Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All it takes to be a charismatic leader

Most of the greatest leaders in history possessed a star quality that drew others to them. Churchill, Napoleon and Martin Luther King had a magnetism which is often easier to identify than to explain. The Greeks were the first to notice this. They named it ‘Kharisma’, which referred to a rare trait including extreme charm along with innate and powerfully-sophisticated communication and persuasive skills.

In our contemporary society, where people are buying brands and personalities, over products, charisma continues to be as important as it used to be during the early Greek era. Corporations, large and small, understand that success begins at an individual level.

They realise that charismatic leaders are the ones who are able to connect with subordinates and with customers at a deeper level, creating memorable experiences for them. They acknowledge that it is not just operational abilities, but charisma that would differentiate in the longer term.

So, what does it take to be a charismatic leader?

At a very peripheral level, charismatic leaders have three attributes, according to psychologist Richard Wiseman — they feel emotions themselves quite strongly, they induce them in others and they are impervious to the influences of other charismatic people. They are characterised by:

A Bold Viewpoint

Charismatic leaders almost always have a view of the future that will excite people and convert them to followers. They talk about bold and lofty visions and share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow.

Persuasive Speaking

Charismatic leaders not only walk the talk, but they even talk the talk, meaning they embrace every opportunity to convince others towards their vision. They always make it a point to speak in such a way as to create trust and personal integrity.

Silent Message

Charismatic leaders, through every one of their actions, send out the right signals. They consciously act in ways that make others feel great in their presence. They let people know that they matter and that they enjoy being around them; through their upright posture, direct eye contact, genuine smile and firm handshake. They always make an effort to appear enthusiastic and passionate through their body language and articulate speech.

Strong Commitment

Charismatic leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hide behind their troops. They make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers, constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and enthusing. It is their unswerving commitment as much as anything else that keeps people going, particularly through the darker times when some may question whether the vision can ever be achieved.

(The author is a leadership expert from the LSE and the founder of LeadCap)

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CEOs can be paid higher with govt nod

The corporate affairs ministry on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that companies can pay higher salaries to the top brasses after getting approval from the government under the existing Act.

"The companies may pay more than the prescribed ceiling to their CEOs who are holding board-level positions with the approval of the Central government as per the provisions of the Companies Act of 1956," corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid said in a written reply to the Upper House.

He said the Act prescribes that the total managerial remuneration to be paid to a board-level CEO of a company having only one whole-time director or a manager is 5 per cent of the profit of the company. In case, a company has more than one whole-time directors or managers, then the salary is limited to 10 per cent of the profit.

A few years back, a heated debate was triggered off whether the government should impose restrictions on companies to pay salaries to CEOs. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later allayed these fears.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to differentiate between a fake job offer and a real one

Mahadevan had a diploma in Hotel Management from a renowned institute in Delhi. This 24-year-old native of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, had completed two years as a receptionist in the front office department of a mid-range Delhi hotel catering to overnight business travelers.

The young man was restless because he worked in a 14- hour shift and had no savings. He was unable to get into any of the Five Star establishments where the pay was better and the opportunities for promotion were far greater than where he was. On checking his email one fine day, he saw a job offer from a well-known three-star English hotel chain. The email contained a list of jobs including Front Office Assistants.

This was just up Mahadevan’s street! His own qualifications and job experience matched the requirements. Not just that, the salary was in British pounds. Calculating the exchange rate he found the amount to be far above anything he had ever imagined. Two meals and accommodation were also on offer. Excitedly, he completed the attached application form and sent it back, along with his resume.

The very next day he received another mail telling him that he had been selected for the position he had applied for. The mail contained a two year contract letter on the Hotel Group’s letterhead laying out the terms and conditions. The contract was to be printed out, signed and returned. The mail also asked him to make a Western Union wire transfer of Rs 66,000 to a UK account.

