Issues of HRMHRM professional’s life-cycle stageAn enthusiastic HR professional at an HR forum once told me that she felt encouraged by the „maturing up‟ of HRMprofession in Pakistan. She pointed to Unilever, Pakistan Tobacco and Engro Foods as examples. When I asked: Do thesethree organisations represent Pakistan‟s 50,000 private and public limited companies, she remained upbeat. She said:“All Pakistan‟s companies are opportunity for HRM. We shouldn‟t see opportunities as problems.” As an appreciativeobserver of how HRM practices developed in the past 20 years, I‟ve often thought about what the young lady said. Is theHRM profession „maturing‟ in Pakistan? You can argue the HR profession left its “administration” eggshell behind 15 yearsago.You might say almost all business schools in Pakistan teach fairly standardized formal HRM. Professional HR forums andsocieties have formed to diligently discuss HRM. Companies take in 150-200 fresh HRM people every year. Companieswant to retain high-performance employees. Surely all this tells us HRM in Pakistan is now a „mature profession‟. TheQuestion is: If it has become a „mature profession in Pakistan, then what makes CEOs of Pakistani companies interpretHRM so differently? Quick answer: Pakistani CEOs simply do not know what HRM is. I find it difficult to buy that. I havehad the discussion one-on-one with many „seth‟ and „modern‟ CEOs during the past 10 years. Their understanding of HRMhas usually been quite remarkable. Their fellow CEOs discuss it; they have read about it; they have attended coursesabroad; they listen to HRM speakers; their employees tell them about HRM.There is so much out there about HRM, I think it‟s grossly misleading to assume that Pakistani CEOs interpret HRMdifferently because they don‟t know what it is.Consider this idea: Pakistan‟s HRM profession is also developing along a life-cycle curve that can be defined on twodimensions. One is penetration of potential users. Way back in 1988, there were 21,000 Pakistani owned private/publiclimited companies in Pakistan. Although talk about HRM had begun, it had not penetrated any potential users amongthese. HRM‟s Introduction stage began roughly in 1992-93. An informal survey I conducted suggested HRM had penetratedabout 0.5 per cent of 30,000 Pakistani owned private/public limited companies in some form. The Introduction stagecontinued roughly up to 2000. Today, eight years later, the HRM profession is probably in its „Early Growth‟ stage. Iestimate that perhaps three and a half per cent of Pakistani owned private/public limited companies – some 2,000 firms –use HRM functions in one form or another ranging from standard recruitment procedures to managing training, to settingup HRM systems to truly strategic HR value-addition.How long might the profession take to approach life-cycle „Maturity‟? Given the nature and structure of Pakistani-ownedcompanies, HRM‟s penetration at „Maturity‟ will be when it reaches at least 33 per cent of potential users. Since it tookabout 15 years to develop from „Introduction‟ to „Early Growth‟, my guess is the approach to „Maturity‟ will also takeanother 15 years. By 2020, the HRM profession may penetrate about 20,000 organizations.But penetrating potential HRM users is only the half story. The other life-cycle dimension for the profession is width ofHRM integration. Any good marketing person would tell you: Penetrating a potential user market is one thing; achievingintensity of use is quite another. So, though HRM is currently present in about 2,000 Pakistani-owned companies, thewidth of HRM integration in these companies is vastly different.The majority of these users – perhaps 85 per cent – have integrated HRM narrowly to personnel administration,recruitment, and off-the-shelf training. Some – perhaps 13 per cent – have widened HRM to selection, compensationpolicies, performance management and basic career planning. It is 40 odd Pakistani owned companies, the top 2 per centthat have relatively the widest HRM integration. If this analysis resembles on-ground reality, can one still say the HRMprofession is in the „Early Growth‟ stage? Yes, indeed
Challenges Fresh Graduates face before and after induction into theworking class.Young graduates should, spend their time to check the online resources for their job hunt. They should take internshipbreaks before going for the Masters Degree or even getting the relevant experience to the related field as an intern,trainee or volunteer. They should take time off to plan their career rather to get some part time job earning for theirpocket money. Proper drafting can channelize their career prospects and even if they try for part time work they shouldknow where to knock the door.The current scenario suggests that in early stages peer group at educational institutions affects career choice, anexample of herd mentality. For some it is parental choice or desire, while for others family trade is the decider. I haveworked with individuals who found after taking the plunge that their career choice wasn‟t quite what they wanted. Afterexploring the subject, some got new insights and decided they were okay with things as they were; others opted forsomething after their hearts, even if the income was less. It boils down to one‟s individuals values and their compatibilitywith what they do.Also there is a clear disconnect between what our country‟s economy needs and what we are teaching our students inschools, colleges, universities and technical institutes and most of them do not want to venture into career counseling asit hurts their business prospects and they lack that mindset too. Hence, we do not have a thriving industry-academiabusiness incubation culture which is the lifeline for developed countries and some of the under-developed too and one oftheir main reasons for progress.Career Counseling is