Thursday, March 3, 2011

National HRD Network and Academy of HRD: The Untold Story from my Memories

From a Sapling to the Forest:The Saga of the Development of HRD in India

I am reproducing below an unedited version of what we (Udai Pareek and T V Rao) wrote on the History of Human Resources Development in India. This paper was published in a shortened fromat by "HRD International" November 2008, Volume 11 N0. 5. However many details about the people invovled had to be taken out to maintain the short size of the article for the Journal. To be fair to a large number of Individuals who were behind the scenes in the HRD movement I am reproducing the first draft in my blogs here. The article was first preapred for Ishwar Dayal memorial volume by me and then Udai joined me in re-working on the article for Human Resources Development International.

Udai Pareek (1925-2010) and T.V. Rao

This is a personal account of the change the authors introduced in one organization (HRD), and its diffusion and institutionalization at the national level.  While the authors romanced with HRD as a part of change, they developed commitment and became life partners of HRD in India.  Both singly, and together, they have been contributing to the development of HRD in India. TV will be used for TV Rao, and Udai for Udai Pareek. This paper has heavily borrowed from “My Institution Building Experiences at IIMA, NHRDN and AHRD  (A reflective essay in honor of Prof. Ishwar Dayal) by T V Rao.

The Beginnings

In 1973 after joining the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad as the Faculty, Udai worked with late Professor S. K. Bhatacharyya on the problems in Larsen and Toubro subsequent to its reorganization by Professor Bhatachryya. The main problem was conflict between two independent roles created in the organization (DGM Planning and DGM Operations). While doing role clarification and role negotiation exercises, Udai realized the need of working on the larger issues of development of people. With TV Ra, later joining the Faculty of IIM, Ahmedabad, Udai shared this concern, and both TV and Udai decided to work on designing a new way of developing people in an organization. They made a proposal to the Chairman. Shri N.M. Desai, CEO of L & T, arranged the discussion with the top group, and accepted the proposal to try out the new system of developing people. The authors would like to pay tribute to the foresightedness of Shri N. M. Desai in agreeing to experiment with a new system.

L&T Experiment: Its Main Thrust

After extensive interviews and discussions (including with Mr. A. M. Naik currently the Chairman of L&T who was a Manager at that time) the authors prepared a proposal to introduce what they called human resource development. This was in mid 70’s. They had not come across any such term in the western literature, and appropriately thought of re-orienting personnel system from administration to development. A comprehensive system was designed, requiring managers to perform development role through coaching and performance management. Two main features of the proposed concept of HRD were that HRD dealt with all the human units of the organization (from persons to the total organization), and It was value-based. Fortunately, L & T had a very competent personal officer, Dr. Dennyson Pereira, who was excited with doing new experiments. The authors have already published the detailed experience of developing HRD in L & T (Pareek & Rao, 1998). The following 15 principles were shared with the organization as the guiding principles for designing the HR function.

1. Focus on enabling capacity

2. Integrating the development of people with Organization Development

3. Maximizing Individual Autonomy and Growth through increased responsibility

4. Decentralization through Delegation and Shared Responsibility

5. Participation Decision-making

6. Balancing adaptation to and changing organizational culture

7. Balancing differentiation and integration

8. Balancing Specialization and Diffusion of the Function

9. Ensuring Responsibility for the Function

10. Balancing Linkages within and with other functions

11. Building Feedback and Reinforcing Mechanisms

12. Balancing quantification and qualitative decisions

13. Balancing internal and external help

14. Planning evaluation of the function

15. Continuous review and self-renewal

The following 11 systems were reassigned in details:

A. Human resource administration

1. Manpower planning

2. Recruitment and placement

3. Performance and potential appraisal

4. Promotion salary administration

5. Staff administration

6. Information and data processing

B. Human Resource Development

7. Training

8. Organization Development and Research

9. Employee Feedback and counseling

10. Career development and career planning

C. Industrial Relations

11. Worker Affairs

Attention was paid to structure of human resource function. Detailed recommendations were developed for implementation of the system and functions. To help the organization take decision, detailed description of the HR functions for prepared, including critical attributes for each function. These were also done through interviews and discussions. Since the details have been published elsewhere, we are focusing here only on the process of success of the system.

The Factors of its Success

This was one of the most successful change management, from successful implementation of change to its diffusion and institutionalization at the national level. Several factors contributed to the success of change. Some of these are briefly mentioned below.

1. Committed top: When the proposal was discussed with Mr. N.M.Desai, and Mr. Holk Larsen both of them showed deep interest in re-designing the personnel system. L & T was very successful company, and there was no apparent reason for it to think of new system. But foresighted as the top management was, they welcome the idea of giving a lead in a new area. Both the CEO and the top management were interested and discussed the proposal in detail.

2. Appointment of High level implementation task Force: They promptly appointed a high level Task force headed by a General Manager (Mr. G. A. Advani) along with some of the top management team as members. The task force functioned for nearly three years in introducing and monitoring the implementation of the system.

