What you need to do to hire and Retain Top Performers


Jaya Ray

Executive Founding Member

Value Creation Pvt Ltd

What you need to do to hire and Retain Top Performers

Any organisation which is growing or has chalked out a trajectory to grow with a specific business vision and mission, can only do so, if it has strong performance oriented employees to be a part of the expansion journey!

Top performers are the spokes in the wheel of the organisation which is the vehicle that is making this journey. They can only be attracted with the following factors present in an organisation:

  1. Clear focus of the organisation with a well defined vision and mission.
  2. A clear process driven organisation which can define the goals, targets and the way to achieve them. A well defined process will be able lay down the stages that constitute the progress of each department and the employees attached to those departments.
  3. Top performers are generally very restless and always look for avenues to excel and exceed even their own performances and past records. Hence it is very very important , that such people remain highly engaged at all times. Such kind of  people thrive on structured and engaged work environments which give them the impetus and thrust to meet their targets.
  4. Top Employees need to be trained and developed on the continuous basis to enable their capabilities to be evolved. Hence a strong and robust learning and development function is of primary importance for a growing organisation to retain Top Performers.
  5. An open and transparent communication process within the organisation is the next important thing for an organisation to attract the best talent from the industry.
  6. A visible and proven growth rate of the organisation speaks volumes about its history and what it is capable of doing in future. As the saying goes- actions speak louder than words…Hence the point rests!
  7. A dynamic, competitive and employee friendly compensation and rewards structure is what will attract the cream of the sector to join the organisation. A robust rewards and recognition system goes a long way in paving the way for a healthy, competitive and result oriented, happy employees!
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What Organizations are looking for today- managers or Entrepreneurs?


Surya Prakash Mohapatra

Global Leader

Resource Enablement, HP Inc.

What Organizations are looking for today- managers or Entrepreneurs?

What do organizations need today- Managers or Entrepreneurs?If you ask a manager to work on a project. The answer is always affirmative. But the affirmation usually comes with a rider: “Well I can do this. However, I need you to approve USD XXX before I start. I need 10 resources and it will take me six months to complete the project.” Now let’s see how an Entrepreneurwill respond to the same challenge. “Well, tell us what you need and when you need. We would do it.”

So what differentiates an Entrepreneur from a Manager?

  1. End vs Scope

An Entrepreneur begins with the end in mind. But a Manager begins and ends with the scope defined for him and agreed by him. An Entrepreneur takes complete ownership for his success or failure. A manager looks for opportunity to pass on the blame to someone else for his failure.

  1. Speed

Speed is of essence to the entrepreneur. He is ever agile and he wants to move swiftly with his tasks. For a manager, speed is important, but, only to the extent it is required to deliver within the project deadlines.

  1. Attitude

An Entrepreneur usually has a ‘can-do’ attitude and a ‘never-say-die’ spirit. On the hand, the manager has a‘I can, but…’ attitude.

4, Results vs Metrics Mindset

An Entrepreneur has a mindset to drive revenue and increase cash-flows for his organization. He uses creativity and innovation as levers for this. On the other hand, the manager has a mindset to drive metrics and KPIs

Therefore, Organizations to become successful need more entrepreneurs than managers. As business environment becomes more complex, uncertain and ambiguous, enterprises would like their workforce to take on more risks and demonstrate greater accountability. They would like their workforce to demonstrate guts to take business challenges head-on. All these are great traits of an Entrepreneur.

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Role of HR in employee engagement


Gitali Mohan


Xoriant Solutions


Role of HR in employee engagement

Bad times; a very close friend of mine has been very upset for a couple of days. When asked, she expressed discomfort in going to her workplace. Almost 250 employees have been let go in her company (a billion dollar organization with over 60,000 employees across the global) which has resulted in a chaos and insecurity amongst the minds of the employees including her. She had been badly pleading me to join her to a movie or restaurant or any place that will make her feel better and different from the uneasiness of her workplace. Surely she is not ENGAGED.

