Straight from the heart!

5 February, 2013

Rewards and Recognition Trends

Focus Areas » Managing and Rewarding Performance »

Three big questions on total rewards

Feb 4th 2013

 

vikramIn order to formulate an effective total rewards strategy, companies need to have a structured approach. Answered below are three questions that need to be answered to create a competent and progressive rewards and recognition plan.

What are the categories of rewards and recognition?

Rewards & recognition programmes can be classified in multiple ways, largely depending on their target segments, structure and micro-objectives. Some of these are “time based recognition awards”, “instant gratification” oriented awards such as spot awards, job well done, smileys or stars, a pat on the back, etc, “functional excellence awards” for exceptional performance, and “engagement based” rewards for occasions such as birthdays etc.

Other common forms of R&R categories are “individual” or “team” based awards; rewards based on the target segments such as “employees”, “customers” or “channel partners” reward programmes and even as the name suggests: “monetary” and “non-monetary” R&R programmes.

What are the current trends and how much do companies invest in rewards and recognition in India?

Over the years, corporations in India have recognized the importance of reward, loyalty and incentive programmes, which directly impact revenue, retention, product adoption and overall health of a business. While airlines, banks and retail companies were early adopters in this category, reward programmes have been largely absent or simply ad hoc in many traditional blue-chips and SME’s. Consequently, such programmes are becoming more structured, gaining earmarked budgets and resources and increasingly being outsourced to experts.

Now, recognition is social. Our RewardsPLUS engine provides an intra-departmental social recognition platform, which allows employees and channel partners to see their counterparts being rewarded and personally congratulated, on a common online medium. Many technology companies, which have in-house reward programmes, are further integrating the social recognition element with specialized product catalog providers on the intranet, Internet and mobile applications.

What motivates employees in India and what are the prevalent strategies for R&R?

A large part of employee attrition is attributed to lack of recognition in workplace. Though many leaders pursue recognition strategies, there is still a high degree of dependency on the immediate manager to execute towards building such a culture. There is thereby emerging popularity for technology led social recognition programmes, which drive uniform and syndicated usage, eliminate “favoritism” and yield high excitement among the workforce. Recognition is as simple as saying ‘Thank you’ or as elaborate as a formal felicitation at a company event. Increasing number of enterprises now provide a “suite” of products, including company’s own branded merchandize, for their employees to redeem from their accumulated recognition points.

Vikramjit Singh Sahaye, Marketing and Operations Director, benefitsPLUS

As published in PeopleMatters

6 June, 2010

In loving memory of my Dad

PapaIn loving memory of my Dad

Mr. R.S.Sahaye IPS

(16th January, 1945  –  9th June, 2000)

Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure,

you are loved beyond words & missed beyond measures!

Barely a year after his birth in Lahore (1945), this infant was torn between the partition of India and Pakistan. He survived the onslaughts and migrated to Punjab with his parents to start a new life. He grew up to be a brilliant student and one of the youngest among his fellow classmates in Ludhiana, Punjab. Son of an Engineer, he often topped the university in academics and started teaching as a lecturer in English (1965-1968). He was a prankster, yet simple & honest at heart, who was destined to do bigger things in life. He Mastered in arts with English as his subject and was very fond of reading the likes of Robert Ludlum, Agatha Cristie and Ian Fleming among others.  He also enjoyed listening to the Beatles, Abba, BoneyM and Indian legends Mohd. Rafi and Jagjit Singh as his favorites.

A little reluctant for lack of preparations and some insistence by his brothers, he gave exams for the élite Indian civil services and got selected with a very high score.  He went on to join the Indian Police services in July, 1968. Apart from the stringent training schedule at the Police academy in Mt. Abu (Rajasthan, India), he took special interest in cultural activities and was quite popular among his batchmates for his skills, wit, singing and above all a very jovial nature. He put his heart and soul in the profession and became known for solving highly complicated & sensitive cases in his career. He was the 1st Superintendent of Police (SP) for East Delhi District and was later the chief of detectives at the Crime Branch of Delhi Police (DCP), where he created a record for the longest and most successful tenure in the department. He consistently got a Distinction in ACR’s (Annual Confidential Reports) throughout the career and was awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious services (Republic Day, 1984) and later the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Services (Independence day, 1992),  the highest police honor in the country. His reputation of being a thoroughly upright, effective and non-political  nature, sought him both - accolades (for those who valued his work) and many frequent transfers (for whom he was more of an “Inconvenience”).

