Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gurgaon company Video Recruit India launches web videos for job interviews

Gurgaon company Video Recruit India launches web videos for job interviews
Video Recruit, the only portal of its kind in India, which offers such a nature of collaboration, uses a pay-per-use model and is accessible to businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large corporations.
Video Recruit, the only portal of its kind in India, which offers such a nature of collaboration, uses a pay-per-use model and is accessible to businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large corporations.

Companies spend a lot of time, energy and resources just to screen employees through face-to-face interviews. Coming to their rescue with an aim to shorten the traditional procedure of finding talent is Gurgaon-based company -Video Recruit India - which provides an online, automated video interviewing platform, saving up to 90-95 per cent of the cost as compared to traditional hiring process. 

Through Video Recruit, a recruiter can invite multiple people over e-mail to take an interview, where candidate is asked to respond to pre-fed questions through a camera and microphone. The portal allows recruiter to key-in questions for the candidate and suggests response time for each question. The questions appear sequentially on the screen of the candidate, once he clicks on the invite and asks him to spontaneously respond to them in the stipulated time. 

Once he/she is through with the interview, the recording automatically goes to the recruiter, who can then review it anytime, anywhere and share it with department managers. The candidate, however, has no access to edit or re-record the interview. This process significantly reduces recruitment costs and reduces time to hire while improving the quality of hire. With no scheduling challenges and the ability to view the videos anytime and anywhere, the tool saves time and money as well. 

"The current phenomenon for screening is based around counting years of experience and checking what academic institution is the candidate from. This leads to lack of opportunity to those young minds that may not be from a leading MNC or academic institute, or with right years of experience, but is the best candidate for a particular need. We provide companies with video capsules of spontaneous responses from the candidates, which helps them judge a person on his/her personality, presence of mind, communication skills, body languages even before physically meeting them. This not only brings transparency in the recruiting process vis-a-vis conventional methods but also gives equal opportunity to deserving candidates," said Jaideep Venugopal - director, Video Recruit India

Any company can use the product without making any backend changes to their systems. "Video Recruit improves the recruitment process both qualitatively and quantitatively and seamlessly fits into any organisation's recruiting process. It is only a matter of time before all mass hiring organisations will do their first round of interviews this way," he added. 

ETVideo Recruit, the only portal of its kind in India, which offers such a nature of collaboration, uses a pay-per-use model and is accessible to businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large corporations. Besides, it involves zero back-end integration and no upfront costs and can be set-up with a company's own brand within 24 hours. 

"The service has been designed around the pay-per-use model so that companies only pay for the service, when they are actually hiring and not for the whole year. However a product of such nature requires a lot of demonstration as it takes a lot of effort to bring in a behavioural shift in the industry," said Venugopal. 

The cost of the service is variable and depends upon the quantity of interviews that a company purchases. "The pricing range would be between `800 to `300 per interview recorded," informed Venugopal. The company already has a couple of MNCs as its clients in the city. 

Venugopal says being present in Gurgaon gives them an edge to reach out to wider audience. "Gurgaon is one of the top three industry hubs of India. A lot of companies from the industries we are targeting are headquartered here," he said. 

With the amount and portability of online video, recruiters have begun to look at the benefits of this technology. "At present we are working on a fairly rudimentary online tool, for first level assessment and are not able to assess a candidate's communication skills, body languages among other aspects. With Video Recruit we want to add one more piece in the entire talent acquisition," said Celine George, director of Gurgaon-basedGreenClouds, which provides social media talent sourcing solutions for corporate companies. "Organisations are beginning to look at this concept, but the trend will still take some more time to gain momentum," she added. 

Video Recruit's target customers include any industry with a high attrition rate, such as aviation, hospitality, retail and outsourcing. 

"It even works for colleges during on-campus placement where lot of corporate companies don't make it due to considerable amount of cost, travel time and resources required," said Venugopal. 