3. Placement of the system at high level in the organization: One of the conditions the authors stated for the success of the new function was its strategic placement. Generally at that time the personnel function was given low priority and was generally placed at the lower level in the organizations. We convinced the management that the function could not succeed unless it was strategically placed at a higher level. It was agreed and the position of Vice President, HRD was created in the company.

4. The competent Head of the function: While selecting a person to head the new function, it was strongly recommended that a very competent person should be given the responsibility. Fortunately, the CEO agreed to request Mr. S. R. Subramaniam (SRS), highly respected competent Engineer, to head the function.

Mr. Subramaniam ensured thoroughness and effective implementation of the various parts of the new system. It may be mentioned here that later, after the retirement of Mr. N. M. Desai, Mr. Subramaniam became the CEO of the company. The success of the new function very much depended on the competent leadership provided in the organization.

5. The strong internal resource: No change can succeed unless there is strong and competent internal resource to implement and monitor the change. It was fortunate to have Dr. Dennison Pereira as the internal resource. Dr. Pereira combined his insightful experience in the organization with his academic competence and child-like excitement to search new ways of solving problems. There is no doubt that the success of the system ows a great deal to Dennison’s role in the beginning of the new function.

6. Involvement of all levels of the organization: The authors emphasized that the systems and processes being introduced must be discussed in various forums of employees, helping them to raise questions for any modification in the system as required. Workshops and seminars were held on the new systems and procedures. People raised questions and seem to welcome the various changes being planned. This facilitated the success of the system.

7. Developing internal competence: The Company needed several people to help in implementing the new system. It was necessary that the system and process were adopted with the help of key line managers. Therefore, an extensive training programme was organized to develop relevant competencies for implementing the systems. Over a hundred internal managers were developed to communicate the system all through the company. The term L&T University was used informally by these members to represent the new education and learning they were facilitating through the HRD system.

Spread to Other Strategic Organizations

Udai had worked with late Professor Bhattacharyya on the second reorganization of the State Bank of India. The new HRD system was also developed for SBI. Shri R K Talwar, the Chairman of SBI took personal interest. Then the system was recommended for the other state banks, and their CEOs were so excited by the new concept that they suggested to take the responsibility of introducing the system themselves! Later, TV volunteered to work with Bharat Earthmovers Ltd. to introduce and stabilize the new system. Capitalising on this experience both Udai and TV offered the first workshop on HRD systems at the Indian institute of management at Ahmedabad in 1979. A draft of their proposed book on designing and Managing HR systems was circulate din this workshop. Later a course and series executive development programs were started by Udai and TV at IIMA to popularize and promote HRD. Crompton greaves, State bank of India and its associates and a few other organizations followed this initiative and udai and TV worked as their consultants in introducing and implementing the HRD systems and starting new HRD departments separate from personnel. The spread of change to these strategic organizations has been well documented (Rao, 2004).

Diffusion of Change: Networking Strategy

At that time Udai went on a long consulting assignment, as USAID OD Advisor to the Health Department of the Government of Indonesia, TV continued the work of diffusing change in India. Larsen & Tubro created a Chair on HRD at XLRI Jamshedpur, which was taken up by T V in 1983. One of the conditions of the L&T Chair required L&T professor to give an annual public seminar on his work. T V used this to get L&T host the 4-day seminar at Mumbai, where more people could attend. The seminar focused on the recent experiences in HRD. About 40 persons participated in the seminar. TV presented the integrated HRD model developed at L&T. Dennyson spoke about how it was being implemented. Susan spoke about their attempts at Assessment Centers. The seminar explored what was happening and not happening in HRD, how many organisations were not able to understand the right spirit of HRD, the helplessness of HRD managers in convincing some CEOs etc. A number of success stories were also shared and there was new enthusiasm in all the members. Rajen Gupta shared his struggle in Jyoti Ltd and the support he was getting from the top. Subhash Durlabhji shared how HRD was an integral part of the Japanese philosophy.

TV shared his concern for continuing the process of learning from each others’ experiences. The response was very positive. As expected, in response to a suggestion from TV who was leaving XLRI to return to IIMA, the members proposed continuation of the Initiative under a new banner. Several suggestions were given. It was Rajen Gupta who suggested that we call this body network as the term network means connecting with each other. The suggestion was readily accepted to set up HRD Network. It was also agreed that different cities should have such Networks. T P Raman and his colleague Mohan agreed to give facilities and promote it in Mumbai. PVR and Chandrasekhar agreed to do this for Chennai. Prasanna and Kishore Rao agreed to do this for Bangalore. Rajan Gupta agreed to do this for Baroda. TV volunteered to explore for Delhi. Coordinators were appointed, briefing them about organizing such Networks. Fr Abraham agreed to stay behind in Mumbai to visit L&T and get the material for the first newsletter. The newsletter was supposed to disseminate the new knowledge about HRD. It was agreed to have one intellectual article by an academician, one essay profiling in details the practices of accompany, a few caselets of problems and issues, which may be posed to the reader, some references and bibliography and news items. Fr Abraham and TV thought of getting every number sponsored by a company committed to HRD and having done some good work worthy of sharing. It would meet cost of printing of 2000 copies of the newsletter and also the mailing it free to all HRD chiefs and CEOs in the country. L&T was the natural choice as every one was talking about L&T in relation to HRD. L & T readily agreed. Abe stayed on in Mumbai to prepare feature on L&T. TV wrote an article on HRD. Rajen Gupta’s dilemmas in Jyoti was converted into a caselet the first newsletter was published. The seminar proceedings were also published as a book “Recent Experiences in HRD”. Then TV returned to IIM, Ahmedabad, and continued to promote networking.

