Saturday, 20 December 2014

Superman in the Organization

We all have seen people complaining about the workload and the management’s reluctance to hire new staff to manage that workload. So what is the reason behind management’s decision of not hiring new staff? There are many reasons one of which is the presence of an employee who by multitasking and other ways tries to perform all tasks on time. This employee portrays himself as a Superman, and becomes a Cost Saving Agent in the eyes of management. The management, instead of hiring a new employee, which requires more cost, provides him with a handsome amount of raise in his monthly salary, boosting his motivation level and enabling him to work with more enthusiasm.

In the above scenario, nothing seems to be wrong. But if we look at the other side of the picture, we find that unfortunately this is not true. This employee (referred to as Superman) is harming not only himself but the job market and the organization as well in the following ways:

  • Eliminating job vacancies. Organizations usually appoint new employees to minimize the greater workload. But in an organization, where an employee does majority of the work all alone, the organization finds no good reason to appoint new staff, and this is where the problem starts. A problem like closing doors for new entrants. In today’s world where the unemployment level is already high, such employees should not be allowed to eat others’ jobs.

  • Putting health at risk. For a healthy life, proper sleep is an important factor. An employee performing all tasks single-handedly needs more than office hours to accomplish tasks. Therefore, he has to work after office hours and often skip holidays. Due to such tiring efforts and continuous working he doesn't get at least 6 hours of proper sleep which affects his health and causes depression, stress etc.

  • Losing productivity by multitasking. People often say that doing more than one thing at a time makes you less productive. This is almost true especially in the above scenario. In order to complete tasks on time, the employee multitasks which may be harmful because human brain cannot concentrate on more than one task at a time. And this lack of concentration results in errors, which affects the quality of work.

  • Behaving rudely with co-workers. It is human nature that he gets irritated if he works constantly for hours. This is why the office timings always accommodate a break of an hour or two so that employees get fresh. Same thing if we put in this employee’s scenario, we see that after working continuously in order to meet unrealistic deadlines, he gets irritated resulting in an indecent behavior with peers, which may call for a disciplinary action against him.

  • Jealousy and Demotivation. In recognition of his efforts, management blesses him with a handsome salary increment, increases his perks and benefits or promote him, which creates jealousy among his co-workers. They see him as a ‘flatterer’ who, for the sake of his own benefits, does all these efforts and pleases management, which becomes the reason of their demotivation. It also ignites the fire of professional jealousy within them which sometimes causes the organization to loose skilled and experienced employees.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Roadmap to the Career of your Dreams...

The Roadmap to the Career of your Dreams
by Raza Abbas

If you could get 01 day or 01 month off from your routine life, what would you do with your time? Did you know that professionals excel when they combine attitude and skills with their personal passions. Sounds like luxury doesn’t it but why not just for a few minutes think about what your dream job is.  Start with yourself first. What do you like to do? What are you personally drawn to?

Based on my global and local experience there are 08 steps to achieve your career passion:

1. Identify your passion or what could be your passion- that’s your nucleus. List down one area that you really enjoy, even if you aren’t paid for it.

2. Identify the kinds of organizations that support your passion- those are your electrons. Aim for at least 05 organizations that cater to your interests.

3. Research what those kind of organizations do.  How do they function, who do they recruit?

4. Deliberate on each kind of organization which feels the best for you. Look at their values, mission statement, leadership team, annual reports, etc. 

5. Expand your existing social and professional network to find people that work in those organizations. If you don’t have one start building it: For example create a profile on where 120 million professionals are on it! Start a blog, create your Facebook page, or launch your twitter profile. For those of you who are introverts this might seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry there are plenty of tutorials online. You can also get help from a career counselor.

6. When you find some of the people who are a part of these organizations, send them an email, a LinkedIn request or a Facebook message to find out about their reasons for choosing the organizations they are in. 

7. Set up informational interviews with the professionals you‘ve contacted. Make it clear to them that you are not asking for a job interview.

