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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Novice to Corporate World? Read on...

Sometimes, a deadline may end up being a blessing in disguise. That sort of thing happened to me last month when a former student from a local management school where I had taught Performance Management (who goes as @Ximekochi on Twitter) reached out to me and sought my help to answer some questions the class had come up with as they were preparing for the Final Placement season.

Last month had seen me taking up a new retained HCM Leadership role for a Thiruvananthapuram based IT SME client which meant that I'd be traveling from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram every week - so finding time to respond to their 'deadline' was going to be tough. Thankfully the train journey allowed me to take some time out to respond to them. I'm pasting the responses as a blog post below:

1. How can one identify and approach a mentor in the initial stages of a management career in the organization ?

My answer was in two parts:
A. Identification of a Mentor: Keep your eyes and ears open and seek out people who asks a lot of relevant questions and takes interest in the business activities which are beyond their own role in the company. Such people are usually the ones with a high ‘Initiative’ level and hence there is high chance that they would find time to provide support for anyone who they feel is in genuine need. Another option is to ask someone who joined about 6 months / a year before you and take their views about the person who helps the most. Chances are that you will end up with a list with common names.
A Senior HR person from the company is another resource who can direct you to a mentor.
B. Reaching out: Show genuine and visible interest in a topic connected to the business. Ask probing questions and listen in deeply, taking care not to give your judgements about the situation? The above category of mentors will seek you out – and provide help and guidance. This is what I’d call a ‘Pull’ strategy for mentoring yourself. Also remember that Mentoring (unlike coaching) is driven by the mentee.

2. What is your view on GEN Y companies without HR?
My view is that Human Capital Management (I’d call it HCM as against HR – capital deemed more valuable than resource) tasks can be undertaken by anyone who has a keen interest in exploring possibilities and can connect to business context – So Titles / Designations does not matter. For Startups / GenY owned firms – the key would be for the founding team to identify this need early on and assign that role properly to a core team member / early recruit. For most Startups, a Long term view (2-3 yrs is very long for startup journey) is not clearly visible and hence investing on a separate role player for HCM role may not be practical / even necessary.  In my opinion, a good line supervisor can take care of his / her Human capital needs for a considerable time period. The need for a separate role will be felt when the company grows in headcount eg. Above 50 or 100 members.
Another area which I’ve seen as a drawback for firms without such a role player who have scaled quickly (due to various good reasons) is the lack of adherence to local statutory provisions which can end up disrupting their growth itself at a later stage.

3. While recruiting candidates for the post of HR, What is the one striking factor you would expect?
I’d look for High level of Empathy, Curiosity and Listening ability / interest when I’m hiring for entry level HR roles in general. Once I’m able to assess the candidate well for these three competencies – I’d ensure that the person gets freedom to learn and grow.

4. In the current scenario, is it important to concentrate on maintaining diversity or emphasizing performance?
Diversity for me is a proven method / approach towards ensuring creativity in teams. Creative teams in my opinion have higher chances of exceeding performance expectations of business– think about Google / Apple and you’ll be able to connect to this approach. Diversity can have various possibilities of which Gender, Culture, Age, Geography are few examples which a firm can customise for their specific situation / business need.

5. What are the major talent branding trends ? (To this one, my response is on assumption that they meant Employer Branding)

Use of ‘Pull’ strategies for Employer Branding is the general Trend among progressive companies these days. Among the various practices in this area, using existing employees as Brand ambassadors or Brand Advocates is something which is getting refined as a separate approach in the recent past. This has it’s origins in context in which the Internet and social media in particular have grown in stature as a branding tool/ medium. Companies have entrusted this to their Marketing teams now but I see this growing and becoming a joint effort or collaboration opportunity for HCM and Marketing teams very soon.

Over past two weeks many of them (students from XIME) have called me excitedly to share the news of them landing their first job !

Looking back, I guess i would not have made this material without that 'Deadline' which to me was an opportunity to help my students, and their call inadvertently  helped me by making create this blog post - another promise which i made to myself. So truly a Win-Win.

Looking forward to hearing views and comments from my readers.

I also found this article on Inc magazine to have some trends to watch out for - if you are a new entrant to corporate world.

Best Wishes as always...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why is Investment in Self rare?