Well the issue here is not only about my friend getting jittery rather it’s the anxiousness that must have gripped several of her colleagues. Definitely many of them would be edgy and unwilling to work knowing that the next person to be let go might be his/her  next neighbour or unlucky themselves. This is the next bigger problem her company faces.

Here we are the spine of HR interventions- Employee Engagement.  Non HR professional often feel employee engagement is nothing else but the games or events which HR guys drive. In actual terms engagement has more to do with their willingness to work whole heartedly with dedication & contribute to the success of the organization.  For instance, a game or an event by my fellow HR guys will not bring any respite to their anxieties or wistful states of seeing their colleagues depart. What will work will be some empathy towards the gone and a sober display of seemingly difficult efforts of retaining the existing lot. This might include consulting random employees, publishing notes on different hobbies to pursue, training for other skills etc.

In my opinion keeping an employee engaged to his work is a herculean task which needs the support of all the verticals in HR. Even a smile at his/her manager’s face helps in rooting them to their seat. Gone are those days when employee would be happy with a 30-50% hike. In the VUCA world employee expects opportunities and technology advancement. They are competitive, aware and learners. Money is just a by-product which they are sure they will earn in abundance (specially our ambitious IT professionals)

In my recent rondavu session with one of the new joiners, I was perplexed by his concern that he does not feel very much involved in the team as he feels his team of 4 is unresponsive to his efforts of starting a discussion on the world politics or the ensuing chaos in the BIHAR elections. How do you calm this gentleman now?

I introduced him to another group of thinkers in my organization so as to give him a vent to his disgruntled thoughts. Also, consulted with the manager if he could be given access to the social sites like twitter to get instantaneous responses he expected from the surroundings. Off course we just can’t reprimand the others just coz they are lesser sensitive to the world happenings. Atleast, the person is continuing and giving his best with no complaints for the team.

The moral of the story is all of us being at the front with the employees will have to be more sensitive towards the employees. Not that we pay heed to all of their cries but at least the minimal to keep them running their best. What we speak and what we do for engagement cannot be transactional any more. We need to be random and at toes in responding with what employee expects. Networking is one arena where we all need to share our stories and conundrums. This will help in building a strong empowered HR teams to which management would look for driving their employees towards the goals.


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Mindful Engagement


Maitreyee Bhaduri

Vertical Head Employee Engagement and Communication

Adani Power Limited


Mindful Engagement

Human beings are rational creatures. But rationality does not necessarily mean being right. We are easily swayed by the latest trends and fashions without understanding our own need and affordability. Over the last couple of years, industry has been rife with discussions on best practices and world class policies and practices. As the world gets smaller with internet connectivity, information is easily available to all. Employees of an organization compare internal policies and practices with external benchmarks. Globalization also, makes it necessary for organizations to adapt and adopt global practices.

In the midst of all this ‘’informative noise’’, have you ever stepped back to really understand whether all change that globalization has brought along is really right or necessary? Are we all victims of the infamous information paradox today? When we compare two organizations and their respective policies and practices, are we also being fair and rational to both organizations?

If you were in the management function which decides on employee perks and benefits, how would you prioritize the need of employees? There are several kinds of benefits and perks that companies offer their employees. We all want them but the main question is – Do we NEED them? Do we really know what our needs really are? Or are we using industry benchmarks as an excuse?

Having worked across various different types of organizations, I was curious to find out what we as employees really need. But to provide any logical answers, I needed facts first. Hence, I decided to evaluate the gym and indoor sports facilities at 4 different organizations. The surprising find was that across all organizations, when a gym or indoor sports zone was inaugurated, the first month saw a large number of regular members. Over a period that number reduced. During the second year, the weekly turnout of employees at these employee facilities is reduced to less than 15 unique people with only 7 to 8 regular members. This applies to site locations too where a large number of employees live in corporate townships and have a 9 to 5 working period. Even here,, the average monthly turnout of unique members is not more than 25. This essentially means that only 2 to 5 percent of employees use the facilities available to them.

Don’t get me wrong. The point here is not about low utilization or cost to company. But as HR we really must understand what our employees really need. Is it a challenging job or better teams or work life balance or retiral benefits or healthcare facilities? Everyone has a different need personally. But what will be the best fit for both the employee and the organization? That is the question which needs to be answered.

