TIMING IT RIGHT

Finding, hiring and retaining the right talent for a rapidly scaling organisation is a pressing challenge for India’s largest technology startups. As these firms tighten their purse-strings, the struggle is set to intensify, find Shonali Advani and Aditi Shrivastava

 As Sachin Bansal moulds strategy that can keep Flipkart scaling peaks at pace, he’s also grappling with a conundrum that’s gotten more complex.

“We are entering an interesting phase where Flipkart is not a small startup anymore,“ Flipkart’s executive chairman said at a recent technology conference. “The question is, how do we set up an organisation in such a way that it builds up itself.

How do we create an environment where the next-big-thing happens?“ Flipkart needed just eight years to become India’s most valuable ecommerce company. Even so, it cannot afford to let its momentum slack as younger, nimbler rivals gain speed. Which makes hiring the right people for different growth stages the most crucial of management functions.

“It’s a different ballgame scaling a company from 10 to 100 to 1,000.

We have made sure we have retained some values across the board but don’t get hung up on old ways of doing things,“ Bansal said, “and having to do that every two years is challenging.“

This month, Flipkart overhauled its management, bumping up Sachin Bansal as chairman to focus on fundraising and strategy and cofounder Binny Bansal as chief executive responsible for daily operations. The layer below, too, saw some roles realigned.

An organisational rejig of this nature is a classic example of juxtaposing suitable senior talent with a rapidly scaling organisation, and, importantly, at the right phase of its lifecycle.

With a number of startups being heavily funded, hiring the right talent is a top priority for investors, too. Venture capital funds Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Matrix Venture Partners have teams to assist their portfolio companies identify the right mix of people.

Experts say there is a seminal shift in terms of the kind of talent required at different stages of a startup’s growth. At the early stage, a startup is still figuring its business model and cracking code, which requires people with flexibility and the nimbleness to experiment and come up with solutions.

“Then you need people who have experience of having done this before,“ said Ganesh Krishnan, founder of entrepreneurship platform GrowthStory.

Krishnan elucidates his point citing an instance from one of his most successful ventures, TutorVista.

After the company raised series-B funding the management decided to hire a chief operating officer. Krishnan recalls bringing in someone from an earlier venture, CustomerAsset earlier venture, CustomerAsset (rebranded First Source Solutions after ICICI Bank acquired it). But it was a disaster, he remembers.

“Not because he was not good he was a top performer used to running thousands of people. But the TutorVista model was not proven.Running thousands of people is different from trying to prove the model,“ Krishnan said.

A year later, TutorVista hired five people from top B-Schools but with little experience to work directly under the founding team. “That worked beautifully for us,“ Krishnan said. The online tutorial company was later sold to Pearson Education Services in 2013 for $213 million.

“If a startup gets people from multinationals too early in its lifecycle there is the danger of a misfit. They are used to certain ways of thinking and are used to some size to grow business further,“ said Krishnan, who consciously avoids bringing in people who have had a standardized ladder of growth.

For Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the key parameter to discovering the right talent is based on the person’s ability to take hard decisions with less amount of data and time. “Big companies have the luxury of time and data, which small firms don’t.“

For leadership roles, Sharma said, a startup should focus on hiring people with horizontal skillsets rather than mere vertical specialisations.

“The role of a person will change over time, especially in the early days. CXO-level hiring should always be done slowly and with caution,“ he said. Relevance is key. “Every two years, the company that I was running is run by someone else in my team.“

Paytm has beefed up its top management in recent months with several key hires, including Vikas Purohit from Amazon India, Abhishek Rajan from Myntra, and Varun Khullar from medical devices firm Boston Scientific.

Gita Dang, founder-director of Talent Advisory Services, said she often finds a disconnect between what companies want and what they need when scouting for senior leaders.

“The second disconnect is what the venture capitalist, who has funded them, thinks they need,“ said Dang, whose firm has placed senior executives for clients including Goldman Sachs, Omidyar Network, Sequoia Capital and Dell.

“The VC will look for somebody who can come in at a different level and they are looking two levels beyond. Founders don’t necessarily get that.“ Hector Beverages CEO Neeraj Kakkar believes every entrepreneur scouting for a senior executive must answer this critical question: “Do I hire for current business capacity or next year or for three years down the line?“ Entrepreneurs say infusing the right culture is as important to retain senior hires.

In 2012, InMobi was in trouble despite growing from 200 to 1,000 people and forecasting a fivefold growth in business, recalls founder Naveen Tewari. That year, no products were launched and growth decelerated. Tewari figured something was fundamentally wrong. Even after hiring the best talent, the culture wasn’t built for product development and innovation.