Indian Gem: Gemfields' Dev Shetty runs iconic luxury jewellery brand Faberge

Indian Gem: Gemfields' Dev Shetty runs iconic luxury jewellery brand Faberge
Indian Gem: Gemfields' Dev Shetty runs iconic luxury jewellery brand Faberge
Indian Gem: Gemfields' Dev Shetty runs iconic luxury jewellery brand Faberge

 Faberge, one of the world's most iconic luxury brands, is now run by 35-year-old Dev Shetty, chief operating officer of Gemfields Plc, the world's biggest emeralds company. And it appears the perfect fit for a man who breaks the mould.

If Faberge, famous for its jewelled eggs, is about heritage and tradition, Shetty is the ultimate outsider. Achartered accountant from Bhawan's College in Andheri, Mumbai, an early job with Essel PropackBSE 1.74 % took Shetty to London in 2002. He cut his teeth as a turnaround agent while working for theprivate equity arm of the Pallinghurst Group, owned by mining magnate Brian Gilbertson.

In 2007, Pallinghurst acquired 63% stake in UK-listed emeralds miner Gemfields. Gemfields owned the world's largest emerald mine at Kagem in Zambia. The new management attempted to enter the entire value chain from mine pit to jewellery showroom, including a gemstone cut and polish outfit in Jaipur. The plan failed and by 2009, Gemfields had suffered a net loss of $13 million.

The company urgently needed a new team. Pallinghurst brought in Ian Harebottle as CEO and offered Shetty the post of CFO. He jumped at the chance. The task was daunting. Shetty had no experience in mining, no insight into the dog-eatdog world of gemstones.

It had a bleeding balance sheet, and to worsen matters, the global economy crashed.

Shetty still remembers his first visit to the Kagem mine. "I thought to myself, wow, what an operation. It was fantastic," says Shetty, who likes "getting his feet dirty". It took me a couple of months to adjust to the mining industry, but I am still learning, he says.

Gemfields was burning $3 million a month in production and overheads, with an average cost of 90 cents a carat, and revenue of zero dollars a carat. "We knew something had to be done fast. But we didn't have much time and much money. So it had to be something creative," says the Mumbaikar.

"Immediately after joining Gemfields, I realised that the gems business is all about love and being passionate towards your product. This is what I told my employees. If you believe and have faith in the product, just go for it and the results will come," he says.

The new team began by junking the old business model. Instead of the entire value chain, Gemfields decided to concentrate on the segment between mine to wholesale market. It closed all factories, including the one in Jaipur.

"I believe real value addition lies in pricing the stone correctly. Moreover, when you sell through an auction, you get paid up front. When you sell cut and polished stones to jewellers, payment can sometimes take up to 12 months," says Shetty, the quintessential bean counter.

Monthly costs were cut to a third. But sales remained the biggest challenge. Gemfields began holding auctions two in Singapore for high-quality emeralds, and one each for high and low quality stones in Jaipur. "For our first auction in 2009, we invited 50 people. Only 20 came," he says.

As an accountant, Shetty understood risk better than most. He realised that when people bought a parcel of rough gems, all the stones were never of the same size and quality simply because unlike diamonds, there was no grading standard available. Buyers thus always took risk on each parcel.

Shetty advised Gemfields to introduce a grading system based on size, cut, colour and clarity. All stones were graded at the mine so that each parcel contained uniform stones. It was a hit with buyers who could now focus on buying exactly the grade that suited them. Sales soared.

But it wasn't enough. Gemfields needed buoyant demand but thanks to the heavy promotions by diamond miners, emeralds stood no chance with Western consumers. The company decided to become a champion for emeralds. "The world was talking green, green, green and we had a green product. Unfortunately, we had no money to match the De Beers of the world," says Shetty.

What the company lacked in cash it made up in chutzpah. In 2010, Gemfields tied up with the World Land Trust, an international conservation NGO, which works to purchase and protect threatened habitats worldwide.

