SANJEEV KUMAR JHA, GM – CORPORATE HR RAMESH CORP.
What are the major lessons learned in terms of HR management during the Covid-19 pandemic? What are the major initiatives taken by the group in recent times?
Employee satisfaction is a well-known aspect in the development of a company’s success. However, increasing performance management isn’t as simple as pressing a button. Workers are deemed to be engaged in their jobs. Employee participation has always been a keyword in the HR sector, with efforts demonstrating that it makes people more efficient, customer-focused, and dedicated and that firms with fully motivated workforces are much more productive. These most cheerful and professional people are suffering anxiety symptoms that have never been experienced before with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdowns by governments across the globe.
Sustaining workers engaged and motivated amid the pandemic is not an easy task, so we have compiled a list of techniques to keep staff active throughout lockdown, including varied perspectives from company executives. The Covid-19 pandemic had several negative impacts, including economic shocks, worldwide health crises, social behavior changes, and problems for businesses to maintain their operations. Resilience, employee recruitment and retention, and inventive improvements related to organizational appraisals and requirements for efficient company operations were also among the initiatives taken by Ramesh Corp.
As a business house with multiple business interests, how did Ramesh Corp manage its human resources during the pandemic period?
The global health emergency has shaken the entire world, causing widespread dread and uncertainty. It has had a significant impact on economies, cultures, employees, and businesses. HRM is concerned with how people are hired, managed, and developed in businesses. The pandemic has had a considerable impact on it, posing significant issues for managers and HRM practitioners. Ramesh Corp has looked at the impact and problems of strategic HRM and working conditions, as well as HRM tasks like staffing, performance management, training and development, pay management, health and safety management, and employee relations. The pandemic has shown that organizations must be able to plan and allocate their resources, as well as coordinate the necessary mechanisms and make effective use of their resources and knowledge. Organizational working circumstances have been substantially altered as a result of the issues related to Covid-19. With due respect to the pandemic, Ramesh Corp also switched to remote working, operated work from home, in order to maintain their business continuity during the first lockdown.
To maintain social distancing in the factory, we followed major protocols like working with minimum manpower on a rotation basis, managing staff to stay within the business premises during the office hour by providing accommodation and necessary facilities in the factory itself. As many of the key challenges in company operations revolve around working practices and people management, respondents have claimed that they feel significantly more appreciated. To emphasize the more mundane issues of ensuring that employees have working technology at home, as well as effective communication, supervision, productivity and performance management, employee engagement and support, re-aligning employee benefits, and re-designing policies related to remote working. As organizations attempt to make agile and effective modifications, the role of HR specialists and their knowledge has grown in prominence at Ramesh Corp.
Private sector has resumed new hiring that was largely stalled in 2020. What is the case with Ramesh Corp? In which sector is the group is hiring new staff currently?
The government’s wrath has not spared the private sector. Many firms are facing difficulties to stay solvent. As a result of the crisis, businesses have faced value chain disruptions, capital withdrawals, and significant trade contractions, as well as revenue losses and increased costs of doing business. Travel and tourism, which are direct-to-consumer service businesses, have been particularly heavily hit.
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as women-led businesses, have been disproportionately affected, as they usually lack access to funding and e-commerce which limit their capacity to respond to market developments. As a result, emerging-market imbalances are becoming more pronounced, particularly in the financial and technological sectors.
As Ramesh Corp is one of the powerhouses in multiple sectors including manufacturing, trading, IT, among other sectors, we mainly focused on two aspects like maintenance and regularity. Furthermore, new initiatives and expansion have become crucial factors to retain. Because of the pandemic, new initiatives and expansion were put on hold for a while, but our IT and e-commerce departments were functional and eager to expand at the same time. HR collaborates effectively with the company’s needs and objectives.
Many private sector organizations have reported that they are facing shortages of skilled manpower for mid-level positions. What is the experience of the Ramesh Corp? As Group HR Head of Ramesh Corp, are you facing similar problems?
Competent human resources have always been increasingly scarce in Nepal. A significant number of people travel to Europe, Australia, and the United States for their further education and rarely return. Due to the country’s economic situation, a large portion of the remaining population goes to labor destinations such as countries in the Middle East and Malaysia. Another reality is that in comparison to other countries, enrollment in higher education is fewer. We have a scarcity of proficient institutions, and all of these factors contribute to a dearth of quality workforce in the country. We believe in human development and place a strong emphasis on developing employees on our own to meet organizational needs. I agree that human resources at the mid-level are constantly in limited supply.
What are the most challenging parts of talent acquisition in the context of Nepal?
With each passing year, businesses confront new problems as HR departments adapt to the demands of a fast-paced, digitally-driven market. In order to gain a competitive advantage and improve culture, companies will aim to identify, develop, and retain people in more efficient and effective ways. Work of higher quality engage is pleased to see what businesses and their most important assets, their people, are accomplishing right now, and, as always, wants to assist businesses in anticipating and overcoming any problems that may occur. Organizations’ best defense against the corrosive impacts of weak culture, attrition, and malaise will continue to be feedback and engagement platforms like Better Works Engage. Being prepared and foresighted, with one eye on today and the other on tomorrow, to arm your organization, employees, and stakeholders against these difficulties can be a rewarding and profitable experience.
A. Employee Recruitment and Retention
You already know how important employee engagement is to a company’s overall health and long-term success if you’re familiar with what we do at Better works Engage. Of course, we’re not alone in our sentiments; according to a recent study, enhancing employee engagement is already a top priority for HR departments, with businesses implementing some form of the workforce engagement plan.
B. Attracting and retaining top performers
Due to the crowded labor market, acquiring talent will most certainly be a difficult issue for firms. Employers must be smart and efficient in their recruitment strategies, focusing their efforts on building a strong recruiting brand that resonates with an organization’s vision, goals, and ethos while utilizing all available resources for maximum impact.
C. Relationship Management
For job satisfaction and productivity, a fair workplace with open channels of communication and strong management-workforce connections is vital. Critical communication is far too important to an organization’s performance to be left up to an employer’s best assumptions about what its employees value and expect. Employers will continue to view feedback as an important part of developing a thriving workplace and culture that aligns vision and values for the mutual benefit of all parties involved in order to promote healthy, productive relationships.
D. Strategies for Training and Development
Given the importance of training and development programs, one of the most difficult difficulties that HR departments and organizations have is allocating sufficient time and money to this critical component of growth and productivity. Traditional training and development are viewed by far too many firms as a sunk cost rather than an investment in stability, innovation, and competitive advantage.
Remote working became a big thing in Nepal after the Covid-19 pandemic as many organizations resorted to Work-from-Home (WFH). How was it for your organization? Was the productivity of staff affected?
The most significant impact of Covid-19 can be seen in how we handle our job. Managers have both obstacles and possibilities as the workforce becomes increasingly decoupled from the workplace. Despite concerns about a drop in productivity, the past years of experience have shown that staff working from a variety of places, including their own homes, are more productive than previously anticipated. As a result, even in the public sector, remote working has become a viable option for managing offices. Ramesh Corp has been doing this in several industries. As we are involved in sectors such as IT, e-commerce, manufacturing, and trading, so we are exposed to a variety of work situations. Based on business needs, we’ve integrated both.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people work as remote working became the new norm. As the pandemic forced us to rely on technology, how do you see the future of work? Will we see big corporates like Ramesh Corp opting for more remote working practices in the future?
A positive attitude and excellent relationships open the doors to advancement in the workplace. Working remotely has the downside of making it more difficult to highlight professional accomplishments. Employees will need to put in extra effort to increase their virtual involvement in order to get new opportunities. Employee involvement is significantly more difficult to describe and identify in a remote workplace when employees collaborate mostly via email. Employees who work from home can stand out as leaders by attending virtual events, engaging in online meetings, and maintaining a high level of excitement. HR is influenced by the company’s mission. Because of its safety protocol and the health of the personnel, the Covid-19 pandemic has radically impacted the working environment. We’re looking for several possibilities for our various enterprises. It’s a never-ending process. Prior to the pandemic, we had rarely seen such situations in the workplace.
