National HRD Network: Way Forward
Note to President, NHRDN, June 27, 2013
1. NHRDN needs to play a more important role in National matters including Health, Education, Government and Development. The mission will be "to help all agencies, Govt. Departments, Ministries and others that matter in development to recognise and harness human potential for development". At national level many things become HR concerns. One issue for example is how do we help people to learn from the past, learn from each other and learn to help and contribute to each others' growth. NHRDN can develop an agenda for National development and help implement the same. It is in its original charter. In fact Academy was set up to promote HRD work in "not for profit" sectors but unfortunately due to its nature of funding it has not been able to move in that direction and whatever little they built in its early stages was lost subsequently. For example they returned Rs 25 lakhs about ten years ago, to a German Foundation due to their inability to pursue NGO work which was done well between 1994 and 97. They used to publish a journal called Renewal for NGOs which was stopped due to lack of enthusiasm among AHRD staff. NHRDN had in its first conference with a significant representation from Government. For example a number of secretaries from Gandhinagar came for the 1987 conference and the momentum was never taken up to be promoted latter. I am happy to see some interest in Eastern region now and their eagerness to work with MHRD etc. need to be taken seriously and promoted.
2. Corporate sector can take care of itself. NHRDN should contribute where it is needed and the country needs it. Having said this I don't mean to say that we should leave corporate sector. We should be agents of HR Transformation than event management body. There are a large number of Networks today thanks to Internet. When there were no networks knowledge flew through NHRDN. Now thee are many, NHRDN should enable all of them in the right direction to smoothen the flow and make it contemporary. NHRDN should become a network of networks. This needs lot of hard work. With the contacts of various past-Presidents and the current one staying in Mumbai and Delhi they can do a lot in this direction.
3. Chapters are active at different levels. Some go dead for some time and get resurrected again after a log gap. This should not happen. Can we put in place a mechanism of evaluating the performance of office bearers of all NHRDN chapters - six monthly and send them feedback. A 360 tool may be devised- a simple 10 item scale and data collected every six months and passed on. If and when an office bearer cannot spend time or does not present him/her self at least once in three months and cannot devote reasonable time, he or she should voluntarily step aside or the 360 Degree feedback should help him/her to take such decisions. Any chapter which does not meet for six months should automatically be made to re-elect new office bearers and start functioning. The chapters should pass such resolutions. The Regional Presidents should visit each of their chapters at least twice in year and interact with them and share and inspire them.
4. The NHRDN is a Registered Society (1860 Societies Act) and Trust (under Bombay Public Trust Act 1950). It should follow what is laid down under the Act. NHRDN has been doing this well I assume. The appointment of new office bearers need to be intimated to Charities Commissioner and Registrar of Societies in Ahmedabad as soon as possible and the new Trustees list should be given to them (President, Secretary, treasurer and other elected members of the Society.) In the past there has been some ambiguity on this. The Board should appoint clearly six or seven trustees from among the new Board and inform the same to the Charities Commissioner. The conduct of the body should be both in letter and spirit and should abide by the constitution.
5. The expenditure of NHRDN on itself should not be more than certain percentage. Normally for NGOs we say that they should not spend more than 20% of their earnings on themselves and 80% should be spent for the beneficiaries (members and the society at large). This 20% at best can become 30% but the moment it becomes more questions of NHRDN serving its employees rather than members gets raised. We did this in early stages by not having more than a couple of employees and paying them very conservatively. Now I am not sure. The NHRDN headquarters had a lot of volunteers. Satyanarayan was a great example. He would even travel by bus to save money for NHRDN. Now there are many paid employees. It creates its own dynamics. There is a likelihood of some problems from Govt. with drawing tax concessions to a NGO when they see the corporate salary structure of its employees and the amount they spend on themselves. Particularly if it is more than what is paid to civil servants in Government of India, there is great threat. I like to warn the NHRDN about this impending danger to NHRDN. NHRDN is not like CII. The Ahmedabad Management Association is a great role model. It is registered in Ahmedabad as both trust and Society by Dr Vikram Sarabahi.
5. NHRDN should not become an event management body but should become a body that lifts up the standards of HR education in the country. There are not enough interventions made by NHRDN to this direction. It needs to activate its own body like AHRD and collaborators like MDI, IIM Ranchi and other Institutions with which NHRDN has MOUs. It should enter into more MOUs and assign successful HR role models as mentors to these institutions. The National Professor scheme has not taken off. It can do wonders.
6. NHRDN had a large number of Academician associated with it from the beginning. In recent times it has tremendously gone down. Hope you can take this up as one of the missions. It will do mutually some good. Particularly all IIMs, IITs and prominent Institutions should be involved.
7. We have deliberately kept ourselves away from themes like Industrial Relations as they are directly under the domain of NIPM. Whenever we entered into those areas it is with a HRD philosophy. For example during MRR Nair's time we had focussed the entire conference on HRD for workmen and involved IR leaders. The AHRD also conducted a workshop on HRD for IR leaders and people like Prof. N. R. Sheth lead the discussions. The Interview by Udai Pareek and me on the HRD we dreamt may give some more thoughts.