Category Archives: Human Capital

8 priorities that shape your career decision

My decision to leave L&T was reactive. While I evaluated the opportunity using some criteria, the move itself wasn’t planned. As overwhelming as career planning is, it is important get started. Start with a long-term vision, break it down to define short-term milestones, and then come up with an action plan. I did this exercise with my entire team and it was all worth the effort – everyone had found enough challenges and was working towards a personal goal. It also lead to 0 attrition. Action items will usually be along the lines of enhancing your toolkit, business acumen and people skills. It could also mean updating your resume. And it could well demand getting out of your comfort zone to meet those goals.

I feel associating ranks to one’s priorities and analyzing quantitatively really helps trade-off between opportunity cost and risk. I’ve used it not only with job offers, but also when looking at houses, and funny enough, my life partner. Remember, everyone has different needs and priorities. The list below is how I look at choices – not necessarily in that order. You might need to tweak it for yourself – download or view the spreadsheet online.

1. Opportunity & Toolkit

  • Enhances your toolkit?
  • Offers challenges, opportunities to learn?
  • Novelty*? A new domain / technology / vertical / market
  • Gives access to good mentors & a network?
  • Opens new avenues in the future**?
  • Offers better title***? Consider position in the organization hierarchy, competition
  • Offers a better role? Influence v/s Authority, Leadership
    * Novelty alone shouldn’t be a driver
    ** Don’t overrate future prospects when starting your career
    *** Opt for a rationalized, industry-wide title

2. Goals & PassionSource: runnersgoal.com

  • Makes best use of your passion?
  • Gets you a step closer to a future goal?
  • Aligns with personal interests – wealth, network, travel?
  • Gives a meaning, purpose to your life?

3. Risks

  • Leaving your comfort zone?
  • Chances of failing in the new role?
  • Relocating to a new country/city?
  • Could this be short-term? Changing jobs too often?
  • Employment contract? Notice period?
  • Is your gut sounding an alarm?
    * Answering No means low risk, high score
    ** Taking no action also has its own risk

Continue reading 8 priorities that shape your career decision

Living in a metaconscious state

Each one of us keeps waxing and waning in the cyclic pattern called life. How we deal with extremes – the high and low points of life as we call them – is crucial to how well we get on to the next wave. The high points risk of making us rude, while the lows can be depressing. I’m not against emotions or letting them flow; but trouble is when emotions take over logic and lowers consciousness down to the individualist level.

I must’ve developed logical reasoning pretty early on. But I do remember becoming emotionally aware as I connected with more and more people over teenhood. More recently, I began training my mind to be self-aware – basically keeping a constant check on emotions to alarm the brain of a possible shift in the emotional equilibrium. Experts call this cognitive monitoring or being in the state of integral consciousness.

With this, my goal is to be fully conscious to count lemons as they come, and make my best attempt to make lemonade. I’m continually adding recipes of wisdom to improve the conversion rate. But at least, whenever a situation excites, perplexes, or angers me, I remind myself that the time has come! To Continue reading Living in a metaconscious state

Engage in one-on-ones & motivate your team with this Trello board

After a lot of reading & thinking, I came up with the idea of a simple Trello board to help me conduct effective one-on-one meetings with my team, and to plan each team member’s growth. This is the boilerplate that I could quickly replicate for each team member using  Trello’s “Copy Board…” feature. My team has been using it since last October and they’ve found it really helpful to communicate their achievements, issues and most importantly, to plan their growth.

Thanks to them, its now mature enough to help other managers better engage with their teams.  The boilerplate board is now public so you can easily copy & build on top of it. Here is a sample board showing real-world use. Get started by copying the boilerplate, and let me know how it works or how we can improve it.

Boilerplate (Get started by copying) | Real-world example

Motivation/Idea

My one-on-one pattern has greatly evolved over the last 4 years that I’ve managed teams. Starting naively by tracking work,  it now leaves the daily stuff out and instead focuses on the individual itself. When my travel increased, I felt the need for something online to retain the connect. I believe in transparency and I hate secret dossiers; I wanted a platform where we both have the same view of the relationship, which becomes the single version of truth for all discussion. Also, since it was their plan, I wanted my team to have access even when they decide to move on.

I’ve got inspiration from a lot of sources: blogs, surveys & talks I’ve participated in, etc. Thanks to all!

Board Structure

There’s enough on the board for either of you to take interest. It helps drive strategy, but still track tactical stuff; stuff that’s important for the individual’s growth, and the manager’s. Continue reading Engage in one-on-ones & motivate your team with this Trello board

1-page resume that says it all

The last time I redesigned (not updated) my resume was 2009. Since then, my understanding of ease-of-use, information architecture & win-loss has grown several fold. Late last year I realized that my resume looks archaic and needs a revamp.

