Pharmacists, more commonly known as chemists in our country, are healthcare professionals who practice in a pharmacy. It is a field of health sciences that focuses exclusively on the safe and effective usage of medications. As health care team members they are directly involved with patient care. To be able to do this they have to undergo university-level education to understand all about biochemical drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions as well as be cognizant of monitoring factors for using medications.

It appears to be a good idea to staff pharmacies with women team members, particularly at the store counters. This would be especially useful to interact and respond to women customers walking into the medical store. It has been seen observed that women customers are generally more comfortable to talk to women on the workforce team. Such suggestions have been going around in the sector, emanating from several quarters. It’s been given to understand that the presence of a lady makes female customers (already be troubled by disease and patients back home) instantly comfortable.

Aside from it being a great idea to increase the sales process, it would also work for enhancing the much needed gender equity in the pharmacy sector. In our country very often advice is sought from pharmacists regarding medications to be taken for general ill- health conditions. The best of us may have done so at some point. Since most medical stores are run by men there are hardly any women present to quell doubts arising for women customers. So it’s a good idea to have women pharmacists to tackle issues faced by female visitors.

More often than not in case of mild ill-disposition like common fevers, cold, coughs, and headaches, it is quite common for pharmacists to be quizzed for suitable remedies. If a pharmacy is closer at hand than a doctor many people simply walk up to the medical store and seek guidance as to what medicine should be taken. In the case of women customers having female pharmacists across the counter may be a sound idea to counsel such women as to the best course forward.

By and large, although sizeable numbers of females pass out of pharmacy education each year, a pharmacist’s job is not yet considered as an ideal job for women. Such conservative thinking and traditional opinions continue to plague the sector that keeps women largely out of it. HERD Pharmacy plans to recruit women with the aim to induct willing female pharmacy staff to enhance their diverse roles and to make the best use of their skills. We are keen to make our pharmacies women-friendly so that women customers may approach comfortably and be able to share whats on their mind.

“The feminisation of pharmacy is a fascinating insight into the overall make up of the pharmacist workforce…” ~~ Anas Hasan

Monsoon Games


1200px-New_Mexico_Monsoon_2011Nagpur. Still humid, muggy and sultry. The rainy season was supposed to start already. But it’s been days now. And no rains! The hushed under song of the early dawn brings in cool breezy winds. You almost smell the moisture laden atmosphere and you are still waiting. And perhaps imagine the earthy scent that is produced when rains hit the parched dry soil. Your senses are yearning for the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of the first rains. Yet they tarry and linger and the clammy days move on from morning to night with nary a drop from the heavens!!

Each morning the weather projections get broadcast everywhere. Even Facebook informs – “It’s going to rain. Take care and stay dry!!” But the past three days since June 5 when the monsoons were predicted to start their annual deliverance, are going high and dry. Insat weather imagery is also going awry. The clouds keep getting all skewed and out of kilter. The high resolution Insat images too are unable to keep track of the wayward clouds. Yet, still we wait…

Nagpur has been gearing up for heavy rains as monsoons this year are expected to be really heavy. With the rains projected to hit soon the civic administration has been attending to issues related to water logging and need for maintaining hygiene, especially in vulnerable areas. The authorities are busy scrambling to complete the sludging and de-silting works of ditches, drains and nallahs. The experiences of last couple of years have not been good. Flooding of homes in low lying areas and swamping of roads and open spaces created severe problems.

As a prelude to the heavy downpours that are expected the city has been ascertaining that garbage disposal is efficaciously carried out. With new norms of garbage collection citizens are being roped in to become accountable for cleanliness around them. This is very important especially in view of ensuing health issues and epidemics like dengue and malaria that must be overcome. Thus while rains are a natural phenomena, flooding and epidemics are certainly preventable. This is why everybody needs to pitch in to make the season safe and healthy.

So even as we wait for the rain gods to bestow their bounty, it has certainly been beneficial to have had city precincts undergo deep-cleaning and sprucing-up to face up to the anticipated monsoon onslaught. In the meantime we stay pinned with our hopes on the prediction that the Monsoon 2017 will make its onset over North Maharashtra and that rains will increase gradually by June 10-12.

HERD Foundation wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable monsoon season. Here are a few tips to remember to stay healthy while weathering it out for the next few months:

  • Avoid street food.
  • Keep insect repellent handy.
  • Avoid walking about in the rain.
  • Keep umbrella, rain coat, and cap handy.
  • As far as possible eat hot food and drinks.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in the rain.
  • Dry feet immediately if they get wet.
  • Avoid colds and coughs by keeping your body dry.
  • Drink herbal teas often.

