Need for greater innovation in building Compensation and Benefits Programs


Kalluri Saikiran


Manager – HR

 Need for greater innovation in building Compensation and Benefits Programs

Most compensation and benefits professionals are heavily focused today in ensuring that budgets are balanced, surveys are collected and ‘uploaded’ into their ERP systems and that the entire compensation review and delivery program is effected at the appropriate time( ‘Just In Time’) to prevent attrition. Many companies even go the distance in timing their increments to perfection, ensuring that the ‘worthy’ remain to gain.

However, with the advent of ‘big data’, which is yet another rather ‘jazzy term’ for the simple analysis of data made possible by a computerized system it now becomes imperative in using operational analytics and predictive analytics,  that can drive relevant compensation reviews and reward programs.  Big data only means that statistics is made more relevant by plugging in multiple variables to analyse the data.

Having worked as a compensation and benefits manager, I have closely observed experts can do more to innovate. For example, in early 2004, one of the companies I had worked for was struggling with retaining the ‘tenured’ employees. So ‘under pressure’ we looked to innovate.

And so customized ‘longevity bonus’ packages were launched for employees who had completed 3, 5 and 7 years, respectively. This innovation was not ‘patented’ by us, but was rather ‘shared’ as an experience to the industry tacitly by our leaders.

Soon enough, many big players jumped in and called it their own. And that was perfectly fine with us, so long as they did not poach our employees.

We then went a step ahead and ensured that the ‘gratuity component’ on all offer letters went clearly below the Gross CTC line. Yes, we put that out of the ‘salary break-up’. It worked well as the gross CTC now looked different. Want to know why we did this? We realized that not everyone who joins us gets ‘gratuity’.

A few years down the line, we realized that the game plan needed changing and so we came up with one more innovation, we brought back ‘Gratuity’ into the ‘salary break-up’ and this time, for those who did not complete the defined ‘5 year period’ as per the Gratuity Act 1932, we ‘pro-rated’ the amount and gave it to them for the employment period completed. This was considered imaginative by most of the leading ‘comp & ben’ experts.

Today, there lies a clear line of business opportunity to link a specialized competency or skill to a ‘skill based incentive’. Most of the experts feel that unless the skill when applied converts to profits, it makes no sense in rewarding it. I beg to differ. Most companies need competencies and skills to deliver results. It’s clearly the other way round. The best way is to have ‘phased incentive plans’.  And so the skill or competency gets rewarded at various stages of ‘effort-to-profit’.

It’s also important to link degrees of competency or skill to the reward system. However, the maturity level of the competency library of a company and the testing mechanisms also need to be assessed for this to happen.

Hence I am suggesting a more ‘intuitive’ approach to rewarding employees.

Structuring these incentives can be quite a challenge. Hence,reward programs must be targeted at specific groups of people. How?  Think of a ‘rewards system’ as a ‘tree’ built around people and the business.

So here is the tree structure:

  1. Roots –the founders of a company form this group. They need water, healthy soil and nutrients to ensure that the food reaches the tree – the whole tree! Water is regular rewards, healthy soil is the structured rewards like bigger bonuses and nutrients are the healthy rewards for body, mind and soul – think of this as ‘vacation’ with family. The founders of the company need not only be the ones who provided capital and infrastructure. They can be the lone technician, who was the first engineer to work on the shop floor.
  1. Trunk – The working half of the tree where the food travels to all parts of the plant and growth is a derived aspect. The on-going employee workforce who make the various functions deliver the mission of the organization to customers, to society and to the industry come into this group. Note that those who make up this group are clearly business focused and aim to make the ‘tree’ stronger and healthier. Rewards can be incentive plans, bonuses or competitive salary packages.
  1. Leaves – The working elements wherein they are actually doing or playing out the act where the service of product of the company is delivered. They require support based incentives – think of this monthly reward systems. They will require competitive pay structures first before rolling out incentive programs. They eventually drop off. So retention is often not possible. However they are the ‘big chefs’ of the kitchen.
  1. Flowers – The groups that speak of the company, market the products or services, who will eventually fade away and who will smell good for the company are the ones who need promotions. They lead into creators of the fruits (profits) of the company. They need creative rewards and it must be customized continuously to make it relevant.

