6 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CAREER POTENTIAL

Career is the most important investment in one’s life. Experts show you how to nurture it and realise your potential.

Whether you have just got a job, or are well-settled in your career or are still wondering which path to choose, the following advice isrelevant for you.

SET A CAREER GOAL

Just like you plan your financial goals, you need to plan career goals meticulously. Ideal ly, the planning and goal set ting should start when one is a student. However, awareness about career options continues to be low among students. “Nearly 72% of students were confused about career options we found in a survey. More importantly, 80% of the students knew only about six or eight career options,“ says Prateek Bhargava, CEO and Founder, Mindler.com, a technology-driven platform that helps students and parents choose appropriate career paths.

Most youngsters base their career decisions on what they hear being talked aboutaround them.So while they might want to become a doctor, engineer, chartered accountant or lawyer, they have to understand whether they are equipped forit.“The first thing in a career planning is to understand your strengths and weaknesses,“ says Sairee Chahal, Founder, Sheroes, a firm providing career destinations for women. Students need to turn to career counsellors in their own institutes or seek the help of outside experts.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING

Most people tend to think that everything is settled once they land a job. “Just because you have got a job it doesn’t mean that you have achieved your goal and all learning can come to an end. Please note that you need tokeep on pushing the career goal,“ says Neeti Sharma, Senior VP, Team Lease Services, a human resource outsourcing and staffing firm. “You need to invest in continued education and learning. Lot of things are available online now, use them to upgrade knowledge all the time,“ says Shiv Agrawal, Managing Director, ABC Consultants, a leading human resources firm.

This continuous learning is already visible in global professions like medicine,nursing, IT engineering, etc. IT professionals opting for a Cisco certification is a case in point. Along with their technical skills, such professionals also need to improve their communication skills.

The world is slowly turning digital and you need to spruce up your digital skills irrespective of the field you are working in. For example, sales and marketing professionals need to update online skills and know how to set up online marketing campaign. Sim

ilarly, banking professionals should learn about the latest technologies to promotemobile banking and digital payments. Instead of getting tied down to the classrooms, teachers and professors can take up teaching on online platforms. HR professionals need to shift from traditional hiring to social networkingplatforms like Linkedin.“Automation is now a reality and it is going to remove normal repetitive jobs. So the only option you have is to get onto the digital bandwagon and move ahead of it,“ says Santanu Paul, CEO and MD, Talent Sprint, an online learning platform.

So how should one practice this continuous learning? “Once you identify the skill gap, do something about it every day. Most of this can be achieved bycontinuous reading,“ says Chahal.

While everyone will agree that they need to upgrade skills, lack of time is a problem faced by most working professionals. Taking up online courses is the best way to circumvent this problem. Here again, you may get flooded with courses, so how do you know which is the best one for you? “Take the course that gives you actual experience and not just theoretical notes. You have to learn by doing and not just by reading,“ says Paul. While doing any course,your focus should be on learning new skills rather than the certificate youwill get at the end. “What an employer needs is the problem solving skills and not additional certificates,“ adds Paul.

THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR

Once you begin to climb the ca reer ladder, you will realise that your exist ingskill sets are not sufficient.For instance, most people get into the IT sector as programmers and then get promoted as team leaders.The next level is management and it calls for going beyond coding skills.At that level, one needs to understand sales, the financial aspect of any project, customer service,etc. You also need to have in-depth understanding about industry and competition.

Shiftingfrom one vertical to another is the best way to understand a business in its totality. Since most companies now have internal job postings and offer lateral shifts, you can easily move across different functions. “Businesses now promote anything that help in overall improvement of the organisation, so they welcome lateral moves,“ says Mukesh Bhasin, Partner, Career Connect.

Shanta Vallury, who moved from business function to HR at RBL Bank, is a classic example. “Once you put organisation before self, you start thinking like an entrepreneur. Moving laterally helps you realise your own potential and also gives you a 360 degree view of the organisation,“ says Vallury, Head HR, CSR and Internal Branding, RBL Bank. Vineet Agrawal, who moved from branch banking to HR and then to corporate banking at a large private sector back,agrees.“While organisations give you an opportunity to move laterally, there is no force. So you have to take the initiative,“ he says.