In the fist newsletter the idea of forming the HRD Network was announced. TV worked with: State Bank of Patiala, Indian oil, Sundram Clayton, Hindustan Petroleum, MMTC etc. While Abe continued to coordinate from XLRI, TV helped in setting up National HRD Network. Somanth Chattopadhyay drafted the constitution of NHRDN in a hotel in Madras where they happened to work on a joint assignment. S. Chandraselkhar facilitated this initiative to form the South Indian chapter of NHRDN at Madras with the help of the Madras management association which launched the first meeting of the chapter.

Institutionalization of Change: National HRD Network

There is a long history of the evolution of the National HRD Network. The main milestones of the developments are given below. The names are indicative of the kind of persons involved and the lists are not exhaustive. The lists are largely limited to those office bearers who played active roles. A large number of HR professionals like Balaji, Mali, Aquil, RR Nair, Rupa Padki, Nagaraj, Pallabh, Hari Iyer, Gopal etc. played a very supportive role and kept the Bangalore chapter provide leadership. G.P. Rao was all over.

• Foundation and Culture Building: (TV Rao, Fr. E. Abraham, S. Chandrasekhar, PVR Murthy, K.K. Verma, Anil Khandelwal, KS Rao, H N Arora etc)

• Stability and Growth (MRR Nair, Udai Pareek, Anil Sachdev, Arvind Agarwal, Shashi Khanna, P K Sarangi, Rakesh Kumar, Keith D’Souza etc)

• Turbulent Times Management (Rajesh Vidyasagar, VS Mahesh, Debashish Mitra, Arvind Pande, Baburaj Nair)

• Turn Around (TV Rao, K Satyanarayana, YRK Reddy, Arvind Agarwal, Udai Pareek, Rupa Padki, P V R Murthy, R R Nair, Bangalore team and Delhi team)

• Going places (Santrupt Mishra, Arvind Agarwal, G.P. Rao, P.D. Dwarkanath, K Satyanarayana, Delhi Chapter, Pune Chapter, Hydrabad Chapter and other members of current team)

• Going Global and into the Next Orbit (in process:  Aquil Busrai, N S Rajan, and future teams)

Different individuals contributed to development of NHRDN at different stages. Of these, stage 3 of turbulent time took place by accident. V.S. Mahesh and Rajesh Vidyasagar left to UK and USA in the middle of their terms and Arvind Pande was busy providing stability to SAIL. During this period, NHRDN slowed down but all core activities continued. An interim committee had to be set up to rejuvenate NHRDN and TV shouldered that responsibility and got an Executive Director appointed to pay full attention to NHRDN. During the turbulent times, when VS Mahesh left the country, TV took over again as Interim President and ensured that the next President was appointed and that no activity suffered. Thus, twice in this period TV had to play the role of managing NHRDN’s stability and continuance.

The credit of a big launch of the HRD network should be given to Chandrasekhar of L&T, assisted ably by Mukunadan and PVR Murthy at Chennai, Anil Khandelwal and KK Verma of Bank of Baroda and Fr Abraham. The Newsletters used to be published and mailed from Ahemdabad. This continued until Keith D’Souza joined XLRI and Fr Abraham returned to XLRI as its Director.

In the Initial years TV was self appointed President of the NHRDN and Fr. E Abraham was Secretary and Treasurer of the NHRDN. There were no paid members. In a short time NHRDN established itself and chapters were opened wherever there were interested people. It was registered as a Society and membership was made open.

The journey from then for the next five years has been that of hard work and perseverance. No one knew NHRDN and many did not see the reason for NHRDN when ISTD was serving the same purpose. Only those who saw the distinction between HRD and training appreciated the need. The First national Conference is a record of sorts. It had a full day devoted to CEO presentations. Starting with Dr Krishnamurthy who inaugurated the program many CEOs made presentations. They include: Suresh Krishna, Venu Srinivasan, M V Subbaiah, Mr. Deenadayalu of MRL, Mr. Arunachalam, and KK Nohria of Crompton Greaves etc. A printed version of the conference papers was distributed. All sessions started on time and ended on time. There was a great cultural program by a troupe of Krishnaswamy Associates. A special issue of economic times devoted to HRD was brought out (courtesy IIM colleague and editor of ET Manu Shroff). This was the turning point for the popularization of NHRDN and NHRDN never looked back since then. In this conference the next conference was planned to be held in Delhi and the director personnel of SAIL took a lot of interest and we promptly requested him to Chair the next conference to be held two years latter. To distinguish NHRDN from others and to communicate that this is not yet another body for fellowship annually but a serious body that does its work professionally, we wanted to give enough time between the first and the second conference.

