Of Chaos and Inner Clutter

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It’s a frenzied world out there. From aggrieved news channels reporting nothing but chaos to the information overload of the social media – everything seems to be clogging the brain.  The past few days have been especially harrowing. Ghosts of white supremacy in America, terror attacks in Spain, the stand-off between India and China – things appear to be going awry causing a sense of desperation all over.

The resignation today of Infosys CEO brings us back with a resounding thud to the way business has begun to be conducted. The quitting comes as a culmination to the never ending wrangles going on between the company and its founder-members for some time now. Top notch professionals locking horns over governance issues, attitudes and ownership.

Such extraneous crisis situations can actually play on individual minds. Our minds can only take in so many fracases. So when the world gets too much for you the good thing would be to just shut it off. That is the simplest and the best thing to do in the face of such irrelevant mental exhaustion. Bring out the stress balls and learn to eliminate all peripheral disorder. Gradually learn to concentrate on things you need to do for yourself.

Process. Prioritize. Play it out. Get your to-do-list out and start ticking it off. Once the mind becomes focused you become a little less frazzled and the clutter slowly dissipates. Start taking ways to actively focus and re-energize your brain.  Follow simple effective ways to un-clutter your brain to regain your composure. One of the best things to do is to just say stop to the thoughts inside you.

Easier said than done you might say. But it is possible. Sift through the themes of your thoughts and check out which ones you need to deal with in the immediate work-related situation. As you gradually come to grips with tasks to be done you eventually restore calm to the flood of thoughts. Continue in this manner and very consciously avoid taking in any outside information.

This kind of self-control allows you to focus wholly on the task at hand. Meet that client. Visit the depot. Write that report. The sense of doing something worthwhile and remaining committed to your responsibilities is something that will help you ease out of your over-stretched mind. Once you learn to tap into your thought processes you will have a hold on things around you.

Continue working positively on your mind beyond work hours too. Learn how to escape time! Start doing things that you just love to do. Allow your mind to focus on fun things. Most important release the need to control everything. Most of us with overactive minds have the need to remain in control of most everything in our lives. Just let go!

Do something interesting like start writing a diary. Or just live in the ‘now’ taking in the present more consciously. Connect with nature – go for a walk, exercise, yoga – whatever suits you. Listen to your body. Certainly positive affirmations and proactive stance for your inner balance will keep you balanced. Dismember the media thieves bringing in so much disruption for you. Finally, enjoy the changes you bring to yourself.

Crafting an Ace Sales Team

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HERD Pharmacy sales managers and marketing team comprising of Prasanjeet Dhepe, Sachin Salunke, Suresh Poonia and Stawan Bhujbal know it is very essential to create singular, effective sales people. For this purpose they ensure scrutinizing every single reason that goes into motivating each person of the formidable over-seventy sales team. Pharmacy managers have been drilled to never allow the slightest lapse in losing a single sale. If at all such an untoward incident were to happen by a front line sales staff, then it becomes the responsibility of the manager to rescue the deal.

It is here that the manager becomes accountable to teach and train the sales team to learn how to effectively deal with various issues that may affect their proactive sales techniques. Problem resolving in an effective, convincing and timely manner are key skills that have been inculcated to make sure they do not falter when it comes to making smooth sales. Herein the managers have been made proficient to continually tutor sales staff by coaching, reviewing, mentoring and offering motivation.

The series of on-going trainings that began with Dr Amol Deshmukh’s critical workshops on importance of customer-care are now a well imprinted roadmap. The team has learned to focus on additional critical aspects with the view to increase sales, enhance customer base and create brand value for the retail chain-stores. Of late the attempt is to focus on the significant functions of sales with an eye on performance management. Herein inputs like setting goals, evaluating performances, chalking out reasons for non-performance, and appreciating success become necessary.

Top level management does not hesitate to chastise staff members when they fail to perform optimally. This is really crucial so as to keep performance levels in line with set management targets. What this also actually means is that performances need to be kept sharpened. To this end management is always ready to provide more effective coaching. The past two years have seen no dearth of training inputs that very easily can be said to be the key to present levels of achievements.

As stated earlier, it is the projected successes for the sales team that creates the pulls and pushes for their constant coaching. The monthly debriefing sessions help in assessing and evaluating training needs of the staff at all levels. Such joint debriefing sessions help in bringing everybody on the same page and eager to go forward together. It is also a time to take stock, get emotional and then plan ahead for the subsequent phase. It is also the time to make commitments and work out improvised strategies to pitch forward.