Each company needs to create these 4 groups to become creative. While it’s almost sure that most companies are aware of the ‘tree’ model, they have all not created the groups of employees in a logical manner to make it relevant to their business and industry.

Rewards are not relevant if there is no ‘respect’ for the individual. Hence, first focus on creating a respectful environment before you reward or recognize.In conclusion, build reward systems based on the ‘tree’ relevant to your workforce and align it to the business and industry in which your business operate.

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HR’s role in Planning a Business Strategy


Sarmistha Roychowdhury

DCW Limited

Dy. General Manager – Human Resource

HR’s role in Planning a Business Strategy

Strategic work is considered a high profiled role in any organizational setup. Functions like Sales, Finance & Marketing are considered to be key contributors to the “Business Strategy”. Going through an old read, a research of HR Outlook- A variety of leader perspectives, Jan 2013, conducted by CIPD says that nearly one in five (18 per cent) business leaders are unaware of HR’s contribution to business strategy.Additionally, 18 per cent say senior HR professionals have no involvement in business strategy at all. Not very happy pictures though however the good news is such scenario has taken back sit in the recent past.


As I understand, be it any function, the core essence of any job is creating value, if we able to answer how do we create value in market and business unit we serve and how does that impact in measurable objectives” we would be able to add considerable value to overall organizational strategic objectives by commissioning a shared mind set and accountability to key performance indicators as HR professionals.

If HR wants to play a role in the strategic space, it is important to understand and talk relevant numbers. According to a research conducted by Korn/Ferry, a leading talent management firm, ‘What makes an exceptional HR leader,’ released in July 2013, global business leaders list commercial acumen as the most valued competency for HR professionals.

Going by current trends we are well appraised that HR is no longer an administrative support staff who all day is involved in process transactional matters or the one who only deals people matters with soft skills. Our roles as HR has now evolved to prominence with much of innovativeness & more of business acumen thus the ability of the Human Resource function purpose and potential is to create an impact & influence business strategy, the subject is heart of many recent discussions also.

HR as a function has extravagance of being one of the only functions to touch every part of an Organization across departments and levels i.e. right from Boardroom authorities to people on the shop floor.

Today global HR leaders in different forums are talking about Technology – Tech HR and to optimise the technicality or to reach to the platform of technical excellence it’s important to manage change to leverage the new age technologies. Managing change is not easy a very slow moving process however with evolutionization of Technology systems HR can efficiently manage talent & play a role in decision making.

As strategic HR business partners it’s critical for us (HR professionals) to think through new plans, appropriate ways of ensuring that services are delivered effectively for enabling businesses in achieving their goals, focus on right & improved analytics, clear objectives, evaluate outcomes among other management tactics the journey of strategic HR’s role would then be much easier !!!

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HR Training as a Business Partner

Dr.  Sailaja B

Lithan Hall Academy

Director- Training Operations & Talent Management


HR Training as a Business Partner

We are living in the world of partnership. You will hardly succeed if you want to do it all by yourself, no matter what that is – business, family matters, education… All is better when we have a partner that will help us. This is especially well known and present in a business world. The business world itself changes a lot, so if we are ready to catch the train that rides in a direction of success, we must prepare ourselves for the change, we must act as the ‘change agents’ – people who are catalysts for change. So, how can we become ‘change agents’? Only by training, learning and personal development!

World has become a ‘global village’. Many cultures get in touch with one another by just one click of a mouse. Moreover, we are living in multicultular/ multiracial societies and communication with different people coming from different countries, backgrounds, religions is something that is normal. However, we still have enough space for development, to learn and train to become better business partners in companies and organizations. What are the first things we should do?

