Faith in employees is key to success of entrepreneurs

For Indians employed in the private sector, the system of applying for sick leaves and casual leaves is all too familiar – a set number of days that keeps decreasing with every leave you avail. However, leaders from India Inc. are now championing a new approach to a company’s leave policy – trusting the employee.

At a panel discussion held as part of the Ascent Foundation Summit held in Mumbai on Thursday, industry leaders discussed the need to attract and retain the right talent for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and stressed on the need to build a relationship of faith between the employer and employees.

Speaking exclusively to Fortune India on the sidelines of the event, Harsh Mariwala, founder of Ascent Foundation and chairman, Marico said nurturing faith in the employees is crucial for any entrepreneur. He added that Marico demonstrated this by doing away with sick leave and casual leave several years ago. “If you’re sick, you’re sick; we trust you. Even if you’re sick for 20 days it’s okay,” Mariwala said. He added that culture building for an organisation has to start at the top, and policies and practices must reinforce the company’s values.

Lavanya Nalli, vice chairperson, Nalli Group of Companies, said she believed that employees feel a stronger sense of responsibility and ownership when they are trusted with autonomy. Nalli recounts that when her company removed the caps on allowances and accommodation expenses for travelling employees, they actually became more judicious with their choices.

She said that a company’s core values must be displayed in the processes. “Your frontline is the face of the organisation. We have empowered them; we have an apprentice model instead of just manuals and training programmes. They have a very strong induction program where they shadow a senior person,” Nalli said. The Nalli Group rarely hires laterally for mid-level positions as selections are usually made from within the company, she added.

Whereas Prabir Jha, president and global chief people officer, Cipla said he believes that companies must avoid falling into the trap of finding a ‘culture fit’ as a company’s culture cannot be static. “In these turbulent and disruptive times, we must be looking at ‘culture plus plus’, because the more plural your organisation is and the more diverse the perspectives and experiences are, your culture is likely to get more genetic strength,” he said.

Another mistake that entrepreneurs must avoid, according to Sunit Sinha, managing director, Accenture Strategy, Talent and Organisation, is believing the myth that what works in large global companies will not work in small organisations. “Human beings have the same needs whether they work in a global conglomerate, a small startup or a midsize company,” he said.

Commenting on the outlook for India’s startup space, Mariwala maintained that the trend for entrepreneurship in India is positive. “More youngsters want to start their own business. There is high degree of risk taking. There is a stronger support system, with a different set of financiers, HR services and consultants,” he said, adding that the ecosystem is developing at a better rate today than a few years ago.

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Despite the global headwinds in terms of trade war concerns, volatile crude oil prices and currency fluctuations coupled with domestic uncertainties given the current market condition and the upcoming elections, Mariwala said entrepreneurs should focus on the opportunities and not worry about the macros.

“When each entrepreneur is starting something, it’s just a drop in the ocean. Entrepreneurs should identify the opportunities and not get dissuaded by the macros. As long as there is stability and law and order, don’t worry about the macros,” he said.

He also went on to say that the current liquidity crunch especially in the financials space post the IL&FS debacle is a temporary setback. “Obtaining credit also depends on how strong the business model is. If you have a strong business proposition I don’t see funds as a barrier.”

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A Japanese company puts its employees to sleep

Hong Kong employees top the world with their long working hours. This means getting a decent amount of sleep is next to impossible for most workers in the city.

No one can deny that a full night’s sleep boosts performance and productivity at work, and eventually leads to a happier life. A company in Japan believes that well-rested workers can bring more benefits to the business and rewards employees for having enough sleep.

Employees at Crazy Inc, a Japanese wedding organiser, can choose to instal a sleep tracking app developed by mattress manufacturer Airweave. Points are given if the employee sleeps no less than six hours a night for at least five days in a week. The more days the employee has enough rest in a week, the more points they get. Workers can then use these points directly as money to exchange for food in the company cafeteria.

Kazuhiko Moriyama, founder of Crazy Inc, believes that employees with happier lives will lead to better performance in the office, and hopes this innovative reward scheme can promote a healthier lifestyle among workers, and hence, increase productivity.

According to Moriyama, this reward scheme was a pilot project, and the preliminary results showed the overall health of its employees had improved. It also enhanced employees’ work performance and creativity. As a result, the company has decided to adopt it as a long-term initiative.


Are you ‘future-fit’ for the 2030 workplace?

In a new release, Bianca Solomon, human capital manager at USB-ED, said: “As the world of work rapidly evolves, the predictions made for 2030 may be realized even sooner than we anticipate.”