Ultimately it is the Pharmacy sales managers who form the crux of the marketing team. Their contributions in spearheading the sales team’s successes cannot be negated. They are the nucleus that gets the entire sales team motivated to be on their toes to see business remains brisk. The pre-planned schedule and manner of approach for creating a sound customer base helps in enhancing effective sales. Herein the managers’ belief in the actions of the sales staff becomes vital for positive outcomes.

Important steps taken all the time by managers include – taking responsibility, distributing responsibility, giving clear communications, evaluating performances and most important of all  setting high standards of performance. Finally it is their sense of accountability that actually determines the outcomes. Presently we are moving ahead with expansion on our mind  and aside from opening medical outlets in new locations we have to continue to make sure that existing stores keep achieving their goals. With an experienced Operations Head, Mr Rahul Agarwal having very recently brought on board, it will not be long before HERD Pharmacy raises the bar responsibly for the business at hand.

Raising the Bar – Through Attitudinal Change

Dr Amol Deshmukh, MD HERD Group of Companies arranged through HR, a learning workshop entitled “Udaan”,  conducted by Dr. Ramesh Sangare of Human Resources Development Corporation, on August 10-11, 2017. The training program was specifically for HERD Pharmacy supervisory and managerial staff along with affiliated office staff. The two day training sessions were to focus on Raising Bar of Performance through Attitudinal Change. The aim of the program was to help staff achieve certain core attitudinal approaches to make their contributions more efficient and effective.

A total of 35 front line supervisors along with managers participated in the program to help gain organizational objectives by learning to understand the need to bring about changes in attitude. The training imparted thought-provoking motivational talk in order to stimulate self-motivation in them. Participants were made aware of their inherent strengths and weaknesses through psychometric tools to aid them to understand how they could use the information derived to best advantage.

After the formal inaugural introductions, Day 1 took on a brief introduction of the program. The trainer gradually introduced the importance of attitude that usually marks the altitude one was capable of reaching. Inputs in the session focused on participant’s role in the organization and understanding role stresses and to know how to deal with them. Learning sessions took on issues around earmarked achievements, failure in reaching them and the importance of goal setting. Through games and presentations the concept of conscious goal setting was defined in order to work for self-survival and growth of company. The role of communication, cooperation and co-ordination was paramount in success of achieving set targets.

Day 2 began with a brief recapitulation of the previous days learning followed by listing down the gray areas that affect productivity and smooth run of operations. The FIRO-B instrument was tackled to understand the changing world of work, society and family. Also participants were facilitated to see their inner selves and their interpersonal relationship building potential through the Johari Window. The Johari Window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham and is commonly used in corporate training modules.

Dr Sangare further stated the important role of communication, commanding, cooperation, collaboration and coordination – these five Cs that gear up overall performance in a company. A case study was also undertaken during the course of the program for the benefit of the participants to help them understand the role of managers in building and managing their teams. A brief abridged version of Hindi film ‘Lagaan’ was presented to make clear role of leadership as also to understand nuances in situational and functional leadership areas.

The two day training program concluded with an explanation of the psychometric instruments used as well as a written feedback from participants. Dr Amol Deshmukh conducted a verbal feedback to gauge how well the concepts had been understood by the participants. This proved to be useful since as an entity HERD Pharmacy needed to identify the existing problems, challenges, weaknesses, strengths and skills of the sales team were. It was also essential to know what further investment in time and resources were to be made to create a sustained sales force that could also share this training knowledge to maintain learned proficiencies.

Dr Amol Deshmukh specified that the need was to identify right persons in the sales team to don effective trainer roles in the near future. This would be critical in developing the full potential of the entire sales team cutting across the different stores. Since sales managers and sales staff work closely together it would be beneficial to stay focused on consistent, accessible and interested people to take on such roles. Raising the bar on in-house coaching would be the key to increasing the beliefs of the sales managers to lead effective teams, thereby creating successful sales teams.

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Recording Biometric Attendance

There was naturally some trepidation when six months back biometric attendance recording system was introduced at HERD Group. Introduction of any new process changes at any workplace is bound to create a flutter among employees. TecSol Private Limited, the in-house IT unit became instrumental in sharing accurate, clear information about recording of biometric attendance to assuage qualms of an initially nervous staff. Changes were definitely going to involve the stragglers. It was certainly going to create unease regarding usage of the newfangled attendance system.

For starters, Jigar Joshi, IT Manager with HERD TecSol worked on focusing on the facts, since he realized that misinformation would probably do more harm by breeding resistance. HR too apprehended that sharing usage norms could play a calming role in raising morale. Since staff was already used to signing the muster-roll it would hardly be problem to facilitate them to adapt to the biometric time clocking system. All one needed to do was touch the screen of the biometric machine to record and clock their attendance.  HERD Group started the biometric time recording system because it wanted to avoid negative fall-outs of muster recording and at the same time deploy biometric time-clock technologies cutting across several establishments in order to support organizational culture and business needs.