The money was required to pay for the processing fee, air ticket, work permit and visa fees. The mail also informed him that the vacancy had to be filled urgently, and therefore he had to make the transfer within the next six days or else the job would go to another candidate. Mahadevan then borrowed money from one of his hotel colleagues. Two lengthy phone calls to his father and an uncle ensured that the balance money was in his bank account.

Withdrawing the whole amount the young man hopeful visited the nearest Western Union branch where he transferred the money to the account number mentioned in the email. Along with the money went Mahadevan’s hopes and dreams of a bright future. Two months of frantic phone calls to the UK numbers given in the emails (which did not exist anyway); visits and calls to the British High Commission in New Delhi and unanswered emails finally brought to him the fact that he had been conned. He also had a debt to repay.

Keeping the present economic scenario in mind, companies in every sector are once again open to recruiting candidates.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, fraudsters have created a sudden burst in the number of fake job offers. Unemployed youngsters who are in dire need of work have become extremely vulnerable to such fraudulent mails.

Several organisations have fallen prey to daring attempts by swindlers who cheat the youth.

Perpetrators generally misrepresent themselves as acting on behalf of companies to offer fictitious employment opportunities.

Although the affected companies are trying to control the situation through various measures, it is very difficult to detect and intervene in every such case.

“Fake job offers are a worrying occurrence. With major changes in the current economic environment, there are primarily three reasons contributing to the rise of such offers.

First, the slowdown prevented many young graduates from bagging job offers.

Second, a lot of people also lost jobs during this period of economic volatility.

And third, companies in all sectors which were earlier extremely conservative in their recruitment, have now announced their hiring plans which are eagerly awaited and anticipated.

Against this backdrop, fraudsters have found an opportunity to exploit,” says Ravi Shankar B, senior VP & HR head, India operations, HCL Technologies.

Ajay Trehan, CEO, AuthBridge, a background screening company elucidates, “Now that businesses have begun to hire again, many organisations are scouting for talent and some of them are hiring in large numbers. These two factors have given fraudsters an ideal opportunity to make some quick bucks out of unsuspecting job seekers, particularly in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.”

“Today, candidates looking for white collar jobs come from varied backgrounds. Unlike graduates from Tier-1 colleges, they are unaware of the recruitment processes and easily fall prey to fake job offers. Such fake jobs are most common in overseas job offerings,” opines Anu Parthasarthy, founder & CEO, Global Executive Talent.

Verifying the authenticity of such mails can help in curbing such crimes. To top it all, often at times, the offer looks extremely promising and prompts an immediate response from the victim. In such cases, what role can HR play in curbing this menace? “HR managers who are in touch with students and teachers in academic institutions must actively spread the word. Students must also be alert and should check the authenticity of offers; and share information only if they are convinced about the veracity of the company,” adds Shankar.

“The mode of recruitment should be clearly mentioned on the company portal and HR managers should make sure that the company uses authentic mediums for recruitment. They can ask candidates to post their resumes on the company portal and should preferably conduct interviews at the company premises. In addition, for the recruitment process, they should hire only reputed HR consultants,” says Sunil Goel, director, GlobalHunt India.

Today, there are no stringent laws for cyber criminals in place in India yet. Hence, the general approach is to set up a special section on the company’s website warning about the recruitment fraud, how to detect it and report it.

Whatever the route, it is imperative for organisations to intervene in such cases and ensure their reputation is not maligned by such fraudulent practices.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IBM to help small tech cos

Small technology entrepreneurs have more support coming their way. Global software maker International Business Machines (IBM) said it would provide access to research, sales, marketing and technical skills to very early-stage companies, who register on the Global Entrepreneurship Programme.

Entrepreneurs, who are building software in areas such as energy solutions, healthcare and efficient use of water, will have access to the IBM network of 40 innovation centres across the globe.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ranbaxy to hire 1,500 on expansion to push sales

Ranbaxy Laboratories will hire nearly 1,500 marketing executives, expanding its sales team by at least 50%, to spur sales and regain its rank as India’s top drugmaker.