8. Start your job search after your informational interview, not before. Start drafting a plan on how you are going to work on your skills and tailor your expertise so that you can become an ideal candidate for the organization of your choice.

And with these eight steps Excellence begins!  People believe that once they are part of an organization, the passion for their work will just appear; often it’s the other way around. Follow your passion, even if it takes a while, never give up on the pursuit of your dream job. After life is too short for the wrong job.

About the Author: Mr. Raza Abbas, a dual degree graduate from The University of Arizona, USA and trained in Career Counseling from its Career Services Dept is a pioneer in the field of career counseling in Pakistan. This article was first published in the 12th Issue - Print Edition - of the TimeTrax HR Professionals NewsBeat in January 2012.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

What's in it for the Mentor?

Recently I got a chance to act as a Mentor for young women who are entering the Job market or who find themselves in trouble in the Corporate World. I took the opportunity as a way of giving back the good experiences I have accumulated in the last 7 years.
A couple of years back, i was very much encouraged by a colleague of mine to motivate young women in getting better jobs and sound careers, I thought I will do it when I am old and have nothing to do. Well, I was wrong.
Now I can assure you that its not only beneficial for the 'mentee' but its also good for the mentor. Let's see how:
Self Awareness: Over the time, we get too busy in the work and forget who we are. When a mentor is giving advise, he/she gets a chance to reflect on those early years of struggle and the experiences gained. And a person realizes how much change the time has bring in you.
Motivation to do good: You feel humble, when another person asks for your advise and there develop a general feeling of being kind and generous and be a positive contributor.
Forecast: When you have "been there and done that" you know what can happen to the young professionals in their next step and what they should do. You are in a better position to forecast the conclusion of the next step, hence act as a guide and keep them on track!
Positive Reinforcement: You not only encourage others to think and act positively but it is also a positive reinforcement for you. You feel the same spirit which you did in the starting of your career.
In short, its a two way benefit trip, both for the mentor and mentee. You feel better connected with yourself with an inner happiness which comes from doing good for others. Small acts of kindness and generosity go a long way in life. We are not just Professional people, we are human beings with thoughts and care for others.
Happy Reading!

ATTENTION: Young Pakistani HR Professionals

Thinking of opting for Human Resources Management as a career? Great, but before making this career decision, you need a crash course in the real HR practices prevailing in our local business scenario. All those case studies in your books will now have to take a back seat.

Here's what you need to do to start off as an HR professional:
Intern for at least a month in a two or more different organizations and industries. The more DIVERSE organizations, the better exposure you get. Try observing all the HR functions within these organization to figure out what interests you the most. Get hold of any relevant project/assignment that you can get your hands upon.

Interact with HR people from all levels (from junior management to department heads) and ASK all the questions that come to your mind regarding working in the HR arena, especially their personal experiences.

After getting a little taste of HRM, decide whether you can spend the major remaining portion of your life doing this.

Once you join the league, keep your eyes on the challenges that may come your way from day one. The challenges range from ethical dilemmas, balancing the employer's and employees' interests to MANAGING our own emotional labor. Keep in mind that any entry level position in HR here in Pakistan can pose you with repetitive, clerical/data-entry sort of work. BE PATIENT as this phase will pass out eventually and you will get to do a lot of analysis and decision-making tasks as you gain expertise and exposure.

Acquiring the RIGHT skills and keeping them up-to-date is vital in these times. Your key characteristics & skill-set to be a successful HR professional should include an excellent customer service attitude, a high emotional quotient (EQ), clear ethical values, ability to learn, UNLEARN and re-learn, analytical skills and most importantly a tech-savvy mindset so that you can implement the latest technologies to AUTOMATE HR processes. Always be on the lookout for the latest industry developments that can help your department achieve higher standards.

Welcome to the club!

