Escalate

‘Make employees feel valued’

Aug 28, 2017-

Kumar Joshi began his career as an educator while he was still enrolled as a graduate student. After completing his Masters degree, Joshi worked for various sectors including the travel and tourism industry, the infrastructure sector and as an internal auditor.

In 2006, he joined the Everest Bank and now heads its HR Department. Since 2013, Joshi has also held the office for the president of the HR Society Nepal.

 

In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Joshi talks about the challenges HR departments face regularly and on keeping employees motivated. Excerpts: 

 

Since the formation of the HR Society Nepal, human resource management has been getting significant attention from many organisations. However, companies still lag behind in developing and nurturing their employees. How can this be improved?

When I attended an HR workshop in the year 2005 in Kathmandu, it hardly had 20 participants; and even those that were in attendance mostly worked for various departments and not in human resource.

Now, that scenario has changed drastically and human resource management is getting a lot of traction in the country. Organisations have realised that establishing HR Departments help with managing employees in a systematic way. That being said, there is still a long way to go when we compare the situation with countries around the world. 

 

A lot of the credit goes to the HR Society, which is a common platform for HR professionals and practitioners from various Nepali organisations. Today, we have over 120 members and we continue to work towards creating awareness about human resource management and human capital. 

 

Sure, there a still a lot of problems with regards to human resource management in Nepali corporations. But problems will remain problems if steps are not taken to address them. And that process is ongoing.

 

There are certain core pillars of human resource management, including while hiring, developing, motivating, retaining employees and finally planning for succession. In terms of these parameters, the overall picture in Nepal is improving.

 

Recently there even has been an initiative where three percent of total staff expenses are being invested into people development. So, even though there is still ways to go before we bridge the gap with other countries, we are seeing some really positive changes. 

 

As an HR professional, what kind of challenges the HR department come across regularly and what are the keys to overcoming such challenges?

There are many challenges. We have to maintain a balance between higher authorities and the people working down the line in the interest of the organisation. At the same time, HR is the focal point of all the stakeholders.

 

For example, staff mobility and relocation is a big challenge for HR departments. The hardest challenges come when you have to deal with ethical issues.

 

While we cannot overcome all of the challenges at once, steps can be taken to minimise the severity of the issue by having proper processes and procedures in place before anything untoward transpires.

 

Having procedural framework helps insure that all employees are working towards the right direction as per the norms and standards. 

 

HR employees’ job description includes spreading peace and prosperity at work. How can one avoid conflict at a workplace?

HR is always in the forefront for any issues related to employees. People are the most important elements in any organisation and these people have feelings, emotions and expectations.

 

HR departments have the role of motivating themselves, while ensuring that others are motivated as well. If people are motivated, there will be peace and prosperity, which will eventually result in productivity, belongingness and teamwork.

 

Talking about conflicts—all conflicts are not counter- productive. Only when the conflict comes down to the personal level does it become counter- productive. Conflict is natural everywhere but if we treat others the way we want to be treated then you automatically minimise instances of conflict.

 

So that is the key—to treat every co-worker as if she or he were the most important person in the world. 

 

What are some attributes that all HR leaders must possess? What mantras should they abide by?

If you are to go by the book, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) prescribes the following attributes and competencies for all leaders, particularly those heading HR departments:

• Leadership and navigation

• Communication

• HR expertise

• Business acumen

• Critical evaluation

• Ethical practice

• Relationship management

• Diversity and inclusion

As for me personally, my mantra is: HR for all and all for HR. We belong to every department and every department belongs to us. 

 

What kind of policies should HR departments come up with to encourage a healthy balance at work and home for its employees?

I think work life balance is linked to several factors. One is working hours, holidays, forced leaves, socialisation and employee welfare related programs, sport activities and so on.

 

Secondly, participation of family members in events and programs like social gatherings and picnics and encouraging the children of staff members for their achievement create a sense of belongingness and affection even among the family 

members. 

 

But, ultimately, as long as they are not being exploited at work, maintaining a work-life balance is a subjective matter that depends from individual to individual. HR departments can encourage this balance but ultimately cannot do it for the employees themselves.  

 

How important is monetary benefits in keeping employees motivated? What are other ways to retain and motivate employees?

Generally, money is the most important motivational factor because if employees feel they are not being paid for their full potential, it will naturally give rise to dissatisfaction.

 

Some people value money more than anything else but job satisfaction does not come only because of money. In a survey our organisation conducted, we found that money was only the third priority for our employees.

 

Giving autonomy, rewards, and allowing employees to participate in the decision-making process make employees feel valued. And this has a direct co-relation to retention.

Published: 28-08-2017 08:44

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