Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HRD and NHRDN: Past, Present and Future

3 Ps of National HRD Network

(Address of the Inaugural session of the Hyderabad Conference on Energizing for Excellence by T. V. Rao Founder President of NHRDN)

National HRD Network itself is a good example of excellence.  Since the time it was conceptualised in 1985 February 2nd, it has come a long way. It’s first conference established standards of excellence in terms of getting papers in advance and publishing them in a book form to be distributed to delegates in the Conference and later making its knowledge available to all through a publisher; involving government officials in the conference, having a CEO conclave with one full hour given to each CEO on the first day itself (Suresh Krishna, M. V. Subbaiah, V. Krishnamurthy, M. V. Arunachalam, K. K. Nohria, Deenadyalu, eytc. Spent all day at the conference)  excellence in presentations, starting sessions on time, coverage and quality of discussions. Subsequently it has got to be known for participative management and volunteerism. Its award process latter established good standards for search, debate and selection. Its Newsletter and Journal have made a great mark. It has involved educational institutions in its conferences and various endeavours. Its leaders and office bearers were people of excellence. They also promoted excellence starting with late M. R. R. Nair and Udai Pareek and moving on to Rajesh Vidyasagar, Debashish Mitra, Arvind Pandey, Arvind Agarwal, Santrupt Misra, Dwarakanath, Aquil Busrai, N S Rajan and now Mr. S Y Siddiqui. To add to the list of presidents of excellence area various chapter presidents and their office bearers, National Secretaries, Treasurers, Board members. People bring in excellence and NHRDN symbolises in its volunteerism combined with careful selection process. For most of you who don’t know this most traditions started in NHRDN were inspired by some f the good traditions in other Institutions like the IIMA. We learnt from IIMA many things like the selection of the President, in its constitution a Society like ISABs and in its implementation involvement of alumni from XLRI and other such institutions.  People of excellence- orientation were associated from the beginning.
Currently many innovations have been started by the NHRDN and notable among them are the National Professors scheme to help teach HRD and other management practices to students of colleges that intend to offer good HR education to their students but don’t have access to National level faculty. The journal with articles prepared in semi HBR style is another remarkable thing. The webinars of the NHRDN and its portal and decentralised programs being offered by a team of full time people in the Head quarters is another innovation. Pcking up contemporary issues like the IR issues is a reality check.
However we have a long way to go. When it was set up NHRDN was set up with the following objectives:
                                i.            To help stimulate positive forces for humanizing systems and organizations in national life enabling persons working in them to make their best contribution.

                              ii.            To discover knowledge & skills relevant to HRD, its philosophy, processes, and implementation, through exploration & experimentation.

                            iii.            To generate, acquire & continuously develop new knowledge and skills related to HRD through research and development.

                            iv.            To build a storehouse of knowledge and skills in HRD with the professional rigor of science and philosophy.

                              v.            To disseminate HRD knowledge and skills among HRD professionals and practitioners, and share information and experiences relating to HRD so as to learn and benefit from each other.

                            vi.            To strengthen the HRD movement in the country by :

a)      drawing the attention of chief executives of different organizations, agencies and government departments to HRD philosophy and processes and their benefits; and
b)      Assisting organizations and agencies in designing and implementing HRD systems, evaluating the impact of HRD processes, and feeding back the results for improvement.

                          vii.            To break new grounds for the HRD movement in terms of coverage of different human systems and organizations based on national needs as well as innovative approaches and technologies.

                        viii.            To help develop professional expertise in HRD

                            ix.            To maintain standards of professional excellence in HRD

                              x.            To act as a clearing house for all referrals related to HRD activities in the country.
The future should focus on these objectives needing attention. The most important areas that need attention in the Nations’ development are the following sectors:
1.       Education
2.       Health
3.       Infrastructure including Social Infrastructure
4.       Government
5.       Society at large
To give an illustration there are over a million schools in the country and six million teachers teaching and preparing future citizens of the nation. The quality is far from excellence. If out of the ten thousand and odd HRD managers we have if everyone takes up one school to promote excellence. If every manager takes up one school we can cover 1% of the schools and if every HR manger inspires another 1o managers in his company we can cover 10% of the schools and if we expand and become tenfold in NHRDN and create HRD Networks to include line managers we can cover all schools and transform the nation. NHRDN by collaborating with NIPM, ISTD, AIMA, LMAs and their professional bodies and management schools can become a game changer in building excellence in our education systems.
T he Government of India is looking for expertise on various areas: PMS, Competency mapping, leadership Development etc. Two conferences were held with the assistance of UNDP by the DOPT. The Administrative reforms commission has suggested many innovations. One of them includes competency mapping. The government is groping in the dark and searching for light. Unfortunately sometimes they think the light is there only in the west and in MNCs not realising the Indians are different and Indian mind is complex. And MNC consultants can only transplant western systems which may have a lot of merit but fail in India as they need implementation sensitivity. We have to find our own innovations.  

HR Managers have to learn, take charge become less outsourcing and consultant dependent. I never understood why a HR Manager needs a consulting from to conduct competency mapping or assessment centres. They were all evolved with internal teams. What they need is to train the internal change agents or trainers. We need to learn to do our job than to appoint consultants to our job. We need to guide the youngsters to do more important jobs than outsourceable jobs.

