The new technique of Performance reviews


PR is different in different companies and the aim is to align employees to the goals of the company. But all said and done PR can create mixed emotions in employees and many feel stressful to know the shortcomings.

Performance reviews thru ratings also have shortcomings because of the bias in the perceptions it carries and it is imperfect science.

So in many ways Performance reviews are having challenges that will not bring the best intentions of the management nor satisfies employees.

I felt this whole exercise needs to be redefined in different ways. The following are my thoughts on this.  Please do not hesitate to add your feedback or comments.

This exercise should be preferably done by HR or Admin teams.

  • For the present financial year, HR with help from sales, marketing, and management teams should prepare a chart. That should contain details of required skills, competencies, overall revenue targets, expected sales, expected new skills, competencies needed etc. in the form a visual representation. This competencies/skills can be categorized on employee designations if needed and corresponding revenue targets should be matched.
  • HR should then make another matching visual representation of Skills, competencies and experiences of each employee and distribute the revenue targets across them. This can be done in the form of potential revenue generation capabilities and expected competencies in the form of what could be realized if a new skill is acquired. A sample for an employee by name Bob is as follows

PR

  • By categorizing the required competencies of each area and matching the same with specific employees skills will throw open the gaps that still need to be fulfilled by Bob.
  • Revenue targets that matches the above employee’s skills, competencies, experiences should be matched to each employee and discounted.
  • Now it becomes clear that there will be gaps due to forecasted sales in areas that need new competencies, or deficiencies in certain areas for people whose role needs that skill or competency or experience.
  • That should be made visible to employee and employer in a centralized location and accessible to everyone. As the employee meets the revenue targets or skills targets in the form of deliveries in the new skills area, data values of the above graphs should be adjusted during the year. That will instantly provide information to both employee and employer about the performance of every one.
  • Same exercise should be repeated for any other target areas such as employee’s growth, special contributions etc. as needed by the company.

There are several advantages with the above method. It makes employees to check their improvements as and when they want and becomes a major morale booster when they see the graph’s real time changes. It helps management to take corrective action and help employees as needed. PR exercise becomes much easier, seamless and highly visible.

Ultimately every PR aim is to achieve high productivity, keep employees happy, equip them with skills that are needed, help them to grow along with the organization, pay well and at the same time make sure the company’s target goals are achieved.

What helps firms to become successful in reaching their goals is by documenting major risks,  issues, potential problems, Known resolutions, ways of mitigating issues (example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andon_(manufacturing) )  and helping employees to have access to the knowledge database so they won’t repeat the mistakes.

Your thoughts please. ..

 

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A new Proposal to Modernize farming In India and end Farmer suicides.


Climate change is the real game changer for this initiative. Small and medium Farmers are not equipped to deal /understand planets changing food habitat. I wrote about this way back in 2011. https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/climate-change-get-used-to-new-kind-of-food/

The new idea to solve the problems of farmers is as follows.

Milestones that can be achieved : Banks spared from Loan losses, rural employment, Evolution of new business models, increase in soil fertility, crop yields due to scientific farming methods, agri-soil data analytics,  climate analytics, productivity gains in food supply logistics, new startups possibility and rural villages will thrive. Reduction/Elimination of corruption in agricultural activities .

Problem:

Small and medium farmers are succumbing to the enormous amount of debts, rising cost of living and failure of crops due to drought or excess rainfall or due to bad quality seeds and poor farming practices.

Banks stopped giving fresh loans, the government reimbursements end up paying old debts, fertilizer prizes are skyrocketing and private loan sharks loot whatever is left with the poor families of the farmer.

Banks targeted loan payments is 15, 000 crores but they disbursed just 6000 crores according to a regional newspaper article (link provided below).

Even if farmer succeed to raise crops the middle men robs the profits by paying a fraction of the amount and making bumper profits from the sales of the farmers yields in the open market. This is because all these small farmers do not have the financial leverage to store their produce nor to take it to the markets and sell.

On top of it the politicians use the situation for their advantage in the form of short term popular policies to garner more votes. They do not sincerely show empathy, passion to solve the problem.

Even if they announce policies with good intention there is no strict follow up to the end and in the name of these policies political and middle men swindle more money. In a nutshell there is no proper planning/auditing till the “LAST MILE” in everything the Government does constantly for ever.

