Human Capital Musings!

a peek into the human capital world…

Archive for the category “Boardroom”

Is your employer branding for real??


Honestly, am pretty tired of so many surveys and writings on why an employee will stay engaged in a company. Volumes of analyses are penned on why the employees need to be engaged with the best practices, contemporary practices, and ‘designer’ employee retention tools which are a great tool in the armor of the employer brand.

But, let me bluntly put across a few things which makes the employee hang on, and why he will not look elsewhere to do the same job.

  1. treatment with dignity – this is the bedrock. you do the best of practices and yet have a jerk as a manager in one of the functions, who loves and lives by stamping on the ego and dignity of his colleague, then with all the cosmetic engagement tools, you are not going to retain a soul, a good employee. so, spot the jerks today, and do something about their behavioral change if you can – a great service to your employer brand.
  2. a role appropriate to the skills and competencies – how many times does your HR/line/recruitment function jump and say “here’s a great talent”.. and you go ahead and hire the person just for the heck of showing the world that your ’employer brand’ is capable of attracting the best of talent out there. without any sense of what role and responsibility you will give the person – in your present and future ‘scheme’ of things? if there is nothing like that, then your ’employer brand’ is not just ruining another career, and even worse self-inflicting a blow on the face of your brand. so, think of a proper plan before you want to go out and get the best of talent – is your brand ready for such great talent?
  3. great talent is never retained by frivolous engagement tools. period. at best, the buzz you build around the ’employer brand’ with such fun tools may last for a month or so. even that, in this information age, is a stretch. great talent looks for real ‘meat’ in the job content, in the career path, in the span of control and challenges – besides off-course the best of money. notice that money will mostly come in the bottom of the aspiration ladder for someone who is serous about ‘growing’ a career. so, pay attention to the ‘meat’ your employer brand can proffer and spice it up with the money. as you will know, just the spice sans the ‘content’ food will be inedible and propel attrition, no matter what you do.
  4. is your employer brand a school of learning, and the best in that – most organisations which win the serious employer brand surveys are there mainly because they are solid learning grounds. every person who stays with you wants to grow, intellectually as well. and most times, people exit the organisation getting tired of doing the same thing, in the same way everyday. there is nothing called learning in your brand – if that is the case, then all the buzz you create around the employer brand will fizzle out in no time.
  5. work life balance – in this wired world, as we all get more connected, and telecommuting is the order of the day, it is no surprise that what is hit most is work-life balance. technology is meant to ease our lives, and help us get more productive; yet in reality the opposite has happened. our handheld work devices have got to our bedroom and kitchen – every ring or buzz hits the nerve even at home. it is time great employer brands offer real work life balance – to take it further, i would opine that today’s employer brands must have a documented work-life balance policy, which clearly facilitates each employee in being a balanced person (i have taken it too far? 🙂
These things have to be ingredients of your employer brand. If they are not, a whole lot of other ‘stuff’ will not serve the purpose of enhancing your brand value, other than just getting your some ‘news’ as a best ranked employer!

All the best for your ’employer branding’ life cycle.

Employee engagement truths… who’s responsible?


Creating an engaged employee is not just the responsibility of the human resources function or the head of Human Resources of an organization. Most contemporary organizations, barring an exceptional few, leave the task of creating employee engagement to the HR head or the human resources team. the top management and the leadership teams get disconnected with the day to day rigmarole of employee engagement, thinking or presuming that it is what the HR function exists for. Nothing can be far from true and more disastrous.

Irrespective of which phase – nascent, growing or well entrenched and established- an organization is in, employee engagement is a function of the leadership and top management – the A team if you can say so (including the board), and times of challenge and uncertainty, are the best times to re-visit these fundamental tenets of employee engagement.

There is just no better time to work on building ‘employer value proposition’ than now.