need of the time and needs to be a policy statement at all institutions of higher learning and atorganizations employee counseling needs to be in place as well. This will not only increase retention but will alsoenhance employee productivity.New entrants in the field of HRThinking of opting for Human Resources Management as a career? Great, but before making this career decision, you needa crash course in the real HR practices prevailing in our local business scenario. All those case studies in your books willnow have to take a back seat.Here‟s what you need to do to start off as an HR professional:1. Intern for at least a month in a two or more different organizations and industries. The more DIVERSE organizations, thebetter exposure you get. Try observing all the HR functions within these organization to figure out what interests you themost. Get hold of any relevant project/assignment that you can get your hands upon.2. Interact with HR people from all levels (from junior management to department heads) and ASK all the questions thatcome to your mind regarding working in the HR arena, especially their personal experiences.3. After getting a little taste of HRM, decide whether you can spend the major remaining portion of your life doing this.4. Once you join the league, keep your eyes on the challenges that may come your way from day one. The challenges rangefrom ethical dilemmas, balancing the employer‟s and employees‟ interests to MANAGING our own emotional labor. Keepin mind that any entry level position in HR here in Pakistan can pose you with repetitive, clerical/data-entry sort ofwork. BE PATIENT as this phase will pass out eventually and you will get to do a lot of analysis and decision-making tasksas you gain expertise and exposure.5. Acquiring the RIGHT skills and keeping them up-to-date is vital in these times. Your key characteristics & skill-set to be asuccessful HR professional should include an excellent customer service attitude, a high emotional quotient (EQ), clearethical values, ability to learn, UNLEARN and re-learn, analytical skills and most importantly a tech-savvy mindset so
that you can implement the latest technologies to AUTOMATE HR processes. Always be on the lookout for the latestindustry developments that can help your department achieve higher standards.Power of Innovation at WorkInnovation is the process of making something new and of value. When we think of business innovation, two thingstypically come to mind:(1) research and development departments bringing new products and services , and ….(2) new systems and processes stemming from business process reengineering.Innovation doesn’t have to be as complex as this. Innovation is something that every one of us, at every level of anorganization, can participate in.Innovation on a grand scale is what can allow companies to excel. Look at some of the most influential businesses:Apple, Microsoft, and 3M. How many people want an MP3 player other than an iPod? How many computer operatingsystems have most people used, apart from Windows? What do you call those little pieces of colored paper that havesticky edges?These companies are all examples of business innovation at its finest. They’ve made it a strategic priority to begroundbreaking and creative. At some level, though, all organizations need to be innovative, and to evolve theirprocesses and products continuously.Businesses that don’t change risk being left behind. To avoid that risk, put the power of innovation to work. Thiscould mean ensuring that you’re doing the best with what you have.Share this:Do you monitor your employees?A surge in the usage of media and availability of technology is an overwhelming, widespread fact. Today, our every moveis technology-driven and media-centric, especially at the workplace where almost every action is governed by technologyand media. This may give us a sense of limitless power and allow us to pursue tasks in a constraint-free manner.However, not all organizations today are that liberal with their provision of media usage.„Electronic monitoring‟ in companies that may include observing an employee‟s use of the internet or e-mail services,ensuring proper use of telephone equipment and voice mail, and audio surveillance of employees – is a trend that manyemployers are adopting, so as to have a firm grip on their employees‟ knowledge, workplace flexibilities and more.To a certain extent, employers should be permitted to enforce prohibitions on the usage of media but resorting todelicately and cunningly monitoring by means of tracking systems, tabs on emails (personal or work-related), etc stirs asense of faithlessness and disloyalty in the mind of the employee. The HR manager of today must be careful while dealingwith an employee who shows complete dependence on the social media. The HR manager may permit the usage of socialnetworking sites but should have the right to object against any furthering of private/personal matters pertaining to thebusiness.Employers should devise HR policies to preserve the rights of associates (employees). The HR manager of today shouldpractice varied methods. Distributing policy handouts to employees, information-sharing through interactive onlinetraining systems are a few such tools to ensure just that. As a part of the induction and orientation of new entrants in theorganization, it is advised to make the employee familiar with the processes and policies in the organization, whether itconcerns the net usage or any other company procedure. Through this, the employee gets familiarized with the processesand policies, and employees are made to realize the need to secure certain information and also maintain confidentialityat all times.So, electronic monitoring is not an absolute HR offense as long as the employee is made aware of the nature ofmonitoring that will be conducted.
