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Prasad Rao

Prasad Rao

Vice President Corporate HR
SBQ Steels LTD under the flagship of RKKR Group
Qualities that we Look For While Hiring:
Broadly speaking, apart from the function specific skills, we focus on certain key competencies. At Junior levels, this would mean process discipline, execution, learnability, team working and problem solving. At Middle levels it translates as planning, result focus, team development, decision making and collaboration. At Senior levels we look for business focus, strategic thinking, ability to build leadership, maturity and commitment to values. Cutting across all these levels are the sense of ownership and a spirit of innovation. we look for candidates who are “culturally fit” to gel with the organization culture. There might be plenty of candidates who can “do the job effectively and efficiently” but what we look for is a candidate who first embodies our values and only later the job competencies come into picture. Our mantra for recruitment is "Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill". Therefore, the most critical attribute we are looking for in a candidate is the right attitude.
Relationship with HR and Top Management
HR’s relations with the CEO will be shaped by its ability to understand the CEO’s expectations and be proactive in designing solutions.  This will increase trust levels, building a platform for involving HR inthe decision-making process.  It is equally important to share with the CEO the pulse of the employees and strengthen communication channels to ensure that messages from the top cascades down the organisation. HR too has to learn to think on its feet. There is no denying the fact that today every “C” level executive understands that talent is at the center of every business aspect. The way HR connects with the CEO in communicating about the multiple facets of the business go a long way in establishing the HR credibility as a strategic business partner:          ·Employee engagement metrics that impact the bottom line          ·Nurturing leadership talent which is always in short supply          ·Strategies that integrate individual and business objectives         
Recommended Reading
Silicion India is an excellent source of information for all. Times Ascent is another information gaining site.www.balancedscorecard.org www.thepalladiumgroup.com gestalt institute www.theelearningcoach.com OD and Change Thomas G Cummings and Christopher G Worley Change Management by John P Kotter Human Resource Management in knowledge economy by Mark L Lengnick Steategic Planning for Success by Roger Kaufman. Successful strategic human resources planning the system thinking approach by Allan Bandt & Stephen Haines
Leadership Programs in Place:
In RKKR, we invest in Leadership development. We have an array of growth and development initiatives that ensure a smooth shift to the next generation of leaders. Our philosophy of growth from within provides employees opportunities for both lateral and vertical growth. Our four-level Professional Development Architecture (PDA) holds the key in ensuring this by focusing on identifying high performing individuals and grooming them for future roles. The focus is on developing leadership, managerial and domain competencies at senior, middle and junior levels. At every level, the emphasis is on strengthening conceptual skills followed by experiential learning and customised coaching. The core constituents of our PDA are specific training modules, job experiences, and participation in cross-functional teams and varied programmes designed and delivered at our Rai Institute for Employee Development (RIED) and other institutions of repute. Participants identify specific development projects and execute them based on their learning during these programmes. The programmes are delivered in multiple modules spread over a long duration. we have multiple initiatives/programs that help identify and nurture tomorrow’s leaders: ·         Leadership Development Program: Enables employees to self-reflect, grow, and take accountability for their own lateral and vertical career path opportunities. ·         Managerial Grand Prix (for management): This program serves as a platform to exchange expertise, leverage best practices, explore own unknown areas, make connections with different thinkers, in short teach their own leadership skills to others and learn from others leadership skills. ·         PEAK (Pursuing Excellence And Knowledge): This is a program for individual contributors. It helps foster cross product and cross functional collaboration, influence across the organization without formal authority, build expertise, leadership and excellence. ·         MLA (Management and Leadership Academy): This program is designed to help all leaders develop improved management consistency build relationships, enhance coaching skills and foster cultural innovation. The initiatives that are being run have started yielding results as is evident from the Employee Opinion and satisfaction Survey (EOSS) scores. EOSS is probably the best way for any organization to hear what employees really think and how they see the organization and their own role. At RKKR, there has been a noticeable difference in the employee engagement score over the past 3 years by a 5 basis points increase and Manager rating score has gone up by 6 basis points. 
Attract good people, Retain Better Performers and Advance the Best:
Rewards and recognition are differentiated based on performance and potential. They come in the form of competitive compensation, accelerated growth, larger and multidimensional roles, challenging assignments and special learning opportunities. There are a few traits that help identify future leaders in any organization – employees who take initiative and lead by example, have an appetite for risk with a solid fall-back plan, have a big picture in mind i.e. integrating personal goals with long term organization goals. At RKKR, we have a few programs that groom potential/emerging leaders to don the leadership mantle going forward – Leadership Development Program, Management and Leadership Academy and Managerial Grand Prix. In today’s diverse and dynamic business scenario, attracting good people, retaining better people and advancing the best people present a different challenge at every stage.