“Fundamental shifts are already taking place in how talent will be perceived in meeting the needs of the 2030 workplace. Forward thinking leaders should look to embrace the benefits that technology and AI will enable in the working world of tomorrow and empower themselves with the learnings to be able to step into the future with confidence,” she continued. The release explained further on the changes expected in 2030:

Job roles

The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicted that 35% of the skills required for jobs today will change by 2030. And that 65% of children born today will pursue careers that don’t currently exist. On that note, you could see new roles such as a digital death manager, a microbial gut bacteria balancer or even an urban shepherd.

According to the release, industries predicted to grow the most fall under information technology (data, AI, machine learning, etc.), caregiving – especially as people are predicted to live for longer, education, management, medicine, smart product design and entertainment.


The release stated: “You’ll be hired through on-demand apps that match your skills to prospective employers (Uber for talent management) – perfect for a primarily outsourced workforce.”

“Additionally, all your medical, lifestyle and performance data will be in a central global database you can seamlessly share with HR managers. AI in HR will ensure a fair hiring process, with algorithms that eliminate unconscious bias and pick up pay disparities between genders, for example,” it added.


Most of your colleagues are also likely to be outsourced specialists capitalising on the gig-economy – this means you’re probably going to be flitting between employers and teams.

“Strong interpersonal and soft skills will stand you in good stead as increasing weight is placed on cross-collaboration between all facets of a company. Plus, a flatter hierarchy means most people operate on a similar level,” it said.


Co-operative workspaces will have quiet zones mapped out for the mood you’re in. For example, a creative red room could have floor-to-ceiling screens for immersive inspiration, while there could also be collaborative spaces for physical meetings or virtual reality catch ups.

Performance Management

With technology fast driving the industry, AI will play a big role in performance management. In fact, Humanzye already uses smart ID badges to track how well employees interact with each other.

AI could help minimise meeting requests and automate many of the niggling day-to-day tasks that take up so much time. It’ll also collect the data that proves performance and helps guarantee promotions.


The importance of information technology and ingenuity to catalyse quick idea generation will demand strong talent- and change management strategies. This means that innovative executives with good problem-solving skills will be seriously sought after – making executive training a must for companies and ambitious talent. Managers will also rely on AI to continuously provide data on staff performance to ensure a team is meeting its KPIs and to reward excellence.

“While no one can predict the future, the best way to be prepared for it is through continuous learning and training,” USB-ED recommended.


How A Telecoms Giant Is Using AI to Predict Its Future Workforce Needs

Diletta D’Onforio, Head of digital transformation at SnapLogic shares how a U.S. telecoms giant is using machine learning to predict its workforce hiring needs years from now, providing a glimpse into how AI will shape hiring efforts in future

Do you know the skills your organization will need five to 10 years from now to meet its evolving business goals? Some HR leaders may claim they do, but do they really have the capabilities to ensure an adequate supply of top talent when they need it?

The traditional recruitment model is a real-time or near-time process, driven reactively by the workforce needs of today. In most cases, a company recruits a headhunter to find a candidate with the right skills to fill a gap that exists currently or is about to open up. These recruiters use an an array of state-of-the art tools to support expeditious hiring — but they still lack the means to address long-term talent acquisition needs.

This a big problem. To execute on a long-term recruitment plan, HR leaders must not only be able to predict their future hiring needs but also fulfill demand when it arises. Today’s HR tools don’t support this long-term objective.

Now imagine your forecasts are vastly more accurate, and that locating elusive technical skills is as easy as hitting the return button on a keyboard. Imagine a tool that can rapidly locate wide-ranging skill sets around the world, wherever you need them, for essential roles that will open up at your business in the future. Years before these skills are actually required, an organization can cultivate relationships with individuals so that they’re ready to hire when the time comes.

This is no longer a pipe dream. My company is part of a team of technology suppliers that is working with a multibillion-dollar telecommunications provider in the U.S. to build just such an application. It uses the power of artificial intelligence — specifically, machine learning — to predict future hiring needs and source talent based on insights from hundreds of data sources. We hear a lot about AI these days, but this is a real-world case where it’s being put to work, illustrating what strategic hiring will look like in the years ahead.

The data sources employed include university databases, social and professional networking sites, applicant tracking systems, and specialized engineering, finance and HR blogs. We’re using these sources to build a “data lake” that holds a wealth of information about labor, education and employment trends worldwide.

We then apply machine learning to this data to extract insights that allow us to construct a long-term workforce planning model. On the supply side, for example, we can uncover patterns in the type and volume of qualifications being awarded by universities in specific regions around the world. If more students in Brazil are graduating with advanced degrees in data science, for example, we can uncover that data — and predict based on the current trends how those graduation patterns will evolve in the coming years.

