Category Archives: Human Resources

एम्प्लोइझ को नौकरी पर रखते समय क्या ध्यान रखना चाहिए?

नौकरी पर रखने के लिए candidate को सिलेक्ट करते वक़्त सबसे पहली बात जीस पर हमें ध्यान देना ज़रूरी है, वह यह है की हमें उसका attitude देखकर ही नौकरी के लिए select या reject करना चाहिए |

ज़्यादातर क़िस्सों में candidate की educational क्वोलिफिकेशन या उसकी क़ाबिलियत याने की – skills से प्रभावित हो कर उसे काम के लिए सिलेक्ट किया जाता है | बाद में पता चलता है की highly educated या बहोत सारी काबिलियत होते हुए भी व्यक्ति काम करने में बिलकुल fail हो जाता है, वह result नहीं दे पाता है |

ऐसा इस लिए होता है, कि किसी भी काम को सफलता से करने के लिए qualification या क़ाबिलियत से ज़्यादा ज़रूरत होती है, right attitude याने की सही अभिगम की | कुछ highly qualified और क़ाबिल लोग अपनी करियर में सफल नहीं हो पाते हैं, क्यों की उनका एटीट्यूड ग़लत होता है | एक तो काम के प्रति उनका रवैया नकारात्मक होता है, वह कोइ भी काम ढंग से नहीं करते | दूसरा हमें कोइ भी बडा या important काम करना हो तो उस में दूसरे लोगों का सहयोग मिलना ज़रुरी होता है | जिनका attitude negative होता है वह लोग दूसरों के साथ काम कर ही नहीं पाते, इस लिए fail हो जाते हैं |

कभी कभी हमें ऐसा लगता है कि IIT, IIM या ऐसी कोइ बड़ी Institute से डिग्री प्राप्त कर के निकला हुआ कोइ भी candidate अपनी करियर में ख़ूब सफल होगा | लेकिन हम वास्तव में देखते है, की IIT या IIM से निकले सारे students अपनी career में सफल नहीं हो पाते हैं | किसी भी यूनिवर्सिटी या बोर्ड के topper ज़्यादातर क़िस्सों में अपनी करियर में कुछ ज़्यादा नहीं कर पाते हैं | Educational qualification से हमें किसी कंपनी में entry तो मिल सकती है, लेकिन उस के बाद उस कंपनी में अपना प्रोग्रेस होगा या नहीं, यह हमारे attitude के उपर ही निर्भर होता है |

इस बात को एक example से समझें | मान लो की दो दोस्त हैं, जो IIT या IIM की एक ही institute में एक ही डीवीझन में साथ में पढते हैं | दोनों लगभग एक लेवल के marks पा कर पास होते हैं | दोनों को एक ही कंपनी में, एक ही position पर एक ही पगार पर campus placement से जोब मिलती है | दोनों एक ही दिन काम शुरु करते हैं | अब तक, इन दोनों का academic performance तो लगभग same ही था | लेकिन एक ही दिन, एक ही तरिके से शुरु हुइ इन दोनों की प्रोफेशनल करियर आगे जा कर same रहेगी? हमने बहोत सारे cases देखे हैं की ऐसे किस्सों में पाँच-सात सालों के बाद दोनों दोस्तों की करियर का नक़्शा बहोत अलग ही होता है | प्रोफेशनल करियर में विकास का आधार दोनों के एटीट्यूड के उपर ही होगा । जिस का एटीट्यूड सही होगा वह ख़ूब आगे बढ़ता है, और जिस का एटीट्यूड ग़लत होता है, वह पीछे ही रह जाता है |

अपनी कंपनी में नौकरी के लिए selection करते वक़्त negative attitude के लोगों को मत चूनो, फिर चाहे वह कितने ही qualified क्यों न हो ? याद रहे, क़ाबिलियत – skills सिखी जा सकतीं हैं | Educational qualification add हो सकतीं हैं | परंतु right attitude आसानी से हांसल नहीं हो सकता | आप की कंपनी में जितने लोग सही एटीट्यूड वाले होंगे उतना कंपनी का विकास तेज़ होगा | नेगेटिव एटीट्यूड वाला हर employee आप की कंपनी की speed को कम करता है |

इसी लिए नौकरी के लिए selection, attitude के आधार पर ही करें |

(यह content मेरी बूक “Business Management Simplified” में से ट्रान्सलेट कर के पेश की गई है । बूक यहाँ पर उपलब्ध है http://amzn.to/1PueOBt ।)

BMS-Front GP

Why ESOPs must be doled out very carefully?