How many of us can list out the activities that he/she has done during the past 7 days which can be listed under the category- Investment towards Self development? This investment can be easily measured in any unit of Time.
I found that even full time students whom I get a chance to interact across my country (in person, online or IM's) miss this aspect. Mulling over the 'Why' behind this, I was glad I chanced upon a Linkedin post by a good friend and mentor or mine (who is @jgblr on twitter) which took me to this article by Ethan Dunwill on
Pasting this for my readers.

Ethan Dunwill is young entrepreneur from Hong Kong, his main goal in life is to inspire and motivate others, so  people can make themselves a little happier. Connect with Ethan at Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or visit his blog at Medium.

Self-Development or personal development is the result of taking steps to improve yourself. There is no single area of focus. In fact, the process of personal self-development is very personal. Each of us must evaluate ourselves, either with or without the help of a professional, and then use that evaluation to decide where we need to make improvements. Engaging in personal development helps us to improve soft skills such as:
  • Being a good listener
  • Having more empathy towards others
  • Becoming more efficient
  • Learning to feel more confident
  • Becoming more focused and organized
  • Setting goals – personal and professional – for ourselves.
Somebody who is struggling with the self-improvement process may wonder if it is worth it. They may wonder if they are wasting all of the emotional energy that it takes to successfully use self-development techniques. The answers to these this questions is that yes, it is absolutely worth it, and no it is not a waste of emotional energy. A high level of self-development can make a huge difference when it comes to obtaining success on the job and in other areas of life. Here are just a few reasons this is the case.
  1. You Will be Conscious of Your Weaknesses
Sometimes it seems as if people are either completely unaware of their weaknesses, or they are so hyper aware of them that they lose all sense of self confidence. This isn’t the case with people who have worked hard on self-development. They are aware of their weaknesses while still maintaining a high self-esteem. This means that they can constantly work to reduce their weaknesses or work around them when they need to. For example, a person with a deficit in their ability to communicate calmly when they are frustrated will acknowledge that deficit, work around it by committing to take 2 minutes before responding to any email. A person who had no idea they had that weakness in the first place might have sent off an offensive email in that situation. A person who was aware, but hadn’t developed a good sense of self-esteem, would have simply remained silent. Finding the right tools to compensate for a weakness can be a long-term task, but with each success, it gets easier.
2. Self-development is an Exercise in Getting to Know Yourself More
Self-awareness is the key component of self-development. If you do not know yourself, you cannot improve yourself. If you know yourself well, you will know what it is that will make you happy, and you will understand the gifts that you have for making others happy as well. A big part of this is understanding the relationships, life situations, and even job conditions in which we will be the happiest. This knowledge is the foundation upon which true success is built.
Many people remain in relationships that are not fulfilling; many remain in jobs that are equally so. And often the reason is that they have accepted that this is how they are just meant to live and work. It has not occurred to them that there can be another “life” out there. This acceptance of the “status quo” is, unfortunately, all too common. Here’s what can happen when a person embarks on a path of self-awareness:
  • The person digs deep and uncovers his/her values. What are the really important things in life?
  • Once values are identified, it is time to assess the current life situation and determine if the things in one’s life right now really relate to those identified values. For example, someone might identify a value of being of service to others. And yet, his/her current job has nothing to do with that. Another value might be a relationship in which both partners are equally supportive of one another. The current relationship may be one in which the individual is a “giver” and the partner is a “taker.”
  • The next step is to identify changes that need to be made so that one’s life aligns with one’s values. This is really a goal-setting process.
  • Once goals are set, the “action plans” are put into place. Take the unfulfilling job, for example. What is the ideal job? That is the goal. How will the person get to that ideal job? It may not be quitting a current job right now (everyone does have to eat), but it may involve going back to school or getting into the job market. As to the relationship, this may involve some serious work with a partner to make the changes that are necessary. And, more than one relationship has “died” because the changes are just impossible. One has to be prepared for that possibility, but ending an unfulfilling relationship also results in a new freedom.
3. You Can Use Self Development to Help Yourself Set Career and Life Goals
The pursuit of personal development means that you have a highly developed sense of what will make you happy. This clarity is very important when you set goals. The reason for this is that you have a better sense of what is going to work for you, and what it is that you should be working towards. People who have not worked on personal development often set goals, work towards achieving them, and then when they have succeeded in doing so, realize that they have arrived at a place that they never wanted to be in the first place. This is the time to go back to #2 on this list and begin the process of self-awareness.
Change can be scary. We all get comfortable, even in our lack of fulfillment, and avoid taking risks that put us in new “places.” The way to begin is one small step at a time. Take a course; join an organization that is related to your new career goal; volunteer in the field you hope to enter. These small steps give you confidence and motivation to continue.
4. People Who Have Engaged in Self Development Often Have The ‘X’ Factor
The ‘X’ Factor is a phrase that is used in the entertainment industry. It describes a trait that many entertainers have that goes beyond simple talent. It is the wow factor that draws people in and keeps them interested. People with a high level of self-development often develop the type of magnetic personality that could be described as possessing the same ‘X’ Factor that entertainers do. The more well developed your personality is, the more people will want to be around you, and that is definitely something you need in order to become a successful person.
Much of the ‘X’ factor is the result of confidence. And that is developed over time, as you meet with small successes and realize that you can actually make change happen for yourself. With each new success, no matter how small, you stand a little taller; you walk a bit more forcefully; you smile more; and you engage others more. The positive outlook you develop is contagious and attracts others.
5. Your Relationships Will Improve
If you go through a self-development process, you will learn to recognize certain patterns and behaviors that you engage in with regard to your relationships with other people. This might include:
  • A tendency to engage in high conflict relationships or
  • The avoidance of commitment.
  • A selfishness that takes advantage of others
  • A need to please others to please others that sacrifices what is important to you.
You may also learn that you have a tendency to engage in conflict in ways that are unfair and unhealthy. When you are aware of these things, you will make better decisions. You will pick better friends and partners, and you will do a better job of keeping the relationships that you are in as healthy as you possibly can. You will also notice that your relationships with employers, coworkers, and business partners will improve as well. These positive and fulfilling relationships will play a major role in your success.
Self-development should really be seen as a life-long process. We should always have new goals, things to look forward to, new experiences we want to have. All of these things make us a more rounded person – and the more rounded we are, the more successful we will be.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What does it take to be a Manager?

