5 WAYS TO – Retain Your Best Employees

With quality talent in demand across companies and sectors, high attrition rates is a challenge. Brinda Dasgupta tells you how you can retain talent within your organisation.

1 Provide Mentoring

To create an environment where your employees are inspired to stay and do the best work of their careers, provide opportunities for mentoring. “Imparting skills and knowledge are crucial towards improving your employees’ abilities,“ says Mohit Lalvani, co-founder and CEO, LivQuik.

2 Engage and Stimulate

Disrupt professional hierarchy, and engage with your employees to retain the very best talent. “Assisting workers to see a clear learning and career growth path for themselves is key to talent retention,“ says Parag Pande, managing director -human resources, Accenture India.

3 Reward and Recognise

It’s not just enough to inspire your employees to do good work, you need to provide ample reward and recognition. “Appreciation plays a major part in inducing employees to stay on at an organisation,“ says Lalvani. Money is a motivator, but even the little things like sending out mass appreciation mailers could go a long way.

4 Offer Flexibility

There is no doubt millennials are demanding flexibility within their work culture. “Attractive compensation packages are great, but having flexible working hours makes employees stick around,“ says Lalvani. “This helps employees manage their work-life balance better,“ says Pande.

5 Make The Workplace Fun

Millennials want to integrate fun with work, so make changes in the work culture to create an atmosphere employees don’t want to leave.“The opportunity to have fun and to do more than work can motivate your team to stay on,“ says Pande. “Make the workplace exciting, create professional bonding,“ says Lalvani.

Source: Economics Times

Date: 25th August 2015

In Search of Happiness

Happiness constantly eludes one who is dominated by base instincts and, in the process, suppressing the inner voice of conscience. Most people have tried to attain happiness by ignoring their conscience that keeps reviewing all their good and bad actions on a constant basis. To gain true happiness, it is imperative that we do not violate the laws that constitute the very core of our existence.

So long as we continue to indulge in negative practices, for example, to earn money through unlawful means, so long as our aspiration is to amass wealth by any means, we can never attain to true happiness, because we have deviated from the path of righteousness.

We tend to make happiness too complicated an affair. Most people are governed by the understanding that happiness can be derived by doing something on a grand scale; from making a big fortune; and from ostentatious display of wealth with the purpose of showing off one’s affluence and high status in society .

But happiness can be attained from the simplest and most unpretentious things. Pleasure can never be forced; it must come in a natural way , from uncomplicated living. One often hears the statement, “He has the money , but can’t enjoy it.“

Helping others without expecting anything in return; acts of kindness towards animals; conducting oneself with humility; performing one’s duties with sincerity; protecting the gifts of nature; living in a spirit of togetherness with fellow beings -all these are what constitute true happiness.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 21st August 2015

When left brain is not enough

When it comes to pushing your limits, along with analytical thinking, you have to do the `right stuff’, says Phil Rosenzweig

Good decision making has always been an integral part of leadership and management, but often marred by the fear of risk.

Phil Rosenzweig , Professor of strategy and international business at IMD, Switzerland and the author of Left Brain, Right Stuff: How Leaders Make Winning Decisions, talks about the value of doing right things at the right time:

You believe that in the realm of decision making, a critical distinction should always be made. What is it?

A distinction that is important, but often overlooked, is whether the decision is about something you can directly influence or not. Much of the work done by cognitive psychologists in the last 25 years is based on experiments where subjects make judgments about things they cannot influence, or choose between options that they cannot alter. That’s fine for understanding the basic mechanics of human cognition–but in real life, we don’t only make judgments about things that we can’t influence, and we don’t simply make choices from options that are presented to us. Very often, we can influence or change those things. As a result, the lessons we have taken from Cognitive Psychology should be amended somewhat.

For decades, researchers have told us that we have a pervasive tendency to overestimate our control over things; but recent research overturns that idea. Please explain.

Berkeley School of Business Psychologist Don Moore and his colleagues recently ran several studies and concluded that people do not consistently overestimate their level of control: instead, they have an imperfect understanding of how much control they can exert. When control is low they tend to overestimate it, and when it is high they tend to underestimate it. Rather than suffering from a pervasive illusion of control, it is more accurate to say that people can and do err in both directions. This finding is highly significant.

Research also indicates that we tend to be overconfident in many areas of life. But you have found that when we have some control over an outcome, a high degree of confidence is a good thing. Please explain.

As indicated, we can control many activities in life. For example, how well we do our jobs, how we perform on an exam, or how much effort we put into cooking a meal or playing an instrument. All of these things depend very much on the actions we take, the effort we extend, and our mindset. For these sorts of tasks, the more common error is not an illusion of excessive control, but the reverse: a failure to recognize how much control we really have.

