5 ways to get back to work after a break It’s not easy to get a satisfactory job after a hiatus, especially for women. Here are the various options that can help you kickstart your career all over again, says Chandralekha Mukerji.

A returnship programme works like an internship and acts as a bridge to get back to job. Companies recruit on a temporary basis, test the but are say up your and , industry likely do after skills not upgrade to six expect and be standard months train paid yourself the for you , compensation if for the you , . so They the projects that perform position then you you absorb to well can . “ match Nearly work catch . You you on , , II 70-80% of the candidates get an offer letter Tech Most bring facilitator company after , completion big women Dell companies ,” , , relauncHER says IBM back , L Jyotika of ’Oreal to their like work , a and Singh Tata training platform after Maybelline , , GE founder a , with Cisco career that the and , helps have HCL break. II returnship programmes, only for women. “This is because over 90% of the resumes with career breaks are of women,” says Sairee Chachal, founder, SHEROES, a mentorship and job search platform for women professionals.



Finding a job is tougher when you have taken a break and lost touch with the right people in the industry. Here, return-towork boot camps, like the ones by SHEROES and relauncHER, help. These workshops provide a networking platform to accelerate the hiring process. They arrange for industry meet-ups and create forums for networking with the HR heads and industry leaders, who can mentor you to make the process smoother. “Returning to work after a break requires realigning priorities with reality and a struc tured approach, and an ecosystem helps one build better momentum,” says Chachal. However, these forums do not guarantee recruitment and you have to be open about opportunities. “Understand that you might have to start at a level lower than the one you had earlier, and you should be ready to explore new avenues,” says Singh. 

You may not realise it, but volunteering can help you find employment, especially if you are trying to learn new skills or shift to a new sector. An employer values an on-job experience more, so rather than doing a course to upgrade your knowledge, you can give your services for free to fill the gap in your resume. You can also try overseas volunteering. The selection criteria are quite simple. The companies might ask only for a graduation degree in the area of work, or for an interview. Most of these programmes also give you a stipend. Organisations like iVolunteer Overseas can help you find such opportunities in areas like health, disability, education, livelihood and community empowerment.


  Don’t want to go back to a nine-to-five schedule? There are many part-time options for professionals with prior experience. You can take up projects, be a freelancer or choose a flexi-time option, wherein you can work in an office or from a remote location, your home. These options typically look for experience in business development, recruiting, programming, teaching, marketing communication and content development. People with technical skills, such as Web or graphic designers or JavaScript engineers, will also find ample opportunities. If your profile or skill-set doesn’t match these, try approaching a start-up or a small firm, which values your experience and is more flexible with the recruitment policy. You can, of course, be a consultant in your area of expertise. 


 Starting a business is gratifying, but has its challenges, more so if you are returning to the market after a long time. A franchise or an affiliate programme, where you become a part of a partner network, can be a safer route. “It allows you to de-risk the operation with established business models and a support structure provided by partners,” says Singh. You receive training to run the business along with support material. One of the constraints here is initial investment. For instance, even a low-cost franchise, as the one from SmartQ Education Solutions, a Mumbai-based venture in afterschool educational activities and workshops, requires a one-time, non-refundable, initial partner fee of 40,000 and 2,000 for the joining kit. The renewal fee is 10,000 annually. Another draw back is time commitment and complete control of your business. “Franchises can be very demanding and interfering,” says Singh. So plan realistically before signing up.

Source : The Economics Times

Date : 28/4/2014

TRENDINC Headhunters bear risk of mis-hiring at top Agree To Staggered Payments, Give Cos Time To Judge Performance Of New Exec Namrata Singh & Shubham Mukherjee TNN

