To Get Hiring Right, Startups Expand Background Checks

A recent survey by First Advantage finds as much as 87% of discrepancies at senior mgmt level

Startups are doing more background checks than before on their potential employees, as they are faced with the pressure to hire right.

As much as 87% of discrepancies found during a recent survey by background screening solutions firm First Advantage were at the level of senior management. Of these candidates, 42.3% were in the 22-30 age group, indicating that a significant chunk of them belonged to the startup ecosystem.

“We see more startups seeking background checks. Wrong hiring can sully the image of the startups, and cash-strapped startups can’t afford to hire the wrong person,“ First Advantage managing director Purushotam Savlani said.

Employees can easily go from being assets to liabilities, and pose a risk to the credibility established by the startup, especially those in the financial technology sector, he said.

Most of the background checks that the startups want to do are in skills, leadership styles, credentials and possible cases of sexual harassment against the potential employee.

Paytm has engaged a professional agency to validate the past employer credentials, educational qualification and criminal antecedents for all new employees. “Any reported noncompliance in background verification ensures strict action against the candidate, leading to revocation of the offer or termination of employment. Candidates are made aware of this procedure as a part of the selection experience,“ said Paytm associate vice president Manav Jain.

Customer-facing roles, in particu lar, are a key focus area when it comes to background checks during the hiring process.“These are the folks who are actually delivering to people’s houses, so safety is a key issue,“ said TN Hari, HR head at online grocery player BigBasket. “We ha ve two agencies to do background checks on these individuals for us,“ he added.

For senior management, informal reference checks are conducted to see where the potential hire stands on issues such as integrity, taking ownership, overall attitude, etc., said Hari.

At online furniture and home décor brand Urban Ladder, the company religiously does three things when hiring employees and senior management: mandatory reference checks through internal or external networks, a legal verification for customer-facing employees and putting them through a thorough training and induction process. “Background checks and verifications are essentially fencing mechanisms for an organisation,“ co-founder Rajiv Srivatsa said.

One of the reasons startups are seeking more background checks is that in such early-stage companies, there are fewer people overseeing payroll, checks and vendor lists, making it easier for an insider to siphon off money and get away with it.

“Running thorough background checks and reference checks help startups protect themselves from these types of bottom feeders, and is one of the reasons you should expect a background check before being hired with a developing entrepreneurial firm,“ said First Advantage’s Savlani.

At the top levels, ensuring the right hire becomes much more important. “The impact of senior management hires is massive in a company’s evolution. You need to have a thorough understanding of that person’s integrity and values. The more companies align on that right from the beginning, the better it is for all concerned,“ said Sandeep Murthy, a partner at venture capital firm Lightbox Ventures.

But while screening is important, so also is hiring someone who is the right cultural fit.

“We screen for aptitude, but hire for attitude,“ said Murthy. Vivek Prabhakar, CEO of Chumbak Design, said while senior hires are always carefully vetted, for him the more important aspect is the culture test to see whether the candidate is a good fit for the company.

“We don’t want people who engage in politics or disrupt the equilibrium of the organisation. What we are looking for are people who gel with the organisational culture; others are weeded out,“ Prabhakar said.

Source : The Economic Times

Date : 08-08-2017

GIC Re Files Red Herring Prospectus for Rs 7k-cr IPO

GIC Re on Monday filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the Insurance regulator to raise over `7,000 crore by selling close to 15% stake in combination of new and existing shares.

“We have asked GIC to have one to two independent directors on board,“ said a senior Irda official.GIC has a net worth of `45,000 crore, including fair value.Valuation of the company will depend on factors such as net worth, combined ratio and investment book. From a book value, net worth and assets point of view, GIC has strong financials.

GIC Re has reported 10% growth in profit after tax to `3,127 crore in FY17 over previous year.

GIC Re is hopeful of listing on stock exchanges in this financial year. It has appointed bankers incl u d ing Axi s Cap i t al , Ci t i, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Kotak Investment Banking to manage the IPO.

GIC has bring down its combined ratioa measure of profitability to 99.7% in FY17 as compared to 107.4% in the previous year.

Source : The Economic Times

Date: 08-08-2017

IRDAI gives green signal to ICICI Pru to take-over life insurance business of Sahara India

 

Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to take over the life insurance business portfolio of Sahara India Life Insurance Company (SILIC) with effect from 31st July 2017.

 

In terms of Section 52 B (3) of the Insurance Act, 1938, this order is binding on all persons concerned, and shall have effect notwithstanding anything in the memorandum or articles of association of M/s Sahara India Life Insurance Company.

 

Sahara Group has been reeling under financial troubles ever since its chief Subrata Roy was arrested in 2014 in a case of non-refund ofalmost Rs 20,000 crore to investors. Sahara Mutual Fund’s licence was cancelled by Securities and Exchange Board of India in 2015.

 

IRDAI had asked Sahara life to stop issuing policies on June 23. Insurance regulator had raised concerns over the management of Sahara India Life Insurance Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group.

 

 

 

Why your firm needs an employer branding plan

If you are a regular reader of this publication, this won’t be news to you: in the business of government contracting, few things are more challenging than finding and keeping qualified talent.

What is less obvious is exactly how your firm can conquer the significant challenges of talent acquisition and retention. In the Washington, D.C. market alone, many hundreds of government contracting firms vie for a limited pool of talentedprofessionals to join their team of FTEs.

If you are willing to move beyond the short-term view on the talent wars, however, a powerful option is available to you, one that more and more firms are implementing to attract top people. I’m talking about creating and deploying an employer branding plan.