Nobody says to you, “Karen, do you want to put together a good issue of Rotman Management or not?“ It’s the same for me: I have to teach my classes well. We’re not just choosing whether to do these things well. And in these situations, I have found that an element of positive thinking and a high level of confidence can help us do better. That is not the case for things over which we truly have no control. For instance, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow? Will the S&P 500 go up or down next week? You and I are not in a position to change those outcomes, so having high–or even slightly elevated–confidence is not useful.

Also, when you ask somebody about something that is relatively difficult to do, they actually tend not to overestimate their abilities; in fact, they often underestimate them. So, the idea that people are consistently prone to overconfidence turns out not to be correct.

Tell us a bit about how `absolute performance’ vs.`relative performance’ fits into the picture.

Decision making has often been studied without any regard to competition. Yet in many fields, performance is best understood as relative: in business, politics, sports and more, many of the most important decisions are made with an eye to rivalry: the aim isn’t just to do well, but to do better than others.That’s why the second key to making great decisions is to recognize whether you’re trying to do well, or if you need to out-do rivals. When you combine the ability to exert control with the need to outperform rivals, suddenly it’s not just possible to influence outcomes–it’s often necessary.

The good news is, improvements in absolute performance can affect relative success.In a business environment where technologies can change suddenly, consumer preferences shift from one week to the next and rivals can emerge from anywhere, there is incessant pressure to find ways of doing bet ter, whether be it through innovative new products and services or simply better execution. Only by taking chances and pushing the envelope can companies hope to stay ahead of rivals. When performance is relative–which it always is in business–one thing is assured: playing it safe will almost guarantee failure.

You argue that some situations demand left-brain thinking and `right-stuff’.Please explain.

As indicated, many of the experiments in Cognitive Psychology have examined `no control’ choices in lab settings. These lessons are still very germane for a wide range of decisions, including consumer choice, most investment decisions, and some public policy decisions. However, when you combine the ability to influence the outcome with a desire to outperform rivals, you’re in a very different setting: this is the quadrant where strategic thinking is required, and for that you need a combination of left brain thinking and what I refer to as `right stuff’. Let me explain.

The research shows that we suffer from a wide range of thinking biases–and that we should be aware of them and try to proactively remove them. That calls for deliberate, detached thinking, which I summarise with the term `left brain’. However, in situations where you can shape the outcome, left brain thinking is simply not enough. You also have to stretch the boundaries, push the envelope, and boldly go where you have never gone before. That’s what I mean by the `right stuff’. Going beyond what has been done before does not mean being reckless: it calls for a combination of careful analysis and management of risk (left brain) with the willingness to take a step into the unknown (right stuff).

How should managers think about control when it comes to making decisions?

The essence of management is to exercise control and influence events. Of course, managers cannot have complete control over outcomes–any more than a doctor has total control over a patient’s health. They are buffeted by events outside of their control: macroeconomic factors, changes in technology, actions of rivals, etc. Yet, as indicated, it is a mistake to conclude that managers suffer from a pervasive illusion of control, and that they should temper what they think they can accomplish. I have found that the greater danger is the exact opposite: managers will underestimate the extent of control they have. Very often, they can achieve more, influence more and bring about more change than they imagine is possible. CD

Source: Economic Times

Date: 21st  August 2015

Competitive Salaries & Lure of India Story

Flush with investor money, younger and smaller startups lining up to hire top global talent to drive growth

It is not just the Unicorns (startups with billion-dollar-plus valuations), but a fair sprinkling of younger and smaller ventures are also attracting top global talent back to India. A bunch of senior executives is quitting high-flying careers abroad to join smaller startups such as Edureka, OYO Rooms, Urban Ladder, Faaso’s and Housing.com in India. In June this year, Durgesh Kaushik quit as head of online marketing (Asia-Pacific) at Facebook and left Singapore to join Bangalorebased startup Edureka as chief marketing officer. In the same month, Ajit Pandey , earlier with IBM in the UK, relocated to India to join Mumbai-based Loanstreet as chief ecommerce architect.

In mid-August, Supriyo Roy, previously the lead, design and experience, at New York-based startup Spangle came on board at food-tech startup Faaso’s as head of design, user experience and interface.

And at real estate listing portal Housing.com, UPenn graduate Jason Kothari, earlier the cofounder and CEO of Valiant Entertainment, was brought in as chief business officer in August to drive overall strategy and growth. Since last November, Housing has also hired Rachel Steinberg as vice-president (product) and Paul Meinshausen as vice-president (data sciences).

Many Looking for Global Talent

At least a dozen more startups, including MyRefers.com, MobiKwik, LivSpace, LatestOne, VioletStreet and Lybrate, say they are actively looking to hire global talent. Till recently, only the Unicorns -such as Flipkart and Snapdeal -had been primarily attracting talent from the Silicon Valley. Smaller startups have now joined the party.

