My Talk at Rajagiri Business School

Yesterday I gave a talk in Rajagiri Business School, Cochin on “Overview of HR Processes in Organizations”. This talk was organised Rajagiri Business Schoolby SHRM in partnership with Rajagiri Business School and it’s an attempt by the team to address unemployability by brining professionals and students to one platform. Having seen unemployability first hand during my campus recruitment days, I was quick to accept the opportunity to play my part in helping students of Rajagiri College become business ready.

I was careful to select content that I felt I could cover better than an academician or text books, bringing in my experience, statistics and Industry benchmarks in India. I covered the following topics:

  • Talent Supply Chain: Acquisition, retention, Development and exit
  • Staff type: Permanent, Contingent, and SOW – Difference, benefits, difference
  • Talent Motivation: Daniel Pink’s views on Motivation where he says job design must include Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
  • Modern learning organisation and intricacies
  • Overview on Indian HR Outsourcing Industry

But before I could touch upon these topics, I wanted to gauge the current understanding of the students on what HR brings to an organisation. Thus a small plot was arranged were I said a company decides to downsize its HR team to unsustainable levels starting with the CHRO. The company starts to show cracks in its performance and eventually collapses. I requested to students to list what starts to fail in order of sequence. And here is a sample answer I received from the students:

  • Talent acquisition stops
  • Employee engagement reduces
  • Conflict is not managed right resulting in high profile exits
  • Performance appraisals stop and employees start to quit
  • Internal communication from management stops and there is no sense of direction
  • Payroll errors creep into system
  • HR technology landscape
  • And a few more tactical points…

I was quite impressed with student’s ability to articulate these and I later added other functions such as learning and the gambit of HR Strategy that is expected to get affected. I took each of these points and informed the students on what’s latest buzz in the market on each of these HR topics.

After I covered these topics individually, I started with my presentation which starts with talent supply chain. Since my expertise is in recruitment, I dealt with the whole gambit of recruitment and informed students on each source of talent and their pros and cons and limitations. Then I discussed statistics in recruitment: source wise contribution, funnel etc and took questions as and when they came.

Students were very keen to understand how executive search assignments are executed, so I spent some time on it and also shared names of top executive search firms for Googling them later.

Once I completed the talent acquisition I moved to talent engagement, where showed them the video by Daniel Pink on Employee Motivation and connected that to job design and how we could as HRs do a better job of managing motivation among employees intrinsically. I wanted to cover Gamification but decided against it. I spoke about benefits of having a clearly articulated Employee Value Proposition and clinging HR interventions in congruence with it.

Since I wanted to cover consulting methods and challenges with students, I took a case of a company that in recent past had experienced high attrition. We discussed how a team of consultants would approach this issue and resolve it. Students were forthcoming with suggestions and we were able to proceed very analytically to solve the client challenge.

The only surprise was that students did not have much idea on HR analytics. Since I personally believe this is an area of top growth opportunity, I felt students should be motivated to explore this field. I briefed them about how companies use dashboards to understand performance and bring in HR interventions. We discussed the analytics maturity models: Dashboard à advanced reporting à advanced analytics à predictive analytics. I could not deal with this part much but perhaps the introduction would raise enough curiosity among students to go on their own exploring the field better.

Over all it was a very fulfilling experience for me. I find students of Rajagiri very energetic and keen on learning. I most certainly find them better prepared to face the challenges of corporate world. I wish them all the luck!

Discerning Unemployability – III

In my first blog on Unemployability I touched upon the scale of the issue and captured popular beliefs among skilled and educated community. In my second blog I touched upon work done by various stake holders such as college, UGC/AICTE, Government, University and industry to address it. We realized from the two blogs that many people realize the scale of this issue and do see it as a ticking time bomb that can hamper India growth story. We also found that a lot of work is happening in the field of education to eradicate unemployability and government is backing with large funding.

However very limited innovative work has happened in this field; the new era of social networking is bringing regime change in Arab world but such as powerful tool isn’t being utilized to improve education and eradicating Unemployability. In this blog, I shall present to you a model that would be used to bring about a tectonic shift in the field of education to address Unemployability.

Students of today’s time are highly empowered to muscle their way through Unemployability. But they need help. Critical help that those who received made a marked progress. That help is consistent GUIDANCE and MENTORING. So often we come across people who say; if I had had a mentor guiding me, perhaps things would have been different. But those days, only lucky ones got the guidance at the right time and those few flourished. Time has now come to change the scenario and make a scalable way to help students find mentors for themselves.

