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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The Leapfrog HR


Maitreyee Bhaduri

Vertical Head Employee Engagement and Communication

Adani Power Limited


The Leapfrog HR

A concept that has found prominence in the corporate world of late in the wake of the financial downturn is ‘’Sustainability’’. The word Sustainability inherently implies long term thought and action. More than any other aspect of a business, HR needs to focus most on Sustainability issues. You may ask why? The answer is simple. Whenever, there is a downturn, the first resource on the chopping block almost always, is the Human Resource.

The dawn of HR or the personnel department was during the period of Industrial Revolution. Beginning as the time keeper and payroll processor of the industrial workforce, to maintaining safety standards and appropriate working conditions, the Human Resource department has come a long way.

Change is a constant and the same holds true for HR too. From unskilled or semi skilled workforce to blue collar and then white collar jobs, the HR team has evolved to handle the entire gamut of people practices and behaviours.

Who could have predicted back in the 1900’s, when multiple people tried to handle just one machine, that one day we would be dealing with a generation of workforce that can handle multiple complex machines at the same time! Rapid changes in technology, lifestyle and perceptions can quickly outdate people policies and processes. Therefore, sustainability is not about predictability but about longevity. Longevity is all about understanding some important parameters and monitoring them all the time.

Much has been written on the topic of motivation and engagement. That they are necessary topics to understand, is a given. However, technology and people perceptions are changing at a rapid pace today. Sustainability is about managing these changes consistently over a period of time.

The easiest way to keep track of these changes is to keep an ear to the ground. Is HR listening enough? Are we using the right mediums to listen both from inside as well as from the market? If we are listening, then are we able to convert the same into measurable initiatives?

One of the main challenges that organisations face today is that of attrition – especially that of skilled and competent workforce. In India, we like to cite examples of foreign companies and their people practices. Japanese companies and their turnover rates are lauded by all. But, we overlook the fact that Japanese as a society, believes in building relationships for life. Job security is the prime reason for low turnover rates in Japanese organisations. The same holds true for Indian PSUs too.

Job security has been treated as the underdog for several decades now, as an unfortunate result of an inconclusive study on productivity. If motivation and engagement were the mecca of employee satisfaction, then some of the best companies of the world, would have zero employee turnover. The data however speaks differently. The stress of frequent performance appraisals, subjective feedback and evaluations and inconsequential appraisal methodology has taken its toll on the workforce morale already.

Employees are no longer loyal to an employer since, they get no guarantees from an employer either. The viscious cycle of distrusts has much larger implications. The first danger is that is knowledge obsolescence. Training and Development is meaningless, if employees are not ready or unwilling to learn.

Knowledge Obsolescence is a phenomenon that is frightening in its magnitude today. Fresh recruits join an organisation with a generic set of knowledge and skills. Over a period of time they absorb knowledge available within their peer group or seniors at work. The learning pretty much stops there.

Are we training enough? Is training and up-skilling the responsibility of HR alone? Or is there a deeper problem? Can technology have negative ramifications? Could easy access to Google and Wikipedia be the reason behind the lethargy to learn more and uncover new knowledge?

It is clear even to the most non discerning eye that the merit of the brightest fresher’s today is a lot lesser than the merit of the last decade. But can corporates really afford to pay for the slip up of the education system.

The frog in the well syndrome. We will do what others in our industry do is an attitude that will kill HR as a function soon. Innovation in people practices does not come from following the crowd outside; but from actually listening to your OWN crowd. From uniform restrictions to leaves, we have not evolved with time and always find a convenient excuse in the name of law. Laws can be changed or amended. Somehow HR has forgotten that.

The Ragging Mentality. Just because we have experienced challenges and our seniors have created amazing work despite difficulties, does not mean the Gen Next have to face the same hardships. If we are willing to make changes and provide better facilities and lifestyle to our own children, why does the concept not apply to the young workforce? Every time we hear a question on existing policies of the organisation, we scrounge the deepest corners of our memory and try our best to prove that the policy validity still holds. HR needs to stop living in the past and come out of the Senior College Ragger mode.

Equality at work must and should apply to my wife or daughter but never to my female colleague. This ironic mentality is an issue that HR needs to nip once and for all. If women refuse to have babies because their corporate career may be doomed, soon we will have to develop hiring SOPs for robots since, human beings will be in short supply.

There are no easy solutions to people’s problems. Neither, should HR try to please everyone and compromise on professionalism. However, uncovering the root cause of an issue is the key to Sustainable Development.