While the preparations for the second conference began almost two years in advance the preparations for the election for the next President also began. Mr. MRR Nair was requested to take charge as the next President so that there was also some synergy between the NHRDN proceeds and the conference at Delhi.

The Delhi Conference two years alter was also a great success. The programmme started on time even when the Chief Guest Dr Abid Hussein did not arrive in time. He appreciated our starting the conference without waiting for him. It was attended by over 600 delegates and a book was distributed. The Conference set benchmark in size of the Conference, performance on time, themes and academic content, and put now NHRDN fully on stream.

Today NHRDN has over forty chapters, nearly twenty and odd publications to its credit, collaborating with CII to develop HRD models and assess HR professionals and is collaborating with International bodies. By any means it has done a great service to young HR professionals. It has given opportunities to many young managers to test out their leadership potential and has helped a number of young professionals to acquire HR knowledge and set their careers in the right direction.

Strengthening the Academic Base: The Academy of HRD

The Academy of HRD is an education and research centre set up by the National HRD Network. It is an autonomous institution with its own members. It’s founding members consist of organizations like SAIL, Voltas, Tata Steel, Crompton Greaves, Gati, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Visakhapatnam Steel, Satyam Computers, ILFS etc. corporations. It is located in Ahmedabad and its campus eventually planned to be in Hyderabad on a ten acre land donated by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

It has done remarkable work in its initial stages. Though its pace has slowed down in the recent years, it has been contributing silently through its Doctoral and certificate programs.

Origins: National HRD Network (NHRDN) in a Mission-Vision workshop held at Chennai on September 11, 1990 conceived a Center for Research and Education in NHRD to further the objectives of NHRDN. This workshop was facilitated by Anil Sachdeva and V S Mahesh. MRR Nair (MD Bokaro Steel and Second President NHRDN), Udai Pareek (President), T V Rao (Founder President), Fr. E. Abraham (Founder Secretary), Keith D’Souza (XLRI, Secretary and Editor Newsletter) and Rakesh Kumar Associate Secretary, NHRDN) Office bearers of NHRDN meet at Bokaro and decide to name it as the Academy of Human Resources Development

The Beginnings: MRR Nair wrote to Director IIMA requesting TV’s involvement as Honorary Director of AHRD. Dr. N. R. Sheth approved it on behalf of the Ravi Matthai Center’s first Honorary Director. TV persuaded several CEOs to join the Board. The First Board included: Mr. M R R Nair, Chairman, Mr. Subodh Bhargava (Eicher), Dr B. K. Modi (Modi Xerox), Mr. K. K. Nohria, Shri A K Jain( Chairman SAIL), Dr P P Gupta from Industry, Mr. N. Vittal (Secretary), Mr. J. Veeraraghavan (Secretary HRD), from Government, Prof. Udai Pareek, Prof. Ishwar Dayal, Prof. Dharni Sinha from Academics.

TV discussed with AMA President for their support in establishing the Academy. Prof. Kalro, President AMA agreed to support. Mr. K. K. Nair Executive Secretary AMA recruited the first full time Secretary Mr. Raghu for AHRD and AHRD is given office space in AMA. The First program on Competency Mapping for HR Professionals held facilitated by Mr. Rob Nelson and Carol Nelson (Canadian Consultants: Courtesy NDDB), Prof. S. Ramnarayan (IIMA) and T V at IIMA Campus. A Diploma Program was launched on Distance Education mode preparing HRD professionals and the HRD Facilitators Program being held at Jaipur by NHRDN was taken over by AHRD from NHRDN and the two phased program launched by AHRD.

Doctoral Program: TV started negotiation with Indira Gandhi National Open University for the Doctoral Program in HRD and submitted the design. AHRD also wrote to various leading academics from all over the country (IIMs, IITs and reputed Universities etc.) for their involvement as guides in Ph. D. Program. An all-India list of guides was prepared and submitted to IGNOU. Search for land begins in Ahmedabad Mr. Arora from Reliance helped in the search. Various Ministers and Government officials were met with little result. Explorations were made with CEE (Kartik Sarabhai) and attempts were made unsuccessfully to get the land next to MICA. The land prices went up exorbitantly due to MICA buying land and negotiations were stopped. Sterling city explored for two acres of land, Abandoned for want of money. 12 Cosmo Ville row houses was purchased out of the savings from various programs (Rs four and half lakhs) and the Academy shifted from AMA to 12 Cosmo ville. The function was attended by various dignitaries from AMA, IIMA, AHRD and Udai, at that time President of NHRDN.