As HR we also need to play the role of a strategic partner to our business leaders. Imagine sitting at a strategy meeting and pitching your case for employee benefits. With these numbers at your disposal, would your pitch be about employee needs or cost to company?

In this article, we will try to explore a few points and discuss why it is necessary to be different. Every organization is different. They have different strategic focus areas and markets to operate in. The people needs of these organizations too will therefore, be different.

Organizations just like people need to evolve and adapt to moving trends. However, what trends are right for the organization and what are not will make sense only if employees truly understand the needs of the organization.

When everyone talks of thinking outside the “box”, perhaps, we should begin our thinking by clearly understanding the box. What does our organization do? What are our organizations values and goals? What are our challenges and what are our strengths? Understanding the organization well, will help us understand why certain policies and practices are designed the way they are.

Typically, there are three types of strategic focus for organizations –

  1. Organizations that focus on Customer Centricity
  2. Organizations that focus on Product Leadership
  3. Organizations that focus on Operational Effectiveness

The needs of each of these organizations are different. An organization cannot and should not focus on all three areas unless it wants to fail. Let us understand why and see a few examples.

Customer Centric Organizations

 Organizations that focus on Customer Centricity always put customers first. Whether it is the way their product is packaged or the way their employees treat customers, the customer is always the king. Typically, industries such as hospitality, IT services, FMCG goods, BPOs, eCommerceetc are customer centric in nature. Organizations operating in this space, have to design internal policies and processes in such a way that their employees are empowered to take care of customers. From giving discounts to customers to spending large amounts on customer research, to going out of the way to customize a user experience, these organizations design processes keeping the customer in mind always. The focus of these organizations is to make sure a customer keeps coming back to them again and again. Such organizations spend a lot on employee trainings that focus on customer service at the junior levels and marketing and sales competencies at the senior levels. They do not look for the top talent in a college because the organization does not need it.

For example, at the Ritz Carlton in London, every employee and staff inside the hotel can spend up to one thousand pounds to address any emergency customer needs without taking any permissions or approvals. A housekeeping attendant once realized that a guest had forgotten their laptop in the room and had left for America. The attendant got in touch with the guest directly, took their mailing address and shipped the laptop to America at a cost of five hundred pounds. This is the level of customer centricity which makes the Ritz stand out from its competitors.

TCS for example never hires toppers in a college. They focus on the average to above average merit since a regular churn in employee population is healthy and necessary for the organization.

The needs of such organizations and its employees are a strong reward and recognition (rnr) system. Every employee needs to feel valued and empowered in order to provide the best customer service to their customers and clients.

But getting the right rnr system is a challenge and many organizations have failed too. For example in the US, a departmental clothing store MACY’s decided to offer free Nachos at the company cafeteria for a week to a high performer. Employees were offended for two reasons—

  1. The reward showed no individual appreciation.
  2. Employees who were diabetic or health conscious, could not avail the reward.

Individual contribution and team feeling is the need of such organizations and its employees.

Product Leadership Organizations

 An Apple iphone or a Bose speaker is premium product. If a customer wants the best product in the market, they know where to go. Unlike Samsung or HTC, an Apple does not have hundreds of different models available in the market. Similarly, a Rolls Royce or Porche and Ferrari do not advertise their products like the Ford or Honda or Toyota etc. A premium product is the USP of these organizations. The customers that these organizations target are those who are willing to pay a premium for the best product.

Product Leadership Organizations spend millions of dollars on research and development of their product. Everything these companies do are focused on the product that they produce. Hence, all activity inside the organization is focused to making the best product. These organizations have employees as their focus. Their source of revenue is the specialized talent pool inside their company. All internal policies and processes are designed to ensure that employees are happy and do not leave the company in favour of other competitors. They target premium institutions to attract the best talent in the market. They go to extraordinary lengths to make an employee feel comfortable inside the organization such as by offering luxurious offices and workspaces to amazing food and other perks.

