Thursday 25 September 2014

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.