Mumbai:It’s no longer incumbent on just a fresh recruit to prove his worth in a new company. The headhunter who helped place him has an equal stake in his performance, or the lack of it. The job of a hiring agency now extends beyond the placement of a suitable candidate as companies wait to see how a new hire performs before they finally release the full payment to the placement firm. 
    In a marked departure from existing norms, this is the kind of risk-sharing arrangement some executive placement firms are now entering into with companies. That’s because the cost outgo on account of mis-hiring appears to be on the rise and, according to industry estimates, it can be anywhere between 26% and 100 % of the annual compensation package. Clearly, the accountability factor has risen when it comes to senior-level placements in organizations. 
    Executive Access (India), a leading search firm, for instance, puts 50% of its fee at stake for a CEO placement as part of a new initiative it’s working on with certain clients. This amount is recovered after the CEO placement is successful in the new organization. Similarly, at the CXO level, the agency staggers 40% of its fee to be paid 3-6 months later. “Companies are looking for quality service on executive placements and their expectations have risen. The cost of mis-hiring in challenging times can be a huge drain on an organization,” said Ronesh Puri, MD, Executive Access (India). 
    Puri said there is also growing awareness about ensuring that there is no mis-hiring as it can make or mar an organization. “With stakes being so high, companies want more accountability from search agencies. Out of the 120-odd searches we do in a year, a majority (60-70%) is done through this method and most of them (over 98%) have met with success,” said Puri. 
    C K Birla is one of the groups with which Executive Access has entered into such an arrangement. According to the arrangement, 40% of the payment to the hiring agency for executive placements is deferred and paid over 3-6 months of the executive joining the organization. 
    “It would be good if all hiring agencies begin to stagger their payments on executive placements over a certain period so that the organization gets time to understand if the concerned executive settles down well within the new culture and is not a misfit. This aspect 
is gaining importance for organizations, as several global reports point out that about 50% of new hires in the senior-top executive levels leave the organization within the first one year,” said Eric Rajendran, group president & head, HR, CK Birla Group. 
    Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India & Sri Lanka, which also follows this practice, said some companies have made staggered payments a standard clause. Both Uppaluri and Puri refused to disclose the names of companies which were working on these models with them citing client confidentiality. 
    What is becoming an industry standard, however, is that if a placed candidate leaves a firm within a year, then the search firm finds a new candidate without charging any fees. “This is done to demonstrate long-term commitment and we continue to engage and guide a candidate that we place,” said K Sudarshan, managing partner-India & regional VP- Asia, EMA Partners International. The staggered payment issue is still less common, he added. 
    Global search firm Egon Zehnder, too, guarantees clients a replacement in one year if the executive quits. It also offers a service called accelerated integration in partnership with clients to ensure executives placed become successful in their new jobs more quickly. “At times, the rejection rate is very high when an individual is brought in from outside. So we help them integrate in the organization. We have done a fair bit of analysis which shows that it normally takes about 12 months for a person to become productive in an organization,” said Rajeev Vasudeva, global CEO, Egon Zehnder, which conducted a study to show 57% of executives took more than six months to adjust to a new role. 
Accountability factor has risen for senior-level placements 
Cost outgo on account of mis-hiring is on the rise — estimated to be between 26% and 100% of the annual compensation package 
Some companies have made staggered payments a standard clause 
Placement agencies also do not charge to find replacements if a new hire quits within a year of joining the company


Source : The Times of India

Date : 28/4/2014

Should you buy OPD cover? Rising healthcare costs and inadequate cover for out-patient treatment can erode your savings. Here’s a cost-effective alternative – Chandralekha Mukerji