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Key challenges of exchanging knowledge between workforce generations



Rupali Parsha

Blue Sky HR Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Sr. Executive – HR Operations

Key challenges of exchanging knowledge between workforce generations

Summary: The below article talks about the criticality of knowledge transfer as a process and the obstacles that may come across your way thereby interrupting or affecting the process negatively.

In any organization, knowledge transfer is a very critical aspect of every process. Hence this topic has garnered a lot of audience right from the Junior Executive to the Top Management and constantly pinching them of think about the pitfalls or challenges faced during this entire process of knowledge transfer between work force generations, and even thereafter. The main objective of knowledge transfer is to capitalize on it or in other words to transfer individual knowledge into organizational knowledge.

The two cases where exchange of knowledge usually occurs are as listed below:

  1. Greying of the population in a company
  2. A key/critical resource moving out for better prospects

In both these cases, the exchange is knowledge is too sensitive a process and needs to be handled with utmost seriousness. But during this entire process of exchange, you may come across a lot of obstacles. A few or the most important ones are listed below:

  1. Generation gap / age difference
  2. Experience matters
  3. Awareness of advanced methodologies / technologies
  4. Knowledge transfer happening between two people based at two different locations – the change in time zone will also have an impact on the process.
  5. Effectiveness of training
  6. Loss of expertise or required skill sets for the job
  7. Language barrier
  8. Willingness to transfer knowledge
  9. Reluctance in sharing insights about managing key customer relationships / tasks


Conclusion: Considering the challenges faced, in order to achieve successful transfer of knowledge, innovative solution needs to be developed and executed to overcome these obstacles.

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Impact of Global Work Culture


Sushil Chander

Principal Consultant, SC Consulting


Impact of Global Work Culture

Global work culture is around us, but what qualifies as global work culture? Is it the western work culture, or does it have any eastern elements in it? Within the western culture, is it the American, British, or the German work culture?

In essence, it attempts to take the best from all, and creates a culture of serving the customer in the best possible way. From the customer stand point, he will like German efficiency, American matter of fact response, Japanese/ Eastern grace and hospitable environment etc.

For long, the American way of working was impacting the global culture, as it was the largest investor and consumer. However, in the new world, many MNCs are not American, or European; and also the customer base is more global than only from a particular country or region.

Companies now have to tailor their messages to the environments/ markets/ countries that they operate in, and so their offices or workforce have a mix of the local and the original country culture. For example, a Japanese person irrespective of which company he works with may get referred to with a san suffixed to his name, to give respect to the Japanese culture. On the converse, an Indian working with a German company may be required to show up more efficient work ethic than normal. So, the new work culture is a mix of the local and from the native country of the company, giving rise to another subset of the global culture.

However, having said that as companies move towards a period of cost optimization, quality, faster speed of response, they all want their workforces irrespective of their work place across the globe to win the battle for them by being even more efficient, innovative, customer oriented, and value adding than ever before. The job traits required for these would make the work force across the world subsume a subset of a global culture valid for their environment. The market work force which cannot adapt fast enough for such requirements, would lose out employment generation opportunities to other markets.

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Hiral  - Photo - 1

Hiral K Dholakia

HR Director

J Walter Thompson



To understand to role of HRBP in L&D, we need to understand what HRBP really means. An HRBP role is one that is focused on working closely with management and functional heads and thereby creating systems that lead to the defined strategic objectives and goals.

On the other hand, the role of an L&D person is to innovate and create learning opportunities for the employees. According to some HR experts, L&D is a specialized domain and should be kept as a separate function. L&D professionals have strong or a very long time to penetrate into the mainline business. However I feel that the final objective of the L&D professional is to create a ‘Ready Employee’; one who is ready to face any current and upcoming work challenge. Is this not something an HRBP is expected to do?

In today’s competitive world, all departments need to integrate and work as one team to counter both the internal and external challenges faced by the organization.Why can’t we look at a scenario where the organizations develop their HR strategy and develop their own team members so that they think business and bring the essence of learning initiatives that reflect the culture and the company vision? HRBPs can play a very effective role in managing learning initiatives because of their grip over the business processes. An astute HRBP with a strong business acumen understands the ‘WHAT’and ‘WHY’of a business problem and hence can work towards the ‘HOW’of finding the solution.

HRBPs arein fact the catalyst for creating learning opportunities for the employees and help them grow within the business.

