Friday, 19 December, 2008

Managerial Style & Financial Fiasco

Though theory states about different managerial styles like AUTHORITATIVE , COERCIVE ,DEMOCRATIC and so on . But fact boils down to how "managed employees" look at you as a boss.

This is further high lighted by recent confession by many managers in financial industry that they were not aware that trouble was brewing .

This BBC article throws light on why !

So mere 7% of employees , who think that the boss is "kind" , reported that the managers listened to them. Further research indicated that "kind" bosses gets superior results.

This new generation Y, ( not only in US ,but in other part of world too ) is seeking change in managerial styles. Article further stresses that "Kind" bosses are not doormats , but like respectful knowledgeable parents with integrity.

So the qualities required are different than what the contemporary textbooks are conveying.

Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

Obesity - Metabolic Syndrome and HR

Obesity ! What HR has to do with it . looks like a natural Question.

But in the Country like Japan , where salary-man spends most of his time in office - is closely linked , at least Authorities think so. So For employees ( And there dependents too ) measuring the waist-line is mandatory. This is an attempt to promote more healthy living as well as to keep tab on rising health care costs.

All employees above 40 will take this test. The number is estimated above 56 Million employees . Health ministry says 13 million suffer from Metabolic syndrome and further 14 million are at risk.

Tab is - firm has to cut number of overweight worker by 10% by 2012 , else they will face surcharge for elderly health care costs.

Personally most will support initiative , (And recent research like one in this link on BBC also underlines impact of waist-line on health. ). But it will be interesting to see how firms will respond to these regulations in coming days.

Monday, 1 December, 2008

Lay offs reach Japan

World economy is heavily interconnected and flicker in any economy creates ripples everywhere. So how the Japan will escape the fact that US economy is in down trend ?

In general the credit crunch is hitting everyone. Automobile industry in US is struggling to survive. This has direct impact on Automobile industry in Japan too.

Here is the news article on the same.

Japan too is heavily dependent on Auto-industry and the lay-offs and job-cuts in this segment will have impact on all other sections in Japan.

Japan brace up for the roller-coaster ride , here is my another take on coping with lay-offs

Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

Severance Pay ,

Severance pay is paid for terminating employment .
This can be layoff , job elimination ,restructuring or mutual agreement. If employee agreement do not stipulate any serverance pay , there is no obligation on employer to pay.

But normally employer get rid of any future claims, litigation through signed release along-with Severance Pay.

Severance pay is a positive and good thing from employer ,when job is lost through uncontrolled external circumstances. ( For example current financial turmoil ).

Japan still have the mind-set of life-time employment (Though changing) and hence in most of cases employer pays for loss of employment.In general holiday and other monetary benefits ( other than Bonus ) are also compensated.

Normally bonus is paid - if you are working till the pay-date. Off-course if retrenchment happened unfairly just before bonus , you can complain to labor office. And in good circumstances labor office may negotiate this to fair-portion.

Japanese firms like to keep low profile in such circumstances and in general for employees with two years with firm 3 months of salary plus unused holidays are paid. For more experienced employees up to 5 months plus unused holidays is the norm.

Senior employees and Managers need to negotiate . In a recent financial melt-down there are examples of 18 to 24 months of severance pays tied with signed release.

So there is surely more to watch while leaving too.

Tuesday, 4 November, 2008

Happiness at Work

Ravindra Prasad has written an article on employee happiness on rediff.
In my opinion "Plan your week on Sunday night or Monday morning" is the most important in this list. It is surely more than mundane "to do list".

Those who are aware of Coveys most popular work "7 habits of highly effective people", will recognize that weekly planning is much more than effective time management.

Week is the basic planning block for realizing your long term goals which stems from personal mission statement. A motivating mission statement ,is the one which runs as a central thread in all decision making and planning. Preparing smart goals that reflect mission statement is the first step in good and effective time management. Now breaking down these goals in small chunks of weekly target is just a matter of working with details.

Personal mission statement and weekly planning complements each-other and sure way to lead purpose driven and satisfying life. This is applicable to personal as well as work-life.
No doubt that "7 Habits" has become a one of the most important work of our lives.

In my humble opinion introducing 7 habits at work-place in teams and with individuals is one concrete step towards happy employees.

Friday, 31 October, 2008

Challenge of doing business in China

Financial times has interesting news-article and throws light on Challenge of doing business in china. It basically talks about abduction of trader Anil Srivastav by Chinese firm in order to settle business issue. This link from shanghai scrap has more background detail on this.