Do you really need health insurance to pay for your treatment? Agreed, healthcare costs are going through the roof and there are gaps in your health plan since even a comprehensive policy will not pay for a tooth filling or a broken finger. Besides, the cost of dental treatment, diagnostic tests, periodic doctor consultation, preventive check-ups, medicines and medical equipment, which are usually out-of-the-pocket expenses, can burn a hole in your pocket. Still, are you willing to pay 20,000 more every year towards your health policy to get an additional OPD (out-patient department) benefit of just 17,000? This is where health cards come in as a better alternative. Here’s how. 
Insurance is expensive 
Apollo Munich’s Maxima Complete health plan covers both hospitalisation and OPD treatment costs on a cashless basis in network hospitals and clinics. This plan also offers coverage for pharmacy bills, diagnostic tests, outpatient dental treatment, contact lenses, spectacles and health check-ups. However, while a 3 lakh cover under the company’s standard health plan, Easy Health Family Floater, costs 8,258 for a family of four (two adults and two children, with the eldest member being 35 years), a similar coverage under the Maxima plan would cost you a whopping 29,000. This, in spite of the riders that come with it—doctor consultations are limited to eight per year and a sub-limit of 7,000 on various expenses, including diagnostic tests, pharmacy bills, dental treatments and eye care (spectacles and contact lenses). Health check-ups are also limited to two per year. If you take all this into consideration, according to the company brochure, the total benefit adds up to 17,200 per year, in case you avail of the optimum limits under the policy. 
    Similarly, Bajaj Allianz’s Tax Gain Plan, a health policy with OPD benefits will cost you and your spouse 15,000, but the OPD benefits have a yearly sub-limit of just 7,500. Moreover, the exclusions list is pretty extensive for this plan. 
    In short, an OPD cover is expensive. Why? Health insurers say out-patient healthcare services and their coverage typically involves smallticket, high-volume transactions. “The numbers make the insurer vulnerable to fraud and misutilisation and, therefore, the products have to be priced accordingly,” says Anuj Gulati, managing director and CEO, Religare HealthInsurance. Antony Jacob, chief executive officer of Apollo Munich Health Insurance, agrees. “The propensity for a person to use the cover multiple times throughout the policy period is also greater. Hence, the financial value that a customer can avail of from such a policy is higher than a basic health insurance policy,” he argues. 
    “Due to the higher assumption on incidence rates (nearly 100%), the OPD premium is often more than 50% of the sum insured and, with increasing age, becomes more than or equal to the sum insured,” says Sevantika Bhandari, director (marketing), Max Bupa Health Insurance. 
    Most insurers, therefore, offer it along with the base indemnity plan. Moreover, there is lack of substantial data pool on OPD treatments, on which the underwriting is based. “Aninsurance product pricing depends on data as well as experience, both of which are scanty for this product at this stage,” says K K Mishra, chief executive officer, Tata AIG GeneralInsurance. Also, the treatments under OPD are yet to be standardised. 
    This is where healthcare cards—provided by a few companies as well as established hospitals—can be a more cost-effective alternative. 
CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE: Discount cards or health cards are not a substitute for hospitalisation cover, but are special schemes that typically give you discounted rates on medical, health and drug expenses for a monthly or annual membership fee. Also, unlike a health plan, there are no caps or sub-limits in a health card plan. 
    “Health cards cover overall healthcare expenses, including cosmetic treatments. It is also of great help to high-risk people, such as those with pre-existing conditions, and those who are denied health insurance, especially senior citizens, who face prohibitions or have to pay extremely high premiums for a policy loaded with too many clauses and exclusions,” says Sunando Sen, director and CEO, Indian Health Organisation (IHO), a part of Aetna Inc, US, which provides healthcare products and related services to customers worldwide. 
    While a loyalty programme from a hospital chain, such as Apollo, Max or Fortis, will limit your options to the concerned group’s facility, a health card from an independent company that has a tie-up with multiple hospitals, nursing homes, individual medical practitioners, pharmacy chains, pathology labs and diagnostic centres gives more flexibility of choice. 
    Apart from IHO, the companies that provide these cards, include WizzCare, Sharak Healthcare and EasyLife Care (operates only in Delhi/ NCR). In July 2013, E-Meditek Global, in association with Ratnakar Bank and Visa, had launched a reloadable prepaid card, ‘Medicash Plus Card’, which offered an automatic discount of up to 40% for availing of medical services, along with a few additional services, such as access to gyms, spas, beauty salons, restaurants and lifestyle centres. 
    The membership fee of these cards varies from 1,000 to 8,000 depending on the plan you choose and the number of members registered. A basic plan offers a 15-30% concession on consultations and 10-20% concession on OPD treatments and procedures at hospitals. For dental care, you get benefits of free check-ups and up to a 50% discount on the total cost of treatment. IHO also offers up to 50% discount on doctor consultations at a few network clinics. There are some special add-on benefits as well, including 24×7 dial-a-doctor and chat service, free second opinion before a major surgery, discount on ambulance charges and online tools like symptom tracker and health records log. 
    Most variants of the plans offer preventive health check-ups as part of the product. Therefore, the members are eligible for tax benefit of up to 5,000 under Section 80D. 
CAVEAT: Unlike insurance, which is a regulated industry, any dispute with the health card provider would have to be contested before a consumer court. So, do due diligence on the company’s background before buying a membership. Is it a registered company? For how many years has it been in business? Trawl the Internet for feedback on consumer complaints forums to ensure you are buying the right product. Don’t forget to check the network quality and number of partners the health card provider has. Make sure it has tie-ups with a few reputed names in your city. If the company is not upfront in disclosing the network size and partnerships, check out a customer loyalty membership of the hospital in your vicinity.