Change management is a very broad field and approaches to managing change vary widely, from project to project and from organization to organization. The first question we must ask ourselves is – what this change actually means for us, for our situation? Then, we have to realize that the change always focuses on people, it is the only way that it will be lastingly implemented.

Some of the things that you, as a ‘change agent’ must take care of are: sponsorships (ensure that executive level of organization is ready for your training or learning project); involvement (ensure that you have the right people in the design and implementation of changes); impact (how the change will affect people?); good communication (everyone affected by the change must know about it) and readiness (people ready to adapt to and adopt the changes, by ensuring they have the right information, help and training).

So, prepare yourself for the hard work of the ‘change agent’. Prepare yourself to be a real partner for anybody who asks for your help. And don’t forget what Barack Obama said: ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek!’

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Work – life balance for women Strategy



International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Junior Human Resources Officer

Work – life balance for women Strategy

Every country including developed countries those who achieved better gender equality strive to achieve work-life balance of women. Still, women have to bear disproportionate burden of household work, caretaking of their child or elderly dependants compared to men. Many women withdraw from their career life when they get married, plan for their family, and/or when they go higher positions with more responsibilities due the same reason.

The developed countries are trying to achieve both gender equality and work-life balance having a policy of engaging a worker with family responsibilities, without discrimination. Whereas in the countries like India, the personal life of a woman is the one of the major influencing factors that affects the decision of hiring managers. Being, socio-cultural values and the organisations’ strategies are inter-dependent variables, the strategies of developed countries could not be copied without making a considerable change in the national Human Resources policy.

Meanwhilein private sectors, thetrendssuch as ‘Work from home’ and ‘flexible working hours’ are booming. These two have major advantages for both the employees and the organisation. At the same time, these have the constraints that are lack of computer access at home; and for time-bound jobs like call-centres. These two techniques would be even more successful if the organisations approach them as challenge not a hindrance.

Apart from the above, the following strategies are highly successful in many developed countries where they have adapted to their own socio-cultural values:

  • Promoting Part-time in permanent jobs – This is especially for women before and after pregnancy, or for any strong personal/medical reasons, where they maintain their same permanent job with lesser working hours.
  • Promoting temporary full-time jobs – this would be a replacement of a permanent employee who is away for long period (between 6 months to one year) any personal reasons like post- maternity complications or extended maternity holidays. In this case, any senior (women) employee could take care of their personal issues without losing their jobs. At the same time, the organisation is creating more employment opportunities by providing temporary jobs.

Being a Human Resources professional by myself, I have learnt that Human Recourses department could benefit both the management and the employees without losing their reputation and Good-will by having right strategies at right time.

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Work – life balance for women


Neha Saini

Manager- Human Resource

Yatra Company

Work – life balance for women

When we talk about maintaining work-life balance, the foremost thing that struck in our mind is about offering various options to our female employees, so that they can smoothly transition during the most important stage of their life- from a wife to a mother.

Lot of corporate are coming with different ways to support women at work but in order to make it successful for the organization, it is important that their also managers believe in it and give buy-in to this cause.

For women to take maternity benefits, it is important that her manager understands her need and give her a confidence that she will be given warm welcome on her return. Therefore, it is important for companies to educate their managers about driving maternity benefits effectively for their female colleagues. And for this, companies can make it mandatory as part of manager’s training program on how to create cohesive work culture.

Once this is ensured, the next step is to do career planning for the women once they are back to work from their maternity leaves. This is the time when she is highly insecure about how her career will shape up in the organization. Along with extended maternity leaves or work from home, this could also be another tool to retain female employees. A manager can sit with her and discuss her roles and responsibilities to give a greater visibility on her career path.

Hence, maternity benefits for women doesn’t end only till the birth of baby takes place but also extends till the time she is comfortably back to normal working scenarios and effectively managing her work-life balance.

The strategy of today’s organizations should be built around coaching managers on encouraging female talent pool and supporting them in their long term career path.