The recruitment push is among the biggest by an Indian drugmaker in recent years, and will be led by India chief executive officer Yugal Sikri, two persons familiar with the pharma company’s plans said.

“Ranbaxy is looking at new rural markets and deeper penetration in interior markets,” said one person who is involved in the hiring. The company plans to hire mostly medical representatives, regional managers and area managers by July to boost sales in the rural markets, he said.

Globally, Ranbaxy, owned by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, employs over 12,000 people spread across 46 countries, says the company’s website.

Pharma analysts said Ranbaxy’s aggressive hiring push is also a sign that the company is turning its gaze inwards after problems overseas, especially in the US. The company has run into a spate of patent battles over generic drugs there and its Indian manufacturing units have been under the US drug regulator’s scanner.

And in India, Ranbaxy has been trailing Mumbai-based Cipla since mid-2007. Cipla rode to the top of the Rs 40,000-crore Indian drug retail market with a bigger product portfolio.

Ranbaxy’s sales team of nearly 3,000, which appears slender compared with its rivals and focuses mainly on metros and bigger cities, is also said to be a key reason to keep pace with rivals.

In contrast, Cipla has 5,000 and GlaxoSmithKline 4,000 in their sales teams. Even a mid-sized firm like Mankind Pharma has 6,000 people to push sales. Mankind, among the country’s fastest growing companies, has benefited immensely from sales in rural market and small cities.

A drug company’s field force is crucial to sales because prescription drugs cannot be advertised. Products are typically promoted by local medical representatives through doctors, chemists and hospitals who urge them to prescribe or use their brands over rival drugs.

At Rs 10,000 crore, hospitals and healthcare institutions is a market drugmakers cannot ignore. Ranbaxy will up the ante on hospital and institutional sales, said the second person, an industry watcher familiar with the company’s plan.

“Ranbaxy may create a separate division for hospital and institutional sales, ” he said. Ranbaxy declined to comment. Global CEO and MD Atul Sobti said in February the Gurgaon-based drugmaker would soon roll out a project named Viraat for the domestic market.

“Increase in affordability and accessibility of healthcare have made rural India an attractive and key growth segment,” said Vijay Zutshi, associate director (healthcare) at research firm Synovate. The pricing, distribution and marketing strategy in rural areas is very different from metros, he said.

Emerging markets such as India, Russia, China and Brazil will be the main growth drivers for pharma companies, say analysts. These markets are estimated to grow by 15% annually over the next few years compared with stagnant or low single-digit growth in developed markets such as the US and some European countries.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, High Tea Sessions!

Today our rocking feature: High Tea, has just turned one year old. It has had a smashing first year, and for that we’d like to say a big thank you to you all for making it happen.

In our first year of High Tea sessions, we’ve had 31 sessions of live chat on career growth. Top HR heads have chatted with candidates and answered their queries for one straight hour. The feedback received on these sessions has been overwhelming and appreciative.

Stay tuned for more sessions! Keep High Tea sessions alive and happening.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

11th plan aims to create 58 mn new jobs: Govt

The government said 58 million new job opportunities are likely to be created during the 11th Five year plan (2007-12), thanks to various steps including three stimulus packages since December 2008.

Replying to a supplementary during the Question Hour in Lok Sabha, Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said employment is projected to grow at an average rate of 2.73 per cent annually.

He informed the House that the government has released Rs 27,368.76 crore till April-January period of 2009-10 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Similarly, in other employment generation schemes like Swarnajayanti Swarozgar Yojna and Shahari Rozgar Yojna, the government has been making funds available to different states to create new job opportunities.

On whether the government would give unemployment allowance to youths, Kharge said, "As of now there is no such plan."

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

5 sectors that will see fast hiring this year

The days of fear surrounding job markets are now almost over. It has been about two years since economic crunch started affecting both big corporations and small companies with the first casualty being hiring, followed by a squeeze in training budgets.