Source : The Times of India

Date : 28/4/2014

Headhunters Court Tricky Mandates ON THE JOB Recruitment firms like Heidrick & Struggles and RGF Executive Search are getting out of their comfort zones to find the right fit for their clients who now seek senior executives with a global outlook and crisis-handling skills

At recruitment firm ABC Consultants, managing director Shiv Agrawal is in the middle of an unusual search. He’s been approached by an upcoming music producer/composer looking to break into the big league.
The client wants ABC to hire a marketing head to network with the ‘right people’ and help him strike lucrative deals. For that, he is willing to offer an annual salary up to . 20 lakh as well as 20% of commission on every deal that goes through. The particular assignment is way out of the firm’s usual comfort zone, but that hasn’t stopped Agrawal from taking it head-on. “It’s not easy executing these jobs but that’s what makes it great fun as well,” he says.
For people like Agrawal and the country’s leading headhunters including Heidrick & Struggles, Korn/Ferry International, Egon Zehnder, Transearch India and RGF Executive Search, tricky mandates are par for the course. More so in a slow economy, when the challenging jobs crop up more often than other times.
Identifying crisis managers, convincing CXOs to take big fixed pay cuts, getting senior leaders to join new-gen or little-known firms, or scouting for people to fill unusual roles, these movers and shakers do it all.
At Heidrick & Struggles, where around one-and-a-half dozen CEO and MD searches were conducted last year, finding people who had handled businesses in difficult times was a challenge. “How they manage the business during bad times was on top of the agenda for CEO searches. One finds many leaders who do well in good times, but to find people who had successfully navigated businesses during a crisis was not easy,” says Arun Shankar Das Mahapatra, chairman and partner-in-charge at the firm.
A higher percentage of variable pay linked to performance is also a challenge when it comes to getting CXOs on board. It’s happening particularly in the new-gen sectors like high-tech, where, in some cases the proportion of variable and fixed pay ratio is as high as 65:35, says Das Mahapatra.
Bhavishya Sharma, MD of Athena Executive Search &Consulting faced this when one of their regular clients, a London-headquartered consulting MNC with operations across 24 countries approached them to find a director for their India operations, with strong credentials in concept selling. The problem was that not only did the client not have a strong brand in India but it was also proposing a compensation model where more than 80% of the salary would be linked to performance-linked bonus. It meant that Athena needed not just to attract C-level executives to a relatively unknown brand in India but also had to convince them to take a huge cut in fixed salary to take up this opportunity for future upsides.
“The reactions among target candidates were radically insipid as this is unusual in India,” recalls Sharma. Many long engagements with several candidates later, the job was successfully executed. And the happy client followed it up with a similar mandate in a different geography. Other out-of-the-box mandates abound as well. RGF Executive Search MD R Suresh recalls the time when he was approached by an e-commerce company to hire a ‘chief monetisation officer’, a fancy title for a person who needed to figure out all possible revenue streams through which the company could make money. Udit Mittal, MD, Unison International got a mandate from a US financial services company for their office in western India. They wanted a CEO who would keep timings of 6 pm in the evening to 12 midnight.
Headhunters say that while hiring at senior levels continues to be steady, the requirements have changed and evolved in keeping with the challenging business environment. Softer skills, a greater emphasis on ethics and accountability; a global outlook; the ability to work in a demanding environment and steer the company through a difficult period are all qualities that are gaining more importance.
“Companies are looking for CXOs who are a lot more creative and innovative and can deal strongly with lean patches. These requirements were not as pronounced in the last few years,” says Sangeeta Sabharwal, senior partner, Transearch India.
At Randstad, an auto company wanted their R&D head to have an understanding of commercials, operations and sales and marketing, besides having strong engineering exposure. “Companies are looking for CEOs with some exposure in turning around loss-making companies and building diversity,” says Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India.
Over the past 18 months, Korn Ferry has helped hire four CXOs and six heads of functions for an Indian group. “The most important thing the company was looking for was change management,” says Madhav Sharan, senior client partner and leader of the industrial market practice for Korn Ferry in India. Sharan says Indian companies are also looking for CXOs who can help grow their international businesses. The challenge there is that there’s only a small talent pool to hunt from.
Egon Zehnder consultant Sanjiv Sachar says that every mandate has its own challenges, and the difficulties include attracting people from a good brand to another sector that may not be doing well. He recalls a few tricky assignments: from getting the CEO of a blue-chip bank to join a much smaller private bank to attracting leaders for the hard-hit insurance sector and getting the CFO of a well-established organisation to work in a space like e-commerce and in a new-age environment.
It’s a challenge other smaller firms like Mancer Consulting have grappled with as well. When a well-known captive asked them to find a practice head to lead and build the strategic consulting team at the global operations support centre, it wasn’t easy finding a senior person willing to move from a consulting organisation to a captive set-up, says Satya D Sinha, CEO, Mancer Consulting.
“But we did it, with a back-up to avoid a dropout,” he says.
A Tough Catch 
HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES Assignment/s: Finding CEOs and MDs who’d handled businesses in difficult times Why it’s challenging: Not easy finding leaders who have grown their businesses through tough times
EGON ZEHNDER Assignment/s: Hiring a CEO for a smaller private bank from a blue-chip bank; attracting leaders for the badly-performing insurance sector; getting a CFO of a big company to work in an e-commerce one Why it’s challenging: Getting top CXOs to join a lesser-known brand or a hard-hit or new-age sector
ABC CONSULTANTS Assignment/s: Asked to recruit marketing head for upcoming music producer/composer looking to break into the big league Why it’s challenging: Requires the firm to go way beyond their usual field of operations
ATHENA EXECUTIVE SEARCH & CONSULTING Assignment/s: Approached to find a director of India operations for an MNC with a not-sostrong brand in India. Around 80% of the compensation linked to performance-linked bonus. Why it’s challenging: Difficult to convince experienced C-suite executives to join a lesserknown brand, that too with a big fixed pay cut.


