DISHA 2017: Day 3: Sophos: “Design Thinking: Expanding Horizon of Corporate World” – Mr. Rajesh Sahay, Sr. VP & HR Head, WIPRO Consumer Care

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On 31st August 2017, Mr. Rajesh Sahay engaged the students of TAPMI in an interesting discussion on the rapidly evolving corporate world. He opened the discussion by asking a thought-provoking question, “What would happen in the next 40 years? And what would you do to remain relevant?”. He answered that 40*40*40 is the mantra behind the question. 40 hours per week, 40 weeks a year and 40 years of experience are the total finite resources which we have, and the way we utilize it, will mark our relevance.

He described how professional well-being is directly linked to physical health. He said, “The intellectual horsepower comes with physical momentum”. A leader is someone who inspires people, motivates them, earns their respect and is a trailblazer. But the hallmark of a good leader is his ability to take the right decision at the right time, and this alone distinguishes him from all others.

According to him, the first step towards decision making is to develop a sense of healthy curiosity. This is achieved by asking questions to seek information, to form counter logics, to gather viewpoints and to question the status quo.

The second step is to analyze the demographics of the audience you are catering to. Citing an example, he mentioned that in future Europe, Australia, France, Germany might not remain Christian dominant countries due to the rapid immigration of refugees into these nations. With changes in culture and demographics, the politics also changes. This, in turn, changes the market structure and the economy.

He elaborated by saying that we are living in a world of exponential technology where the future holds the power to replace human labor by artificially intelligent machines. A person needs to enhance his conceptual skills to remain relevant. Anyone who imagines beyond the normal conceptual level would sustain himself.  We need to be prepared to be disrupted at every stage. He explained how the concept of Google driver-less cars disrupts the entire automobile industry. Similarly, the lighting industries like Phillips, Surya, Wipro, which made simple streetlights are disrupted by companies like Siemens and Cisco who are integrating CCTV, water dispenser, solar panel and charging point into the same streetlight pole.

He expanded the context by telling us that the RMB currency of China would soon become world currency of exchange. China is becoming world’s largest economy with its One Belt One Road policy, and it is slowly disrupting the use of dollar to promote its own currency in many nations. Once China becomes the market leader, people would immigrate to China, adopt their culture and learn their language. This is the biggest global disruption which is soon to happen and we need to be ready for this.

He concluded by saying that in this era of immense technological advancements, “Data is the new OIL”. In this rapidly shifting market structure, it is imperative for us to adapt and stay relevant to survive in the industry.

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DISHA 2017: Day 3: Sophos: “Millennial Engagement: Happiness Index in HRM” – Ms Rekha Nair, Senior HRBP, Brillio

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On 31st August 2017, Ms. Rekha Nair began a lively discussion by clarifying the meaning of the words ‘engagement’ and ‘millennial’. She said that the term ‘engagement’ has core parameters which are common throughout the generations, while ‘millennial’ is a term which defines the workforce according to the generation they belong to. According to her, these varied age groups in a work place are beneficial to an organization as there is a range of experiences, and every reaction is based on where they are in their life right now.

Ms. Nair, while elaborating on engagement, said that what engages one person may not interest the other at all. Unless we are there, at a point of time, completely into something, as per her we are not engaged.

The biggest competitive advantage for any organization in today’s world is their business workforce, as people are the primary source of competitive advantage, according to her. If people are leveraged correctly and kept in an environment which brings out the best in them, the results will be highly productive. You have to engage people to inspire or challenge them. Whatever work employees do irrespective of the hierarchy, some teams will be engaged and some not and this difference arises because of the leader, Ms. Nair said stressing on the importance of vision.

There are three kinds of work orientations, she insisted- just doing a job, making a career and an inner calling. That is the kind of passion with which employees need to be engaged. The organization, according to her, can win in a market place if they get their talent strategy in place. Talent Strategy, as suggested by her, comprises of Understanding and assessing talent, hiring the right talent, developing the right people, focus on building leaders, creating an awesome culture and people’s engagement.

As per Ms. Nair, if employees love what they do, love their organization, they tend to give everything else a backseat. Happiness and excitement are temporary phases. Every organization should work towards creating a culture that employees love, she urged. Boredom, on the other hand, she said, is the most detrimental to the quality of work and the workplace. It also implies the person is not given enough work.

Ms. Nair brought the discussion to an end by talking about ways to transform events into employee experience. She suggested organizations customize workplace as per employee desires, differentiate the job so as to make it desirable for the employee, provide responsibilities keeping employee capabilities in mind and strive to measure an impact of them on employees.

