Monday, September 29, 2008

Workplace Fashion: You Are What You Wear

See also: How to Dress for an Interview

Rightly said, ‘Our attire, appearance and conduct is reflective of the corporate image’. If you are concerned about your career, you will be more concerned with looking professional than looking fashionable or decked out. In today’s world of cut-throat competition and spirited professionals, office wear doesn’t mean just the formal wear. One has to carefully pick the right attire for all office related events, be it product launches, office parties, business lunches or office picnic.

Getting dressed for the office doesn’t mean leaving your personal style behind; yet it is important not to be a fashion victim at work. Make sure your attire is pleasing and in accordance with your functional imperatives.

Your everyday work wear speaks volumes about your attitude and commitment to work. Your goal to getting dressed for work is to project a professional, competent image, regardless of your employment level or career path. While formal attire helps present a sharp, smart and service oriented executive; needless to say, casual wear reflects a nonchalant laidback attitude.

Some organisations encourage employees to dress as well or better than their customers, especially for employees who meet clients. It doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more companies are joining the bandwagon of ‘uniform for employees’. Best bet: Formal trousers/pants, button-down shirts with tie, belt and shoes that are in good condition, neatly groomed hair. Sarees, salwar suits, churidar kurta, trouser with striped shirts, scarf, manicured nails, conservative hair, jewellery and makeup for her. Career killer: Not wearing a belt, mismatched pair of socks, wornout shoes, shirts showing gap between buttonholes, body odour, etc.

What is a perfect ‘meet the client’ outfit? The answer lies in taking extra care to dress up when you are heading for a business meet. Select clean, pressed and wrinkle-free clothes for formal business attire.

Your outfit should communicate professionalism.

Make sure you pick good quality clothes that boost your confidence and determination. It helps to know which look gives you a polished, professional look. Best bet: Formal attire, pantsuits, blazers or jackets, tie, belt, business shoes, etc. Indian wear or western formals which include formal pants or skirts (formal, knee length or longer) with smart shirts/tops for her. Career killer: Shabby appearance, stained or wrinkled clothes, florescent colours, wild prints, athletic shoes, sleeves foldedup, loud make-up, messy hair-dos, etc.

While professionals and organisation are still grappling to give a definition to Friday Dressing, the first and foremost concern is professionalism. Casual Friday is a welcome change, with employees getting a chance to put aside their formal trousers and tie to slip into corduroys or Khaki pants. Though denim, T-shirts and flip-flops are acceptable only in the most casual of work environments, more and more offices are accepting trendy wear.

But before you dress casual, check to make sure you don’t have any meetings that require formal business attire. Shweta S, a media professional says, “For Friday dressing I ask myself if I can meet the CEO today without being embarrassed about what I’m wearing?” Best bet: Smart casuals which include trousers/corduroys/skirts. Company logo polo and jeans. Dressy pants and a blouse, sleek jersey knits, skirts and tops, matching accessories. Career killer: Capri/threefourths, Bermudas, silver sneakers, revealing clothes, slogan T-shirts, miniskirts, spaghetti straps

A party is a party but an official party has a professional and a formal look attached with it. Office party is time to go bling but keep in mind that you don’t overdo it.“Official parties are a great way to interact with your co-workers and to know them more closely; one must take care of things that can make you the topic of discussion,” says Kunal Shroff, a sales manager.

Office parties are a time to relax and rejuvenate. What you wear for an office party should be carefully selected to accentuate your personality. The key is to look graceful yet professional. Best bet: Safest bet is to wear black; jeans and stylish t-shirt/top, matching accessories. Career killer: Sexy outfits, revealing clothes, loud streaked hair, clothes you can’t carry, your nightclub-avatar.

Time to flaunt your colourful tees and sporty footwear! You can easily be yourself during office picnics but don’t go over-the-top. “Many employees tend to get too casual in their attitude when they are away from the formal office environ and face flak for their activities,” says S Ram, an HR professional. Best bet: Comfortable clothes, jeans and tees, jacket, caps, sneakers, etc. Career killer: See-through tops, crop tops, miniskirts, etc.