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Impact of E-Learning in Training and Development


Viveka Kumar Sinha

MX Care LLC, Dubai, UAE

L&D Specialist

Impact of E-Learning in T & D

Quite simply, e-learning is electronic learning, and typically this means using a computer to deliver part, or all of a course whether it’s in a school, part of your mandatory business training or a full distance learning course.

Impact of E-Learning in Training  and  Development can be viewed as a means of delivering three key outcomes: improved and consistent rates of lifelong learning, improved productivity and improved innovation and competiveness.

Employee emphasized just in time training is the premium value added feature of E-learning. E-learning is flexible. Employer can integrate individual learning with organizational needs and provide employee with the knowledge and skills  they need when they need them. E-learning is especially effective at linking  learning with work. Employers can design training system that use equipment and technology that is already part of organizational process.

Cost effectiveness  is considered another prime reason to use e-learning especially for the organization that are already using information and communication technology. The other aspect of cost effectiveness is the value-added realized by using ICTs  for both working and learning.

Through e-learning, employees  control over learning  because it provides improved access to learning opportunities and a safe, non-judgmental learning environment’s-learning encourages information sharing ,collaboration and interaction and it helps participants to exchange  information without the dependency . The key is that the alternative and flexible learning allowed by technology can reduce psychological obstacles as well as the practical difficulties of scheduling learning activities around work periods.

E-learning offers significant social and economic advantage over traditional class room learning. Using CDROM or internet technology e-learning can be delivered on demand, when and where it is needed. Because of the nature of e-learning with its visual and auditory reinforcement of information and individualized feedback mechanism, learning time is greatly reduced.Morever,it helps in monitoring of the learning process, community building and motivation.

Embracing e-learning for training & development is not a just good idea, but it is necessary. E-learning has the potential to transform how and when employee will learn. Learning will become more integrated with work and will use shorter, more modular, just in time delivery system’s-learning. Therefore, Learners can integrate learning into work more effectively.

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HR Role in Branding

Amruta Shah


HR Role in Branding!!!

HR plays the most important role in an organisation’s hiring procedures. Once hired, then On-boarding, training, performance feedback and the other activities in series are HR responsibilities . But has HR been thought as a Brand manager often? Yes I suggest branding is not just a marketing KRA every employee can be helpful in brand value creation and HR can be the source of such creation. Branding in terms of preferred employer or among best employer to work with! Attracting right and best talents is easier then, right?

Let’s look at it from the time of selection procedure; potential candidates often decide to join your organisation based on their HR interactions. Simple things from how a candidate was greeted , whether was made to wait, was he offered tea / coffee or water at least , was he informed how long will be wait and what is recruitment procedure; all this matter. Then, how the follow was after interview till the offer generation plays a role in candidate’s decision

So how to use this HR interaction time for branding? Various tools can be used to make a good and lasting impression on the potential employee’s mind. For Eg: some leaflets showcasing HR practices, events in organisation or employee newsletter at the reception area along with various other product brochures can create more interest in the candidate. Also, the culture management has agreed upon must be visible in the reception/lobby/waiting areas and across the office.

What are the benefits of these conscience efforts to make a good interview experience? One candidate has a good experience he shares with many, he joins and refers his friends too , so more applications and better chance of attracting the best talent since talent pool is larger. And knowing about the culture, makes a candidates feel he fits in the culture or not and more chances of him to accept the offer.

If Marketing and HR efforts are made to come in sync more results for both departments.PR tools can be good source to attract talents and business customers.


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HR Business Partner Role


Deepa Gramopadhye

Tata Business Support Services Limited
Sr. Executive – HR

HR Business Partner role

Today’s organizations do not expect their operations managers to work on something which is not their forte or something which someone else can do better. May it be an effective recruitment or providing inputs to Learning and development function, organizations expect involvement of Business HR.

Business HR can play significant role in providing inputs to Learning and development, a sub function of Human Resources itself. Business HR resource is supposed to spend time with the employees aligned to him and at the same time is supposed to know the business thoroughly. Thus they know what is expected from an employee and where does he/she stand. Being from HR background, he can judge the gap, if any, and share the input with Learning and Development team.