So what does it take to be a successful manager in 'X' company / Role / Context?
The question which most HR team members keep mulling over as most of their Business leaders would surely be reaching out to them for answers to this question !
This week this question did come during some of my interaction as a retainer providing HR stuff to IT SME firms. I've been loving this role of mine for the past 8 months - The experience itself is topic for another blog :-)
Thankfully for me, there was no googling required this time. My online / Virtual network of Senior HR professionals have written about a connected topic this week itself.  The first post I chanced upon was by a former Colleague who lead the Psychometric Assessments thought process. Here is the post 
I had commented on this post as well. Later in the day, while catching up on by Blog subscriptions, another online pal whom I met IRL at this year's shrm Annual (shrm15) in Vegas has posed a similar question - Here is Kris Dunn's post from his blog - the HR Capitalist 

Quoting Kris's Solution below:
But the reality is we have a production problem.  We don't know how to produce managers of people.  With that in mind, if we wanted to fix the problem, I think the solution would look something like this:
1.  We'd find a diagnostic tool to help us measure those that have the capacity to manager others.  
2.  We'd let people know that tool was a big part of how we view those that have the capacity to manage.  We'd let anyone take the assessment and we'd freely share their results with them from a career development perspective.
3.  For those that were enough of a match, we'd offer manager of people training - before we have the need for them to be managers.  Just so they could get a taste.
4.  That curriculum would also obviously be mandatory for those in manager of people roles for the first time as well.

During my last stint with Corporate world - at Arbitron India, we had used HATS as the diagnostic tool after evaluating various other smaller stuff for over 18 months - So I would gladly recommend HATS as a tool to problem Kris and Paul has articulated really well. 

Another assessment which I'm personally connected is the Strengthfinder and it's recent update from #TMBCStandout.

I'm trying to get these two connected - (No prizes for guessing my two Core strengths on Standout assessment) ... Looking forward to that journey.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#TechHR15 musings

Following up on my Linkedin Post from Gurgaon just before #TechHR15, as promised, I am ready for an update after the two day event.  First and foremost a big applause to the entire People Matters team for curating one of the best Tech + HR conferences I've attended in India so far.

