Thursday, March 27, 2008

The brighter side of HR

It often causes me deep anguish to see how the HR department is always the butt of jokes for all IT professionals , how everyone likes to have a go at these poor souls who were responsible for hiring them at the first place.Although an engineer on bench might spend the entire day in the cafeteria , a HR guy ( HR is a very gender sensitive term ) doing the same will be called a parasite eating away into the company's resources. No drinking session between a group of IT professionals would be complete with everyone launching a diatribe against the HR department , with the most acerbic comments reserved for the most handsome HR guy.Infact I remember a comment made once by a friend " I am often confused which HR I hate most" ( the other HR being Himmesh Reshamiya) As I consider it my duty to support the underdog , I would like to highlight few of the rare talents that only the HR department can boast of.Although they are specific to my company, I am sure they are universal in nature :
1. You can blame the HR for lot of things , but you can never blame them of lacking ingenuity. The spirit of innovation runs in their blood. Once every year , all project managers in my organization gets an excel sheet with the names of all employees in the rows and their respective skills along the columns .The PMs , the team leaders and the entire clan called management spends precious hours rating all the employees in scales of 1 to 5.Once finished it is sent back to the HR department.Now if you think this is a trivial activity , you know nothing about HR practices.This yearly ritual is known as filling up the "Competency matrix"..who else but the HR department can come up with such a name for a humble excel sheet? Although most employees are currently clueless about the practicality of this elaborate ritual , speculation is rife that the values from all the competency matrices are combined and plotted in a graph to form the " competency parabola" ( the HR is extremely gifted in mathematics too).The area under the parabola is calculated using a secret formula taught in B-schools.The end result which is known as " competency surface area" is than compared and "benchmarked" against similiar figures from other organizations.After months of assiduous research , the HR department would come to the conclusion that we need to increase our " competency surface area " before we can even think of a pay hike.So here we arrive at the obvious truth , but with the HR department's effort this bitter pill is now sugarcoated with so much statistics that you very happily swallow it.

2.The other quality that makes the HR department so special is their literary prowess.Packed with a hectic schedule , they may not have the time to write novels ( or blogs as I do) , but their amazing knack of playing with words and coining new terms can often be observed in their daily communication. The way the HR officials can state the obvious in a roundabout fashion makes me feel that all HR officials are little Shiv Kheras and Robin Sharmas in the making who just need the right break to become bestselling authors.Add to that the older generation of HR officials also have a philosophical streak in them and hence can be future Paulo Coelhos.Imagine this situation: You want to go to the smoking zone to have a fag .After that you plan to spend some time loitering in the campus garden hoping to catch a glimpse of the new HR lady who has joined your company.So a member of the engineering species ( that horrible neanderthal tribe who embodies literary philistinism) would say something like this to his colleague " Kya re ... itna kaam karke kyun company ka culture kharab kar rahe ho..chal sutta marke aate hain". Loud , brash and uncouth.Same scenario imagine our young dashing HR manager..he would give a quick glance to his watch and tell his colleague in a serious professional tone "O.K I think we should now break for a NBS (nicotinatted brainstorming session) ..after that we shall meet in the garden for a OBS (outdoor bonding session)".It might sound like an exaggeration but trust me you will get to hear such lingo very soon in the corporate world.
3. Most importantly , those who are ambitious and want to climb up the corporate ladder ( ah! that terrible cliche) must follow the old maxim " Speak like the HR manager and thou shall rise".There is a very old saying in my mothertongue Assamese " kothat kota jai , kothat bota pai" which roughly translates to " words can get you beheaded , words can bring you laurels".So , speak as your HR manager does and very soon you will get only laurels and the heads of all your rivals will decorate your path to success ( my love for gore surfaces every now and then...more sensitive readers please ignore ).Here are a few examples of some killer words and expressions that will pave the way for success in the corporate world ( I bet Shiv Khera did'nt tell you this):
a) Always repeat words with same meaning to stress.It helps to show your sincerity.Eg -"We will most definetely look into the matter "
b) Always use sentences that leaves the listener confused and happy at the same time.Eg:" We are trying our best to streamline the process".
c) Use words that helps to momentarily boost the ego of your team members.Eg:" You are not just an employee , you are an asset to the company" ( however be careful while using the word asset with your female colleagues).
d) Most importantly , when you face a conflict situation that is beyond your ability to solve say " I am very sorry but these matters are decided at a higher level"
Remember these mantras and success will kiss your feet ( a translation of " kamyaabi aapki kadam chumegi")
So , to conclude , my dear friends , stop whining and learn to see the brighter side of everything .Remember what Paulo Coelho has said " In this infinite universe there are stars and there are black holes , but black holes are born by absorbing light.So get inside a black hole and you might find the soul of the universe" ( actually he has'nt written those lines till now but
I am sure he will write it very soon).


