HR Conclave 2009

DSC01385 - CopyChief Guests:

Mr. R Seshasayee, Managing Director – Ashok Leyland Limited
Mr. Srini Raju, Managing Director – Peepul Capital Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.
Keynote Speakers:

Mr. S Ramakrishnan (IAS)
Mr. Jay Desai – Founder & CEO; Universal Consulting India
Mr. Durjoy Patranabish – Country Head; Redpill Solutions
Mr. Ravishankar B. – Head – Organization Development & Effectiveness; HCL
Mr. S. V. Nathan – Director, Talent; Deloitte, US India Firms
Ms. Bhavana Isaar – GM, HR – India Region; British Petroleum
Mr. Samuel Chandar – Senior VP, HR; Henkel India
Mr. Puneet Jetli – Senior VP, HR and Head, People Function; MindTree Ltd.
Dr. Pramod Solanki – Head-People & Organization Development (E&C Division); Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
Mr. Subramaniam Arumugam – Senior VP, HR & Admin; Consim Info Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Sudhir Warde – Executive VP, HR & Talent Development; Larsen & Toubro Infotech
Ms. Richa Gulati – Economist, Watson Wyatt Worldwide

Panel Discussion members:

Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy (Mod) – VP, Marketing & Communications; Cognizant Technology Solutions
Mr. Edwin Sudhakar – Senior Manager, HR; Saksoft
Mr. Bijumon Jacob – Senior Manager, HR; Verizon
Ms. Kalpana S. – GM, HR; Sical Logistics Ltd.
Ms. Vishnu Priya – Manager, HR; Tecpro Systems

Dr. Bala V. Balachandran inviting the guests pointed out ‘students of the last batch felt an urgent need for a platform to exchange ideas between industries and institutions. HR Conclave is Great Lakes’ designed platform for HRs from all the verticals of the business world to come together and share their ideas with the institution’. He added ‘With the preponderance of Great Lakes, Chennai is presently leading the race for the title ‘Knowledge Capital of India’. The city of Chennai shares the title with Bangalore and Hyderabad’. He welcomed the guests and added ‘I am pleased at the progress we have made so far, but we are not complacent and would strive to improvise with every passing year’.

Mr. R. Seshasayee noted that it was delightful to watch Dr. Bala sing an emotion filled Tamil song. He drew leafs out of the story- with a father and his quarrelling sons attempting to break sticks when they are separate and when the sticks are all packed closely together- in explaining the characteristic ‘oneness of an organization’.  He commented on the findings made by Marine biologists ‘Communication travels to over 700 miles in fish when they sense danger’. He added ‘The ‘symmetrical patterns’ in coral reefs is an astonishing example of communication’. Extending his argument to the organization level, he remarked ‘to deal with rational and emotional problems separately and the relentless pursuits thereof is the challenge lying before HR professionals in an organization’.

Mr. Srini Raj commented on the general platitude ‘this century is ours; this century belongs to Indians’.  He observed ‘In 1900 BC, again in 500 AD, India was the greatest country in the whole world’. He added ‘India will have the largest base of young population in another 20 years’. He commented on the demographical advantage that the country would enjoy, but felt apprehensive about our abilities to squeeze mileage out of the situation. He observed ‘Young professionals often set goals to get placed in a visionary company, but the goals are flawed, for once placed they have achieved their goals and would not know what to make out of it henceforth’. He advised us to pursue the course of setting up companies, although risky, he commented ‘when you are young, you can afford to go wrong’.

Mr. S. Ramakrishnan commented on the flawed practices in HR. He observed ‘people who are written off in an organization often excel at a later point in time’. He also commented on the credence that we lay upon the credibility of exams such as CAT, GRE in judging the potential of a student. He argued that the exams might be excellent yardsticks at measuring the subset of a student’s intelligence, but are fallible, for the scale is representative of a niche quality of the student and never the whole. He noted that sportsmen, musicians and creative artists are all epitomes of niche potential exhibition, and hence to ascribe ‘intelligence’ as totality to any individual based on a single yardstick (that only measures single attribute) is a logical fallacy.

Mr. Ravishankar, in his presentation commented about the practices at HCL. He noted that in times of economic depression HCL declared that ‘no HCLite will be left behind’. He further mentioned that the statement in testing times was a manifestation of a truly admirable philosophy that HCL ascribes to. He added ‘we create home in office, the salsa classes, the internal matrimony site, the blogs and various other novel and innovative practices speak volumes about our organization’s HR practices’.

Our Placement Director Mr. Krishna Ram invited the guests to share their thoughts on questions pertaining to the day’s theme. He asked ‘Is there a mathematical model to gauge the employees?’, ‘how can one measure the efficacy and effectiveness of HR practices?’, ‘Can the attrition signals be captured before time and be acted upon? Do we have models for the same?’, ‘Has HR ever told their CEOs that later drew obscene amount of salaries?’, ‘Why are HRs averse to rotational policies? Why don’t they work in Marketing or Finance sectors for a while?’  And, he threw the floor open.

JP Desai in his unconventional approach, spoke on the theme ‘How to create an adaptive organization?’, he contended that the brightest minds could not predict or avoid the latest economic depression. He drew parallels between Evolution – Cambrian extinction that destroyed all the species but a few-, pointing to the graph, he noted ‘there is a striking similarity between the organizations’ decimation and the species’ decimation. He added ‘99% of all the organizations that ever existed are now extinct’. He concluded that we can draw lessons from nature; organizations have a life, just as a species does.

Mr. Durjoy Patranabish, speaking on the theme ‘HR model is changing from multinational to global’ remarked that ‘the economic scenario has led to rapid employee growth in emerging markets’. He added ‘the last couple of years have also been the stimulants for several broad changes in the external global business environment’. He reflected ‘Today, hiring approach should be focused on both IQ and EQ’.

Ms. Richa Gulati, quoting from Edward De Bono observed ‘the downturn provided us all a necessity to innovate’. She saw credibility in a fusion between ‘Conventional cost management solutions and ‘creative cost management solutions’. She commented on ‘gearing for the upturn, challenges in sustaining employee engagements and retention’. She concluded with the key message ‘think new, think different’.

Mr. Punit, in his passion filled exuberant display of debunking platitudes, shared with us the story of Indian Armed Forces; their readiness to adversities and their celebrations of the same. He noted ‘Armed forces embrace adversities, how many organizations can cross their chests and proudly say that they have been waiting for the bad times’.

Professor Sriram brought the day’s proceedings to an end with ‘vote of thanks’. He expressed his sincere thanks to all the keynote speakers of the day, guests and the HR Conclave team.


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