1. Although there is a feeling that Technology and HR cannot be separated, there exists lack of clarity about a clear approach within the HR community (for majority), that's required to traverse journey to digital journey.
2. The basics required for #DrivingonDigital, i.e the #Internet itself - is still at a  #elephantToBlindMen stage to majority of professionals across industry segments - hence generating Happiness from Internet by weaving solutions for HR problems that exists in co's looks to be beyond many teams. They say 'Seeing is believing' - so this site is worth checking out.
3. Following up point no. 2 above - the ease and speed at which SocialMedia is spreading Internet use is also not understood clearly- so ISP's are preventing VoIP and VoD possibilities by lobbying for protection by laws ! This is proving that social is the most powerful force which is driving digital - but that force itself seem to take most people by surprise.
4. A decade back if the saying went - Change is only thing that's constant - the current  equivalent can be 'Disruption is the only thing that's certain'
5. Corporations are usually caught napping and end up at receiving end of disruption - this disruption is most likely to be caused by a small firm or a very small group of people.
6. Self initiated Re-learning / unlearning  - has become the most needed skill for every professional (Not just HR) to be prepared for the eventual disruption.
7. There exists a tremendous opportunity for #HR function to lead the Co-creation of Culture that's can play catalyst for the Digital journey.

Let's see how these things take shape during the next 2-3 months....

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SHRM15 - It's Vegas !

My third SHRM Annual (yeah, a hatric) has been very very special from the word go.. things were looking pretty good moments after i registered (yeah.. good to plan early) around Feb this year when I received confirmation of myself being an official #shrm15Blogger.  What made it very special was also the fact that I happen to be the only blogger from India in the list of over 45 bloggers. Look at the full list here.

Then came news that there is a possibility of catching up in person with a person whose work I've been following from 2001 after reading a book he co-authored - let me call it FBATR.  Bye the way, a Lot of strange connections (about which I should blog later) were nudging me towards the Subject / Study of Performance management.

I'm writing this from the Bloggers Lounge where there's too much excitement preventing me to get any further.. Let me use this post to connect readers to the public Facebook Album which I've created.

I shall be uploading pics from my phone, DSLR (yes, carried my 100-400 as well, just in case I get some birding)

More reasons for excitement - well here's the big one. I'm going to be facilitating  at a concurrent session today at the Global Lounge of shrm15 - No prizes for guessing the subject - Global Trends in Performance Management - context being the HBR article co-authored by Marcus Buckingham this april.

So long..

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Birding and Documentation - Lessons from #Kerala

20 Birdlists - each list being a minimum of 15 minutes should have been child's play for someone who has done over 100 lists just the previous month...Well that's what I thought read about the June Challenge put to my country's birders by @Birdcountindia Consortium on it's facebook page.
As it turned out, June had many surprises (pleasant ones) in store for me on the professional front and finding time to do birding, even if it's on my terrace got tougher as the week one progressed.  I knew i had to meet or beat the target by 26th June as I will need to fly out to Vegas for #SHRM15 on 27th.

The Monsoons took their time reaching my home state this year and that lull gave me some opportunity to get some birding in.

Then came the big weekend which had me attending two major birding events or birder community meetups (Annual ones) at the College of Forestry, Thrissur.  The need to get more visibility around impact of birding and documentation was felt at both the days. I would'nt say it was clear to the casual observer but having been observing the community members interaction in multiple forums (FB and Whatsapp being most popular) - it was easy for me to read between the lines.
Don't get me wrong here - let me clarify that Kerala's birders are pretty advanced folks and I'm proud to get invited to that communities annual event. Well I see possibilities galore, even though my state may be the first one in my country to get it's own bird atlas.

From the discussions, it was clear to me that my efforts will need to be centered around getting birders to get deeper into birding by documenting their effort. Documenting can be done using Tech tools like ebird platform. This platform also supports pictures and audio clips.
With more photographers around than birders, Pictures play a significant role for promoting documentation in my country. 
Well, I did muster energy to get to the magic number for the June Challenge by 27th morning - a day late than planned.

Here is an example of how a birding documentation can be listed for posterity -

Friday, June 19, 2015

Why is 'WHY' so Important ?

Ever since I've began posting pics (mostly of birds) on facebook groups and other communities on social media, I've noticed that I keep getting a particular type or request to my facebook Inbox - I'm pasting a body of text below to have readers connect with the pattern:

Thanks for ...Please have a look on my wildlife photography page, if u pleased by my photography, then please like/comment /suggest to inspire my photography work Thanks…

So it's been about two years since I've been posting pics and I did oblige some of these requests for 'Likes' and that gave me opportunity to track some of these pages at will. 
I found that in majority of cases, the interest in photography reduced over time and so did the engagement ability. 
I have now started to ask a simple - why photography?- question to when such requests reach my inbox.  Yes, Simon Sinek's TED Talk (watch video) has been an influencing factor for my interest in 'why' question.

