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HR's biggest challenge today - managing diverse data: Oracle Official

Although data insights increase operational efficiency and drive sustainable business outcomes, managing varied data is one of HR’s biggest current challenges at the moment, owning to fast pace technology changes in organizations.

“Technology changing the workplace is not new. This is not a one-time change. All these technologies, be it AI, automation or IoT, are fundamentally creating new engines of growth, with data as the new propellant.” Shaakun Khanna, Head of HCM Applications-APAC, Oracle

The technology allows for automation and streamlining of several day-to-day tasks but is also drowning organizations in myriads of data which is overwhelming the HR departments.

As per Khanna, the pile-up of data will only add to the HR woes if not acted upon sooner. He adds, that trust is a major part of this data confidence and proper securing of data can seal this trust to reap a wealth of benefits. HR leaders need to establish proper data management protocols, effective training and embrace accountability.

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HR-tech investment shows a massive rise, doubles in 2019

AI-based solutions for recruitment, upskilling and employee management along with startups venturing in employee assessment and B2B reskilling are garnering attention from investors, local and global.

In 2019, investors advanced $116 million into 19 companies, more than double from $55 million in 2018, according to data collated by Venture Intelligence.

Tier-2 and tier-3 cities with a focus on HR and Job tech have added an advantage now to make the cut for investment. Already successful companies such as Darwinbox and InterviewBit are back in the market, clinching series-A or higher rounds after raising seed round a couple of years ago. Sequoia, Accel India and Tiger Global participated in the funding.

"This year we are seeing interest in HR tech among other B2B sectors. Besides PE/VC activity, investor interest also comes from Asian companies. Notable names are Japan-based Recruit Holdings and Beenext, which invest in the Indian HR tech space." said Venture Intelligence MD Arun Natrajan.

Global giant Xiaomi recently invested $5.8 million in the job portal ‘WorkIndia’

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Amazon re-launches ' Rekindle 2.0' for women to relaunch career after break

Amazon boasts of a diverse employee strength across India fueled by several one-of-its-kind initiatives for several segments of the society like persons with a disability, the army retired, LGBT and more. Women are also a top priority for the global giant as globally 40% of Amazon’s workforce is women, and that percentage is reflected in India.

Amazon currently employs 62,000 people in the country and a peek at the Amazon India job portal revealed that there are 1,367 job listings for Bengaluru alone, for job roles like Financial Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer, HR Ops Admin, Production Designer, Analysts and so on.

Recently, Amazon relaunched ‘rekindle 2.0,’ a much-needed initiative designed to help women come back after breaks to renew, rebuild and rekindle their corporate careers. Initially launched in March 2017, the program was not the instant success it was aimed for.

Currently, the relaunch is for Chennai and Hyderabad. The program will be extended to other cities based on response.

“This time around, the program is being launched across a variety of tech and non-tech roles where these women will work on live projects for 6 months or more, to begin with, and later transition into full-time roles,” said Varma.

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92% of talent professionals in India believe in people analytics: LinkedIn report

A clear majority of talent professionals (92%) in India consider People Analytics to lead the way towards the future of HR and recruiting, according to the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020 report. The survey results were derived from 7,000 talent professionals, platform data, and interviews with leaders to provide insight into the key topics impacting HR leaders today.

This year’s Global Talent Trends report focuses on how empathy is playing a large role in reshaping the process of hiring and retaining talent. The four primary trends of this year include employee experience, people analytics, internal recruiting and multi-generational workforce.

Companies are applying data powered by new means of technology like AI, to evaluate recruiting channels, identify skills gaps, and assess talent supply and demand. As if now, companies are primarily using analytics to measure employee performance and strategic workforce planning, reveals the findings.

It was also found that 72% of HR professionals in India are already invested in people analytics for measuring and improving performance in HR operations.

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Hiring slowdown? Not a problem for top MBA institutes

While the business community is going through a slowdown, reputed business schools have seen a rise in average salaries and number of recruiters for the class of 2020. The top six (IIMs) do perform well every year, but this year the campuses just below them have taken everyone by surprise.

A rough business year has companies paying a premium for top talent, shows placement data from institutes like the FMS, IIFT, Goa Institute of Management (GIM), IMI Delhi and the new IIMs at Kashipur and Raipur.

Good placements in a bad year reflect businesses’ commitment towards investing in talent as a long-term strategy, say placement heads, recruiters and HR experts.

Talking about figures, IIFT in Delhi received 310 offers this year compared with 279 in 2019 while their average salary increased marginally to Rs 20.48 lakh per annum. At FMS, the average salary was up 11%. IIM Kashipur received its first international offer this year. At IIM Raipur, almost 90% of the 206-strong batch has already been placed.

The job offers don’t surprise the industry experts. “These are investments. During a slowdown, one reduces spends and not investments,” said Sarthak Raychaudhuri, vice president-HR, Asia at Whirlpool Corp.

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Local hiring helps Indian IT sector tackle US election season

During this election season in the US, India’s IT services sector will see the business grow as it has hired local engineers in small towns to meet requirements of clients whose businesses are getting disrupted by technology, as noted by the analysts

The US economy is growing and unemployment has fallen from when he took over the top job in 2017. Investors have been concerned about risks to Indian IT firms’ business outlook in case Trump gets re-elected and ramps up the action to insource IT capability back to the US, with the intent of bringing more jobs into the country. However, analysts suggest that companies have done enough to alleviate his concerns.

“The short to medium term future is bright for the leading Indian IT services majors,” said Phil Fersht, CEO of US-based IT research and advisory HfS Research.

To fulfill the requirements, Indian IT firms have set up local delivery centers staffed with engineers in the US, and this strategy is in their favor, they pointed out.

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Capgemini to hire 30,000 new employees in India in 2020

Global giant Capgemini is looking to expand its employee base in India by 30,000, from its existing base of nearly 1.15 lakh workers. The goal of the major upsizing is to derive the maximum value from its presence in India. As per country chief executive Ashwin Yardi, the company plans to split the hiring evenly between freshers, experienced professionals, and laterals.

At present, the focus is on re-skilling employees for the technologies of the future, he said, adding that this has now become a continuous process.

At a time when other tech giants are laying a lot of stress on research and development activities and are filing for patents, the company has taken a call not to do 'blue-sky thinking' and adopt the "applied innovation" concept to come up with client-specific improvements, as per Yardi.

The company has acquired sufficient space at Airoli (near Mumbai), its biggest development center, and has also created capacity at other centers over the last two years which can accommodate the new joinees, said Yardi. They have also hired a chief innovation officer from a startup recently.

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Interesting revelations from gender diversity study in analytics

A recent study by AIMResearch put light on gender diversity in India in analytical roles. In 2019, the industry was valued at $3.03 Bn, and, considering that the domain will double by 2025, the analytics space will experience 12.2% CAGR. 

The study came up with some interesting facts regarding women's role in analytics in India.

As of February 2020, women represent about 27.8% of the AI / Analytics workforce in India. This workforce delivers all AI and Analytics services originating from India regardless of the stakeholder or client type, type of firm providing the service, and location of client/stakeholder.

Women in AI in India are responsible for 8.1% of the global women in AI workforce.

Close to 79% of the women AI workforce is concentrated in organizations with personnel greater than 10000 personnel. Their median salary is INR 10.7 Lakhs while the median experience is 5.8 years.

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India Inc moving towards recruitment firms for talent acquisition: Study

Despite the large-scale trend of social media and job sites, companies are increasingly entrusting recruitment tasks in the hands of professional organizations for quality talent acquisition across junior, mid as well as senior-level positions, as per the study titled ‘CIELWorks 2020: Latest Trends in India Talent Market 2020’.

"The main reason behind companies shifting gradually to recruiting companies is because these firms are cutting down their work and time by screening and selecting relevant and quality talent," Aditya Narayan Mishra of CIEL HR Services said.

The study covered over 200 senior to mid-level executives across various sectors from December 2019 till January 2020 and revealed that although job opportunities were robust, securing quality talent remained a challenge during 2019.

It was further found that entry-level roles were filled in less than 30 days, mid-level in less than 60 days and senior-level job roles saw positions fill in more slowly at around 180 days.

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Slowdown resulting in lower salary hike this year: Deloitte Survey

The majority of companies operating in India in 2020-21 are likely to give an average salary hike of 7.8% to their employees, according to a survey by Deloitte India.

This projected salary increment is 40 basis points lower than the actual salary increment of 8.2% that employees received in 2019-20, revealed the survey titled 'Workforce and Increment Trends Survey'.

The key audience for the survey was HR professionals in 300 organizations spread across 7 sectors and over 20 sub-sectors.

The survey found that almost 50% of the companies surveyed are projecting a salary increment of less than 8% for 2020-21. Only 8% companies are expecting to offer pay increases greater than 10%.

More than 30% of the respondent companies, the report said, differentiate increments by levels of management.

The survey found that the projected salary increments for 2020-21 are expected to be the lowest in industries such as infrastructure and real estate, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and telecom.

The survey also reported that at an all-India level, voluntary attrition slightly reduced in the current financial year to about 15%, involuntary attrition (layoffs, restructuring, etc) has increased to 20% of the total attrition.

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81% employers don’t consider new tax regime to be beneficial for staff

The new tax slabs for taxpayers forgoing all existing deductions and exemptions in Budget 2020-21 is not considered beneficial for employees in a survey by HR specialist Mercer.

Survey participants included HR and Finance professionals from 119 companies, 81% of them felt the optional tax regime will not benefit them.

As many as 60% of respondents feel that those within the income bracket of Rs 5-10 lakh and Rs 10-25 lakh will be impacted by the new tax regime. "A higher 80% of responding employers think that the new tax regime will adversely affect the retirement savings behavior of their employees," the survey released on Tuesday said.

The study stated that 83% of respondents feel that less than 30% of their employees will opt for the new tax regime. They also feel it will be a challenge for their HR systems to handle a dual tax regime, which also increases the compliance cost.

Moreover, 80% plus employers think that the changes in section 17(2), under which employer contribution towards superannuation, national pension scheme and provident fund above Rs 7,50,000 will be taxable in the hands of the employee, will negatively impact their investments.

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India Inc fighting Covid-19 with work-from-home tool

As new cases of coronavirus are popping every day in India, both domestic firms and MNCs are canceling key events, adopting work-from-home options and sanitizing workplaces to ensure employee safety.

Last week, Intel India issued an extensive email advisory to its employees in Bengaluru mentioning travel restrictions, selective home quarantine, guidance to attend large gatherings and even handling packages.

Intel’s pandemic leadership team and emergency operations center teams are monitoring the situation closely, including screening visitors, delivery people and new contingent workers arriving at all its sites.

Mobile companies Xiaomi and RealMe have called off all phone launch events in March.

Home-grown information technology firms such as Wipro Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) have suspended travel to locations prone to the virus like Italy and advised working from home and self-quarantine wherever needed.

Big industry honchos like Anand Mahindra, Harsh Mariwala and more are encouraging caution as well.

“The crisis will pass, but I think it’s making the world press a permanent ‘Reset’ button. 1) It’ll accelerate working from home 2) lead to more digital ‘virtual’ conferences 3) More video calls, less meetings.4) Less air travel, leading to a greener footprint. Anything else?" Anand Mahindra said in a tweet

Even Twitter has asked its global workforce to work from home if possible. 

"We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able. Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us -- and the world around us," Twitter said in a blog.

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70% of job posts find the right match: Blue-collar Jobs Digest 2020

A comprehensive study by OLX People “Blue Collar Jobs Digest 2020” takes a closer look at the job situation in the blue-collar sector in India and how it is going to shape in the year 2020.

According to the report, with over 1.3 million monthly active users and over 426 active clients present across 200+ cities, the conversion ratio of selections made-to-jobs posted was 33.85% in 2018, which rose to a whopping 70% in 2019. This has led to employers witnessing a 2X increase in conversion rate on the platform owing to the use of Artificial intelligence and other emerging technology tools, making it easier for HR recruiters to source the right candidates.

While there was a 60% growth in the number of candidate profiles registered on the platform, there has been a significant increase in women candidates, who comprise nearly a quarter of all candidates registered.

There is a boost in the choice of candidates; on average there were 30 applications per job on the platform, over 2018 and 2019.

Talking about the industry, logistics remains the top job function for demand in blue-collar jobs while manufacturing remains stagnant.

In November 2019, OLX People conducted a job fair where 10 of its clients in Bangalore like Amazon Pay, PhonePe, Domino’s, Hathway and Zomato among others that saw a turnaround of over 500 candidates, wherein 50% of the prospects were offered a job within a period of 24 hours.

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Indian working women rank 1st on ambition charts

An international survey by American Express revealed that Indian women consider ambition as the key to personal and professional growth.

"Ambition is the key ingredient that defines your career graph. While finding your own pace is great, getting comfortable and settling down is not. It is necessary to take risks and getting out of your comfort zone is fundamental to getting ahead," Rituparna Mandal, General Manager, MediaTek Bangalore, said on Saturday ahead of the International Women's Day.

'Ambitious Insights', a recent report by American Express, in partnership with The New York Women's Foundation, noted that India tops the chart among 10 countries in terms of ambition depicted by working women.

The survey stated that 89% of university-educated women in India believe that it is important to have ambitions, compared to the global average of 59%.

Commitment to achieving personal ambitions, such as those related to parenting, relationships or personal health, was also highest in India (91%) as compared to the global average of 68%.

"They say, where there is a will, there is a way. I still remember how my mother kept instilling the seed of ambition in me and how she nurtured this through a dedicated time period. There are many women colleagues at work who face several tough situations on the personal front, but they never give up -- all with the will to succeed and the ambition to reach out for the stars and support from peers," said Jayati Roy, Director, HR, at Barco India.

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Covid-19 Impact: Work-from-home not an option

Work-from-home recently hit the top gear with the coronavirus pandemic. But the manufacturing industry may not be as open to the idea as other new-age Indian companies.

Manufacturing firms have always relied on higher levels of productivity with more workforce on the shop floor. The belief continues owing to its practical concern of dealing with physical items.

“There is the inherent feeling that employees may not give their full attention to work while being at home. Add to this is the old but popular adage that no one works at home like in the office and that productivity would not be 100%,” said Prabir Jha, a former chief HR officer at Tata Motors and the founder of Prabir Jha People Advisory. Yet manufacturing companies may now encourage work from home more as a “social responsibility”, he added.

The question of fairness arises as well. Rajeshwar Tripathi, the chief HR officer at Mahindra & Mahindra said it would be unfair to have some functions working from home and others on-site at a manufacturing company as all the functions are interlinked and not isolated. Work-from-home is only looked as an option if someone is sick.

“There are functions like assembling electrical parts, quality checks on shop floor, etc., where controlled environments and human touch is required and, in such scenarios, work from home may be a difficult proposition,” said Shilpa Kabra Maheshwari, the country head, HR at Siemens India.

While it has been seen that a flexi-working policy works fine for corporate and non-sales jobs, it would be difficult to implement in manufacturing operations, despite its many benefits.

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New trend in HR leadership roles in India

A new surprising trend has emerged in Indian corporates. Non-HR professionals are gradually taking up HR leadership roles in several companies.

These non-HR leaders are actively pulled from other core functions such as marketing, sales, manufacturing operations, strategy, and even information technology. One of the popular cases is that of Mahindra’s Ruzbeh Irani who will take over as group’s HR head in April this year.
A former strategy head at Hindustan Lever, Irani is the Chief Ethics Officer at Mahindra and has handled various portfolios in the group including being a Brand Head as well as heading the international operations of the automotive and farm sector.

This new trend is being seen as a reflection of the fact that HR has truly emerged as a strategic business partner for the success of an organization. This cross functioning could be a great way to connect people with core-functions and vice versa.

Skeptics, however, do not agree and acknowledge HR as a specialized function that cannot be mixed with other functions. Arguments include crucial points like will an HR head ever be hired to lead the finance or excise team? Similarly, the case of HR functions which also needs specialized skills such as knowledge of labour laws, strong relationship with the unions, etc.

Other large corporates who have appointed non CHROs as their human resource heads include Pidilite.

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More Indian woman joining workforce but not reaching top roles

From just 15% in 2010 to now - the Indian women have made a significant stride into the workforce in today’s corporate India, and not just in traditional marketing or HR roles but technology fields like AI, chip design, R&D and more.

Rituparna Mandal, general manager, MediaTek and director of the advanced technology team, says “about 22% of our workforce are women and 99% of these women employees are a part of the R&D in technical and engineering roles across hardware and software design.”

The change can be partly attributed to more women taking up STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) courses. However, dropout rates are still a concern, especially around the 3Ms, that’s marriage, maternity, motherhood. Options like working from home, creches and so on exist, but limiting factors exist to reach the top jobs.

Women have entered the realm of critical jobs and are often even earning more than men, but their numbers among senior management still need a boost. The National Task Force on Women in Science states that women constitute just 15% of the Indian research and development workforce as against the global average of 30%.

Apart from frequent interruptions in careers, women believe they must work harder to get acknowledged. American Express’s recent report ‘Ambitious Insights’ noted that 89% of India’s university-educated women believe it is important to have ambitions and 70% of them are proud to call themselves ambitious. However, 65% of Indian women feel that they must work harder than their male counterparts to gain career recognition. In such a scenario, it is important for corporates to nurture their women employees.

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AI doing wonders for BFSI segment: A Survey

According to a survey by HR-tech startup, inFeedo, that studied more than 80,000 personnel from banking majors, artificial intelligence (AI) has helped double the average employee tenure from 1.5 years to 3.02 years.

The report also stated that with a lowered ratio and an average of 32 days taken to resolve employee turnover cases, the HR teams have been able to save 57% of employees with a possible turnover intent (average) across the BFSI sector.

The report titled ‘The BFSI Engagement Index 2020' made several interesting observations like across organisations, the human resource (HR) team's query response rate had doubled from 33% in annual surveys to 60% after AI introduction. The response rate touched 85% for top-performing HR teams in financial institutions, while even the lowest-performing HR teams experienced a response rate of 58% when AI came into the picture.

AI also improved the human resource business partners' productivity by 40%. This included a reduction in time spent on manually collecting, collating, and analyzing employee feedback.

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Internal hiring key to retention and productivity ‒ LinkedIn report

The Global Talent Trends Report 2020 by LinkedIn found that organisations are rediscovering the cost-effectiveness in recruiting their own people. Internal recruiting helps improve retention, accelerate productivity as well as speeds up the hiring process. In India, 96% (versus 81% globally) of the HR professionals surveyed are found to be extremely positive about internal recruitment.

The report surveyed over 7,000 talent professionals and hiring managers across regions including India.

77% of the Indian participants said they are increasingly focused on employee experience to enhance talent retention, the report found.

The report further elaborated that 92% of talent professionals in India (the global highest) consider 'people analytics' will pave the way for the future of HR and recruitment. About 72% of respondents said they currently use people analytics for measuring and improving performance in HR operations.

About 80% of talent professionals in India said having a diversity of generations is an important factor in recruitment efforts which could be challenging. About 77% surveyed in India felt that generational difference in management styles is a significant challenge for companies towards maintaining a multi-generational workforce.

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New systems to redefine payroll that addresses complexities

Traditional HR models are being redesigned, with increasingly agile organizations. Several non-core tasks like calculation and deduction of statutory payments, uploading of data on respective websites and generation of challans, filing transfer and withdrawal forms for the provident fund, filing of returns with government agencies as per the schedule, registrations and renewals of respective licenses, etc. take up a lot of time and resources of an enterprise. There is a shift in the management of such tasks through outsourced payroll partner.

As India gears up for an interconnected economy, it’s imperative to roll out an inclusive statutory and compliance taxonomy that addresses complexities.

“HR and IT now have a growing priority to work together to ensure new technologies not only address complex business issues but also meet the expectations of people who use them,” said Rakesh Jain, founder and CEO, Paysquare.

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India Inc's hiring speed hit by Covid-19 and slowdown

India Inc is facing tremendous burnt of Covid-19. Various corporate HR Heads have mentioned that overall recruitment levels are very likely to drop with business slowing down globally on account of Covid-19 and restrictions on travel even as companies are monitoring the situation closely.

Companies are monitoring the situation continuously, and executives fear that they may start laying off people in the coming months as supply chains get affected.

Companies who are hiring for critical positions are innovating their recruitment process, using technology, like holding interviews over video conferencing, and checking the travel history of candidates, to minimize Covid-19 risk.

Prabir Jha, founder and CEO of HR advisory Prabir Jha People Advisory, said companies are likely to revisit their hiring numbers and delay the hiring process a little. “The slowing down of the business could ease the pressure on backfills or fresh scaling up in the near term,” he said. “Pre-placement offer conversions will intensify this year and virtual hiring processes could see an increase."

HR head of a consumer durables company speculates that companies could anytime declare a full ban on hiring. Already it’s a highly need-based hiring process based on filling critical positions.

On the precaution front, companies are playing it safe and checking with current and prospective employees on whether they have travelled abroad, and if in the affirmative, they are requested to resume work post a self-quarantine 14-day period and a medical check-up.

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In a first, Mumbai brokers will work-from-home to ensure seamless trading amid lockdown

Mumbai’s never say die spirit continues amongst partial lockdown. As soon as the stock exchanges on Friday announced relaxations to allow work from home, big brokerages rushed to issue guidelines to facilitate their employees to operate out of their homes, wherever possible.

This would be the first time in history when the brokerages are being permitted to operate the trading terminals from locations other than main or branch offices or from the office of an authorised person.

Vijay Bhushan, President at ANMI, an association that represents 900 members, said brokerage workers are taking steps to ensure that their clients are not inconvenienced and trading volumes do not suffer.

He said stock exchanges’ decision to allow brokers to trade on behalf of clients from remote locations was a swift and appreciable response to the virus outbreak.

Business-critical employees however at some offices will work from ‘secondary office locations’ closer to their homes, so that they could avoid public transport.

Edelweiss implemented various tools and is partnering with companies like Microsoft, Zscaler and AWS “to ensure better productivity and a better experience for customers even in these unprecedented times.”

"That’s the advantage of being a technology-driven online business," said Ravi Kumar, co-founder at Upstox, adding that his online brokerage has been witnessing healthy month-on-month growth in the number on new demat accounts and transactions, given the online nature of the business.

Other brokerages said meetings with external visitors are being called off or are being done via video conferencing.

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Indian companies to offer average 9.1% pay hike in 2020 ‒ still higher than Asian counterparts

The Aon annual salary outlook survey revealed that India Inc will offer an average pay hike of 9.1% to its employees in 2020, decades lowest, as companies fight the tough economic environment.

The study, one of the most comprehensive of its kind in India, analysed data from over 1,000 firms from 20 sectors.

While e-commerce and startup firms are set to offer a 10% average hike, same as professional services, pharma and IT companies are likely to hike salaries by 9.9% and 9.6%, respectively. The logistics and transport sector, on the other hand, with a projected pay hike of 7.6% are at the lowest position of the pay ladder this year, closely followed by hospitality (8.2%) and infrastructure (8.3%).

The automotive industry will see the biggest downfall from 10.1% in 2018 to 8.3% for 2020, the survey said.

Despite the bleak offerings, India Inc will still be better paymasters this year than its Asian peers, as per AON. Chinese companies are expected to offer a 6.3% hike, the Philippines 5.8%, Malaysia 5.3%, Singapore 3.8%, Australia 3.1% and Japan 2.4%.

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Employability Skills Programme places 800 students in IT companies

NASSCOM Foundation and IBM last week announced the conclusion of the first year of the New-collar Employability Skills Programme under which more than 2,500 students from 23 colleges across Karnataka, NCR and Haryana completed the IBM-certified course on emerging technologies of data science and cloud computing. Training partners TMI and iPrimed focused on training students from 23 Tier-2 and Tier-3 non-technical institutions.

After training the NASSCOM Foundation and IBM conducted various placements drives having already placed 800-plus students from the course in companies like HCL Technologies, Mphasis, etc.

This Corporate Social Responsibility intervention by IBM engaged students through an on-campus approach in a 204 hour- long blended training model that uses online and face-face training immersions to build skills in data science and cloud computing, it said.