However we do continue with signing the muster along with jabbing the finger on the machine. This is because HR department needs to double verify employee attendance data. The biometric/fingerprint or facilitates automation of salary calculations with up to date leave, late-comings or overtime records. Having grown from a small office of handful of employees to our present multi-location stores and offices we no longer have single point attendance record keeping. Admin and HR managers need to know details of all locations to track the hours worked by the employees.

We noticed that initially employees were a bit hesitant about the biometric systems. But this was mainly due to their unfamiliarity with the machine. Soon with ease of practice their distress generally disappeared after simply being given a brief introduction as to its use. We now have biometric attendance data at all our locations. After close follow up and clear instruction of usage the biometric verification has been working for us. Initially there were some teething troubles but after demystifying it all everyone uses the machines habitually now.

It is true when it comes to biometrics at first there are certain myths like concerns regarding potential invasion of privacy (fingerprinting) and hygiene to be reckoned with. However biometric attendance data allows HR department to gain official records of hours of employee work which they then calculate to pay employees accordingly. Barring a few slackers in most cases we did not encounter resistance. Most concerns were eliminated as soon as the employees were educated on usage. Once they learned how to operate the biometric reader and in time realized how easy it was, there has been little resistance.

Sourcing Candidates

 

Age-of-Social-Recruiting

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A small but potent HR team within HERD Group keeps track of manpower needs and undertakes planning for the same. HERD Group follows established recruitment planning process by regularly estimating and projecting requirements of staffing needs for the different projects running presently. Some units, like for instance the pharmacy division, experience regular requirements for which an ongoing database is maintained.

Our manpower planning takes in factors like how and when we have to keep adding new employees, as and when required. The entire procedure is accomplished while keeping the vision, mission and goals of HERD Group in mind. We also bear in mind the future prospects of the particular business as well as by tracking industry trends. This helps in keeping systems in place and for us to be better prepared for future staffing needs.

Today, we stand at a point where we are definitely aiming for the top. In line with the projected targets for business prosperity we are keen to band together a strong team. It is for this purpose that we need to ensure that inbound incumbents be high achievers and disciplined. As much as their intelligence and skills, it would be their personality and attitude that would be helpful in moving forward successfully.

It is for this reason that the HR department is watchful about escalating experiences of newly inducted employees. HERD Group is moving ahead with confidence having adopted the best business practices. Recently every single staff member was apprised of the regulatory compliances to be followed in line with stipulated policies. Staff is also periodically provided with the motivational trainings by recognized motivational gurus. This helps instill a fervor in them to excel in their aspirations, at both the personal and work-life spheres.

In line with planned projections for spearheading the varied business dynamics, we know for sure that there will be increasing requirement of staff with focused skill-sets. HR department therefore regularly anticipates expected manpower needs for the company. Other than this they have devised processes for staff development in order to keep new as well as existing workforce in a stimulated state.

HR diligently examines the background, skill-set, qualification, attitude, aptitude etc., of existing and incoming work force so that they can take care of the pool of talent to nurture for the company. In line with the business needs of the units they understand the type of employees that would be best suited in the organization. Their competency has them examining and evaluating the types of employee workforce that they can build up.

Selection of candidates has them culling out and identifying appropriate shortlisted aspirants for required openings. Obviously they pick candidates who are better qualified, have needed skill-set, and experience to invite them for interviews. It is in the direct interactions that they usually assess suitability and long-term feasibility prospects. Once on board they are then trained as per organizational needs.

With such planned moves it is possible to groom work force to become prepared to adapt to the company culture and business practices. We follow an established system to induct employees and extend on-the-job-training that is an essential process.  Now that we are gradually growing, our workforce is also expanding likewise. With businesses at different locations and in different domains we cannot afford to be lax in our human resource management.

HERD Group welcomes the interested to join in for excellent career opportunities. It’s your personality that would play the most critical role. How you communicate with others, how well you handle interpersonal relationships in a team and social environment, and how emotionally intelligent are you, are factors to determine career growth. In fact, if one demonstrates excellent soft skills and get the quantum of tasks done to satisfaction – who knows you could be our operations head!

 

Make Infant Seats in Vehicles Mandatory

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It was as late as in October 2014 that the Government of India made it mandatory for car manufacturers in India to equip cars with provision for installing child seats. The safety measure was to facilitate safe placing of child seats in cars and permit car travel to be safe for kids inside cars. The move was to ensure car travel safe for children.

However we do not see this provision being followed by all car makers. As a result several cars have no such facility for cautious parents to be able to fit child seats. With the increasing spate in cab riders in the country the provision of child seat certainly needs to take priority.  What is required is addition of anchors and tethers to be installed in the back seat of cars.