About the Author:
Moqaddas Abbas, an Islamabad based HR Generalist was working in a middle management position in the country's largest R&D organization at the time of first publication of this article in the
11th TimeTrax HR Professionals NewsBeat in December 2011. He has been educated at renowned institutes in three different countries.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Yeah! Little Strokes of Encouragement Can Do Wonders

Keep encouraging your talented workforce. Award and reward them. If some task seems to be challenging to them, stand by their side to get along with it successfully. You must have many employees in your organizations who would shirk to take up a new task no matter how simple it is!
The reason being they are mostly undergoing the fear of the unknown- assuming the outcome to be definitely other way round.
Don't let their fears grow rather help them to add another skill to their professional portfolio. Encourage them to have a start and be there to handle any unexpected issue. Let them experience a new world and explore their talents themselves. Let them get ready for taking the next step towards their professional prosperity and yours too.
Yeah! Motivate them and rise and shine together!

Reviewing Performance - Dos and Donts

Appraisal, performance reviews and employee evaluations are the least favorite of most of the workforce that is on its receiving end. The bosses enjoy the prospect of giving their feedback and/or analysis of your work ethics, behavior, achievements (or lack thereof). What to say? How to hear what they have to say? What to do and what NEVER to attempt? Here’s a run down:

Filling in the Details
The best habit that I observed from one of my ex bosses was to keep a record of all tasks done on Google drive. This practice helped when at the end of the day (or fiscal year), one had to describe the inaccuracies or give justification for non-performance or why a certain task was abandoned or sidelined. OR how you managed to achieve daunting tasks in spite of numerous obstacles. Things happen, POAs change; it’s a dynamic work environment with volatile conditions is economies and commerce globally. Having a routinely updated journal of tasks will be helpful in building a case for your objective appraisal.

Attitude not Aptitude
The attitude of the employee and how he performs his work is more important than the fact that he does achieve his goals or even exceeds them. The behavioral competencies across the board for people matter a lot more than their technical know how. Today, the focus of management and HR is on a well rounded individual with grooming and acumen to move ahead in the corporate world. An exceptional performer, with a lack of tact and candor, needs to stop and take a good look at him before arguing on his performance rating.

The appraisal process now, is not in isolation. It is a 360 degree view from all stakeholders of the firm. Each move you make, each email you send (or don’t), serves as basis for your evaluation. Following up on and completing tasks in a timely fashion is commendable. Even better is doing it all with a can do attitude, persistence and the resilience to bring improvement in your field of

Nope. I don’t!
Most of the evaluations are not very off the mark. Being honest and reflecting on yourself will help you see what your review is all about. If you have a grievance or do not accept your work evaluation, you have the right to contest it. Try discussing with your manager, and if that doesn't work, move up the hierarchy. As a last resort, set up a meeting with your HR and settle matters cordially. No one likes sour grapes, but in the event that you are right, you will be supported by HR as it cant be a one off incident and a bad manager is like a daisy in a mustard field, conspicuous and easily identifiable.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Talent Management – Answering Whats, Whys and Hows of Employers, Managers and Employees