"Our first collaboration was the Emeralds for Elephants event, where we worked with world-class jewellerydesigners to create a unique 'pop up' collection of bespoke emerald jewellery for an auction held in Selfridges, London. The aim of the collection was to bring attention to the World Land Trust's Indian Elephant Corridors appeal," says Shetty.

The company spent $150,000 that first year and got editorial coverage worth $3-4 million in the international fashion press, he adds. The next "Emeralds for Elephants Auction" was held in October 2011 at the Taj MahalPalace Hotel, Mumbai.

"We broke even in 15 months flat," says Shetty. Since then, Gemfields has added to its portfolio the world's largest ruby mine in Mozambique, and is scouting for a sapphire mine.

"Sapphire is found in Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. It will be a tough challenge," says Shetty, who will be spearheading this effort.

Today, Gemfields earns $84 million in sales, with a profit margin of 50%. Costs are down to 80 cents a carat and revenue up 10-fold to $5/carat. Around 80% of the market of emeralds in India is supplied by Gemfields. "We have more than 100 customers queuing up for each auction while we can accommodate only 30. It is a good challenge to have," says Shetty.

He is cultivating his own tastes in luxury. "I have started building my watch collection. For my wife, an ibanker, I am a very big fan of Chanel and she now has a good collection," he says.

But at heart he remains the simple boy from Mumbai, who loves films, cricket and chess, in that order. Shetty signed up Madhuri Dixit as brand ambassador last year. A top Hollywood actress will be announced as ambassador next month. "My favourite pastime is watching films and TV. I don't read too much," confesses Shetty, who most recently saw 'Dabangg 2".

Gemfields appointed Shetty as CEO in September last year to accelerate the pace of growth, making him the top Indian executive in the rarified echelons of global luxury mining. According to CEO Harebottle, his natural entrepreneurial talent, leadership skills and technical abilities have been clearly demonstrated over the past few years.

Shetty says his relative youth is no disadvantage as a leader. "I don't spend much time thinking how young I am to do my role. This is one of the reasons why I am able to do my job," he says, who counts Steve Jobs and NR Narayana Murthy as his business heroes.

Under its mine-to-market value chain, Gemfields has been supplying customised stones to leading jewellery brands in India and overseas. "We have a tie-up with Gitanjali for a new emeralds-based collection called "Envi". Like Intel, we want to use a comarketing and co-branding strategy," says Shetty.

Being the proverbial self-made professional, he doesn't believe in luck. "People do talk about "luck" or how lucky one has to be, but I don't believe in such things. I always say that if you have belief in doing something, then just go for it. There is never a good or bad time and don't wait for opportunity to come to you," he says.

The real test of Shetty's ingenuity lies ahead. The Pallinghurst Group, which bought Faberge from Unilever for $38 million in 2007, decided in December 2012 to merge the luxury jewellery brand with Gemfields. Gemfields intends to use Faberge to promote coloured gems and increase demand for the stones it mines, growing their market share in the jewellery industry.

It won't be a cakewalk. Faberge has a loss of almost $70 million on its balance sheet. And under Unilever, Faberge became better known for its mass-market fragrance brands such as Brut, the aftershave and toiletries range. For Shetty, this makes Faberge another perfect challenge. "I remember when I joined Gemfields, there were people who said Gemfields will never work and we proved them wrong. During the Faberge transaction, I heard the same thing. But we will prove them wrong too," he says.


Monday, January 21, 2013

How Nilesh Parwani leveraged internet and lured Vistaprint into India

How Nilesh Parwani leveraged internet and lured Vistaprint into India

Parwani did something that most of his peers in PE found baffling: he moved into a single-room office to start a business that few people in India had tried before.
Parwani did something that most of his peers in PE found baffling: he moved into a single-room office to start a business that few people in India had tried before.

So you have started your own business just this week. You work out of home and you are the CEO, customer service executive and chaprasi rolled into one. What next? You want a set of business cards. Not too costly, yet classy.