Throughout his tenures, he always kept his family close to his heart and took them along wherever he was posted, be it the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (first as ASP in 1971-72 and then again as IGP in 1990-91), Chandigarh (1977-80) or even while he became the 1st Director General of Police (DGP) of Goa (1999-2000). His intense loving, protective, selfless and caring attitude towards the family was astonishing, considering the round the clock working hours and dealing with many hardened criminals at work. He was also a very religious, disciplined, grounded, practical, diligent and a farsighted person who never allowed his children to go astray with all the power.

He passed away at a very early age of 55 years with a massive heart attack, while at the peak of his career but left behind his uncompromising values and ideals that guide us to live with humility and self-respect. Today, ten years have gone by without him and we can still feel his warmth and love around us.

I now, firmly believe that taking care of your loved ones (especially parents) is true religion. We often pray to a God, we’ve never seen and overlook the unrelenting love and sacrifice that our parents have given for our future. If only, I had that one extra moment with my “Papa” and seize it forever.

7 March, 2012

24hours on the Net

Filed under: Consumer,Internet,vikramjit sahaye — Sahaye @ 10:16 am
Tags: , , ,

294 Billion emails are sent every day. This would take the US Postal department (One of the largest in the world) TWO Years to process!

Internet is touching our lives in intense ways, like never before. Here’s a very interesting Infographic on what goes on in “A day on the Internet”

 

Wonder how this looks for India.

 

2 September, 2011

When Ransom Calls

Why pay tax on a critical business expense such as Ransom?

That’s right! In a landmark judgement by the High Court of MP, Ransom money was considered as a business expense allowable for a tax rabate!

One day Khemchand Motilal Jain, went to buy tendu leaves from the forest, which is raw material for his Beedi manufacturing unit. On the way, he got abducted by the dreaded Raju Bhatnagar’s gang and had to pay over half a million rupees as ransom for his freedom. Jain filed Rs. 5.50 lacs ransom as “General expenses” for seeking tax rebate under Section 37 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 while filing his IT returns which obviously raised quite a controversy.

Interestingly, there were conflicting opinions within members of the IT (Income tax) department and the matter was referred to the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. Amongst others, the high court validated following key points before allowing the tax rebate:-

a. It is NOT an illegal expense

Kidnapping for ransom is an offence u/s 364 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), however the payment of ransom to secure the release of a kidnapped person is not an offense or prohibited by law.

b. It WAS on grounds of Commercial expediency

Jain was a whole time director of the business and the amount was towards his release and expediency. The amount paid was towards avoiding harassment, in this case saving the life of the Director and resume business operations.

Such a judgement does restore faith in the Indian Judiciary system however, this has the potential to open flood gates to a whole lot of new issues. We know some tax payers could go to any limits to avoid paying money to the government. Perhaps a rise in misuse of the provision by staging false cases of kidnapping and other speed money arenas. Perhaps, paying a bribe can be challenged to be no different from paying Ransom and draws the same rebate. Perhaps, this becomes a new line of crime for some unemployed youth in the suburbs having a new “Business logic”. Maybe high profile criminals agree on wire transfers to foreign banks.

The question is:

Should the citizens be given tax benefits by the Government for the amounts paid in overcoming the lack of governance & peaceful existence ? What an Irony!

 
 
Disclaimer: The above article is based on my interpretation and personal views on the cases mentioned. It is not intended to be read as facts or contempt of any court’s ruling and merely for sharing a viewpoint.

18 August, 2011

The honest Indian

“I am Anna! You are Anna!”

“Down with Corruption!”

“Anna tum aagay barho, hum tumharay saath hain!” (Meaning: Anna you move forward, we are all with you!)

These are some of the slogans you would hear from many Indian citizens across the country who are agitating with Anna Hazare against the political parties with the objective of passing a new Lokpal (Public Ombudsman) bill in the Parliament. The cause of Anti-corruption is virtuous, unanimous & about time to be invoked.