Vision, Scope and Activities: AHRD was conceived as: A place that facilitates scholarly work in HRD; to have an excellent and exclusive library and resources in HRD; A place where scholars from all over the country come for short periods of time to do research, reflection, writing, experience sharing and dissemination of knowledge; A place where Seminars, workshops, Round Tables, Doctoral and other professional development programs are conducted covering contemporary issues; A place that should have a residential center to accommodate about 40 participants at a time with faculties for families to stay; An institution that brings out HRD Journals

Achievements: In the last fifteen years the following are the accomplishments: Round Tables, sponsored by one or a few companies were planned as mini-conferences around a theme of contemporary significance. It was intended to share issues and come up with implementable solutions and models for use by all participating companies. Participation was limited and by invitation and sponsors were required to finance the publication and also share experiences. Each Round Table would result in recommendations, widely circulated all through the country for impact of the AHRD. The following RTCs were held:

1) First Round Table on Career Planning and Promotion policies sponsored by SAIL resulted in the publication by T V Rao and Jerome Joseph on the theme

2) Second Round Table on Redesigning Performance Appraisal systems ( a number of organizations) resulted in a book published by Tata McGraw-Hill

3) Third Round Table on Role of HRD in Restructuring Organizations jointly with DMA Papers distributed book not come out

4) Fourth Round Table on the Role of Unions and Associations in HRD attended by number of companies. Recommendations widely circulated

5) Fifth Round Table on HRD For workers sponsored by Samtel. Coordinated by Uma Jain Resulted in a book on Empowering Workers.

6) Sixth Round Table on Leadership for Organizational Excellence in Global Economy –Co-sponsored by ONGC, Saskin, Titan, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Naukri etc.

The recommendations of each of these were widely circulated and also published in the HRD Newsletter in earlier years.

Research Fellowships: AHRD had in the initial years research fellowships sponsored by organizations. Each organization would choose a research theme of interest to them and sponsor a study which should include the salaries for six months to a year for a Research Fellow to join AHRD and work on them, AHRD developed a list of Research themes. Fellows worked on this research theme and developed monograph for dissemination. AHRD thus contributed to the development of research.

Research Fellowships in the first five years

1) SAIL sponsored study on reorienting Personnel Departments to HRD (Oleti Jagannath worked on this and developed manuals)

2) NDDB sponsored Research Fellowship on HRD for Unions and Cooperatives (Nihar Ghosh worked on this)

3) OD in L&T ECC (Prof. N. Dixit from IIML joined AHRD and worked on this)

4) Value Development through Training (AHRD itself sponsored this .J. Sampath worked on this and latter pursued in the form of his Ph.D. work)

5) A Follow-up study of the Managers from PSUs joining Private Sector and MNCs (Archana and Sripathy worked on this)

6) A study of the Tasks and Developmental needs of NGO Staff sponsored by Excel Industries (Liza Thomas worked on this and prepared a monograph)

AHRD recruited five Research Fellows in the year 1999-2000 as AHRD moved back to Ahmedabad. All of them left within a year or two for career progression issues combined with lack of stability in leadership. All are well paced and doing well professionally.

Diploma Programmes: A large number of HRD professionals were designated as HRD Managers, but did not have adequate professional preparation in HRD. They needed to be developed. This could be done through distance education mode. There were eight papers with assignments, contact sessions in various chapters. NHRDN Chapters facilitated mobilizing students and offering contact programs. Prof. S. Ramnarayan of IIMA worked as Chairman of the Program. Three batches were prepared. First batch 113 candidates, second batch about 50 candidates and the third batch about 20 candidates. Several contact programs were held.

First Convocation was held in the NHRDN Conference held at Taj. Second Convocation was held at Calcutta. IGNOU acknowledged the innovative design of the diploma and published it in one of their News letters.

AHRD found the administration difficult to handle as it required lot of correspondence and promptness. Hence it was decided to join hands with AIMA who can conduct it jointly with AHRD. The collaboration continues and AHRD contributed very nominally to this subsequently. Joint Diplomas were offered with other Management Schools. AHRD also decided to extend this to Management Schools and offer joint diplomas to promote specialization in HRD: TAPAI Institute Manipal, SCM HRD Pune, and IIPS Indore participated in this.

The design was to admit students wanting to specialize in HRD should take a minimum of six specialization courses from among the list supplied by AHRD. The design is to offer technical collaboration, supply the curriculum, examine the students and certify.

SCMHRD subsequently started a one year program in HRD with SCMHRD conducted it for several years and dropped the same from 2001.

Doctoral Program: There is a need for research in HRD. HRD Managers like other managers are sitting on huge amount of data. If they learn research methods and research writing they may be able to do research and contribute to the field. In the process they can also get a Doctoral Degree. IGNOU bought this concept and decided to extend this to all Management disciplines. Unfortunately it did not take off due to other internal priorities of IGNOU. AHRD decided to approach XLRI. XLRI indicated its interest and discusses in the Board.