“I have been experiencing a major decline in business even after adopting sound business strategies, hiring best available human resource and investing huge sums. I am searching like crazy what to do to get these setbacks fixated?” “My subordinates are a total mess and complete chaos. I don’t know why I am unable to get the best out of them”. “My boss, never lets me do what I am absolutely capable off, instead he forces me to do what I am least interested in. I am tired off my job – quitting seems to be the only option available with no ray of hope for a new job. How can I deal with this crisis?”
These and likewise Whats, Whys and Hows are a continuous cry, Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) consultants are destined to listen to every other day. However, yet another uphill task in front of them is to satisfy their clientele and provide them with a solution viable for all in the organization i.e. employers, managers and employees.
The crux of the matter, according to SHRM experts lies in lack of Talent Management - a comprehensive terminology defined by Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD as,
“A holistic approach to optimizing human capital, which enables an organization to drive short- and long-term results by building culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through integrated talent acquisition, development, and deployment processes that are aligned to business goals” (ATD, 2009).
Talent management strategy, if aligned properly with the organization’s vision, mission statement and goals, can do wonders. A comparison of the aforementioned definition with the one given by CIPD below reveals no big differences.
Talent Managementis the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organization, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles” (CIPD, 2009).
Talent Management Strategy for any organization emerges out from its business plan. A well designed Talent Management process involves the active participation of almost all HR functions from job analysis to critical skills gap analysis.
Any organization, spending time and resources on its workforce planning always remains at a definite edge as in return a right person recruited at the right time at the right place positively adds up to its profitability charts. Workforce planning saves the organization from the exploitation of its precious financial resources in the years to come.
Gone are the times, when Talent Acquisition was deemed enough to run the business affairs smoothly without any fluctuations. Now, there is a tug of war between talent hunters to choose the best out of market at any cost making human capital retention a big challenge. Without having a sound Talent Management Strategy, now it is almost impossible for companies to keep their human potential hundred percent intact with them for long. So, the need for succession planning, employee engagement, training and development, handsome compensation and benefit packages along with performance management gets multifold.
Unless your business strategy is not properly aligned with the talent management strategy, there will remain a dearth of collaboration and coordination at both ends – employer and employee sides, hampering the overall growth of the organization. In today’s competitive business world, hiring the best possible candidate is not enough, but you also need to provide them with a dynamic platform to progress and proceed further.
Talent Management strategy keeping in view an employee’s potential gears them upward in the organizational hierarchy via succession planning. Adds further to your human capital’s growth is strategic training and development strategy as it not only gives the employees an opportunity to explore their talent and skill set but also makes them more productive and confident in their respective spheres.
When an organization gives it’s human asset due attention by assigning them tasks they are most desirous to achieve, the ones related to their job descriptions promising higher monetary returns i.e. compensations and benefits, they love to invest all their energies for maximizing the profits of their organizations. They feel a sense of achievement with every step forward. Collectively holding the signboard, “No worries! We stand by the company in every of its thick and thin”, they really leave behind no Whats to worry about for the employers.
They become least complainant; least bothersome for the top management – resolving most of their Whys.
And when the organizations’ employees are well satisfied with their current placement and future career roadmap, are duly compensated and encouraged for every single effort, are provided opportunities to enhance their professional portfolio, are awarded for top notch performance and are respected for bringing progress to the business just like a business partner – then the doorway to all Hows filled with anxiety and distraught automatically gets closed.
Talent Management is like a bridge that fills the gap between Employers, Managers and Employees with all sitting on one table, taking best possible decisions and adopting most suitable measures to make their businesses collectively grow. Such are the conglomerates creating success stories to be remembered long after!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Training & Organizational Development in Pakistan

Training & Organizational Development in Pakistan
By Mohammad Muneeb Kidwai

Post 2008 global collapse scenario saw a typical reaction by organizations in Pakistan. While some opted for bold and risky approach of launching new products, entering into business ventures and developing organizational capability, others followed the typical KNEE-JERK response including business consolidation, downsizing and of course, the Marketing/Training budget slash.

This did not necessarily mean that the Training and Organizational Development was completely discontinued. The emphasis and investment in employee development varied from industry and organizations. The relatively strong and growing sectors of Oil & Gas, Telecom, Banking and Foods Industry chose to SUSTAIN people investment.

Training professionals also observed a major and somewhat logical shift in organizational approach to building capability. Most companies opted to develop in-house trainers to achieve employee skill development which has its own PROS & CONS. While it allows organizations to have higher control at lower costs with more insightful and customized solutions, achievement of such benefits are subject to availability of relevant training management/delivery skills, business knowledge and creative approach in training personnel.

Top goals in these competitive times remain achieving organizational capability with business alignment, operational efficiency and sustained growth through innovation. While Re-engineering, TQM, Kaizen and Six Sigma have proven to be tried and tested methods to achieve effectiveness and efficiency, it is the innovation part that at times remains elusive.

Only those organizations are able to achieve permanent change in behavioral skills when the interventions are process based aimed at bringing a paradigm shift - a prerequisite for the much needed OUT-OF-THE-BOX thinking. This is a huge challenge. Difficult but not impossible. As behavioral experts claim that people face a paradoxical dilemma of wanting to grow without changing themselves. Since people follow what they see not what they hear, the interventions rarely achieve their goals.