But, when you look a little deeper and you will find faux & fable perceptions.

The hapless Indian middle-class, who are decent folks looted by the corrupt politicians. We are all saints and those netas are the enemy.

The hard fact remains that there is No such citizen who hasn’t preferred to choose an immoral path at some points of their life. The largest tax paying segment is this middle class where employees, proprietors, professionals et all fake bills, pay “Black money” to buy a property, give donations to unscrupulous trusts & “Manage” expense accounts to save tax. The fact is that Most businesses cannot even survive, leave alone compete, if they didn’t hide real earnings and grease hands of several government agencies.

So, Who are these selfless angels riding the anti-corruption crusade?

“Filmstars” with their stealthy income, “Parents” who have “Alternative” means for school admissions, “Students” who “Skilfully” escape traffic cops, “Shop-owners” without legitimate bill books, “Landlords” who take part cash rentals, show agriculture income, “Lawyers” & “Chartered accountants” who preach “Ways” of survival in this poor country led by cruel politicians. The mere mention of “Corruption” will make us instantly agitate.

The hypocrisy is comical and melodramatic.

Corruption is an evil! But the Politician is a just a minor element.

Charity begins at home! To fight this evil, the “Honest Indian” has to look within and take the Uncomfortable stand.

I have this strange feeling that the real Mahatma Gandhi would have agreed with this approach. :)

Are you ready for this?

2 January, 2011

Facebook in my life

An afternoon visit to a local market, I came across a very funny poster that said ” Buy 1, Get 5 free! “. I chuckled as it reminded me of a morning discussion with friends on discounting gimmicks in retail sales. I immediately grabbed my Blackberry, took a snap, clicked ‘Share on Facebook‘ and moved ahead. By the same evening, there were 18 comments, ’25 Likes’ and more importantly I realized that my discussion with friends had continued in real time, long after we had left the room.

www.sahaye.comA few days ago, I went to a ‘Reunion’ party of sorts and was thrilled to meet some old friends after more than a decade. Just then, a friend’s spouse said “Hey, you know we were also at the club in the same evening, but must have missed you by a whisker”. Stunned (and feeling a bit scandalized :) ) to hear this from a completely unknown person, I said ” Aa Umm… What are you talking about??? ” She laughed out loud and replied “We saw your snaps … on FB!” (Through my friend’s account).

That brought me to another key realization that Facebook is the Ice-breaker!

With all the recent activity updates and snaps, one always subconsciously feels to be connected to another, on a day to day basis and bypasses any Introductory / ‘Ice-breaking’ requirements :D

Facebook, just another social networking site of the West, had quietly seeped-into & become part of my life. Cognizant of the fact that I might be sharing too much information, it does make me a bit restless without checking updates for a few hours. A few minutes of idle time and immediately I hook onto it. Infact, the mobile experience is so seamless, that I prefer to use Facebook and Twitter on the mobile and not on my laptop.

Is it just me? Is it an OCD? … Well, now it is a Phenomenon!

Did you know that…

  • Facebook has over 550 million members and if it were a real country, it would already be the 3rd largest country after China and India
    • 50,304 links which are shared
    • 66,168 photos which are tagged
    • 74,204 event invitations sent
    • 79,364 wall posts
    • 82,557 status updates
    • 98,604 friend requests which are approved
    • 1,35,849 photo uploads
    • 2,31,605 messages sent
    • 3,82,861 “Likes”
    • 5,10,404 new comments

and counting!!!

Mark Zuckerberg

For connecting more than half a billion

people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is

TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year

That’s not all, Facebook dethroned Google as the “Most visited site of 2010″ and here are the rankings…

 

Well, life is busy… but we’ll surely keep in touch. See you soon… on the new social network ;)

 

UPDATE (4th January, 2011)

Facebook valued at US $ 50 billion, which makes the company’s worth now more than eBay, Time Warner and Yahoo! Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor has reportedly invested $ 500 million in Facebook.

