Sep 1, 2014

Indian HR is ready for the Tech Revolution - thoughts from #TechHR14

Around 10 days ago I attended India's first ever Tech HR conference organized by People Matters in Gurgaon. I was privileged to be invited to speak at the unconference track in the event and host a Google Hangout with analysts Alan Lepofsky and Holger Mueller. It was also an opportunity to listen to industry leaders like Abhijit Bhaduri, Frank Ricciardi, Debjani Ghosh, Anand Pillai and Sameer Patel. I was also looking to catch up with innovative learning professionals and friends Kavi Arasu and Sunder Ramachandran.

Here's my takeaway:

  • HR Technology is simplifying. The large players are moving to the cloud from on-premise and HR's dependence on the IT function is reducing. Most of this tech even between solutions by different vendors is becoming easy to integrate.
  • HR leaders are increasingly seeing technology not with the earlier view of "eliminating inefficiencies" but understand that tech will transform HR and the workplace.
  • There was a lot of talk about big data and analytics - but I missed the sessions. However I believe that soon we will see a lot of different kinds of people working in HR, like data scientists. 
  • Employees will expect technology to be easy to use, intuitive and not go through a learning curve to use it, and for it to work across devices.
  • There are quite a few HR Tech startups in the Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement space. Some that caught my eye were Jombay, Talent Auction. Now it is incumbent on HR leaders to try out such innovative Indian startups.
Do check out the PDF report put together by the People Matters team about the event. Also read Sameer Patel's perspective on difference between the HR conversation in India with the US. A post by Rakshita on my session.

Aug 26, 2014

Panel on Social HR at @SMWMumbai on 23rd Sept #SMWMumbai

So I'll be speaking on a panel discussion on "Social HR" at Social Media Week Mumbai 2014.
My fellow panelists would be:

  • Heather Saville Gupta - Chief Talent Officer, 120 Media Collective (Moderator for the panel) 
  • Madhur Ramani - Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Stratum Consulting 
  • Ranjit Nair- Founder and CEO, Germin8 
  • Suveer Bajaj - Co-Founder and Director, FoxyMoron
Do check out the other panels and talks here, and the list of speakers here. If you are in Mumbai do try to join us!

Aug 24, 2014

Hangout with @alanlepo and @holgermu on "Emerging Trends in HR Tech & the Future of Work"

During the recent TechHR Conference organized by People Matters I had the pleasure of interviewing Constellation Research's analysts Alan Lepofsky and Holger Mueller

Here's the Google Hangout video of the conversation with Alan and Holger

Aug 20, 2014

Attend the #TechHR14 expo and Unconference for free on 22nd Aug at Gurgaon

Am so excited that the People Matters' team is organizing India's first conference focused on HR technology called The Tech HR Conference on 22nd August at The Leela Gurgaon.

If you're in the Delhi/NCR area and can't pay for the conference don't fret! You can still attend the Expo and the Unconference for free! Details here

I would be doing some stuff in the unconference :) For one I would be moderating a Google Hangout with Constellation Research Group's Alan Lepofsky and Holger Mueller and we are going to discuss about the Global emerging trends in the area of HR Technology and how future of work is going to look.

In addition I would be also giving a talk on how HR and other professionals can leverage emerging social technologies for their own professional development and success.

And there's going to be lots of other fun stuff too :)

Jul 30, 2014

Apps to get the best Twitter experience

Getting to understand Twitter and using it well is not easy, since it is not a "social/professional networking site" but rather an "information stream". Here are some of the tools that I use along with Twitter to have a great Twitter experience.

1. Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck was one of the third party clients which got acquired by Twitter. And it is the primary interface by which I use Twitter on the desktop. As you can see it makes your different streams visible on the same screen and you can add various columns to make twitter work most usefully for you. Tweetdeck also helps you post from multiple accounts, schedule posts, and mute and filter tweets. Go head over to and sign up for a better Twitter experience.

2. Mobile Apps for your Smartphone

Twitter has its own apps for the major smartphone platforms - and one of the real time feature of Twitter is most useful on the mobile. These apps are connected to camera and therefore make easy sharing of pics on to Twitter. Very useful when you are stuck in traffic or see something interesting :) Go here and download

3. Content sharing apps

Buffer and Klout are two applications I use to share and schedule content to Twitter. Both are also great content discovery platforms. Install their browser extensions and when you come across a great article you want to share click on the extension. If you use a RSS Feedreader like Feedly you will also see icons to share posts via buffer and other apps.

4. URL Shortener -

Yes Twitter has its own URL shortening system - but is when you want to keep a track of stats of the links you have shared. Specially useful if you are using Twitter for business reasons.

5. Searching Twitter Bios - Followerwonk

Twitter's own search is quite effective - however there is one thing it can't do very well - searching Bios on Twitter. For that there's Followerwonk.

6. Comparing common followers and following - Twiangulate

Twinagulate makes it easy for you to track the common followers and common followers between two accounts.