The need of the hour is to redefine HRD by going beyond systems and making them broad based. The three Cs of HRD are still valid for any of the above sectors: Competency building, Commitment building and Culture building.
We need HRD Missionaries.

We need every HR professional to ask the question not what the HRD Network is doing for me but what can I do to HRD in the country and how can I be of use to the country through NHRDN?

In a recent article titled “Why We Hate HR? Keith Haymmonds pointed out the following reasons:

1. HR people aren’t the brightest lot while the function requires bright people with business acumen. The best and the brightest don’t go to HR. HR doesn’t tend to hire a lot of independent thinkers or people who stand up as moral compasses. HR people may not even know answers to basic questions like: who is their company’s core customer? What challenges do they face? Who are the competitors? What do they do well and what they don’t? Who are we? What do they do well and not so well in their own company in relation to competitors and customers?

2. HR pursues efficiency in lieu of value. They are more activity and target driven than out- come and value driven.  HR people can readily provide the number they hired, the percentage of performance evaluations they completed, the extent to which employees are satisfied with their benefits, and the number of man-hours of training imparted etc. They rarely link any of these with business performance.

3. HR is not working for the employees but often to protect the organization against their own employees by ensuring that data are collected to help organization meet labour regulations and standards.  HR people pursue uniform policies against people who are heterogeneous and complex. HR departments’ bench-mark salaries department-by-department or function-by-function and job-by-job against industry standards, keeping pay -- even that of stars-- within a narrow band determined by competitors. They are un-willing to acknowledge accomplishments that merit more than 4% companywide increase and bounce performance appraisals back to managers.

4.  HR people do not get the ear of the top management for strategic issues. Whenever they bring strategic issues they are ignored and are used for hiring, firing, organizing picnics, celebrations, etc. According to one survey a number of organizations are likely to expand their outsourcing of HR activities like learning and development, payroll, recruiting, health, welfare and global mobility.
The article concluded: “the problem, if you‘re an HR person is this: The tasks companies are outsourcing—the administrative—tend to be what you’re good at. And what is left isn’t exactly your strong suit.” 

In a survey by TVRLS, line managers from different organizations assessed the effectiveness of the HRD function. The survey results when compared with a similar survey results done in 1991 indicated a definite decline in the effective performance of various roles. This study indicated a definite decline in the perceptions of the effectiveness with which the various HRD functions are being performed as perceived by the line managers. There was a definite decline in the effectiveness with which the HRD roles are being performed as compared to a decade and a half ago. The study concluded that, this is perhaps an indication of the raising expectation of line managers from the HRD managers as well as a reflection of the falling standards of performance of various HR Development activities. Monitoring HRD implementation and conducting Human process research are the two poorly performed functions across most organizations.  Creating a development motivation among line managers by organizing visits to other organizations for them was one of the least attended activities. OD and self renewal activities were also among the least effectively performed activities.  The study concluded that:  1. HRD Managers need to recognize the stake holder expectations and understand the overall business and strategic context of their function. As the expectations from HRD function are changing and they are expected to perform more value adding functions and activities. 2. The HRD function should focus on intellectual capital generation activities and at the same time ensure a good ROI on training and other interventions rather than merely facilitating in-house training activities. 3. The HRD practitioners need to equip themselves with capacity and competencies needed to build the HRD function as hands on, proactive strategic partner with practical contributions to organizational goals and performance effectiveness. 4. The HRD practitioners need to strengthen their partnership and credibility with their stake holders by involving them in policy making and communicating constantly.

Just returned from the 16th National Conference of NHRDN organised by Hyderabad chapter. The Chapter has done a wonderful job. Kudos to Ravi Kanth Reddy and his team. I sat through many sessions and most of them were very educative. The four papers I got to judge from young thought leaders are impressive. Four of them and their work is reassuring that there are HRD Missionaries at work. I only wish many more do such work and more importantly disseminate the same. I was told that nine students of Balaji group of Institutions have been camping there for the last six weeks. I suggested to them that they should document their experiences and make a report or a small book. They promised to do it. If they do they will get small gift. The book should be useful to other students and future conferences. The book could highlight so many learning’s they may have had. The talk by Miss Universe India was very provocative on CSR. The National President and almost all the past Presidents post 2000 (except Santrupt) were there (Arvind, Dwarkanath, Aquil, N S Rajan). Wish Debashish, Rajesh Vidya Sagar and Arvind Pande (presidents between 1994 and 2000) were also there. Wish PVR also made it.  I was longing to see all the Journals published by him stacked at the NHRDN stall, and all the newsletters so ably brought put by Satya during his time. I am sure Kolkata will make up for what we missed. The NHRDN stall must be made very impressive and should have the collection of all the books and publications of NHRDN and AHRD. Udai Pareek and MRR may be rejoicing the body they have laid such good foundations in early years. Thanks Ravi Kanth and Thanks Nathan and the Hyderabad team. The National President, other office bearers and the Secretariat team have added a lot by their way exemplary conduct giving opportunity to all others and remaining in the background all the time to support. I am putting in a blog most of what I said in the inaugural session and some of the things I wanted to say but could not say. People Matters daily newsletter was impressive. Wish it could be sent to all members who missed the conference.