. .





Politics & Policy

Aug 14 - 20, 2000

TANYA, returned to Pakistan in 1993 with a degree in management from England and a professional profile rich in experience from theUK. At present she is the Managing Partner of Horizon Inc. Tanya's expertise focus on Human Performance Development, Organizational Behaviour, Evaluating Human Resource Core Competencies, Training and Facilitation.

Tanya trained at the Singapore Institute of Management, is a member of the American Society for Training and Development and The International HR Consultants Forum.

PAGE: What were the objectives for the establishment of Horizon Inc. ?

Tanya: In August 1996, we came into operations primarily as a recruitment agency and began hiring junior to middle level management staff for a variety of business organizations, both local and multinational companies. This was when we opened our doors to any graduate who wanted to apply for a job. We offered career counseling which was an unheard of concept in Pakistan. Time and again we were faced with one problem that stuck out like a sore thumb and still continues. The term to describe it best is 'un-employability. There was a gap. A gap between what was available versus what was required. In Pakistan, skills are not updated regularly, leaving people with redundant competencies. What we refer to as 'soft skills' were missing in innumerable people. We saw another product desperately needed in this market...Quality Training. We introduced a novel method of upgrading competencies.

We do not claim to be gurus of Human Resources, but we are entrepreneurs who understand the importance of human resource development. We are still learning, developing and implementing the same.

PAGE: What has been your early experiences?

Tanya: In Pakistan people often mix up administration, personnel and human resources. In many companies lately management has baptized Personnel department as Human Resource but the department still carries out cyclic activities, instead of adding value to the strategic business activities. Human resource Development involves career development of existing employees, giving them training to move upwards in the hierarchy and induction of new "skilled" staff to fill in the emerging positions.

Though HR in its true sense is a rare find in Pakistani organisations, I am happy to say that the response to its need is improving with time.

HR development is not the end, rather it is the beginning of an organization's corporate journey.

PAGE: Who could be your potential client

Tanya: As such any growing business entity, those with HR departments for support and especially who still do not have their in-house HR departments, are our potential clients - provided they also realize the need for HR. As such no one can afford to underestimate the importance of HRD. We as a developing country need to broaden our manufacturing and services base, transform the existing competencies, add new skills to meet the challenge of globalization. Though, it is said commonly that Pakistan suffers from a very high rate of unemployment, there is an acute shortage of people having the desired skills to fill in the emerging positions.

The private sector has been successful in injecting fresh blood with new skills, planning their careers and also training them to take new responsibilities. The situation in the public sector is rather alarming. This problem is being compounded because our academic institutions are not able to produce the professionals in the required number. At time even the employers are not able to hire the person with required educational qualification and desired level of expertise, hence investment in human capital is a must for organizations looking to acquire an edge through quality human resources..

PAGE: What is the way out

Tanya: I am a strong believer of the fact that the only competitive edge in today's challenging business is the employees of the company.

We need to be more conscious about the skills required for a job, who we want to hire, how we can develop them and finally how we can retain them.

Human investment is the way out...the evidence lies in numerous companies worldwide.

PAGE: What are the advantages of career planning?

Tanya: The basic objective of career planning is that the employees should also grow with the growth of business entity. This requires a very clear job description of each employee, selection of right people to fill the right position and preparing them to undertake their future assignments. Induction of people at higher level may resolve an immediate crisis but the situation arises only if the employer has not been able to groom the person holding the second position. This demands an explicit commitment of the employer to invest in human resource development. The positive point, which we have witnessed during this brief period, is that local companies have started realizing the importance of human resource development along with induction of new technologies. Still they have to work harder to catch up their other competitors, particularly some multinational corporations.