A golden heart for reaping gold

Jino Joseph (GM, Human Resource, Mirah Hospitality) tells syed zafar mehdi that HR is all about knowing your people and what drives them; respecting them for the work and not for the designations they hold

With 14 years of experience in hospitality industry and associated with Mirah Hospitality since 2006, Mr. Joseph takes care of recruitment, rewards and recognition, PMS, HR policies, statutory compliance, compensation and benefits and payroll management. Prior to joining Mirah Group, he has worked with various hotels in Gujarat. He has been instrumental in setting up the human resources departments at various organisations. He is currently managing a team of over 2,800 employees at unit level and about 200 employees at head-office level through highly disciplined systems and policies with timely training and appraisals.

Q. How critical is the ‘human’ element in human resources?
A. What distinguishes one organisation from the other is ‘people’. And, what augments the productivity of the most important resource is the ‘human’ element. Organisations are run by people, and everything that an organisation does is for people. If you look around you will see slogans like ‘technology touching lives’, ‘taking you forward’ creating a buzz, clearly implying that everything is being designed for humans. As an organisation, we believe it is important to be the better people first. Everything else automatically falls in line.

Q. HR has evolved from being just a support function to being a strategic partner in the growth of businesses. How do you see the evolution?
A. HR is no longer just about providing manpower and dealing with documentation. It is about connecting with people instantly. Today, HR is all about knowing your people and what drives them; respecting people for the work they do and not for the designations they hold. HR professionals exude confidence while presenting their perspectives. With ‘networking’ and ‘counselling’ being identified as prime skills today, HR’s role and eminence has grown vastly.

Q. There is a growing realisation that talent is a key enabler of growth. How do you nurture talent?
A. Seeds have the potential to grow; one just needs to nurture it. Talent is no different. We understand the needs of talented people and work towards it. We have realised the importance. We create avenues for people to contribute to society in their own ways. We encourage discussions on growth and development. We foster independence and creativity.

Q. Among the major challenges in India is to convert the abundant population pool into useful human resource. How can it be done in an effective, efficient way?
A. The person most connected with employee is his or her reporting authority. We have created a culture in our organisation, where a friendly coexistence prevails between manager and worker. The mid-management team is held responsible for the development of their respective team members. We believe that only through development and engagement can we make priceless gems out of our human resources.

Q. Motivation and satisfaction of employees have become critical to reduce attrition. Do you agree money is not the only driving force for an employee?
A. I totally agree. Money will always remain a hygiene factor for any employee. But it is not the only determining factor today. What matters more is being paid well for a job that one does. Beyond that are other things – brand value, corporate policies, teamwork.

42Q. Social media is changing the way HR service is delivered. How do you see the future unfolding in terms of relationship between HR and social media?
A. Today, social media is giving a facelift to organisations. It has made the human element so powerful that it can improve the goodwill or hurt the reputation. HR professionals must realise that a ‘tweet’ or a ‘like’ can create a bond with their people. HR has already started using social media for recruitment, but there are also other avenues for its applicability.

Q. With the fierce competition in market, it has become important to hire and retain workforce. Do you follow any technique to attract and retain employees?
A. Focus on learning and development is an important employee engagement tool. For us, investing in the development of people is critical. While they are recruited, a gap analysis is done in terms of their personality traits. Timely growth opportunities are provided with a focus on promoting internal talent before hiring. This has worked wonders for the staff across all levels.

Q. Cost-cutting has become important for HR. How do you ensure the productivity is not hampered by minimising expenditure?
A. Use of appropriate technology and equipping the staff to multitask is of prime importance. Empowering employees to take decisions helps in grooming them into becoming more effective. Innovative employee engagement and welfare activities are planned to keep their morale high.

Q. What is your take on mergers and acquisitions taking place today? Is that the way ahead?
A. M&A is an appropriate way ahead provided the new partners come with a similar company culture, practices and management styles to make a successful merger. It helps in entering new markets with existing services and also introducing new services in the existing markets.

Q. Quality of manpower needs attention. Do you follow any innovative modes of recruitment to separate wheat from chaff?
A. Manpower needs keep increasing in our industry with expansion plans. Hence, for mid and senior management recruitment, we adopt the behavioural-based interview model where candidates are personally evaluated at different levels followed by a DISC assessment. Their behavioural traits are then compared to those listed out in the ‘Position Specification’ that gives us a technical comparison of the candidate before hiring.