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5 Ways to Navigate Crisis in 2020.

Last week, Pune became the COVID Capital of India, leaving Delhi behind. For everyone here, the priority in 2020 is to survive the crisis physically and financially. This difficult situation got me rethinking about the priorities of companies navigating through this disrupting environment. 

In today’s article, I have shared some key HR  priorities of Companies to maintain their financial health.

 

  1. Rework People Strategies: As we can witness, there is a lot of innovation around us, most of the business strategies are going through a fundamental change, so should the people strategies. The workforce is to be planned in such a way that it is able to address the opportunities and threats presented by the crisis and digital transformation. So that the organization maintains its current health in terms of cost and revenue.
  2. Create Agile HR function: In this time of disruption sweeping various industries, it is very important to create an HR function, adaptable enough to tackle the digital transformation. CEOs need to value the best HR can bring and empower HR Leaders to evolve to match current and future business needs.
  3. Hire Leaders: If we look around, the organizations who have survived/excelled in the crisis. They are not the ones who had well-defined systems and processes. They are the ones who adjusted their course of action rapidly to match the current reality. The most important trait Leaders must have is being adaptable to change. The capacity to be adaptable and develop an adaptable team.  Organizations need to build a pipeline of adaptable leaders who can overcome the unknown challenges.
  1. Adapt, Adapt, Adapt: Some of the most critical decisions have been people and skills. What are the skills required to win the competition? Can the new skills be hired or can we train the existing people with the new skills? What should be automated and what should be outsourced. In the current climate, sometimes we don’t even know the skills which will be required to face future challenges. So developing/hiring an adaptable workforce is the key to face such challenges.
  1. Conserve the Culture: In the current era of advanced tools, technology, and digital media, it is very easy to forget the importance/value of people. Successful companies were not the ones who used latest technology, tools or analytics, but the ones who used them effectively to bring out best in their people and vice versa.

**Source: Annual Global CEO Survey 2020- PwC

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5 Leanings from the Ganeshotsav (Ganesh Festival )

Ganpati Bappa Morya!! Ganesh Utsav (festival) is celebrated in India every year. It is said that during these days Lord Ganesh visits earth to meet his devotees. During this time, the devotees worship Ganesha Idol by offering prayers, Prasad, and following certain rituals. Yesterday we welcomed Lord Ganesha in our family. This year due to covid19  in most of the cases, the celebrations will be restricted to small groups only.

In today’s article, I have shared my key learning derived from the rituals of these celebrations.

The preparation for this festival starts much before the actual festival begins. It starts with cleaning the entire house, shopping for the puja, booking the eco-friendly idol, etc. I realized there are a lot of things we can learn from these celebrations. Following are some of my takeaways from the festival.

  1. Follow the Rules: As mythology says, Lord Shiva made a rule that before anything auspicious people will pray Lord Ganesha (his son) first. Today also in India, every new project whether it’s entering a new house, office, factory, the job begins with a Ganesh Puja(Worship). As the story goes, Lord Shiva set the rule and in rush forgot his own rule and went for war. He started losing the battle which was very unlikely. While thinking about it, he realized that he forgot to worship Ganesh, his son before the war. He soon completed the ritual and as expected won the war against the demons.
    Learning: The rules are meant to be followed by everyone including leaders, Lead by example.
  1. Processes are for people: Most of the families follow a strict process for welcoming and worshiping Lord Ganesha in their houses. The prayers (Aarti) are offered at a fixed time every morning & evening. This process remains the same from generation to generation, except for some minor changes required based on the situation at times.
    Learning: The processes are not designed for people to follow, but they are designed to bring people together, so they can work together in sync towards a common goal of the organization. Thus leading to greater bonding among the team and achieving optimum use of time and other resources.
  1. Team Work: As mentioned earlier the preparation begins much before the actual festival begins. The entire family right from the youngest member of the family to the oldest member of the family is engaged. In activities of their choice, expertise, or activities assigned to them like decoration, Prasad, sending invitations, prayers, etc. Project Managers being our mothers/grandmothers.
    Learning: This is a classic example of driving teamwork, team engagement, and team bonding and aligns it with the mission of the organization.
  1. Humility & Modesty: We set our ego aside and work as a part of a team. No one of superior or inferior. Learning: Always respect fellow team members, never leave humility & modesty. You never know when circumstances will throw a curveball. Stay Humble always.
  2. Journey is as important as the destination: After the festival is over, it is the time to bid farewell to the Lord. This is a very painful moment and we wait for the festival next year to we can repeat the whole journey again.
    Learning: The people we meet and learning we acquire are equally important as reaching the destination. While evaluating the performance/ allocating a project, along with the goals accomplished/missed, it is also important to consider the learning/network employee has achieved on the way.