Article Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Train with Talent Craft to be a professional

Have you heard of Talent Craft? It’s a new and recently launched training solutions division from Times Business Solutions Ltd. Following the Miller Heiman method of training, this site is for training professionals, for those who have a sales jobs, management jobs, and more, this is a must see site. But enough of that, here is something the TBSL CEO said on the launch of Talent Craft:

“Speaking on the launch of Talent Craft, Mr. R. Sundar, CEO, Times Business Solutions Limited said, “Times Business Solutions has already made a significant impact in enabling corporate India to attain accelerated growth, offering the leading job portal - and executive search solutions through Smart Hire. Talent Craft is bringing in the next level of corporate empowerment, providing people development solutions within organisations, right from their induction, through performance & promotion systems, to succession planning for leadership. We feel privileged and honoured to provide Miller Heiman’s world-renowned training programmes to India Inc.”

For over 30 years, Miller Heiman has brought an unparalleled precision to the art of selling with simple, yet powerful processes and tools that help drive performance, especially when the sales cycle is complex and the marketplace is demanding.

Miller Heiman also prides itself with expert consultants across the globe who have walked in the shoes of sales leaders and understand the need to deliver immediate results and lasting value having been in that position themselves. They also undertake the world's largest on-going study of sales performance best practices, and have published several best-selling books, including, the award-winning Sales Performance Journal every quarter.

Speaking about Miller Heiman’s association with Times Business Solutions’ Talent Craft, Mr. Michael Light, Regional Director Asia-Pac, Miller Heiman remarked, “We are extremely excited and thrilled to have found such a reputed organisation in India to partner with. We are sure that Times Business Solutions’ Talent Craft will be able to leverage our expertise and disseminate our experience, of working shoulder-to-shoulder with the world's leading companies and our comprehensive research, which has kept us relevant over three decades of change, to Indian Industry.”

Miller Heiman’s ability to transform organizations through their programs is unsurpassed in the industry. They do this by developing enterprise-level sales force strategies, implementing core sales processes to create new opportunities, win big deals, and grow key accounts. They also are global leaders in training sales and support people to maximize their effectiveness, selecting, developing and organizing sales people and sales managers.

Talent Craft in its initial operations has successfully delivered public and private programs for corporate clients and had representations from organizations in individual capacities for their programs delivered in alliance with Grid International, Vital Smarts and Dale Carnegie. Talent Craft offers premium solutions for building capability, capacity and performance of individuals and organizations by bringing to them global content and solutions.

Talent Craft offers assessment solutions to help reduce the recruitment cycle and collaborate with organizations to set up assessment centers to separate the best from the rest. For these solutions, Talent Craft has also partnered with NIIT for IT domain assessments and Skill Profile Analytic for Aptitude and spoken English assessments.

Talent Craft brings cutting-edge management solutions from world-renowned management and HR development consultants, ranging from Miller Heiman’s Sales Performance Systems, Dale Carnegie’s People Management programmes, Leadership series from Grid International Inc., Personal Effectiveness and Negotiation Skills from Vital Smarts USA, in association with Aspectum Consulting.

“Talent Craft is a quality source for inputs to develop and retain talent, which will help organizations to build businesses with speed and quality. The HR community can expect a partner who has come into existence to take care of their specific needs, with products and services that are bench marked as per international parameters. Talent Craft is a long term value building effort, which will offer customized & best-in-class learning solutions to people at all levels of organizational hierarchy.” says Yogesh Sood, President and CEO, of Aspectum Consulting.

As business leaders focus on top-line growth, the value of learning is becoming better understood and more relevant. Those leaders who understand how to drive business results in an increasingly competitive, global environment recognize that a better-trained workforce improves performance, and investing in employee learning and development is critical to achieving success.

Seventy-five percent of executives said talent management is a critical issue in global researches by ASTD (the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals), and Towers Perrin ATP Track Research. The increased focus on talent management results from a maelstrom of challenges: the demographic shift driving a dearth of talent; the globalized talent market; the need for new, complex sets of capabilities to drive growth; and firms (particularly those in emerging markets) struggling to attract and retain talent. Increasingly, executives view talent management not as a “nice to have,” but as a critical tool used in the service of achieving business objectives. This has led learning to move from plug and play to become more integrated with business strategy.

