A satellite view of the Human Resource Organisation

imageRecently, I was questioned about the role of Human Resources function, in a vibrant organisation. This blog relates a satellite view of a balanced human resource function.

The purpose of the HR function is to build an organisation, which delivers the Vision, through a culture based on a defined set of Values. The culture should be one desired by the system, including shareholders, BOD, management, employees and even related business parties.

The Values are chosen after consideration of the Vision, the preferences of the system, and applicability to ethics, morality and environment of the resident society.

HRs purpose is not to create the Vision, but to ensure the capability and culture which delivers it. Once the Values are set, the broad HR roles are:-

A) Recruitment of employees who fit within this Value system. If we ignore ‘the right fit’ and hire willy nilly, we will never deliver the desired culture nor the Vision. Open the gate only to suitable people. So, there has to be a defined profile to hire, which is strictly adhered to.

B) HR ensures employees are dealt with even-handedly. Compensation & Benefits should never be a reason, for an employees failure. This means compensation benchmarking to comparator companies and an agreement on a percentile versus the market. So, if we target mid quadrant, then the company will sit around 50 percentile of compensation levels. If it is the top quadrant, it will be 75 percentile. At 100 percentile, it would be the top payer in the comparator basket.

C) While ensuring day to day functionality through C&B, the strategic work of HR is in Talent & Organisational Development.

Annual evaluation
Developing talent
Developing the organisation
Employer branding

Annual Evaluation

If merit is the culture, then evaluation of employees performance becomes the crux. A fair, well orchestrated and deep rooted evaluation (at least on an annual basis) is an essential. A development plan for each employee will be a subset of this evaluation. Compensation, promotions and career building are the end result of this evaluation. The company Vision, Values and culture will sustain or fail on the back of this process.

Developing talent

The talent recruited is modelled to suit the company culture . HR builds their capacity to ensure delivery of employee potential. This includes initial orientation, creating a development plan (based on annual and a 360 degree evaluation); later, executing that development plan. Development could be on the job, through in-house training, counselling (mentoring) or outside training. Sometimes a short term work assignment could be another method of development.

High potential (HiPo) employees are a special breed and this career development route is popular. Employees assessed with high potential are developed on a fast track. They are visibly treated better. It does not go against the culture of merit, since HiPo are evaluated through a transparent system. Nevertheless, the jury is out on this HiPo system and time will tell if it is successful.

Developing the organisation

Organisational development is built around the tool of engagement. An evaluation tool could be an engagement index or an organisational health report. We gauge the health of the organisation, based on the criterion of values and culture implemented. Structures, level changes, shape of organisation and employee engagement activities are based on these reports. Through these actions the company develops its organisation to achieve its Vision.

Engagement activites are many fold. Sports events; birthday bashes; lunch talks; magazines; employees interactivity; town hall talks; homogenous privileges; management walking corridors for better engagement; an open door/communications policy.

In the end, both company and employee should benefit from this development. It is value addition to the organisation and the individual. Even if the individual moves on to another organisation, it adds value to society.

Employer branding

This is taking a leaf out of our brand knowledge in Marketing. Through HR strategy, positioning, its imagery and execution, we create a visible icon, which then represents the employers brand. It is recognised internally and also externally in industry, public and universities. It becomes the main driver of the encapsulation of our HR culture, strategy and the execution centres around this employer brand. Just as we create brands for consumers, so we create a brand for our people and the world of employment.

D) HR plays business partner for CEO. They are the culture and people pulse for the organisation. HR should be the first to feel any vibration, inform the organisation and take action accordingly. Therefore, be a shadow behind the CEO, stepping into the brain whenever required or appropriate.

E) HR being the owner of culture is also the owner of policies, history, and the purveyor of the company story. It establishes an appreciation and awards culture; institutionalises the history; and celebrates its heroes. Once you achieve this institutionalisation, a company would very rarely disappear. There is just too much foundation for that to happen.