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5 team rituals during economic downturn.

Covid19, most of the business are facing a high level uncertainty as leaders having very less visibility about the future. This causes employee anxiety related to their job security. It becomes important for both to empathize with each other and work together, in order to come out of this crisis successfully.

“A team is not a group of people that work together, it is a group of people that trust each other. “- Simon Sinek.

This article is about top 5 team rituals, if followed consistently, can help companies fight and come out of this crisis.

  1. Challenge the status quo: In the situation of crisis, both teams and managers must, work hard to get rid of inertia of older ways of working. Leaving aside ego, perfectionism and old ways of working, think from customer’s perspective. What value we can offer as a team to the customer.
  1. Daily Communication: Communication has become even more vital in current scenario. Communicate with the team on regular basis to understand the new challenges they are facing. Explain the challenges the business is facing and make sure everyone is on the same page. It is very important for ever.
  1. Test & Measure: Try different new customer offerings that emerge out of the brainstorming sessions. Monitor the results and keep improvising.
  1. Do not micro manage: While the employees are working from home, do not micro manage. Manage the project and not the people. If the project is progressing and results are visible, why micro manage.
  1. Mutual Appreciation/Empathy: Don’t forget to thank your team or manager for their support. A genuine appreciation/thank you goes a long way to create a sense of responsibility and motivation.

To survive and thrive, persistence and consistency is the key. Persistence will get you there and Consistency will keep you there. Hope your found today’s article useful.

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Top 5 Pillars to Build a Strong Employer Brand

Thank you very much for your encouraging response to my articles.

Employer Branding, whenever we hear this, we think of a cleverly crafted message to attract talent, fancy videos showing happy employees and happy workplace, career/social media pages on which is in line with the employer brand message, etc.

Employer branding means to be an employer of choice first, to create a great employee experience and later communicating it in a compelling manner via different mediums. Companies who get this right are extremely successful in drawing the best talent towards them and thus creating exponential growth.

There is nothing wrong with the marketing your employer brand, but this activity should be done after /in parallel with building a solid foundation for employee experience. Great branding with a poor foundation is a recipe for failure.

“Strong Foundation = Strong Brand “

In this article, I will highlight the 5 pillars of building a foundation for a strong and long-lasting employee experience/employer brand.

  • Solid HR Systems & Processes: Employee experience starts with a candidate who decides to apply for a job with your company. A systematic process designed keeping in mind employee experience, without losing the sight of the company’s vision is very important. Strong HR systems and processes right from hiring, onboarding, performance management system, etc is the first pillar for a strong employer brand.

 

  • Meaningful Employee Engagement: This involves meaningful involvement with peers and seniors to foster a culture of innovation. Top employers like Toyota, Google, etc have a system of discussing and documenting innovative ideas right from senior management, middle level to Front liners. They have a system to document, implement, and appreciate the innovative ideas of front liners. Of course, not all companies have a budget to support innovation on that scale, however meaningful employee engagement activities, where they get a sense that they are contributing to the larger vision of the company, increases employee satisfaction index to a great extent. Meaningful employee engagement which leads to growth and learning of both employee and employer is the second pillar.