Unless the key talent (if not everyone) of the organization is conditioned with a process-based mental training supported by a learning culture, the results will remain both artificial and short-lived.

As the CEO of Motorola was once asked "How does your management support training?" He responded by saying "By attending the training ourselves first". It's time to walk the talk.

About the Author: Muneeb, an IBA Graduate with over 20 years of professional experience, was an Independent Trainer, Teacher, Coach at The Change Agency ( and the author of "The Power of Visualization: A Mental Technique for Goal Achievement" when this article was first published in the 10th issue of the TimeTrax HR Professionals Newsbeat. He is now a Corporate Trainer at Mobilink.

The above write-up was also published in the special print edition of the TimeTrax HR Professionals Newsbeat.

Friday, 29 August 2014

HR Policy Making in Pakistani Organizations.

In the last decade or so HR practices in Pakistan have undergone some major transformations mainly due to advent in technology, arrivals of foreign companies, induction of business graduates into businesses and competition among firms. But the spread of INTERNATIONAL standard HR practices & concepts still has not penetrated to all business sectors and a lot of work is required by HR professionals to strengthen this field.

In addition, it has been seen that STANDARDIZATION of HR practices within many companies is often neglected even though it is a known fact that well drafted standardized HR policies & procedures save the company hours of management time. The CONSISTENT use and interpretation of such policies, in an evenhanded manner, reduces management's concern on legal issues becoming legal problems.

A vast of majority of Pakistani HR professionals lack the fundamental knowledge of HR Policy making. Its not surprising , the company management teams DO NOT TRUST the ability of their HR department to deliver an HR policy manual and resort to hiring a consultant to do the job. A common MISCONCEPTION is that HR policies manual are developed only to streamline administrative tasks. Hence, it is considered a non-strategic activity which does not require much deliberation from the top management and copy-paste arrangements are considered sufficient.

As an HR practitioner I believe that the onus is on the Head of Human Resources department to ensure that HR team is well versed at developing HR Policy Manual, and educate the top management on how an HR policy manual will help the company achieve its strategic objectives.

There are other issues associated with the drafting of HR policy manual that can be observed across various companies within Pakistan. Most HR policies are constructed based on the Best Practices methodology WITHOUT considering the relevancy to the industry in which the company operates or the life cycle (inception, growth, maturity, decline) in which the company is going through. HR policies are seldom revised whenever there is a change in business strategy. Furthermore there is HARDLY ANY effort made by the HR department to monitor the impact of HR policies on business and on employee satisfaction.

In some companies HR Policy manual is not made available to employees and concept of employee handbooks is still considered a far-fetched idea.

Since most HR department heads are not treated as strategic business partners, they become so complacent with the status-quo that they RARELY proceed with a change in policy out of the fear that it might trigger lengthy discussions and difference of opinions within the board of directors NO MATTER how important the HR policy changes maybe.

The idea behind developing HR Policy manuals is to help staff and management teams run the organization in a consistent manner. In BEST use situations, policies play a strategic role in an organization. If they are developed in light of the mission and objectives of the company, they become the MEDIUM through which management plans, rules and business processes become documented and communicated to all staff. It's a win-win situation for both employees and the management.

About the Author: Muhammad Usman was working as Senior Consultant HCM for Abacus Consulting, with over seven years of diversified experience in the field of HR, Business Intelligence & Sales Operations at the time of first publication of this article in the 9th TimeTrax HR Professionals NewsBeat in November 2011 and is currently the Job Evaluation Analyst at ZADCO, United Arab Emirates.

