Prof R K Gupta
BE (Hons), MBA, FIE
Aravali Institute of Management
Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
E-mail : /


Human resource is one of the most important and emerging asset of world class organizations. Its importance has increased as more and more organizations are coming up in knowledge industries where, recruitment, training, retention and productivity of knowledge workers have become grueling tasks to manage. Behind each saga of HR success are hidden, several failures in areas like VRS schemes, Mergers, Acquisitions and New Venture staffing. The author has seen several failures in Industry on HR issues alone


* Shifting Focus from HRM to HPM (Human Potential Management) - Identifies the emotional component and potential of human beings rather than treating it just as any cold resource.

* It is a Change Agent and not merely personnel Administration

* Traditional Role of HRM of managing Employee data, Salaries, grievance handling and recruitment has changed drastically with little work left in this area.

* Increasing awareness that HRD is not merely job of Personnel Department but it is primarily responsibility of the Supervisor.

* Most Important role is perhaps to improve vertical and horizontal communication and inspired conversation among employees which could go a long way in improving productivity.

* Involving employees in organizational activities and goal setting, including mission and vision writing.

* Most Mergers and Acquisitions world wide have failed due to HRM failures than anything else

* HRM activities should focus on value addition activities. Example: 1. Keeping view point of a line manager in negotiated settlement for soft approach and Avoiding of interpersonal conflicts.

2. Citibank has introduced SPEED-System to provide employee Empowerment and Development in which key HR processes have been Web-enabled.

* Most of HR activities have been computerized or is being outsourced to reduce costs. The HR Policies once prepared do not change for years. So it is mostly the strategic HR Management that is left for HR department. They have to add value in areas like Competency building, Leadership development, Measuring performance in touchy-feely areas like customer satisfaction, and generally enable employees to develop personally and professionally in alignment with organizational goals. 

* If training is done to eliminate weaknesses and not to build on strengths, you can't get world class performances.

Training one who lacks aptitude or talent is a waste of time. Scout for Talents in your employees & give them space to experiment.

* Top leadership in a company should partner with the HR department to create a people-oriented performance culture.

It is challenging task to induct, motivate and retain Knowledge workers and the HR activities have now changed to become Strategic Human Resource Management practice. 

Exhibit 1:

A new and late starter in Telecom goes ahead and hires the best and talented managers from every functional area. After few months the executives realize that they were not accustomed to the entrepreneurial, get-on-with-it approach of the family-run company. And for the owners, the ability to get things done was more important than how they are done, a clear case of wrong expectations on both sides.

Same thing happened in designing VRS schemes in the banks when 1 Lac jobs were trimmed making several key jobs deficient of officials and meritorious employees leaving the banks. The computerization was slower than the restructuring putting immense strain on system and degrading customer service.

In contrast, in Satyam Computers, the employees are encouraged to run entrepreneurial cells within their domain like a mini CEO. They try out ideas and company funds like a Venture capitalist. Successful ideas are then scaled up, while originator makes bigger money. We call this Intra-preneurship. 

Exhibit 2:

If BPO is where the money is, people should be queuing up to get in. They are. But there is high exodus as well ((25-40%). Reason- wrong persons are hired with college and English accent background only in mind but with no mental aptitude for such career.



  • As part of an individual's long-term career growth.
  • To add or improve skills needed in the short term
  • Being necessary to fill gap in the past performance
  • To change or correct long-held attitudes of employee
  • To move ahead or keep up with change
  • Increased need for leveraging IT in Company operations
  • Need to empower employees-particularly in services sector or increasing share of service components in products
  • Fast changing technologies and automation
  • Need to increase the sales turnover per employee thereby productivity
  • To motivate employees and to promote employee loyalty
  • Fast growing organizations. Human Resource cannot be acquired and updated in skills and attitudes to change on a short term basis.


