By Nissar Ahmed, Chancellor, Presidency University
This is the concluding part of this two-part series blog, where I had shared my thoughts on why entities from the education and training sector in India do not feature in the “Great Places To Work” list.
I was trying to understand if there were any underlying common themes in the best HR practices in corporations, and I found that it ultimately boils down to these basic points:
1. Commit to excellence – If we need to grow, we need to commit ourselves 100% to excellence. Simply put, for me, excellence means that we always have to try and find more effective and productive ways of doing things that offer positive outcomes.
2. Measure the important things – What gets measured, gets managed! In today’s world, companies are driven by a lot of data and analytics, and this is increasingly playing an important role in ensuring that the organization is moving in the right direction, at the right speed, with the right values. Given the limited resources at our disposal, we need to measure only the things that really matter – both qualitative and quantitative.
3. Build a culture around service – We operate in a sector where the services offered by us is our most tangible product. Providing high quality and relevant education consistently to the students, while enabling the teaching and non-teaching associates to constantly upgrade their knowledge and skill sets is a vital ingredient for success. This has to be ingrained in our culture and not seen as a one-off tactic.
4. Create and develop great leaders – No organization can succeed without the right leadership team in place. One of the things that I personally do in Presidency Group of Institutions (PGI) is to go by the maxim “hire for attitude/potential; train for skills”. There have been many cases where I have entrusted people with little/no experience in handling big and important projects, and empowered them to deliver. Very rarely have I been disappointed! Goes to prove that leaders can be created and they can hone their skills when thrown in the deep end of the pool.
5. Focus on employee satisfaction – Employee engagement holds the key to greater productivity and happiness, all around. Happy employees lead to happy customers – in this case, students, their parents and other key stakeholders.
6. Build individual accountability – Responsibility and authority are two sides of the same coin. Unless every associate knows his/her deliverables, how they will be measured, and their contribution towards them, they will not be able to contribute to the growth of the organization. Individual accountability is a great way to ensure that associates stay clearly focused on doing things that matter the most to the organization.
7. Align behaviors with goals and values – This is one of the most difficult tasks! While the individual aspirations of the associates are to be recognized, their behaviors should be aligned to the goals and values of the organization, in order to seamlessly deliver against business goals.
8. Communicate at all levels – Communicate, communicate, communicate! The importance of communication can never be over stressed. While it’s human behavior to communicate only good news, the leaders must be equally comfortable and competent to convey bad news also, within the organization. Speed, transparency and factual communication is an imperative for today’s businesses.
9. Recognize and reward success – Every human being likes to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions and successes. It’s important to celebrate every little milestone or success and create an environment where all associates feel appreciated.
We in PGI have ambitious growth plans, and understand the importance of good HR practices in helping us meet our business goals. It’s my aim to emulate the best practices by companies in the knowledge economy and set new benchmarks in attracting and retaining the right talent. Watch out for more information and plans on what we’re doing on this front, as we transform PGI into a learning organization!