The field of recruitment in Pakistan is undergoing a change. Not just a small scale evolution but a fundamental progression paradigm - a shift that will see the recruiting landscape change in a manner where traditional recruiters will fall behind and replaced by new, differently skilled recruiters, ready for the new challenges of recruitment.
What is this change and why is it so challenging?
The current global recruitment landscape is changing with a fast pace. The global war for the best talent is real i.e. the talent mass is geographically mobile and happy to move for the best job. Further, the talent mass is getting more demanding, not only in pay scales but also in terms of career progression and training & development. With the experienced talent pool shrinking noticeably in quality, recruiters are competing aggressively to attract candidates across different sectors.
Also, the graduate pool is alarmingly becoming “less skilled” with watered-down degrees making them under-prepared for the working life. Talent is becoming less loyal and more eager to switch companies on an average of every two years. We see the market competitors getting smarter in mapping out talent pools and attracting key personnel away from their current placements.Recruitment agencies keep failing in finding creative ways to attract the unique talent to their databases, hence bringing about the “recruitment chess” of the same talent across companies.
There is a fundamental essence of recruitment – “Not everyone is looking for a job”. The benchmark seems to suggest that only 10% of relevant/experienced talent is actively looking for a role at any given moment in time. So the best candidates relevant for your role/s are typically among the 90% of candidates who are not engaged in job searches.
Hence in a market that is full of challenges, companies must ponder on why they are focused on using recruitment agencies, posting on job boards, and CV searching, when they are not actually reaching out to the 90% non-active segment, which could include the best candidates out of the entire talent pool. Perhaps it's time for employers to play their role in accelerating the much-needed change that the area of recruitment is undergoing.
About the Author: Tehmina Kanchwala was the Regional Human Resources Manager at Makro Habib Pakistan Limited when this article was first published in the 8th TimeTrax HR Professionals NewsBeat in October 2011. Ms. Tehmina is currently serving as the Manager HR and Admin at Aga Khan Development Network.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

What does TimeTrax offer to the HR Manager?

Really, so What does TimeTrax offer to the HR Manager? 

A truly robust Human Capital Management Software solution, TimeTrax places tremendous power and precision in the hands of the HR department. From visibility into every action or transaction that an employee makes in the organization through the use of web-based eDashboard to granting each employee the flexibility and comfort of self-service for applying and viewing statuses of leaves, travel requests, expense approvals etc. through the use of smartphones and handheld devices. 

TimeTrax thus offers value to each individual in the organization individually and the HR department collectively; thereby improving its acceptance and ensuring a quick turnaround time coupled with a marked ROI.

TimeTrax achieves this feat by bringing the various HR functions under one unified web-based platform – from the basic monthly routine processes of Attendance/Leave/Travel/Payroll management to the periodic processes of Hiring/Documentation/Training/Separation management. The system goes on to provide the complex and highly strategic modules for Appraisal/Performance management and finally, the robust eDashboard for the senior management’s reporting needs.

Mr. Amir Shadmani, Plant HR Manager at Reckitt Benckiser states “We like it (TimeTrax) as a time keeping software, which reports in many different types with different formats & for gathering data of usual, time to time business requirements.”

Mr. Farhan Tariq Mir, Manager HR Planning at Wateen Telecom states “We are very pleased with the TimeTrax attendance system by EfroTech. It is a very useful tool, which is easy to use with good reports. Overall it is an excellent product.” 

Nearly 1,000+ business setups have taken benefit from the TimeTrax suite over the last 16 years. Taking note of which TimeTrax has been honored with the title of ‘Best Human Capital Management Software’ at 3rd Global HR Excellence Awards 2012 for its outstanding achievements and exceptional performance in IT industry, both within Pakistan and also in various countries where the solution is available through the company’s Reseller Network. 

This award is truly an acknowledgement of the revolutionary Human Resource Information System, powered by the dynamic team of software experts at EfroTech. Building on its specialization of delivering core BPS – Business Productivity Solutions – on the web-based and SAAS/ASP models, EfroTech is regarded as a major player in the HRIS/HCMS and Supply Chain Management solutions space in this region.

Mr. Syed Zamin Zafar, Senior Vice President – IT at Jubilee Life Insurance states: “It has been a pleasure working with Efrotech. We have good business relationship with Efrotech since the last 8 years. The TimeTrax of EfroTech is core application in NJI for the monitoring of attendance and maintaining the payroll of all employees with the network of 10 locations in Pakistan using more than 10 devices.”

