Sep 28, 2017

Featured in @HRMarketer's list of global list of #EmployerBranding Consultants

Discovered today that I was added to HRMarketer's list of global Employer Branding Consultants

HRMarketer is a platform and insights company that marketing departments of HR service providers and vendors use to get their message across. You can read more about them here. If you want to market your products and services to HR folks you can learn how to do that here.

Sep 19, 2017

Wait what? The A-Z gurus of HR..and whoa!

Never in my wildest dreams I had thought that I would be in a list that included Laszlo Bock (the guy who set up Google's HR practices and author of Work Rules) and Dave Ulrich (c'mon if you don't know him - what are you reading this blog for?)

However, A #HRTech company with the delightfully delicious name of CakeHR put together a list called HR's Gurus from A-Z. I guess they didn't find anyone else for the letter G so they mentioned me :) You can find the full list here

Sep 18, 2017

My reflections of #SHRMiAC the annual conference of @SHRMIndia

I was really looking forward to SHRM India's Annual Conference this year. It had an amazing line up of speakers and delegates and offered me an opportunity to catch up with friends and make new ones.

So after a sleepless night, because I had an early morning flight I arrived at the venue, the Taj Palace at Dhaula Kuan, bang in the middle of the diplomatic enclave surrounded by embassies of various nations.

First person I run into is my perennial SHRM conference roommate Anish Aravind (Twitter), a person I have known online for more than a decade now. Then over breakfast as we were waiting for check-in we met Ruchi Bhatia (Twitter), Harlina Sodhi (Twitter) and Yash Mahadik (Twitter). At the reception we also met Dr. Brad Shuck, with whom I had earlier interacted with on the pre-event Twitterchat
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With Anish
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From left: Yash, Harlina, me and Ruchi
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From left: Anish, Ruchi, Dr. Brad Shuck and yours truly
The actual event kicked off by an address by Achal Khanna (Twitter) the CEO of SHRM India followed by a performance by a dance troupe of under-privileged children dancing to AR Rehman's "Maa Tujhe Salaam"
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The keynote I found really interesting was Dr. Shuck's on Re-inventing Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Some of the points he made were that there were three components of EVP.
SHRM India Annual Conference 2017, HR Technology, SHRM, HR Conference, SHRM News, Dr. Brad Shuck, Human Resource News
Dr. Brad Shuck, Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership and learning at the University of Louisville and Strategic & Academic Partner, BI WORLDWIDE

And that EVP could be above the line and below the line of courage
The biggest takeaway for me was if we objectify the idea of EVP we remove the human element, and it puts the responsibility of the employer to maintain it.

The other keynote was by Rajesh Sud MD of Max Life Insurance stressed the importance of questioning as a skill and the ability to hold multiple points of view and believe all of them at the same time. He also said that HR can enable organizations to make them fit for purpose. Another great point he added was that he encouraged his organization to think of it as an inverted pyramid, with customers and front line staff at the top and the CEO at the bottom
Rajesh Sud MD Max Life

The other session I liked was moderated by Abhijit Bhaduri (Twitter) on "Are we hiring the right talent- going beyond the perfect resume", where there was a lively discussion on how we define the right hire, can we go beyond the obvious and consider liberal arts folks. There were also discussions whether resumes were relevant, when one of the speakers made a point that resonated with me

The other session I loved was "Dramatic Conversations" between Abhijit and National Award winning actor Ashish Vidyarthi (Twitter) where Abhijit took on the role of a father and Ashish took on the dual role of a son, and a neighbour and, the way a parent's expectations can lead his child onto a career which he doesn't really love, and the lesson was that it's never too late to start over and discover your passion.
Left: Ashish Vidyarthi , Right: Abhijit Bhaduri
The other highlight of the first day was the HR awards by SHRM to various organizations followed by the networking dinner. Some glimpses from the event:

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With Achal Khanna, CEO and Shruti Sud, Lead Marketing of SHRM India 
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Ashish Vidyarthi clicks a selfie
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Showing off our #SHRMBloggers T-shirt
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The expo area was also a great hit, with companies like Udacity, ZingHR,, People Strong, AuthBridge making an effort to engage delegates with interactive activities. 

With 5 concurrent sessions in the afternoon it was a case of fear of missing out. Thank fully you can find the tweets by the various delegates by going through Twitter and searching for the hashtag #SHRMiAC
Srikanth Balachandran, Global CHRO, Airtel
 There were three standout sessions the second day. The first was a keynote by Srikkant, CHRO of Airtel who had been a finance professional all his life and had only become a HR head over the last two years. He shared how his perspective has changed because of the change of role and his view of the world as shades of gray rather than the black and white of numbers. He also shared how change is not dependent on just stating the facts (as he used to do as a finance person) but understood now the importance to the emotional side of change and collaboratively working towards it. 