The system also takes into account the evolving geopolitical and regulatory climate, to determine how they are likely to impact traditional outsourcing markets. This will allow our telecoms client to predict how its access to overseas labor will evolve, and determine how its strategy may need to adapt geographically.

On the demand side, the model looks at the company’s strategic business goals for the coming years to predict what type of skills it’s likely to need, and in what numbers. If the company wants to capitalize on the development of 5G wireless networks, for example, the model will look at hiring patterns in that field today — including those of competitors already working on 5G — to predict what its own needs are likely to be.

Armed with this data, the HR department can start building a pipeline now to fulfill its future talent needs. This can involve partnering with universities to fund student projects, for example, and nurturing relationships with the brightest students that may be beneficial in the years ahead.

At present, no HR organization I know of has such a comprehensive hiring system, but it illustrates how technologies like machine learning are being applied at the most forward-thinking businesses.

The benefits of such a system need not be limited to the corporate world, either. There will be nothing to prevent governments from adopting a similar technology to forecast their national labor needs, including the skills that will be required to support certain industries. By partnering with schools and universities, governments can ensure the right skills are being taught, in the right quantities and in the right locations. We still have a long way to go, but suddenly full national employment starts to look like a real possibility.


5 skills top HR execs say you should highlight to get the job you want in 2018

If you’re looking to change employers or even careers in 2018, it’s important that you start doing your homework now. The best place to start is learning what companies are looking for in potential employees.

Who better to turn to than the top HR execs of some of the leading businesses?

Here’s what talent acquisition managers from companies like Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft say they want to see from job applicants:

Prove that you are innovative
In an interview with job site Glassdoor, Facebook’s vice president of people Lori Goler says that applicants should show that they’re builders and learners.

Goler adds that she wants to hire people who are constantly educating themselves at the office and also contributing to the company’s growth through innovation–both attributes that can be highlighted on a resume.

Applicants should also highlight that they are risk-takers, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

On an episode of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s podcast, “Masters of Scale,” Zuckerberg explains that Facebook’s company culture promotes risk-taking and experimentation.

Applicants who are looking to score a job at the social media giant should focus on previous examples where they’ve tested out a new idea or innovative technique.

Show that you’re knowledgeable
With a drastic shortage of tech workers, IBM is now focusing on skills-based hiring rather than credentials to fill these roles, vice president of talent Joanna Daly tells CNBC Make It.

“About 15 percent of the people we hire in the U.S. don’t have four-year degrees,” she says.

To score a job at the tech giant, focus on hands-on experience that you’ve acquired. If you’ve taken any vocational classes that pertain to the industry you’re applying to, highlight those on your resume as well says Daly.

But most importantly, says one of their new hires Sean Davis, continuously hone your craft and show that you’re up to date on new technology.

Focus on the customer
“We start working backwards from the customer,” Amazon’s director of university recruiting Miriam Park tells CNBC Make It,

This customer-driven ideology has been a longtime mantra of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

Park says that you should highlight jobs where you have worked in a customer based role and focus on past work experiences that have dealt with the “customer profession.”

Lastly, she says, highlight examples where you made things better for the customer by going “above and beyond.”

Be passionate about the company
Brendan Browne, the global head of talent for LinkedIn, says that he looks for passion when hiring new employees.

Although certain roles do focus more heavily on tech-based “hard skills,” he also looks for softer skills, like enthusiasm and the ability to think quickly and efficiently.

Browne adds that you should also demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about the organization you’re applying to and their work.

“Show that you’re familiar with [the company],” the HR chief tells CNBC Make It. “Learn about the culture, mission and values.”

Be a leader who ’embraces the future’
Chuck Edward, Microsoft’s head of global talent acquisition, says that the tech company favors applicants who “embrace the future.”

The HR exec suggests that you highlight your past leadership experience on your resume and how you have “achieved results, progressed and learned” in prior roles.

The HR chief explains that these skills show aptitude, which people from different backgrounds possess. This widens the demographic of people that the company can employ, he says.

“It’s not always tech expertise,” Edward tells CNBC Make It, “[but rather] passion for what tech can do. That opens up a huge palette of people we can hire.”


Julie Holdaway Q&A: ‘It’s important that our staff are treated as well as any customer’

The head of HR at Harvey Nichols on a visit from Rihanna, and life in one of the country’s most glamorous HR departments

What have been your main challenges in your role at Harvey Nichols, and how close do you feel you are to solving them?

