Mindfulness, Wellness & Guided Meditations: A buffet of Employee Assistance Programs

Recently, my employer (Aurobindo Pharma Ltd) has partnered with a company specializing in Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in delivering Wellness and Mindfulness support to employees, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and in a general to ease the tensions of professionals, especially in the Managerial cadre.

The highlights of this initiative are:

a. A Counselling service which provides a helping/therapeutic service over phone.

b. An App specializing in Mindfulness and Guided Meditations, with a 7-Day Program focusing on relaxation to the body and grace to the mind.

In stressful times such as the global pandemic of Covid-19 faced by employees around the world in 2020, such professional EAP Services leave a positive mark in the minds of employees.

A point on the adaptation of employees of these services require a change of mindset in accepting the value added by Psychologists and Behavioral Scientists to normal healthy people and not label it as stigma.

Action Research: A few insights

Action Research, a method of OD (Organizational Development) surveying is beautifully visualized in the following diagram:


This is the author’s representation of Action Research, overlaid on David Kolb’s classic Action Learning graph. It works well in focused group discussions/marketing surveys and other training/HR interventions where participants’ actions are observed, learnt and classified to bring greater experiential learning. Although we may not call it Action Research in a formal sense, many of our observations and action in daily life and professional experience are indeed action learning. Human emotion and personal views obtained in a small group setting, when understood in abstract sense and experimented upon, are part of Action Research.

HR Trends, 2020

Googled the following material on HR Trends in 2020: pointers to more AI, Analytics, Super-specialization and Remote Employment:

20-1024x683 HR Trends








A note on Generations at work:

The workforce is now a mixture of the following 5 generations of people:

a. The youngest and most Smartphone centric- Generation Z – who are making their presence felt in the last 2 years

b. Millennials (Gen-Y who are the most adaptable and practical ones who championed the transition from Digital and Mobile technologies)

c. Gen-X (mine, those who first experienced the PC and Dotcom revolutions, Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization, and who know the best of both worlds, now and the pre-1990s);

d. Baby Boomers who are slowly retiring but still hold many top positions, especially in institutions of pre-1970s. Very hard working and traditional, I respect the pioneering work of my parents and their classmates etc). They know the value of money, of plain old telephonic devices and paperwork; plus conventional values..

e. Do people know the Silent Generation of the Pre-War (Second World War) times ? Well, they are the ones with the purple hearts, the real pioneers of modern age and its values- and the second industrial generation. Some of their contribution include the Parliamentary form of Democracy, Postal Service, Roadways, Monopoly and TWI-JI (Training Within Industry- JI, JM etc)..

I will talk about Inter-generational Conflict and how the Generation-Z perceives the Baby Boomers (“OK Boomer”) etc in another post. Here’s a link on that:


Ethical problems, moral solutions


Often in personal and professional lives, the solution to ethical issues/dilemmas/problems is well-thought out moral solutions and values oriented functioning..

For example, if a HR Manager is faced with a problem of ethics in business

(eg., whether to ask an employee to work for more hours than statutorily mandated)


(propose to management to give fair wages to a voice-less worker),

he can use the golden rule of:

No 1. If the decision would be in accordance with natural justice/fair practices coded in practical wisdom and industrial merit


No 2. If the decision would be appropriate if he were in the worker’s shoes (Empathy)

These are not difficult to comprehend and much better than rules based on pure rationality or monetary choices.

Let’s teach these principles of giving moral solutions to ethical problems in business and life. It is necessary to teach such principles to Management graduates at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to prevent moral degradation and greed/mercenary values.

Watch “Human Resource Management” on YouTube

If a picture is worth 100 words, a video is worth 10000 words. I’m in awe of the recent Youtube creations in various domains, including Management, HR and Business Management.  Last year, when I was preparing for GPHR, I referred to videos such as these in Playlist form. Although, specific topics were not covered, an overall picture of the subject’s areas were available in videos and Apps, some of which are highly interactive and fun. This Edupedia playlist is informative…More later!! Human Resource Management: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJumA3phskPG37wk7b8SFY9xu095TmFOW

My first & recent Assessment Center


I Iremember the first Assessment Center I was part of back in XLRI when Seniors’ Assessment on GD, PI, Case Study/Roleplaying and In-tray were coordinated by Juniors…I was fascinated with running a full-fledged AC-DC in corporate world. A chance for this came in 2016 when I could work with the Learning Departments of my organization. Reflecting on this, my take on AC-DC’s are:

a. Using a well tested In-tray (or In-basket as it used to be called) at the beginning of the day coupled with a Group Discussion on the In-tray topic itself works well.

b. Keeping it simple and avoiding too much HR jargon helps the process get accepted by the participants.

c. Choosing the right participants who have sufficient experience and with a variety of functions makes it very interesting.

d. Choice of exercises is important. Give priority to exercises/activities with high experiential learning and practical value.

e. Debriefing is important. Give a tentative assessment at the end of the day and detailed written one within 1 month. Don’t use the ACDC findings for performance appraisal but for developmental purposes only.

f. Preparations include having Assessors/ Observers as well as good Trainer/Instructors, and a venue where participants can feel comfortable and focus on the activities.