“The startup space is really coming into its own,“ says Kaushik. “There’s an opportunity to be part of a sector that’s really making its mark on the world stage as well as the chance to create and market products specifically targetted for Indians.“

Reasonably competitive salaries, thanks to funding from ven ture capitalists, employee stock option plans (ESOPs) and an opportunity to be part of the India startup story are proving to be adequate incentives to woo such talent to India.

On offer are salaries of $100,000250,000 plus ESOPs and challenging roles.

“Given that startups, even at an early stage are getting heavily funded, they are fine with global benchmarks of compensation,“ Anuj Roy, partner, digital practice, at executive search firm Transearch. “The shrinking cy cle time between various rounds of funding also gives entrepreneurs an option to invest heavily in the team at an early stage.“

America Most Popular

Equity, Roy says, is a function of funding. “The more mature the company, the less is the equity. Total ESOPs can be around 1-3% of total equity for pre-series A and Series A companies. At Series C and D, the value of ESOPs is mostly a multiple of compensa tion like 0.5X-2.5X of compensa tion,“ he added.

The US by far is the most popular hunting ground though talent is also being scouted for in markets such as the UK, South-East Asia Italy and the Philippines.

Technology, product management, design, data scientist and digital marketing are areas where global talent is most sought after. In several such ar eas, there is a limited talent pool within India and, thus, the need to look at international markets.

“Startups are looking to work on a multinational scale, hence hiring people with a global outlook is essential for them,“ says Ankit Agarwala, director of recruitment consultancy Michael Page India. He has seen mandates for such roles double in the past one year.

ET VIEW Resettlers of a Disruption Gold Rush

Startups are brought into existence and function with one thing in mind: to disrupt, and set up an innovation from that disruption.For this, startups need out-of-the-box artists. This talent can be found among blue-skyers ‘untainted’ by traditional modes of business thinking and practice. Or, from blue-chip professionals and entrepreneurs raring to become startup architects for landscapes outside their current ecosystems. ‘Lateral shifts’ to established startups make little sense. With startups no longer mandatory garage operations, these resettlers are seeking -and finding -virgin territories. This mix of old school-new school players will be the future of starting up.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 21st August 2015

Source: Economic Times

Date: 21st August 2015

Tianjin explosions could cost Chinese insurers $1.5 billion

The recent explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin could cost Chinese insurance companies $1.5 billion, according to Fitch Ratings.

The rating agency explained that the high insurance penetration rate in the area could make the blasts one of the costliest catastrophe claims in the Chinese insurance market in the last few years.

Fitch also said it expects the number of insurance claims cases to surge in the next few weeks, with the claims likely to hinder the financial performance of some regional firms and property and casualty insurers in the area that have high-risk accumulation in the affected areas.

“Claims from the blasts could be shared with both local and international reinsurers, which could mitigate the direct impact on the Chinese insurance sector,” said the rating agency.

“While insurers could recover a portion of their property claims from their reinsurers, their exposure, the amount of retention and the number of reinstatements under the catastrophe reinsurance program are likely to determine the degree of severity to which they are affected.”

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission reported that non-life insurance premiums from Tianjin city amounted to CNY11 billion ($1.7 billion) in 2014.

“As such, should insured losses come in at the high end of the initial $1-1.5 billion estimate, they would represent about 88 percent of total direct premiums written in Tianjin or roughly 5.4 percent of aggregated shareholder capital for the six most active issuers at end-2014.”

The majority of claims are from motor, cargo, liability and property insurance. However medical and life insurance claims are also likely to be substantial, according to the rating agency.

Dieter Berg, president of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI), added:  Although we are focusing on losses caused by natural hazards such as flooding or hail, it is human error that is often to blame, particularly around industrial facilities.

“Man-made losses or damage caused by explosions are hard to model but they are comparable with acts of terrorism. To evaluate worst case scenarios we need to fully understand the value of the goods in the port and all potential exposures before we can calculate adequate premiums. This is becoming more of a challenge as these facilities continue to expand.”

According to the IUMI, early reports from Lloyd’s Agency Network state that more than 10,000 motor vehicles were destroyed at Tianjin.

Nick Derrick, chairman of IUMI’s cargo committee, said: “With average retail values of $30,000 this could result in a loss of $300 million for vehicles alone. Container losses are likely to be spread among many marine cargo insurers but motor vehicle insurance is a specialist sector and so that market is likely to be hit hard.”

Source: Intelligent Insurer

Date: 18-08-2015

Paytm Working on Plan to Insure Bus Passengers

The next time you miss a bus, there could at least be some consolation. You could get the money back. Paytm, the mobile wallet and ecommerce company, is working on a plan to introduce insurance cover for bus passengers against a range of risks, such as accidents, missed travel, cancellation of ticket and loss of baggage.