Source: Economic Times

Date:  25th April 2014

3 Things You Should Do While You Still Have a Job

Don’t be fooled by the recent small improvement in employment numbers. If you are in a company, division, industry, or type of job that is at risk for reduction, get moving NOW to be prepared if you are impacted. Current employees should get a “Plan B” ready now. After coaching hundreds of people during my 30 year sales and marketing career and now as a professional coach, I have heard it all. Here are the top three excuses why they are not preparing for their next career move:

“It won’t happen to me; I’ve been here a long time.”

“I have no idea what I would do next.”

“Our business/company is doing just fine.”

Here are the top 3 things you should do right NOW, while you’re still employed:

1. AIM: Write out your “next job” goal with great precision, including target functions, industries, and companies. Avoid squishy goals such as “leverage my background in blah, blah, blah” or “I’m flexible so something in the retail space.” If you don’t have a list of 10 target companies, subscribe to your city’s local Business Journal and invest in their Book of Lists, as well. They have a jobs board, as well.

Why do I mention jobs boards when you aren’t even looking? Because they are the best resource to do your homework. Take your next-career-move goal statement and go and window shop on the jobs boards. Monster.com, Indeed.com , and many others are ideal for just checking out what is out there that meets your goal profile. If it doesn’t exist, then you’ve set a target on a unicorn. Change your goal so you are stating a target that exists as a real job.

2. UPDATE: Re-boot your résumé. Don’t just add your current position; give it a face-lift with keywords, power verbs, relevant skills, and metrics.

But, remember: résumés don’t get you jobs. It’s how you present yourself on top of the résumé, so prepare a draft cover letter and think about how you would position yourself to an executive of that company if you were looking.

3. NETWORK: Combine social media with face-to-face connections. Start attending industry or association events, alumni events, and any other relevant events you can identify. Use your local Business Journal to find the best events, job leads, fast-moving companies and much more.