Generic in its design, TimeTrax caters to the needs of Banks, Financial Institutions, Education, Engineering, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Information Technology, Telecommunications, Distribution, Healthcare, Trading, Shipping, Logistics, Media And Communication Industry with Organization size ranging from 15 Employees at Radiant Chemicals to an organization of 8,000+ Employees at Coca cola Beverages Pakistan Limited.

Mr. Abaidullah Anwer (Manager Business Systems) at Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited sums up as follows: “TimeTrax is core application in CCBPL for the monitoring of attendance of all permanent employees and third party labor more than 8,000 employees with the network of 18 locations and sales centers in Pakistan using more than 38 devices.”

Biometrics-based identification and access control is what makes the system most accurate and dependable. Utilizing fingerprint recognition as the core identification method helps in solving the complex problem of ensuring foolproof security. Staff can get access through fingerprints, RFID Cards or via their ID & password – or a combination of all of these.

Mr. Amir Riaz, Senior Manager IT at Cupola Group (KFC Pakistan) states: ” TimeTrax is a user-friendly application running in Multi-user environment to capture attendance, leave management with multiple attendance input options like RFID, Biometric and passwords which integrated with the Attendance system.”

Management Reporting is offered through TimeTrax as a variety of helpful tools to reduce time spent on paperwork and increase visibility to workforce. The Manager’s Dashboard – eDashboard – provides a quick overview of their entire workforce each day highlighting the number of late arrivals, absences, time-cards pending approval and leave requests. The most likable feature about the system is the leave request function, their employees can go in, put in a leave request and it goes in to their manager automatically and can be approved. 

Previously, the managers used to get faxes and emails from any of their various locations in multiple cities on log sheets, which they would then have to enter manually.  Now they have gone from a labor intensive, inaccurate system to something that is not only much more accurate, but provides visibility to the data, in one window.

TimeTrax system calculates the time each individual has worked based on pay rules, record their arrival and departure, providing managers with detailed information about attendance records, absenteeism, overtime including holiday and leave pay. It has multi-currency and multi branch setup, Loan Transaction, loan deduction, gratuity, expense claim & reimbursement, Complete track of quarterly, half-yearly and yearly allowances, Monthly payroll, pay-slip, salary advice, tax statements, EOBI statements and provident fund can be computed easily through ePayroll. 

TimeTrax also offers eLeave, an easy to use workflow tool that simplifies the process flows of planning, applying and approving of leave(s). Employee Self-Service (ESS) feature empowers your employees and department heads to self-manage leave applications and approval flow anywhere, anytime, through any browser and even on handhelds through mobile app.Employee’s Electronic Travel Manager through eTravel is a step forward in that direction which allows functional heads to manage and control their travel budgets with a click of a button, without introducing too many documents/formalities in the process. It has widely been appreciated and embraced by the organization due to its flexibility and user-friendly interface.

Shifa Ibrahim, Global HR Projects Manager, Global HR Business Partner Finance, IM & Marketing at AkzoNobel Powder Coatings states: “A truly Generic solution, eTravel is a lifesaver! Saving at least 10% of the time for HR, Admin and Finance personnel – even Line Managers – due to its comprehensive features which cover the whole Leave and Travel authorization cycle in almost every single industry vertical. Strongly recommended that HR professionals look into this intuitive solution and save valuable process time."

Not only a travel workflow tool that manages authorizations and monitors travel costs, it also acts as a link between the organization and the travel agents; maintains the travel calendar of the employees and the organization; keeps a track of the expenses and acts as the employees’ travel manager. It manages the Travel Workflow and Authorizations, shares information electronically with travel agents, tracks travel costs, and the corporate Travel Calendar is available online to promote effective collaboration.

EfroTech is now a global software solutions supplier for numerous Fortune 500 companies, providing services in Afghanistan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Oman, UAE covering ASEAN, Central & South Africa through its resellers and further has its software deployments in India, MENA, Europe and Latin America. The footprint is growing further at a tremendous pace.