The Recruitment strategy should be revisited inPakistani organizationsThe scarcity of talent is an imminent concern in Pakistani Organizations. Businesses need to adopt a long-term approachto ensure they have the right talent to achieve their business objectives. A robust recruitment strategy can ensure acompany‟s business strategy is supported by having talented people to execute it.With fresh graduates from Business schools and many more experienced professionals around, why is PakistaniOrganizations still struggling to fill „mission critical‟ positions with the right talent? “Even though the B-school campusesare churning out thousands of graduates each year, there seems to be a gap between the industry needs and the qualityof talent available.The main reason behind talent scarcity is the fact that the demand for talent is increasing in Pakistan , but the supply islimited as individuals lack „mission critical‟ skills to some extent, and at some instances companies fail to attractqualified and skilled talent for one or another reason.To bridge the gap between the industry and the academic sector, companies needs to:1. Work closely with students and several bodies such as educational institutions, government, privately-run finishingschools, etc.2. Take several initiatives to set up training infrastructure on their own.As we know, the industry outpaces academia in keeping abreast of changes. How can recruitment practices bestrategized for sourcing talent by organizations? The approach must be to:1. Target fewer educational institutions more intently,2. Build a strong relationship of mutual understanding through sustained engagement and use that relationship to meet abig chunk of our talent requirement.We should try to make our interactions on campus as innovative as possible.Our application process should be tailored to better understand students on a more personal level.Our senior leadership team should spend a lot of time on campus interacting with studentsBusinesses need to adopt an innovative approach to ensure they have the talent they need to achieve their businessobjectives. To develop a clear talent management strategy and to increase awareness of available talent and successors,organizations should conduct regular talent review meetings which prepare employees for a variety of business changes,such as mergers, company growth, or a decrease in talent needs. A talent review meeting should be designed to reviewthe current talent status and future successor needs in the organization.A victim of discriminatory behaviour at work?There are so many forms and shapes of discrimination that, at times, it is very hard to distinguish when the line is beingcrossed. For instance, you might be paid less than your counterparts because you‟re younger and assumed to beinexperienced; or maybe you‟re treated differently because you are “older” though you‟re fit as a fiddle and ready forwork; maybe you‟re not hired for client servicing because you‟re “not presentable” despite the fact that you have talent;or maybe an incompetent employee earned the promotion because of a financial crisis she is dealing with and the boss ismore empathetic towards her. Yes, discrimination comes in many shapes and forms and the only way to fight it is torecognise it. Age, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, caste, creed and location are just a few ofthe factors inspiring such behavior.
So, what can be done to increase awareness and help „victims‟? “HR and top management must publish a peoplemanagement policy/procedure handbook that covers a descriptive stance of the corporation on its equality policy. Anybreach of such a policy can be brought to the notice of the HR and management team members by the aggrieved person.“An open-door system backed by a well-defined policy will ensure that such incidents are automatically brought to thenotice of the HR managers“The victim, in such cases, must state very firmly that the behavior is not appreciated and should be stopped. If thebehavior is repeated, one must approach HR. Following this, HR must investigate any complaints quickly and thoroughly.If any instance of harassment or bias is noted, the associate should be cautioned and if required, counselled. What iscritical is to ensure that business leaders are also made aware of the potential damage from discrimination and themanifestations, so that they can recognize and nip it in the budHowever, many resort to ignoring the problem with the hope that it will disappear. “Often, employees wait till thesituation has worsened. This causes problems since not all types of discrimination can be spotted by HR. HR can spotdiscriminatory behavior at the time of making employment offers, providing newer roles and during performancemanagement. Most often, it becomes necessary for the employee to bring the matter to attention. In addition to this, ithelps to talk to peersDespite several attempts by companies to eliminate such issues, it all begins with the employee‟s willingness to takeaction. In many cases, just being assertive or using the right verbal/non-verbal gesture helps. To aid this, a culture oftransparency needs to be created within organizations. Also, one must be aware of where the line lies and therepercussions of crossing it.Here are some attributes; HR Mangers in a Pakistani organization can adopt to become effective in their role:Recognize yourself as the HR Manager. There are certain competencies which I have discussed in my article, made use ofthem. You are required to play a certain part in the organization, figure it out.Scope your role properly that suits the organizational needs.Identify your priority areas that will help you create the most important pact in the organization.Identify the priority areas for the organization and align your efforts towards those areas.Make a realistic HR plan.Gain credibility with every action of yours as the HR Manager. Improvise organization processes and focus on employees‟skill and knowledge development.Strive to gain knowledge in your sphere of work and develop your own HR Skills and competencies.Speak more of the organization lingo and less of HR Language. You work with people who are not from your profession soit is better to learn the language the large part of the organization speaks.Networking has become an eternal HR attribute. The better you‟re at networking within and outside your organization,the more your effectiveness as the HR manager.The new thinking on KPIs – and why we are working with thewrong measuresIn Pakistan, there is no company who thinks they have KPIs, which are measured monthly and quarterly.Many companies are working with the wrong measures, many of which are incorrectly termed key performance indicators(KPIs). Companies with 20 or more KPIs have a lack of focus, lack of alignment and under achievement. , very feworganisations really monitor their true KPIs. The reason is very few organisations have explored what a KPI actually is.Key Performance Indicators represent a set of measures focusing on those aspects of organisational performance that arethe most critical for the current and future success of the organisation.
