Thursday, November 1, 2007

Twenty Fifth Endowment Lecture held at DoMS, IIT Madras



Department Of Management Studies, IIT Madras had the honor of hosting the twenty fifth endowment lecture in association with EFSI (The Employers’ Federation of Southern India). Mr. K Pandia Rajan, Managing Director & CEO Ma Foi, was the chief guest of the evening.

The program started with welcome note by Mr. Shaji Varghese, President EFSI. He briefly touched upon the history of EFSI, which was setup in 1920, immediately after ILO (International Labor Organization) was setup in Geneva. EFSI was the first organization for employees dealing with issues like labor policies and labor management. The Endowment Lecture was started in 1970s, in association with Humanities Department of IIT Madras. This was followed by Presidential Address by Prof. TT Narendran, who in his hallmark style recalled the early years of Endowment Lecture. Prof. Narendran welcomed the Chief Guest and stressed upon the importance of HR in today’s dynamic job environment. He also introduced the topic of the session i.e. ‘Changing Nature of Work & Employment’.

The stage was then handed over to Mr. K. Pandia Rajan, chief guest of the event. Mr. Pandia Rajan has a B.E Honors from Coimbatore and a MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur. He founded Ma Foi, which currently has 1750 professional across 100 locations. Mr. Pandia Rajan started with recalling that this was his third lecture at IIT Madras in last one year and how much he loves coming to the campus again and again. He posed a very thought provocative question of ‘Who am I? An employer, an employee, owner, entrepreneur or something else?’ He explained how he is a bit of all, depending on the situation and in today’s dynamic world the distinction between all these is vanishing. He revealed a deal, he just signed before coming for the event, with Achimasala, a SHG (Self Help Group) of about 700 women with a turnover of Rs 280 Crore. The deal pertains to door to door marketing of Achimasala products and Mr. Pandia Rajan was very excited about how he would be helping many women in upgrading their living standard. He admired the ShaktiAmma initiative of HUL which covers 50000 villages as of now and ITC’s e-Chaupal which covers one seventh of rural areas in the country.

Mr. Pandia Rajan used Wheel of Migration as a framework to explain current dynamic scenario. The four planks of the wheel namely Migration of products and services, Migration of talent, Migration of capital and Migration of business processes precisely explain the various dynamics of today’s enterprise. If US blocks H1B Visa, more and more jobs will be outsourced to India. If UK blocks nurse visas, more and more patients will start coming to India for treatment leading to what is now famously known as health tourism. Hence, this link between migration of talent and business processes is creating many different business models.

Mr. Pandia Rajan also touched upon how attitude and mid-set towards HR as a stream is fast changing. He took example of a famous HR & BPO company named Exult Inc., which in 2000 reached a valuation of $1 million with just one single employee and just one client. Later on it was acquired by Hewitt Associates. VCs (Venture Capitalists) today are lining-up to invest in good ideas unlike old time when many good ideas died for lack of fund. People have now started asking ‘What is your business model?’ instead of simply business which was the case earlier. The entire scenario of entrepreneurship is getting redefined. Mr. Pandia Rajan raised the issue of transience & transition by sighting the decreasing longevity of employment. Nobody today is talking about life long employment. The options available today are plenty and have increased many folds.

Mr. Pandia Rajan shared a very interesting anecdote that, while inaugurating his 100th office at Hong Kong, the room had 112 people of 50 different nationalities. This is the extent to which the world has globalised. He also stressed on the fact that now the perception of India in the world is changing. India is no longer a punishment posting destination instead an Indian stint is now a requirement for the CEO Job. As an individual we are living in a very exciting time. We have an opportunity to be at the very top. He cited one issue that is really holding back our Country is that of labor laws. Country has 176 conflicting labor rules which are proving to be a major roadblock for the country. Interestingly labor ministry has the highest attrition with 9 labor ministers changed in last 10 years. Mr. Pandia Rajan ended the lecture by stressing on need of labor law reforms.

By:

Vishal Chourasiya

DoMS Interface

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