The Ivy League B-schools in the country, IIMs, XLRI, XIMB, all faced the heat and the famous starting salaries showed a big drop.

Other smaller institutes across the country struggled to place their students. But finally, as companies start freezing their plans for the coming season, hiring seems to be back on the agenda.

Based on the current market trends, here’re some sectors which are likely to see robust hiring this year:

1) Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI)

Till 2007 almost 53% of the new hiring took place in this space and it was also the sector which was hit big time in the last season on account of lower credit off-take and the overall recessionary sentiment around it.

“The sector is now witnessing between 8 and 10 new players (health insurance, general insurance, NBFCs, and banking entities). This, coupled with a depressed hiring over the last year and announcement of over one lakh vacancies in the PSU banks, is likely to fuel hiring,” says Alok Bansal, CEO, Alethia Education Services.

Some of the private sector players such as Yes Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI, SCB are back in the market looking for young workforce. Most insurance companies are also in the fray and are changing the way they looked at hiring in the past.

Hiring talent from tier 2 and tier 3 cities is also on the rise. They believe that it will help them reach these towns easily and also help in managing attrition. New players, especially in the health insurance segment and with their aggressive targets, are likely to fuel hiring growth here.

2) BPOs/KPOs

A sector largely hit by the recessionary trends and the near collapse of the US economy had put a freeze on hiring.

“The same sector in the hay days hired from every possible place and background fuelling a mushrooming of the placement and training business and also ensured that the overall entry level salaries showed an unexpected and irrational jump. This is the sector which also is back in action in terms of recruitments. Some of the bigger BPOs like Genpact, IBM etc have once again announced a carefully-drawn plan to hire,” informs Mr Bansal.

The list of KPOs operating in India has also shown an expected jump. Companies in their bid to retain their share of the outsourcing market have upgraded their setups and are now gradually moving up the value chain. More and more companies are looking at young engineering and other technical graduates to beef their teams to provide high end knowledge services to their clients, be it the stock analysis, GPRS, high-end business analytics, financial modeling or forex trading. This sector is back at the campuses.

3) Telecom

Despite 3G spectrum auction playing hide and seek, this segment has grown at an unexpected pace over the past five years.

It is believed that some turmoil caused by consolidation in the industry is now settled and companies in this space, be it the Bharti group, Vodafone, Reliance.

Tata, Idea or others, are now back in the hiring mode. The expansion of the enterprise solutions, fixed line and others telecom products is seeing an upswing.

It is believed that these companies are expected to move to the tier 2 and tier cities to keep up with their hiring targets.

4) Manufacturing, Engineering & Construction

Depressed sentiment notwithstanding, the auto sector continued to shake the old way of thinking. A never-seen-before scenario in terms of insatiable demand has been witnessed. An increasing number of players entered the market and have announced plans to set up manufacturing base in India.

“This is likely to set off a chain reaction. Besides, popular names like Maruti, Tata and Hyundai hiring their ancillary units are likely to step up the demand and higher recruitment is forecasted. Engineering and construction have also been showing very positive signs in terms of consumption and the customer sentiment. A consolidation in the cement sector, a huge order book by companies like L&T, an increasing interest in mining, large scale construction and pressure of completion of the pending projects is likely to see a substantial jump in this segment,” says Mr Bansal.

5) ITeS

The blue eyed boys of the bourses, the software companies continued to manage contracts from other countries. The commendable handling of the Satyam saga and the increasing respect for the talent pool in India saw a substantial number of projects being handled in India.

Besides the general software development, a large chunk of the specialized software development work in telecom, mobile applications and space technology is now being handled out of India.

Some bigwigs like TCS and Infosys have already announced hiring in large numbers. This coupled by other companies is likely to bring back hiring to the golden era of 2006-7.