The responses that I got had a predominant - "Sorry, I don't understand you" - feel to written over those bits and bytes ! How I wish they had thought about it before they invested in DSLR's and Time.

So Photography IMHO is a powerful tool as Images (anything visual) has special powers (Read this Harvard article for exploring) for generating opinion on a mass scale. I'm hoping that the plethora of 'shoot-schools' aka photograhy workshops and training sessions focus some efforts on helping their students unleash this power of photography.  This would be possible on when the student's have clarity on their own 'WHY' for photography. 

Looking at my own story, it was pure need to network that got me to attend a Photography workshop early in 2012. The workshop was lead by Mr. Balan Madhavan who is himself an ILCP Fellow.
Luckily for me, he started with a depth approach which kind of simplified the power of visual medium and photography in particular and the easy at which this power can be tapped for Conservation. 

I see potential for Photo Equipment businesses to grow if they form communities out of such individuals and encourage members to explore the power of Images leading to Win-Win situations.

Sadly some people seems to have found their Why's and depth faster - so there's a lot of distance for conservationists to catch up...

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Big Day for @PeopleMatters2

HR Folks in India - it's high time you bookmark The People Matters site. Here are just some reasons why I recommend this as a Must do for any HR person who wants to keep Learning and keep making an difference to things that they attempt to impact as a Catalyst ...aka - Change Catalyst?
2. Come August this year and watch out for #TechHR15  to catch up on what Top HR professional have curated to evolve under the Theme 'Driving on Digital' - I happen to bump into an investor of @PeopleMatters2 at #shrm12 when shrm was attempting frantically to connect HR folks to Technology and to better realize the power that lay dormant in this area. I've been following the energetic team from then on and vouch for their interest in this domain.

3. I see them attempting a lot of Connections - to me connections is all that matters when someone is trying to bring in change .. connections adds to diversity of thoughts which in the end leads to that pathbreaking result.

Yours truly is specially proud to have had the opportunity to connect them with NIPM Kerala Chapter some time back and I see a lot of possibilities for that connection as well.

Watch out this space and my tweetrolls for more

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Startup Success Metrics - the Human Link

My avtaar as an HCM and OE Consultant with SS Consulting (From Jan 2015) gave me the opportunity to get a 'From the Horse's Mouth' coverage of the Startup ecosystem as it exists in South India. I will get into specifics of my views on trends etc at another time... This post is to pay tribute to this (watch video)...

Thanks to the clarity of expression and use of data (however sketchy) I could relate to a lot of stuff I heard from first time entrepreneurs as they explain about their 'stories' to me. The stories they narrate help me to reconstruct the context with which they expect me to help them weave / repair people practices to support them.

How I wish I got this video about 6 months back :-)

TEAM - the second important determinant to success as per the data presented by Mr. Bill Gross.  After watching this video and connecting with it - I'm more confident to place my views to my present and probable clients about the need to establish a 'why' for the Team formation itself as they go about setting up the company (first time for many) - from the Idea stage to execution.

Excited about the journey ahead.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

My take on Re-inventing HR Professional bodies

Today I chanced upon an July 2014 thread of mails in which I had shared my thoughts about an approach for the local NIPM chapter (
This discussion was initiated by Mr. A S Girish the Kerala HR leader for Apollo Tyres after he got elected as the National Vice-President of NIPM - India's oldest professional body of HR professionals. Text which follows (red colour font) is an edited version so that my readers can connect to context:

I’m trying to chip-in on a discussion thread (pasted below for reference) which Jayaraj started couple of days back. As always, Girish Sir (Mr. A. S Girish) has been the catalyst of this thread as well :-) Have to say I’m glad about that as well.