Disha 2017: Day 3: Sophos: “Human Resources Road Map for a GATI of tomorrow -Integrating HR Strategy with Business Strategy” – Mr. Narayanam Sesha Srikanth, Zonal HR Head, Gati KWE

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On 31st August 2017, Mr. Sesha Srikanth addressed the students of Tapmi on how GATI is integrating HR strategy with Business Strategy. In this open and interactive session, he elaborated about the various measures adopted by GATI in order to empower the employees as well as the company.

Mr. Srikanth started off the session by giving a brief history of GATI, which is the first company in India to introduce door-to-door delivery and cash-on-delivery concepts. GATI follows project based structure, with multiple divisions including international freight forwarding, e-commerce and fuel stations as well as numerous subsidiaries around Asia.

Talking about what a business expects from HR people, Mr. Srikanth said that two important aspects are how to reduce the cost and how to increase the profitability of the business. In his opinion, it is extremely important for HR to align with the needs of the industry.

As the session progressed, Mr. Srikanth explained how GATI redesigned the organization and the entire HR team as well as their employee performance reward program. The organizational redesign included creating specialist roles to avoid opportunity overlap, implementing shop floor automation and optimizing available manpower by reducing unwanted roles, to name a few. Mr. Srikanth said that GATI implemented Biometrics and G-Cube as a measure to take the company one step closer to technological advancement. He then elaborated that GATI doesn’t believe in evaluating employees based on the group’s performance since the method lacks predictability. Rather, GATI now follows individual performance review as they believe, in Mr. Srikanth’s words, “People should know how much they can earn”.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Srikanth said that GATI is an open and hierarchy-less organization which believes in free communication between all its employees. Even though he stated that changing the culture of a traditional organization like GATI takes a longer time, they are on the path towards the change.

Disha 2017: Day 3- Sophos: “The importance of HR in Start-ups” – Mr. Kamal Karanth, Entrepreneur, Talent Space

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31st August 2017, we were greeted by the presence of Kamal Karanth, an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience. He enlightened us on the topic ‘The importance of HR in start-ups’.

He emphasised on talent acquisition as the key to a start-up.

Having involved in building his own since the past 6 months, he shared with us his experiences and struggles in the entire process.

He talked about how it was necessary to get the right talent for an organisation and how difficult it was to fetch the same. Adding to it, he spoke about people with passion, dedication and commitment and willingness to deliver, who could be moulded into the talent the company needs.

He stressed on the need for monetary return value that potential employees sought, which drove them away from start-ups and towards MNCs and other established firms.

With an interactive discussion with the students, Mr. Karanth threw light on the inherent characteristics of a successful start-up; great founders, secured backup and timely intervention of the proposed plan. He added how being an entrepreneur was a proud thing only when one was successful!

Apart from the financial risk, another reason that can drive experienced talent away from a start up are the ideals of the organisation, that may not align well with individual ideals. People might not be able to relate to them and the founders who put them in place. Thus it is imperative that the employees in any organisation believe in the same story as its founders. He also laid out prime differences between big organisations and start-ups, where the former has qualified processes in place, employees are exposed to refined risk and the focus is on building and protecting the brand.

On the other hand in a start up it’s the idea that drives everything.

Mr. Karanth ended his speech highlighting how the role of an HR therefore plays a significant role in a new venture and acts as the backbone helping the company realize its goals.

Disha 2017: Day 3: Onimia: “Challenge of maintaining cohesiveness in contemporary organisations”

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On 30th August 2017, the 3rd day of Disha started off with a panel discussion. Dr Vishwanathan Iyer, Professor and Associate Dean Academics of TAPMI moderated the discussion.

Mr Rajesh Sahay, Sr. VP and HR Head, WIPRO Consumer Care

Mr Rajesh Sahay initiated the discussion by recalling his experiences from his organisation. In this context, growth in the organisation came from geographical expansion and inorganic growth. He said, “Every time, you acquire a company, you increase complexity, and hence struggle to maintain cohesiveness.” During this process, the value systems and corporate governance remain the same. But there exists another dimension composed of environmental changes and struggles unique to the company. In the face of such diverse challenges, the question is how do we integrate these acquired companies, maintain the value system and face environmental changes? According to him, the biggest environmental change is the technological change which is taking over the business world. The only solution to this is to continuously metamorphose and adapt according to the changing scenario. In his opinion, not all companies and countries run at the same speed; the need of the hour is to adapt to the same speed.