In the very initial days at any start-up, when the funds are in short supply and challenges are too many, the new entrepreneurs may generously dole out partnerships just like Ranbir Kapoor in the Bollywood film Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year. In the film, he makes the peon, the receptionist and the technician equal partners of his new venture.

The film does not portray the post-sellout disputes which arise in many start-ups due to unclear ownership terms in the beginning. Sometimes, such disputes get ugly and spread in the public media. The ESOP dispute after the famous sell out of RedBus.in, founded by (Phanindra Sama and friends) to ibibo.com is one such recent example. Phanindra Sama had to face a lot of public embarrassment about ESOPs given to some employees, even after not doing anything wrong apparently. It is unfortunate but true.

Start-ups are generally started by people with similar passion and vision but with complementary skills. Gradually, some more people come on board. These people vary in terms of skills and risk appetite. Many of them come with an expectation of a stable, regular paying job. They don’t wish to risk their security for a potentially high risk ownership proposition because they are not sure of the future of the company’s prospects. It is a personal choice which people make based on their own life stage and priorities. So, they consider the offer of ESOPs as an additional bonus which may or may not materialize because of their own uncertainty about continuing with the company or because of the company folding prematurely.

But, as soon as the company gets listed or sold and ESOPs become saleable, greed takes over. Now everybody wants the share. Ironically, if the founder would have lost money, none of them would have wanted to chip in to share a part of the loss.

So, while deciding about ESOP, one should be very clear and objective without getting emotional. ESOPs should not be given to all and sundry who don’t believe in the company or who don’t share the passion that drives the founders. Hiring some people purely on payroll may be expensive in the short run, but it should be considered in the long run if we believe in our own venture’s value generation potential. One should consider this as some more risk in addition to the risk already factored in.

Entrepreneurs must remember that everybody wants to own the success but failure is an orphan. Nobody wants to own it. We should be selective in choosing our drivers and peons who will suddenly develop aspirations to be millionaires without doing any extra bit for the company. During the regular days, they may have thrown all the tantrums and may have tried to avoid work as much as possible, but when the D-day comes, when the promoters decide to sell out, they suddenly woke up to the realization that “WE founded and nurtured this company with OUR blood and sweat.”

Sensibility should override sensitivity. Ensure that you don’t have to pass through the miserable and humiliating situation like Phanindra Sama had to for no fault of yours. Don’t give ESOPs people who don’t deserve it. Let commitment and merit get rewarded.

Here is why businesses can’t retain good employees

“I keep my staff working late because my home is nearby. They think I am a dragon.”

An advertisement screams echoing desires of a section of entrepreneurs. But think over. Who would love to work for a dragon?

A lot of entrepreneurs take great pride in the fact that they are “successful” in making their employees toil for unusually long hours. In other words, they measure the success of their leadership by the extent of exploitation they are able to exert on their people.

This is a completely misplaced concept.

Imagine, who would like to work in such an organization where their efficiency, productivity and loyalty is measured by the number of hours they put in? Where they are treated more like a machine than a human being?

Only those people who don’t get employment elsewhere may agree to work at such an exploitative places. In other words, losers, who don’t have any choice would agree for such an exploitation. And losers can’t help you build strong organization.

This exploitative approach is one reason why small, unorganized firms don’t get good employees. It is a vicious cycle which needs to be broken.

Entrepreneurs must remember that quality of work is more important than quantity of hours.

Even a strong brand can’t survive employees inefficiency

MTNL and BSNL are some of the strongest Indian telecom brands, due to their inherent advantage, existing huge customer base and the brand equity.

But, in spite of having a headstart in the country’s telecom revolution, these best brands are losing out big time. The companies are not making profit.  Here is why. I read here that for MTNL, employee cost as a percentage of revenue stands at 103 per cent. That is, its salary bill is higher than its turnover…!

Today also, when the world-class telecom companies are beating MTNL/BSNL on their home turf with their efficient service and quality and still making money and building formidable brands,  these government behemoths are bleeding since many years.

Why?

MTNL/BSNL have a huge redundant and unproductive employee base which is eating them out. Here are some examples of the wastage of manpower at these companies.