The problem is that most large printers, who do a good job, print in bulk and the cards made by mom-and-pop printers leave smudge marks on the thumb. "You have to pay a minimum of Rs 8,000-10,000 to print cards or brochures on a good offset printer. It doesn't matter if it is 1,000 or 5,000 cards. It's about covering the cost of putting in the printing plates, running the machine for an hour," says Nilesh Parwani, MD, Vistaprint India. That's where Vistaprint comes in.

For Rs 475, anybody — lawyer, doctor, or even a student — can log into Vistaprint's site, choose a design template and place an order for printing 500 good-quality business cards. The Paris-headquartered company, with global revenues of over $1 billion, entered India in 2011, by taking over Printbell, a company that Parwani founded in 2007.

iBanker to Printer

Parwani, 31, knew he wanted to start something on his own after working with UBS and Warburg Pincus. He briefly considered paper trading. After all, his father and uncles were in it. It was around this time that Parwani decided to print the two books he had written on Excel modelling and usage. "I was clueless about how to get these books printed. Then I discovered that it was incredibly difficult. That got me thinking. Printing is such a basic service, why should it be so difficult?" recalls Parwani. That question was the genesis of Printbell. (Today, the books written by Parwani are part of the recommended reads of NMIMS and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research.)

Then Parwani did something that most of his peers in private equity found baffling: quit a cushy, paying job in a sea-view office to move into a single-room office to start a business that few people in India had tried before. "If you are a large company, thanks to your large volumes, you have no problems. But the question was: if I am a small-time guy and want to print business cards or brochures, who will I go to? If I go to the large or medium printer, I will have to get large quantities to justify his printing methodologies and costs. If I go to a local shop, it might be cheaper but I may have to compromise on quality," says Parwani.

The idea was that Printbell, based out of Mumbai, would leverage the internet to get volumes, and the costs of a high-quality printing job would be divided among customers. Plus, back in 2007, there was hardly anyone in the market who was taking online orders to print business communication (though there were a few companies offering T-shirt and mug printing).

Parwani took another call. He would not go after VC funding early on. "I saw too many entrepreneurs making the classic mistake of focusing on marketing even before perfecting the product or service," says Parwani. So he chose to start off with his own money and what he calls the "beggar of the street with an idea" approach.

See the Fine Print

After some initial hiccups, the response Printbell received was positive. Orders flowed in not just from India but also overseas markets like Dubai, Singapore and the US. "We did an order of 10,000 pens for a Dubai company. The great thing about Dubai was that you could ship an order at 10 pm one day and it got delivered the next noon," says Parwani. These orders paid off. "Our first order invariably was for $10 but the next order from overseas clients was in lakhs," says Parwani.

Luck played its part too. "A colleague of mine [from Warburg days] would often tell me how I was wasting my time in printing instead of working in the lucrative business of private equity. During one of these conversations, I told him about Vistaprint, a company that had drastically changed printing business in developed markets and was recording phenomenal growth," says Parwani.

The colleague subsequently went on to work for a hedge fund. His first recommendation was Vistaprint. During an investment meet with the management ofVistaprint (which was incidentally eyeing Asia), this colleague popped up Printbell's name. A few months later, in June 2009, the acquisition happened.

Wedding on the Cards

Since the acquisition, Vistaprint has got down its technology know-how and processes to India. It has also invested in a 50,000 sq ft printing facility in Bhiwandi. It has 50-odd people on its rolls. The corporate gifting space is another segment the company sees a lot of potential in. "Business cards are our magnet products where we are most competitive. However, we believe there is tremendous scope in printing personal products like key chains, calendars, USB drives or invitations for birthday parties and weddings in a young market like India," says Parwani. For now, the company is toying with the idea of opening kiosks and store-in-stores to get customers to experience the process of customising gifts.


Are you one of these six newly-evolved corporate species?

Are you one of these six newly-evolved corporate species?

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?
Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?

If you are in VikramBhardwaj's line of work, you would be able to flag a self-inflating ego from a mile away. As a veteran executive search pro, he is adept at dealing with larger-than-life self-images, which can make a potential dream hire seem like a nightmare.