  • The CEO or Organization Head has direct responsibility in institutionalizing Staff development activities
  • The Line supervisor has increasing and direct role in developing his/her staff acting as a nodal centre.
  • Empowerment of employee to assume responsibility by putting employee in decision making role is most effective way. Particularly important in service industry
  • Let the employee decide and identify the training and development need
  • Making a bench mark that if employees are not of interest to competitors they are not very useful to the organization too.
  • Promoting transparency and communication in both Organizations by regular meetings, group tasks, and flow of information vertically and horizontally and involving employees in organizational goal setting as mentioned earlier.
  • A large number of organizations have turned around solely by involving employees and developing sense of ownership and importance of their role in organization
  • Encouraging Experimentation and innovation by Employees. Self appraisal by employee.
  • Job Enlargement and giving an employee at-least two competencies in the organization
  • Minimum amount of structured Training  in class rooms or external specifically designed training programs
  • Offering opportunities for team work and promoting internal competition
  • By offering leadership roles to employees- example Group Leaders in workers
  • By fostering employee loyalty in organization


WHEN A Job is designed and its specifications are drawn, it is important to use what is called SMART approach


A good Job Definition and Job description (Competency mapping) and then a fair, detailed and regular appraisal system that is more futuristic rather than post mortem would help identify development needs and ensure positive attitude of employee


The development process hinges around two things, the Ability & Willingness.

The latter, deals with motivation which in turn is affected by Net Attitude of employee and is direct responsibility of Line supervisor and the CEO.

Perhaps we can draw from Hertz berg's Theory of
Dissatisfiers (hygiene factors) and Satisfiers (motivators)
Some factors that can be identified can be linked to developmental needs:

The Satisfiers                 The Dissatisfiers

Achievement                  Company Policy & Procedures

Recognition                    Supervision

The work itself               Working conditions

Responsibility                 Salary & Rewards

Advancement                 Peer relationships

Growth                          Status

                                    Security (not only of job but    

                                    Work clarity) 


  • Lack of time
  • Inadequate resources at disposal
  • Under-funded training budgets
  • Conflicting priorities-Like production  and sales pressure Vs Training programs
  • Lack of Clarity about what should be done
  • Failure to identify, or accept, the need.
  • Shortfall in training skill or experience
  • Fear that trained employee will leave the organization or will be poached by competitor. (But that is what is needed as bench mark)
  • Cynical attitude to Staff development-Not directly measurable. Treated as Cost not investment
  • Any, or all, of the above (and more) can conspire to ensure that training and development don't occur. Or that they are done too little.


Most of us aren't born knowing how to lead. And yet, it's one of the most valuable traits you can possess at work, whether or not you're a manager. That's why it's important to teach your employees how to direct and inspire others. Following are five ideas for developing leadership skills in your staff.

1. Delegate more authority:

 Make employees responsible for an overall project instead of a supporting task or two. They'll gain experience in scheduling, budgeting, delegating, following up and providing progress reports. As their skills develop, staff members can be assigned projects of greater importance and scope.

2. Help them develop professionally.

When delegating the assignments, involve employees in the decision-making, problem-solving, communicating or planning stages. Enable them to learn how to lead.

3. Support ongoing education.

If your company has a formal training program, urge your team to participate. If it doesn't, help them find opportunities that will encourage professional growth, such as seminars, workshops or college classes.

4. Ask employees to lead discussions.

Give your staff a chance to manage meetings by having them fill in for you in your absence. As a first step, suggest they deliver reports or presentations to groups of their colleagues.

5. Be a role model.

People learn by observing and imitating the actions of others. Being a good leader yourself is the best way to teach your staff how to be successful in this role. Be fair in your decisions, set attainable goals, admit mistakes and articulate your vision.

Developing leadership skills among your staff requires an investment of time and effort, but it pays off in creating long-term employees who recognize and benefit from your efforts in promoting their career growth.

Prof R K Gupta
BE (Hons), MBA, FIE
Aravali Institute of Management
Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
E-mail : /

Source : E-mail October 2003




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