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Baljit Singh Ahluwalia
Baljit Singh Ahluwalia

Baljit Singh Ahluwalia

Training Leader - Gustav Kaeser Training International

Gustav Kaeser Training International

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Qualities that we Look For While Hiring:
Besides the IQ, I always look at the EQ element. I would rather have people who are emotionally balanced and can work in a conducive manner within a team. For me individuals do not matter much - how do these individuals get together to focus on the team / organization goal is more important.
Relationship with HR and Top Management
The relationship between the HR function and the CEO is integral to the business. Gone are the days, when the HR function worked in isolation to recruit people and look after the appraisals. The HR department plays a proactive role in planning, organizing and implementing business goals in close co-ordination with the operational function. In fact, HR function is an effective conduit between the CEO and Operations. One successful HR professional that comes to mind is Mr Mohandas of Infosys.
Advice For Fellow HR Leaders:
The HR leaders need to move out of their comfort zone and contribute more effectively to organizational goals / objectives. Other wise, they run the risk of their jobs being out sourced. HR function will always be an important cog in the machinery - the HR Leaders need to be conscious of their roles and not be run rough shod by others.
Helping to develop the country
Professionals working in Organizations need to look beyond the horizon and focus on activities beyond organizational goals and objectives. A lot of professionals engage in activities like the adoption of a village, sponsoring a child's education, focus on upliftment of the children of a village and ensure equality of a girl child. We need to focus on the enhancement of our village population - considering the fact that they comprise 70% of our population. The emancipation of the village population will ultimately lead to a developed India.
Parting Thoughts
I would like to reiterate once again that it is time that our professionals working in MNCs / Indian Companies, public and private sector employees, and the government officials need to contribute some of their time in focussing towards the upliftment of our rural population. This yawning gap between the urban and the rural population needs to be addressed, if we have to be counted amongst the developed countries.
HR Challenges:
The ever changing business scenarios puts an additional burden in putting the right human resourcing strategies in place. A new business, developing business and a mature business requires different types of people. BPO / KPO business which has been a relatively recent business in the Indian market has undergone a radical change in the last 10 years. The quality of manpower 10 years ago is no longer available. The pool is drying up - from employing graduates / post graduates, the Call center business is forced to look at 10+2 candidates. Like wise, in any other business which requires volume recruitment, the HR has to be creative in getting the right numbers.
Recruiting new generation:
The biggest challenge in the present scenario is employee retention. The HR folks go round the bend to retain talent. Generation Y is not ambitious but are like a group of misguided missiles. During my stint at TransWorks, I had written a Case Study which highlighted the challenge of new hire retention and ways to address them. This case study got a Special Award from Mr Kumaramangalam Birla. Like wise while working in Dell, I did an Executive Belt quality initiative to highlight the challenges of retention. In BPOs, the annual turn over of manpower is close to 100%. If we do the maths, it would be worthwhile to put into place a robust retention policy.
Identifying and Promoting New Leaders:
That is an interesting and intriguing question. We need to move out from the notion that seniority in the Organization merits promotion. A well documented policy which takes into account the individual's performance and exhibiting initiatives which show cases the interest and hunger for growth is essential. There is a lot of difference between individual performers and team leaders. There are examples galore when it has been seen that an individual performer when catapulted into a leader's position, proved to be a dismal failure. An organization must ensure that it has in place a structured OD plan which prepares its employees for the next level.
HR Strategies In Place
My experience in the Corporates has been primarily in the BPO / KPO sectors. The focus has been two fold - how to recruit quality employees and train them in a holistic manner. Having done that, the next key strategy is to have a robust retention policy in place.
Recommended Reading
The internet is flooded with articles and write ups which can be handy. Books like Stephen Covey's 'Seven Habits of highly successful People' and Phillip Kotler's books on sales and marketing are some of the ready reckoners.
Current HR Trends:
A closer linkage with Business and Operations is the order of the day. The role of HR is ever increasing and there is more on their plate than ever before. A focus on work life balance for the employees is also gaining importance and the HR folks need to think out of the box to address these issues.
Leadership Programs in Place:
While working in the Corporates, I have conceptualized two initiatives which have stood the test of time. The first one ( Mgmt U ) is a five day Workshop for newly promoted people managers. The focus is primarily on team building and leadership. The tenor of the program is an amalgamation of learning and fun. The second one ( Mgmt V ) is a three day Workshop addressing Mgrs, Sr Mgrs and AVPs. This program focuses on concepts and thought provoking discussions. These initiatives have been successfully introduced in TransWorks and Zenta and have given great results.
Improving Education system
Our education system is comparable to the best in the world. There are two suggestions to make here. The huge gap between the IIMs and IITs of the world and the rest of the Institutions need to be reduced wherein other Institutions can churn out quality students. The second one is to make our curriculums more practical in approach. The connect between theory and practice must be addressed.
Attract good people, Retain Better Performers and Advance the Best:
I have already spelt out my thoughts in the earlier questions which talk about hiring quality employees, have a great retention policy in place and promote the employees through a well structured appraisal policy. All three attributes are essential contributors to a successful HR function.
Pain Points:
The pain areas of HR is to have a strategic resourcing structure in place. Having the right employees in place and training them adequately, the next pain area is to keep the employees motivated and strike the right balance between work and life. One can never be satisfied with the existing policies in place. What has worked this year, may not be relevant next year. The need for thinking different will always work.
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