AHRD discussed in its Board. Director XLRI was invited for a special meeting at Delhi with the AHRD Board Mr. MRR Nair specially attended the XLRI Board meeting to discuss this in the Board of XLRI. He was also a member of the Board of XLRI and Chairman of AHRD Board. Both the Boards approved the same and an MOU signed between AHRD and XLRI. The Director of XLRI also joined AHRD as Joint Director after his term was over at XLRI .

The arrangements were as follows:

1) AHRD to conduct all the courses and provide all inputs and administer the program both academically and financially manage it

2) XLRI to play a role in admissions criteria and standards and approval of proposals and thesis examination to ensure standards. XLRI got AICTE recognition for this

3) AHRD to admit students, organize the Guides, conduct the contact programs (two programs of six weeks duration covering six courses each), organize thesis proposal presentations, guide students

4) Fellowship to be awarded jointly by AHRD and XLRI and they will be called as XLRI-AHRD Fellows

5) XLRI to use senior managers from the candidates as Faculty if found suitable.

The First program held at IIMA campus and inaugurated by Fr P D Thomas, Director XLRI. First program coordinated by T V at IIMA. Second Program held at XLRI Campus coordinated by Keith D’Souza. Third program held at Osmania University Campus coordinated by Irudayaraj. Fourth contact session held at AHRD premises, Hyderabad.

In all, 75 Candidates were admitted, and about 25 completed their Fellow program by the time the arrangement with XLRI ended in 2006. Some of the graduated candidates are working as Faculty at IIM Indore, XIM Bhubaneshwar, ASCI etc. The Quality of thesis work of the candidates was appreciated by the Professionals.

As the arrangement with XLRI ended in 2003, AHRD decided to launch its own programme. The first batch announced in 2001-2002. Over 20 candidates were interviewed, and 14 of them were offered admission. About ten accept. Due to riots in Ahmedabad and other reasons only four candidates finally joined. The second and third years 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 the response picked up in 2nd and 3rd years, and under the Directorship of Uma Jain, the program got stabilized and it continues under the leadership of K K Verma. The candidates have appreciated the programme for its seriousness and the quality of faculty.

Efforts were made to tie up with BITS Plain and NIRMA Institute of Management to get Ph. D. status through offering a joint programme. Efforts are continuing with MDI and other institutions.

Work In Social Sector: AHRD should be concerned with all HRD and should not limit itself to corporate sector. It should work on HRD especially with GOs and NGOs. AHRD Initiated a self-renewal project with EZE Germany. AHRD worked with Marion Keil of EZE Germany and a project with a budget of Rs 25 lakhs was sanctioned. The objective was to develop the NGO capabilities through self -renewal methodologies. The objective was to develop an NGO network and develop self-renewal capabilities for the development agencies.

Uma Jain joined as Project Director and directed the project. NCB Nath and Marion Keil besides T V Rao worked actively in this project. Subsequently Balaji joined the team and organizes the workshops. Regional Coordinators appointed in different regions to facilitate this project. Renewal exercises conducted in different places by the regional coordinators. Large scale Interactive process methodology sued to train them. Balaji, Uma Jain, Udai Pareek, T V Rao, Paul Siromani and several coordinators attend the joint program of Kathy Dane Miller on LSIP at Mumbai jointly organized with Eicher consultants.

AHRD Continued to work on NGOs. Agencies with whom AHRD worked include:

 Ratan Tata trust on Transparency in NGOs


 ISPA (Indo-Swiss) project with AP Government

 AP Primary Education Program

 DFID (Department for International Development)


 Krishi Vidya Kendra

 Civil Society


AHRD started a journal, Renewal, supported by EZE Germany. The first issue was brought out from Ahmedabad. The second issue from Hyderabad and subsequently it was stopped.

Learning Resources Center (Knowledge Management Center ): During the earlier years of AHRD many associates donated their collection of books, material and data of practices. NHRD entries for HRD Awards used to be compiled. A lot of Instruments were collected and a data bank of HRD tools was instituted. A Data Bank of HRD Practices of companies was also instituted. All theses from Indian Universities dealing with HRD were collected. The library was built as a unique collection of all books and monographs in HRD. A number of students from various colleges and institutions of Hyderabad used the center.

Individual and Organizational Assessment Center: IOAC, as a new concept of AHRD, was initiated. The concept was to provide opportunity to HRD Managers to renew their roles by focusing on development through Assessment. The concept was developed in Ahmedabad and Dr Sethumadhavan was recruited to take charge of this in 1995. He provided leadership and direction to this center for 3 years.

IOAC was defined as a center set up by an organization for continuous assessment of the competencies of Individuals, Dyads, Teams or Groups and Organization. The IOAC was managed internally by HRD manager and used multiple methods of assessment and development and was an improvement over the traditional Assessment centers started in the USA.