The consequences: Due to above factors and many other reasons farmers are attempting suicide and families are coming on to the roads.

The situation is grave in many southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana   India.

In regional newspaper (http://eenadu.net/news/newsitem.aspx?item=hyd-panel&no=1 ) the following statistics are given about the farmers suicides.

In the above states since 1997 till 2013 the suicides have risen from 1097 to 2014 and during 2015 there are around 1000 suicides.

The situation is becoming worse for the farmers who feed the nations billions of people.

The present solution:

Government implements popular measures of reimbursements, short term help to farmers in the form of subsidy and other methods. All of the present methods are short term solutions without any substantial benefits to the farmers for long term.

The policies of the government appears as a reaction measures only not preventive measures.

Opposition parties try their best to gain sympathy for more votes for their future elections from this fiasco.

The failure of the present solution

Some of these reimbursements end up with several rich farmers, politicians, their coterie of gangs and fake account holders who capitalize on these more than the real farmers who needs them. The whole system of reimbursement is full of looting and exploitation by some vested interests starting from the politician to influential people in the society.

The same thing happens in several other infrastructure developments, where government money is spent. These cartel of powerful politician, businessmen and their coterie of gangs make the most of every developmental work in India. The results of the infrastructure development is of low quality work and creates bad image about the country to outsiders.

The new solution:

To solve the vexing problem I propose the following solutions.

The gist of the proposal is to change the language and the perception of problem definition in order to get a right solution.

I redefined this problem from a corporate perceptive and framed my question of the problem. The question is now reframed as follows.

“How to sustain a business for long term while solving the present challenges”

By focusing on the problem in several other form of questions as above I could come to the following solution. If implemented this will solve several problems, country like India faces.

My purpose is to bring agricultural practices to a level playing field across the country with global best practices implemented with grassroot realities and development.

  1. Under national skills development program train students/ others who are interested in Agriculture to modern farming methods sourcing the best practices from countries such as Israel.
  2. Educate the farmers to outsource their lands for a fixed amount payable quarterly or half yearly. The land still belongs to them but the work is outsourced to professional farming companies. Pool all the small and medium farmers’ lands together to make a large agricultural land available for large scale farming with most modern methods sourced from across the globe.
  3. Use the trained students / others / owners of the farm lands to work in the fields with the best international practice implementations. Pay for their work as regular salaries or for a fixed price. Job creation for rural youth.
  4. Rope in venture capital funding agencies, businesses and global equity / money market funds and encourage them to invest in agriculture with tax benefits for the investments.
  5. Allow start up entrepreneurs work closely with cultivators to come up with new apps, products , services , storage facilities, logistics and other closely related works with venture funds made available for them.
  6. Support start-up companies that handle the logistics of preserving the food grains , transporting food till it reaches every house hold.
  7. Let government not involved in the whole supply chain logistics including the Last Mile but make sure to monitor strictly the whole process with regular checks and cross checks.

Benefits from the above method:

  1. Farmers are assured with fixed incomes from their lands.
  2. Banks need not take the burden of non-payment of loans nor they need not allocate huge amounts for loans and end up with NPA’s (Non-performing assets).
  3. Government need not spend huge amounts on reimbursements
  4. Eliminate middle men, brokers from the food supply chain.
  5. Provide opportunities for start-up business to flourish which will in turn gives more employment to rural youth.
  6. Land pooling will help in producing more and diversified crops with yields better than segmented pieces of lands cultivation.
  7. Misuse or excess use of fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides can be eliminated since the farming is done by professionals.
  8. Helps in streamlining of food supply chain logistics and encourages ancillary units development in and around the villages.
  9. Local youth will become productive by honing their farming skills in the national skills development program and they get exposure to industry best practices. Solves unemployment and youth turning to crime problems.
  10. Helps entrepreneurs to come up with more start up ideas around agriculture with agricultural e commerce , apps development in ebay like auctions to flipkart like retails sales.
  • Provides opportunity for new business models to evolve from this.

Conclusion.

Check this video of the reality of the food problem and other facts about Indian situations . http://www.storypick.com/man-in-bus-video/

With further honing of the above idea Government can focus on support and sustenance of the projects and private professional players taking care of the real work. Slowly government can untangle from Commerce /business completely, by gradually outsourcing all the work to outside agencies and that will reduce the corruption in the country to a large extent.

