Dear Learn & Perform Subscriber

Welcome to the first issue of the E news in 2013! I welcomed the New Year in a very quiet way. All I did was to stay in with the family and watch the celebrations across the world on TV. With a quick trip to the UK, Saudi Arabia and India, the month was very different to my 2013 goals: stay put in Kuala Lumpur.  Again, this month, I was intrigued to read about a couple of things: Five Talent Management Predictions, an article by a renowned Indian Professor on the great preoccupation with the Gross Domestic Product and another pertinent article by a Harvard Professor.  

And now to January E news:

  • Workplace Predictions for 2013
  • Preoccupation with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth Rate
  • The Concept of Altruistic Capital
  • ASTD Mena, Saudi Arabia
  • SMR News

Workplace Predictions for 2013
A thought provoking article in Talent Management magazine lists out what’s in store for business leaders in 2013. Halley Bock, the author, says the organisations that are more adept at embracing the following changes and leveraging them to build stronger relationships with their talent will be better positioned for success in the long term. The prediction is that this year will see the adoption of non-traditional approaches to communicate with and engage talent. Firstly, the annual performance review will become history as conversations about specific, real-time performance issues occur on a much more frequent, as-needed basis. These ad hoc conversations can provide the instantaneous feedback employees crave and dramatically improve overall communication. Secondly, organisations will realise that money is no longer king. An increasing number of employees will seek non monetary incentives such as increased vacation time, pursuit of personal interests and continued education. Thirdly, social media policies will mature and eliminate the ambiguity and gray areas that may exist. Fourth, succession planning becomes a higher priority as attrition becomes a serious issue for top management. Fifth, organisations will value workplace versatility. While organisations have always valued specialisation, employees who have the competency to wear multiple hats will be greatly preferred. Additionally, millennials entering the workforce are actively seeking career opportunities that offer broad experiences not narrow ones. For more details http://talentmgt.com/articles/view/five-workplace-predictions-for-2013/2

Preoccupation with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth Rate
While travelling in India, I was intrigued by an article written by Professor S Krishna, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA. He argues that countries such as India had to move away from being preoccupied with GDP and start looking at the Human Development Indicators such as life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, sanitation, child immunization and mean years of schooling. The argument that the annual growth rate of GDP to measure the well being of a society is not good enough made sense when I looked at the figures of several nations. Any GDP growth rate without broad-based social progress is not good enough, according to eminent economists Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze.  Interestingly, the Professor says GDP is a statistic that measures the quantity not the quality of economic activity in a society. Inclusive economic development that makes a significant impact on the majority of the population requires institutions and political commitment. I remember Harvard Professor Dick Vietor always espousing the need for institutions to execute the needed change for social progress. Read the article at http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-great-number-fetish/article4345243.ece?homepage=true

The Concept of Altruistic Capital
The field of economics is widespread with the concept of "capital." Human Capital, Financial and Social Capital and the list goes on. And now there's a new member of the capital lexicon: altruistic capital. "Altruistic capital is the idea that every individual has within them an intrinsic desire to serve," Professor Nava Ashrafexplains about her work:  "In an organization, all the employees already have some of this, in varying degrees." 

A behavioral economist, Professor Nava Ashraf believes that her findings on the subject will yield important lessons for the private sector. "As a manager, how you organize the work, and how you incentivize, can increase or deplete the amount of altruistic capital." She says that historically, economists and firms alike have banked on the theory that workers are motivated by earning financial incentives and boosting revenues. And in designing development projects for developing countries, nonprofit organisations tend to follow this theory, too. Traditionally, the private sector has tended to do this as well.  "The assumption is that if you don't give someone a stake in the profits of the organisation they won't feel that they have a mission."  Professor Ashraf says that organisations could motivate employees simply by showing them how their work helped others—in other words, by harnessing and increasing their altruistic capital. She says that organisations greatly underestimate the desire of individuals to serve others.

ASTD MENA, Saudi Arabia

I had the honour of delivering a key note at the recent ASTD MENA (American Society of Training & Development and Middle East North Africa) International Conference, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  Even though I was nervous waiting to be cleared by a young Immigration officer for close to an hour, I could see the pace of change in the kingdom. The day I landed in Jeddah, the King had just appointed 30 women to the Shura Council, the traditionally all-male body which drafts laws, debates major issues and provides advice to the King. And, just a few minutes before my key note, I was very anxious as most of the delegates had not yet come in to take their seats. However just a couple of minutes past the start time, a flood of delegates moved into the conference room and I could see the rapt attention and the incessant desire to learn and keep pace with the world. The young people and the decision makers in the room were so excited to learn and perform and to catch up with industry leaders. The President of ASTD, Bob Pike and a list of great speakers were there. I presented some new ideas based on the work of Harvard Professor Gulati. It was fantastic to have Bob Pike and some of the great speakers in the audience and I was so grateful to Bob for giving me compliments and feedback on how we can make the session even more learningful for the delegates. For details, please visit www.palan.org

SMR News

Staff Movements
Julian King from the UK joins the HR Professional Services business as the Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Subra, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HR Professional Services business. Ramkumar moves up to head the Software business in Malaysia, he reporting to Murali, Chief Operating Officer of HR Software business. Haji Ali joins the Education business as Director, Education.

The 2013 Malaysian Trainers Meet Trainers (TMT®) is scheduled for 27-28 February.  Bob Pike will be delivering a keynote and a workshop along with other great speakers.

Nominations for Asia HRD Awards, to be presented in conjunction with Asia HRDCongress in Jakarta this year, are now open. For details, please email grace@smrhrgroup.com 


With the year end appraisals fast approaching, there will be a need to accelerate performance appraisal completion. The Software as a Service (SaaS) option with SMR HR Technologies – E Appraisals is a very cost-effective option. For details, please email murali@hrdpower.com


Two of our flagship programmes, the Accredited Training Professional (ATP) and the Accredited Competency Professional (ACP), will be run in Malaysia, Middle East and India. For details, please email hasinah@smrhrgroup.com 


Do visit to review and have access to my books online at www.amazon.com

Have a good month ahead, will be in touch in February.

And to our Chinese subscribers,
Happy Chinese New Year!

With best wishes,

Training Programme