20 October, 2010

Ode to the self

Filed under: Entertainment,Personal — Sahaye @ 12:14 am
Tags: , , ,

At the crossroads of life, you oft become sceptical, reflective
Stutter to a standstill – immobilised, indecisive, introspective
Pondering whether to march on the trodden path, tested and secure
Or to take the road less travelled, enticing in its allure

www.sahaye.comAs you dither over the inscrutable dilemma
Thrust into the throes of a terrible trauma
Even the most cogent, consummate analysis
Will come to a naught-precipitate paralysis

Afloat in the fathomless ocean,engulfed by a torrent profuse
Caught in its cross-currents,you conjure up shores abstruse
But the spider of life weaves a vexatious web
The high tide of hope recedes,reaches its lowest ebb

Much as you fret and fume, agonise, agitate
Sweep it under the carpet, wish it will mitigate
The conundrum gnaws at you, debilitates, devitalizes
You sink into an abyss, no escape materializes

Alas! where is that elusive spark?
Whence will it come and make its mark
With senses benumbed, the mind clueless
‘Is it beyond me?’ you plead, powerless

Gather your wits, don’t be torn asunder
Submit to your inner being, in abject surrender
Within the wellsprings of your consciousness lies the solution
You need only to look inward,motionless, sans digression
For there you will discover a flame -shimmering,sparkling,shining

Its the SELF, which always beckoned, whilst you were whining
Akin to a beacon-light, it annihilates all illusion
Salvages your ship from the stormy sea of delusion

When the SELF speaks,keep your ears open, be alert
The remedies it proffers are simple, the message curt
Pay heed to its averments, imbibe the profundity
Partake of its omniscience, revel in the majesty

Connect to your SELF and you will with an effulgence glow
At your beck and call shall the waves of wisdom flow
Tis futile to look askance, dwell on the outside
When the key to life’s enigmas lies within – inside

Ode to the Self!

Courtesy: http://bhatiams.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/ode-to-the-self/

27 May, 2010

BOOM, Apple beats Microsoft

History was being written yesterday … when by 4 p.m. NY time in NASDAQ Stock Market, Apple’s market value was at $222.1 billion, higher than Microsoft’s $219.2 billion. It’s also the second-largest U.S. stock by market value, behind oil company Exxon Mobil Corp., valued at $278.6 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

A New World Order has arrived…

Apple Incorporation became the Most Valuable Technology company in the world, pipping Microsoft Corporation, which held the crown for very many years.

Culturally speaking, this is a strong indication that “Consumer tastes” have overtaken the “Business needs” as the leading force shaping technology.

Apple: A Stunning turnaround

Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy when Steve Jobs assumed  leadership in 1997. So much so, Michael Dell suggested that Apple should just shut shop and return the money to shareholders. Today, Dell is worth barely a tenth as much as the Mac maker. In the very same year, Apple accepted a $150 million investment from Microsoft in distress.

Steve transformed Apple from the maker of Macintosh personal computers into a trendsetter in consumer electronics with the release of  iPod music players in 2001 and made the popular Sony personal music instruments go virtually extinct. Then came the iPhone in 2007 which upset Nokia in a big way. The latest mega release of  the iPad tablet in April this year is again beating Apple’s own projections and sold more than 1 million tablets in the U.S. in the first 28 days after its April 3 debut which is interestingly, Double of their iPhone sales in its 1st month of  launch.

Microsoft: Betting big on the Cloud?

Both companies have comparable revenue, with Microsoft at $58.4 billion and Apple at $42.9 billion. But in their most recent fiscal years, Apple had net income of $5.7 billion, while Microsoft earned $14.6 billion. Microsoft still leads the race with nearly 9 out of every 10 new computers sold, whereas Apple’s Mac is less than 1. Microsoft has poured billions into its cell phone, online advertising and other new businesses that have yet to emerge as significant revenue streams.

The next battle for businesses, amongst Tech Titans is foreseen in the Clouds – and literally so. Microsoft’s banking big on Windows Azure and the launch of Office 2010 & Office Web Apps are paving the way as against the Google Apps engine. Cloud computing is projected to create over 300,000 jobs in India alone and provide the subcontinent another advantage for managing the world’s back office.