F) Technology and its role is already like an extra skin of HR. A reasonable size organisation just has to use technology for efficiency and ensuring data capture. But it should not de-humanise the face of HR. In the coming decades, with huge digitalisation, cognitive artificial intelligence and 3D printers (robotics), I expect this to be the greatest challenge which HR will face. Maybe the greatest challenge which the human race will face.

* thanking Kanwer Anwer Saeed for his critique
** picture is from Dreamstime.com


My road-stops to fulfillment

imageRemember how in Star Trek, the older Mr Spock visits his younger version and advises him? That is a luxury not afforded us humans, but if it were, I would go back to myself, maybe forty years, and give a list of ideals. Maybe I might have applied them. Anyway, here they are, for the benefit of those who are curious about such a list.

1. Vision, have a personal goal

If you get in a car and drive without knowing where you are going, you will waste a lot of fuel and time. Know the lighthouse in the far distance, see it, desire it and then let Allah guide you there. Who knows, you might even get there.

2. A value system, be honest to yourself

There is no point in living your one and only life, being someone else. Why exactly are you acting your way through life? So, when you are yourself, then you must have a set of values. Apply them. They are driven by your belief, which then drives your vision. To get to that vision, you need your value system. Hopefully, you will be an optimistic person and have a great value system.

3. Stand by your principles, but it does not have to be a hydrogen bomb decision

Through life you will have to stand behind your principles, which are set by your value system. But, here is a secret. It does not mean that you are forever fighting and beating people. Use the art of persuasion, a sweet mind and tongue. A hydrogen bomb decision is very rare. It should not happen, Allah provides an honest way out, if you desire it.

4. Opportunities are few! Take risks, but don’t need to be rash

Every now and then an opportunity will come whistling by. Do not avoid them. Look them in the eye. Be calm and do not rush. If you absolutely cannot, then let them go. There will be others. But mostly, you will prevail and you should look at it as an adventure and take the risk. A hit rate of 50 per cent is a good figure for a benchmark.

image5. Have fun

This is an absolute must. Life will be very boring and serious otherwise. Even take tough assignments as an adventure and laugh your way through. You can always move on to your next opportunity and its not the end of the world.

6. Have some passions

Definitely! Otherwise one becomes a boring fuddy-duddy. Like your sports, or music or outdoors. Have something to discuss with people other than your work. Please!

7. Don’t take yourself too seriously, better still laugh at yourself

As we become senior, we begin to believe we are a gift to mankind. You are just one breath away from extinction. So chill and laugh. Be human to everyone, they will actually like you. Otherwise in their secret chamber, everytime they see you, they will see an evil looking gorilla. You are better looking than that, so just laugh.

8. Life is not about yourself, think of others

Always think of the effects of your actions. There are people connected to your decisions. They are human. So behave like a human and look after them. Do not be a machine, especially a corporate one.

9. Give time to family and friends, before its too late

My own biggest failure and not surprisingly many CEOs say the same. Travel is the biggest culprit. When your children have stepped out of the door and gone to live life, then its too late to reverse the decision. Travel less; leave work behind when you come home. You can pick it up tomorrow again.

10. Give back as much as you can, you will be happy and content

In the end this world does not belong to us. Its leant to us, to carry to the next generation. Leave much of yourself in this world. Especially in the hearts and minds of people. You will be happier and life will be better fulfilled, based on the goodwill of others.

We all experiment and make errors, but I do wish someone, somewhere had taken a younger me and told me these things. Life would have been easier. In the end we all eventually find our path and culmination, regardless.

*the pictures are from dreamstime.com

My Favourite Blogger

My Favourite Blogger

Sitting there reading blogs and comments by readers, it is fascinating how wrong perceptions occur due to varying filters. So the intention of what’s written is lost and the commentator forces their own perception on others. Then I realised, that in assessing the blog, I also do not know the intention of the blogger. I too am applying filters and my perception could be as wrong.