However, during the 1980s General Motors, which was a leading car manufacturer in the US went wrong with its people policies. At a bankers and investors meeting, three top executives of GM travelled from the same office to the same meeting in three different private jets even though the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The employees were completely disconnected from the needs of the organization. GM was saved due to governmental assistance but has never been able to buy back investor and customer confidence as before.

At Google engaging and motivating employees is a continuous work in progress since there are no sure shot answers. In such organizations the factors that determine employee attitudes AND work behaviour have less to do with what the company does than who they are and their existing values.

Product leadership organizations need to value their employees for their merit. However, it needs to be finely balanced and is an extremely tricky job.

Operational Effectiveness Organizations

 Large scale manufacturing, financial institutions, heavy metal industries, logistics and monopolistic industries have two things in common. Their product or service is fixed and they are capital intensive industries. A steel manufacturer cannot manufacture copper and aluminium too. The railways cannot make their trains fly during the rainy season. Banks cannot offer outlandish interest rates as they are controlled by a central regulator. A shipping company cannot offer festival discounts on client shipments.

The amount of investment necessary for an organization in these industries is enormous. The only things that make these industries competitive, is the speed and the cost at which they operate. The faster a bank processes loan applications; the better will be the user experience. The cheaper the ticket and faster a train, the greater will be the number of repeat customers on that route. They lower the cost of steel, the higher is your number of repeat orders. These organizations make profits from volume of sales. Hence, they not only have to focus on low cost but also on speed of delivery.

All processes and systems in such organizations will only focus on these two aspects – Reducing operational costs and adopting the best systems and processes.

In such organizations the people requirement are of three types. Such organizations are usually people intensive in nature. A large number of employees are required at the junior levels who are skilled in a specific discipline. This skilled workforce is required to perform routine tasks on a daily basis. The second kind of people required are those at the mid to senior managerial level, who are good people managers and have a fair degree of technical knowledge. At the very top, such organizations need to be lean and have only a few candidates who are strategic thinkers and can interact with external stakeholders with ease. Everything in such organizations is about achieving effectiveness in all aspects of its operations. Hence, all perks and benefits must be designed in such a manner that it benefits all different groups of employees. Such organizations will fail if they try to individualize or personalize benefits and perks for its employees.

Being Different

 From the above descriptions, you may have understood that every organization can have only one strategic focus. A conflict in the focus or focus on multiple areas is the death knell for an organization and history has plenty of proof for the same. We are sure, that you may have understood what Adani Power needs to focus on as an organization from the above description of organizational focus.

It takes courage to be different and even more courage to accept the differences.

Comparing ourselves with others is easy but understanding what we really need is a big challenge. The relation between an organization and its employees is a mutual one. Just as an organization is responsible for the well being of its employees, the employees are responsible for understanding the organization’s goals and its needs and perform accordingly. A conflict in either will cause stress for both the employee and the organization. When employees and the organization are aligned, they can create magic together. Instead of looking outward at external best practices, such organizations can create industry benchmarks for others to follow. Where do you want to be – An onlooker from the outside or a game changer from inside?

 You decide.

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Flouting the Notice


Maitreyee Bhaduri

Vertical Head Employee Engagement and Communication

Adani Power Limited


Flouting the Notice

There are certain default questions that are asked as soon as people hear that I belong to the HR function. The first obviously is “Are you HIRING? / How can I get a job at …?” There are of course the usual gripes about poor systems of performance management, tedious exit mechanisms and how HR needs to up their ante to be taken seriously by the business etc. While all of this is a reflection of how HR is usually perceived as a function, it is also a testimony of the HR department’s shoddy marketing skills.

Jokes apart, having come from the other side of the organization, I agree that a lot needs to change in the domain of Human Resource Management in many organizations. But I have also seen some top-of-the-line HR practices in several organizations. In my previous posts therefore, I have explained how HR systems cannot and should not be replicated if HR is to play the part of a strategic business partner. However, today I wish to answer some people who have been questioning the need to honour the ”notice period” of an organization.