Overall, despite the ups and downs the economy is facing, India has managed to emerge as a stable, high-growth economy and has been able to gain faith from the world in terms of the story it offers. This, coupled by the young population, is likely to fuel growth in recruitments.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

3 best-paying jobs

This is a competitive job market, and unless you’re actively looking for ways to maximize your potential, you will not have that extra edge over other candidates or stand out as a must-keep employee. To begin a good career, one must first choose the right industry. It is always an added plus to be hardworking and reliable, but you also want to roll in the dough.

Here is a list of the three best-paying jobs in the fastest growing industries:

1. Network system jobs/ Data Communication Analysts jobs – This category would also include jobs such as web designing, analyzing, testing and assessing systems for maximum performance. As computers and the internet have only become a more integral part of our lives, it has brought with it an increase of over 50% more jobs.

To get into this industry, a bachelor’s degree is generally a must-have. Some courses are only two years in total. If you’re pressed for time, you may want to look into such courses as a two-year degree in computer science, IT or other such related fields.

2. Dentist jobs/ Dental hygiene jobs – The job of a dentist, and those in this industry can be quite diverse and can range from the upkeep of patients’ teeth and gums to more modern aspects such as cosmetic dentistry, etc.

This industry grown by 30.1% since 2006. To get into this industry, you may want to look into an associate’s degree or a certificate in dental care/ hygiene.

3. Computer/ software engineer jobs – Tying in with point one, thanks to computers and the internet become a critical and integral part of our lives, this industry has picked up exponentially. This industry alone has seen a 44.6% increase in their job availability. This has been predicted to last until 2016.

To get into this industry, you may want to look into a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, etc. Having work experience on your side, helps too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"One pay hike comin up!"

On the 22nd of October, Economic Times posted an article on pay hikes in the coming year. Apparently a survey showed that “companies in Asia are set to offer bigger pay rises next year as the region continues to rebound from the global recession’ and that too, ‘notably in India where base salary levels are poised to jump nearly 10%.”

According to a survey by Hewitt Associates, “salaries in Indonesia and China will also surge by 8.7% and 6.7%, respectively, whereas workers in Japan can expect a paltry 2.1% pay rise”.

This survey covered over 2,000 local as well as joint venture companies in the Asia-Pacific area. Hewitt said that “salaries — or annual guaranteed pay — this year in Asia’s fast-growing economic powerhouses, China and India, at 4.5% and 6.3%, respectively, were the lowest since 2005.”

“Salaries barely grew at all in Hong Kong and Japan, this year as companies cut staff. More than 60% of companies surveyed in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore froze wage levels, compared with only 26.1% in India and 30.8% in China.”

“Next year, only 6% of companies in India and 8.3% in China expect to freeze pay compared with 12-14% of companies in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.”

So, it looks like it’s just about party time for us in the Indian market! The recession is on its way out and pay hikes will be all the rage in just a few short months. Hold on to your seats! Here comes your salary hike.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Has 2010 brought a hiring boom in India?

Mr Elston Pimenta, HR Head, Cybage Software Pvt. Ltd. hosted a Live Chat session on the possible hiring boom in India in 2010. It was organized by TimesJobs on Jan 20th, 2010.

Some highlights/ excerpts of the chat are as follows:

“Recruiters need to be innovative all the time by looking for cost – effective ways of hiring. Some suggestions:

1.Check ROI carefully.

2. Use referral systems.

3. Network.

4. Have strong internal databases.

5. Keep in touch with all the past applicants/ employees.

6. Use sites to attract attention of prospective candidates, etc.”

Other highlights of advice that Mr. Pimenta gave to candidates include:

“Branding is vital for any firm. Work on this aspect and grow through networking.”

“Look at how “employable” you are at the moment. It has always been a challenge and it will always remain so. That is the “spice” of work-life. If you have kept abreast with technology advancements, you will not face a problem.”

