Today I attended a rather intriguing lecture, by none other than the well known Dr. R. Karthikeyan, a qualified psychologist from National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), as well as a consultant and now the management educator and pioneer of the Gemba School of HR, Chennai.
He first started with how he got into the field of HR or should I rephrase as how Dr. Karthikeyen believes- "how HR chose him." To explain this he began with a small flashback, when he was in his first job at Salem Steel, where he was asked to conduct a four-day training session for the employees. He admitted openly that he was totally baffled as to how to go on about it. Yet with proper groundwork, he said with a slight glint, that he 'somehow managed to pull it off.' Hence, his first bump with HR.
It was only after this training session that he started looking at HR in a new light. HR management is basically discovering, recognizing, strengthening, refining and finally acquiring human talent, skills and power. He also stated the importance and value of the HR domain in every enterprise. Though the main HR techniques and practices depend upon the traditional management theories; however in the present era the current issues and dilemmas have proved to be much more complex and dynamic than before. Hence, there requires a cry for change in basic HR methods, both theoretically and practically.
Dr. Karthikeyan also spoke about Psychometric testing, a useful recruitment tool that is used to assess a person's knowledge, abilities, priorities, attitudes and personality traits. But the sad fact is that many HR professionals themselves aren't aware of the basic skills to handle crisis situations. At this point he threw light on the 5 W and 1 H, that is who, why, what, where, when and how.
Some of the other interesting anecdotes he shared with us were the various challenges he encountered during his career growth. One of them that he talked about was the one where he had to eliminate 1500 employees from work. The amount of thought process he had to go through and the homework he had done was tremendous. He used the help of role plays and mock exit interviews. The second challenge he faced, was when he had to recruit 1200 in 9 months. For that, he had organized a walk-in for the ITI's at the Montford Grounds. But unfortunately things fouled up when there was an unexpected turnout of people overcrowding the grounds that even traffic came to a standstill. And in this turbulence of things, there was a lot of loss and damage caused to the institute's property. He concluded by accepting that he hadn't foreseen the change of events and he should have planned the event in a much more efficient way.
The lecture ended with him inculcating in us a different outlook about HR altogether. HR today has transformed from being only performance oriented to people oriented. And after this lecture, I feel that the changes brought within the HR wing would bring about changes to the entire organization.
Contributed by Vikram Mohan, HR Varsity, CBS Batch 4 (2009-10)