But even Bhardwaj, CEO of head-hunting firm Redileon, couldn't see this one coming. For three months in 2012, Bhardwaj pursued a Singapore-based senior MNC executive for the CEO's job at a large Indian conglomerate. Things were progressing well, in fact, unexpectedly smooth. All that was now left was for the CEO to fly down to Mumbai to meet the chairman before signing up. Sure enough, he was sent a business class ticket.

The CEO replied within hours: "Sorry, I am not available." Worse, he stopped taking Bhardwaj's calls altogether.

A flummoxed Bhardwaj, still trying to figure out what could have possibly gone wrong, finally managed to pin the CEO down. And after some persuasion, he blurted it out: "I only travel first class. It will be difficult to work for somebody who penny-pinches like this."

Now, having had a hang of the CEO, Bhardwaj — still hopeful of tying up the loose ends — went back to the chairman. After all, it's no big deal, just a matter of upgrading a flight ticket.

But the chairman screamed back at Bhardwaj: "In this company, except me, nobody travels first class. If he has such hang-ups he will never fit in my company."

Needless to say, the MNC executive was never hired.

Well, blame it all on that absolute intangible: the touchy-feely thing. In the corridors of India Inc, not many like to talk about it. And rarely does it get written about. Hard to articulate, work culture can be comprehended only when you experience it. Yet, in an era of job-hopping, where Indian executives change companies, move sectors and switch careers with increasing ease, work culture and work environment has become an important intangible factor in vetting a job offer.

For the recruitment at the top, cultural fitness is one of the most important factors that headhunters look at. Not surprisingly, for both employers and employees this could often be a deal breaker.

Talk to executives and corporate cliches tumble out: Indian companies thrive on ambiguities and disdain structures and processes. Japanese companies lay thrust on hierarchy. Korean companies are aggressively competitive. European companies are stuffy but offer good work-life balance. And American companies are informal but too cut-and-dried.

True, some of these cliches are exaggerated and make some sweeping generalisations. But they are helpful in capturing nuances, and potential employees can visualise the work culture in different types of companies and take their career decisions.

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?

From Silos to Melting Pot

Well, blame the post-liberalisation India for all this chaos. Things were smooth back then when everyone was happy to be in his own silo. Very few executives changed companies, forget switching sectors. Traits, behaviour and work culture in companies were far more deeply ingrained then.

There were broadly three categories of workplaces. The biggest was that of the haloed government workers. Then a smaller number toiled in home-grown Indian firms like the Birlas, Goenkas etc. But at the top were the small but elitist, blue-blooded MNC executives who lived the good life with fat pay packets and fancy perks. Each category looked and felt different in their internal as well as external manifestation — salaries and perks, offices and attire, career paths and work culture.

But irrespective of the employer pedigree, that era was lot more formal and bureaucratic. You did not call your boss by his first name, almost never went out for a meal with him. The size of the work table and the cabin were strictly based on your designation. On the whole, paternalistic sentiments shaped employers' management style.

Over the years, the differences have narrowed. "Desi companies have become more professional. MNCs have become more Indianised," says Rajeev Vasudeva, managing partner, Egon Zehnder International. And Indian workers today switch jobs, change sectors seamlessly. Old differentiators, especially the physical ones, have long gone. They all work in somewhat similar-looking modern offices, wear western suits and branded clothes, drive sedans and are comfortable in in English.

Yet differences — both subtle and nuanced — remain. Over the years, India's corporate universe has become multi-hued and the range of executive species working there has multiplied.

Evolution of Executive Species

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?
The blue-blooded MNC breed is still there except that they are no longer as elitist and homogeneous as they were once. And they have many subvarieties. So there is the American variety which is more casual, informal and accessible. There is a growing Japanese crowd that is more reserved, formal and conservative. There is the Korean variety, which is aggressive and target-driven. And those working in European and Chinese MNCs fall somewhere in between.