While this mechanism is standard provision in developed countries it is still not happening, in practice, in our country. The child seat allows a child to be securely fastened on the back seat of a car. The child seat supports a child in case of mishaps and sudden brakes or jerks. Even though India has a huge car market we still do not implement rigorous safety measures in our automobiles.

Maruti Kizashi maybe one the few that offers the ISO fix-child-seat anchorage available. But then why is it that only an expensive car has this facility. With the ever increasing rise in Ola and Uber cabs, should not the provision be made mandatory in all cars.  By implementing compulsory child seat provision the government should make car travel safe for infants and kids.

In fact the Road Transport Authority should strictly enforce the rule in place to improve road safety measures, particularly for the safety of children. Our country with its high rate of road accidents, bad road conditions and unruly traffic should definite look into this matter with concern.

It is also lack of awareness that even the public is not sensitized on this grave road safety issue.  In our country we even need to spell out insistence on helmets for people riding cycles for transport. It is simply the lack of knowledge and very poor governance about road safety that makes us impervious to the necessity for such safety measures.

HERD Foundation would like to lay stress on the need to raise awareness on this critical road safety issue. Especially since many drivers do not hesitate to use their cell phones while driving. What is required is a very forceful safety standards implementation drive, with the government leading the way through a strong will and sense of direction.

In present times when parents remain focused on raising one-two child families it makes it all the more imperative to implement strict norms for children’s safety. Yes, smaller families’ means babies and children are that much more precious. Hence it will only be the will power of the transport ministry to push the agenda for child seat anchorage to be made compulsory.

The need for child safety in cars needs has to be highlighted in a big way. Child safety ought to be made a major parameter in our country’s ratings. We have to give up on age old practice of children riding on mother’s laps. As a general rule, just as child locks in cars have been made compulsory so also child seat facility should be made mandatory. Violations should be subject to heavy penalty. It is time that we stopped being silent on safety of children travelling in cars.

Psychometric Tests for Insights on Employee Performance

It is a well established practice to conduct psychometric tests for the well being of an organization. Usually HR takes on tasks related to modus operandi for psychological measurement and evaluation of staff members. Psychometric tests make use of predesigned instruments that are now readily available online. Such tests appeal to modern day HR practitioners concerned with objectively measuring skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational levels of personnel.

Psychometric testing involves two essential functions – one the use of appropriate instruments, and two the deducements and evaluation in the wake of applying such tests.  The truth is not many of us really understand how psychometrics works. Psychometrics is actually the science of educational/psychological testing. It attempts at probing the mind of an employee to evaluate defined variable aspects. However to most people psychometric testing remains a black box. Even so one gets a basic understanding of employee mindset which is what makes psychometrics important for organizations.

One really needs to know full well how such testing benefits the organization. The basic intention for implementation of psychometrics in any given organization is to process improvement in employee output based on outcomes of specially-designed testing instruments. Test scores are usually used to categorize candidates into groups – pass/fail , hire/non-hire, and below-basic/basic/proficient/advanced and so on.

Psychometricians document their assessment by determining the results through use of defined methodologies.  Validity of responses is the evidence provided to support score interpretations. For instance they will interpret scores on a test to reflect knowledge of English, knowledge of numericals, personality types, reasoning powers and so to provide documentation and research supporting this.

Companies are likely to place some emphasis on numerical reasoning skills if they are considered important in ensuring a high performance in the given role. The allotted job profile would therefore expect one to have moderate to high numerical reasoning skills. Therefore an employee would be subject to numerical reasoning questions of a level of difficulty and complexity.

Verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure written verbal skills that assess one’s ability to quickly understand and efficiently convey work-related concepts and information. One needs the ability to comprehend and quickly filter through extensive amounts of work-related written data to identify critical issues to draw logical conclusions.

Finally an abstract reasoning test is to measure conceptual reasoning skills that refer to lateral thinking or evaluate fluid intelligence. It measures one’s ability to quickly learn new information, identify patterns in data, integrate complex information, and apply it to solve work-related problems. There is no dearth of test instruments that may measure employee intelligence is whatever it is that you are trying to measure. These tests are usually subject to multiple-choice questions that remains the popular mode for quizzing.

Often an organization may need to state very precisely what their expectations are from such psychometric tests. These are typically run as job analysis study to form quantitative, scientific blueprints for outcomes from different levels of employees. There is a whole lot of information on the internet dealing with the literature on how to make the most of such psychometric tests to evaluate potential and existing employees. HR uses them to the advantage of the organization by leveraging their knowledge of employees and guiding performances as per evaluation content.