Strengths of NIPM Kerala Chapter:
Special branding within NIPM due to consistent performance for past decade or so – culminating in NCON2012 and raring to better everything we do :-)
Location – Kochi is of strategic importance for Centuries, which no one can take away from us.
Unity oriented approach and family connect/focus which our senior leaders have instilled – this to me is a rarity in most HR bodies in our country.
India / Kerala HR context: 2012-2020
Demographic dividend – Huge thing shaping things across BRICS World for next 20-25 years. Our country is at the centre of this thing. We have already seen challenges of working with GenY population from every type of leadership (Union, Management, Government, Prof’nl bodies etc) - it seems most are taken by surprise on this one, some accept it, some close their eyes BUT that IS the reality.  The Technology changes which our country embraces (yes, sometimes faster than developed countries) makes this a complex equation.
As HR professionals, we are best placed to provide leadership thoughts in managing this huge change which our country is going thru – for next 25 years.
With a Majority Govt in Power there can be a revamp of key Labour laws expected soon – this if occurs, it may put back a lot of focus on Labour laws across industries – not just in Mfg. It’s also likely that Govt may make special laws to support the manufacturing sector as that’s may be the only way the planners see to increase job creation. See this article for a pointer -

Suggested Approach:
IR / HR it’s all about making an impact for the business – we should refrain from focusing on names like these so that Business leaders always seek our group for sound advice / Value for solving people problems which impact businesses.
Stay connected with surroundings / Stay current – our value multiplies when we do that. No one cares about AGE now.. I had heard Tom Friedman say this at SHRM14 last month (June 2014) – ‘Everyone is just interested in knowing what you can do with things you KNOW – not where / how / when you got it”. Practical solution: Let’s have at least one session in a qtr from Business Leaders / Entrepreneurs.
Embrace Technology – there is a belief that Technology is only for IT professionals. We in HR are best placed to remove that myth.  Think about how we can use existing technology to solve our problems – it can be that simple.
Connect with GenY – Like Rajasthan did for Labour Laws, can we at our chapter attempt to review all existing practices of our chapter to welcome GenY to our midst??? This takes a real collective effort.
Connect with Gender. Work places of today are Gender diverse, it’s another reality – it’s just simple math; and for our state with a  clearer Sex Ratio metric – what more should we wait for?
Some of these would take a few years to get done – we can push the start button anytime we want :-)

The future is bright – I am really excited to be just living thru it.  Love this group which has kept me on my toes for past 6 yrs or so with so much learning everytime we meet up.. Let’s continue to be trailblazers.

As for connecting with new sectors – Let’s revisit our VALUE proposition – People flock to anyone who can provide Value. Time / Cost for that Value becomes secondary.  Let’s think about what value we as NIPM Kerala Chapter can add to any industry we are trying to connect – and once we give them (and communicate it) - they will come running to us.

Well that was a year back and I'm really glad that the chapter's think tank has taken some of these thoughts to action level and also embarked on a  journey to add value.  The renewed focus on Manufacturing which our country is attempting will bring back the need for HR professionals to be comfortable with Labour laws.
I'm Proud to be associated with this elite group who to me are clearly the 'unsung heroes'....

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Challenges of The New Age HR Professional

A fellow member of NIPM Kerala Chapter ( texted me to seek my views on how the profile of a new age HR professional would look like. That set me thinking and also got some material for this blog :-)

So here's my take about the context for this whole piece:

1. Role of Data in driving / supporting people decisions have been taking centre stage in the new millennium  - this has given a new meaning to Analytical skills.

2. Understanding of neo Media – As Communication skills is an important need for any HR person, understanding of the current tools / ways by which employees seek and consume information is a prerequisite. Hence making solutions using Social media,  Real time IM tools like Whatsapp/Snapchat

3. Employee Engagement – With GenY employees being major focus for engagement activities, there is a need to revisit the age old practices (annual picnic / events being an example) and come up with tailor made, frequent and more connected activities which end up being a double Whammy of sorts. HR positions responsible for this function therefore requires updated information on adult behaviour with respect to use of Technology, interpersonal interactions, psychology, User experience (UX).

4. Employee Relations – with special reference  to India where the boundaries which existed across industry segments are set to disappear very soon, knowledge of updated legislations and their impact to people programs and policies in real time (no time to reach out to consultants / lawyers) is paramount.

5. Business Connect - Best way to deliver value and seen to be delivering value is to talk (and walk) the language of business as that helps an HR  professional connect to the people to whom he / she is providing value.

Here are some links to some Job descriptions which companies have drafted - keeping the above context in mind.



Would love to hear what the larger HR fraternity in India feels about the above.