The sarkari breed is still there, except they have fallen from their mighty perch. "We were once the brown sahibs — the most revered, sought-after and powerful lot in the country. Today, there are so many better opportunities outside the government," says a Delhi-based 1992 batch IAS officer.

It's the desi companies that have undergone the most dramatic change. From a not-so-aspirational workplace, with average salary, poor working conditions and not-so-professional work environment, Indian entrepreneurs have turned the table. Today, their corporate offices are world-class, Bharti AirtelBSE 1.62 % and Havells IndiaBSE -0.05 % being good examples.

"On the salary front, many Indian firms today pay better salary than MNCs," says Arun Das Mahapatra, partner-in-charge, Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm.

Indian companies aren't a homogeneous lot either. One one end are old business houses like the Birlas and Goenkas. Then there are the new ones like the Bharti Group, Future Group and GMRBSE -1.01 %. There is also a growing set of professional-led companies. Seasoned executives like Rana Kapoor of Yes BankBSE -1.30 %, Deep Kalra of or Vivek Gour of Air Works have left their cushy jobs in MNCs like Bank of America and GE to turn into entrepreneurs. Expectedly, the work culture in these companies is very different from other promoter-led companies, says K Sudarshan, head of executive recruitment firm EMA Partners.

Other new executive species too have emerged. For instance, the kurta-jeans-clad jholawallah variety working with NGOs is a fast-growing breed. Then there is the hybrid variety — executives who defy any typifying. They have moved from one sunrise sector to another, spotting new opportunities. Take the case of Gopal Vittal, theHULBSE 1.01 % veteran, who has returned to the Bharti group for the second time.

Each of these species shapes as well as gets shaped in the work environment.

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?

So, What is the Work Culture?

Well, in explaining such intangibles, anecdotes come in handy. A director in an Indian firm has an interesting story. He had just quit the IAS to join the private sector. Leading a start-up team, he would send notes on virtually every decision to the chairman for his approval. "There was radio silence. No answer, no feedback, nothing," he says. For a few weeks, he even thought he had committed a professional hara-kiri by joining the private sector.

Then one day, the chairman met him in Delhi and asked casually: "You have been sending me those notes. What am I supposed to do?" And then the chairman went on to clarify: "You are a director here. You take these decisions. You don't need my approval." For the ex-bureaucrat it was a far cry from the sarkari work culture where even for a measly Rs 500 expense you needed to send a note to your boss for approval. "From then to now, most of my approvals happen on SMS within hours," he says.

Holidays are another cultural pointer that varies from species to species. In an MNC, your holiday is sacrosanct — nobody bothers you regardless of the situation at the corporate HQ. But in an Indian entrepreneur-led firm, there is nothing called a zero-noise holiday. If you are required, you should be available. In the government, you club weekends, the weekday holidays and bingo you can pack in many more vacations. In the social sector, it is quite another story. "Passionate about their work, people take sabbaticals or holidays to work as volunteers in their areas of interests," says Supriya Sankaran, venture manager, Ashoka Foundation, which is focused on the not-for-profit sector.

Nowhere is this contrast more dramatic than in the MNC vs the desi company narrative. As MNCs try to understand India better and Indian companies pursue global ambitions, more and more Indian executives are moving from one to the other. Hence the vast gap between the two varieties has narrowed a bit. Yet differences remain.

The Blue-Blooded MNC Breed

In an MNC, you are a cog in the wheel. A Nitin Paranjpe may head HULBSE 1.08 % in India but there is a boundary set by the HQ that he has to factor in. An MNC CEO masters the art of working in a globally standardised and restricted environment with lots of dos and don'ts. Managing the boss — who could be residing in multiple locations in a matrix organisation — is more difficult and unpredictable.