If you complain to MTNL (Mumbai) one of the following things are likely to happen :

1) The number for registering the complaint will keep ringing. In this time of being attentive to customers 24×7, the ‘official timings’ of MTNL Customer Selfcare department as displayed on MTNL Website are 10 to 17.30 (7.5 hours), when the world-average is at least 8 hours per day. In spite of the official 7.5 hours of duty timings,  MTNL babus are still living in the age of 11 to 5, which includes at least 1 hour lunch break in between… Such an archaic working practices can kill the organization and they are doing it…

2) If you are lucky, after some follow-ups if your complaint is attended, you will see at least 2 or 3 persons from MTNL coming to your place for attending the same. There are always 2-3 hangers-on for every customer visit. And most of the time, the problem is not resolved even after the procession visiting the site.

If India has to progress, inefficiency of its government and its PSUs has to be worked upon. Till then, India will have to struggle to grow ‘in spite of’ the government, not ‘because of’

Airtel, if your front-end is good, the back-end will be much better

The people in our company who interact with the customers can make or break a lot of things concerning our brand and organizational image. Whatever could be our strategy, planning and projections, if the people at the front desk mismanage customer experience, it all crumbles.

So, the way your receptionist treats your visitors, the tone with which the telephone operator greets a caller on phone, the manner in which your watchman behaves when a visitor comes in, the treatment that your counter sales person gives to a customer, the manner in which the waiter handles a guest at a restaurant – these are all the critical points where a lot of problems, disappointments, grievances and heart-burns to the customers occur. Most of the customers’ problems arise when they are treated badly by the front desk or the customer service people or call centre. If this starting point of trouble is taken care of, a lot of back-end work can be avoided.

This is more crucial for a service organization. I had a recent experience where a timely, sensible action could have saved a lot of headache and hardwork from back-end team at Airtel.

As is the case with many irresponsible and tired front-end people sitting on the customer-facing desks of many powerful service brands,  the employees at Airtel Relationship Centre (ARC) at Malad-West once more mishandled one name-transfer request from us. Their carelessness cost us 10 days of a disconnected phone, which could have been done in 48-hours, as promised by them.

Finally, Mahesh Narkar, a senior at Andheri office of Airtel handling transfers and customer verifications, took charge of the case and moved the things swiftly. If Airtel is a good brand, (which, as a customer I firmly believe it is), it is because of the people with strong initiative and customer focus like Mahesh Narkar.

But, Airtel can be much better, if the callousness at ARCs is reined in. A lot of unnecessary work for people like Mahesh will be saved only if the front-desk people take care of handling customers well.  A stitch in time can save a lot many in future…!

Can you take responsibility of people’s dreams?

Every living human being has dreams. The size, scale, color, texture and details of these dreams vary. People have dreams of their career, lifestyle, relationships, family, wealth, health, quality of life, hobbies, retirement etc. Some dreams are driven by passion, some by fashion, by comparisons and others by an aspiration to belong to some group. Many dreams provide people pathways to make their life meaningful and give them a direction. Also, people strive to realize those dreams. People go to greater lengths in pursuit of their dreams. Dreams are a very powerful source of energy.

Entrepreneurs also have dreams. Mostly, their dreams are bigger than most other individuals. They paint their dreams on a larger canvas of life. Ordinary individuals play on their own strengths while dreaming and working for their realizations. Entrepreneurs don’t limit their dreams to their own strengths alone. They count on their ability to gather many people’s strengths and build upon them.

Entrepreneurs can realize his/her bigger dreams, if they can help others (with smaller dreams compared to entrepreneurs’ dreams) to realize their dreams.

For everybody, their dream is the most precious one. People hang on to places and people who can help them realize their dreams. If we want them to hang on to our company and contribute towards its progress for a long time, we must reassure them that their dreams are part of our larger dreams. If we can be the vaults where they can deposit their dreams, they will love to remain with us.

To ensure true participation from our people, we must take responsibility of their dreams. If we short-change our employees, they treat our organization as a parking zone and move out as soon as they find greener pastures where their dreams get nurturing and nourishment to bloom. No bargaining works in the marketplace of dreams.

What helps the most in the future success of our business?

At platform no. 2 of Malad station, there is a book stall. The employee there is since 23 years…!