 Sunil Naik- Director HR, DHL Global Forwarding India

Mr Sunil Naik started the discussion by highlighting the challenges his company faces. DHL deals in logistics, the challenges are the environment, port congestion, technology, politics and price disruption. Therefore, “the ability of an organization to adapt to challenges is very important” and that is what makes all the difference. Mr Naik went on to say that the value system should be standard so that no challenge can tamper with it. According to him a leader should keep three principles in mind – 1.) Provider of choice 2.) Employer of choice 3.) Investment of choice. A leader should be one who is focussed, resilient and optimistic. He supported his statement by stating if a shipment has to be shipped from India to Syria which is war prone country with almost no infrastructure. The onus lies on the leader how he overcomes the challenge. Thus, challenges are there and one has to face them.

Mr Kosal Ram, General Manager-HR, Manipal Hospitals

Mr Kosal Ram joined the discussion by stating the importance of vision and mission for organisational cohesiveness. He cited examples from his previous and current organisations and stressed on the fact that organisational level complexities are a major challenge for cohesiveness. Issues such as performance variations among different functional areas, not many platforms to share best practices among teams, the inability of teams to adapt to other practices from a different team, cross functional team work, unwillingness among employees to be mobile across regions and functions etc. The goals throughout the organisation should be well aligned with the vision and mission of an organisation. He stated that “Senior leadership plays a pivotal role in bringing in cohesiveness to an organisation”.

He concluded by asking the millennial crowd in the audience to “Learn an organisation before joining it.” Stability within an organisation is very important, considering the rate at which the millennials are leaving an organisation (approximately only 2 out of 5 millennial employees continue working in an organisation for more than 2 years).

Mr Ishwar Haritas – Assistant Professor, Finance and Strategy –  T A Pai Management Institute

Mr Ishwar Haritas joined the discussion by stating that we are fortunate to have a panel with a cumulative experience of a hundred years. He elaborated his views on the topic by making use of the framework by Bosch Consultant Group. A three-dimensional framework consisting of unpredictability, malleability and harshness, each of which can have a negative impact on cohesiveness. These three factors can give rise to four different situations. The classical situation is one in which predictability is reasonably high and the future is forecastable. An adaptive situation is one in which your ability to be agile and flexible is a competitive advantage.  Shaping is another situation where your ability to orchestrate a network regardless of predictability or unpredictability to deliver results. The last one is harshness, in which it is almost impossible to predict the future as the disruption is very high. There are a few strategies we can apply to counter these situations. Firstly, we can just try to survive for the short term then continuously assess the situation over the long term. Another is the visionary strategy. We create a future in which we have a major role to play. In conclusion, Mr Haritas stressed that companies that have a well-built set of values are the ones that survive in the world.

DISHA 2017, Onimia, Day 2- “Employee Development – Risks and Returns”

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On August 30, the second panel discussion for DISHA 2017- Onimia was held. This year’s theme was Metamorphosis-Redesign, Recreate, Transform, with Professor Debmallya Chatterjee moderating the insightful discussion amongst the panellist.

Mr. Jiten Chanana – Group Manager HR – WNS Global Services

Mr. Jiten Chanana started the panel discussion by stating that being in recruitment does not mean just talking to people, it is also about connecting with people. He said, “HR is a cost centre and doesn’t earn revenue” and this is a general sentiment shared by everyone including HR professionals. Mr. Chanana complained that there is a skill gap between the requirements of the industry and the training of the new graduates. As technology is changing rapidly the skill set of employees should also improve. Thus, the companies are looking for employees who have the skill set that are necessary for timely completion of projects. He called such employees “plug in play”.

Mr. Shankar Raman – Deputy Manager, Talent Acquisition – WNS Global Services

Mr. Shankar Raman started the discussion by proclaiming that, “Attitude makes all the difference” and said that the companies don’t have the time nor the money to re-skill its people. Therefore, employees need to keep themselves updated with the ever-changing industry by going for different certifications and interacting with their peers. Mr. Raman said, “As a student, you need to be very curious.” He concluded by stating that loyalty is not dead. To illustrate this point, he cited the example of the Flipkart delivery boy who stayed with the company since its initiation and now is heading the companies supply chain division. Thus, loyalty is relevant in today’s world and in the long term it does pay off.

Mr. Jatin Peepliwal, Talent Management, HRBP, University Relations Times Internet

Mr. Jatin Peepliwal joined the discussion by mentioning that training is very vital. Along with it comes engagement and recognition. If an employee doesn’t feel engaged enough or isn’t recognised for their efforts then they will find it very difficult to be a part of that organization in the long run. Thus, proper training coupled with engagement, motivation and recognition is responsible for keeping the employees “alive” in an organization.