Monday, May 25, 2015

My Humble part in Global Citizen Science Project - Documenting Birds

On May 9th 2015 my birding partner Premchand and I drove to Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. We were excited to be taking part in the first ever Global Big Day - an attempt by Citizen Science enthusiasts led by Cornel Lab's Team Ebird to list an audacious 5000 species of birds from across the world on a single day.
We met our good friend and bird guide Rejeev at the usual spot near the bird sanctuary gate and proceeded towards Urulanthanni sector of the bird Sanctuary. This was my third visit to Thattekad after the birding bug bit me about couple of years back while on a wildlife photography workshop with ILCP Fellow and Conservation photographer Mr. Balan Madhavan. Thattekad is a special habitat, an evergreen forest which is surrounded by Human inhabited areas and also home to about 14 species which are endemic to Western Ghats. You can find the full list here.

Here are some of the birds we saw and could take a pic without disturbing the subjects.
 Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Brown Fish Owl - Juvenile

Premchand and I logged about 18 bird lists from Thattekad and Bhootathankettu Dam area by about 2.30 pm. We then proceeded to our favorite Urban Birding spot near HMT Kalamasserry off the National Highway 47.
Last week, the results of the inaugural Global Big Day were published on the website. Results can be viewed here.
Prem and me share the No. 3 spot in terms of Bird lists contributors for the Global Big Day 2015 from Asia and No. 41 at the Global scale. Globally bird documentation is done really well in US and Canada with South america and India catching up pretty fast. As there's a very large cove of information which we need to unearth for many sustainable projects to support our own survival and  conservation  of nature - the need for using technology to document bird species by citizen Science initiative attains significance.

Looking forward to supporting this Citizen Science initiative.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Honoured to be #Tweeting at the 18th Edition of #LegalUpdate by NIPM Kerala Chapter

I have been associated with NIPM Kerala Chapter from early 2008 - about a few months after I took up the role as first employee in India (Yeah, prouder to be an HR guy) for Arbitron Inc's (now Nielsen Audio and part of Nielsen, the Leading Market Research company. The current Chairman of the chapter Mr. Thomas Kadavan was one of the Seniors who had invited me to the think-tank then and I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity.  The activities which I got exposed at the chapter which was being ranked consistently among the top chapters of the National body of HR professionals was beyond the realm of stuff which I could have explored in my full time day job. Yes, that meant that I had to 'find time' / volunteer my time (post office hours and mostly wknds when it's not my personal day off / PDO's from work.

So what made me keep up this interest ? Looking back, I feel the opportunity this gave to remain connected with Labour Laws and it's ramifications from practicing professionals from Manufacturing sector whom I missed interacting from the time I moved to ITES / IT sector by choice was a key reason. I had really enjoyed going one up on my professors at Symbiosis Pune during my student days for the Masters Degree which I gained in Labour Laws (MLL & LW) - Pune University.

I feel that #MakeInIndia and the focus which Manufacturing industry would get out of the resultant policies will bring back the need to be connected in depth to Labour laws. I'd call upon my #HR colleagues from Services and IT industry to keep up on this need as IMHO, the segregation that exists within industry segments will be a thing of the past pretty soon. An example / confirmation to this - do check out a Linkedin Post by a Top 5 IT firm from our country - Job Post. 
This company happened to be in the news for a stuff which were clearly avoidable - look at this news article as an example.

All this highlights the importance of understanding the Local laws. I'm hoping that NIPM on a national level come up with some Certification programs for HR professionals on Labour laws.  Till then, my effort will be to create digital foot prints for the work which our chapter has been doing for the past 50 plus years (yes over half a century) from Kochi Kerala.. do follow the hashtag #NIPMKCLegal15 and #LegalUpdate2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Version 2.0 at SHRM National's Bloggers Lounge - musings

June 2012 was my first look at the SHRM National conferene. I've been very lucky to have the schedule coincide (with a lil bit of effort ofcourse) with the re-initiation of sorts of my annual trip to my then employer parent company. I had blogged about that  experience at #shrm12 from Atlanta here...

I missed attending #shrm13 as my Dad was not keeping well that May-June and that made me miss my annual trip to US of A as well. The next year, I was lucky again as I got another need to be in US, inside a tumultuous time for myself and the company. I thought I was lucky as I did not have to take up steps explained in this article :-) seeking permission... Wonder if I'd ever get myself to do such a thing at work for any particular conference.

