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Manu Madhavankutty

Manu Madhavankutty

Managing Partner/Consultant
Lantern Academy
Briefly tell me about your company and the HR strategies you have in place.
Lantern Academy delivers state-of-the-art communication and interpersonal effectiveness training programs for senior corporate managers, middle managers, students, engineering graduates, techies, teachers, medical & paramedical professionals, and other industry professionals.We have various levels of developmental programs suited for you and training programs are tailor-made according to your needs. Our personality development programs are designed and developed in consultation with clinical and industrial psychologists.
HR strategy is linked to business strategy and the focus is on building people capabilities. HR values are: Integrity, team work, continuous improvement, and training excellence. Also encourages empowerment, creativity, and innovation.
What are some of trends you are seeing in HR?
Current trends in HR, I think, is leaning towards new ways of attracting, managing, nurturing, and retaining people. This has led companies to proactively taking measures on three fronts: Creating organizational environment where talent can bloom, they put in place systems that help unleash their potential, and building a reward and recognition mechanism that provides value for people.
In the era of ever changing business, explain the difficulties in planning the Human Resource?
Human Resource planning occurs in a changing environment, changes in economy and technology, competition, etc. So we need to study short-term and long-term needs to hire and it must always be ready to adjust its hiring needs. Having more demand in the organization than there is available talent is another obstacle.
How do you describe the relationship of HR with the CEO’s?
The very job descriptions are in extremes: CEOs focus is on the data, facts, figures, and other parameters to design and deliver appropriate strategies based on the big picture. The world of HR is governed by people and relationships. Without underestimating the CEOs care about people and their performance, have a clear communication maintained. Give CEO presentations on the operational and financial leverage of HR activity.
What is your biggest pain point?
Managing ego.
How do you Motivate Employees with Rewards in your organization?
There is a definite performance appraisal system in which client feedback carries a substantial weightage. We have monthly, bi-annual, and yearly awards to the performers.
How do you identify leaders and promote them to the next level?
We have a measuring and identifying mechanism in place for future leaders. It works on a 5-point scale.
When you hire people what are you essentially looking for?
1. If he/she is a fit to the organization. We generally see the candidate’s skills and experience and capabilities are in line with the organizational functions and goals.
2. Attitude - This perhaps is the most important criteria. Skills and ignorance can be changed by learning. My organization does not have enough time or patience to deal with wrong attitudes.
Brief some of the leadership development programs held and how often? Result obtained from that?
So far, we had only one such program, called "Train the Trainer program." Since we are a training and consultancy firm, most of the employees are trainers and the results are yet to be seen.
Engaging Gen Y - Leadership and Organization Culture according to you?
There is a growing need to engage Gen Y leaders and nurture a culture for leadership in the organization. Our plan works in 3 steps - training, shadowing, and coaching. HR needs an unrelenting focus here and need to do regular followup.
How do you recruit and retain the diverse and ambitious Generation Y?
Recruit from campuses. Since Gen Y will be innovative and creative at heart, the organization needs to provide such environment, but under the supervision of Gen X leaders. A 360 degree feedback review could be helpful here.
Attrition Management: Retaining vs. fresh hiring
We believe it is always good to retain employees than going for fresh fish. However, hiring will depend on the project demands and the long-term goals. Maybe we need to strike a good balance between both. An encouraging environment where employees are happy will manage attrition on its own.
What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
Referrals. It has always been referrals. Its a direct testimonial from a client who has enjoyed our services. Whats better than that for promotion?!
Workplaces are changing. Cultures are evolving. Do you think the average employee today is different from his/her counterpart from a decade ago too? What is lacking and what does he/she need to keep in mind in today’s working scenario?
In terms of attitude, I dont think the average employee is any different today, but may be the needs/desires have changed. From an organizations point of view, we need to take away the layers of defensiveness, should encourage open dialogue, and focus should be on fruitful collaborative efforts.
How to attract good people, retain the better people and advance the best people
In my opinion, there could be few things we should focus on to attain the above. 1. Performance measurement system 2. Potential assessment 3. Career development chart 4. And a remuneration policy which will hold all these together. An organizational culture enhancing innovation and creativity.
What are your advice/ suggestions to fellow HRs in the industry?
People are no more your most important asset, the right people are. HRs focus should be on 1. Hire the right people. 2. Train them 3. Communicate with them effectively.
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