Ms. Annapurna possesses more than 25 years of rich experience in HR Operations, Change Management, Leadership and Organization Development. She is an effective communicator, keen planner, vivid learner, ardent debator, strategist implementer with demonstrated abilities and interpersonal skills in devising various HR activities for accelerating business growth in organizations. She served at multi-dimensional organizational like Aeronautical, Infrastructure, Software, Sales and Services. Her corporate exposure commences with ELGI, Coimbatore followed by HAL, Raman Boards, Manhattan Associates, Essilor India, ETOE Rail Pvt. Ltd etc. as Country Human Resources Head, OD Strategic consultant. Prior to starting up her own venture Emotionalytics and Co. , she held the position of CHRO /Director – Human Resources, Inspirage India.
In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Ms. Annapurna A. speaks on how important behavioral skills are to a company, the way technology has enhanced the HR sector and how it can now make a big difference to understand the behavioral skills of employees at work. She also speaks on attaching hiring processes of institutes with companies for better campus placements.
In the struggle for getting the best talent on board, most organizations focus largely on the availability of skills and miss out on other aspects of their personality at times.
– You have been talking to students from management colleges, what are the key factors recruiters hiring managers should consider while building hiring processes for hiring the students GenX candidates considering the business goals.
Last year I was able to meet about 1 lakh students from 37 colleges in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities across the country. What I would tell the hiring managers is that since many of them have started to ‘catch them young’;I have proposed many of the colleges to involve corporates in hiring during the admission process. In MBA institutions, corporates must be part of the panel to hire the students. In our country, in the ratio between freshers and experienced, the freshers are much higher than the experienced. So while interviewing them for colleges, it is essential to see if they have the mindset to be a part of the MBA. If companies want competent professionals to come out of these colleges, then they will have to invest their time in building this resource as well.
Since changes are continually happening in the business scenario, the companies need to go back and tell their potential future candidates that four years or two years from now, what kind of skills will they be looking out for. The next important thing is that there needs to be a good relationship between the academicians and the corporates. Every concept that is being to the students needs to be blended with the corporate practicality. There needs to be an emphasis on live projects and massive mentorship programs. In a class of 60, find the potential mentors in the industry and attach them to the class. Let them be trained under the best in the field through applications like Skype, Zoom and Teams where this gap can be bridged. Instead of waiting to make this happen at the end of the course, let it be a part of the course from day 1. I believe these are some of the huge gaps that are happening right now.
– How can companies leverage employer branding while doing campus placements?
Working with students during the time they are learning their course helps a lot in employer branding because people will know what kind of organization they are, how are they structured, the type of people working at these organizations etc. this needs to be a part of the academia right from the time they design the curriculum so that everything is aligned. I had led some large universities when I was on their Planning and Monitoring board. Being on this board is important because you can focus on the new subjects you want to introduce, how you want to conduct examinations etc. most of the colleges have engineers coming out in June. The requirement for them is in January, so the first quarter is gone and the second quarter takes up in training them, so six months slip by. We have done these changes in a few colleges and have seen the results that they have brought about within the students and later during the campus placements.
– How important it is to identify understand the “Mindset” and the “Behavioral skills” of an individual to predict its fitment to the job role?
I believe that while we assess for the functional or technical skills for any job right from the ground level to the CEO’s and CXO’s position, we need to evaluate even their behavioural skills. The reason it is believed to be a top priority is because in many organizations, more than the technical knowledge and skills, what is required is the correct attitude needed to perform the job. This seems to be missing. Sometimes an employee can lack time management skills or may not adapt well to changes in the organization. But these things are not checked out in the beginning because then the focus is on the various technical skills they will bring to the job. These minute issues only come out when they start performing at work which later become a big-time hindrance while performing their job. This is why behavioural skills assessment is equally important as the technical or any other skill assessment.
– Let’s talk about how behavioural skills can bring a difference to the organization – short as well as long term?
Every job that you are hiring for needs to have a certain criteria list that needs to be adhered to while selecting a candidate for the position they have applied for. So, identify the behavioural competencies and understand the kind of proficiency required for that level and then assess the candidate. These are the differentiating factors that a candidate can bring to the organization short as well as long term. You may hire five people for the same role. But why does that one person climb the ladder faster than others? This is because of his behavioural skills. It can be his attitude of taking the job positively, accepting changes or communicating well or building a rapport, interpersonal skills, problem-solving or even decision making.
– How can today’s HR technology solutions help an organization in completing the tasks mentioned above?
There are multiple solutions which are coming up since now there are useful tech apps that have been created to measure these things. People over a long time have collected the right amount of data for different job sets and have simulated lot of exercises around this. So, whether it is tech companies, AI or ML no matter what you call them to bring with them a lot of data assurance and also reduce the conscious biases. Now, you don’t need to worry about procuring data. What needs to be done is interpreting this data well and developing meaningful insights out of it. Earlier, most of the time was spent in procuring data which is now readily available. This data is reliable and efficient, and so the process is much faster. This has helped in getting the right candidate on board since it is more objective oriented and talent assessment has become better. HR cannot become wholly technology-based. There needs to be an addition of the human element. But mundane tasks will be eliminated , and we need to add value to the technology.
– Along with the candidate, organizations are also talking about strategies of mind-mapping/ mind-match of the employee with the business objective organization goals to predict specific patterns in performance, what possible strategies could an organization deploy to do the mind mapping of the employee with respect to business goals
When it comes to mind mapping and mindset mapping if a candidate has an ideal mindset, it is better for the organization. It will give you an engaged employee, a return on your investment, higher productivity and a complete value for everyone. For this to happen, you have to understand the different mindsets at the start of hiring a candidate because it is much more comfortable with a fresher than with an experienced person. It is not so much about the experience or not anymore since so much data is already available that people can analyze on their own about the various organizations.
Organizations, too, are trying to do their data mining to understand what kind of people they require. With a fresher or a less experienced individual, you can explain the expectations regarding internal value system and the culture requirements to be followed about your organizations. However, with an experienced person, since they have already seen what other organizations follow, it is difficult to get them attuned to yours. This is a result of them comparing this organization to the ones they previously worked. Since this is all intrinsic, no tool can go in the mind and find out the thought process of the candidate. Another way is where if you want to see a candidate after five years than what you need to do is ask this particular candidate to do a mind mapping of their own. Give them a sheet and ask them what kind of personal space they want, what type of career they are looking for, how do they look at their opportunities, what kind of managers do they want to work for, what kind of projects are they looking to work for etc. You can analyse this and figure out where he is coming from. These are some of the tools that you need to invest on because otherwise, you may hire someone who is not fit for the organization.
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