Mr. Happy Paul, Assistant Professor and MIP Chairperson, TAPMI

Mr. Happy Paul joined the discussion by appreciating the fact that companies are accepting that they don’t have enough time to develop new employees as they are busy bringing in revenues for the company. Hence, they are relying on the B-Schools to train their students. Mr. Paul went on to mention that he differs to believe that HR is a cost centre. He supported his view with an example that when a marketing guy gives his company a 100-crore business one often forgets the person who recruited him in the first place. Thus, the HR manager should get the credit for hiring the right employee.  Mr. Paul concluded by stating that just like the companies even the millennials have high expectations. They no more just look for better packages, flexible work hours or BYOD (bring your own device), which according to him is a cost cutting measure by the companies but also focus on future development and growth. The constant question hovering over an employee’s head is, “What is in store for me if I stay here for the next five years?”

Disha 2017: Day 2: Onimia: Making brand advocates through Employee Consumerization

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On August 30, 2017, the 2nd day of DISHA 2017, Prof. Sushanta Sarma started the panel discussion with a satirical question, “Do you hate your boss?” The panelists shared their views on the subject, talking about talent engagement and employee values to share light on the issue.

Mr. Umanath Kumar- Divisional manager HR- Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Umanath Kumar opened the discussion by stating that engagement of self is very important irrespective of sector. In every business there are ups and downs, he insisted, and engagement is an activity which is indulged in when business is down. He maintained that the process must be well thought out and executed. According to him, people question if engagement really helps employees or not. He suggested that we should primarily identify worthy employees for engagement, i.e., the right talent for the job must precede the best talent for the job in order to ensure quality work.

Mr. Kumar claimed that not everybody can engage themselves in every business. As per him, HR wants to attract talent with a very clear idea as to what is expected from them. Finance people bring numbers, operations brings numbers but HR builds credibility on behalf of the organization, he stated.

Ms. Priyadarshini Prabhu-Head Talent Management and Operational Development- TE connectivity

Ms. Priyadarshini Prabhu started the discussion by pointing out that TE connectivity scored the highest in the “Great place to work” review on pride. She acknowledged that employees in her company felt that they were adding value, because of which, they were proud of whatever they were contributing. She continued by saying that the best way to make people feel comfortable would be to tailor things to their needs. She mentioned that a tenure of ten years was a norm in TE connectivity and if someone was willing to stay for 10 years then they are definitely getting some value out of it. She further mentioned that in the age of social media people were underplaying the value of one to one communication. She commented that in TE connectivity they celebrated one to one communication. Ms. Prabhu concluded by saying that we can’t always expect the HR to be doing everything to keep employees engaged. Her point of view was that employees were getting paid to do their job, it would be better for employees to take a step and see what they are offering to the company.

Ms. Sonali Dutta-Lead HR-Swarovski India

We believe in building relations”, with these words Ms. Sonali Dutta opened the discussion on challenges faced by Human Resources posts the recruitment of employees. Stating the need for an aspirant to introspect about his career aspirations, she mentioned how HR merely acts as a facilitator in the process of career development. Career is in your own hands, you own it. In a marketing, sales and designing industry, the key problem according to her is the problem of acclimatization of the employees to corporate lifestyle. Coming from an unstructured background, she expressed how designers often have difficulty in embracing the formal structure.

Therefore, she emphasized on the need of a polished hiring process where the culture of the organization is well explained and the expectations from the aspirants are made clear before recruitment. She pointed out that the flat hierarchy usually leaves employees with less opportunities with respect to vertical growth but a lateral growth is possible and that’s what we encourage. She emphasized that the solution to this problem is mobility which allows the employees to change their roles within the organization and take up challenging roles. She concluded by saying that the job of an HR is not merely hiring but, it is to manage the entire employee life cycle & ensure the meaningful & customized engagement of the talent.

Mr. Adil Nargolwala- Corporate Vice President HR- WNS Global Services

Mr. Adil Nargolwala began the discussion by sharing details about the workplace experience offered in WNS Global Services. Mr. Nargolwala said that WNS is a global BPO company with 35000 employees whose average age is 24. He inferred that this made WNS a young and dynamic company, both by age and heart. Mr. Nargolwala elaborated that the presence of a young crowd made implementing a bureaucratic or hierarchical structure in WNS very difficult, instead, what they offered to their employees was an option to choose their specialization. Mr. Nargolwala explained that the employees in WNS had exposure to various vertical industries including but not limited to Insurance, Utility, Logistics, and HR and these verticals in turn connected to various horizontals. He finally remarked that any employee of WNS could take any of the verticals and then change their specialization later.