Dr. TV Rao, Chairman, TVRLS

“You cannot build the brand of the company if you do not have internal worth.” Dr. TV Rao, Chairman, TVRLS

Dr. T. V. Rao is currently Chairman, TVRLS. He is associated with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad for the last 44 years in various capacities first as a Professor and until recently as IIMA Society and Board member. He is Co-founder of the National HRD Network and Academy of HRD. He initiated the HRD Function and movement in the country along with Udai Pareek in mid-seventies starting with Larsen Toubro, SBI, BEML and various other organizations. While at IIMA he taught OB, HRD entrepreneurship, chaired various Programs, and started a Leadership Development methodology based on what is now known as 360 Degree feedback. Authored over 60 Books (Effective People, HRD Missionary, Nurturing Excellence-IIMA, Managers who Make a Difference, Future of HRD, etc.). Dr. Rao received many awards including Ravi Matthai Fellow from the AIMS and worked as short term consultant with UNDP, Malaysia; UNESCO, Bangkok; IIEP, Paris; USAID, Indonesia; Commonwealth Secretariat, London etc.


In an exclusive interview with SCIKEY, Dr. TV Rao speaks on the paradigm shift which is happening “HR Recruitment is the new marketing,” He also shares his views on how HRs can gear up to be the future marketing arm of the company how outplacement can have its effects on employer building.


– In your opinion, how have recruitment departments geared up to become the new marketing medium where do gaps exist?

Recruitment departments have tremendous potential to be marketing arms of the company through brand building activities. Brand building requires first a positive perception of the internal merits of the company and an excitement with its vision, values, activities,service and culture. If you are excited and believe in your own company you will be the best marketing manager of the company. Recruitment departments by virtue of their role to be in touch with large number of potential future employees have a great opportunity to be BRAND AMBASSADORS OF THE COMPANY. Unfortunately most don’t realize this and limit themselves with short terms targets of recruiting select number of employees in a given time and forget the larger opportunity they have to build brand. My perception, very few recruitment departments in HR, have people to look after the building of brand image or help the organization to be known. Most of them are relatively short term target driven and focus on getting X number of people in a specified time to suit the requirements of the line manager. I certainly believe that recruitment departments have a long way to go in terms of changing their self-perception from recruitment agents to brand building agents.


As far as placements are concerned, when companies visit these top institutes like IIMs, IITs and other leading institutions, they seem eager to sell the company whereas they should be focused more on attracting the right talent. At times, the ones sent for on-campus placements exaggerate the company which later can turn into disappointment for the new hires. We still have a long way to go. HR departments are still trying since brand building is now everyone’s responsibility. Most of the organization are geared towards achieving short term results. Although they say that employer branding is crucial, but very few adheres to it. The source of the problem comes from the mindsets of the CEO, the management or the board.


– What focus areas strategies do you recommend to recruitment teams to become future extended marketing arm for the company?

But they perform their job roles as a matter of routine, and it is not internalized. So, my first recommendation would be to internalize and to be proud of your company so that you don’t treat recruitment as a one time job. A recruiter needs to be passionate about the company, internalize it and to collect enough stories about the company and so on. My second recommendation is to understand the culture of your company. The third recommendation would be to

This requires them not only to be participating in the induction program but also be a part of the renewal exercises of the organization. The recruitment department, as a part of HR, does not merely become a recruitment department. It instead becomes an integrated HR department, so it is crucial to understand the values, culture and participate in these various activities. It is essential to extend the scope of the recruitment departments to be more than their job roles since they are the drivers of the company. My recommendation would be to keep the recruitment department as an integrated HR department rather than keeping them as a service provider for finding a certain number of people. They also need to be involved in being a part of the exit interviews.


– How does analytics can aid HR managers to align engage talent with business objectives?
I believe the job and the role of attracting passive employees and turning them into active ones, lies mostly with the line managers with the help of HR departments. How much AI can help here is something we are yet to see. Analytics, however, gives a lot of behavior feedback. For example: When you conduct an employee satisfaction survey, most people treat it as a routine manner and answer it. What companies do using this survey is to have a second look at the policies and mend them wherever possible. In reality, you can only bring about a 10% increase in engagement or satisfaction by meddling with HR policies. The real commitment must come at the Individual level. This is where analytics can help you in providing the correct feedback to the employees. 

If the employee engagement score is low or average, the employee needs to know that they are engaged with the company at an average level. This can be bad for the employee as much as it is for the company. If an employee is passive, he/she would not be doing justice to themselves. This can be told through feedback. So, if companies have a good analytics program, it should be made more dynamic to engage line managers and HR departments to go back to the existing population and let them know the feedback. Regular feedback helps align things at work. 

– How employer branding will change in coming years considering more than 50% of the workforce will be temporary more and more highly talented people will not like to get into a permanent hire, but keep taking new challenges and earn more than their companies could pay them, all this complementing the GIG economy.
It is difficult to say how it will change, but I can tell you how it should change and what must happen. What should happen may not happen because most individuals in the corporate sector are yet to come to terms with the importance of investing for long-term growth as part of employer branding. “You cannot build the brand of the company if you do not have internal worth.” You must be an organization that is ethical, working with high integrity, value-driven, service-oriented, transparent, amongst other things. There are challenges for companies that come for short term existence. If as a company you have come into existence with some venture-capital funding and your interest lies in making enough money in the next 5 to 10 years and then selling it away, then you cannot engage in brand building. For an organization to have a strong brand, it needs to be consistent, have long-term plans because ensuring you have these makes you worry less about the people coming in and moving out of the company.


If you are a company without strong values and culture, it is only a matter of time before people stop abandoning you. Your attrition level can go right down if you are a company that focuses first on the brand inside than concentrating on the brand outside because the word of working in a good company spreads. Let’s assume that in future, all appointments would be temporary. An employee joins your company intending to work with you for one year and is looking for a job elsewhere with 20-30% more pay. When such an employee notices the internal merits of working with your company, he will stay back instead of leaving you for something better. 

– What would be an impact of outplacement as an offering in employer branding?
Outplacement is an important responsibility of the company. For some reason, if you have to encourage separation of employees from your company which is something that even I would not want to do. I would not want to encourage mass separations propelled by internal issues, although you cannot ignore the reality of today. We have been running a program with the Isha Foundation called “Human is not a resource”. 

Here, we focus on people as not merely resources but more as possibilities. What we mean is that when you are looking at the recruitment of employees, do not look at them as mere resources for your company. Instead, look at them as someone holding tremendous possibilities within them. I say that outplacement is a responsibility of the company because when you recruit an employee, you are bringing in this person as a part of your family. This change depending upon the nature of work that your company is involves in. If it is a short-term based company, then the tenure period should be mentioned to the employee beforehand.



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