It is more urgent now than ever before that you be ready today for something that could happen to you tomorrow. The job market is already highly competitive and job searches are taking much longer than in the past (an estimated one month for every $10K in annual pay).

We have car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, but no “Job Insurance”… build it now. There are things you should and could be doing to prepare for your next career move.

Don’t worry; you’re not sneaking behind anyone’s back. The activities you should be involved in are everyday business behavior and don’t have to be “hidden” from the public or your employer. For example, using LinkedIn. Many companies see the value of great LinkedIn profiles for their employees; they’re even teaching how to build one! However, you can still make huge progress by learning how to conduct a confidential career-building set of activities.

Don’t be caught without a “Plan B” for your career. It’s nobody’s responsibility but yours.

Source : LinkedIn

Flexible working breeds innovation among employees: Regus

NEW DELHI: More and more businesses are realizing the importance of nurturing some of their employees as entrepreneurs to help drive growth and believe that flexible working is a key to inspire such a practice, says a study. 

The latest research by Regus, a flexible workspace provider, showed that 48% of business people surveyed in country consider flexible working can breed innovation among employees. 

The survey canvassed the views of over 19,000 senior business people and owners in 98 countries. 

“With small businesses accounting for over 90% of businesses and over three fifths of employment in most economies, it is evident why entrepreneurship should be fostered and nurtured,” Regus India Chief Operating Officer Sahil Verma said. 
The respondents said entrepreneurship among employees can be nurtured through various measures like updating programmes, mixing staff from different functions and access to senior management. 

The survey noted that 90% of respondents think entrepreneurship has increased in the past five years in their sector. 

About 14% said that female entrepreneurship and 11% that serial entrepreneurship (people who set up a series of new businesses, one after the other) is on the rise. 
“…businesses have cottoned on to the powerful innovative drive of entrepreneurs too and are looking to foster entrepreneurship among their own employees,” Verma said. 
“So how can entrepreneurial behaviour be encouraged? Flexible working not only taps into employee demand for a better work:life balance, by allowing them to work their own hours and from different locations, but it also helps employees mingle with workers from different functions, and even different firms, vastly widening their outlook and experience,” he said. 

Flexibility and diverse inputs can really help employees think outside the box and seek out innovation, he added. 

Source: Economic Times

Date: 14/4/14

5 Ways to Multitask at your Workplace

Multi-tasking is not everyone’s forte. Yet at workplaces we are left with no other choice but to juggle between multiple activities. Experts say it is important to set realistic goals to multitask. Rica Bhattacharyya talks to experts for a few tips: 
1 Be Efficient in Juggling SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound) goals can help in multi-tasking. “A SMART plan helps you to remain focused and to be efficient in juggling. It allows you to evaluate when and how much attention is needed to complete a task and whether two tasks are compatible,” says Ruchi Sinha, assistant professor of business, organisational behavior at ISB. 
2 Know Your Priorities Knowing the priorities, while multitasking, and scheduling the tasks helps in minimising errors and being more productive. “Even when you are multitasking you must know which tasks need more of your attention and which ones can be achieved with partial or limited attention. You must combine a filler task with a larger more complex task,” says Sinha. 
3 Don’t Procrastinate As a manager’s demands of multitasking increase, he/she must be mindful of procrastination. “If you have an agenda, plan early and address it as soon as possible,” says Sudhir Dhar, senior VP & head, HR, Motilal Oswal Financial Services. Agrees Sinha: “Finish those short phone calls when you are walking between meetings. Ask a colleague to join you for a cup of coffee and make it into a work meeting.” 
4 Define Your Limits Multitasking has its advantages, but don’t take on too much or set yourself unrealistic targets. “Don’t say yes when you want to say no,” says Dhar. “It’s all very well to impress your bosses but don’t end up becoming a victim of a burnout,” he adds. 
5 Practice Makes Perfect “Some days you will feel you did good and on other days you might feel that your multitasking attempts were a disaster. You need to continue practicing till the juggling becomes natural and your skills of planning and utilising time become internal to you,” says Sinha. Make it a routine to plan for every day and to consciously practice the art of multitasking.


Source – The Times of India

Date – 15th April, 2014