However,before opting for a lateral shift, understand what it takes. You may need to relocate. The ability to take risks and the spirit to learn new things are the other essentials. “If you are ready to put in effort, you can learn anything new. But please note that if you don’t learn fast, the next team may not accept you,“ says Vineet Agrawal.Experts suggest you start doing this in the initial stages of your career.“Test your ability by shifting to other verticals in the early stages of your career. This is possible once you stop treating career as a job, but treat it as a learning opportunity,“ says Vallury.

Lateral shifts also help you to remain with an organisation for an extended period of time.

NETWORKING

Networking was always a basic necessity for career growth.

“Around 50% of the hiring happens through networks. Career prospects depends on marketability and reaching out to people,“ says Bhasin.

These contacts can be through alumni groups, former col leagues, etc. Social media platforms like Linkedin and Face book have made such groups more close-knit. You can use these networks to widen your contacts.

“Linkedin is a good start to meet people outside your horizon and also to understand industry trends,“ says Chahal. However, be careful about what you post on these networks. “Most prospective employers look at your social mediapresence. So posting very strong religious or political views may harm yourfuture career prospects,“ warns Shiv Agrawal.

ASK FOR HELP OR SEEK A MENTOR

We seek help when we need it in most situations and there is nothing wrong in taking outside help for career planning.

“The ability to ask for help is a requisite quality for career enhancement,“ says Chahal. As explained earlier, prospective job seekers can take the help of counsellors at their own institute or other professionals who provide this for a fixed fee.

Once you are in an organisation, your immediate superiors (and also the HR department) act as your mentors. “You should be able to ask what is the skill gap and how you should fill it,“ says Sharma. However, you also may have to seek outside help at this level, because the immediate superiors may not be the best for guidance as they have a vested interest in retaining you. “Earlier employers used to provide full career path, but now you have to do it yourself. Treat your career like a bicycle, it will not move forward if you don’t make the effort and pedal,“ says Paul.

DON’T IGNORE GROOMING

Prospective candidates have to concentrate on aspects which may not appear connected to the job in question but play an important role nevertheless. Maintaining physical fitness is one such aspect. Appearances-dressing properly or presenting an attractive CV-are other factors one needs to take care of. Why should prospective employers bother about such things? “Perception is reality and please note that most employers hire based on their perception about you. Even after being good, the perception about you should also be good,“says Shiv Agrawal. Assume there are two candidates with identical backgrounds. While one is physically fit, the appears obese. Chances are the employer will hire the seemingly fit candidate. “Most employers think like this. If you can’t take care of yourself, how will you take care of the company?“ asks Shiv Agrawal.

 

Source:-The Economic Times-Mumbai

Date:-12th December,2016

 

HR and Friendship: A Tricky Business

For HR professionals, workplace friendships can be tricky. Should you have friends at work?

“I feel isolated in my HR department of one,” a peer told me. “But I can’t make friends here—I’m afraid it will come across as wrong with the employees I don’tmake friends with.”

She described the experience of a colleague at another organization who became close to a senior leader. “Because of their friendship, employees there questioned HR’s objectivity in performance management debriefs and in other situations,” she said.

It’s important for you as an HR professional to make ties with people, getting them to trust, confide in and even like you (sometimes). Building and maintaining internal and external relationships, and helping employees navigate relationships within and outside of the workplace, are essential elements of the Relationship Management competency. After all, HR is about people. But it’s also about Ethical Practice, the competency that includes maintaining confidentiality and avoiding bias. 

 

HR must consider organizational culture and business policies from the perspectives of both the organization and the employees. Finding that balance ensures that employees are treated with fairness and respect, that the organization succeeds, and that all parties avoid legal risk. As an HR professional who wants to have friends at work, you may be caught in a difficult position: You know that friendships increase engagement and stakeholder buy-in, but you’re also aware that if employees think you’re too close to “select” people, you—and the HR department—may no longer be viewed as impartial, fair and trustworthy.

Several blogs and articles raise the question of whether HR professionals should have workplace friendships. Their answers fall into four general categories:

Most articles lean toward “yes, with caution,” but some convincingly argue “no.”