IOAC had an advisory committee including Udai, J. S. Chokkar, S. Ramnarayan, Sasi Misra, Keith D’Souza and T V. The First IOAC Facilitators program was conducted in Goa in 1995. Since then over 300 candidates have gone through IOAC and 14 IOACs were conducted. The 14th IOAC was held in 2001 at Ahmedabad and coordinated by Uma Jain. All the participants of IOAC became members of the IOAC Forum that was constituted by Dr. Sethumadhavan. A Conference taking stock of the experiences of organizations conducting Assessment centers was organized in Mumbai in 1999. A book on Assessment Centers was planned and manuscript sent to Sage. It never saw the light of the day due to internal coordination issues. A number of in-basket exercises were developed. Consultancy services in Assessment Centers were offered to various organizations.

Research Based Consulting: Consulting in early years was limited as there was no full time staff. First set of consultancies were offered after Keith D’Souza joined. Consulting added to the revenues. The faculty like Udai, T. V, P V R Murthy and E Abraham donated their time. Some Milestone Projects include:

 Collaborative project with IIMA, XLRI and AHRD of Developing HRD Facilitators in GIC

 World Bank Project on Identification of Training needs of Rubber Board

 Organizational Climate survey of Aditya Birla Group (Two Rounds)

 Assessment Centers with Philips Software

 Performance Management with Crompton Greaves

 Round Tables for NGOs with Ratan Tata Trust

AHRD contributed a great deal so far to Human Capital Formation among HRD Professionals in India. However, there was much more scope. AHRD could have been a globally recognised institution and would have been considered the only place to go or main place to go for scholars across the world. The great dream still remains a dream – the great dream was to have its own campus, data-bank, and library, residential accommodation furnished for scholars to visit, write, renew and disseminate their work. The relevance and need for such an institution still exists today. Its doctoral programme could have become a flagship programme and would have contributed a great deal to HRD Knowledge.

In the last 20 years, NHRDN has grown vastly. The seeds for its growth were sown and foundation was laid in the first three years. The agenda of learning from each other continues. The annual or biannual conferences and the chapter meetings for learning from each other and networking continued. The chapters have grown in number. The culture of publishing papers to be distributed during conference continues.

However, a few more things could be done by NHRD:

1. Setting standards for HRD profession and creating curricula and accreditation methodologies

2. Creating assessment tools and rating methods in HRD for corporations (like CRISIL’s ratings)

3. Building AHRD as its own institution (within a few years of its setting up AHRD became a very prominent contributor. Soon the Indian mind set of classification and ownership became. Political issues started interfering with professional issues. How to share the fee, who gets credit, why two bodies with same objectives, who owns AHRD? Why AHRD and why not XLRI or IIML or MDI etc. became issue than how to support AHRD as our body. How to build it up? How to get good faculty? How to popularize and use its services and products? At times it appeared as though there are rivals rather than one giving birth to the other and the second servicing the first. AHRD was too identified with Founders for some time and this identification ahs perhaps hindered its growth. When the founders withdrew and left it to be managed by new leaders who were young, it took time to stabilize . Weak moments lead to criticism than support and investments on alternative institutions. Thus building AHRD is a failure of NHRDN but attributed as failure of leaders and at times founders. It is also a failure on the part of AHRD leadership to integrate into NHRDN and promote its cause. The structural requirements of registering it as a separate institution, mobilizing its own funds and having its own Board further created difficulties in integrating and strengthening to the desirable level. I am happy that Dr. Khandelwal and KK Verma ahve revived it and gave it a new ife.  I am sure the interest shown in it by Leaders like Prof. Khandwalla, Sunil Maheswari, D M Pestonjee will take it well inot the future.

Change for future:

Division kills and Integration builds. It is high time that all of us recognize that we should integrate. Be it “Personnel and HRD” or “OD and HRD” or “Business and HRD” or “AHRD and NHRD” or “NIPM and NHRDN”  "SHRM" and various otehr e-groups integration and collaboration is the only answer for future success. Over emphasis on ownership especially for professional bodies and institutions whose owners are all professionals and not any one or few individuals there is no need for divisive thinking. The future of the HRD movement is in realizing that we have not even touched the most important sectors like education, health, infrastructure, government etc. where HR interventions are most needed and spreading the movement to wards the same. There should be teachers learning from each other, doctors learning from each other and every citizen learning from others and HRD movement facilitating such learning’s.


Pareek, Udai & T.V. Rao (1998). Pioneering human resources development: The L & T System, Hyderabad: Academy of Human Resource Development. 165p.