Follow up to Environmental Concerns


June 5 has come and gone. World Environment Day as rightly tweeted by Emmanuel Macron is ‘a day a year to remind us our everyday responsibility to’ safeguard our environment. The need is as he further states to “Come here with us to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment.”

However, just a couple of days after World Environment Day the rapturous projections seemed to have suddenly dissipated. Is World Environment Day just a symbolic gesture for most of us? Don’t we need to stay focused on cleaning up our act?  The entire lead up to the big day should in fact keep us spurred all year round to undertake doable tasks. Environmental problems beset us all – from adverse rural backyard matters to ever-increasing urban issues – all need constant work.

Concern for environment is therefore a call for action that gets you physically out and moving to undertake planned approaches to preserve nature – all flora and fauna and to carefully manage our natural resources. This means we need to concertedly organize our actions to tackle fallouts of environmental issues that maybe inadvertently affecting us. This may be containing soil run off, rain water harvesting, use of efficient clean energy, greening our surroundings, planting trees and saving water. Like-minded groups and concerned communities should take up the cudgels to spell out the needs to make people aware of issues and how they can be handled.

This year in particular is all about connecting people to nature. This means you need to encourage more and more people to experience the outdoors. To become involved with conserving the planet hands on. Our efforts should be to show people by example how important it is to protect our Earth for the benefit of future generations. We need to keep track of what is going on around us and how we can be involved together on this global mission.

It’s a good thing that everyone today is motivated to plant trees. As important as this is it is equally essential to clean up surroundings. Environmental upgradation being the need of the hour it is going to be really important to raise the awareness on this count among the children. Knowledge of connectivity of natural world and our mutual interdependence is something we need to leave as a legacy. This is what will mold kids to take part in embracing and protecting the great outdoors.

Already majority of the rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate their dependence on natural resources. They know full well how nature provides their livelihoods by replenishing water tables and renewing soil fertility. But they are really among the first ones to suffer when ecosystems get threatened by pollution, over-exploitation, and climate change.

Nature’s bounties are really quite difficult to value in monetary terms. Like clean air which is simply taken for granted until smog and pollution makes it difficult for us to breathe. Or our shrinking water levels that makes scarce potable water. But now social scientists are devising ways to measure costs of our ‘ecosystem services’. We are being made conscious of our carbon footprint.

World Environment Day should rightly help us to start monitoring our carbon footprint. The amount of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere as a result of our activities. This can be screened by individuals, organizations, communities, countries at all levels to ensure checks and balances on lifestyles and operations for regulating carbon footprints. Let us then begin to keep a watch on our personal footprint to measure how large our it is and think of ways we can work to shrink this. Every day in every way!

HERD Foundation Observes World Environment Day


IMG_2096Never before than now, has the awareness and observance of World Environment Day been felt to be so very imperative. In the wake of the US rejection of the Paris Climate treaty it becomes all the more important to emphasize the negative effects of global warming. The World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Citizens all over the world are organizing all kinds of events – clean-up drives, social plantation and action to combat global warming.

From its genesis in 1972 World Environment Day that is celebrated on June 5, has grown in size and volume to become the biggest annual event to inspire positive environmental change and call for action. ‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme for World Environment Day 2017, implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.

HERD Foundation observed World Environment Day to reinforce the fact that we have but one Earth which we need to protect and allow flourishing through corrective actions. For nearly half a century wayward industrialization and the modernization have ruined our natural resources. Each and every one of us has to do our bit to stop things sliding further down and getting out of hand.

To lay emphasis on our actions HERD Foundation planned the green theme for the day starting from wearing green colored clothes on this special day. We started off on a poster making competition that was organized and that had everyone putting down their version of the need to safeguard planet earth. The entrance wall to the office soon became bedecked in colorful posters drawing attention to the varied way in which each one interpreted call for action to work for protecting the Earth. After putting up the stunning display so enthusiastically, the entire staff was roped in to play the game of Web of Life. Farm manager Anil Khare coordinated the proceedings and facilitated the amazing connectedness and inter-dependency across nature, natural resources and the universe.