Harvey Nichols is a unique customer-facing brand – our main challenge last year was to really harness that brand value to develop an employer value proposition. A good EVP is essential not only for attracting top talent, but for delivering an internal experience that retains and engages employees so they feel capable of developing a long-term career with us.

We launched our improved careers website, and new work experience and apprenticeship offers, as well as an internal range of tools including an employer onboarding programme, competency workshops, a group-wide talent management process and an online peer-to-peer recognition scheme. For the remainder of the financial year we will be focusing on finessing and embedding these initiatives, and finding new and better ways of working.

People assume HR in Harvey Nichols is as glamorous as it gets. What’s the reality?

This is a glamorous place to work, not just for HR but for everyone. A particular highlight last year was launching Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty range – she made a personal appearance and met people from the various departments who had been involved in the launch, as well as those working in store. It’s very important for the Harvey Nichols culture that our staff are treated as well as any customer, which is backed up by a healthy discount for our employees.

How does the strength of your employer brand translate into the quality of candidates when you are recruiting?

People have always wanted to work with the brand; last year, we were working on improving the conversation around building our employer voice and outlining what you can expect of us as an employer, to encourage greater self-selection among our candidates. Particularly when it comes to places like London (much like our competitors), staff can be more transient given there are plenty of opportunities to work in different places, but Harvey Nichols does not experience anywhere near the levels of turnover I’ve previously been used to in retail.

How is Brexit likely to affect you, in terms of both current and future talent, and what steps are you taking to mitigate that?

Our biggest challenge has been in recruiting hospitality and bar staff, particularly in London. Of course Brexit is playing a big part in this, but there are always new restaurants opening up, in central and regional areas, where competition for staff is very fierce. We are taking steps to tackle it – with the launch of the new website, we have for the first time an area dedicated to hospitality careers and provision, and we are launching our first apprenticeship schemes for front and back of house hospitality roles, which will be rolled out shortly. We are not only focusing on this, but developing improved work experience and internship positions to attract talent into the business, reaching out to selected colleges and universities with information about the great range of jobs and careers with us.

How are you encouraging learning across the organisation?

When I arrived at Harvey Nichols, L&D worked quite separately from the HR function. I was committed to changing this, which meant getting everybody around the table – the head of L&D, talent management, operational HR and internal comms – and coming up with a combined solution for each phase of our employee journey. For the first time, HR and L&D were working together on content; when you are talking about managing performance, difficult conversations or recruiting people, your HR business partners are the people with the skills to feed into those training materials.

Everything about L&D and HR should be linked: you are never training for training’s sake, you are training the right amount of people so they can move into certain positions once they have the right skillsets. My vision for the future is an online Harvey Nichols L&D academy that houses everything, so people have more flexibility about how they access L&D. But there will still be face-to-face, on-the-job training – that will come first.

Julie Holdaway will be speaking at the Chief HR Officer Exchange, bringing together 50 senior HR executives and decision-makers from across the UK and Europe, on 30-31 January.


A Well-Oiled Machine: What’s Next In Human Resources Technology?


According to a study that we at PwC conducted, almost 40% of companies have already moved their core human resources (HR) applications to the cloud in 2017, and even more plan to migrate over the next few years. HR transformation is racing ahead. Robotic process automation, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence are hot. So are mobile and social enhancements using artificial intelligence. Yet digital solutions don’t deliver value unless you understand the experiences you need to create and you bring your people and culture with you.

Consider what’s changing. HR leaders are rethinking the definition of an employee. Some are looking at alternative part-time or contract opportunities in a cross-border environment and re-envisioning work to be more dynamic and collaborative. In turn, these changes could lead to a decrease in labor and office space costs for organizations. While good for the bottom line, these changes also present new challenges for the HR organization that must be addressed quickly, such as how to handle such a fluid workforce when it comes to tax compliance, onboarding or retention. Additionally, some companies are opting to use these changes as a competitive advantage. For example, by using analytics, companies can determine which employees are likely to leave so they can focus resources on retaining high-potential and high-performing individuals.

Given these wide-ranging developments, HR needs a seat at the table as a partner to the rest of the C-Suite. In addition to the basic blocking and tackling, these leaders need to collaborate with marketing due to brand impact, operations due to operation model enhancements, sales due to consumer demand for socially responsible companies, legal due to new contractual considerations, IT due to new and rapidly changing requirements, and strategy related to new innovations. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review report, 68% of executives have found that data and predictive analytics are important for planning, evaluating and informing decisions about the workforce. Cloud platforms are the best opportunity for these companies to keep up with the innovation and to enable new ways of teams working together.