The corporate giants of the new economy are high on people dependence, and we are accelerating towards a scenario where - “Money’s at a discount and talent’s at a premium”
To maintain their leadership, corporates are actively seeking assessment & development solutions to acquire and upgrade the skills of their HR Talent in order to remain ahead and develop their people to take on higher responsibilities and manage employee attrition, and this is just what Talent Craft provides.

Talent Craft, in its endeavor to ‘Simplify Learning’ and bring the ‘Best in Class’ solutions in assessment and training, will also conduct regular seminars and knowledge forums on global trends & practices, for the benefit of Indian entrepreneurs and industry.”
Main article taken from

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BPO's losing their charm?

The latest news in the Job Market is that the BPO sector has the highest attrition rate in India. Perhaps it is due to the remuneration that is less then pretty, or the irregular work schedules, but the fact still remains that the BPO jobs in India is suffering from a 23.5 percent attrition rate. This means that it is 7.8 percent higher then other suffering sectors.

An article from the Economic Times said: The report by Hay Group showed that, in general, staff turnover in India is 15.7 per cent, but in BPO companies, attrition stands at 23.5 per cent - the country's highest.

"The overall compensation structure design is not competitive when compared to general market practices. This means that BPO employees do not receive as much cash-in-hand as their peers in other industries," Hay Group, Reward Information Services, Country Head (India) Oscar De Mello said.

"When you add unattractive remuneration to working shifts, lack of career development, and monotonous tasks, it is not surprising that employees leave when offered a small salary increase," he said.

The short-term incentives account for only four per cent of total remuneration, compared to 10 per cent generally. Moreover, the benefits are also limited to those that can be enjoyed only post-retirement, like pension fund and gratuity, and not during the employment period.
While pay is generally designed to give employees more take-home cash, a higher portion is allocated to allowances like housing/rent and not base salary.

"The BPO industry is a critical sector in the Indian economy, worth USD 11 billion and employing over two million people. However, if the industry is to achieve the projected USD 30 billion by 2012, we have to tackle this talent attrition issue now.

"By creatively designing their total reward package towards more short-term incentives and benefits, and linking the package to performance, companies can ensure that they get higher productivity without hefty increases in salary costs and minimize attrition costs at the same time," De Mello added.

The report also recommended that by planning a combination of short and long-term incentives, such as performance bonus, Employee Stock Option Plans, deferred and retention bonus, the industry can tide over the problem of attrition.

What is your take on this topic? Do you agree or disagree? Write in and post your comments right here..

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jobs for HIV positive candidates

Are you an HIV positive person and want to get a Job in South India? They have actually reserved government jobs for HIV positive candidates! No matter how those NGO’s managed to pull this one off, I am of the opinion that it will bring immense relief to those suffering from such an illness as they will now be well able to care for themselves financially as well.

Economic Times had an article on the same. I’m including a short excerpt here for your easy reference:

"The salary for the contract appointment is between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. According to official figures Kerala has more than 25,000 HIV positive cases, of which around 4,500 are receiving free anti-retroviral therapy in various government run medical colleges in the state. S K Harikumar, who worked previously with KSACS and is now an independent consultant in HIV AIDS and sexual health, said finding a person for the post of the coordinator would not be a problem. "I myself know several people who are eligible for this post. The biggest advantage in such a post with these specifications is that HIV AIDS is no longer considered as a stigma. This shows that our society has matured," said Harikumar. State Health Minister P K Sreemathi said there are quite a few voluntary organizations in the state which work in HIV AIDS with the support of KSACS who have appointed HIV positive people to work among the affected community. The job of the coordinator is to establish a network of HIV positive people in all the 14 districts of the state. Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, who is the state's goodwill ambassador for an AIDS awareness campaign, was elated by the move. "Every individual in the society has to play his or her part to see that the stigma on HIV positive people is removed once and for all," he said. He said that it was refreshing to know that the government has reserved a job for the patients struck by the disease.”

What is your opinion on this topic? Blog here with your comments!