So come #shrm15 and I'm in a very different situation - I'm now part of a energetic and committed team at SS Consulting whose founder who happens to be a Rocket Scientist (no kidding...) has taken it upon himself to see that IT SME's and IT Product firms who reach out to us gets a Win-Win value. The Win he and SS Consulting seeks is to have youngsters achieve meaning full work while being employed and in the process get back the state's talented folks to God's own country... will write about those in another blog....

From #shrm12, I had seen the need to get #HR folks connected better to the potential that #SoMe (Social Media for the un-initiated) offered for improving effectiveness at work.  Shrm folks has put up a #SoMeHive of sorts to get HR folks literally and physically (?) on to twitter, linkedin and facebook. I could imagine the situation in my country sitting there and that kind of led my thoughts around spending some time to support this need on a voluntary basis. I got the best opportunity to showcase some of those with results to HR folks in my own state of Kerala at the 31st National Conference of NIPM NCON-2012 which came up that year in September. This was the first ever conference held in Kerala in which portions web-casted live and also gave delegates free access to Wifi hotspots which I had personally set up. Yes, the router, dongle, cable contraption which was suggested by my good pals from Telecom sector combined with some of my Tech infr skills.

IM's took centre stage across the globe in 2013-14 period giving Social media has another possibility. However, solving everyday problems with these Tech tools remained unexplored even in Organizations which were pioneers in this arena. To explain what i mean by solving problems, let me take this extreme example of how Technology is being used to solve everyday and universal problem - this time curing Cancer. I believe Technologists achieve real depth only at this level and I feel there's enough room to lead more of our country's Tech talent towards this enriching and rewarding goal.

So I'm glad to dedicate my time at #shrm15 towards this interest of mine - Providing solutions to everyday Human resource problem aka Business problems involving people by using Technology as a directly or as a Catalyst... Looking forward to this journey with special thanks to SHRM India. Looking forward to reconnecting with this elite group of folks, some of whom I've been in touch for the past 3 years.... SHRM 2015 Bloggers List

Monday, March 09, 2015

#IndiasDaughter as a Missed Opportunity: An Introspection

This week saw my country miss another opportunity. An opportunity to re-invent / re-position a nation's mindset or at least start-off on a course towards that exploration.  The events (refer links to get context) to me confirmed another dangerous and potentially contagious aspect of my country's downfall - the inability to unite for any #Cause.

I am wondering if its patriotic to defend one's country from external knowledge based attack (Knowlede being the power in this Global Economy!) if that knowledge can help build a cause which will make a positive impact to the society. In this connected world, isn't  it akin to a 'I'm OK, You're NOT OK' stand?

I was mulling over about this missed opportunity today morning when I received the following message from a Whatsapp group about #India.

1) We'd rather spend more on daughters wedding than on her education.πŸ‘°

2) We live in a country where seeing a policeman makes us nervous rather than feeling safe.😰

3) In IAS exam, a person writes a brilliant 1500words essay about how Dowry is a social evil, Impresses everyone and cracks the exam. One year later same person demands a dowry of 1 crore, because he is an IAS officer.😎

4) Indians are very shy and still are 121 Crore.😱

5) Indians are obsessed with screen guardson their smartphones even though most come with scratch proof Gorilla Glass but never bother wearing a helmet while riding their motorbikes.πŸ˜…

6) Indian Society teaches 'Not to Get Raped', rather 'Don't Rape' !😷

7) Reserved people get more benefits than deserved people...!😯

8) The worst movies earn the most.😢

9) A porn-star is accepted in society as a celebrity, but a rape victim is not even accepted as a normal human being.πŸ˜ΆπŸ˜•

10) Politicians Divide us, Terrorists Unite us.πŸ˜“

11) Everyone is in a hurry, but no one reaches on time.πŸ˜₯

11) Priyanka Chopra earned more money playing Mary Kom, than Mary Kom earned in her entire career.πŸ˜‚

12) Its dangerous to talk to strangers, but it's perfectly ok to marry one.✌

13) Most people who fight over Gita and Quran, have probably never read any of them.πŸ˜ͺ

14) The shoes we wear are sold in air-conditioned showrooms, the vegetables we eat are sold on the footpath😐

I see a lot of #Possibilities hidden in these 14 points and will be devising a strategy to impact some of these at a personal level (as a start).
First and foremost among that would be to devise ways to reach out to my boys (9 yrs and 3.5 yrs old) the virtues of respecting female gender. I will also need to be exemplary in my behaviour as that's the most #visual (and hence powerful) tool available at my disposal.