 

  • Transparency in Communication: A Company is an ecosystem, with a variety of employees coming from different backgrounds. Every employee has something unique to offer to the company based on their education, background, experience, culture, etc. Open door policy where an employee can voice their ideas and concerns without the fear of being judged is the third important pillar.

 

  • Creating awareness about the vision of the organization: Clarity of company vision to the entire team up to the frontline staff. When the employees are aware of how they are contributing to the greater vision of the organization, there is a sense of belonging to the organization and greater satisfaction. Thus leading to achieve the company’s vision and mission.

 

  • Team bonding & Appreciation: This is little more than team building activities like learning together, playing together, etc. and employee awards. It is about developing a culture that encourages appreciation/ empathy/teamwork instead of blame/gossips/denial. This is a two-way thing; management cannot develop a culture of gratification without support from the team. Do not underestimate the power of a sincere Thank you from a colleague, boss, or family member. It instantaneously elevates your satisfaction and happiness. So a company where people are frugal in blaming/gossiping/denial and generous on appreciation/empathy is undoubtedly the best place to work.

 

I hope you find today’s article useful.  If you’d like more tips on building your Employer Brand, then please feel free to subscribe to our blog – https://forms.gle/VHLNYzVoys4HbNfR9 or visit our blog www.acesai.in/blog.

We’ve helped organizations right from startups to Multi-National Companies, build their employer brand. Contact us with your queries on contact@acesai.in, our HR experts will be happy to help.


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Gap in the CV-Should I hide it?

The is the most common thought job seekers come across, “I have a break in my career, should I disclose it on CV or  hide it ”

Last week while hiring for one of our clients, two candidates made it to the final round of interview. One with consistent experience and other on a career break due to valid reasons.  They made an offer to the candidate who was currently on career break. Thus, hiding a break on CV is a short term fix, but it can cost you dearly in long term. Today we will look at some common career breaks in India and what can be done about it.

  • Maternity Break/Break after Marriage: Most women employees are required to take this break at some stage of their career. Reason can be geographical move due to marriage or maternity break. 
  • Layoffs/ Made redundant: Layoffs due to change in external or internal changes in the business environment. This is a common reason for a forced career break.
  • Further Education: Employees take a break and pursue higher education mostly a Master’s Degree or some specialization in the current domain/acquire a new skill.
  • Family Reasons: Sometimes employees are required to take a break to nurse a sick family member/ spend some time with family / improve or mend a broken relation.
  • To recover from illness: Taken a break to recover from illness and improve health.


The biggest apprehension of the interviewer while hiring someone who is currently on a career break is that whether the candidate is not updated with the skill/technology. Will the candidate be able to contribute as productively as before? In the following ways we can help them overcome this barrier in decision making.

  • Be Genuine and Honest: Be as genuine and honest as possible. Explain the reason of taking the break in brief, in CV as well as during the in person interview. Presenting supporting documents in some cases wherever applicable.
  • Duration of Break: Just make sure the duration of the break is optimum, not very long, of course based on the reason of taking the break.
  • Acquire new skills & Stay updated: Stay updated with the skills and technologies during the break, by working on consulting projects, freelancing, attending industry events or reading industry magazines.
  • Network: Keep in touch and network with your old colleagues and people who can help you make a comeback.

 

There is no need to hide the career break or feel uncomfortable talking about it during the interview. Answer honestly & confidently with concrete examples how you proactively made most of the time outside office, by acquiring new skills/contributing to the community .Most important why you are excited about the position you are applying for and what value you can offer.

 

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5 Quick Fixes to Speed up Slow Hiring Process

Slow hiring does great damage to your business.  As discussed in our article (http://acesai.in/5-ways-slow-hiring-is-hurting-your-business/ ), it results in losing top candidates, poor quality of hire, and an increase in indirect costs. All this caused a great impact on your client servicing and employer brand.

