BITS CLUB OF IBA

Human resource practices in Pakistan

Mar 13 - 26, 2000

The BITS Club of IBA organised the first round of the interactive discussion series for a course on Comparative Study of HR practices in Pakistan conducted by Mr. Kamil Shahbazkar, ex-country manager of Philips Pakistan.

These discussions have been designed for BBA MIS V, which is the senior-most class at the Center for Computer Studies, IBA. The participants of the first round of interactive sessions were:

Mr. Zaheer Baig, HR Manager, Eli Lilly Pakistan

Mr. Abdullah Feroz, Director, Efroze Chemicals

Ms. Nuzhat Hussain, HR Manager, Caltex Pakistan

Ms. Muneerah Tanya Shiraz, HR Consultant, Honzon Inc.

Mr. Zaheer Baig was the first of the participants. While giving an overview of the HR practices at Eli Lilly, he said that the core values of the company are the people, integrity and excellence. He further said that world class standards in performance appraisals, training and development and career planning are in operation at Eli Lilly. The 360 degrees feedback system, which is a world-renowned technique of performance appraisal, is practised at Eli Lilly. The company employees are also awarded STAR's based on the STAR methodology (Situation, Action, Task. Result) upon which their performance is measured.

According to Mr. Zaheer, the company strongly believes in the training and development of its employees. For this purpose, regular training programmes are conducted at all levels in the organization that include senior management development programmes (SMDP's) and global leadership development programmes (GLDP's). Talking about the salary structure of the company, he said that a lot of incentives are offered in addition to the regular pay. These include bonus trips to other countries, cash rewards, Chairman ovation etc.

Mr. Abdullah Feroz highlighted the HR issues from the viewpoint of Pakistani organizations. He said that the distinguishing factor between the local and multinational organisations is the emotional bond that exists between the employers and the employees of the local organisations. He stated that many employee problems are taken care of in a more efficient and faster way in the local organizations as compared to the MNC's where approvals from the regional offices or the Head Office are required at each step. He further said that at Efroze the employees are hired for attitude and paid for their skills. Efroze also believes in the development of its workforce and for this purpose, it has its own Human Competence Development Centre, which has a rich collection of audio and visual learning aids.

Talking of the incentive plans, he said that apart from extra commissions and free medical facilities, the employees are also given various gifts, free lunches, motorcycles, sewing machines etc. He also revealed the fact that the management at Efroze has never been late in the payment of salaries throughout the history of the company. All these factors are essential for the development of a motivated workforce. This is one of the reasons why the first employee of Efroze is still working with the company. Talking about the IT related jobs, he said that the jobs plans and compensation for IT personnel need special consideration and usually they are paid higher salaries as compared to other employees. Mr. Feroz said that time management and discipline are awarded prime importance and that they should be practised by the top management before being communicated to the lower level employees.

The third speaker in the series was Ms. Nuzhat Hussain. Talking about her company she said that after the restructuring of Caltex in 1997 the role of HR has been changed from mechanistic to people oriented. She said that in the new situation some of the challenges that HR dept face is:

• Managing cultural changes

• Knowledge Management of company's intellectuals for building core competencies

• Motivating workforce

• Continuous skill development of employees

• Leadership development and training

While highlighting the future roles of HR Managers, she suggested that HR would be looked upon as a strategic partner of the organization, while on the same time acting as the employee champion and an agent of change. Ms. Nuzhat also stressed upon the need for the alignment for the organization objectives with that of HR.

Ms. Muneerah Tanya Shiraz was the last speaker of the first round of these experience-sharing sessions. Her company, Horizon Inc provides consulting services to local companies and MNCs in the area of HR.

Highlighting her views about the current HR practices in the country, she said that most of the businesses in the country are not performing real HR management. In her opinion most of the companies are only doing routine administration work like attendance checking, loans application processing and routine payment of salaries. She also said that there is a great deal of misconception in the market about HR. HR role is frequently mixed with personnel management and administration.

She also expressed her concern about the low profile of HR managers and said that the HR managers are usually not given their due role in the management. She further said that most HR managers have restricted themselves to act upon the order of line managers and have stopped thinking proactively. Ms Tania also said that in today's world the need is that HR should act as a strategic partner to the CEO of the company.

While concluding her remarks she said that HR Management is a prerequisite for any successful manager and stressed the students of IBA to acquire competencies in this field.

Conclusion

The first round of these sessions on current practices of HR in the country, was very conducive to highlighting some of the key issues that need to be solved in Human Resource Management. All the speakers were of the view that Human Resource is the real asset of any company and for a successful organization good management of this resource is essential.

The major issues that were pointed out at the end of this first round are:

• The HR will be viewed as a strategic partner and the company success will largely depend on HR.

• HR needs to act in a proactive manner.

• The HR policies of the company should be aligned with the overall objectives of the company.

• Special HR policies will be required for IT professionals due to the changing environment.

• Differences exist in the local and multi-national business' approach towards HR Management.

In the next round of the interactive discussions sessions, distinguished speakers from the industry will further discuss and refine these issues to help in formulating a guideline for the businesses in Pakistan to follow.

The organizers of these sessions include Syed Saad Hussain, Vice President BITS Club, Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, General Secretary BITS Club, Lubna Hassan, Nadir Khan Feroz, Tazeen Kazi, Faiza Raza and Anika Ahmed.