PwC’s recent Global HR Technology Survey found that migrating HR processes to the cloud continues to happen at a record pace and that nearly one-third of those still using on-premise applications are planning their migration to the cloud. There’s no question that this better serves the workforce due to a variety of factors, including increases in usage of self-service tools and decreases in personnel costs.

So if your company is looking to strengthen collaboration and make sure all departments are on the same page, it is important to remember several things when moving HR processes to the cloud:

• Use a “land and expand” and “mobile from the start” strategy to focus both energy and resources. Mobile drives positive user experiences and anywhere/anytime access.

• Identify the variables that matter to your company. While it is good to gather experiences from others, focus on what you need, timelines that are realistic for your company and the internal/external resources you’ll require. Concurrently, set appropriate expectations for cost savings.

• Consider holistic savings, and do not be too aggressive on initial headcount savings. Each organization has unique considerations, and headcount may even increase in the short term to execute the change.

• Utilize new releases from cloud vendors since they help solve user experience issues and errors/defects/bugs. Although it’s a bit of a hassle learning how to keep up with the pace of change, the benefits of updated versions can far outweigh the effort.

• Create a change management and communications plan prior to starting and ensure that all key stakeholders and leaders are on board to champion the change.

The key to implementing all these emerging technologies and the shift to the cloud is to use advanced HR analytics. By using data from multiple data sources, focusing on key performance indicator visualization, applying predictive tools and increasing usage by other key stakeholders, companies can set themselves up for smooth integration, cost reduction and strategic differentiation.

(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)

HR should already have embraced artificial intelligence

Free stock photo of technology, astronaut, future, robot

Artificial intelligence in recruitment and performance management giving employees their key deliverables the day they join; measuring real-time performance through identified key performance indexes; and mapping employees’ development needs and creating succession plans for critical positions is now a workplace reality.


Chatbots helping candidates to pick the right jobs and enhancing their application experience, predicting employee trends using data analytics to help manage staffing, using instant sensing tools to gauge employee engagement, gamification of learning programmes with immediate feedback, using virtual reality for a virtual walk-through of critical company processes and even offices – these all sound like a set of a sci-fi movie, does it not?

Only the beginning

The only difference is that this is as real as it gets, and is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come in the next five years for the HR profession.

Five years ago, anyone saying any of the above would have been labelled as futuristic or a dreamer. But welcome to the age of complete disruption, where the future has caught up with HR. Technology has completely disrupted the one function that has always struggled to show tangible results. These inventions are enabling the function to demonstrate how it can impact businesses and their bottom lines.

With Gen Y-ers becoming the dominant work group, digital environments are the base operating standard for all organisations now. Gone are the days when HR professionals need to be interpersonally savvy. Today, they need to be tech-savvy.

They are expected to leverage technology at every level of the employee life-cycle to ensure that the mundane and routine tasks are eliminated not just from the employee’s life, but also from the list of tasks of the HR person so that they can focus on value-adding activities.

The role of HR technology has become not just critical, but an integral part of the talent management function. Today, an HR professional is expected to be on top of this technological wave as CEOs demand more accountability from HR and rush to make their talent the differentiator in the marketplace.

Shifting from output to outcomes

The whole focus of HR has shifted from output to outcomes as talent challenges take centre stage. With the global economic uncertainty, most organisations are experimenting with lean management strategies so as to try and maximise their financial outcomes.

With the intense war for talent and the changing demographics, CEOs today are looking to get the best people to focus on business priorities. Today, CEOs look towards HR to lead people transformation projects and on how their people can be leveraged to their full potential.

This includes the HR function itself too, where CEOs want HR to start focusing on adding value to the business and not spend time in administrative activities, which are being replaced by technological solutions.

As compared to five years ago, the amount of technology solutions available in the HR space has more than doubled. Employee self-help solutions, online performance management, digital learning, employee succession planning, digitised engagement and reward tools for employees are just some of the present basic requirements. Exposure to and knowledge of technological tools is an added advantage for HR professionals.

Adapt or perish

Today the conversations that happen are mostly in the areas of artificial intelligence and how HR can leverage it in its critical processes, how robotics can be introduced into employee’s day-to-day life, and how people analytics can help HR to help the business leaders anticipate and deliver more value to clients by being able to manage people challenges proactively.

So if you thought you could stay away from the dynamic and ever-changing technological world as you work in HR, think again. It is inevitable that if you do not embrace this technology world you would very likely struggle in your career.

In this age of smartphones and mobile apps, broadband and laptops, social media and instant communication, access to timely people and business data is becoming critical to the success of the HR function. So there is really only one inevitability for all HR folks out there: Either adapt or perish! The future of HR is here and it is happening now!


(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)