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.

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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.

Disha 2017: Day 2- Sophos: “Consumerization of employees” – Ms. Sonali Dutta, Lead HR, Swarovski, India

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On 30th August, Ms. Sonali Dutta addressed a group of students with her views on Consumerization of HR. With a video on the new policy of Culture Machine, ‘First day of period off!’ she began her discussion and managed to engage all the students’ attention. She emphasized on the need for understanding your organization’s employees, knowing their needs, and creating an environment where each one is comfortable and content.

‘Employee Engagement’ being the crux of the talk, Ms. Dutta expressed the need for building brand advocates and having an effective two-way feedback mechanism. She added that knowing our employees today would facilitate the designing and devising of policies in the future to maximize efficiency. With the example of Gallup, one of the world’s leading consultancy firm and pioneers in employee engagement, who have adopted innovative models to understand their employees, she iterated the importance of the behavioral aspect at the workplace rather than the technical aspect.

Another aspect she discussed was the need for effective listening skills in HR managers and development of simple, strategic policies so that the employees could implement them. They must be integrated into the organization from the very beginning and allowed to get accustomed to their working environment. They must experience it continuously so that their individual goals can be united with the overall organizational goal.

Clarity, transparency, empowerment, connectivity, belongingness; these are sought by employees and optimizes their satisfaction and in turn their productivity.

Ms. Sonali Dutta sought solutions from students on different cases and ended her session with the emphasis on mutual learning and stating that the need of the hour in the industry was not just how our consumers are important but how our employees equally are.

DISHA 2017: DAY-2: SOPHOS: “Analytics and data science”-Arindam Datta, Senior General Manager -Ops , WNS Global

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On 30th August 2017, Mr. Arrindam Dutta enlightened the student fraternity of Tapmi about various trends in analytics. In this session he covered applications of analytics in various fields, the skills set required for a career in this field and recent technological developments in this area.

He explained that this domain requires a combination of quantitative ability, programming ability and interest towards analytics. There are very few programs in India which cover all these skills. As a result, demand is five times the supply.

Mr. Dutta shared the diverse applications of analytics in different industries. It is widely used in fraud analysis and credit card identity thefts. According to him, “The crux of analytics lies in mining patterns from data.” In the healthcare industry, it can be used to counter deceptive techniques used by medical testing firms to mislead patients.

He elucidated that managers can make use of data analytics in designing action strategy and triggers to combat various fraud practices. It gives them insights about the nitty-gritty of their industry and it can be used to track consumer behaviour. It can help them in identifying the outliers and they can craft their marketing strategy accordingly. Social media is an excellent source for them to get data about consumer like and dislikes.

Talking about trends in technology, he explained that in recent times text, images and videos have also become an important source of data. He stated that “The world is now moving away from numbers and towards visualization.”

In his concluding remarks, he said, “Having data is not enough, it has to be shown in ways people can understand it.” He demonstrated this through a video which had a story of economies of 200 countries over 200 years. All the information was consolidated in a 5 min video. This showed the power of data analytics.

Disha 2017: Day 2: Sophos: “Millennial engagement- Happiness Index in HRM” – Mr. Sumit Mukherjee, Associate VP, HR at Apollo Munich Health Insurance

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On 30th August 2017, Mr. Sumit Mukherjee started off by stating that every generation has its own challenges but today’s generation is under huge pressure to obtain success. It is scary to be in our shoes as everybody expects this generation to achieve more. The question is, how do we cope with this? He then moved on to divide the students into two groups and finding out how one can engage millennials in the context of work. Through this simple exercise, he advised the students, “Everyone wants to have fun at work. You know what is better? To make your work fun.” He then shared his experience of working in different sectors and different companies but he added that there hasn’t been a single day when he has worked and he hasn’t enjoyed it.

A major focus area of the discussion was using appreciation as a tool of engagement. In his opinion, “Appreciation is hard to come by, but it is required.” Today’s managers are being coached, trained by management experts to understand the art of appreciation. He believes that true engagement lies in self and that employees decide the outcomes of the organisations they join. The organisation can organise team building and recreational activities from time to time, but on a daily basis, only the individual can engage themselves. It is very important for employees to adapt their thoughts, even when they do not like a certain task.

Engagement strategy is all about getting people involved in decision making of the organisation. The most important aspect is retention of employees in the organisation and they can only stay in the organisation as long as they love their work. He concluded this interactive session by saying, “Employee engagement is not about the gimmicks that you run, it is about getting them involved in the organisation.”