As for the users, Apple helped create “The best desktop computer”, “The best portable music device”,  “The best smart-phone and now also “The best tablet PC” and …. it’s not yet done with innovations !

11 May, 2010

Goggles by Google

Imagine you a are pure vegetarian, traveling to Tokyo, want to pick up a fancy looking food-item from a local store but can’t really make out what the label reads . You reach out to the store attendant who cannot speak in English and you don’t know what to do. Imagine you’re rushing to find a toilet in Moscow, but cant figure out what the label on the door means and passerby’s neither have the time nor the will to guide you. Imagine the same while buying a medicine from a local chemist in a small by-lane of Paris or even visiting a landmark building, unable to recollect its name or significance.

I’m sure you could relate to so many such anxious situations.

All you need to do is take a picture from your mobile phone and you’ll get the answer, instantaneously.

No kidding! Google has introduced the next level of innovation to make our lives easier, called Google Goggles.

Google Goggles a new way to search by sight, with your mobile phone’s camera.The latest version has built-in translation capabilities. Earlier, one could either type or call for a local query, Google has opened a completely new dimension in Local search.

Here’s how it works:

  • Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
  • Press the shutter button
  • If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate. Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.


That’s not all, in addition to Text, it supports ‘landmarks’, ‘images’, ‘books’, ‘contacts’ (visiting cards), ‘Artwork’ & ‘logo’s’

So, just how does Google collect such detailed information for Google Maps?

Primarily, by using Street View cars!

The feature provides users 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views within Google Maps. Google collects these images using special cameras usually mounted on vehicles and equipment that capture and match images to a specific location using GPS devices. Once the images are captured, they are “sewn” together to create a 360° panorama. Faces and license plates are claimed to be blurred before the panorama images are served and become viewable in Google Maps.


Update (16th May 2010): Google says Sorry for Privacy violation


Seems Mr. Pegman wanted more than just pictures!

Google’s Street View cars have been capturing more than just images and co-ordinates. They even captured personal information from unprotected Wi fi connections. Google announced that it is profoundly sorry for the mistake and didn’t realize this depth of data collection due to a communication gap between teams who were programing and executing, but promises to mend ways. The extent of damage goes beyond 30 countries where Street View cars were used and Google is said to have captured personal information such as PC details, email snippets, images, etc. They claim to stop collecting Wifi information with immediate effect for now and are putting in a 3rd party based governance model to avoid any such future blunders. The reactions have started pouring in from all quarters. Greece has already gone a step ahead and blocked Street View unless some guarantees are put in place.

Privacy jitters, anyone?

24 March, 2010

The Great Firewall of China

What started as a hacking bid four months ago, ended as the biggest brawl in internet history this week, when Google routed its 140 million Chinese visitors from Google.cn to their “Uncensored” Hong Kong site.

Google officially claimed to have uncensored its “Search services” – web search, news and images. Yet, the retreat is only partial, as Google shall retain most of its existing operations including its research and development team, local sales force and continue to operate the online maps and music services.

Knowing that  Technically, it’s still very easy for the Chinese government to continue blocking Google’s services, Google conveyed that they are closely monitoring such activity and that such actions will directly impact Google’s remaining local employment in Mainland China.

Google announced its decision with carefully chosen words, balancing the sentiments of Chinese netizens on grounds of Google’s mission to free speech and yet avoid a possible Chinese government’s backlash on their local officials.

Contrary to popular belief, “Censorship” is NOT the prime reason for Google’s exit. After all, while entering the Chinese market in 2006, Google had themselves agreed to such compromising conditions, in their race for capturing an exploding internet population. The systematic and targeted hacking of Gmail accounts, theft of their source codes , accusations of spying on behalf of CIA, lack of intent in the actions of the government against such crimes and most importantly – a clear inclination of the government towards homegrown  players, over a prolonged period of time culminated to such a major decision.

So, how does this impact Google Inc. ?

  • Revenue:- Google’s $ 250 – $ 600 million revenue in China, is a fraction of their $ 24 billion global revenue. Google would’ve spent a bomb setting & running local operations anyways.
  • Market share:- Google’s share in the Chinese search market is just one third, with the local player – Baidu still holding the lion’s share at 58%. i.e. 140 million of the 400 million Chinese internet subscribers. Baidu and Bing will definitely see an upside with this development.
  • Immediate Impact:- Already, in the last three months, Google’s stock price has fallen by 1.5% as against Baidu’s rise of 15%.

