontaneously shower appreciation for creative work done by individuals or teams. People don't need carrots to dangle before them. It is enough for them to know that rewards and recognition follow good work.
Team dynamics: Diversity should be central to creation of work groups. This broadens horizons and breeds creativity. Ensure that the members share excitement over the team's goal, help each other and also recognise and appreciate their differences.

If you are successful at creating the right work environment that shores up creativity, you know the rewards can be extremely great.

But if you fail to do so, the risks are even higher! Without creativity you stand to lose a great opportunity to rule the future. So, do everything it takes to nourish creativity. It is indeed a great feeling to have the most potent competitive weapon in your arsenal!

Exit interviews

Exit interviews

Exit interview is a typical form of interview where there is interaction between the HR person and the employee who is leaving the company. Exit survey is another term for exit interview as it involves gathering data from the exiting employee. The data thus gathered is analysed and used for deploying corrective measures in the functioning of the organisation. Sometimes, employers may use exit interview as a channel to pacify disgruntled employees.

When high performing employees decide to leave the organisation, the management faces valuable loss. Some organisations conduct exit interviews with the exiting employee. The basic purpose of exit interviews is to know what prompted the employee to take such a decision. Human resource staff may try persuasion to encourage employees to reconsider their decision to quit and stay back.Exit interviews are a tool to understand the reasons for employee attrition. This helps the management to address the issue of attrition in the right perspective. The feedback equips the management to focus on the areas of improvement.

For all this to happen, exit interviews should not be conducted in a casual manner but must be done seriously.

The departing employees must be made to feel respected and at ease.
This encourages them to confidently reveal their views about the organisation and the other factors that prompted them to resign.

Face-to-face interviews are better format for exit interviews compared to questionnaires. However, during the course of the interview, the employee may be handed over a questionnaire. This invokes an honest response from the departing employee.

Management should ensure that the interview must not be conducted by the reporting manager. A senior executive from the human resources , department is a better choice. This creates a friendly ambience and employees feel confident to express their inner feelings that help organisations identify problem areas and enhance internal culture.

The HR person, in this context the interviewer, should not behave as a representative of the organisation. He/she should exhibit an unbiased attitude. There should not be any tricky or confusing questions in the list. Active listening ' without confronting or interrupting the exitingemployee will help in fulfilling the purpose of the interview.

Departing employees can expect questions related to job satisfaction, achievement of career goals, facing to be made in organisation';harassment or policies and culture,discrimination and changes        Exiting employees have apprehensions about attending exit interviews. Though they can decline to attend the same, experts suggest against doing so. With the repercussions of speaking openly drawing them back, employees have half a mind on this. HR person should ensure that the feedback is vital for them and in no way will it be used to victimise the employee. HR staff conducting the exit interview should assure the departing employee that there are no ill-feelings or wrong intentions associated with the interview.

The feedback gathered by the employers through exit interviews must be analysed and discussed. Senior management should pay heed to the issues raised by the exiting employees and take their suggestions and remarks seriously.

The worthiness of the feedback should be accepted without any egoistic feelings and necessary changes should be made in the management styles and organisational culture and functioning. Otherwise, the very purpose of exit interviews will be defeated.