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Role of HR Business Partner in Learning and Development

Hasan Photo 2

Hasan Faraz

Senior Compensation Analyst

Milaha Company


Role of HR Business Partner in Learning and Development

For large organizations with centralized support functions, the HR Business Partner (HRBP) is an integral link between the Business Unit (BU) and HR, and is generally the focal point for the execution of HR processes to support the BU’soperations.  At the same time, working closely with the business provides the vantage point from wherethe HRBP is better able to evaluate and correlate business and individual performance to identify relevant human factors, in the analysis of the gaps, and design L&D initiatives to address them.

The HRBP would ensure that processes are in place forthe retention and developmentof talent tobuild organizational capability for sustainable growth. Some of the processes, tools and information resources to support this objective are as follows:

  • Job Descriptions for all positions, with the required levels for applicable Behavioral and Technical competencies, are available,and discussed & reviewed withthe relevant employees and managers,
  • individual performance targets are regularly defined against SMART objectives and are in alignment with the business/department objectives for the year/term
  • performance scores are available
  • personality profiles of the incumbents in key rolesas well as those of high potentials, their career drivers and other relevant information is available

Armed with the above the HRBP would:

  • Bench-mark high performers with the relevant competencies and build an objective framework to identify development needs for current and future incumbents
  • Advise management on the right team mix
  • Advise managers on coaching and counselling staff on their performance and possible career paths in addition to inputs on succession planning and promotions
  • Introduce cultural interventions, as and when required in order to facilitate change management

An on-going dialog with management and rapport with the staff is vital to ensure the right people are doing their jobs right, with joy, today and tomorrow.

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Work life balance for Women with latest trends and strategies

Rajesh Kumar Lenka

Cushman & Wakefield
Compliance Manager

“Work life balance for Women with latest trends and strategies”.

Work life balance in organization is much talked about subject, however one thing should be kept in mind without this productivity along with self satisfaction, stress, loyalty, conflicts, absenteeism, and other factors are associated in daily work life.

In reference to this organization have to balance between genders where woman work force should constitute 30-40% in organization, having fair representation would get better productivity and output in organization as per studies concluded by leading HR consultancy firms across the globe.

Some latest trends and strategies

ü       Having flexible at work for women would give them opportunity to work with ease and deliver output as desired, be in term of timing and place of work, some latest development is work from home and place of convenience.

ü      Job redesigning and delegation is another strategy where organization policy makers and managers can play lead role to balance the work and social life on equal footing, making women workers at ease and comfort.

ü       Employee assistant and wellness program most common initiatives taken by HR department these days in organizations for supporting women employees to discuss and resolve their personal and social problems, here organization can help them to overcome the difficulties and have right balance towards work life.

ü    Part time / Voluntary work timings for women is another effort where organization can discuss and make policy referendum to give women working force liberty in managing work between office and home having flexible working terms based on their needs.

ü    Focus should on task accomplishment rather than timings, as benchmark on productivity and output measurement, in particular for women employees where performance score cards and KRA should be measured as yardstick not on bias or personal preference.

ü     Adherence to organization policies on work life balance and other international policies SA 8000, federal labour laws, etc being in place which should be practiced in heart and spirit across the organization to have right balance between work place and social life in correct manner.

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Work life balance for women in organizations

prag picPragya Trivedi

HR Professional

Work life balance for women in organization

When it comes to working women this becomes a very sensitive issue. As we see so many women dropping out of the regular workforce for family needs to take care of children or aged parents. Many of these women find it difficult to juggle between home & work and organizations fail to accommodate them in their high speed fast paced growth cultures. Hence such women have no choice but to opt out of a regular workforce.

The need here is to provide such women with the flexibility to be able to manage both work and family without sacrificing one for the other.

Today this issue has grabbed the attention of organizations and many are taking initiatives to adopt policies and practices which offer women a flexible working environment to strike the needed balance.

Flexible working hours – This initiative helps individuals choose their working hours in a work day. This not only provides the required flexibility but also helps improve employee productivity.

Other such practices adopted by organizations include shift working or work from home options.

Provide dependent /child care – This includes giving a care taker or nanny allowance as part of salary. Also providing crèche services in the office premises has been adopted by organizations. This enables women to ensure that their child or aged parents are being taken care of when they are at work.

Leave Policy – Making adjustments in the leave policy can also be helpful. In this government dictat of increasing maternity benefit to 6 months is a welcome change. Other practices that can be adopted are providing for special day leaves on Anniversary, Birthdays, Parent teacher meetings etc. Also ensuring that employees are compulsorily taking their annual leave to spend time with their family is important.

Some of these practices are being adopted by organizations today; however there is still a long way to go as far as this subject is concerned.  HR professionals have a mammoth task of increasing awareness among organizations on this issue and taking corrective measures to enable women strike the right balance and retain talent.

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