China too is not resilient in this recent economic turmoil and looks like down-turn in world-economy is getting unbearable for them too.

And on the side note we understand why they say international assignment's are demanding !

Thursday, 23 October, 2008

Bankruptcy and Employee Benefits

There was unimaginable fall-out in financial markets recently . Japan too was not different.
Bear sterns, J.P. Morgan ,Merry Lynch , Citi-group and biggest of all Lehman !.

Example of Lehman was very classic ,while employees were down with week-end hang-over they woke up with the bankruptcy news. Initially there was a ambiguity about whats gonna happen ,to the extent that whether even current months salary would be paid ?

After little exploring it shows what happens to employees in such circumstances -
  • Firm files bankruptcy in court.
  • Court monitors , dispose of assets and use incoming cash to pay off creditors.
  • Taxes comes first
  • Then employee claims are paid.
  • Lastly outside creditors are taken care off.
So as long as firm is solvent and have enough assets , employee will be paid surely for the billable hours.

Normally pension is safe ( In case of Japan at-least ) but for health insurance you need to refer to your agreements.

I extracted this information from here ,here and here

Sunday, 19 October, 2008

Salary and Confidentiality

As long as there is some-one in your friend-circle earning more than you , you are bound to be unhappy. Firm don't want you to be unhappy and hence forbid you to discuss about compensation.

Humor apart , but back in India I found that this is common topic around water-cooler among friends. I was never aware of the sensitivity of the topic till last week.

But in Japan and in Financial industry environment , it is very sensitive topic. Two employees are fired recently in firm X for openly discussing about Bonus issues and others are reminded that this is confidential matter.

I was surprised and turn to Google to satisfy curiosity.
  • In one of the surveys 51% mentioned that there is no policy regarding pay-confidentiality.
  • Surprisingly in some of places ,it is illegal to forbid employees , and they can share information about wages.
  • I personally feel that this is little gray area , as packages of top management are published and considered a good governance practice. Further salaries are openly discussed with recruiters and with tax-consultants.
  • Simple web-search or even casual talk with other HR-executives shows that there is no clarity about this topic and no concrete answers available. I would like to hear some views on this. Any pointers to legal articles will be highly appreciated

Friday, 17 October, 2008

Unavoidable Lay offs & Coping with them.

Indian Blogs are buzzed with different views about Jet-layoff . Responses varies from Corporate social responsibility of jet to unavoidable nature of lay-offs .

Though the different views are genuine and true in its nature , the fact remains that Lay offs are reality of our times. ( Air-India's so called unpaid leave is essentially same as the period is pretty long , it is in years ).

In this globalized economy flickering of butterfly in one corner of world creates storms in other part of world. And current economic events are more than that flickering.

First we need to accept the fact that job-loss is going to be part of life. Even the country like Japan ,where life-time employment was norm was not immune from this. Specially after recent financial turmoil.

Now once we accept the fact , lets jot down some points ,
  • Always prepare for worst - My one of the mentor used to say keep your CV always polished. ( we were part of a mission critical 24X7 environment where things can go wrong any time ,in spite of all precautions. So be always ready. )
  • Never burn bridges and quit on good terms. For a mass lay-off , your performance is not responsible. So pick up a recommendation letter.
  • Your network is a best place to start searching job. Even previous employer may have a position for you.
  • Do you have unemployment insurance ? It is best bet in mass lay-offs.
  • How about sharpening skills ? Picking up those skills or courses ,which you always wanted to do .
  • Isn't it a good time to take a hard look at your goals and career. This is a good time to think about career-change as well . Little search will show that forced departure opens more satisfying career for many job-seekers.
  • Did I mention to keep tight tab on expense and not to use that credit card for a while ?

Monday, 29 September, 2008

Begining ...

Once Upon a time ....

No stories here . Just plain my thoughts !!.
I am currently located in Tokyo ,and finding ways to "do different" or/and "find outlet for my inner voice". This blog is attempt towards that.

I find people & all sorts questions about them very interesting.
This is true for Individuals and groups and equally true for human aspect of organizations ( Both For Profit and Not for Profit Units ) , I guess this covers every aspect of so called HR , and That is the reason I titled this blog as "HR Universe".

I have made up my mind to post regularly my thoughts on relevant to this and looking forward for your feedback.