Understanding Employer Branding

So what is employer branding? It’s simple, really. Think of it as your firm’s reputation as a place to work. Is it high pressure? Does the firm value work-life balance? Is the firm full of genuine experts and is it a good place to acquire new skills and build a career? There are a wide variety of characteristics that make up your reputation.

Like any brand, your employer brand is only as strong as it is visible. If you have a greatwork environment but nobody knows about it, top talent isn’t going to be lining up at your door. So if you can build up both pieces of your employerbrand — your reputation and your visibility — your firm will beboth findable and appealing.

An employer branding plan is your roadmap to that enviable position. In a future post, I’ll explain how to develop such a plan, but today I want to discuss why you need one.

Recruiting Becomes Easier

By definition, a strong employer brand will improve the quality and quantity of your applicants. When your firm is well known in the industry for its culture and benefits, it will naturally attract a larger pool of prospective employees. And more of those applicants should be premium talent.

But that’s not where the advantages end. When you have more candidate options, you canalmost always hire good people faster. If you are looking for special skills, you will find them more easily. In addition, you are more likely to be candidates’ first choice, so they are likely to accept more quickly. In some cases you may even be able to negotiate better terms.

Another happy consequence of employer branding is the lower cost of acquiring talent. Improved visibility in the marketplace means you may be able to reduce yourdependence on recruiting agencies because more candidates will seek you outdirectly.

Employees Stay Longer

No doubt you’ve read about the high costs of acquiring and training new employees. How much better off would you be if you could keep your best professionals for the long haul?

A strong employer brand — particularly benefits that affect quality of life, such as culture, leadership style, and growth potential — reduces employees’ temptation to jump ship. When an employee feels good about her workplace, she is going to be less likely to be lured away by the promise of a fatter paycheck. Money is just one factor that employees consider, and not necessarily the most important one. After all, when people have a high level of satisfaction in their jobs, moving to a competitor comes with significant risks. Sometimes money just buys unhappiness, and many contented employees know it.

Culture is King

Perhaps the most important component of your employer brand is your firm’s culture. What’s it like to work there? How are employees treated? Are co-workers respectful and collaborative? Is high-quality work valued? Are there opportunities to interact socially? Do they offer ongoing training and professional development?

In the government contracting industry, developing a coherent culture can be a real challenge— even more so at 1099-driven firms. In many cases, professionals spend much of their time outside their firms’ offices, which makes creating a powerful culture especially difficult.

But it can be done, and employees who have been exploited by indifferent govcon employers in the past understand the value of a strong culture. Firms that conscientiously build a culture that fills the emotional and practical needs of their employees will have a tremendous advantage in the recruiting marketplace.

Employer Branding is the Future

If employee branding sounds appealing to you, you aren’t alone. In a recent survey, 41% of companies already have formal employer branding programs in place, and the figure is closer to 50% at companies with more than 1,000 employees. And of these businesses, 94% of them plan to either maintain or boost their investment.

The bottom line? When you implement an employer brand strategy, you have a tremendous advantage over competitors who don’t. In fact, many firms report that investing in their employer brand has a direct affect on their revenues.

 

Source:-  Icube Human Capital Solutions.

Date:-2nd August,2017

“HDFC Standard Life, Max Life call off merger of insurance business”

HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd and Max Life Insurance Co. Ltd have called off their proposed merger after failing to win regulatory approval for a union that would have created an insurance giant with Rs1.1 trillion in assets.

In a statement on Monday, Max Financial Services Ltd, Max India Ltd and Max Life confirmed that the proposed merger with HDFC Life has beencalled off.

The exclusivity agreement with HDFC Life was valid until 31 July 2017 (Monday), and will not be renewed, Max said.

In November, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) referred the deal to the Union law ministry after raising concerns about its structure being in violation of a section of the Insurance Act.

Max Financial Services was created in 2016, after a demerger of the erstwhile Max India. Both firms had initially proposed the merger of Max Life with Max Financial Services.

This structure was found to be in violation of Section 35 of the Insurance Act, which does not allow merger of an insurance firm with a non-insurance firm.

The law ministry, in turn, sought an opinion from then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi. As per the original scheme, the deadline for IRDA approval was to expire in June, while that for court approval was to end inFebruary 2018. When Rohatgi declined to give his view on the matter, IRDA in its final decision refused to give the go-ahead to the transaction.

“The prospective partners had evaluated several alternative structures over the last month. However, the inordinate time associated with finalization and approval of these structures led to this decision,” the statement said.

Mint reported in June that both companies had begun working on an alternative structure while HDFC Life had also simultaneously begun working on its proposed initial public offering (IPO).

In July, HDFC Life’s board approved a proposal to sell as much as 20% of the insurer through an IPO even as it reiterated its commitment to a potential merger with Max Life at a later date.

While both sides could not subsequently agree on an alternative structure, Mint reported in June that the approval process for a new structure could potentially take another 12 to 18 months, which some HDFC Life investors were not amenable to.

HDFC Life and Max Life had announced their merger plans in August last year. The potential merger would have created India’s largest private sector life insurer, surpassing ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co.Ltd, and second only to state-run Life Insurance Corp. of India, which has a 70% share of new business premiums in the country.

The merger had been seen as the first sign of a long-awaited consolidation in an industry with assets under management of Rs22.4 trillion, of which the 23 private sector insurers account for only Rs4.61 trillion, according to IRDA.

Source: LiveMint

Date:  31st July, 2017