The broad definition of ‘employer value proposition’ is striking a balance between the values, both the employer and employee derive from the relationship. For any organization, be it big or small, there is one (in fact ONLY) critical factor that can bring value worth more than its weight in of gold – it is to create, sustain, and grow ‘employer/employee value proposition’ by the hour, by the day, for the eternity of the organization. It will not be an exaggeration to state that the ‘eternity/successful longevity’ of the organization, is inextricably linked to how engaged the employee/the work force is.

What causes shock and a bit of dismay in any student of ‘employee engagement’ is thatemployee disengagement’ becomes a tool of first resort for the leadership of the organization, when the going gets tough.

 

The management and the leadership, which ought to communicate more than ever, which ought to engage more than ever, which ought to look at taking every single employee  of the workforce into confidence, in trying times, does the opposite – be incommunicado, shut transparency, resort to mass retrenchment, even cut on hygiene benefits, and in the quest to tide over these tough times, do everything that is a no-no.

Undoing this, when the times get better, will be a humongous challenge, and any amount of selling by the same leadership is not going to help – for every one negative step today, even four positive steps to undo later might seem insignificant.

So, more than ever before, it is today that the leadership of the organization must spend loads of time on employee engagement – for the better of the short/long term interests of the organization. Rather than get into a shell or a reclusive mode, the top leadership must communicate more, know employee concerns, address the inherent and time-sensitive insecurities and get to the pulse of every single member of the team – every issue that may seem greatly important and downright trivial should be.

Each and every decision that is taken, and impacts any corner of the organization should be communicated clearly to the employees. In a word, having a ear on the ground, to the last step should be the cardinal rule, now, more than ever. It is also leadership’s responsibility to create a proactive and dynamic mechanism, where every manager/business head/human resources function is committed to THIS style of employee engagement, in all sincerity – and a great amount of effort should go into creating a right perception of these decisions, because employee engagement is also about every measure is perceived by the stake holders.

In all this, precipitate actions could be looked at as a measure of last resort, and when they are resorted to, they also should be explained with reason to the whole workforce – unless this is done, the whole exercise gets defeated.

There can be numerous ways and methods by which what is stated in a nutshell can be implemented, depending on the team size, the line of business, and the competitive scenario – all that can be debated and a plan of action formulated on a case to case basis. And all gleanings in contemporary HR and employee engagement practices must be relied upon.

Leadership must, NOW, more than ever before be truly-truly committed to absolute employee engagement – and that will be a recipe that will sustain organizations in the long run – much longer that every single employee will be a eternal brand ambassador – the inherent value derived for the organization will be phenomenal, and immeasurable.

Whats your “human-stock” value?


As human resource professionals, the constant question that lingers in many of our minds is – what is this value of people and people practices that we keep listening to, in any HR meet worth its salt.

You also have a ton of theory that advises the HR professional in each one of us to use HR and financial data of the organization vis a vis the best comparable players in the industry. The constant suggestion is to do this over a period of a few years, and see what kind of value the people at the top add to the organization.

It may sound complex – but in simple parlance, the import of such analysis will be felt with this analogy-

Suppose that the market capitalization, which is the sum public stock value of the company today, is USD10b for Imaginary Inc. Assuming that this evening a couple of your senior management folks decide to call it quits and join the competition, how much will the market stock take a beating tomorrow morning when the bell rings. If the mark-cap of Imaginary Inc will be beaten to USD 9b, then, clearly that is the kind of human capital value of the person or persons whom you risk losing in a whiff.

The same can be done not just for a person in the board or senior people, but even who is perceived as a crucial human capital asset across levels.

HR leaders will do well to devise what they think are appropriate metrics to value the people, in comparison with standard industry information. This can be stock market performance over a period of time, market share of similar players, the annuated growth rate of the top 5 in the space…. The choice of data is endless, and depends on the ease plus accuracy in using them for analysis.

Using such tools will not just enlighten the HR leaders on the value of their human capital, but will also make them contributors to any people decision in the board-rooms.

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