In the end, there seemed a call of conscience to figure out what do I actually believe in. Amazingly, the absolute core is not that many, which define my favourite blogger.


My favourite blogger should believe in one Allah and all his Prophets, specifically in Muhammad (saw). Out of that comes other stuff. This world is built for a purpose and we are going there. When that purpose is achieved, we shall come together on a cataclysmic day. In the meantime it’s a struggle between good and bad. 


In a typical day, my blogger believes in eating. Without that there is no survival. But food should be obtained honestly. He/she does not over consume, but loves sweet things and avoiding those sweet things is a daily struggle. So the blogger believes in controlled eating.


In the morning he/she should wake up with a larger intention, otherwise it’s a waste of time.  The blogger should dress accordingly, otherwise people (with their own filters) will not understand.


My blogger leaves home in a happy state of mind so as not to cause problems on the road and in their surrounds throughout the day. 


The blogger should believe in thinking out of the box and that life is an adventure. The brain has to think up new things, otherwise it stagnates. When new things happen, the evaluation should be with conscience, to see if it fits society and environment. If it does, then it is incumbent on him/her to try, because it’s for a larger purpose.


The blogger believes commerce is an essential. But, also believes, it is a red herring. Humanity should just search for enough…not more. The purpose of life is to develop oneself in ones environment, but not to become a ravenous collector. We belittle ourselves when we do that. So commerce should be limited, all corporate and money making institutions should be put in their secondary place. Not primary. Our titles should not define us. We should all come home by 5 pm.


The blogger believes in family and friendship. This can be immediate family, school friends, workers, colleagues and even people one meets in passing. Oh yes! He/she believes in optimism. No point in being cynical and thinking X will not work. If one gives up hope, one fails in life. It is a test of Allah.


The blogger also intensely believes in a lack of superiority. No one is superior to another and when they act superior, they should look at themselves in a mirror. They look like idiots! Everyone thinks they are right. Most of them are not! That is why the world is moving towards its final destination. In this regard, the blogger is often wrong and therefore not superior. Similarly people are good, unless they prove otherwise. If they prove otherwise, the blogger is good to them, as they might change. But he/she ring-fences them, so they do not cause harm. If they still harm one, well the compensation will be in the hereafter.


Our blogger believes in responsibility. Everyone has to be responsible.  So there is accountability based on delivery and results. But it starts with the self. As lead person, responsibility is the sum of those who report to him/her. So if they fail, first it’s the bloggers responsibility. He/she also strives to delegate to someone who does things better. Then there is teamwork! The blogger lives teamwork daily. 


During the day, our blogger believes in emotions. Laughter, anger, hurt, love, happiness, ecstasy. There is no need to hide it, but the blogger chooses the middle way and avoids extremes. 


He/she believes in politics and that it should be left of center. Humans need caring. But they should also be allowed to experiment. So entrepreneurship, capitalism and care should all be mixed together ideally and served as a khitchri. But the ruler needs to be the servant of the people rather than master. The ruler should not have to be guarded for safety, because then he/she has been doing things to drive people to extremes.


Let our blogger also believe in chilling out. There are times we need to do that.  It refreshes the mind. But hard work is good, as it keeps the mind busy and the body supple. Sports is essential – cricket, football, tennis, F1, golf, hockey, basketball, squash and snooker were made in that order of preference. Without a combination of these, life will not be worth living.


Our blogger believes in the environment, climate change etc and unless we do something, mankind’s judgment day is going to arrive soon, with water disappearing from our houses and tables; the consequences are obvious. But in his/her mind, it is still a positive, because sooner rather than later mankind will find a way to resolve this tragedy.


Then, the blogger believes in reading. Needs to read to find wisdom -not knowledge. If you read enough searching stuff, you will learn about yourself and life.  Lastly they believe in sleep. Without this blessing we will all collapse.


Maybe you should go and think about your ideal blogger.

*The photo is taken from Wylio, a free picture site

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