How can you leverage Work From Home in the future?

Are you convinced that Work From Home is really the way forward?

Is this a sustainable, permanent solution for the future?

Most friends and colleagues that I have recently spoken to, are really looking forward to coming back to the office. The novelty of working from home seems to have worn off. Colleagues cite several reasons for wanting to come back to work:

1. They miss the connect of being with people

2. Coordination, especially across locations often becomes a challenge

3. Technology glitches often end up wasting valuable time

4. Training new members that join the team is particularly difficult

Most CEOs across the world feel that permanent work from home is not a sustainable option for the future.

However, there have been some valuable lessons from the Work From Home experience:

1. Minimum outages due to extraneous reasons: when there are contingencies like bad weather, lockdowns, shutdowns etc, it is now possible to continue business as usual

2. Measuring productivity of WFH possible: after the lockdown, there is a clear system in place to track output. This makes it easier for companies to be more flexible with Work From Home if someone is sick with a cold, needs to just be at home

3. Limited Work From Home to promote Gender inclusion: For most Indian companies a 4 day work week at office would have been unthinkable. The lockdown has shown staggered working is possible & productive. For working mothers, this could be a tremendous retention tool

This article gives the pros and the cons of Work From Home.

Read on…

Categorized as Media

Conducted a webinar on Influencing without Authority for a Petroleum Refining Company

We had a full house for the #InfluencingwithoutAuthority Webinar that we conducted for a Petroleum refining company.

It was pouring that day in Mumbai (where several participants had logged in from) and we anticipated connectivity issues, however the Technology Gods were smiling on us and the program went off without a hitch.

Most people believe influencing others is about casting a magic spell on the other person with slick talk. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

In order to influence someone, there are 2 things that are critical, even before you enter the Influencing conversation:

1. The other person has to know that you have their best interest at heart

2. There must exist #Trust and a meaningful relationship

Influencing someone is not about brilliant oratory but really about striving for the elusive Win-Win

The participants who were managers from across functions in the organizations, often needed to #influence customers, key stakeholders & even teenage children. They felt it was 2 hours well spent & walked away feeling they had learn a valuable lesson in influencing.

Categorized as Media

HANG ON for the drop that will turn the tide

A story to inspire you to just HANG ON…

Organic Chemistry was not on top of my list of favourite subjects at school but there was 1 experiment I loved doing in the lab…The Titration experiment.

I loved guessing which drop is going to turn the mixture pink. It was fascinating!

Reading the much read story about Kentucky Fried Chicken reminded me of this experiment

At 65, Colonel Sanders was broke, lived in a tiny house &lived off of $99 social security checks. He decided things had to change &thought about what he had to offer. His friends raved about his chicken recipe.

He left Kentucky and travelled to different states to try to sell his recipe. He told restaurant owners that he had a mouth-watering chicken recipe. He offered the recipe to them for free, just asking for a small percentage on the items sold.

He heard NO over 1000 times but didn’t give up. He believed his chicken recipe was something special. He got rejected 1009 times before he heard his first yes.

With that one success Colonel Hartland Sanders changed the way Americans eat chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken, popularly known as KFC, was born.

What I find fascinating about this story is..

1. At 65, most people think about retirement. Colonel Sanders decided to challenge himself & make it count.

2. Most of us would have given up long before we reached a 1009 rejections but he persevered on

For all of us that are struggling at this time… you never know, which drop is going to turn the tide in your favour, which chance meeting, which interview…HANG ON

Categorized as Media

How do you overcome Gender Biases in hiring: a successful experiment

In an attempt to overcome gender-biased hiring, a vast majority of symphony orchestras in the US revised their hiring practices from the 1950s. Many orchestras opened up their hiring process to a range of candidates, rather than only hiring musicians who were handpicked by the conductor.

A number of orchestras adopted “blind” auditions whereby screens are used to conceal the identity and gender of the musician from the jury. In the years after these changes were instituted, the percent of female musicians in the five highest-ranked orchestras in the nation increased from 6 percent in 1970 to 21 percent in 1993.

Gender biases in hiring continue even today.

I recently attended a Women Entrepreneur conference. There was a lady, a successful venture capitalist that was delivering the keynote address. While talking about biases at the workplace, she related a story that stayed with me for many days.

In a previous job with a Fortune 500 company, the HR team conducted an experiment. They sent 2 CV’s for the same job description for a fitment check. The interesting part of the experiment was that the CV actually belonged to the same person…the name on 1 CV was male and on the other was female. The fitment results for the CV which had the male name was much higher than the CV that had the female name.

The biggest challenge is that most people are unaware of their biases. You cant really improve a condition you don’t even know exists.