My take on HR and friendships involves three factors:

  1. The friend. Merriam-Webster offers a multipart definition of the word. You’re likely to run into problems if your friend is “attached to [you] by affection or esteem” or “favors or promotes something (as a charity)” or is “a favored companion.” These definitions imply an emotionally close relationship and/or preference of one person over another—not a good look for HR.
    You’ll be in better shape if your friend is an “acquaintance” or “not hostile” or “of the same nation, party, or group.” In fact, these definitions seem to describe exactly what HR strives for: trustworthy, familiar, nonthreatening co-workers joined together as part of an organization with a common mission.
  2. The friendship. In terms of the behavioral competencies required of an HR professional, the issue at hand is less about whether you have friends and more about how your relationships play out.
    According to the SHRM Competency Model, certain behaviors indicate one’s proficiency in Relationship Management. The early-career HR professional “develops a network of contacts both within the organization and with external partners serving the organization.” At mid-career, the professional “develops a network of contacts of internal and external stakeholders, including frontline managers, HR peers and job candidates.” The senior HR professional “develops new partnerships and maintains existing partnerships with vendors, employees and supervisors to maximize value to the organization.” The HR executive “develops strategic relationships with internal and external stakeholders.”
    A successful HR professional, therefore, creates a network with all stakeholders and works with that network to drive toward a common business vision. Having friendships is not the key to success in HR.
  3. The organizational environment. Is the organization a tightly controlled environment in which mitigation of interpersonal risk (e.g., pending lawsuits) is critical? In such situations, any perception of bias and lack of objectivity on the part of the HR professional—such as a friendship—could be catastrophic to the organization and staff.

So, what is the socially inclined HR professional to do? Here are three pieces of advice:

  • Build a trusting, diplomatic network with all internal and external stakeholders, not just a select few.
  • Avoid emotionally close relationships, especially in organizations where risk is elevated.
  • If you do have close friendships with some colleagues, excuse yourself from situations that could be perceived as conflicts of interest.

 

Source: SHRM

Date: 08th Dec, 2016

Help Employees Move Up in Their Careers to Drive Down Turnover

When HR implements a comprehensive internal mobility strategy focused on employees’ career growth and development, costly turnover decreases significantly, talent management experts say.

Many employers say they prefer advancing internal candidates, but high turnover and a lack of strategic workforce planning instead have organizations reactively turning to external applicants to fill open positions, according to a 2016 survey commissioned by the ADP Research Institute.

Seventy-five percent of companies surveyed expect to see high turnover over the next three years, and 76 percent say the market for skilled workers will continue to tighten.

“Turnover is a big issue for many companies,” said Linda Ginac, CEO of talent management software firm TalentGuard, based in Austin, Texas. “But if employees are engaged in their role and have the opportunity to be exposed to new roles, whether through job sharing or project work, turnover is much [reduced].”

An internal career mobility program helps employees visualize their career growth within the company, develops employees’ skills to create a steady source of qualified talent, and sets up a skills assessment and development infrastructure.

“It’s important not only for the company and its bottom line but also to show employees that the ability to make upward or lateral career moves exists,” said Andee Harris, chief engagement officer at HighGround, an HR cloud platform provider based in Chicago. “People want the option to grow with the company.”

Helping Employees Chart Career Paths

Whether employees aspire to a specific role or are targeted by management as high-potentials,effective career pathing impacts talent acquisition, employer brand and theemployee value proposition.

Ginac outlined the following steps necessary to build a formal career pathing program:

Define the development culture. Employers will first have to determine what types of career moves they want to support—upward, lateral or both—and whether the existing performance management system will need an overhaul.

HR will also need to survey the perceptions of the development culture early on. Are there opportunities for advancement? Or is the overall perception that the company primarily hires externally?

“Organizations with a strong development culture share two things,” Ginac said. “The ability to move between job roles and teams with not a lot of complexity and the availability of extensive training programs. It can’t just be lip service. There must be a clear path that is seen by employees.”

Assess organization readiness. Ginac explained that career pathing requires an extensive data model in order to be effective. “HR must have standardized data sets so employees can compare themselves in an objective way.”

Job families and job roles should be reviewed and integrated with a job competency model “so we know which competencies impact which job family and how those competencies spread across individual roles,” she said. “If you have a complete and effective job role profile, it should show specific expectations required for the job, demonstrate what work is required for each level and provide the ability for employees to assess themselves relative to expectations.”

Build progression paths. Once data models have been established and roles can be compared using competencies, HR can build out progression paths, with feeder roles offering paths to next roles.

