HR Buzz – May 8, 2012

EPFO mulls account number portability
Mint / Economic Times
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is close to finalising a plan to provide unique, portable account numbers, Mint reports. The accounts will operate independently of employers and benefit millions of people holding jobs. The move will address a major problem faced by EPF account holders. They currently have to create fresh accounts every time they change jobs because of the tedious process of carrying forward the old accounts. As a result, EPFO has to maintain at least 95.31 million accounts, of which only 44 million are active. Inactive accounts stop earning interest three years after the last contribution and add to the workload of fund managers. A committee headed by the Central Provident Fund Commissioner RC Mishra and senior officials from the Unique Identification Authority of India and the ministries of information technology and labour will shortlist a consultant to implement the initiative.

Click here for the story from Mint.
Click here for additional coverage from Economic Times.

Job crisis looms amid stifled growth
Economic Times
The Indian economy is on the brink of a disaster, threatening a full-blown job crisis in five years, Chetan Bhagat says in Economic Times. Statistics prove that the government has failed to control the fiscal deficit. Interest rates and borrowing costs have increased. Most private businesses today are unable to borrow below 15 percent per annum. Inflation is well above 10 percent. The GDP growth has fallen from the 8 percent range to 5 percent. This directly affects jobs, as with India's rising population, more youngsters will enter the workforce. Public debt is on the rise. In two years, it has increased 37 percent, and is rising much faster than the GDP. Yet the government spends money to please voters and has no intention of keeping its finances in order. As growth prospects wane, unemployment among talented people could trigger instability.

Click here for the story from Economic Times.

Financial sector may limit hikes to single digits
Financial Chronicle
Salary hikes in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector are likely to be in single digits because of the weak economic environment, Financial Chronicle reports. Compensation hikes would be marginal and likely to be in a single digit, that too to offset inflation, said Vinay Grover, CEO, Symbiosis Management Consultants. Hefty bonuses or variable component have almost vanished. Salaries have come down 20 percent to 40 percent on an average, depending on seniority. Foreign banks and investment bankers have been struggling to continue operations. Recent lay-offs indicate all is not well within the sector, Grover said. In India alone, foreign banks such as HSBC, Citibank, UBS and Nomura have laid off a large number of employees, he said. Ajay Shah, TeamLease Services general manager, team BFSI, said India's economic situation and the global recession had caused turmoil in the market.

Click here for the story from Financial Chronicle.

RBS staff faces job losses in HSBC acquisition
Economic Times
Employees at the Indian arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) may be laid off, as a deal by HSBC to absorb them may not materialise, Economic Times reports. HSBC had reportedly agreed to take on the entire RBS staff at a town hall meeting but now the bank says it may not be able to retain everyone. Majority of the employees within the retail and commercial banking business may be offered jobs in HSBC. RBS will do what it can to support the surplus employees and contain compulsory job losses to the extent possible. An HSBC spokesperson declined to comment. HSBC's acquisition of the Indian retail and commercial banking businesses of RBS recently got a go-ahead from the Reserve Bank of India. The deal was originally announced in July 2010.

Click here for the story from Economic Times.

Diversity footprint in senior roles expanding
Business Standard
The idea of more women in senior leadership positions in India is finally gaining ground, Business Standard reports. With more women pursuing higher education, it is likely that there will be more contenders for senior roles. Vodafone India and Mahindra & Mahindra are among companies which have made strides in this regard. Ashok Ramchandran, director HR, Vodafone India, says the company is focusing on gender diversity. It strives to hire female talent from the market and is also keen on building talent from within. Women form 6 percent of the workforce at Vodafone. The company is eyeing 15 percent in two years. Rajeev Dubey, Mahindra & Mahindra's president group HR, corporate services and aftermarket, says a diverse workforce produces better business results and enables deeper discussions among work teams. The company is now looking at a 50:50 diversity ratio.

Click here for the story from Business Standard.

Lack of understanding mars retention in retail
Financial Chronicle
Attrition levels in the retail industry continue to remain at a high 50 percent to 60 percent despite the limited number of companies in the market, Financial Chronicle reports. Besides the gap in the availability of quality talent, there is a lack of understanding about retail among employees. Attrition is the maximum in the front-end jobs, at 50 to 60 percent per annum, says Govind Shrikhande, managing director of Shoppers Stop. The availability gap of good talent is 20 percent to 25 percent. Attrition tends to be higher when companies are not able to draw a clear career road map for employees, says Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India. The biggest challenge in the Indian context is good understanding of retail. If employees have good knowledge of the industry, they would be prompted to stay.

Click here for the story from Financial Chronicle.

Towards more effective independent directors
The Hindu Business Line
Independent directors, who play an important role in corporate governance, can effectively deliver on the job in a number of ways, says PricewaterhouseCoopers India leader of risk advisory services Satyavati Berera in The Hindu Business Line. In their oversight role, they protect the interest of investors, stakeholders, regulators, government and minority shareholders. Their external and unbiased inputs can bring a new and independent perspective, thereby raising the quality of governance. However, mere participation in board meetings is not sufficient. Independent directors must bring to the table knowledge, experience, insight and skill and industry expertise that enable them to ask the right questions. They need to be bold enough to voice genuine concerns and challenge executive decisions. Though expectations are huge, there is scope to improve the process of appointment, on-boarding and disseminating information to help strengthen and empower independent directors.

Click here for the story from The Hindu Business Line.

How to compensate for a goof-up
Everybody bungles on the job once in a while, but there are ways of making up for it, says Sonal Agrawal, managing partner, Accord India, in a Mint report. Once you realise you have erred, assess the damage and its implications on all parties concerned. Avoid sweeping under the carpet the mess you have made. Confide in your boss as soon as possible. Take responsibility for your actions and accept the consequences. Your subsequent behaviour can demonstrate how you deal with a crisis, whether of your own making or not. Come up with different solutions to the problem. Estimate the timelines, actions and the people who will help you. Weigh the pros and cons and the costs of various actions. A graceful, heartfelt apology will go a long way in defusing the situation and make it easier for your colleagues to forgive you.

Click here for the story from Mint.

Good leaders capitalise on individual strengths
Santhosh Babu, coach and author of "Coaching: The Art of Developing Leaders", elucidates the difference between managing well and being an effective leader in a report in Mint. According to Babu, employees hate to be "managed" and prefer a coach who can guide them and bring out the best in them. A coach does not give answers; instead, he asks questions to create clarity and awareness. Great leaders are not be born but made. An effective leader is one who is able to inspire and empower others. Indian industry is sadly lacking in the skills of capitalising on the strengths of its people. We need to build a culture where we can really look at the strengths and the diversity of each individual. The challenge before leaders is to align everyone to the growth agenda of the company.

Click here for the story from Mint.

People Moves & Recruitments

ICICI Securities picks CDR Chief from Reliance Cap
VC Circle
ICICI Securities has named L Govind head of structured products and corporate debt restructuring (CDR). Most recently, Govind was with Reliance Capital, monitoring its debt and equity investments in companies.

Click here for the story from VC Circle.


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