Ganesh Chella who has previously written two books ("Creating a helping organization" and "Are you ready for the corner office" as coauthor) said that over the years the image of HR has been anything but positive. HR has not been able to project its contribution to the organization effectively. The book seeks to correct the image. V.J.Rao and Harish agreed and stated that love for the HR profession, was the common thread that motivated them to write the book- To do something for the profession; highlight the good examples in terms of perspectives, practices, purposes and handling challenge.
HR, today, has a big challenge of dealing with employees at a time when relationship boundaries whether in terms of contractual, legal or social are changing. Today there is an increase in the number of temporary employees. As against an earlier ratio of 80:20 in favour of permanant employees, the trend seems to be exactly reversing. How to create a consistent talent pipeline when most of your employees are temporary is a major challenge. The positioning of the function is important. The extent to which the function is central to the organization's business is the key to the extent of its importance in the organization.
HRDians need to retrospect and review their role and contribution to the organization. In the earlier times they plunged into IR situations and sought to solve them. They wanted to be "seen doing/ experience doing". At the same time, the pursuit of a single minded objective of industrial peace and employee harmony, attracted criticism of HR being too soft (like 'halwai') to unions and employees. HRDians have modified their approach and activities to cater to the changed expectations.
However, the obsession today with strategic HR, (thinking, conceptualising and being strategic), appears to have thwarted the very essence of the HR role. HR folks are now thinking business, seeking to be a business leader, to get a seat at the table. But "no one is feeling for the employee which was its core function." Another matter of concern is the relationship HR has with the CEO. The general feeling that "Anyone can do HR, has to go." This can be achieved if HR takes initiative to educate the CEO about doing HR activities the right way. There are several success stories of HR professionals who have played this role effectively which needs to be to shared widely. This book is an effort in this direction.
Innovative and impactful HR practices
The team observed practices on the field at the factories and work places and found some very good work done in Wipro, Cafe cofee day, Amazon,Tech instruments, Taco and other companies in areas of recruitment,employee practices, retention etc. The stories, insights and perspectives have been included in the book. It is interesting to note that although doing good work, many managers were reluctant to to be named or have their work highlighted.
A research exercise was initiated for the purpose of the book interviewing CEOs and CHROs.The team also spoke to union leaders.The exercise was appreciated by everyone who cooperated whole heartedly. Unlike earlier times, the union leaders conveyed high acceptance of cost effectiveness and other efficiency measures. Infact one union had given in writing that "There are no demands from our side." As 'CL" or temporary employment is a fact of life today and cannot be wished away, it is important to look at equitable salaries and other ways of strengtening their cause.
Employee referral has become an important source of recruitment in many companies.Properly planned and administered, the scheme can ensure that appropriate candidates personally known to the employees are recruited. You can also determine "Who are the people who are likely to give appropriate, right fit references. Royal Enfield has designed a scheme to ensure that a 24 year old engineer is recruited at the shortest possible time- 7 days to identify and 15 days to be on the job.
Another matter that was discussed during the evening was the importance of HR professionals building themselves in terms of (1) Foundations of functional expertise (2) Becoming a specialist/partner (defining people problems and defining the business) and being (3) HR Expert/ Strategic HR leader. It was opined that HRDians are the worst when it comes to mobility across the organization and geographical regions. Here, mobility needs to be understood in the correct perspective (organizational/strategic interest) and it is not about moving people every two years for mobility's sake.
I would like to conclude this post by sharing the feedback given by two persons in the audience who have read the book. Mr Varadan was very appreciative of the book which according to him gave "moments of joy" while reading. He particularly liked the closing reflections of each chapter, with the focus on the doing, feeling and thinking paradigm. He appreciated the case study of Brakes India, Sholingur and other "lovely Indian case studies" that gave insights on the sprectum of relationships. He also liked the idea of including liberal arts in executive education and involvement of families in Learning and Development.
Prof Vasanthi Srinivasan of IIMB, said that she liked the reflective practices.(reflecting on one's actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning) and the compensation practices discussed in the book, particularly the differentials. She felt that OD (organizational development) was important as people no longer speak "the language of OD any more". While appreciating the bouquet of case studies, Prof Vasanthi opined that "not enough role models of HR professionals" has been discussed in the book and that including more role models would have added to its appeal and value.
Overall, the discussions of the evening painted a brief, yet clear picture of the book "HR-Here and Now" which appears to be a holistic, comprehensive assessment of where we are as professionals in all gamuts of HR, the best practices currently practised in Indian companies and the journey forward.The book is backed by solid research findings and case studies.
Link for the purchase of the book: https://www.amazon.in/HR-Here-Now-Quintessential-Champion/dp/935280693X