Strategies to become an employer of choice

October 6th, 2017 No comments


Strategies to become an employer of choice

HR must continue to gain ground as the chief people strategist by providing attraction and retention techniques that create an employer of-choice environment.  Simultaneously HR must demonstrate a measurable ROI on human capital. These critical trends will continue to present both challenges and opportunities for the HR professional.

Becoming the employer of choice


Becoming and remaining an employer of choice is the top-ranking HR-related challenge organizations face today. Establishing employer-of-choice status is HR’s responsibility, and if HR does this well, all other practices become subordinate to this goal. The most important objective on the people side of the business is establishing a place where individuals want to work and remain working. HR should be concerned with providing potential, current and even past employees with this environment. Employees need a culture, a place in which to grow and feel good about their surroundings.

HR should be the designated keeper of the corporate culture. At its best, HR can be instrumental in creating or maintaining a culture that is truly great. HR must first clearly identify the kind of culture the company should have, then define that culture for the workplace and support the environment that emerges. An identifiable culture attracts employees, gives them a sense of purpose and offers a basis for participation in decision-making.

Branding promotes culture, it is indeed an HR function because of its power to attract and retain employees. Working together with marketing, HR must develop a compelling brand image for the workforce. Great companies do not create an external brand for customers and an internal brand to attract employees. Instead, they leverage their external brand for internal recruiting.


Winning the war for talent

Recruiting and Retaining Over Time:  Given suitably competitive offerings with respect to compensation, culture is an organization’s number one recruitment and retention tool. In an employer-of-choice environment, it is not necessary to pay top dollar if other key factors are in place. See value in pursuing the best and brightest. Simultaneously, future talent shortages and the expense of recruiting over retention give these employers a consistently keen eye for keeping their top performers.  Make every employee in the company a recruiter.

Leveraging an Essential Player: Technology : Meeting today’s HR challenges would be impossible without technology, a critical practice in and of itself. Most people want to work for companies that have good technology. For example, college graduates accustomed to using the internet for their work, research, thesis, and case studies expect the latest technology on the job. Given the widespread availability of technology, a company lacking in this component will not qualify as an employer of choice for the emerging workforce.


Contributing to the organization as a strategic business partner

HR’s role as a strategic business partner comes from both the company and HR’s own initiatives. One factor that supports HR in functioning better in the business world and becoming a key business partner is an appropriate use of the right technology. Technology can help HR assess opportunities, manage risks, take action, and communicate with employees. Measuring performance and tying it to overall business objectives is essential for demonstrable results at the corporate level. Yet an unfortunate number of performance evaluation criteria have nothing to do with overall company objectives. Measuring things like clocking in on time and getting along with co-workers does not provide tangible data that ties employee performance to overall company success. HR needs to evaluate the factors that have a direct impact on corporate objectives.


Cultivating leadership through e-learning and development

Most people instinctively want to learn, which is very different from being “trained.” Learning is an environment that promotes the ability to gain knowledge, whether via a course, access to expertise in the form of mentors, or participation in innovative projects. Loyalty to a single company is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. While culture attracts a new hire, the reason an employee stays on is because the working environment is challenging and meaningful, engendering growth and development. The number one reason an employee leaves a company is lack of respect of the immediate supervisor. The culprit is the aging workforce, which causes organizations to promote younger individuals before they might be ready to be managers.

While technology is better today than ever, today’s e-learning is only in its infancy. In this new world, people learn what they need to learn on their own time, at their own pace. Right-brain people can have more on-the-job learning, while left-brain thinkers can do more analytical learning online. Usually e-learning is accessed via collaborative self-service that leverages third-party expertise and/or content, which is what many are calling knowledge management today. In the future, e-learning will simply be a way the workforce is developed on an ongoing, just as needed basis.


Recognizing the workforce as a profit center

HR responsibilities include many specific details involving compensation, workforce trends and so on. However, it is critical that HR can answer questions such as:

  • Who are our top performers and how can we retain them?
  • Who are our high-potential employees and how can we develop them?
  • Who are we at risk of losing and how can we reduce that risk?

Thinking globally while complying locally

Even small organizations deal increasingly with customers and employees on a global basis. Great companies know how to think globally and comply locally. They act like a global organization, yet an understanding of the local environment permeates every relationship. Making global differences a part of corporate culture is a valuable endeavor. Indeed, diversity itself is a source of greatness. Organizational headquarters that have the attitude that “corporate knows best” will have a difficult time instilling a viable culture.


Incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the organization

For years companies have been moving away from hierarchical, structured environments because they are neither effective for organizing nor comfortable for employees. HR needs to mirror this movement by allowing employees — particularly managers — to be flexible, adaptable, and nimble. For example, instead of restricting a creative requisition that strays from an exact, predefined job description and salary range, HR can allow for variances that fit special circumstances. Guidelines, rules, and benchmarks are important, but flexibility is even more critical, particularly where people are concerned. Collaboration with all constituents requires adaptability. Organizations today are less about physical structure than logical structure supported by technology. Before doing anything else, HR must create a flexible environment where top prospects seek to be employed. This is a place where employees look forward to coming to work, enjoy working while they’re there, feel they play an important role in the company, and want to stay because the company is continuing to develop them and care about them.

HR ties in all the ingredients for success and leverages technology to capitalize on economic and organizational change. Successfully turning HR challenges into opportunities to become an employer of choice creates a dynamic place where people want to work and choose to remain. Efficiency, effectiveness, and monetary return are characteristic of the employer of. These lay the groundwork for world-class HCM.

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Jumping businessman in office . Mixed media

Organisation Structure and Design

September 23rd, 2017 No comments



Organisational Design is the formal process for integrating the direction, information, people, and technology of an organisation to ensure alignment with business strategy. It is used to match the form of the organisation as closely as possible to the outcomes that the organisation seeks to achieve.


Organisation structure – formal framework for jobs, tasks to be divided, grouped and coordinated Organisation design – process that involves decisions about

  • work specialization
  • departmentalization
  • chain of command
  • span of control
  • centralization and decentralization
  • formalization




  1. Divides work to be done into specific jobs and departments
  2. Assigns task & responsibilities associated with indv. jobs
  3. Coordinates diverse organizational tasks
  4. Clusters job into units
  5. Establishes relationships among individuals, groups & departments
  6. Establishes formal lines of authority
  7. Allocates and deploys org. resources




  • Early in 20th century, Henry Ford – division of labor concept in his assembly line, workers assigned specific, repetitive task-helped increase productivity
  • Today Work specialization means degree to which tasks in an organization are divided into separate jobs
  • By 1960’s human diseconomies form being too specialized offset the advantages – boredom, fatigue, stress, poor quality
  • Managers see it as important organizing mechanism but not source of ever-increasing productivity
  • Broaden job scope, teamwork and reduced work specialization




  • Process of grouping together jobs and people into separate units to accomplish Organisational goals.

5 common forms


Functional departmentalization (group by functions performed)

Geographic departmentalization (basis of territorial area)

Product departmentalization  (groups jobs by product line)

Customer departmentalization  (on the basis of common customers)

Process departmentalization  (group on basis of product process or customer flow)

Customer departmentalization – used to better monitor customer needs cross functional Teams – flexible interdisciplinary teams replaced traditional functional groupings




  • Continous line of authority that extends from upper organizational levels to lowest
  • Who reports to whom. “Who do I go if I have a problem?” “To whom am I responsible?”

3 Elements involved – authority, responsibility, unity of command



Rights inherent in a managerial position to tell people what to do and to expect them to do it


The obligation or expectation to perform any assigned duties

Unity of Command

The principle that a person report only to one superior



  • Authority, responsibility, chain of command less relevant because of IT and employee empowerment
  • Employees can access info that used to be available to managers
  • Also using computers employees can communicate directly without going through chain of command
  • Employees empowered to make decisions – management use self-managed teams,
  • New organization designs with multiple bosses continue to be implemented, therefore traditional concepts of authority, responsibility and chain of command becoming irrelevant




  • Number of employees a manager can supervise effectively and efficiently.
  • Classical view – not more than 6 (small span)
  • Helps determine no. of levels and managers
  • New (contemporary) viewpoint span of control increasing
  • Flatter organization
  • Less direct supervision, well trained and experienced staff




  • How much decision making authority has been delegated lower levels
  • Classical – centralised decision-making
  • As organisation become more complex and dynamic – decentralize decision making
  • Decisions should be made by those the who have best information to make those decisions
  • Empowerment is a managerial approach in which employees are given substantial authority and say to make decisions on their own
  • Involve business decisions
  • Design & prod. Of products
  • Front line/desk service counters




Degree to which jobs within org. are standardized

Extent to which employed behavior guided by rules and procedures

Explicit job descriptions, clearly defined procedures covering work processes



Mechanistic org.- rigid, tightly controlled organic – highly adaptive and flexible


Mechanistic Organic
High specialization Cross-functional Teams
Rigid Departmentalization Cross-Hierarchical Teams
Clear Chain of Command Free Flow of Info.
Narrow Spans of Control Wide Spans of Control
Centralization Decentralization
High Formalization Low Formalization

Strategy and Structure – innovators need flexibility, cost minimizers seek efficiency, tight controls of mechanistic structure

Size and Structure – large (2000 employees) – more specialize, departments > mechanistic whereas Small co. – organic, loose, flexible Technology and Structure – Batch (or unit) production – organic, Mass production – mechanistic, and Continuous process production – organic


Environmental Uncertainty and Structure – mechanistic structure suitable for stable simple environment. Global competition, accelerated product innovation by competitors, increased demands for high quality and fast delivery are dynamic environmental forces. Need lean, fast flexible.