Building Awareness of Unconscious Biases’ and making the Hiring process “Objective” and “Neutral” is key to promoting  Gender Diversity !!!!!

Categorized as Media

The 4 Things You Can’t Do On a Video Call

Do we really need to go back to a physical office or is Work from Home the best way going forward???

This was a question that would have been a no brainer before the pandemic hit us. Permanent Work from home was really not an option for most.

The question now is…is permanent #workfromhome the best option?

Like a lot of us, I spent 3 months #workingfromhome and I must say I did enjoy the downtime I got because of no commute.

1. I was able to spend quality time with family & friends (over a video call)

 2. Complete some value add tasks that would not previously have been possible in the office-home-office grind

 3. Enjoy the increased “me” time

However, if this were a permanent state of affairs& I could only communicate with my team over a video call, here’s my take on it:

1. I can’t build “Social Capital” over a video call. The conversation is mostly transactional (There is a reason Face to Face communication is considered the richest medium of communication)

 2. I can’t have informal coaching conversations over a video call. (Formal sessions through a blocked calendar have their utility but conversations over a cup of coffee are priceless)

 3. I can’t reach out and “be there” if someone really needs the help. (In a physical setting its much easier to help someone tide over a particularly difficult phase)

 4. Lastly and possibly most importantly, I can’t replicate the joy of being a part of a team.

 An interesting take on Work from Home:

Read on….

Categorized as Media

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Training landscape

Continuous learning is the key to thriving in the VUCA world. Well-designed interventions with a clear roadmap for implementation are critical for a tangible return on investment for the organization.

the art of giving feedback

We recently conducted an organization wide learning intervention for a Global Infrastructure Management company on giving and receiving feedback.

Shradha HRD solution

Our learning journey combined a mix of virtual interactive activities, case study discussions, role plays, and proven behavioral frameworks that highlighted the different aspects of giving and receiving feedback.

The primary focus was on the following:

  • Discussing the importance and qualities of constructive feedback for growth
  • Practical strategies for effective feedback conversations
  • Techniques for handling difficult feedback conversations
  • Identifying your style for giving feedback and adopting radical candor

Program feedback

feedback conversions

This is how one of our key client stakeholders, who was also a participant in the program, described their learning journey.

“I have been a part of several training programs focused on improving the critical skill of #feedback. This one was well thought out and brilliantly executed. I think the factors that helped the program achieve the desired objectives were:

  1. Collaborative effort (Client learning team and SHRD) at the design stage. It was contextualized to address the exact needs of the participants
  2. Optimal mix of great content (implementable models to #giveandreceivefeedback) & simulations to internalize learnings
  3. Well-spaced out program to give participants an opportunity to #applylearnings at work simultaneously
  4. High energy sessions conducted by an experienced #facilitator

Post the program, we are seeing a lot more openness to feedback and meaningful feedback conversation at different levels. This translates into higher productivity for the organization.”

15 sessions of fun-filled learning: Virtual Campus to Corporate

We recently concluded an absolute fabulous 2 weeks of virtual learning with a Global Pharma company.

Owing to the Pandemic, we had participants logged in from their homes across the country.

Our challenges for the program were:

 1. Replicate a high energy classroom Campus to Corporate program virtually

 2. Keep participants engaged through the long intervention

 3. Manage technology disruptions

 4. Instill a learning mind-set into students that were learning from their homes & were stepping into the workplace for the first time

  Our Solutions:

 1. Leverage technology and gamify content to make learning fun

  2. Use workshop activities to develop a connect between teams & with the facilitator

  3. Keep the cameras on and encourage active participation, just like we would do in a regular classroom

  4. Set clear guidelines for participation and conduct

 The group of trainees we had were absolutely fantastic. Completely engaged throughout, extremely enthusiastic about learning and completely committed to the program.

Running a long intervention virtually comes with its set of challenges but the sessions were high on energy and learning throughout. Extremely satisfying outcomes !!!!!!

Categorized as Media

What can Women do to support other Women in their journey’s towards Growth and Resilience?

I came across this incredible story of Deepika: Domestic Help by Day, Stand-Up Comic by Night

The story is an ode to #resilience and #womenpower. However, for me there was another take-away; about the people that helped Deepika on her journey.

In her tedious routine of earning money for her family of five, cooking for five homes and travelling by local train, Deepika finds humour—the kind that she shares when she takes the stage at stand-up comedy shows.

Deepika was supported by:

1. Sangeeta Das, at whose home Deepika works, who arranged a talent show for the “bai log.”& encouraged her to take her jokes to the stage. No one usually does that, right?