“At that point we applied a simple rule: Let’s do and treat people as I would treat myself.

This meant, I trust myself, I will trust everybody. I hate being questioned, let’s not question anyone else.

And I’d hate it if my board sat down and did a performance review.

Let’s not do it to our people.

“ Tewari got rid of his human resource performance software and reimbursement policies and let his employees run the show. It worked. In 2013, InMobi launched SmartAds, an ad format that incorporates live feeds into rich media ads. This was followed by native ads in 2014 and mobile commerce discovery platform Miip last year.

“No harm thinking about (hiring) a superstar but you must know when to bring him in,“ Dang said, believing that the right time for this would be between series B and C stages of funding. “Else, you won’t be able to keep them busy.“.

Source:- The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date:-29th Jan,2015

GIC Re to tap China, Latin American and CIS markets : New GIC Re Chief

Mumbai:

GIC Re, country’s sole reinsurer, today said that it is fully geared to meet the emerging competition in the domestic reinsurance sector.

The company also said that it wants to be among the top ten reinsurers of the world, from its currently global positioning at 14th, over the next couple of years.

After assuming charge as the chairman and managing director of GIC Re, Alice Vaidyan said, “GIC Re is confident of increasing its market share even after the arrival of global reinsurers in the country. We have almost 50 per cent market share at present.”

“But, given the market condition and given the fact that we have supported the market in good and bad times and our rapport with all our customers (insurers) in the market,” she said.

Slowly, GIC Re is expanding its international reach, she said.

“We are aiming for focussed growth in countries like Latin America, China and CIS countries. These three are main target countries for us as of now,” Vaidyan said adding, “GIC Re has diversified across the globe now doing business in 160 countries and has branches in countries like the UK, Dubai and Malaysia,”

Talking about the future plans of GIC Re, Vaidyan said, “We are planning to open a new branch in Brazil this year.”

“GIC Re intends to be among top 10 reinsurers in the world within next couple of years, while still maintaining its pre-eminent role as national reinsurer in the domestic market,” she said.

Even as the final regulations for reinsurers are likely to come from IRDA anytime from now, GIC Re’s role is very important one.

“It is very crucial for the Indian insurance industry as the global reinsurers are opening up and hence GIC Re’s role will be to facilitate and collaborate with them,”‘ she explained.

The company has been in the market for more than 40 years and has a great talent pool.

“We have the backing from the government for our financial strength,” she said.

GIC Re has to ensure that the nuclear pool should take off, she added.

“In our bid to help government increase insurance penetration in the country, where insurance reaches the last mile, my dream is to achieve the goal of insurance for every Indian,” she said.

Source : Asia Insurance Post

Date : 25th Jan 2016

 

Job growth expected to hold steady in 2016, says CareerBuilder

U.S. employers remain confident in their hiring plans as they embark on a new year, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast. Thirty-six percent of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2016, the same as 2015. Nearly half of employers (47%) plan to hire temporary or contract workers. Workers can also expect to see higher starting salaries, more teens in internships, more women and minorities in leadership, and more opportunities to move from low-skill to high-skill jobs, among other trends.

“On average, the U.S. has added 200,000 jobs each month over the last two years, and we expect 2016 to produce similar results, if not better,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “The market is also showing signs of broader wage pressure. While employers have been more willing to pay a premium for high-skill labor, they now have to pay more competitive wages for entry-level positions. Workers are gaining leverage.”

Full-time, permanent hiring

While more than a third of employers are increasing full-time, permanent headcount, 45% anticipate no change. One in ten employers (10%) plan to decrease staff levels, while 9% are unsure of their hiring plans.

Comparing industries, financial services (46%), information technology (44%), and health care1 (43%) are expected to outperform the national average for employers adding full-time staff. Manufacturing (37%) is expected to mirror the national average.

Temporary and contract hiring

Employers are also optimistic about temporary employment. Forty-seven percent reported they will add temporary or contract workers in 2016, up slightly from 46% last year. Of these employers, 58% plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles in 2016.

Hot areas for hiring

Of the employers who plan to increase the number of full-time employees in the new year, the top areas they’ll be recruiting for include:

  • Customer service—32%
  • Information technology—29%
  • Sales—27%
  • Production—24%
  • Administrative—20%
  • Marketing—18%
  • Business development—16%
  • HR—16%
  • Accounting/Finance—15%
  • Engineering—13%

Small business hiring

Small business managers are feeling better about their financial prospects in 2016 and are looking to expand their staff.

