December 24, 2009

HR lesson from Chetan Bhagat

Firstly, Merry Christmas!!!!!!

I was reading this article about Chetan Bhagat which appeared in Forbes India website. While reading it, I found a simple yet very powerful HR lesson.

Consider the following para from the article:
'When it came to taking a summer project, he didn’t want to do “anything hardcore.” There was a placement at Cadburys that no one else wanted, and he leapt at it: “Two months in Lonavala! Chocolates!” His project, to fix a wrapping machine that was supposed to do 250 chocolate lollipops a minute, but was only doing 75. He puzzled over it, but didn’t crack it. One night, he bumped into the foreman, a veteran of the place. Rather than go eat alone in the executive canteen, he went along with him to the worker’s canteen. They talked for three hours, about the man’s life, his children, his struggles. The next day, the wrapping machine was miraculously performing at full capacity. The foreman told him that he’d worked there ten years, he knew the machine inside-out. Until then, “No one heard me. You did. I had to make your project successful.”

It emphasizes on the power of 'listening'. I am sure all the HR guys have been advised to be great listeners at one point of their learning curve. We all recognize it's importance and respect it. However, I feel the above mentioned incident with Chetan Bhagat can be a good reminder to us if we are at the risk of forgetting this basic quality of being a great listener.

I am aware of a few friends working for extremely reputed firms who had to quit their company because the HR did not have enough time to listen to them.

In such a scenario, either we should improve the listening skills of such HR associates or hire a few more HR associates in case the company feels they are already blessed with great listening skills.

Bottom line : No compromise when it comes to knowing the pulse of your associates!!!!

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