2. Rachel Lopez, who works with the Hindustan Times, spotted Deepika at her first show and knew she had a good future in comedy. She connected her to Aditi Mittal.

3. Aditi Mittal, an established comic in India, recognisedDeepika’s talent. She took her to shows where she performed and mentored Deepika. Gradually, they shot an episode of ‘Bad Girl’ together.”

Deepika is an immense talented,incredible Woman with huge reserves of resilience but she was helped in her journey by 3 Women that went out of their way to help her discover and reach her potential.

What would the world look like, if we could help 1 Deepika?

Read on….

Categorized as Media

You’re not stuck with the Brain you are born with: the Miracle of Neuroplasticity

During “Move Up”, a program series to empower women managers at a Global Consulting Company, a participant stood up and said the following:

“Even with the best intentions, I am unable to control my emotions when I perceive that someone is being unfair to me. I wish I could do something about my reactions. I’m just stuck with this issue.”

To me, this came across as a plea for help& not someone looking at finding excuses for their behavior. The lady was extremely talented & had done very well in her career so far. She felt this was a major stumbling block in her life.

We discussed the concept of Neuroplasticity and the research that now shows; we are not stuck with the brain we are born with. Science believed our brains were hardwired at birth. Now we can we can “will”our mind to change.

This was no longer about will power& #selfawareness, but was something that had been demonstrated through actual documented research.

The key to making this change is to pay attention to what you wanted to change. When you pay attention to “what” you want to change & you focus your mind on it, this can actually result in physical changes to the brain structure & make what you want, actually come to life.

In other words, when you envision your end goal, you — and your brain — can work towards recreating it real life.

Read on for some exercises to “Change the Shape of your Brain”…

Categorized as Media

Can you rewire your brain for success?

Science is now proving that this is possible to do.

Philosophers have talked about the power of thought for centuries. Now we see evidence in research labs about “our inner ability to transform ourselves”.

Our habits, patterns, addictions (i.e. checking your smartphone when your hands are idle, nervous gestures etc) get ingrained into our brains, which strengthen the neuropath ways for this type of behavior.

The things you repeatedly do are the things that get strengthened in your personality. It becomes a part of your mental make up because you establish stronger neural connections through practice.

So ask yourself:

What behaviors do I want to reinforce?

What do I want to do in this lifetime?

As we develop new skills and continue to work at a desired behavior, changes occur both functionally and structurally within our brains. This is now proven through research.

All it takes to rewire your brain for success is a strong commitment and a lot of practice.

But it’s worth it, don’t you think?

Read on….

Categorized as Media

Why do Women outperform men academically & not at the workplace?

Why do Women outperform men academically & not at the workplace?

Historical data tells us that girls outperform boys at the school and even college level.

Why is it that we don’t see a continuation of this at the workplace?

Beyond the needs of the family, a key reason identified for high performing Women, not getting to the top of their professions is that Women tend to be largely reticent in talking about their achievements & their USP’s : creating their personal brand.

We recently conducted a series of programs for Women Managers at a Global Telecom Company.

Some questions we explored were

1. What is Personal Brand?

2. What is your Personal Brand?

3. What are the tools you can use to build a powerful personal brand?

4. How can you use social media to network & enhance your brand?

Shradha HRD is a Women dominated organization and it is immensely fulfilling to conduct Programs where we can share our experiences gathered over 20 years to help empower Women Managers.

We are grateful to our clients that continue to give us interventions like these, that allow us to add value in so many different ways !!!!!!!

Categorized as Media

Why are Women referred to as the weaker sex?

This is a story that celebrates Women’s inherent strengths

The lockdown has been difficult for everyone. Women have been particularly impacted by the economic slowdown. Some have been at the receiving end of domestic violence that has been on the rise lately.

I recently came across this story that demonstrates what Women are capable of achieving, if they are given the opportunity.

The heroines of this story are not well educated, nor from affluent backgrounds. They live in the district of Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.

When the lockdown was enforced, many women lost the odd jobs they were doing as labourers. A Self Help Group of 40 women used the time to grow and nurture saplings and now have more than 5 lakh saplings potentially worth Rs. 30 lakhs.

The National Rural Livelihood Mission provided the training but the women utilized the opportunity to create true value.

Villagers that initially laughed at their efforts are now supportive of them.

It is my firm personal belief that Women are already empowered. Most of the time they just need an environment that will allow them to showcase their talents and reach their potential

The guiding principle for our Diversity and Inclusion programs is that Women don’t need to be taught skills to Grow, they just need to be given the space & support to discover their talents.

Who better to provide that support, than Women themselves?

This is a shining example of Women living up to their potential, empowered with support from each other!!!!!

Read on…

Categorized as Media