Performance management has altered dramatically as a result of remote employment. Organizations will increasingly place a premium on results rather than hours spent, necessitating the use of tools and apps to oversee remote employee performance. Employers will need visibility into what employees are doing in order to maximize staff efficiency. Time doctor, timely, and transparent business are some examples of remote employee management tools. To oversee production and cooperation while ensuring operational efficiencies, it may be required to develop a new job role, such as director of remote work. Performance reviews are being conducted on a regular basis rather than once a year in some companies. As managers attempt to assist employees in navigating their job duties and meeting performance standards, continuous feedback will become increasingly important. In the new normal, rethinking goal-setting and identifying essential performance metrics will be critical to managing remote workers.
As a senior HR practitioner, what is your reflection of the evolution of HR management in Nepal? Has the Nepali private sector started giving more priority to HR management?
The share of the manufacturing and services sector in Nepal’s GDP is now over 60 percent. In this sense, the industry and services sector employ a larger workforce and are continuously striving to improve the product, service, and work quality. On the other hand, the share of the agriculture sector in the country’s GDP has decreased. According to official data, agriculture employs a larger percentage of the workforce that is less skilled for industry and services. There are several opportunities in the country, but quality uplift measures are required to keep the labor engaged. When we examine tiny businesses, we can see that the real sector is importing laborers from India. Industry skill upgrading will undoubtedly employ a larger number of people in the country. As a result, there are numerous and enormous human capital opportunities. The focus of the government should be more on the linkage between industrial needs and current infrastructure available.
What are the new and emerging trends in HR that are changing the people management of private sector organizations of Nepal?
Managing people successfully has become a critical component for businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage. While businesses and organizations in established and emerging economies have made tremendous progress in human resource management by creating and implementing best practices and strategies, Nepal’s HR ecosystem is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, during the last few years, Nepalese firms and other organizations have been steadily adopting modern HR approaches. Employers in Nepal are increasingly realizing that focusing solely on operations such as production, sales, and marketing, for example, is insufficient to accomplish organizational objectives and minimize current and future issues.
Employers and recruiters in Nepal also use social media and personal recommendations in addition to job portals. The professional networking site LinkedIn has become a popular place for them to locate candidates for positions in recent years. Similarly, headhunting and personnel poaching are frequently used to fill crucial positions. Due to increased competition, Nepali businesses are scrambling to acquire individuals that can serve as future executives, leaders, and specialists. There is currently a trend in HR departments to appoint talent acquisition specialists who are tasked with discovering and acquiring talents.
The pandemic has forced almost all businesses to digitize their operations. What are the major changes or strategies that Ramesh Corp introduced in the last one and a half years in terms of digital transformation when it comes to work culture, office management, and HR management?
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on economics and livelihoods all across the world. For many, the impact on health and income has been devastating, particularly for vulnerable groups such as women, children, the impoverished and those without savings. There has been a significant increase in violence against women as a result of the epidemic, and caring has pulled many more women than men out of the job market. The crisis has brought home the fact that a strong and effective pandemic response must include inclusive methods. Established organizations have employed innovation and strategic know-how to assist smaller businesses in navigating the crisis and strengthening their resilience. Underserved communities at the bottom of the economic pyramid can be transformed into dynamic consumer markets and diversified new sources of supply by inclusive businesses. By employing technology platforms and grassroots communication methods to convey critical health information and supplies, businesses may play a critical role in amplifying the public and humanitarian response.
While 2021 was a year of rethinking HR and establishing its new function, 2022 will be all about pushing the limits of what HR can do. Some HR trends that are influencing how Ramesh Corp. manages human resources are:
A. HR as a service
The transition from project-focused HR to product-focused HR is one of the most notable HR trends we’re seeing right now. This is a significant shift in the way HR functions. HR has traditionally operated with a project-based mentality. A project has a defined timetable, deliverables, and resources, and it is designed to be conducted efficiently.