I felt this is the best method to end Corruption in the country because the roots of all corruption starts from powerful politician, businessmen and percolates down to different government agencies.

Landbank

Wireless internet access using LED, Software tool for Disaster areas


Wireless internet data from LED Bulbs

A German physicist Mr.Harald Hass  has come up with a promising new technology named D-light for accessing internet wirelessly using Led bulb

By flickering the light from a single LED, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower — and do it in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.

It has new applications in hospitals, airplanes, military, and even underwater. Click here to watch his demo at ted.

http://www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_wireless_data_from_every_light_bulb.html

The findings are already in practice in different forms in many research labs across the globe. Here is a link to what others have found about using the flickering light bulb for transmitting data wirelessly.

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/led-lights-internet-lvx-dec-27-2010

Wireless communication when everything breaks down during a disaster.

During a disaster relief agencies depend on satellite phones for communications. But they are expensive to buy and use. Here is a company that came up with a cheaper alternative software code that can be used to communicate information from a disaster zone.

http://thelifenetwork.org/

You need to download the software code(free to download) to your laptop or phone and can use in the absence of vital internet access. For extra service like texting you might have to pay a small fees for use. Still it is considered way cheaper than using satellite phones.

The company partnered with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, which will help deploy the service in communications-poor areas that have been hit hard by recent cyclones.

Bladeless table fans

Dyson an American company found a way to create a fan that does not have blades and called air multiplier. Dyson’s air multiplier blows a single sheet of air. The slope of wing creates negative pressure around the moving air sheet–thus sucking more air along for the ride. Thus while blowing little air the fan uses less current and gives out more air. Check more here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A3IM06xgr0

Jobs if you write code here http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/08/programming-challenges-benefit-job-seekers-and-employers/ 

 

Pure water from salt water the cheaper way. Refrigerated by sunlight


Here is a a sustainable and useful idea for those living near the sea to use ocean water to get pure water. A clever design by Gabriel Diamanti gives 5 liters of fresh water from salt water. The method is very simple. He built a clay pot, a solar plate to heat and vaporize the salt water for desalination (vaporizing  salt water) , a metal base and collecting vessel.  Sun heats the salt water and condensation takes place. The water vapor is then collected at the bottom where it is cooler than on the top. This water is pure water and drinkable. Salt and other waste is cleaned out from the top for reuse of the same for more water.  Five Liters of  water can be collected on a good sunlight day. This idea should be made popular in our country since it is very cheap and effective way of collecting pure water in small scale by villagers. The following links gives you the pictures and the idea of how to build one for yourselves.

http://www.gabrielediamanti.com/projects/eliodomestico

http://www.core77designawards.com/2012/recipients/eliodomestico/

For more water related resources check the below websites.

http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

http://water.org/news/resources/

For those students who want to do live projects the below resources gives you more ideas. Check them

http://www.gabrielediamanti.com/

http://jap.hu/electronic/

http://www.ifixit.com/

http://www.semiconductor-today.com/news_items/2012/SEP/NTNU_170912.html

http://www.ideo.com/work/#work_categories

http://www.new-startups.com/electronics/

http://iprojectideas.blogspot.in/2009/09/civil-engineering-project-ideas.html

http://www.diynetwork.com/

http://www.codeforge.com/s/0/software-mini-projects

http://www.lce.com/Mechanical_Engineering_Project_Examples_327.html

Refrigeration by sunlight

Science  daily carries a article on how sun’s rays are used for cooling food that is kept in a fridge. The process involves heating water to 200 degrees F and then uses the heat to drive a compressor that lowers the temperature of a refrigerant in the fridge. With very hot climate in India I think this is a good solution of keeping farmers vegetable and fruit crops fresh until they are sold in the market. This method is environment friendly, reduces the usage of electricity to minimum.