Many motivation sciences have spoken about inner urge of people to give back to the society. Wiki is biggest evidence that people are motivated to share their knowledge. We therefore believe that skilled class folks would be interested in sharing their knowledge to the society. One such way to share knowledge is through mentoring a student. Benjamin Disraeli said “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own”.

I believe we sorely miss an organization that takes charge to build a channel where people keen on mentoring are provided an opportunity to select their pupil. Social networking platform on Facebook/Google+ could be used to create such a platform. This platform will enable skilled working class folks to select needy students and guide them to fight Unemployability. A broad model is given below for the same:


Enhancing Mentor effectiveness:

  • Market the platform to spread awareness
  • A selection mechanism to ensure genuinely interested people become mentors
  • A training course to ensure interest is converted into serious mentoring experience for students
  • Management of mentors

Enhancing Student receptiveness:

  • Market to student community to spread awareness
  • An assessment so that mentor is made aware of current standing of the student
  • Aoth from student to ensure they provide consistent support to the program
  • Engagement program with students.

In conclusion, if students are selected and aloowed to engage with skilled people then I believe mentor-student relationship will flourish and students will be able to fight Unemployability.

I request you to present their thoughts on this model. Let us know if you ever desired for a mentor. Did you find a mentor among your lecturers? Whether you would be keen on becoming a mentor? And your over all opinion on whether this step could be a major step to eradicate Unemployability.
Came across this beautiful initiative by government of India and UGC to uphold quality of higher education in India.

Discerning Unemployability

As part of my campus recruitment effort for one of our largest clients in BPO vertical, I evaluated more than 5000 student candidates in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore over a two month period. The poor performance of large number of students was very disappointing. A little bit of googling helped me understand that what I had experienced is called “unemployability” and the extent of it.

To understand the gravity of the issue, let me present some facts. The total number of people interviewed to the people who were offered in current context is 100:8. This ratio is actually very alarming because it has direct impact on company’s effectiveness in terms of predictability of getting right talent at right time. Also management’s time is spent on people who wouldn’t be good enough to be hired and pushing up the cost of recruitment. More alarming is the same ratio we observed during campus recruitment drives. It was 100:2.3!! This poor hiring ratio increases the cost of hiring, making campus recruitment unviable.

Campus recruitment is essentially a market place where companies and students meet to exchange skill for remuneration. Prohibitively high cost of campus recruitment is destroying this market place. Flourishing market is key to a nation’s success and thus it is in our interest to ensure the hiring funnel is brought to optimum levels and companies don’t find hiring at colleges prohibitively expensive. This would ensure campus market grows and spreads prosperity throughout nation.

Discerning Unemployability: Unemployability isn’t inability of a person to find a job but inability to find a job that is commensurate to one’s qualification for reasons such as found unfit by potential employers. Critic in the reputed magazine, The Economist believe that there isn’t anything called unemployability, there only exist low productivity among the educated but semiskilled.

I did a survey to find what people thought about unemployability and its causes. The results are like this:

Purpose of asking this question was to see if people have experienced this issues in their lives and whether they would also agree that the problem is grave.

There are several stakeholders who could contribute to eradication of this social evil however this question helps us answer who should lead the movement, clearly Colleges.

Government has taken several steps to improve the quality of teaching in colleges. Raise in minimum salary for professors, other training programs for teachers is clearly a step in the right direction. This perhaps shows in this graph, where some people find lecturer quality to be not the major issue.

Perhaps the issue dealt in movie 3 Idiot isn’t the gravest issues afterall!!

Looks like examination as a sole method of measuring performance of a student isn’t contributing to the issue.

I need your help in understanding this graph, so please use the comments section!

Clearly, communication is a major area to be addressed. Thankfully several government agencies and NGOs are working in this direction. I would like to specially present the success achieved by JKC, Jawahar Knowledge Center. Folks here have done great job in addressing communication skill issues and computer literacy among government college students. The dedication shown by these people, has certainly helped AP Government make one step towards solving unemployability issues. If you desire to read more about JKC then click on this: JKC

Thankfully everyone feels passionate about the issue and many are even ready to contribute time towards resolving the issue. This pie chart really motivates me to take some steps towards solving such an issue. As a next step, I would study work done by various stake holders in resolving this issue and understand what critical step is missing. In the meanwhile if you desire to participate in the survey that helped us collate this information, then please do so by clicking here.


I wrote second part of this blog, here is the link: