The answers are on the air

The answers are on the air
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First Published: Thu, Sep 03 2009. 08 52 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Sep 03 2009. 08 52 PM IST
Dwarka is that venerable sub-city of the National Capital Region, comprised entirely of apartment buildings and ice cream rickshaws. It is also the nation’s foremost centre for research and development in the emerging area of driving on the wrong side of the road.
Which is why driving into, around and out of Dwarka during morning and evening rush hours is the most excruciating human endeavour imaginable. The only real strategy you can follow is the Genghis Khan method: Drive as quickly as possible till you run into something. Maybe a rowdy Toyota Innova. Stop, kill all the men, sell the women and children into slavery and proceed. Till you run into something else. Maybe a radio taxi. Repeat.
Thankfully there is one element of the commute that avoids such carnage. I am talking about FM radio.
Just when the blood begins to boil and Mongol war whoops emerge in the throat I reach across and switch on the radio. Immediately, I am able to access several radio stations that distract me from the vehicular chaos. All by playing exactly the same song from Priydarshan’s Billu [Designation removed]. (You know the one. The official public works department theme song: Khudaaya Hai.)
After a few moments of this inanity I weigh my priorities again, switch off the radio and then settle down into the more tolerable drive.
However, I know what you are thinking. This per se has absolutely nothing to do with office culture. Hang on.
Earlier this week, I spent a good one-and-a-half hours talking to someone from the human resources (HR) management profession. We exchanged thoughts on HR practices and on why most office goers view the HR team with distaste. And also how one could hire good people and retain them.
Later, while commuting home, it suddenly struck me that there was much that the manpower management profession could learn from FM radio. After having listened to several hours of radio jockey chatter, Khudaaya Hai, and radio advertisements, Cubiclenama has isolated three most important secret techniques that HR professionals should adopt from the FM radio business. Here is a brief overview:
HR Problem 1: “It is impossible to keep track of which employees, in which departments, are thinking of leaving, where they want to go and why. How do we do this?”
Lesson from FM Radio: You need to seed every department with carefully chosen, secret traffic observers. Who will then give you live updates round the clock on everyone who maybe secretly preparing resumes. For instance, if you are an IT company, your updates could be as follows: “Marketing se Infosys ki taraf kaafi heavy CV traffic ho rahi hai. They are building a new Wipro office in Andheri and a lot of traffic is being diverted in that direction. Lekin Satyam ke aas paas roads ek dum khaali hai.” You can reward these observers by giving them cool names such as “Attrition Attackers” or “Quitter Twitters”.
HR Problem 2: “Not every job profile can be super-duper no? How do I convince recruits to sign up for vacancies that are quite mediocre and offer pathetic career prospects?”
Lesson from FM Radio: All you need to do is hire those people who make real estate advertisements on radio. The type who can intone the most impossible things with infinite enthusiasm: “Book right now! Immediately! This very instant! In Kapoor Builders’ Tarantula Classic! Luxurious one-bedroom apartments with optional bathroom and Paraguayan-style raw brick finish, in Noida Sector 758 Phase 44 B for immediate possession in 2015. Just 10 minutes’ jog to the nearest Metro station for Usain Bolt. To see a fully completed sample flat in Photoshop, contact our offices now! SLAP! I said now! Good.”
Give these voice actors a copy of your job description and ask them to talk to your potential recruits. Enjoy windfall recruitments.
HR Problem 3: “Wow. A lot of people have joined us. But now we have another problem. These little rascals want to know every clause in our HR policy. What do I do? Some of those clauses are, how shall I put it, not in the spirit of the Geneva Convention.”
Lesson from FM Radio: Piece of cake. What you must do is give the pesky critters the mutual fund/insurance company disclaimer treatment. Pull them all into a room, bring a copy of your HR policy and then read the entire thing in one single burst of unintelligible, but legally binding, prose:
“Thank for coming. I have come here to tell you that... (breathe deeply) Alljobsaresubjecttomarketriskand businessispatheticrightnowsodontsaywedidnttellyouthathalfofyourpaywillbeintheformofcopierpaperandfaxrolls forallofSeptemberandOctoberalsow henwetoldyouthatwewillpayforyour houserentandmobilephonereimbursementsweliedlittlebitwearebrokeLOL.
“Phew. Questions? No? Disperse.”
Tells us how these FM radio strategies work in your office. Drop us a line. RIGHT NOW! NOW!
Cubiclenama takes a fortnightly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at cubiclenama@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Sep 03 2009. 08 52 PM IST