  • Of businesses with 50 or fewer employees, 27% plan to hire full-time, permanent employees, up from 20% last year.
  • Of those with 250 or fewer employees, 33% plan to hire full-time, permanent employees, up from 29% last year.

Among larger companies with more than 500 employees, 42% plan to add full-time, permanent employees, on par with last year (43%).

Hiring by region

At 42%, the West has the highest percentage of employers expecting to add full-time, permanent headcount, followed by the South (36%), Midwest (34%), and Northeast (30%). However, the West also houses the highest percentage of employers expecting to decrease staff, at 12%, compared to 10% in the Northeast and Midwest, and 9% in the South.

Five trends to watch in the New Year

Looking at key trends that will help shape the employment landscape in 2016, several are tied to higher competition for talent, innovation in sourcing and developing high-skill workers, and a push for more diversity in leadership.

  1. Opening new doors for low-skill workers—Many employers are concerned with a growing skills gap (63%) and report extended vacancies within their organizations (48%). Thirty-three percent of employers plan to hire low-skill workers and invest in training them for high-skill jobs in 2016.
  2. Hiring younger interns—To encourage the next generation to pursue STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) and other in-demand areas, employers are building relationships with students at an early age. One quarter (25%) plan to hire high school students as interns over the next 12 months.
  3. Increasing wages at all levels—To retain and attract top performers, 83% of employers plan to increase compensation for existing employees—on par with 82% last year—while 66% will offer higher starting salaries for new employees—up from 64% last year.
  4. Reaching beyond U.S. borders—Employers will continue to look at talent pools outside the U.S. to help fill labor deficits. Nearly one in five (19%) say they will hire workers with H-1B visas in 2016, which will enable them to employ temporarily foreign-born workers for specialized occupations.
  5. Diversifying management—Companies are expanding demographics in their company leadership. Fifty-five percent of employers plan to hire or promote more women for management roles, and 53% plan to do the same for diverse workers. Forty-seven percent of employers plan to promote workers under the age of 30 into management roles.

Source : HR.blr.com

Date : 26th Jan 2016

‘’Vaidyan is first woman chairman at GIC Re’’

Alice G Vaidyan has been appointed as the CMD of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), becoming the first woman to head the reinsurer.

In the financial sector, banking is dominated by women CEOs with the largest banks in each sector headed by a woman.In the public sector, Arundhati Bhattacharya heads the SBI. Among private banks, Chanda Kochhar heads ICICI Bank and Zarin Daruwala heads Standard Chartered Bank.

 

Though there have been hardly any women at the top level in non-life so far, the life insurance industry has seen several women CEOs.Shikha Sharma was earlier the chief of the largest private life company , ICICI Prudential (she is now the MD and CEO of Axis Bank). In LIC, Usha Sangwan is an MD -the number two position. R M Vis hakha, is the MD and CEO of IndiaFirst Life Insurance, the joint venture between Bank of Baroda and Legal & General.

 

Vaidyan’s appointment, with a tenure until July 2019, comes at a time when the market is being opened up for foreign reinsurance companies and several, including Lloyd’s of London, have announced that they would open branches here.“The idea of opening up the market is to increase reten tion in India. Even now we get only 50% of reinsurance with the other half going overseas. We will work in a spirit of collaboration with foreign reinsurers here to increase retention in India,“ Vaidyan said. “My goal is to take GIC Re into the top 10 global reinsurers while still maintaining the present status as national reinsurer,“ she added. GIC is the 14th largest reinsurance company in the world.

 

A general manager at GIC Re, Vaidyan had begun her career as a direct recruit officer at New India Assurance Corporation in 1983.She has been with GIC Re since 2008. She has been the face of the corporation in international business for marine, aviation and oil & energy reinsurance.

 

Source : The Times Of India, Mumbai

Date    :  25th January,2016

 

Micromax CEO Set to Quit, Promoters to Take Control

Vineet Taneja, chief executive officer of Micromax Informatics, is on his way out, with the promoters of the country’s largest domestic mobile phone maker junking the idea of hiring top professionals to transform the company and instead riding back to manage day-today operations.

With this, the four promoters, who together own about 80% in Micromax, have taken charge of the company as the industry goes through its worst phase in four years.

Taneja, who joined Micromax in July 2014 after heading the cellphone business at Samsung India and stints at Bharti Airtel and Nokia, follows a battery of senior professionals who have moved out of the company in the past two months.

Taneja was unreachable for comment. An e-mail sent to Gurgaon-based Micromax did not elicit a response.

“The promoters want to control the business and have not left much free space for the professionals, which has led to so many exits,“ said a top official who quit Micromax recently .