The summer interns who have joined HERD Foundation put up a spirited debate on the Paris Climate Treaty debacle by USA and it was engaging to hear out the pros and cons of Trumps withdrawal from the pact. Finally every one of the staff members publicly spelled out their commitment for the entire year as to the one positive action they would be undertaking to positively combat climate change and to remain connected with nature. The commitments have been recorded and displayed for reinforcement on daily basis. The first half of the day ended with a common luncheon party.

Year 2017 would be weaving in the Environment Day theme of going about being part of nature and to see how intimately we depend on it. The Environment Day observance undertook to challenge us all to find fun and excitement while working around the seriousness of the obligation. HERD Foundation remains committed to experience and cherish our vital connection and relationship with Mother Earth.

It’s the Season for New Beginnings


Two things happen with perennial certainty each year in our country. It’s that time of the year again when countless students wait with bated breath for the much anticipated high school and twelfth board results to-be-announced. And it’s that time when meteorologists get busy predicting the advent of the south west monsoons spelling relief from a sultry summer. Both these phenomenon bespeak of new beginnings in terms of growth for the country.

A total of 14,29,478 students appeared for the Maharashtra Board class XII examinations of 2017. Of these 12,79,406 cleared this basic examination that sends them onward ahead for further studies in areas of their choice. Matriculates is the revered term used to refer to these final year high school students who are now ready to blaze forth in the new found world of higher learning.

Passing the matriculation examinations opens the portals to an academic world – Pure Sciences, Humanities, Commerce, Medicine, Engineering, and Computer Sciences and so on. The avenues are open-ended and really endless in today’s modern world. Matriculation is the formal process that allows one to enter a university with students getting enrolled in different fields of study. This rite of passage then sees the careful nurturance and paving of way for the development of human resources for the country at large. Education clearly plays a crucial role in creating the scientific temper of our land.

Scientific temper is a way of life and this is the time when the growing educated population is getting groomed for the social processes, to think and act with conviction, courage and knowledge. Scientific temper may also be described as an attitude which involves the application of reasoning, logic and good sense. Herein are sown the seeds of fairness, equality and democracy.

It was Jawaharlal Nehru who first used the phrase in 1946 in this sense. He goes on to give a detailed explanation in his famous book ‘Discovery of India”: “What is needed is the scientific approach, the adventurous and yet critical temper of science, the search for truth and new knowledge, the refusal to accept anything without testing and trial, the capacity to change previous conclusions in the face of new evidence, the reliance on observed fact and not on pre-conceived theory, the hard discipline of the mind—all this is necessary, not merely for the application of science but for life itself and the solution of its many problems.”

And so, just as we implant knowledge in the young minds of our pubescent citizenry, it is also the time to sow the seeds in the ground for them to grow, flourish, and bear fruit. Monsoons are a boon for this, our land of tillers and the very foundation of our economy, contrary to what one may imagine. Our food security really rests on the monsoons. The Indian monsoon is the most prominent of the world’s monsoon systems, and one on which is based the entire agricultural economy of the country.

Because the land and its cultivation depend entirely on monsoon rains it becomes absolutely necessary to invest in quantitative long-range weather forecasts. It’s an area of operations that we still need to perfect. We need to be on top of the situation and move on from fathoming predictions through clues that appear prior to the months leading up to the big rains. We need to have a weather perfect forecast that ought to be released to the farmers. Forecasts need to be clearly refined so that agriculturists can positively correlate them for cultivation.

Truly, this last day of May 2017 has us believing that June is the month for new beginnings for us in India. The billowing clouds and stirring wind speeds already give indications of the onset of the great monsoons. Smiling graduating matriculates splashed on newspapers augur the scientific temper Nehru bespoke, long years back. We stand on the verge of an academic universe of our making and an agricultural revival that will spell rural development.

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark”- Rabindranath Tagore

HR Lessons – Welcome Change



At any point of time in an organization’s history there may be changes. Changes are bound to occur in an organization even if all is moving well and smooth.  Some changes are normal while some changes could appear to be tumultuous. Staff is often wary of changes and the fear is that any sort of change would be disruptive, not worthy of support and will certainly derail the regular momentum of progress.

HR Management therefore includes regular inputs on accepting change from time to time. Employees receiving change orientation would be more open to any kind of transformation processes that an organization may have to go through. It could be something as simplistic as shifting of the workplace or introduction of new norms in the office. It is actually human nature to resist any kind of modification in the regular framework.