Elizabeth Von Atzigen, Director HR at Sheraton Hotel states: “It has been a wonderful experience working with EfroTech. The focus and determination of EfroTech’s team is there, the solution provided by EfroTech is timely and suitable. They are available, with their expertise, whenever the need arises. EfroTech has proven our decision of selecting their services profitable by adding real value to business.”

In all, TimeTrax is able to deliver for the entire needs of any organization – from the CEO to the HR Manager to every single employee in the organization. Rightly thus TimeTrax is termed as ‘The Best Investment for your Human Capital’.

Including Home-Grown Technology in the (Graduate & Post-Graduate) University Curriculum

The average – and not so average – institute around the globe would have the likes of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft applications, besides others, as part of the curriculum for Human Resource, Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain disciplines to help students better understand the business processes in light of the software applications that are helping millions of organizations across the globe manage and monitor their processes.

This is an excellent step – equipping the students with the practical tools while exposing them to the theories and principals that have been kept in mind while developing these very applications. The flexibility these solutions offer the organizations is tremendous and are so generic in nature that an organization of virtually any size, maturity and industry can – almost always – customize them to their specific needs.

While the utility of inclusion of off-the-shelf software as part of curriculum has been in practice for decades and as such cannot be questioned for it truly has delivered a platform for fresh graduates to be recognized by their prospective employers as having a highly useful skill, the question does arrive though; ‘Why pay millions for licensing of expensive software, when just as good locally developed software solutions/products are available in the market?’. The question was posed to lecturers and professors at some of the leading universities in Pakistan and the response though skewed in favor of the original premise, was varied and some snippets are reproduced here:

The For:
"In an increasingly diversified and challenging business landscape, technology is playing vital role be it research, business positioning and promotion, corporate-academia linkages, distant learning programs etc.
IT market and more specifically customized solution providers in Pakistan have established themselves amongst the global giants. It is therefore expensive and unnecessary to buy off-the-shelf, orthodox solution from international sellers rather it is imperative that local solution providers who have grip over the challenges and can meet customization requirements of the institutions, with all global standards justified, are far better. Additionally software accommodations are easier and one on one interaction enhances the chance of continuous improvement. Hence it’s mutually beneficial to acquire systems and software solutions (like TimeTrax HCMS) domestically if available."
“Any automation/system implementation process needs to match the organisation culture, the indigenous business practices of the industry and process maturity of the implementing organisation. In the end system implementation should prove its worth in terms of the benefits it provides to catapult the organisation/workflow to the next level. The advantage of using localized/customized software (like BizzTrax ERP) over imported systems is that it is easier to customize to local demands and culture and so from a change management perspective- easier to gain acceptability. When one implements imported software, the software is built on assumptions of foreign regulations and culture. International software implementations fail in local environment because their systems pre-assumptions do not match local expectations and hence implementing the system workflow becomes difficult and often is shelved.”

The Against:
“The role of universities has changed in today’s age of information revolution. It is no longer transfer of knowledge from old professors to the young generation. Universities today must produce entrepreneurs and nurture creativity. Training them to use software that someone else has produced limits their potential. The students must be taught to create new software and found new software enterprises that can compete with the best in the world and consequently add to the national growth.”

The Conclusion (if you will):

While conflicting views would exist to any issue, it would be important to register the idea behind introduction either of the two solution sets into the curriculum and the underlying objective:

As part of the MIS curriculum to help students build an understanding of Information Systems. As part of the HR curriculum to give students exposure of an HRIS/HCMS application for performing operations, defining workflows and affects of various available policy options in their industry. As part of the Supply Chain curriculum to give students hands-on exposure of how demand planning translates into the production plan through BOM explosion and also how secondary sales visibility assists with procurement planning, and so on.

Note: The brand-names SAP, TimeTrax, Microsoft, BizzTrax and Oracle are registered trademarks of their respective organizations.