I’m hoping that somebody takes this idea to implementation stage. The details about this process can be read at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503111531.htm

The MEDISCO project (Mediterranean food and agriculture industry applications of solar cooling technologies) has built several of these solar refrigeration plants in Mediterranean countries where sunshine is plenty.  Engineers are using concentrating collectors to direct the sunlight onto an absorber that heats water. check more details at http://www.medisco.org/about/

Butterfly inspired secure currency Notes, Nature inspired technologies


Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security (NOtES), Clint Landrock and Bozena Kaminska at Simon Fraser University, stumbled into the potential security applications of plasmonics http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-promise-of-plasmonics  while trying to find a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells and they instead  created an atoms-thick display that can be read by humans or machines and that shines with the brightness of a typical LED despite using nothing but reflected light. The nanotech driven very tiny holes can be made on the currency notes that they shine even in semi dark light to enable to cut down on fake currency. The technology was inspired by the Blue Morpho butterfly, whose brilliant blue coloration comes not from pigment but the way that tiny holes in its scales reflect light.  There are many other technologies that are made by learning what nature has perfected for billions of years. Here are some more sample of how some smart people and companies are learning everything from nature and adopting it for commercial purpose

http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/21/2579583/kyobo-mirasol-color-ereader-south-korea-available

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4443854.stm

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-promise-of-plasmonics

As per research by  Ernst & Young recently   40% year-over-year growth rate is observed in companies that adopted environmental friendly business practices. These companies have taken a great look at how they operate and what kind of products, tools etc they produce or use and drastically cut down on those that harm nature. By doing that they become more profitable and in turn sustaining the efforts to keep the environment clean. Hope many more companies will follow in their foot steps. For more details on this  check this Brigther planet website.  http://www.brighterplanet.com/

 

You want to change! Just change the environment around you.


Recently there is a flurry of activities going around at university level and neighboring engineering colleges hosting big events, seminars and calling guest of eminence from across the country.  For example there will be “Eclore’10” at JNTUK hosted by MBA students; there was a kite event that recently concluded at RMC. We are having a “Finishing school” starting on October 4th for 45 days for Engineering students of class 2010 concluding with a job mela for participating students.  I will be part of the faculty training students in the finishing school event on corporate (Soft) skills.

I’m happy to note that students are actively participating in events, seminars, competitions and winning.  What I also observed with my interactions with students is that they get energized, motivated and keen to do something new, learn new skills and exhibit positive energy and good feelings during these events. But the moment they step out of that event or lecture rooms they are exposed to the surroundings that hardly keep the motivation and right moods and ideas they just thought of pursuing.

So what best we can do to overcome the environments influence on the student mind. It is proven that creating right environment around students will bring the best out of them.  It is not possible to make ourselves the best overnight by changing our surroundings , It takes time. But you need to start right now and start changing your environment so that it motivates you, it reminds you of your goals, it makes you feel positive about your selves and it prepares you for the future.

My suggestion is that whatever is in your hands that you can change you should attempt. Let’s go with some examples. You can figure out what more you can change.

When you enter your hostel room or your study room make sure that your room is clean and tidy. Clean out the clutter from your reading desk and keep the stuff you need for learning, handy so that you don’t need to leave the desk again and again. The more you move around the less you will be keeping your motivation to sit and focus on the subject. 

When you speak to your friends try talking something that compliments your academic or soft skills or language skills at least once a while during the day.

Try rehearsing a dialogue from a telugu/other languages movie in English in front of your friends while you are all sitting together in a park or restaurant or under the trees. It will be funny and hilarious but at the same time it helps you to learn English language naturally.

When you are browsing internet make sure you read at least one national or international newspaper such as economic times, times of india , hindu , business line , cnn, bbcnews  etc and make sure to note the important events that’s going on. It helps you very much in your group discussions for jobs.

Also if time permits make sure to search on topics that compliment your academic knowledge with latest in your area of expertise. For Google search tips read  “google search tips”  at https://skillsnest.wordpress.com

I guess by now you realized how to create the right environment that helps you to succeed in career and life from above examples. 

Please don’t wait till the last minute for campus interviews or any career related learning’s because it shows you are careless about your career. It also proves your gambling attitude which is not a good sign for a serious life changing event,  that is getting the first job. Think and change by just changing your environment. Leaning new skills or English language takes time. 

We at skillsnest are always there to help in your career path in the most modern way and we are keeping up with ever changing corporate requirements  so that you are always trained on the “cutting edge soft skills “.

Good luck to you and start changing your environment.