SHRM South Asia Blog

Strategic Industrial Relations for Competitive Advantage

Industrial Relations is a very interesting subject. Actually any relationship is so intricate and involves human emotions that films get made on it. Industrial Relations is the only subject on which many feature films are made. You will remember 'Aaghat' which was a Govind Nihalani film made in 1985.
The subject of discussion is 'Strategic industrial relations to ensure competitive business advantage.' In my talk today, I will briefly discuss the two catchwords: Strategy and Competitive advantage. I will then explain the difference between Strategic HRM and Strategic IR. This is only to put all of us on a...


"Socially Desirable" Behavior and Hiring Decisions

Very often I hear from all my clients using psychometric assessments - "How do I ensure that the candidate has not responded in a socially desirable behavior?” This is more often than not, followed by another question “How do I decide whether to hire or not, if a candidate has responded in a socially desirable manner?" What these questions really aim to do, is to understand whether the person has tried to ‘present oneself as Mr. or Ms. Right’, or tried to ‘distort the recruiter's perception about himself/herself’? However, is it so bad to present oneself in a favorable manner?...


So, You want to start a Coaching Intervention

In 2009, there was a famous research report published in the Harvard Business Review (January Edition) where they presented a myriad of contradictions and controversies about the profession of coaching. Fortunately, the domain has evolved very quickly and the situation is not as paradoxical today as it was back then. For the trained and certified coaching professional, there is more clarity on what are some of the ways to successful interventions and more focus on the outcomes, process and method of coaching. Self-styled coaches need to put their methodology and process under the scanner and look at benchmarking against professional...


Role of HR in Enabling Employee Engagement

One of my HR colleagues recently read my blog post on “Getting Employee Engagement Practices Right!” and commented that although Employee Engagement is important to every HR practitioner, what is the HR capability and preparedness to take on such a noble cause? What is the role of HR in facilitating Employee Engagement and how can we build the capacity to deliver?


This fourth blog post in the EE series speaks about the deeper preparedness that needs to be built within HR to understand, design, implement and monitor organizational development and Employee Engagement for success. I will...


Learning to Learn

SHRM has been organizing programs of interest to HR professionals and I congratulate them for this excellent effort. The purpose as I understand is to get professionals to share their experience and conclusions; today I venture to share mine. I am acutely aware that some of my conclusions may not be validated by research, yet if I succeed in generating a debate on various issues related to learning, I believe that the purpose of this Forum Meet will be served.

The subject I am going to deal with is "Learning to Learn." Forget the play of


Innovative Practices in Employee Relations - Part 2

Retaining influence on employees [in spite of unions]!

I was invited to address the HR Meet of a very reputed company. The audience comprised senior managers. One of them asked me, "How can we not have a union at the workplace?" My answer began with a rather rude statement, I am not proud of it, but yet let me state it. "If we ask wrong questions we get wrong answers.” I then explained that the real issue was “How to retain influence over our employees in spite of unions."

There are many ways to do it, but every organisation must...


Innovative Practices in Employee Relations - Part 1


A few thoughts are placed for your consideration. And then, at the end, I will place a summary for your deliberation.

Is our idea of relationship moored in avoidance of dispute?

Let us go back and reflect on our motives with respect to Industrial Relations. We often hear HR Managers say that ‘we have a very good relationship with our union – we have not had a strike since so many years.’ Some even say ‘we solve our issues across the table – we do not have a single case in the labour court.’ So our idea of industrial...


HR Processes for Employee Engagement

Is Employee Engagement your Priority?

Do you want to ramp up Employee Engagement (EE) as a priority HR thrust area? First ask yourself, “Is my organization (and me) ready for it?” and then, “What are the HR processes that support EE programs?” Prompted by one very senior and respected HR professional in the corporate sector, who asked me a couple of weeks ago, if there is a level of readiness that is required to put Employee Engagement initiatives in place. I decided to write my thoughts down in this fifth blog post in the series on Employee Engagement. You...


Getting Employee Engagement Practices Right!

Many readers of the first two posts in this series have asked for ideas on what to do to enhance Employee Engagement. This blog post is based on a series of conversations with HR Professionals and explains how to get Employee Engagement practices right.

First: Define what you want to manage

In one organization the term Employee Engagement was linked to a "marriage" of the employee and the organization, and the expectation from employees was to be ‘wedded to the company’ (Anil Gole of Greaves Cotton). In Essar Oil, Harsh Bhosale indicated that they believed engagement was the extent to...


Reflections: Employee Relations (Part 3): Unrest and Closures in 2014

Reflecting on past events is essential. It enables us to understand trends and varying points of view. It also lays out issues clearly before us. And hopefully it helps us to learn and find a better way, moving ahead.

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action”, said Peter Drucker. So let us review ‘Employee Relations’ in 2014. This is the first part of a three part series of blog-posts. I have divided this note according to subject. The current blog post focuses on ‘Strikes and Lockouts in 2014’

I have not...