Set guidelines and policies. These are needed to streamline how many internal moves can be made at any one time and to minimize high mobility turnover rates, Ginac explained. For example:

  • How much time must be spent in a current role before an employee can move to a new role?
  • Should all available positions be posted first for internal candidates?
  • Is a manager’s approval required for a transfer?
  • Should an employee with a poor performance record be eligible for a career move?
  • How are internal moves communicated?

Bring careerpathing to life. HR should work with marketing and communications to communicate the initiative organizationwide, through multiple channels, webinars, town halls and e-mail campaigns. “Employees will also need support in mapping out their journeys,” Ginac said. Help employees find potential opportunities, compare their skills to future roles, and identify skills gaps and resources to help close those gaps.

“We can’t have a formal program without managers being educated and trained on how to be effective career coaches,” she said. “They need to be able to create career pathing plans with employees, understand the concept of a career lattice [for lateral moves instead of only upward moves] to foster growth, be able to understand skills gaps and how to close them through development and learning, and monitor employee development plans and provide feedback.”

Institute Stay Interviews

Stay interviews are another underutilized method to gauge and support employees’ career growth. Instead of waiting until a quality worker has already accepted another offer elsewhere, managers should conduct regular check-ins to understand how their direct reports feel about their career goals and what obstacles may be in the way.

Stay interviews can cut turnover rates by more than 20 percent, according to Dick Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics and author of The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention (SHRM, 2012).

“Managers can help coach employees forward and try to understand where they see themselves longer term with the company,” Harris said. “People are constantly changing their priorities and goals, and if you are not having regular conversations with them and getting feedback, there will be a disconnect.”

Key questions to ask employees include:

  • What do you aspire to do?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is missing from your current role?

Some of the biggest potential problems with conducting stay interviews are managing employee expectations, either party focusing on the past or the negative, and managers not addressing employee feedback.

Employees must understand that the stay interview is not the time to ask for a raise, Harris said.

“Make sure that you separate pay from performance. Focus on the employee’s career and what can be done to help them grow, instead of negative things that may have happened in the past.”

She recommended structuring stay interviews as quarterly sessions focused on different areas so that they won’t get stale or repetitive. For example, the chat could be about career aspirations and goals in the first quarter, professional development in the second quarter, and changes to the role in the third quarter, with the annual performance review wrapping up the process at year-end.

Managers should take action to address what has been said during the sessions. “There is nothing worse than an employee telling you how they feel and then HR and the manager do nothing about it. That will do more to hurt retention than help,” Harris said.

 

Source: SHRM

Date: 08th Dec, 2016

“Uber partners with insurance firm Coverfox”

“We recognise that our driver partners spend a considerable amount of time on the road and we want to ensure their over-all safety.”

Insurance portal Coverfox has partnered with Uber India as the broker on record for the ride hailing app’s drivers. Coverfox will provide assistance in insurance policy purchases and facilitate car insurance solutions for Uber’s driver partners as part of the latter’s re ward-oriented programme UberCLUB.

“We recognise that our driver partners spend a considerable amount of time on the road and we want to ensure their over-all safety. This partnership will be useful for hundreds of thousands of driver partners on the Uber platform,” said Bhavik Rathod, general manager south & west at Uber India.

The UberCLUB programme in India is an offshoot of Uber’s global Momentum Rewards Program.Coverfox’s car insurance services will initially be available in 11 cities, and will soon expand to all the cities Uber India operates in. Coverfox will use its existing insurance partners for Uber drivers across all categories and help negotiate rates for premiums.

“Our team has put together a well-knit network of experts, insurers and partners to facilitate insurance as well as claims,” said Varun Dua, co-founder of Coverfox.

Uber will be able to get a significant discount on insurance rates via this partnership. “An Uber driver can get insurance at 30% discount to themarket rate,” Jaimit Doshi, chief sales and marketing officer at Coverfox, told ET. Coverfox, which handles 25,00030,000 policies per month across all verticals, expects the partnership with Uber alone to add the same number in 12 months.

The Accel and SAIF Partners backed insurance portal gets over 50% of its revenue from the motor insurance segment of which car business remains the bread and butter.

“Currently , we are servicing retail and commercial vehicles through Uber,” said Doshi. If more opportunities come up, the company can expand partnerships with insurance companies, he said.

Dua said his company has clocked Rs 175 crore worth of premiums and is Rs 175 crore worth of premiums and is targeting Rs 400 crore by December 2017 -a large portion of which will be driven by Uber.