“Unfortunately a boom is never forever. It will iron out in due course of time as…the “demand” and “supply” stabilize.”

“Do not compromise on quality and at all times maintain internal equity first, before being influenced by the industry.”

To read the complete chat transcripts, click here.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Salary hikes predicted for 2010!

Good news is back as it looks like salary hikes will be used by HR managers as a technique to retain their work-force, and reward their employees for sticking with the organization during the financial market-slump.

Recently, published an article in which they estimated that in 2010, industry-wise salary hikes could likely be as:

“Auto/ auto components, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals – 12%
Information technology/ telecom – 11%
Financial services, manufacturing – 10%
Others – 9%”

They quoted their source for these findings, as: Mercer India Monitor – October to December 2009.

There are reports that some companies are planning to up the pay hike till as much as a 20% increase. “Brokerage firm Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, for instance, plans to give an average raise of 20% to its 1,250 employees in April. Sudhir Dhar, head of human resources (HR), said most brokerages would offer 15-20% increments as the business was doing well on the back of robust stock markets.” said.

While employers and HR managers get busy with assessing current salary packages and industry pay-norms, employees are silently rejoicing. This upcoming pay-hike will make up for the lack of increments they have been facing over the last year and some change, as well as tide them over in the rising inflation.

However, it may be as a preemptive measure, that companies are promising such generous salary-hikes. With the market boom rearing its promising face, organizations are steeling themselves for the expected oncoming attack of attrition. Employers realize that for the want of a small salary hike, their talented employees may just switch jobs. Hence, they are willing to provide their employees with this awaited increment.

Friday, January 29, 2010

How far will you go to 'eat' that problem?

I was talking to a friend of mine just yesterday. In the course of our discussion came up the topic of Customer Service Jobs and how taxing they must be when one is faced with an irate customer.

Luckily, when working at a BPO job, I had never been faced with an angry client, but the reality is there, and one always has the chance of seeing it first hand, as happened when I was visiting a restaurant yesterday.

The restaurant was swarmed with people, and the atmosphere was noisy. A table in the absolute corner had ordered – and paid for – a plate of vegetarian paneer tikka. Instead, they’d been served chicken tikka. Oddly enough, they ate halfway through the plate of it before realizing it was most definitely not paneer tikka. With irritation that could’ve won an audition for some of Shakespeare’s plays, they annouced to the employees that they would not rest till the General Manager had heard all about it. I for one, had better things to do on a weekend, than wait around to see the end of that.

As I was relating this experience to my friend however, he mentioned how he’d spoken to someone working in a pizza joint who had an interesting story along these line. The guy with the pizza job told my friend the following story:

A customer had ordered a vegetarian pizza. As there was only a single pizza knife for both the veg and non-veg pizzas, a sliver of chicken had accidentally landed up on the new customer’s veg paneer pizza.

Holding up the piece of chicken, the irate customer stormed up to the counter and told the employees what they’d done. He demanded that they explain to him why he’d found chicken in his paneer pizza. He also informed them that he’d called the press, and that they were on their way. One employee asked to see the chicken piece.

As the customer handed it over to him, he promptly put it in his mouth and promptly declared that it wasn’t chicken, but in fact a piece of paneer.

By the time the press arrived, I’m told the conversation went something like this:

“There was NON-veg chicken in my VEG paneer pizza!”

“Very well. Can you show the evidence to us?”

“No! He ate it!”

That quick-thinking employee certainly saved the day for his company and I’m sure he was aptly rewarded.

How many situations can be solved with not only quick-thinking employees, but from employees who are quick to take action to resolve negative situations. Are you a quick-thinking employee who is willing to ‘eat’ that piece of problem before it turns nasty? If you are, you’re a resource your company is depending on and you have a skill that will keep you recession-proof.

We know that not every situation can be resolved by eating it. What are some situations you have found yourself in and what means did you use to get yourself out of it? Write about it here and let others learn from your experiences.