Learnings from Campus Drives

Personal Reflections communicated to Seniors after being part of Campus Drives this year:img3

Points of learnings during Campus visits in last 2 months:

  • Colleges located in the city are preferred to those in interior locations by a lot of companies. We found that while visiting NIT Warangal, JNTU Anantapur and in comparison with city based OU and CBIT.  We were the first CORE company in the present year to visit JNTU Anantapur and I believe we made the right decision to visit this Institute which other companies have ignored due to its distance from the city. We could get the cream of really best candidates from here.
  • Quality of students is increasing thanks to NPTEL, quora and other online learning resources. Although many of them still rely on Faculty and their class notes, a sizable chunk of students use online learning to augment their college/lecture based learnings.
  • Although IT/Software companies may pay a little more, many students in streams such as Chemical Engineering prefer their ‘CORE’ companies. We need to position ourselves well and pay on market standards to stay ahead of completion from IT Companies.
  • Faculty influence is strong – wherever good faculty teach strong topical and value education, students absorb and internalize it.
  • In preplacement talk, rarely students voice their concerns and opinions. It is necessary to get to their heart and mind through grapevine and interaction with the placement team and students themselves.
  • Group Discussions: Intelligence as well as leadership perspective among many students is seeing a sea change as there is considerable progress made in recent years in Communication skills. We are indeed in the communication era. However, many fixed thoughts and group opinions based on majority/college establishment values are still in vogue. But that may be a quality of Independent thinkers, who are largely increasing as Internet/Online learning/Mobile Tech increases.
  • Students going abroad for M.S, Ph.D etc are still facing a question of whether to still take up a job in Indian companies till their Visa materializes. In fact, we should avoid students who are confirmed to fly in a few months.
  • If current technologies and research topics are required, the only option is to visit IISc and other leading Indian institutes. We may also need to widen the search net to include Post graduates and deserving students from sites such as firstnaukri.com which aim to connect fresh graduates from Campuses with recruiters.
  • Career Interests/psychometrics ought to be administered to gauge their non-technical competencies as well as reliability, ambition, learning style and other behavioral skills.
  • Team work, Integrity, Visualization and Multitasking: Some of the qualities which professionals need – Only a structured On the Job Training and induction Program can establish GETs’ depth of professional skills needed for an organization such as ours.
  • Assigning the right GET in the right job: Need of the hour. GETs who are placed in roles such as Production or without a proper Task/Assignment/Goal may be needed to be aligned/engaged to ensure that the GET Program is a success.
  • At the end of 1 year, we need to take stock of the happiness/engagement/learning/productivity aspects of GET Scheme going forward.

Myths on HR

Was curious on this topic and made a query on “HR top myths” and here are some interesting results:





I’m not attempting to summarize these, but essentially it looks like the profession, or occupation of HR seems to have got its reputation as not being important, unhelpful and even being non-core and non-business friendly.. We need to change that till the time the whole function needs to reinvent itself in light of new developments in the socio-technical landscape.

About natural leaders..

12 Characteristics of Natural Leadersblog natural leader

(http://mcadsustainabledesign.com/12_characters/ )

  1. A natural leader doesn’t necessarily intend to lead; others simply feel naturally compelled to follow. (Or put another way:  A natural leader doesn’t lead, he or she just is, and others just naturally follow.)
  2. A natural leader is inspired and inspiring, and often inspiring others to, themselves, be inspiring.
  3. A natural leader is the heart, rather than the head, of an organization, radiating both passion and love.
  4. A natural leader encourages rather than directs.
  5. A natural leader enables rather than the controls.
  6. A natural leader holds a deep and dynamic vision, rather than authority.
  7. A natural leader empowers rather than rewards.
  8. A natural leader is not a natural follower.
  9. A natural leader is confident, but not egotistical.
  10. A natural leader doesn’t dwell on problems, but rather is driven towards positive outcomes.
  11. A natural leader is independent and yet inclusive.
  12. A natural leader is a dreamer and a doer.

See also:

12 Signs You’re A Natural Born Leader Even If You Don’t Feel You Are