7. Managing very active and inactive accounts - ManageFlitter

ManageFlitter has lots of great tools like knowing what time you should post, whom to follow and unfollow - from the very active to the inactives. It also tells you which time you should post for maximum visibility. And like Followerwonk has a great Search for Bio capability.

Jul 27, 2014

What I learned after twelve years of blogging :)

So this month I completed 12 years of blogging on - well- my blog :)
It has been quite a roller coaster ride with 2964 blog posts over these 12 years. The real "golden age" of blogging was in the 2004-2007 era before the arrival of social and information networks like Facebook and Twitter.
So what did I learn during these 12 years of putting my thoughts out for faceless readers. Here are some thoughts

1. It's a global world

When I started blogging about HR issues I had no idea who all were blogging about the area. I discovered the ability to find out who was linking to your blog and realised that some recruiting and HR bloggers were linking to my blog from Canada and US. After that I discovered bloggers in the UK, Singapore, Australia. Over the last few years the readership of the my blog has been quite global - see these stats! Indian readership is actually second after the US!

2. It takes a community to succeed

Carried on from the first point - it is vital to find a group of like minded innovators to form a community and connect with each other and support. Without the community one would also run out of things to blog about - and learn new things. A blog is basically a many to many conversation and other bloggers are key to making a blog vibrant and sharable.

3. Give first, expect nothing

A blog is about sharing without the expectation of getting anything in return. My personal experience is akin to sharing half-formed thoughts - like a pot made fresh of clay - and putting it out in the baking heat of public commentary. The feedback only makes the thought better.

4. Find a personal "voice"

Since a blog is conversational - don't make it sound monotonous and "corporatese". Finding a "voice" that is typically you is key for blogging. It could be humour, a sardonic style or straight talking. It humanises the blog, makes the reader aware - even if he/she can't see you that there is a person behind that content and not a "content churning machine".

5. Attention does not scale

I read this statement in Clay Shirky's book "Here comes everybody" - and it's true. When you start out blogging you respond to every comment, every visitor who connects with you. However as the number of visitors and commentors increase it gets very difficult to maintain that human touch. On top of that your blog is being shared on Facebook and Twitter and multiple other networks.

Here's why you should become active on Twitter

Among Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter the three big "social networks" I spend the most amount of time on Twitter.
And I think you should too.
Many people who have tried Twitter can't carry on and abandon it. It's not easy and intuitive to understand as Facebook and LinkedIn. Both of these networks have language we can understand - friends and connections. Both parties must agree before they are friends or connections. However Twitter has "followers" and "following" (I follow 500+ people while 15,300+ follow me) which don't make sense to many people. We are not used to non-reciprocal relationships in real life usually.
But if you persist Twitter can be an enormously useful tool for networking and learning. Here is how:

1. You can interact with Thought Leaders

I don't mean the garden variety of thought leaders. I mean the real deal. People like Tom Peters. Yes, I've had conversations with Tom Peters on Twitter. 10 years ago I would have had to pay a hefty fee to just listen to Tom Peters if he was visiting my country to listen to him. Where else can you do that, eh? There's Ken Blanchard, Clayton Christensen, Robin Sharma all active on Twitter.

2. You can follow experts in your industry

You know that picky guy who won't accept your LinkedIn connection request. Well, if he's active on Twitter you can follow his updates without waiting for his "permission" (unless he's kept his account protected - in which case he doesn't get the point of Twitter anyway) It's a great tool specially if you are exploring business partnerships or pitching to him to be a client.

3. Participate in Tweetchats for Learning

A tweetchat is a series of tweets - in which many people post about a pre-decided topic and moderated by a moderator using a "hashtag" - which is like an anchor text to find tweets about that topic. For example I participate in HR oriented Tweetchats like #IndiaHRchat #HRtrends and #chrdx. There are chats about customer service, PR and every industry. Participating in tweetchats can be an incredible learning opportunity as well as networking.

4. Get to know what's happening around you

The real-time nature of Twitter makes is a fertile ground for breaking news. It helps that many journalists and editors are active on Twitter and you get to know things before the mainstream media does. The most useful accounts in that respect for me are the Traffline accounts that share which roads in which city are jammed due to traffic and which roads to avoid.

5. Utilize non-productive time in Tweeting

Many people who join Twitter say they don't find time to tweet. However using Twitter apps on the phone can make many non-productive/frustrating time (like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a queue) very productive.

6. Whom you follow defines what your twitter experience is like

You might follow someone because they tweet interesting stuff but after sometime you can look and see that that they are no longer very interesting. Don't feel shy about unfollowing people who tweet a lot or tweet stuff that is no longer interesting for you. Also stay away from people who are regularly whining and negative.

7. Share interesting content

After a period of time you will find people following you. Understand their interests and interact with them. Share content that you come across on the internet that they might find useful. Use browser extensions from Buffer and Klout to easily schedule content at specific times.

8. Use Twitter lists to find people to follow

Many people have curated lists of people on twitter. For example I have a list of 525 Indian HR professionals on Twitter and 60 Social Media professionals. In fact you can find every kind of list on Twitter. Use them to find relevant people to follow.
So what are you waiting for, join us on twitter! Happy tweeting :)