Additionally, Business HR is well aware of the organization’s structure, hierarchy and business it is operating. E.g. A team leader in BPO should know how to handle the stress and if he fails to do that, he cannot deliver expected performance. If Business HR is able to judge that particular Team Leader is facing attrition/ absenteeism challenge and the reason for the same is Team Leader’s inefficiency to handle the pressure, he can definitely pitch in and provide these inputs to L&D and they in turn can design and conduct the session accordingly.

Also, Business HR can develop employees by providing inputs to L&D. Most of the organizations prefer promoting employees within the organization than external hiring for the benefits known to us. However, they face challenge in terms of finding the required competencies in internal candidates. Here Business HR can play a critical role by providing these inputs to L&D and accordingly L&D can design “Role specific programs”. E.g. If MIS executives are to be hired externally it would be costlier as compared to internal promotion. If L&D team is aware of what are expected competencies and Business HR helps in providing existing competencies, a gap can be understood and filled up. This would definitely save cost, would motivate employees and would benefit the organization, the ultimate goal of all of us!!!


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Retrograde Culture Shock


nagaProfessor, A. Nagaraj Subbarao

Alliance University, Bangalore, India

Director – Human Resources


Retrograde Culture Shock

Culture Shock is something most expatriates understand well only after they are shocked into expatriate failure and they exit a foreign country soon after shock hits them. While this may be the case, people understand even less about reverse cultural shock, when an expatriate returns home.

hr graph

Figure – Culture Shock Curve

How reverse culture shock happens

“Reverse culture shock is experienced when returning to home only to find that home has changed and is not what you had expected or held in your nostalgic mind’s eye”


How does Culture Shock work?

An expatriate in a new culture, is wide eyed and is literally honeymooning. Culture Shock kicks in soon enough and there is a steep dive in enthusiasm. Unless the expatriate is given support at this point of time and allowed to adjust, he/she may exit the organization after massive culture shock.

What is reverse culture shock?

As strange as it sounds, expats become less and less familiar with their home turf as time goes by. Many Indian families while enjoying the fruits of a prosperous United States return home to spare their children the experience of ‘dating’ other young men and woman only to find that India too has changed and is not too far behind the United States in this respect. The shock on this realization is not only disappointing for the expatriate but many also feel deeply betrayed.
International experience is a teacher of great impact and wonderful change. A person who has experienced foreign lands has new perspectives to life, to religion and even to his/her identity. When a person returns to his/her country with these new perspectives, new insights are discovered which in many cases can be very troubling.

Expats returning home can expect their top re-entry challenges being:

  • No one wants to hear your exotic stories
  • Relationships have changed
  • Society has changed
  • People misunderstand you
  • Your old job is not available
  • Inability to apply new knowledge and skills

In addition, expats can begin to feel frustrated or confused when their close friends and family are anything but curious and intrigued about their experience. After all, the expat was gone to a foreign land for years, with sights, sounds and smells exotic and new.

A remedy for preventing reverse culture shock is to have the expatriate mentored by a senior member of your organization, who would keep the expat ab-rest of developments in the parent country. Organizations implement mentoring programs for expatriates to prevent culture shock. Organizations can match mentors with men-tees through a formal program or on a more informal basis. The mentor is chosen based on their background and experience rather than their specific position or job title. The matching process is very important to the success of the mentoring partnership, and various tools are available to facilitate a good match.

Another strategy could be to allow the expatriate to return home at regular intervals to stay in touch with the parent country. This however might be costly and lower the ROI that an organization looks to achieve from the sojourn of an expatriate in a foreign country.

Eventually, reverse culture shock is something that is present, can lead to expatriate failure and an HR needs to be seized of the need to take it into consideration while planning an employee’s international assignment.

An expatriate assignment is only successful when an expat settles into his/her new role in the parent country.


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