Friday, November 23, 2007

More emphasis on HR?

Alot of companies and organizations are now learning to realise that HR is a very very important division or an add-value entity in determining a company’s profit and loss. Profit and loss; for example:

"A research conducted by an international recruitment company estimates that it costs a company one-third of a new hire's annual salary to replace an employee. Using an average salary or RM 2, 400.00 per month, it would cost a company RM9600 to replace each departing employee. Estimates of the cost to replace supervisory, technical, and management personnel run from 50 percent to several hundred percent of their salaries".

Basically when one employee leaves, the exuberant amount of dollars that has to be spent hiring another employee costs a lot, in fact three times!. A lot of people do not see this, but consider these factors:

Time: Employee leaves the company today and if their skills are too niche it could be three months until another employee comes on board. Project duration could be push back due to lack of manpower, big deals could be lost or you might need to pay headhunters to perform search services for faster recruitment :).

Re-training: Unlike sales professionals who could come onboard today and be on the phone planning meetings for tomorrow, technical professionals have to be settled in. The new employee needs more training, has start compiling all documents such as user requirements or project timeline, had to get use to new settings, certifications etc.

Scarcity: This is pretty much the same as time, but good competent employees do not come too easily, there is a lot of demand at the moment and supply is limited.

Model of working: No two people work the same way hence the new employee has to adapt to the current culture so does the manager and the rest of the team.

The list can go on. To my surprise, especially reading a lot of articles and magazines, I realized that there has been more emphasis on HR. Retaining and retraining employees. There has been a lot of focus on Human Resources Departments as an asset that helps to improve total overall business and organization structure.

Having worked in HR for a few years, the halo effect that I have gotten is 'HR is just an administrative tool' for a company. Payroll, induction administration, staff activities, medical administration and so on. It is just an administrative office.

Lately, which I am happy about, a lot of companies top management are now collaborating with the HR team in determining retention strategies, induction of young competent graduates, creating a environmental friendly awareness outside and inside the organization, obtaining relevant important information and feedback from the HR Department. At the end of the day, people make an organization what they are. Human resources planning has become a business tool to make the overall structure of a company strong. HR personnel’s are the first point of contact for new fresh recruits. The first impression for new recruits starts from the HR department. If you like an administration tool, there are always HRMS systems out there to be bought, but not the human touch.

How would you know whether your staff in your company is generally happy with the overall structure? The best way to go about obtaining this information is through surveys. I believe a survey is a highly effective model of change management. It is highly impossible to get accurate feedback if a survey is given by your boss, in this scenario HR department although always seem to work in the best interest of the company, should always act neutral when it comes to matters like this. This is just one way of heading towards change management.

I am very glad to see the way forward on how a lot of companies are depending on their Human Resource functions to be an asset and not just an administrative department of a company.

HR soon enough will be a Strategic Human Capital management tool that will help an organization to obtain success and help build a high performing work culture.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Spoilt for choices?

I was just having a chat with one of my candidates and he happens to be a professor and we were talking about our local employment rates and so forth.

Come to think of it, I believe our graduates are spoilt for choices when it comes to IT. Whether or not our graduates is an IT graduate, one could still end up in IT, simply by assuming a support/global support/level 1 support role in a contact centre.

There is abundance too choose from, Datacom, EDS, Microsoft, DELL, DHL and so forth. These names are just at the back of my head. Well, given our industry standards when you apply for a Software Development/Application Developer/Engineer/Solution Specialist you will fetch a salary of about RM1800-RM2000.

In a contact centre, the last I heard that you are able to fetch a groundbreaking RM2000-2200 basic salary excluding your overtime claims and expenditure which can amount to RM 2500-RM3000. Lets take an example, as I am a fresh graduate. I hop on to 'company name' as a Global Support Executive, basic salary of RM2500+allowances wouldn’t that be attractive than say for example a Software Engineer with a basic salary of RM2000. They have excellent working environments, awards and benefits.

I believe this is where our young graduates could be clouded by monetary incentives in determining their career choices. If two separate graduates and one goes to a System Integrator and the other goes on to a contact centre in two years, the salary range differentiation would be drastic. The Global Support Exec. Could be fetching about RM3000-3500 and the other about RM2500-3000. If we fast-forward five years down the road, I believe equilibrium will speak itself loudly.

The Software Engineer after 5 years will be equipped with a lot of certifications. Companies now, as a part of achieving the company KPI, most companies require their employees to undertake two different certifications a year. So that will be ten certifications in five years. Now this contented S/W Engineer will be able to fetch the big bucks but the other graduate would probably be a Level 2-support manager with no career satisfaction. Often enough-through talks and chats with my candidates, THIS IS ALWAYS THE CASE.

I believe that with the growing amount of global competitive players pave their way into Malaysia in making Malaysia their preferred hub for contact centre and services, our unemployment rate will be low. Having that in perspective, our local reputable companies are not only having difficulty hiring competent and good professionals but also are now reluctant to give other graduates a chance.

Over the last year itself I have interviewed about 800-900 fresh graduates and majority came from contact centre backgrounds with one year of experience and expected to be paid the same, regardless of the fact that they had no experience in development and unfortunately have forgotten how to perform their coding as such.

There are financial literacy courses and fund management courses out there, but what about career guidance and career literacy? Once again we need to be mindful.