Yash Mahadik 
The next keynote was delivered by Yash Mahadik who shared that if you set up your team to be successful they conspire to make you win. He shared an example of Astra Zeneca where he worked that the definition of "winning" was failure (that you learn from), success (coming out with a working molecule) and triumph (success in the marketplace). He said that teams need a "working vision" to win and not one of those big motherhood statements. With respect to that he shared the story of the England rowing team who's "working vision" for every decision they took was the question "Will it make the boat go faster?" You can learn more about that story on their website.
From left: Andrew Mitchell, Dr. PV Ramana Murthy, Yashwant Mahadik and Harlina Sodhi
The other session also had Yash this time in a panel along with Harlina and PV Ramana Murthy. The topic was who is at the centre of the company's Recognition program. The consensus was that recognition was more important than rewards and has to be aligned to the values of the organization. Dr. Murthy shared how the Taj Hotels had a employee cafeteria that served higher quality of food than their restaurants - showing the employees that they are more important than the customers. Yash shared the example of how certain managers have a predisposition to recognise their team members and he gave the example of my ex-colleague Mansoor Hussain (Twitter), and said that you can't write a process for this ever. Harlina shared an example of a senior leader who's belief was that you need to "catch people doing the right things"

The other standout discussion was between three CHROs and three providers of HR/Talent software and services, expertly moderated by Pankaj Bansal (Twitter), Co-Founder and CEO of PeopleStrong  - and the issues were raised by the vendor side that HR people are not in charge of the decision to buy their own software, that they prefer going straight to the CIO/CEO, the issue with delayed review and decision making and the delay in recieving payments. From the CHRO side Vivek Paranjpe (Twitter) and others told the HR vendors to understand their buyers and build a business case before approaching them. He pointed out that three are three buyers the user (in this case HR), the technology buyer (IT) and the commercial buyer (Finance) and they need to address the needs of all three

Other aspects the discussion touched on were the investment scenario, to which Sanjay Lakhotia (Twitter) of Talentonic HR Solutions replied he doesn't understand this world of funding and why people get funds and others don't. He advised entrepreneurs that they should not think about it if they view a job as a fall-back option.
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Vivek Paranjape, Marcel Parker, Aquil Busrai and Udai Upendra
The one area I think SHRM could have done a better job was with their "Ask A Coach" initiative in the expo area. I thought that was an opportunity missed and a learning for next year. On the hotel side, the Taj Palace's food was exquisite and the hospitality tremendous. People were specially raving about their "kulladh chai" that they served along with normal tea and coffee during the breaks in the sessions :) I also missed a session on Whiskey mixing by Andy Young

After the sessions it was time for me to leave the venue to the airport to catch my flight. The learnings and the connections would stay for a long time!

So that were my highlights from SHRMiAC !

Update from the SHRM India team
#SHRMiAC was the buzz-word on social, with 8k+ tweets generating more than 9mn+ impressions. Our great content was very well supported by the #SHRMiAC Bloggers & Influencers, and helped us garner the number "Second" trending spot for India on Twitter on both days.

Others' blog posts:
By Shalini Sharma
By Mansoor Hussain
By Kunjal Kamdar

Mainstream Media coverage
India Education Diary
Economic Times
Echo Of India

Sep 11, 2017

If you're at @SHRMIndia's Annual Conference #SHRMiAC on 14-15 Sept then let's meet

I will be attending SHRM India's Annual Conference this week in Delhi. The theme this year is "Win"
 There's an exciting lineup of speakers. What I love is the virtual pre event networking via a mobile app and the browser, where you can message fellow delgates and set up meetings. Tech for the win!

Aug 30, 2017

Reflection on the first Rozgar (Employment) Summit in #Lucknow organized by @NHRDN and UP Government