The signed and   stamped ” Letter of Appointment” between an employer and employee is a legally valid document in the court of law. If an appointment letter clearly spells out the conditions of termination and notice, and is signed by the employee, then he/she must abide by the terms.  However, most organizations have a condition of ”lieu of”. Typically, the notice period can be waived ”in lieu of” pay deduction. And most employees exercise that option by negotiating the difference with their new organization. There are always exceptions but no ethical organization can force an employee to serve the notice unless there is  a  pressing business need or ”notice pay” refusal from employee or recoverable monetary advances given to the employee.

Even though companies across the world are coming up with people friendly   policies, there is always a small section of employees who like to take advantage of the same. Often employees leave organizations without serving notice in the lure of better chances elsewhere. But this is only a short term advantage. Barring some countries, most good organizations require a ”service or relieving certificate” as proof of employment.  Employees who flout the ”notice period” rules stand to lose in the long term without this important certificate. These employees also lose out on good opportunities during background checks that are usually a mandatory process of selection in reputed organizations.

Hence, my counsel to employees is ”never burn your bridges when changing jobs”. Always plan your separation well and exit an organization gracefully.

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Importance of Recruiters as Sourcers


Vaibhav Keshri,

Human Resources and Administration

Apotex Research Pvt. Ltd. 

Importance of Recruiters as Sourcers.


Sourcers are Hunters, Sources are farmers. A hunter who hunts for a right fit for a matching requirement, a farmer who grows his circle of candidates through different channels and ready a pool of candidate for prospective hiring!


A recruiter has many faces in the Talent Acquisition team, he is a person with 10 like faces, and one of them being a ‘Recruiter as a Sourcer’. A sourcer uses different sourcing mix to get the right skill, right behavior and right attitude for the right job at the right time within the right budget to have a right impact on the bottom line. A ‘sourcing mix’ is all about the channel used, the diversity of people hired, the gender of the new recruit, the age group of the people (baby boomers/genX/millennial) etc. A sourcer acts as a ‘Talent Acquisition partner’, partnering with the business, with the candidate and building an agreement on the offer between the two. Through the partnering skills he/she picks the key drivers (must have knowledge, skills and behavior) of the job and shortlists the near to ideal fit from the application avalanche, who best matches these key drivers. He also works on improving the CX(candidate’s experience) through the best recruitment process. An exemplary company pitch made by the sourcer about the company and the job to the candidate makes the candidate’s journey smooth through the entire recruitment process. Constant update on the interview process, feedbacks (positive/negative) drives in more brand recall about the organization, and safeguard brand’s reputation. Leading to good crowd sourcing, thereby increasing the pool of candidate. Pipeline management, managing the readiness of the Human Resource function by means of analyzing past hiring trends, critical resource need, predictive analysis in terms of outgoing human assets (resignations), interpreting selection to rejection ratio, tagging resumes for future etc…all builds in strengthening the talent management.


A sourcer is the ‘first point of contact’ for the candidate and drives in the right match for the organization and the right company for the job seeker. Presence of a sourcer in the recruitment workflow deftly adds value to the entire recruitment value chain thereby creating value at all levels.


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Who am I ? – A day in the life of a recruiter

Nisha Naik 


Who am I? – A day in the life of a recruiter

I recall an incident that took place a few years ago. This was back in the day when the bulk of my day was spent talking to candidates and assessing suitability for the roles I was tasked to fulfil. The candidate (we can call him John Smith) asked me whether I was a recruiter or a sourcer. It was the first time someone had asked me this and I didn’t know how to respond. I later found out that a lot many people out there use sourcing specialist/recruiter titles interchangeably.

So – which is it? Are recruiters merely sourcers? Or do sourcers have greater importance than recruiters? I happen to think it is a little of both. In keeping with John Smith’s mindset, he equated travel and in-person interaction with “true” recruitment. It is an essential duty in his mind. Without those two things the recruiter is merely a sourcer in his world.

Sourcers have been an entry-level position in recruitment in the places I have worked. I’m not diminishing what a sourcer does, just speaking from my experience.Of greater importance is that they are an essential part of the recruiting life cycle because sourcing is the very first and one very critical step. What is recruitment without identifying the “right fit”? In today’s world, lowering the CPH (Cost per Hire) is one of the major KRA’s of the TAM (Talent Acquisition Manager). So, is it any wonder that we look for recruiters who will reduce vendor usage and use innovative methods to source the talent needed to fulfil the talent shortage we talk about? Another value that our recruiters must possess is speed & proactiveness. Our most important metric (TAT) will go for a toss if we wait for candidates to apply to fulfil our positions.

