More Indian firms take outsider view for career management

More Indian firms take outsider view for career management
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First Published: Mon, Apr 14 2008. 01 45 AM IST

External exam: Senior employees at an evaluation session by Thomas Assessments. These evaluations help companies assess the potential of employees and help in driving human resources strategically for
External exam: Senior employees at an evaluation session by Thomas Assessments. These evaluations help companies assess the potential of employees and help in driving human resources strategically for
Updated: Mon, Apr 14 2008. 01 45 AM IST
It’s good to be nice to the stranger walking into your office because chances are that she could be responsible for your next promotion or the assignment you have been gunning for.
External exam: Senior employees at an evaluation session by Thomas Assessments. These evaluations help companies assess the potential of employees and help in driving human resources strategically for growth.
From now on, an outsider’s voice will be one of the deciding factors in a manager’s appraisal, promotion and increment at Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board. The dairy company has hired services of a human resource skills testing solution company, Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd, to assess its staff and is in the process of putting in place an assessment centre, says Saugata Mitra, key people officer, Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable.
A few months ago, real estate player Omaxe Ltd hired global consulting firm Grant Thornton to not only assess the performance and potential of its employees but also help the company in driving human resources strategically for the company’s growth. “By roping in experts, we are able to drive more objectivity and fairness in performance appraisals. An outsider is more likely to spot the gaps in their overall personality or map the capabilities and competencies of people in a neutral manner,” says D.P. Srivastava, director, Omaxe.
“Reviewing managers often don’t have the right skills to understand and gauge overall competencies of employees,” says Srivastava.
Human resource managers say it is very important to understand the psychology of employees and align competencies of individuals with organizational goal for best business results. Citing an example, Srivastava says a middle management executive in the company was shifted to a different function after it was found from his “third-party” assessment that he had entrepreneurial capabilities and loved challenge involved in creating new things. “His role involved executing tasks and he obviously was not very happy with it.” The executive is now doing exceedingly well after being moved to a business development role. “It would have been a loss for the organization had we not moved him to his current role,” says Srivastava.
As businesses get more performance-driven, companies are trying to lead in everything from assessment to understanding their employees and driving performance among them to gain competitive advantage. Realizing this, several companies such as Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Jindal Stainless Ltd, Advanced Medical Optics India Pvt. Ltd, Novartis India Ltd, Genpact Ltd, ZTE Telecom India Pvt. Ltd, Dabur India Ltd, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. have also engaged expert agencies to evaluate their employees.
ZTE Telecom, for instance, sought the help of professionals when they had to take a call on moving some of its technical staff to leadership positions as part of its restructuringprocess.
“We were not sure if they will be able to take on leadership roles successfully and we did not want to take chances with it,” says Seema Bangia, general manager, human resources, ZTE Telecom. “Therefore, we had these employees assessed by experts so as to have the right people for the right roles.”
Companies are taking the outside assessor’s recommendations quite seriously. In case of Jindal Stainless, for instance, 40% of weightage in the total evaluation is on the outside evaluator’s findings. “The new hands-off approach on assessment is one way to make sure the process remains competent, unbiased and objective,” says Anita Belani, country head for human capital group, Watson Wyatt, a global consulting firm focused on human capital and financial management.
Some companies cite the inhibition among employees to speak out with their bosses and colleagues as the necessity to involve a third party in the evaluation process. “Employees are more likely to talk about their problems and aspirations with outsiders than their bosses because of different apprehensions,” says A. Sudhakar, executive vice-president, human resources, Dabur India.
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First Published: Mon, Apr 14 2008. 01 45 AM IST