B. Designing collaboration
The office’s function has shifted dramatically. It is no longer true that great work can only be done in the office, let alone in a cubicle. In reality, most people’s productivity has increased as a result of the pandemic. Almost a third of employees were able to complete more work in less time.
C. Marketplaces for talent and talent allocation
One of the most important lessons learned from the pandemic is that businesses can no longer rely entirely on external talent acquisition. Instead, they have been compelled to make greater use of the talent they already have due to the limited labor market. This leads us to our next HR trend: better talent allocation through talent marketplaces. In a nutshell, talent marketplaces connect individuals within a company or industry to internal job possibilities. Job vacancies, as well as cross-departmental projects, temporary assignments, and other initiatives are among them.
D. Workplace experiences
Organizations are increasingly investing in employees’ professional experiences to adapt to this reality. The goal is for the company to grow its capabilities while also providing new learning opportunities for employees. Different types of experiences have been defined by companies: lateral, vertical, rotating, and boomerang. The latter entails someone leaving the company for a few years and then returning with additional experience.
E. Getting ready for a variety of scenarios
Above all, the future of work is fluid and unclear. The world has become far too unpredictable to plan for simply one probable outcome. Employees are requesting more freedom in terms of where, when, and how they work. Companies, on the other hand, are being forced to learn how to be more flexible, agile, and robust. The same may be said about human resources.
F. For the greater benefit, HR technology
HR practitioners will need to become more computer aware in this regard, as HR technology is rapidly expanding. They must have digital competence in order to comprehend the fundamentals of algorithms. This will also enable them to ask proper questions while selecting the right technology for their businesses.
G. The transition from people analytics to data literacy is underway
In the last five years, people analytics has had a huge impact on how we manage people. However, whereas only a few years ago, firms were primarily looking for people analytics knowledge, this has now transformed. Businesses are increasingly realizing that they need to do more to properly integrate people analytics in their (HR) departments. One of the major impediments is a lack of data literacy among HR professionals in general. HR business partners, for example, require a better grasp of data in order to utilize people analytics results effectively in their enterprises. To provide better advice, HR managers must be able to access dashboards and retrieve important data. HR analysts will also be more effective if they can back up their findings with business and financial data.
What advice would you like to give to people looking to start career in HR?
HR managers reflect the organization’s policies and requirements. That’s why they usually come across as dry, cold, and aloof. You’ll be able to overcome that weakness once you rediscover your passion. The people you’re seeking to recruit, as well as present employees, will be inspired by your ambitions. Employees are affected by every shift and transition that the firm undergoes. It has an impact on their relationship. A skilled HR manager must ensure that all channels of communication within the organization are open at all times. Communicate with employees not only when they are going through a transformation, but also on a daily basis. You’ll be able to effectively manage their concerns once you understand what they’re dealing with.
Effective human resource management requires personalization. When talking with a member of the team, it’s critical to consider their preferences, personality, age, and objectives. You must keep track of everyone as an HR manager. You can’t motivate people to do a better job by giving them generic motivational speeches. You’ll be on the correct track if you drive them toward their particular ambitions. It is your obligation to select and support the best employees for each department. To do so, you’ll need to figure out what each department’s specific demands are. Develop relevant HR ideas and procedures in collaboration with the management.
A newly hired employee receives suitable assistance for personal and professional development through the mentoring process. They learn how to do a good job. They are less hesitant to be innovative when they have adequate supervision and assistance. Mentoring is not something that should be done on the spur of the moment. It should be a well-defined program with clear aims, objectives, and results tracking. Flexible HR policies and employee behavior flexibility have a beneficial effect on the adaptability culture. Firms with a high level of culture flexibility had a higher level of organizational commitment. As a result, your flexibility as an HR manager has a lot to do with the organization’s overall commitment.