Whatever you call yourself is quite irrelevant. The point to remember is that recruiters are the brand ambassador, primary touch point and essential facet of the organization accountable for driving the talent strategy in a way that adds value to the company.

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The Advantages and Pitfalls of the Modern Hiring Process


Jaya Ray

Partner, Aarohan

Aarohan Company 

The Advantages and Pitfalls of the Modern Hiring Process

Recruitment has always been and will always be the key driving force to augment and empanel relevant professionals for an organisation. It is THE largest and THE most challenging function among others.

Hiring process has undergone a major metamorphosis over the past 20 years from the time it has evolved as an independent portfolio to attract talent inside the organisation.

Around the 90s, during  the evolution of this function, it was  very slow, steady and laborious which happened through hit and trial method as there was no sure shot process or procedure to follow. Each mandate or position took almost a month for the entire life cycle to close. On the positive side, most of the positions for which the recruiters followed the process diligently, closed successfully.  Long relationships were forged with strong talent bringing fresh ideas and concepts into the organisations.

Challenges however, did not end here. As the market opened up , the ratio between demand and supply began to become highly skewed. Jobs were in abundance and relevant candidates could be counted in numbers. As a result, the market, salaries and ethics skyrocketed and swooped in sharp spikes till the dot com dream busted itself in 2001. Suddenly the tables had turned and supply was outnumbering the demand- salaries, designations fell through the roof and so did the delicate castles of short lived dreams of the erstwhile booming industry.

In the meanwhile, recruitment process was quietly revolutionising itself to become a faster, more efficient horse taking a shorter route to its destination. Fitments were being done overnight across industry verticals specially Telecom, IT and ITES. Advantages were that, there was faster TAT of closure and joining, the pitfalls were that the quality was the maximum sufferer in the entire process. The longevity, thus of a product of this process did not see a long relationship with the organisation.

The trend has stayed on…albeit furtively….jostling and making space even in the Search Psyche!!

What a transformation!

The trend now, is a “watch and react” one, dynamism, the order of the day in this function!

Happy recruiting!!







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Importance of Recruiters as Sourcers

sushilSushil Chander

Principal Consultant, SC Consulting

Importance of Recruiters as Sourcers


What is a sourcer? He is the person who finds people for a position primarily through cold-calling, database mining, and networking, while being employed by an agency or a company. In recent times, sourcers are thought to have typically a low profile in the recruitment hierarchy, and many a sourcer is just thought to be a backend, low-experience, low-competency person, just pulling out CVs like an automaton.

Smart hiring organizations however give sourcers the respect and recognition that they deserve. They know that their recruitment processes are based on the base created by the sourcers. Some organizations have their higher level recruiters also do their own sourcing so as to have better quality control. If sourcing is not done right, then the result may come to a nought at a much later stage in the process. In organizations, where sourcing is still separate, and where sourcers find and pre-qualify CVs for recruiters to run with, their quality of work depends on how aligned are they with the brief by the recruiter about the position.

If sourcing is done by the recruiter themselves, there is significant saving on time, and effort, improvement in quality of candidates, and closure. However, where it cannot be done, then the sourcer and the recruiter need to work in tandem, for best results. And for the recruiter it is very important to be able to source himself; or know how to do it from a past life. In organizations, heavily dependent on agencies, the recruiters can only look at options available through empanelled agencies, which may not be wholly worthwhile. And here if the recruiter has never been a sourcer, he would not be able to contest, guide, or query the sourcer (from the agency).

So, importance of sourcers and sourcing cannot be undermined, it is the bedrock of efficient hiring machinery, and is the difference between early closures and long aging requirements. The vital shift here is to respect this sub-function, and then coach to see that the sourcers are well-equipped to find the best candidates (and not just active candidates) for a role.

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