Rao, T V (2004) Future of HRD, New Delhi: Macmillan

This essay does not deal with recent times as they are all fresh in memory. Many people have been providing leadership with their unconditional commitment to NHRDN and AHRD. Notable among them are Aquil, PVR Murthy, N S Rajan, P Dwarakanath, Nathan, Harish, Marcel Parker, Pritam Singh, Pankaj Bansal, Gopal Mahapatra, Siddiqui, Rajeev, Satish, Bhide, GP, Santrupt, Arvind, Pallav, RR, Rupa,Anand Nayak, DNB, Sourav, Mohit,  and many others in Delhi, Bangalore and other chapters. I may not even know the names of all of them as I am not active in NHRDN. Similarly AHRD had/has the leadership of Uma Jain, KK Verma, Anil Khandelwal, Pradip Khandwalla, Sunil Maheswari, Imon and many others. This essay is to record the memory largely prior to the year 2000 before it is too late. There can't be better time than a few days closer  to the first death anniversary of Udai Pareek.  


Anonymous said...

Hello Rao Sir,
I am a final year MBA student, and my area of specialization is HR. I am interested to learn more about 360 degree appraisal. I am doing my main project in it.I have some queries in 360 degree appraisal. Can I have your guidance on it?


T V Rao said...

I visited NHRDN office in Gurgaon yesterday. Though it was a holiday and the Executive Director is out attending a conference at Lucknow two of the staff came specially to show me the Office. This was my first visit. Though I tried to visit earlier it never worked out. It was certainly a pleasure to see the office. I must say at the end of the visit I was happy with certain things and at the same time disappointed with certain other things. Happy because of the large number of activities that were being done from there:
1. The news letter, portal and virtual learning sessions (Replaced the webinars earlier). For the forthcoming session by S. V. Nathan on HR Analytics I was told the registration exceeded 800. I was very happy about this.
2. The programs offered by Learning Centre in different cities which are well subscribed and are also supplementing the income of NHRDN.
A3. A part of the office space is being used by Delhi Chapter (I thought the Delhi Chapter already had a spacious flat in Kalkaji which is more central for the chapter members and I could not get a clarification when I asked them the question.
3. A number of agencies with which NHRDN is partnering: People Matters, DDI, Human Capital, benefits plus, Fore, The Strategist, Human Capital, E & Y etc.
3. Highly motivated and action driven staff (as they explained to me they are doing a number of things).

Not so happy because:
1. There is no library; there were less than 20 books in a rack which one of them showed me as library.
2. There are no publications of the NHRDN displayed there. For several years I have been requesting their office bearers to make sure that Institutions with which NHRDN collaborates (like the MDI) should have at least one set of publications of NHRDN. NHRDN office itself does not have its publications. I suggest to NHRD Board to see the Hyderabad Chapter Library. They may consider adopting Hyderabad Chapter library as National Library and build it as a National HRD Library. This needs different sets of mind set of those involved. Perhaps AHRD could help them as we made sure all NHRDN and publication are there at one place in AHRD library.
3. The physical arrangement and the use of space appeared more like an office than a learning centre.
I think the building is a great resource. It needs to be maintained and used better as it an asset bought with most of the NHRDN savings across the first two decades. NHRDN also should review various aspects of its learning centre and ensure that with the kind of partnerships they have NHRDN members get the best from the partners. Perhaps AHRD should assist NHRDN in organising the Learning Centre on Academic Terms. AHRD has a lot of scholars associated with it today: Prof. Sunil Maheswari, Prof. S. P Agarwal (who was at one time Treasurer of NHRDN), Pradyumna Khokale (IIMA), Fr E Abraham, and Keith D'Souza. Perhaps their help could be sort to do an OD for NHRDN. Come to think of it AHRD is and its Board is filled with Academics and NHRDN and its Board is filled with Practitioners. Each of them should be able to leverage the strengths of the other and work more collaboratively with mutual support.

T V Rao said...

I shared these comments on phone with the current National President. I also suggested to him to consider appointing a few Academics as Honorary National Professors. He may be designated as NHRDN National Professor. The job of the National Professor is to visit about five to ten Educational Institutions in a year (one a month) and conduct half a day to one day or even two day seminars and give lectures on themes of his specialisation and interest. The Professor's travel and stay can be met by the Institution. They could also pay some modest honorarium to be specified by the NHRDN. NHRDN only offers this facility on an ongoing basis. A scheme can be worked out. They may also participate and contribute to the Learning Center's Aactivities. These Professorships can also be sponsored by Industry. AHRD could also chip in and assist.

T V Rao

T V Rao said...

I shared these comments on phone with the current National President. I also suggested to him to consider appointing a few Academics as Honorary National Professors. He may be designated as NHRDN National Professor. The job of the National Professor is to visit about five to ten Educational Institutions in a year (one a month) and conduct half a day to one day or even two day seminars and give lectures on themes of his specialisation and interest. The Professor's travel and stay can be met by the Institution. They could also pay some modest honorarium to be specified by the NHRDN. NHRDN only offers this facility on an ongoing basis. A scheme can be worked out. They may also participate and contribute to the Learning Center's Aactivities. These Professorships can also be sponsored by Industry. AHRD could also chip in and assist.

T V Rao