At our home, the same person delivers newspaper since last 11 years. He knows which papers we like, so whenever there is some scheme or some new paper is coming, he always informs.

The helper at the grocery shop from where my wife buys our provision, helps her remember things when she goes to place monthly order. He knows which things are regularly used by us, because he has grown up in that store and he knows buying patterns of all regular customers. My wife feels pride by the special attention that he extends.

The computer maintenance company that repairs our home PC, has one supervisor engineer since more than two decades. He knows entire history of all the various generations’ PCs that came to my home. He understands my problem quickly and sends the engineer accordingly.

The common thing in all the above examples is some employee who has been with the firm since more than a decade. Their presence makes the customer’s experience much more comfortable. Everybody prefers to deal with a known face. A customer’s comfort decides his satisfaction levels. A comfortable, happy, satisfied customer is a profitable proposition for any business. An old (experienced) employee is a very valuable asset to the company, because not only a customer but also vendors or any other party repeatedly dealing with the business finds it comfortable to deal with a known person, rather than dealing with a different person every time.

We all may have encountered the frustration of talking to different, ‘faceless’ persons every time at the call centers of Mobile, Cable, Telephone, Bank, Credit Cards etc. companies. If, for solving a single problem, we need to call that call center more than once, undoubtedly we will be faced with repeating the same thing again to different people. A customer is not happy or comfortable passing through such experiences.

The current health of our business is reflected in the financial statements listing the assets, liabilities, sales, profit, margins or growth rates. It can also be gauged by the market share and the brand equity held by the brands.

But, how can we judge the future sustainability of the growth of a business? Of course, good products, sound financial health, large customer base, good market share, reputation and positive brand equity promise a good future ahead. But, in addition to all this, one vital element plays the most significant role in the building of strong foundation of the company. And that vital element is the number of veterans or senior employees in the company, who have spent many years in the company.

If we look at the successful companies, we can’t miss the significant role played by these ‘veterans’ in consistently shaping the future. An old employee knows the business, its environment, competitors, challenges, its promises and its people. And that knowledge cannot be replaced by replacing that person. When an old employee leaves, this knowledge also leaves along with him. This is a huge loss to the company. The new person may learn and understand the processes, but the experience and knowledge of the old person will never be retrieved. Without the long term availability of good employees, a company just can’t build strong foundation, and hence can’t go much ahead.

An experienced investment banker once shared this with me. “In evaluating any company, we always try to find out how many people at various important positions are with the company since more than five, ten or fifteen years. That tells us about the depth of the experience of the management and the quality of company’s long-term relationship building practices. The newcomers, however highly qualified, can’t be expected to take the company ahead sooner. That company will have to wait longer to really take off. And that waiting may be unaffordable. Moreover, an employee is the first hand witness of what is going on in the company. Every employee has his/her own dreams. They stay with the company as long as they have hope of fulfilling their dreams by working with the company. When a person gets disillusioned, she leaves. So, the tenure of important employees is one very significant indicator of the stability of the company and its future. For us, a company with more veterans is undoubtedly on a strong footing.”

An employee-employer relationship is an important relationship from the business perspective. Maintaining any relationship is a challenging task. It requires give-and-take from both the parties. If the company respects the employee and gives opportunities to express his abilities and realize his dreams, the person will stay with the company for a long time. But, if the company has short-sighted ‘hire-and-fire’ approach, the disgruntled employees will leave, carrying bitterness and spreading bad reputation outside. Those continuing inside also live in a persistent state of fear and will fly away at the earliest opportunity. Those who remain are the sour apples, who don’t find employment elsewhere. Such excessive churn causes a chaos in the company and quality, customers, sales, productivity and profitability suffer because of the persistent instability and uncertainty.

We have to accept this fact that the strength of the foundation of a business depends mainly upon the employees who are with the business since a long time. We must try to keep such employees. We must maintain good relations with them. We must invest in them and help them to upgrade, grow and fulfill their dreams. If they stay and grow, they will help us grow and fulfill our bigger dreams. If we can’t build strong relationships with our employees, how can we expect them to build strong relationships with our customers? To increase the chances of future success, we need to increase the number of long-term employees in the company. It is very simple. We must notice and act on this simple fact.

Otherwise Aaya-ram and Gaya-ram can make our company a guest house, where people come to spend some time in between two good jobs. No wise entrepreneur would like to turn his company into a transit camp or a career parking lot.