14 Feb 2017 20:01 IST

Looking back at human resource trails

In this article, all jargon relating to human resources are busted and explained

In the previous Jargon Jungle article , we an aerial view of the terms and phrases trails that dealt with personal growth and well being. Today, we continue that path with ‘Human Resources’.

Employee engagement

Making employees ‘feel involved’ in their work so they give their best is easier said than done. That’s the reason companies try many a trick to engage employees. Initiatives, like outbound team building programs, can have only so much impact, if basics aren’t addressed first.

“Engaging people means letting them make a connect with a higher purpose through their day-to-day work. This happens only when one knows how one’s work will make in a difference in others’ lives. Employee engagement happens through good work. If you ignore this, all HR initiatives will not be of much help.

“A lot can be done by you, no matter who you are — a team leader, a manager or a CEO — to help your people fulfil their above needs.” Read about how employee engagement is more than paid vacations to understand the basic conditions that must be met.


Empowering people is inextricably linked with how an organisation operates. It isn’t as simple as rewriting an authority manual, or telling people to use their judgment. Read what it really means to empower people to understand why there is a need to avoid extremes and why it is important to set your work processes right.


If you need some food for thought on what it takes to improve teamwork, head to this article , which illustrates how a typical team building ‘script’ runs. It shows that team building is not just about ‘bonding’ or ‘bonhomie’. Check if you can relate to such an experience.


Values that people bring with them determine whether your attempts at ‘empowerment’, ‘engagement’ or ‘teamwork’ bear fruit or not. But values impact organisation in a larger way.

They play as important a role in deciding how well your organisation performs as knowledge and skill sets. Read how to deal with values .

Learning organisation

This is a favourite jargon with most people. There are organisations that have annual targets of ‘learning hours’ per employee. Well, all that is very good, but meeting those targets may still not get you a learning organisation. ‘Hope something sticks’ is not a good enough strategy.

Read the real meaning of a learning organisation to know how things usually pan out, and what needs to be done to ensure that learning becomes a habit for your organisation.

Wish to develop leaders?

Leadership skills are best learned in real-life situations, since it involves thinking, communicating and acting. Executive coaching is a very effective method for learning on the job. Read this article to review what you know about executive coaching — the method — and what is expected from the one who is learning.

Conflict management

If you are stuck between ‘conflict management’ and ‘destructive cooperation’, then this article on the art of conflict management will help you. It explains that conflicts arise due to work-related, as well as personality-related reasons. It gives you cues on how to identify them, and shows you how to treat conflicts as opportunities for lasting improvements.

Catfish effect

If you think your organisation has a settled look which hinders it from dealing with a fast-changing marketplace, you may be tempted to induct someone who can disrupt the status quo and challenge existing norms through ‘catfish effect’. Read this article to think it through.

Bell curve

Bell curve, as a ‘model’ for performance rating across the organisation, can be very tempting if you are statistically inclined. But after a lot of negative comments this tool garnered, it has fallen out of favour with very big organisations. Here's how you can know if this tool for reviewing people is suitable .


Delayering or aiming for a ‘flat organisation’ can bring many gains. Indeed, it is some CEO’s and management experts’ fetish! But delayering isn’t a rosy, smooth one way street — it has its downsides too. If you are stretched for talent, then this decision can hurt. Read what it is all about it .


Nature loves diversity. Nature is diversity. But organisations or groups aren’t very inclined towards it. That’s why governments across the world mandate diversity through laws and regulations. Read about diversity at workplace to understand how you can look at it as a tool for improving decision-making and innovation.

War for talent

It is not easy to spot talent. And once you have spotted it, it is tough to get it committed and stay. It is even more difficult to nurture it. Talent is much more than skills or proficiencies. It expresses itself through passion and restlessness. It looks for a bigger purpose. Find out how to win the war for talent .

(For further reading on talent, here is an e-book on Kindle ' Talent: Practical guidelines for recognizing, nurturing, and retaining' )