 

Source: The Economic Times (ETR Auto)

Date: 08th December, 2016

 

Foreign firms not hiking stakes in Indian JVs; Here’s why

Milliman, which is among the world’s largest providers of actuarial and related products, believes foreign players are not hiking their stakes only because of high valuations.

Even after Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act which was passed in February 2015, which allows foreign players to increase their stakes in insurance firms from 26% to 49%, several foreign insurers have not hiked their stakes in their Indian joint ventures. Milliman, which is among the world’s largest providers of actuarial and related products, believes foreign players are not hiking their stakes only because of high valuations.

Milliman, in its third annual discussion forum on the Indian life insurance sector, also stated that, the life insurance sector will grow in the range of 15-20% over the next few years. “One of the key reasons foreign players are not hiking their stakes in Indian joint ventures is rich valuations. If we do the proper discounted cash flow calculations, there is no way we can justify such valuations of Indian companies,”said Sanket Kawatkar, principal and consulting actuary at Milliman.

He also added that several Indian companies are trading at 3-3.5 times the embedded value  with low margins, compared to several life insurance companies in south east Asian countries which are trading at 1-1.5 times the EV with very high margins.

Since the insurance Act was amended, very few foreign promoters have started increasing their stakes in the insurance joint ventures, after regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India clarified the issue of ‘management control’.

In the last few months, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance was listed on the stock exchange, while HDFC Life and Max Life Insurance have proposed their merger. Milliman also believes that players with strong bancassurance (banca) will continue to do better compared to non-banca players. Milliman also says the sudden reduction in the interest rates can be expected to have adverse impact on life insurance companies operating in the market.

“A significant portion of life insurers participating funds are invested in fixed income securities, which would be expected to yield less. In line with the internal bonus management frameworks, companies are required to actively manage the bonuses to be declared on participating business. With a possible expectation of lower investment returns in future, companies may need to deuce the future bonus rates in order to control the future build-up of guarantees. Simultaneously, companies would be required to manage the expectations of their policyholders about the level of future bonuses,” Milliman said in a release.

 

Source : The Financial Express

Date : 01-12-2016

PSUs Line up at IITs

Cos may offer crore-plus pay package on Mumbai, Kharagpur, Guwahati, Roorkee campuses

As the final placements at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) kick off on Thursday, students are set to land their first crore-plus salary offers from Microsoft and Oracle.

The two US technology companies are putting forward such international salary packages in at least four campuses -Mumbai, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Roorkee, according to people privy to the matter at leading IITs. While the offers will be made in the early hours of Thursday, their total number could not be ascertained.

While both companies are said to be offering higher pay packages this year, Redmondheadquartered Microsoft is a notch above Oracle in base salaries for international roles. The former is likely to `72.5 offer about $106,000 (.lakh) and Oracle is said to be paying marginally less.

With the addition of variables such as employee stock option plan, joining bonus and relocation costs, the salaries for international roles at the higher end are about `. 1.2 crore, according to placement cell officials in at least three IITs. The final placements at the IITs start on December 1, also known as Day 1, with companies queuing up to grab young engineers for both domestic and international positions. Most international offers are made in the first half on Day 1.

Microsoft did not divulge details about the offer. “With campus hiring being an important source of talent, IITs form a key part of our campus hiring strategy, delivering some of the brightest talent for our business,“ Rohit Thakur, senior director ­ HR, Microsoft India, said in response to an ET query. “Our pace of hiring from IITs has remained steady and this momentum will continue across IIT campuses this year as well.“ Oracle did not respond to a questionnaire sent by ET at the time of going to the press.

Traditionally , companies including Oracle, Microsoft, Google and Visa are known to make the highest salary offers at the IITs. Tech giant Google will be missing at most IITs this year as it plans to hire candidates directly , without involving the institutes.

Though crore-plus salaries are not uncommon at the IITs, they are handed out to only a fraction of the students. This year, PSUs are likely to make a large number of offers at the IITs after a ban on them hiring from campuses was lifted. In a first, many PSUs are already lined up at most of the IITs for the first phase of placements. Unlike last year, when startups hogged the limelight, this time most of them are missing.

Last year, many startups either revoked offers or deferred hires, leading IITs to impose a blanket ban on them for a year.

Source : Economic Times

Date : 01-12-2016