Parting Thoughts
Long gone are the days of employees being given a monthly pay cheque and being rewarded with financial incentives and public praise for special projects other than their routine job. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, today organizations understand that different level of employees are motivated by different “types” of rewards. RKKR has so designed the entire employee life cycle, that employees are not only the architects of their careers but also are motivated by the entire journey which is a rewarding experience.
HR Strategies In Place
we have adopted the “human first, resource next” approach at every stage of the employee life cycle. We believe that employee retention is not the end goal, but creating an experience that will engage the employees continuously to enable them to find happiness at work is what matters. For this purpose, we have revamped all programs right from interviews to onboarding; from employee education to total rewards and from performance reviews to exit interviews. The intent is to ensure that we create a pleasant and memorable experience for employees to interact at different levels of their employee life cycle with us. become more strategic and offer greater value. We would witness intensive use of technology in HR with more focus on social media.We will see new models of Employee Engagement evolving to promote and sustain a stable employee relations climate.
HR Challenges:
As HR becomes more and more strategic, the greater is the impact on planning, owing to the volatile and dynamic business environment. While the key functions of HR still remain the same i.e. recruitment, talent retention, talent management and employee engagement, the way these are handled with respect to the new challenges posed by economy, evolution of organization culture, impact of technology and Gen Y differs. For example, sticking to the age old traditional recruitment methods means being left far behind by competitors, who are using social media to attract talent. Another example can be that of devising policies, that can be customized to suit individual requirements – flexi time that gives new mothers a chance to prioritize work and personal life or another employee who opts for higher education to divide time optimally between studies and work. As such, they are not difficulties, but challenges that definitely have workarounds to keep the employee happy.
Current HR Trends:
HR plays a strategic role in nurturing and supporting a culture of innovation and high performance. Leveraging today’s multi-generational workforce to pursue opportunities will be on top of the agenda.  There would be increased use of talent analytics to become more strategic and offer greater value. Leadership Challenges:* As businesses shift towards collaboration model in every aspect, the biggest challenge that leaders today face is, investing time in grooming leaders via commitment to learning. None other than John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. So what better way than leaders coming together on a common platform to learn from each other. Today, organizations are cognizant about a couple of facts – firstly, learning should not only help gain new knowledge but also help develop new ways of thinking and behaving, secondly, learning from others experience.
Pain Points:
In the backdrop of what we talked about setting realistic expectations, from the stand point of people’s aspirations and sustaining high engagement levels is a huge challenge. Attitude Determines Altitude". So finding people with the "right attitude" is our greatest challenge.
Advice For Fellow HR Leaders:
With HR gaining significance as a strategic business partner and slowly making its presence felt at the table, I suggest that, the HR fraternity together should strive to bring about the “human first and resource next” approach to every aspect of the business by partnering with the “C” suite executives. Be open and have an learning attitude. Treat every day as a critical day. To achieve ones goals and be successful in the field of your choice one needs to be always on his / her toes and have good understanding and decision making abilities. Patience is a key to success. Be in touch with the employees at all levels, find time to speak to them understand their problem, give solutions. HR is for employee and not employee for HR. Bring new initiative for employees, respect their ideas, and try to reduce the gap between seniors and juniors. Fair treatment to all. Very important, contribute for business, be always updated in happening in HR Domain, around the industry, city, nation & world
Recruiting new generation:
With it comes to engaging Gen Y, the biggest challenge leaders face is that Gen Y continually challenges status quo. Leaders should understand that they need to create an organizational culture that can channelize the “can-do attitude” of Gen Y. At times, it pays for a leader to have one way communication i.e. leaders assuming the role of silent listeners. As Gen Y has been raised on technology, they are quicker to grasp and execute on current technology stuff as it is a way of life for them. Also providing opportunities for Gen Y to try out new things and providing challenging assignments not only keeps them engaged but also rejuvenates them for future tasks. The two best things to adopt to engage Gen Y are – leaders can introduce reverse mentoring policy to learn from the unique experience of Gen Y which makes them feel “listened do” and providing Gen Y return on time rather than return on investment. * Leveraging multigenerational workforce for pursuing global opportunities.
Identifying and Promoting New Leaders:
We have embedded HR in Line leadership, taking it closer to the people. This helps in co creation of programs, policies and in their effective implementation. The idea is to partner with and build capacity in line leaders to lead HR initiatives. We believe in encouraging and promoting the people within the organization. The peoples are welcome to take the responsibility, and it is not difficult to perform them. The employees are promoted to next level according to their capability, and years with the organization.
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