  1. Sublime and touching!

    Though it's quite an irony that IT people have made the HRs a butt of their jokes when the IT people serve the same service to the rest of the world!

    Anyway I guess it's only a HR who can differentiate between the 'vision' and the 'mission' of an organization. And they are so fabulous at boosting your morale by reminding you that you are capable of doing it all if only you think you can and try a little harder. And no, it was absolutely not obvious. And you'd have never guessed it without their wisdom.

    The head of our Humanities department Mrs. Smita Something who happened to be a HR once came up with a brilliant idea to help all the weak students cope up. It was a idea that she was supposedly working on for few years and was experimenting it upon us to verify its effectiveness. It was called VQC ( voluntary Quality Circle). All students who acknowledged to being weak in a subject were supposed to volunteer into thi group.

    And now, what did this group do that differed from the rest of us? They sat on the first bench in class and raised their hands whenever they had a doubt while the rest of us slept.

    And QVC was a idea she'd been working for years!!

  2. The one qualification HRs need to have is being pretty (that I am yet to find a pretty HR in our office is another matter) so that when they sweet-talk you into accepting that paltry raise you are more interested in the dynamics of her lips,eyes and ahem...other strategic parts then the dynamics of 'asset performance' that she is talking about.

  3. And I had plans of taking up HR once upon a time. Time passed..dreams shattered..but I see a new hope in your blog. Thanks'll always be my agony uncle ;)

    On a more serious note.. an extremely well written piece..I lou it!!

  4. you should read dilbert.... it reminded me of dilbert for some reason...

  5. @sujoy: Pretty HR is a myth , they are only seen in interview boards..they vanish into thin air as soon as you join.
    @blackmartyr : ya i do read dilbert at times..n i love it.
    @mansha: never give up on a dream..think of what will happen to paulo coelho if people stopped dreaming.

  6. outright hillarious!!! n ur punches involvin coelho...heheh ribtickling!!!!(even when m a devout reader of his works!!)

    u shud be the next script writer to FilmFAre awards [or may b some corporate awards(taking into consideration ur profnl bkgrnd)].... it will surely get 10 times more funnier!!!!

    "...which HR I hate most"
    HEHEHE loved it...the whole of it...
    i sincerely wish u can hear the laugh i enjoyed wen i was readin it!!!

  7. Another superb blog from you........

    In fact I have become your fan now and has gone through all your posts. You have a simple but powerful way of putting accross your thoughts.

    Just a passing thought...after reading this post and another one about your job, I dont know why but I feel we are working for the same company.

    Are you working for a Indian IT major in Hinjewadi? I guess it will not be proper to name the company here. I do work for it as well.

  8. and our frustration level are same as well.

  9. @Hrishikesh
    ya i do work for a company with its offices at a hint i can say its one of the office buildings which belives in expanding horizontally instead of vertically..ok enough said..
    Thanks for visiting

  10. i could so well relate to it!! its almost a syndrome i tell you! not just limited to the IT fraternity only though,,spreadin fast to all other industries,,
    and its so true,, about the knack for "literary prowess" as you call it,,
    really funny read!