KPIs should be monitored 24/7, daily and a few maybe weekly. All good KPIs that I have come across, that have made adifference, had the CEO‟s constant attention, with daily calls to the relevant staff.A good KPI will affect most of the core critical success factors and more then one balanced scorecard perspective. Inother words, when the CEO focuses on the KPI, and the staff follows, the organisation scores goals in all directions.So if KPIs are those few measures then what are the performance measures we are using? KRIs are measures that haveoften been mistaken for KPIs include:1. Customer satisfaction2. Net profit before tax3. Profitability of customers4. Employee satisfaction5. Return on capital employedThe common characteristic of these measures is that they are the result of many actions. They give a clear picture ofwhether you are travelling in the right direction. They do not however tell you what you need to do to improve theseresults. Thus key result indicators provide information that is ideal for the Board, who should not be involved inmanagement.A good KPI therefore has a flow on effect and should tell about what action needs to take place.Competencies for Pakistani HR ProfessionalsIn Pakistani organizations the Competencies required to perform the role of HR professionals is rapidly challenging.HRprofessionals perform different roles such as generalist, consultant, organization leader, strategist and specialist; in aparticular area of HRM.I have identified below 11 core competencies and 6 leverage competencies that are commonly required for all types ofroles within HRM function.CORE COMPETENCIES:1. Ethics: Possesses consistency to fundamental values, including respect for the individual, responsibility of purpose,honesty, fairness, integrity and respect for property.2. Communication: Uses language, style and effective expression, including non-verbal in speaking and writing so thatothers can understand and take appropriate action.3. Listening: Able to interpret and use information extracted from oral communication.4. Relationship Building: Able to establish rapport, relationships and networks across a broad range of people and groups5. Teamwork: Understanding how to collaborate and foster collaboration among others.6. Standards of Quality: Have high performance expectations for self and others.7. Judgment: Able to make rational and realistic decisions based on logical assumptions which reflect factual function.8. Result Orientation: Knows how to work to get results.9. Intiative: Able to go beyond the obvious requirements of a situation.10. Self Confidence: Possesses a high degree of confidence in own abilities.11. Enthusiasm & Commitment : Able to believe in employer; find enjoyment and involvement in work, and to becommitted to quality performanceLEVERAGE COMPETENCIES:1. Influence: Ability and skill to cause an effect, in indirect ways. Ability to impact individuals and organizations withoutexercise of direct power or command.
2. Utilisation of resources: Able to find, acquire and leverage appropriate resources, inside and outside the organization.3. Customer Awareness: Understand both internal and external customers and their needs.4. Creativity: Ability to invent, explore, imagine new approaches, framework or solutions ability to stimulate ideas in selfand others.5. Questioning: Ability to gather and interpret objective information through skilful questioning of individuals and groups.6. Organisational Intelligence: Understanding individual sensitiveness, power dynamics, relationships and how theorganization operates.I suggest that HR Professionals must take an assessment of themselves with reference to these competencies and work toacquire the missing ones. These competencies should be commonly applicable across all the roles and managerial positionwithin the HR function.Therefore HR departments in organizations can draft training programs to impact and develop their HR Executives onthese competencies