Guest Lecture by TAPMI Alumnus Mr Atul Mohan, Manager Human Resources, Flipkart

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This Saturday, 12th July 2014, TAPMI students had the opportunity of having a TAPMI alumnus (PGDM-HR 2004-2006) as its guest speaker, Mr Atul Mohan, Manager, Human Resources, Flipkart. Mr. Mohan has been with Flipkart close to three years and has been associated with organizations like Tesco and Infosys.

Mr Mohan gave an insightful lecture on what to expect in HR and also what not to expect in HR. Human Resources deals with the real world problems and with people who in an organization are very different from each other in their attitudes, personalities and various other factors. HR covers various aspects like performance management, talent acquisition, HR Business Partner, Shared services, programs, compensation and benefits etc. A role of an HR manger is that of a statistician, financial controller, financial partner, accountant, legal advisor, salesman, consultant, inspector and above all an agony aunt, all rolled into one.

Shedding light on each aspect in detail, Mr Atul explained that the talent acquisition segment of HR role takes care of categories like lateral and fresher composition in an organization, turn-around time (TAT), talent v/s fulfilment, salary fixation and parity, location and business wise fulfilment. The business partners segment of HR role consists of talent planning; resource management by optimal utilization of resources; attrition management by monitoring visible statistics and trends.

For compensation and benefits segment of HR role, market research forms a very crucial part. Market research needs to be done to decide the compensation to be offered to the employees viz-a-viz that offered by competitors. If a competitor offers higher salary chances are that the employee may consider switch. So external agencies are hired for collection of data required to derive the compensation package to attract the best talent and prevent switching. There is also the concept of percentile placement which determines the compensation benefit for an employee with respect to his position on percentile curve. Forming policies and gauging its impact is yet another important activity under the compensation and benefit segment of HR. A lot of number crunching is required for forming any kind of compensation policy.

Numerous factors affect the compensation packages. A recent trend that has been observed is that the campus salaries have gone up by upto 15%. The hike is done to keep up with competition as the competitors might pay higher salary to attract best, fresh talent. But this is in sharp contradiction to the higher senior positions whose annual hike is withheld. There are high chances that organization in order to attract fresh talent may be infringing on the compensation band of higher level. So its never an easy job as like a chain reaction all subsequent level compensation needs to changed and dealt with.

A constant challenge for HR is battling perceptions that HR roles are least stressful, complex and challenging. But thankfully the face of HR and the perceptions are changing. In the earlier times HR had lesser role to play in an organization but in the current times HR is responsible for maintaining the friendly culture in the organization as more than half of the workforce is young and dynamic. The employees can leave the organization is they feel disconnected. For these reasons HR today needs to be more agile and interactive and plays a very prominent role in the organization. Also the perceptions of ineffectiveness can arise due to the fact that HR guys withhold lot of confidential data.

The performance management segment of HR role consists of many aspects like the bell curve, force ranking, payouts against budget and ranging of ratings and payouts. All the calculations and jugglery with numbers need to be done with keeping in mind the budget pie. Promotion of employees and alignment to the organization pyramid needs to be done. Portfolios need to be assigned to promoters. To help in the promotion cycle, business plans are designed. Thus the role of HR is more of being HR Business Partners and not HR orderlies.

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The payroll and shared services function of HR performs the task of sending salaries every month by maintaining the uniqueness of every salary. Legal compliances and related filings with respect to PF, and tax computations are taken care of.

Programs aspect of HR does the function of running campaigns like anti-sexual harassment or safety programs to name a few. Leadership development programs are conducted and the insurance coverage is taken care of. Matters like career planning and succession and handing ESOPs are handled.

Concluding, Mr Mohan reiterated that HR is perhaps one of the trickiest and potentially most impact creating enabling function. There is usually no binary approach and quite many times, HR needs to behave like an octopus having hands spread out in all possible directions. Answering a barrage of questions of students Mr Mohan emphasized the importance of theories subjects which the students study, can be put to practice and prove to be quite helpful later.

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