On your road leading to the destination of correct hire, there are many speed breakers. Slow down at the speed breakers and apply the given quick fixes. This will help you reach your destination at the earliest and most efficient way. Following are the major speed breakers in the hiring process:

Speed Breaker 1-Lack of clarity of the position to be filled Technical team, Hiring Managers and Recruiters have a different understanding of the job role, which is due to their inherently different perspectives. Resulting in a lot of miscommunication and delays.

Quick Fix Job Description, an hour spent together by the technical team, hiring manager, and recruiter writing a detailed Job description, will ensure everyone is on the same page and will avoid future delays due to unrealistic expectations from each other.

Speed Breaker2-Candidate No shows  Candidates drop the last minute during the initial round of interviews. Thus resulting in repeating the entire sourcing, interview cycle.

Quick Fix: Video interviews, for initial screening and schedule in-person interviews of only the ones shortlisted for the final interview.  There are 80% fewer chances of candidates dropping in the final round of interviews.

Spread Breaker 3-Wrong Hiring Strategy Too many interviews by too many interviewers, leading to the dropping of good candidates from the funnel and delay in hiring.  

Quick Fix Most of the top employers in the world follow the rule of 3.  No candidate to be interviewed more than 3 times.  If more than 3 interviewers are required to get involved. It can be a panel interview (video interviews recommended to avoid no shows).

Speed Breaker 4- Delay in decision making Delayed decision making is also one of the major reasons for losing top candidates.

Quick Fix Provide Decision making checklists (Job Description) and hiring deadline to the technical team, hiring manager, and recruiters.

For less complex roles walk-in interviews/recruitment drives help close multiple positions in a single day. For niche or hard to fill roles, above quick fixes can help reduce the hiring time substantially.  

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5 Ways Slow Hiring is Hurting your Business.

You might think it is not relevant in the current scenario. Some industry segments are currently hiring so its relevant for them. For manufacturing/engineering sector segments, who are not currently hiring/ cutting jobs also there is good news coming in the future. Due to changing global dynamics, the manufacturing-related jobs will also soon return. There are high chances of more companies outsourcing their manufacturing to India. So its good to be prepared in advance.

 Slow hiring can do great damage to your hiring and business. Following are the 6 drawbacks of slow hiring decisions:

  1. Losing top talent to the competitors/negotiating at a higher salary: We are looking at a very competitive employee market, where most of the companies are on the lookout for top talent. If the hiring process is slow, there are high chances that the same candidate will be approached by many other companies. Thus a company may end up losing the top candidate or paying a higher salary while negotiating a counter offer.
  1. Poor quality of Hire: Quick action is more important than perfection. It’s a misconception that a longer time taken to hire by reviewing more  CVs, assessing a large number of feedbacks will result in high quality of Hire. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Slow hiring leads to the dropping of top candidates from the funnel. As a result, in most of the cases, employers end up compromising on the quality of the hire.
  2. Increase in indirect cost of hiring: For example, if we are hiring for a Project Engineer role. The longer we take to hire, the longer the position will remain vacant. As a result, the project will be delivered in the absence of this resource. This may result in delayed/ poor quality customer delivery. This will, later on, result in troubleshooting customer issues/delayed payments, etc. Slow hiring costs you dearly.
  3. Loss of productivity: While working on a project in the absence of a team member, the output per input will be less than working on the same in the presence of the team member.  Thus slow hiring process reduces productivity.
  4. Negative Impact on the company’s Brand: Poor or delayed customer delivery, can create a negative impact on the company’s brand. Slow hiring can also impact your Employer brand.

Professional headhunting firms can help save that time by sourcing the exact CVs in a short time. They have access to multiple hiring tools & techniques and well-trained recruiters.  Some of them also provide technical screening services. This saves time for the employer’s technical team, so they can focus on other productive aspects of their jobs.

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