A few weeks ago, I had recieved an invitation from the Director General of the National HRD Network, Dhananjay Singh that NHRDN had partnered with the Department of Labour and Employment of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and they would hold an event on 29th of August.
So yesterday, my colleague from VBeyondBala and I made my way towards the Scientific Convention Center at the heart of the city. It was teeming with police and security staff , as the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Deputy CM, Minister of Labour and Employment and senior beaureucrats were expected to arrive.
From the NHRDN, Dhananjay Singh, Cheif Mentor of Maruti Suzuki, SY Siddiqui and Former Director of IIM Lucknow Dr. Pritam Singh. Dhananjay in his speech pointed out that UP's job portal Sewayojan is being seen by other states as a best practice. The CM also launched the mobile app of the job search portal on the occasion. It was shared that 600,000 job seekers have registered on the portal
The CM in his speech made a promise that 7 million out of the total unemployed estimated to be 10 million in the state will be ensured employment in the next 5 years. He said that for companies to be attracted to open their enterprises in the state, law and order and simplified labour laws would be a priority, He shared that they have already reformed labour laws and they have been sent to the centre for approval. He stressed that unionisation that is detrimental to the industry will not be tolerated and shared the example of industries in Kanpur and said that UP will not go the way of state like West Bengal. He also stated that he's ordered the engineering colleges who were keen to shut down, to instead use their facilities for skill development and delivering short term dilploma and certificate courses. The government is also looking at each of the 72 districts to have a speciality product for which it has historically been famous and to build the skills in people for that, like shoe-making in Agra, Brassware in Moradabad, Chikan stiching in Lucknow and so on.
Post lunch there were two panel discussions - one was on "Building a seamless Public Private partnership Model for Promoting Employment in State" which was moderated by Muninder Anand (MD - India and South Asia of Center for Creative Leadership). The private industry was represented by R Anand , Sr. VP - HR of HCL. HCL has been on a growth spree in their Lucknow centre and Anand shared with me before the discussion that they are looking to scale up the centre to 5000 people in next three- four years, by primarily hiring local talent. The government was represented by Rajesh Kumar, Mission Director, UP Skill Development Mission. It was an interesting discussion that focused on how employment is different from qualifications, and comprises of ecosystem factors as well as intristic factors like skills of the individual as well as soft skills. Anand was of the opinion that industry is consulted by the government when a policy is made but where the policy often falls short is at the "last mile" where if idustry is involved it can have a better chance of success.
The second panel was on "Small Towns- The next Destination for Mining Talent". It was moderated by K Lalit ,GM - HR, IR & Admin of Tata Motors - which has a manufacting factory for their commercial vehicles division. Others in the panel were Prof. SP Singh, VC of Lucknow University who bemoaned the lack of communication skills in students and wondered about where they could be employable. Alok Sinha, Principal Secretary, Industries, Sanjay Jha, VP-HR and Business Excellence, Mahindra First Choice Wheels and Dharam Rakshit Sr. GM (HR) Hero MotoCorp were the other panelists, The panel was divided over the issue if there was any difference in talent between small town and the metros. One panelist actually shared how on his flight to Lucknow how many people in the flight were Lucknow people who were working in the US and Europe. A point was made that since costs of corporate rentals and land is much lower in small towns what is stopping corporates from opening centres there. Which brought us back to the point of communication skills and how small town talent that does not move out to the metros, often is found lacking in English which is the language of business
As Bala and I were speaking later, the benefit and challenges of being located in a smaller city is something we know very well in VBeyond. We pay a fraction of real estate rentals compared to Mumbai and Gurugram (where we originally started) and since most of our talent is from Lucknow and nearby areas - the cost of living and therefore the compensation is also much lower than what we would pay for the same skills in a metro city.
All in all it was an educational experience for me to attend the Summit - my first such event in a non-metro and I look forward to connecting with the larger HR community to make Lucknow a magnet for talent :)
Coverage of the Summit in the media in News18

Aug 24, 2017

What is Candidate Experience - How RPO and Automation can help improve it

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience comprises the whole journey of a candidate from awareness about a company, specific roles that she/he is suitable for, the application process, and the communication with the recruiter, hiring manager during the interview process (telephonic, video and in-person) to the offer letter and joining and onboarding. Each of the touchpoints where a candidate comes into contact with the prospective employer is a “moment of truth” to build a great candidate experience.
To illustrate the fact let’s take come conservative numbers, suppose an organization hires 100 people in a year. And it gets 50 applications per role it advertises on job portals and professional networking sites.
That means 5000 people come into contact with the company at an annual basis – of which 4900 don’t get hired.
The experience these 4900 people have during the recruiting process can either make or break the brand of the company. Handled well they can either be neutral to having positive impression of the organization. Handled badly, though, they can become detractors and in the age of social media can negatively influence the reputation of the organization.
So from our earlier example let’s say 20% candidates had a very bad experience during the recruitment process. That’s 980 people. Let’s assume that each of these people have an active network of 150 people (Dunbar’s number) but bear in mind they probably have much more than that, on various social media platforms. Of these 980, assuming 10% post scathing reviews of their experience on sites like Glassdoor, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, that’s 98×150 or 14,700 people would know about it. And if it gets further shared that number can quickly go in a geometrical progression to impact your brand image in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands
(Read the full post on the VBeyond Blog)

Aug 8, 2017

Award for @V_Beyond for being Best RPO and HR Consulting Service Provider from Uttar Pradesh

Proud to announce that VBeyond Corporation got an award yesterday by the Business Leaders Summit and Awards for being the "Best RPO and HR Consulting Service Provider from Uttar Pradesh". The award was collected by Director and Co-founder Sandeep Mitra at a ceremony in Mumbai last evening