Here is where the acumen of HR practice plays a vital role. Knowing full well that change is the only constant, management should include staff and take them into confidence in order to make it easier to accept change. This then makes it is possible to take the transformation processes forward in a positive way. Also, staff likewise turns out to be more flexible. Rather than desist or be fearful to accept new found ways of moving forward. So in order to stop them from raising their hackles, the need is to educate them in the art of welcoming change.

To accept change positively, personnel needs to keep an open mind and be flexible to structural adjustments. Herein they need to apply an open attitude to new learning. It is this ability to adapt to change that ought to be the focus of HR indoctrination. There are several HR trainings on change acceptance that work wonders on employee psyche. Because it is at times of change that many of us may think of going along with the known and familiar that appears secure and safe.

HR departments teach employees to understand that change in situations or outlooks may be viewed with poise and equanimity. It is at times of change that we learn of our ability to weather all kind of changes that may occur in the organization. Once on board staff learns to see the requirement for needed change and also becomes positive to new approaches. Only the unhappy, fearful staff members view change. Their complaining could really create negativity for the organization. We can do away with such naysayers.

The truth is that roles within the organization keep changing as do business strategies. It is therefore imperative at times to re-structure and re-configure certain aspects at the work place. HR heads then become liable to demonstrate to the employees why the change is needed and what would be the positive fall outs so that employees accept change in a more positive mode. Often this may be easier said than done. Although difficult it would certainly help to sift through the chaff.

It would do well also to look at aspects as to why employees resist changes at the workplace. Why is it so difficult for them to understand the benefits. The fact is they are habituated to routine and want to remain in their comfort zone. Also they may be having a practiced schedule on their functions and when change occurs they get uncomfortable or confused with procedures.

It’s a challenging time for HR for sure and they can really be such a support for management to assist them bring on needed changes. Communication herein is critical to make acceptance more positive. HR can really do well to include pre-change counseling sessions for more meaningful acceptance. This then is also a time to test the true colors of employees as to their attitude towards desirous changes. Employees who accept in a positive manner are the ones who are able to sustain themselves. So in short one must – Accept Change!

Monthly Employee Engagement Get-Togethers

hr fun activity

The afternoon hours of the last Saturday of the month are observed as Employee Engagement get-together by HERD Group of Companies. This excellent idea by HR is taken up with enthusiasm by all people working in and out the organization. It is really an interesting wrap up to the month that has the varied personnel meeting each other. The last Saturday also makes use of the forum to wind off the get-together by celebrating employee birthdays during the month.

In a pretty widespread and structured organization like HERD Foundation where more often than not staff may not always get to meet or talk to each other the activities allow for people to enjoy and have fun. HR wisely also uses the opportunity to take on some interesting training that adds to the efficiency and knowledge of the staff. Past such engagement has seen Nestle taking up training for staff attached to the Pharmacy division. This Saturday’s training is on Understanding Investments & Savings.

Employee engagement sessions organized by the enthusiastic team HR department allows staff members to relax, rewind and feel refreshed. Also the training session adds value to the merrymaking later. It is the aim that staff has fun at work and at the same time such activities help in building and fostering team spirit. It is for this reason that the HR staff devotes itself whole heartedly to bring everyone together from top to bottom in a bid to relieve the month’s stress and also to assist staff in bonding with each other. All miffed up feelings that are natural to occur in a huge set up get reduced when employees feel emotionally attached to their common work place.

It is great to hear the young HR staff figuring out what fun and games activities to take up. Having done this for some time now it is a challenge to come up with novel activities every month. And the spirited manner in which all aspects of such activities for employees is taken up is worth all the dilemma. Employee engagement activities are therefore totally vital when the employers want their employees to truly engage with what they do. And for the HR department that is always on the lookout for new and more interesting ways to make the monthly affair bright and happy here are some bright ideas –

Another aspect of such engagements is that they help in staff retention and most organizations do want to retain their best talent at work. This is a wonderful way to emotional connect to everyone working from their vantage positions. And so out of the everyday running around the last Saturday of the month becomes a day for some excitement and breaking bread together. Out of the rigors of daily fetters of their jobs such engagements help in creating a normal, relaxed end to the month’s pressures.

We do believe that our series of employee engagement activity has kept our workforce incredibly lively and dynamic. We have found this actually works to make them more productive too. There is little doubt that there is a direct relationship between employee engagement and employee motivation, productivity, satisfaction and retention. HERD Foundation remains indebted to its HR department for raising the bar when it comes to staff welfare and staff well being.