In an MNC, things often happen on autopilot. Annual budgets will be part of a global exercise. Job rotation is a given every three-five years. Things can change overnight without you doing anything. If a Reebok gets acquired by Adidas globally, the India CEO has to worry about his job. As power structures are constantly shifting, there is often this sense of paranoia (internal rather than external) among MNC CEOs. Driven by physically distant HQs, these CEOs often appear cut-and-dried and spreadsheet-driven, specially in matters like layoffs where they have little control.

All this plays out in the way MNC executives behave. Most of them are high fliers from the best institutes and for them the badge value matters in everything they do. So what they wear, how they look, where they eat, who they socialise with, where they live, where they holiday, everything must make a statement about who they are. Benchmarking themselves with their peers in developed parts of the world, they are a pampered lot more used to creature comforts. So dining and staying at five-star hotels and travelling business class come naturally to them. MNC CEOs tend to have bigger egos with a visible sense of superiority and self-importance. They also learn to bask in the glamour of a global brand which they lead.

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?

Agile & Modest Desi Variety

Things are different for those working in Indian entrepreneur-led companies. Remember, the promoter is also the majority shareholder and many things like dividend payout, expansion and family issues weigh on his mind but they may not be apparent. There is a lot of opacity and ambiguity. Often you may not know where the organisation stands on issues and you should not be surprised if promoters change their stand overnight. While they will try and nail things to the last detail and work to a plan in an MNC, it is okay in a home-grown company to constantly evolve, fine-tune and even change.

Here, the promoter is the HQ and the power centre. So managing bosses is logistically a lot easier here. While most strategic issues will be shaped by the promoter, the CEO who manages to win the trust of the promoter can enjoy a fair amount of latitude and freedom, which is almost impossible in an MNC. Do not go by designations here. The power nodes in the physical and virtual organisation can be very different. The promoter's trusted chief accountant — who may know everything about his black money dealings — may be far more important than the CFO.

There's usually a certain stinginess in the way executives work and live in these companies. It will show up in small and big things — like their travel (stay in guest houses rather than five-star hotels) and offsites (domestic rather than overseas). Executives here are typically go-getters, very hands-on and multitaskers who understand and appreciate the importance of jugaad at workplace.

Above all, executives at promoter-led companies are more conservative on issues like layoffs.

The Transition Trends

So just how do these differences in various executive species play out in the job market? Typically, an MNC executive would join another MNC and an executive working with a home-grown company will prefer to go to another of its ilk.

But a lifer at an Indian firm will find it difficult to get a job elsewhere. His proximity and close association with the promoter makes him an untouchable outside. That is not the case for an MNC executive who are being hired by Indian firms.

There were many smart executives, the opportunity seekers, who moved from one industry to another during the 2004-08 boom period, spotting new sunrise sectors and rapidly rising to the top. But in a lacklustre economy, they find they are out of favour.

Govind Iyer of Heidrick & Struggles says PE-backed ventures prefer to get executives from home-grown companies as they are street-smart and go-getters, unlike MNC guys who need a certain level of infrastructure around them to perform.

Experts say it is the hybrids — those who have moved from MNC to Indian firms or vice versa — that are the fastest-growing breed. Their ability to adapt and be nimble makes them great candidates. A shift from an MNC to an Indian firm is gaining traction as the latter try to globalise. HUL's Gopal Vittal joining AirtelBSE 1.51 % or GM's KarlBSE 0.00 % Slym joining Tata MotorsBSE -1.34 % are good examples. A shift from an Indian firm to MNC too is happening as MNCs try to understand India better.

Have you figured out your species type and where you fit in? Do that before planning your next job hop.

Two decades of churning in India Inc have unleashed new species of corporate professionals, each flaunting a unique set of skills. So which type are you?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Being Human

Salman Khan launches Being Human flagship store in Bandra
"I would like my brand to outlive me," says Salman Khan at the launch of the first flagship store of Being Human in Mumbai's Bandra, well aware that businesses cannot be structured around the success of a film star.
"I would like my brand to outlive me," says Salman Khan at the launch of the first flagship store of Being Human in Mumbai's Bandra, well aware that businesses cannot be structured around the success of a film star.