“We are in talks with (insurance) companies to provide insurance cover for bus passengers,“ said Shankar Nath, Paytm’s senior vice-president.“At the same time, we are talking to various private bus hiring services like AP travels.“ The passenger would be given an option to choose the insurance cover and the premium would be bundled with the bus fare, as in the case of domestic air travel, Nath said.

Around 30,000 tickets are booked daily on Paytm’s platform. The aver . 500.age fare is ` The travel insurance business in India is worth ` . 400-500 crore and the cover is mostly taken by those who travel abroad. While the government is talking to insurance companies to introduce personal accident and baggage loss cover to railway passengers, the bus travel segment is yet to open up to the idea.

“There is not enough education and the risk perception is very low,“ said Sanjay Datta, head of motor insurance underwriting at ICICI Lombard General Insurance. “Domestic travel insurance is a negligible business.“

For domestic air travel, the premium is around ` . 150 and the policy is valid for 30 days or till the date of return journey for passengers between the age group of 1 and 70.

When travelling overseas, people usually see travel insurance as a short-term mediclaim, to cover treatment towards any injury or illness suffered while they are abroad.

Source: Economic Times


Date: 20-08-2015

IIT Undergrads Freelance with Startups – Rica Bhattacharyya & Anumeha Chaturvedi Mumbai|New Delhi:

Akash Gaurav, third-year undergraduate student at IIT Bombay, earns `50,000-70,000 a month by devel oping software for startups and devoting not more than three hours of spare time a day . Agniva Si, third-year met allurgy student at IIT Roorkee, manages to make `50,000 a month by graphic designing and sketching for startups.

With the rise of startups in India leading to a burgeoning volume of work, an increasing number of startups like Bewakoof.com, Venturesity, Jabong, TouchKraft, VanityCube are employing IIT students, mostly from the second and third year. The projects include app development, analytics and machine learning, modelling, graphic and visual design, growth hacking and content marketing work as they can be assigned and monitored remotely .

“Companies gain by getting solutions while the students gain by getting exposure of two to four months,“ said Ashu Malhotra, head, human resources at Jabong.

Around mid-July, IIT Bombay launched a cell for freelancers and co-founders for any startup looking for talent in mobile app, coding, designing, etc. In less than a month, the institute has received interest from more than 200 startups looking for talent to work with them on projects. Some of them include VanityCube, MobieFit, F l y r o b e , To u c h K r a f t , a n d Innovision. So far, the institute has connected about 150 students to startups. And 70% of the students are joining as freelancers as the main incentive is that they will be co-founders. TouchKraft made one of the highest offers so far of `1.50 lakh for freelance software devel opment talent, said Gaurav, web manager of the cell.

It is a win-win for students and startups. Startups have to pay several times more to hire a professional with five to six years’ experience. Early sta g e star tups, particularly, find students easier to afford. On their part, students can ear n between ` 30,000 and ` 1 lakh a month.

Also, startups find talent in their 20s to be more tech savvy, an essential. “The best talent is always in their 20s when it comes to technology and designing. With age most people are not able to evolve,“ says Prabhkiran Singh, co-founder, Bewakoof.com.

He said his reason for working with people from college is to also stay connected to know what skills people have on campus. “There has been a rise in companies giving short-term projects to IIT students…The primary reason is that students are picking up these new and hot skills for free by learning from online courses and making them usefulup to the mark,“ said Subhendu Panigrahi, IIT Kharagpur alumnus and co-founder, Venturesity . He has given students projects primarily in two areas -product development and growth hacking, with salaries ranging from ` 15,000 to `50,000 per month.

Students are also open to spending their free time in a more constructive way and earn some cash while studying. Most of them picking up such work aspire to start their own venture. These engagements help them get to know the founders and learn the nuances of running a startup.

Most of the work is either preceded or succeeded by a two-tothree-month internship, leading to more engagement. Zomato organises Trial Week to handpick top talent for its technology team. The recruits spend a week at the company , working with the tech team on live projects.

“We sift through the hundreds of applications for the programme and shortlist a handful of candidates to come and spend an all-expenses-paid week with our tech team at our headquarters in Gurgaon,“ said Deepinder Goyal, founder & CEO, Zomato. Projects typically include tools used in daily operations, or features that will be included in their product. “People are welcome to apply even if they have a few years of code under their belt. All we expect from candidates is a serious passion for code, and a desire to get things done,“ he added.

For some of the students it is more of a passion and helps them test their acumen. “I would like to take design as a profession at a later stage and these projects give me good exposure,“ said Si of IIT Roorkee.

Source : The Economic Times

Date : 18th Aug 2015