The need was to create something that was:

  • information rich yet not cluttered
  • comprehensible yet not funky
  • likely to get past through the recruiter’s clutter.

Several opinions & tweaks later, I finally published a release candidate that I wanted to share. Yes, sharing definitely looses the competitive advantage at a PM opening, but what use is creativity that’s kept to yourself. I hope this bit on the design rationale helps all.

Single-page resume that says it all!
Single-page resume that says it all!

The importance of Page 1

It’s a no-brainer how crucial the first page is to recruiters, considering their daily swim in the resume swarm. The key was to summarize everything that mattered to them on Page 1, while deferring details to following pages. More importantly, it also acts as a printable summary  Continue reading 1-page resume that says it all

Things to carry when you quit your job

There is so much talk about how to go about quitting your job, but there is such little focus on what you should take with you after you’ve quit your job. I’m not asking you to violate policies or steal data; but just reminding you to carry stuff that belongs to you which is going to come handy in the future.

From the payroll system:

What to pack in your box?
What to pack in your box?
  1. Copies of last 6 salary slips
    If HR/Admin co-operates, get them stamped with the company seal. This helps if you’re still looking for a job. You should also look for any Loss-of-Pay (LOP) days in there (see below).
  2. Form 16s for the years you’ve been with the company
    This has to be on your file! It is mandatory to process loans, and also required for visas and insurance at times. If not available in your online HRMS, Finance or HR will surely have a copy.
  3. Copy of the Tax slip for the current year
    This highlights the heads under which you were paid and how much tax was deducted. This will be a life-saver when filing returns (if your old company delays/denies you a Form-16) in the following year, because your CA has to access salaries received from both companies.

From the leave & attendance system:

  1. Snapshot of leave balance in each leave category
    This will allow you to reconcile the balance days you’ve been paid for in the F&F (full & final) statement.
  2. Track of Loss-of-pay days
    Whatever your company calls it: leave-without-pay or loss-of-pay, keep track of these days by going over salary slips for the past months. If possible, regularize these days, get them approved and reconcile in your F&F.

From Finance/HR:

  1. PF account number/office OR PF deposit slips
    Good news! In India, your PF account is now online on the EPFO website; all you need is your PF account number & office/zone to keep track of the balance. You can get this info from your HR/Finance department. They would also have a deposit slip for each year Continue reading Things to carry when you quit your job

May Day! Confused comparing job offers?

Mangoes. Yippie!

Today my dad bought the first set of mangoes this season. If asked to relate a couple of things to May, my answer would be mangoes, and ever since I started working: appraisals & attrition. While material – screenshot showing the baseline version on tissue – dates back to 2009, this post has remained queued for several months. Just like mangoes taste best in May, a post on choosing jobs has to wait for its own season to deliver maximum value. With appraisals around the corner and attrition already kicking-in, I thought this could help those switching to resolve their dilemma between their current job and offers in hand!

Baseline version on tissue

Just to set the expectations right, this is a simple decision matrix that allows you to weigh options against a few well-defined criteria.

Download Now! (Free)

I know huge links like that could seem fishy, but this one is clean. It might just make more sense to those employed in India. HR folks, if you’re downloading – this is how we look at an offer!

Here a couple of other things that could help you take the right decision Continue reading May Day! Confused comparing job offers?

To be credible or not to be

Spam is unavoidable, but sometimes its interesting. One such mailer I bumped into was a site called mumbex.com that provides fake experience letters. I’m not linking because I don’t want to send traffic to something illegitimate, but I’m sure most of you will still take the pains to key it in & have a look.  For such people I have embedded a tracker that will report your details to NASSCOM. For other obedient ones, here are some highlights from their website:

  • Our expertise‘ .. ‘Till date we gave certificates to 5000 candidates’ .. ‘Most of them are in middle management level in India and overseas’ .. ‘No Background verification failed till date’.. ‘Most of our customers came through referrals of our satisfied customers’
  • ‘We are here to provide you the total certificates, id cards and everything’.. ‘Just have a bit confidence in the technology you are keeping the experience’..
  • Companies know this Fact‘ .. ‘Almost all the companies know that 50 to 60 % of the staff kept fake experience in their resume’ .. ‘But they never think of this during the boom time, because they are in deadly need of employees who at least have confidence in their technology’..

The business idea seems strong from a monetization perspective, but its an epic ethical fail when offered as a service. They have loudly spoken about how companies compromise credibility in view of the demand and how resumes are shared with clients. This service helps whoever it does, but it destroys the  credibility of every Indian IT company & employee. And I’m writing because I feel affected.

This is the age of startups, Continue reading To be credible or not to be