  • Opportunity loss:- Some analysts’ feel the opportunity loss for Google in the next 5 years is estimated to be about $ 400 million revenue income from China, which is quite insignificant   against their overall global plans. Their may be a blip in Google’s Android handset launch in one of   the fastest growing telecom markets in the world.
  • Chinese User behavior:- Unlike trends in many “Free” internet markets, the Chinese internet users are basically NOT searching for information but Lifestyle. Gaming, Social networking, shopping, music & entertainment are the real drivers that constitute China’s $ 11 billion annual internet revenue income (2009).

Thanks to Baidu‘s strength in China, they stand in the 3rd place in worldwide internet search with 7% share, only after Google (67%) and neck to neck with Yahoo (8%). Microsoft sites are at a distant 4th position with 3% share (which is now gaining traction with Bing).

Google’s decision to quit China understandably affect Google’s shareholder’s, as one can easily feel jittery leaving out the most populous country in the world. However, Google’s fundamentals are strong. The Google success story was never about China. With the recent global economic turmoil, Google has just about scratched the surface of the immense potential advertising revenue it can get when company’s migrate from traditional to digital means of advertising in rest of the world. Also, Google has only done a “Partial” retreat. Their plans for Android, etc. in China are yet unchanged.

The impact on China & their strategy?

  • Credibility & Sovereignty: China’s stance on the topic is very clear. To preserve their culture and control on public information, all media in China (by law) is censored by the government and Google is no exception. After all, how would the US react if one fine day Yahoo Corporation were to stand up and say they did’nt care about US cyber laws? The problem is that China goes to any extent in meeting such objectives, which includes but does not limit to the use of force, stealth & mercenary tactics even. They are also highly nationalistic while dealing with foreign players in their country (Especially US corporations).
  • Internet & mobile user base:- China has a 28.9% internet penetration with a whopping 400 million subscribers. A large quantum of these (140 million) are Google users. ‘China Mobile Ltd. – the world’s biggest phone company by subscribers, with 527 million accounts, also uses Google for mobile search and maps.
  • Local players & their impact:- Tencent (Instant messaging), Alibaba (B2B trade), Taobao (Ecommerce) & Baidu (local search) are already leading business players. With Google’s departure, Baidu will grow stronger in internet search. As Youtube exits, Youku and Tudou will gain advantage… But, without global competitors, they will never become World class.
  • Local Entrepreneurs:- Another significant impact of a Google departure could lie behind the scenes, where many small Chinese companies, & entrepreneurs, rely on its AdWords advertising service, Gmail e-mail and documents services.
  • Unemployment:- With an explosive population in Mainland China & growing unemployment, such steps will isolate the country from the Global economy and limit the country’s economic growth.
  • Curiosity amongst Chinese Netizens:- It may be easy for the government to allow Google to shut shop, but telling 140 million people to suddenly change their behavior because the government wants to hide information from them, will not be a cake walk.  China may have to deal with great tact to contain the growing curiosity amongst such a vast population. What if they were to find out? My belief is that China will not unplug Google- Hong Kong’s access, but continue censorship and deteriorate their speed & quality such that users gradually migrate to alternate options.
  • Rampant Piracy:- Interestingly, Google (in a Chinese JV) also runs Top100.cn – which provides free music downloads across many labels in an unlicensed manner. There are doubts on the company’s future operations too. Top100 has been instrumental in reducing the Piracy in China which could suffer a dent for the industry as “Piracy thrives on censorship”.

The numerous chocolates, flowers & parting notes left on the Google’s signboard in Beijing office expresses a popular sentiment. Google’s dramatic exit from Mainland China, is no longer a clash between two rivals, but a more symbolic moment in history, which is bound to have an economic, political, technical and fundamentalist impact in the world over in coming times. This could even become a turning point in China’s  communist policies, as well as a revision in defining “A Free World”… and each one of us will feel it.

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