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What if my boss doesn’t like me

August 22nd, 2017 No comments

What if my boss doesn’t like me? Lessons from Vishal Sikka’s exit for job seekers with experience

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka. Express archive photo.

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s resignation throws up pertinent question for most of us: Can I afford to quit? Job searches get tougher with age, especially when hiring these days seems skewed towards younger folks or specifically those below 35.

It is probably the reason why most of us stick to our current jobs despite the pressures they bring along. Experience sometimes fails to tilt the scales in a constantly changing work environment.

However, there is hope. Devashish Chakravarty, director, executive search at, lists out few things you can do to optimise your job search, especially when you are older and experienced.

If you are in your 30s
The secret here is to plan not for the current job search but the one after that. You have tried different things, acquired a bunch of skills and a few lines on your resume. Now figure out how you will give direction to your career to position yourself well for the highest income earning decade ahead.
While you seek professional and personal stability, you can still afford take a few calculated risks if you haven’t found your calling yet. Build a few months’ savings for a rainy day, invest 6-8 hours every week in search and enjoy and learn from each new interview and interaction. Seek opportunities where you can make an impact so that you can create expertise and reputation for future roles
Volunteer for leadership roles in your current firm and invest in relationships with your coworkers, clients, ex-bosses and industry professionals. They will be your professional network for future jobs and especially in the next job search. Seek mentors and approach your current employer for a change in role
If you are in your 40s
For most professionals, this is the most productive decade of your career in both earnings and impact. The challenge during your job search is to convince your new employer that you are worth the cost. Identify opportunities based on the impact you want to make, the legacy you will build and the recognition and satisfaction you seek.
Now build a story of progression in your career till date. Invest in crafting a resume that justifies your subject matter expertise, your brand and worth and highlights your recent achievements while compressing your past into a few lines. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is an abridged version of your resume.
Now use all three modes of search— professional network, recruitment agencies and applying to openings advertised online. Make sure you look for a job while holding on to your current one. Do not rule out jobs based on description alone since that is rarely a true picture of what the hiring manager is looking for.


In an interview, focus on the numerical impact you have made in the past. For example, decreased production cost by 12% and how you plan to make a similar difference for the new employer.
If you are 50 or above
Employers fear that candidates in their 50s or 60s will not have the required energy, motivation, intellectual responsiveness and ability to work with younger people. Additionally, they may be too expensive. Your aim, therefore, is to change the misconception so that you get a fair chance at finding a new job. Learn to make a serious LinkedIn profile as well as a professional error-free CV that is no more than a page and focused on the last 10 years ..
Change your email id to a contemporary one. Stay physically fit and well-dressed to convey your energy and willingness to work. Work hard in practicing for the interview. Most senior professionals are sloppy in their approach to job search expecting opportunities to come to them and interviewers to respect their age.
They thus convey laziness and lack of need for a job. While you search for an opportunity, keep yourself involved in volunteer/unpaid roles, invest in gaining familiarity with workplace technology and take online classes to stay on top of your game. Reach out to age-friendly companies and in interviews, share stories of how you successfully worked with younger colleagues and bosses.
As you get older, be flexible about roles and compensation and demonstrate your wisdom, dependability and openness during interactions. Stay positive and do not display anxiety or desperation during a job search
Just follow these mantras when you feel age is not on your side

Think mindfully
Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer’s experiments show mental agility and even physical health is a flexible number depending largely on how you chose to perceive the world. Think mindfully and notice daily changes and newness around you to improve your mental and psychological abilities.

Think profits
Figure out how you can create more cash for an entrepreneur or a business and seek a portion of the profits you generate. Any business will ignore your age if it can pay you from future cash you bring or free up. Both sales by commission and accounting by the hour are examples.
Think expertise
Age is not a handicap for a doctor or a lawyer. Expertise is highly valued and most expertise comes from experience. Identify your domain expertise that someone with lesser age or experience cannot provide. Crisis management and complex negotiations qualify here.
Think mentoring
When the job market focuses on hiring inexperienced youngsters, it creates opportunities for experienced people to train and bring teams up to speed. Even in your current job, a proactive teaching and mentoring role will make you more valuable for managerial and leadership positions.
Think results
Think and talk about outcomes instead of skills or experience. Can you turn around the sales performance of a region? Can you cut down procurement costs? When you offer yourself in the job market, discuss tangible results that you are willing to commit and link your compensation to.


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