Rajesh Agarwal, one of the founders, handles sales and sales support, human resources, LED television and international business, while another founder, Vikas Jain, overlooks the tablets business and finance. Rahul Sharma handles sister brand Yu, marketing and products, while Sumeet Kumar is in charge of IT, research & development and government liaison, said a person familiar with the matter.

Prosenjit Sen, who was vicepresident of sales, quit last month and joined a US company. Khaja Muzaffarullah, who headed feature phones, also left. Teja Gudena, vice-president for R&D based out of Bengaluru, has moved out. Chief financial officer Badal Bagri resigned last month.

The first acrimonious exit was that of Micromax chairman and former Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor, who quit in August amid charges of misappropriation of funds. Kapoor has denied the charges, which he said were levelled to “illegally“ deprive him of his stock options.

“With other professionals in the company, there were differences over how to take the company forward. While the professionals wanted the company to invest in R&D such as new software and design, the owners were reluctant,“ said another person aware of the developments.

The Micromax promoters have been in talks with Chinese ecommerce firm Alibaba and Japanese communication giant Softbank to sell stakes and raise funds. The discussions have still not been productive, said an industry executive with knowledge of the matter. “It is unlikely that any deal will fructify in the immediate future,“ said another industry executive.

A recent report by market tracker Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed that while Micromax has increased sales from online platforms, it faces pressure in $50-100 price segment from Intex and Lava, among others. Samsung led the overall mobile market with a 19% share in July-September, while Micromax had 13.7%.

 

Source: The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date: 20th January, 2016.

Here’s One Way to Cut Mediclaim Costs

SMALL CIRCLE Opting for restricted hospital network can lower premium by 5-20%

Private health insurance companies have for the first time are offering a choice of restricted network of hospitals under group mediclaim policies that will reduce the cost of premium by 5-20%, a move that will come as a relief to firms that have been complaining of rising premiums.

“Three companies in information technology , manufacturing, real estate and construction have opted for the restricted network hospitals scheme that has helped them reduce their health costs,“ said Sanjay Datta, head of underwriting ICICI Lombard. “We are looking to offer 5-20% discount to companies opting for restricted network of hospitals.“

Over the years, group mediclaim costs have been ris ing for employers in this fast growing segment. Insurers are expecting the sector grow at 12% 15% on a year-on year basis, and in the overall `22,000-crore health insurance industry, group health comprise about `10,000 crore-`12,000 crore. The industry has been seeing claims outstripping premium over the past several years.

“The future of group medical has to be network-driven,“ said Shreeraj Deshpande, head of health, Future Generali General Insurance.“Today , hospitals are not graded by way of cost, service or quality. If there’s an independent body grading hospitals, it will make it easier for insurers to offer restricted network of hospitals.“

Companies have been complaining about the rising cost of health insurance. Earlier, group mediclaim was offered at huge discounts of up to 80% with fire policy .

But after tariff was freed in 2007, companies started charging, but still prices did not correct according to the claims in the sector.

 

Source: The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date: 21st January, 2016.

 

MDI Gurgaon Completes Placements in 3.5 Days

Business school MDI Gurgaon has completed its final placements in three and a half days, with a 28.4% jump in top salary to ` . 32.1 lakh a year and a 12.4% increase in the average salary across three streams to `. 18.53 lakh.

“Every year, there are always 1-2 stragglers who take more than a week to get placed. This year, even the last student standing got three offers. The placements this year is a testimony to the fact that the Indian economy is on a fast-track path to growth,“ said Kanwal Kapil, placements chairperson at MDI.

The 333-member batch of 201416 took a total of 5.5 days (including two days of laterals) to get placed. Last year, the batch of 2013-15 had taken nine days (including two days of laterals).

This year’s batch includes 237 students from PGPM (postgraduate programme in management), 61 from PGP-HRM (PG programme in human resource management) and 35 from PGPIM (PG programme in international management).

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) offered the highest salary this time round. The increase in average salary was driven, among other factors, by a bunch of companies, including Coca Cola, Colgate Palmolive, eBay ,Flipkart, Mondelez International, Paytm, Reckitt Benckiser, Trident Group and Yes Bank offering more than 20 lakh a year.

Bharti Axa, Hinduja Group, i3 Consulting, Kohler, Mondelez International, Oxigen, Ramco Systems, Spencer’s Retail, Syngenta, Tata Sky , Welspun Group and Vaibhav Group were among the first-time recruiters on campus.

“There has been a positive trend in the companies as well as the number of students joining the manufacturing sector.GM, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki India, Welspun Group, RIL and Hinduja Group were among the companies that came to hire,“ said Kapil.

 

Source:-The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date:-18th Jan,2016