"I would like my brand to outlive me," says SalmanKhan at the launch of the first flagship store of Being Human in Mumbai's Bandra, well aware that businesses cannot be structured around the success of a film star. It is a fact that both Khan's partner and global licensee Manish MandhanaBSE 0.51 %acknowledges as well. 

And even though the focus of Khan's Being Human initiative is to create a lifestyle brand whose royalties support education and heathcare initiatives, they want to create a quality which may initially draw in a consumer for the love of Khan the star but build a loyalty which is based on the product and not just around Khan's star status.

"Being Human clothing was first launched in France, Belgium and Spain, where the brand's philosophy of look good, do good is connecting with people and not just Salman Khan," adds Khan who already has watches added to the clothing line but tells ET that brand extensions would include, pens, footwear, headphones, pen drives, hair grooming products, fragrances, cafes and an online channel with original content.

Though the plan is to have 12 flagship outlets by the year end across nine cities and 31 outlets including multibrand ones like Shoppers StopBSE 0.20 % etc, Madhana is also banking on e-commerce which he is ready to launch in a few months time.

Having invested close to Rs 60 crore from his planned 100, the textile entrepreneur with three decades of experience is confident that the tie-up with the $5 billion Landmark Group which gave them a presence across 10 countries in the Middle East and yielded Rs 60 crore so far in the year since its launch and about Rs 10 crore from the 150 multibranded boutique presence in France which has seen two seasons, can only peak in India.

It is a fact that both Khan's partner and global licensee Manish Mandhana acknowledges as well.

Salman Khan poses as he arrives to announce the launch of his 'Being Human' flagship clothing store in Mumbai on January 17, 2013. Khan announced the pan-India launch of his flagship retail store for 'Being Human' fashion apparel after having already launched in Paris, Belgium, Spain and Dubai. AFP

"The USP of this brand is passion, the star and the philosophy of feel good and do good," says Madhana who is extended the present 15-16 product line to include a full range for women and children by March this year.

Actress Mandira Bedia (R) looks on as Bollywood film actor Salman Khan takes off his jacket during the launch of his 'Being Human' flagship clothing store in Mumbai on January 17, 2013.

Actress Mandira Bedia (R) looks on as Salman Khan takes off his jacket during the launch of his 'Being Human' flagship clothing store in Mumbai on January 17, 2013. (AFP)

Madhana Industries have an exclusive worldwide licensing arrangement with Being Human-The Salman Khan Foundation, to design, manufacture, retail and distribute 'Being Human' fashion apparel for nine-and-a-half years and royalties received on the sale of this fashion line go to support the education and healthcare initiatives of the Foundation.

Salman Khan (C) poses with siblings Arbaaz Khan (L) and Sohail Khan during the launch of his 'Being Human' flagship clothing store in Mumbai on January 17, 2013. (AFP)

Salman Khan (C) poses with siblings Arbaaz Khan (L) and Sohail Khan during the launch of his 'Being Human' flagship clothing store in Mumbai on January 17, 2013. (AFP) 

The royalties range between 7-10% while margins for retailers are in keeping with almost all the other brands. Confident that Being Human is India's answer to any global brand, Madhana is tapping newer markets, as well as banking on his e-commerce which will draw in on the 10 million fans Khan already has online

As an effort towards sustainability, organic cotton will also be used in the composition of the merchandise.The products on offer include high quality casual-wear created in line with latest global trends and range from Rs 699 for t-shirts to Rs 1700. Globally,Mandhana IndustriesBSE 0.51 % Limited has around 300 selling points as on date and will add another 80 by March '13.

Speaking to ET earlier, Khan had said, that more than the box office performance of his films, he'd be devastated if Being Human doesn't take off. At close to a Rs 70 crore already in his kitty only from just Middle East and France, Khan is closer to another Rs 100 crore again!

All donors of Being Human are given certificates that tell them where exactly the money was spent and how many people benefited.

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