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Rao’s reflections on HR


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 30 March 2015 00:18


It was so special meeting Dr. T.V. Rao after 10 years. Last time, it was at the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) where he conducted a program on Human Resource Development (HRD) Audit. This time it was at the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) where he was featured as a speaker at a CEO breakfast forum.     Overview The name T.V. Rao is synonymous with the advances of HRD in India. In fact, he is hailed as the father of Indian HRD. His concept of “HRD Scorecard” was even before Prof. Ulrich wrote about his “HR Scorecard”. It is useful to discover this remarkable personality, whose work I have often cited in my teaching and research. A new HRD system emerged in India in 1974 with Dr. T.V. Rao heading the movement. It was started as a ‘Review Exercise of the Performance Appraisal System’ for Larsen & Toubro by the duo from the Indian Institutes of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) which resulted in the development of a new function – the Human Resources Development Function. Dr. Rao and Dr. Udai Pareek were instrumental in setting up the HRD Department for L&T and making it the first company in this part of the world to have a fully dedicated HRD Department.     "Good HRD helps attract and retain talented employees, besides influencing customer retention and enhancing shareholder value. The key to all this is having good HR systems, creating a lasting HR culture and values and aligning them with business goals. Good HR systems build intellectual capital, which results in long term shareholder value enhancement. Good HR means having competent HR staff. Competent HR staff, combined with learning attitude of line managers, and empowering styles of the top management, and a credible HR function goes a long way in creating impact making HRD"     Details of Dr. Rao Dr. T.V. Rao was born on 14 March 1946, in Andhra Pradesh, India. He is the founder president of the National HRD Network and the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences (ISABS). Dr. Rao had worked as a professor at the premier management institute of India – the IIM, Ahmedabad (IIMA) from 1973-1994. After leaving the IIMA, he started working for the Academy of Human Resources Development which was set up with support from IIMA. At a time with the prolific growth of HRD, Larsen & Toubro instituted a HRD Chair Professorship at XLRI, Jamshedpur. Dr. T.V. Rao moved to XLRI as L&T Professor to set up the Centre for HRD. Dr. Rao has also contributed majorly in the field of competency mapping and defines competency mapping as the process of identification of the competencies required to perform successfully at a given point of time.     Recent contributions During the last few years, Dr. Rao has been popularising the methodology of ‘Developing Leadership through Feedback by Known People’ (DLFKP). This was developed by him in the mid-1980s at IIMA and worked on it along with Prof. P. N. Khandwalla, J.P. Singh and S. Ramnarayan. This methodology is now termed by other specialists as 360 degree feedback methodology. To popularise this methodology as a development tool, he has started a 360 degree feedback club and has also conducted workshops in many countries. Currently, he is developing HRD Auditors and Trainers of Development Centres and creating manuals for HRD Audit in an effort to make HRD Audit like ISO certification. Dr. T.V. Rao has worked with David McClelland, the initiator of the competency movement, of Harvard University. Both of them had joint research projects in the seventies. Dr. Rao is the first to start in India Leadership Development methodology in the mid-eighties using what is later termed in the USA as 360 Degree Feedback. He has authored or coauthored or edited over 50 books dealing with HRD, education management, health and population management, entrepreneurship development, etc. His most recent publication, ‘Managers who Make a Difference,’ offers many insights for budding managers.     "Dr. Rao clearly highlighted the need to measure HR contribution towards organisational performance. The challenge for us is to have a proper measurement framework. As we are very much aware, what gets measured gets managed. HRD Scorecard is one tested and proven approach to highlight the HR performance in a quantifiable manner. Sri Lankan organisations have been progressing in the aspect of measuring their people’s contribution to results. Yet the issues related to consistency and transparency of the adopted mechanisms has not yet been fully resolved. HRD Scorecard and HRD Audit could be versatile tools in such a context"       Rao’s views on HRD “The HRD function has come under increased focus,” says Dr. Rao. Customer loyalty and retention, technology, money matters and systems have even become secondary as compared to employee retention and talent management, contribution management, etc. issues across the world. As a result HRD has come to focus much more in recent times than ever before. It is important to have a good HRD to manage both short term as well as long-term results. Good HRD helps attract and retain talented employees, besides influencing customer retention and enhancing shareholder value. The key to all this is having good HR systems, creating a lasting HR culture and values and aligning them with business goals. Good HR systems build intellectual capital, which results in long term shareholder value enhancement. Good HR means having competent HR staff. Competent HR staff, combined with learning attitude of line managers, and empowering styles of the top management, and a credible HR function goes a long way in creating impact making HRD.     HRD Scorecard According to Dr. Rao, the HRD Scorecard provides a highly-objective assessment methodology in terms of assigning points for measuring various HRD systems and their appropriateness to organisational goals. Maturity of any HR system is judged in terms of five criteria: clearly set objectives, well-structured components, understood by all, implemented well and impacted business. These components and HR strategies lead to 1,000 points. Maturity of any HR system is judged in terms of five criteria: clearly set objectives, well-structured components, understood by all, implemented well and impacted business. These components and HR strategies lead to 1,000 points. Competencies of HR staff, line managers and top management including the credibility of HR department are given 500 points. HRD culture and values are assigned another 500 points. HR’s impact on business or organisational goals in terms of intellectual capital, talent management and financial parameters are assigned another 500 points. In essence, the HRD Scorecard gives at a glance what you are good at, what you lack and where you need to focus your effort. HRD audit According to Dr. Rao, HRD audit is a comprehensive evaluation of the current human resource development strategies, structure, systems, styles and skills in the context of the short and long-term business plans of a company. HRD audit attempts to find out the future HRD needs of the company after assessing the current HRD activities and inputs available. There is wide recognition that the HR function can be a key factor in business success and in improved organisational performance. “Yet, in many organisations, the HR function has either not performed up to expectations or has been unaware of its required role,” observes Dr. Rao. Hence, a thorough evaluation of the HR function is imperative both to rejuvenate it and to make it more business-driven. HRD audit makes such an evaluation possible by examining the adequacy and appropriateness of the existing HRD systems, structures, styles, culture and competencies.     Relevance to Sri Lanka Dr. Rao clearly highlighted the need to measure HR contribution towards organisational performance. The challenge for us is to have a proper measurement framework. As we are very much aware, what gets measured gets managed. HRD Scorecard is one tested and proven approach to highlight the HR performance in a quantifiable manner. Sri Lankan organisations have been progressing in the aspect of measuring their people’s contribution to results. Yet the issues related to consistency and transparency of the adopted mechanisms has not yet been fully resolved. HRD Scorecard and HRD Audit could be versatile tools in such a context. (Dr. Ajantha Dharmasiri is the Acting Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Management. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Management and Entrepreneurship, Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, USA.)

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