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3 weeks of remote work and social isolation (COVID-19) – Week 1

While we were all preparing to welcome 5G and AI , a sudden viral breakout has put the world at a standstill. It has made #SocialDistancing & #Qurantine part of everyone’s life today.

For most of us in Toronto, this week was the first experience of advised 3 weeks of complete isolation and social distance period. School/day care closure, travel restrictions, public places closure and eventually most workplaces coming to a complete remote operation mode. But, amidst the fear of COVID-19, there is some sunshine…

  • numerous posts from teams sharing happy pictures of their virtual meetings ,
  • people proudly thanking their managers for making provision of 100% remote operations,
  • employers taking staff safety as priority while still serving clients

all of it is an assurance that we are heading to a hopeful & positive work culture. We have all come together to live the foundation values of human relationship

Trust – The once afraid managers who feared that an employee asking for work from home is taking time off for personal travelling or shopping, are now trusting their staff to accomplish job while working remote.

Commitment – Employees everywhere are demonstrating commitment to their jobs, employers and teams by working the best in their ability, being away from each other.

Empathy – With school closure, parents had no choice but to be home with kids. A remote work option provided by employers to the parents is nothing less than a blessing

Respect – Managers and coworkers are coming together to discuss each others well being, ideas of self development , health and fitness to best utilize work form home time shows the care and respect for we carry for each other.

Communication– Meetings are still conducted but online, Networking events are going virtual , learning and training tools are being offered on smart phones – we have opened more communication channels for now and forever.

Times are tough but we will surely come out stronger, agile and future-ready.

Till then, Stay safe & practice #socialdistance

Talent Management- then and now

HR image

Hey, it has been a while but I am back in my space ♥

Work has been busy, and I had a chance to work with some clients on their HR and change management projects that got me thinking – HR is actually changing or better, had changed much in respect to its dealing with people operation and engagement function.

I shared my views on Talent Management on LinkedIn yesterday and would appreciate your participation in sharing your ideas, experiences about it.

You may read it here

Working in the HR function for last 10 years, across 2 continents now, I have closely witnessed the shift from the traditional, rule- based HR to the now, viable, people centric HR. The shift is often blended but evident. Annual picnics, subsidised meals and Fun-Fridays still excite employees as much as flexi work hours and corporate wellness programs.

Companies are made of people that work there and even the best teams cannot operate successfully if they are not given the opportunity to collaborate. One of the key reasons for an organization’s success is its people operations Hire the best talent and take care of your people is the strategy helping top performing organizations maintain a strong retention and growth rates even with hugely diverse workforce. What do they do better?

1.      Make data driven decisions and policies

2.      Make workplace a comfortable space for employees where they enjoy flexibility to work, explore and innovate.

3.      Give employees a work life balance by making things like food, travel (to work) etc. affordable and accessible. When employees have less things to worry about, they tend to work more and better.

4.      Promote an engaging culture where ideas are welcomed, appreciated and employees are given fair chance to participate in implementation.

What and how much employees contribute to an organizations’ growth is determined by the culture, resources, incentives, engagement and growth opportunities the organization can provide to them.

The HR and Talent management functions till worry if – too much flexibility at work harm productivity? Despite organizations investing much in their retention programs, employee still leave, why? Is it possible to stop employees from leaving with free lunches and travel?

A well planned and completely involved management process might be the solution. Click for more


Cover Letter – Why & How

cover letter

Do you attach a cover letter to your job application?

Is cover letter necessary? what value it adds to your job application?

What to write in a cover letter?

How long a cover letter should be?

Everytime you apply to a job, there’s some obvious analysis around cover letter. Working into Talent engagement & acquisition, I come across job applications everyday, some with, some without cover letter. How important is cover letter to a resume? What’s there in cover letter that resume doesn’t carry? These are some of the answers audience was also looking for so, we came together to talk about perfect cover letter .

Thanks to team for inviting me on their #SpotTalks series on cover letter last month. You can watch the video here 




Contract employment – Responsibilities ?


It’s a long , I mean really long time since I posted on this blog. The lot happened over the past year, new job, new house, new responsibilities that kept me away and how much I missed being here.

With today’s post, I would want to share an experience with you all and invite your comments, observations and opinion…..

What are your entitlements and liabilities of being a contract employee?

In a recent situation at work, an employee for  hired on contract to support the project through a critical phase, left a whole project team in a difficult situation. He was hired for a fixed term contract, specifically to work on reporting and quality dashboards. Since the beginning, he would want to work in isolation, not willing to share tool know-how with the team and towards the end of the contract, refused to hand over the project documentation assuming it his individual work. He even refused to share passwords of employer provided laptop and mobile as he thought it had confidential information of his work.

As per my observation, being first time on contract, he misunderstood the terms of contract agreement and assumed he had rights over his work.

Being on contract is different than being a employee with the company but it has some implied rules everywhere that make part of the service agreement.

  • The ownership of the intellectual property rights usually lies with the employer for any job/ work that was done during the course of employment.
  • Document, design, copyright material that was created during the job, by self or as part of the team, belongs to the employer and shall be shared while or after the contract is completed.
  • As a contract employee, you are responsible to protect the confidential information tat you have learnt or even created on the job.
  • Unless authorized by the employer, copying any data or information from employers’s computer or any system system is not recommended.

Are you a contract employee or do you deal with contract employment cases? Share your opinion and experience with us

Hackathon – some productive ideas behind


Do you know what a hackathon is or ever been to any?

Call it hack day, hackfest or codefest, when ever coders, programmers and technical brains meet, the result is creative, innovative and informative. Hackathon is when experts come together to solve social, economical, technical or business problems through technology.

Here’s an excerpt from the post that I wrote my on Sheroes about my experience with a hackathon

What do you think a large group of hi-tech software developers, application programmers and product managers will do together? You are right, they will either indulge in a never-ending project meeting or, work on making a really innovative, creative and out-of-the-box product.

Seventeen-years-ago, 10 software developers came together in Calgary, Canada, to find  a way to avoid legal complications while importing cryptographic software from United States. This is how the term hackathon originated, and since then such events are being conducted globally for software advancement and innovation.

Last week, I was at a college for campus hiring where some bunch of enthusiastic engineers were participating in a hackathon, brainstorming on developing a secured mobile application that will give students access to the examination room even if they forgot their physical ID cards.  I had the opportunity to witness two days of sheer learning, debating, brain racking and collective innovation and that’s when I learned what really happens at a hackathon. Click here to read the full post.

What are your options as trailing spouse?

trailing spouse pic

Trailing spouse – adventure, excitement and fun or compromise, sacrifice and weariness? Only a trailing spouse would know who it feels to be one. I have been there and I know. Taking back to your career and your profile in a  new country is challenging. You have to try harder because in the beginning you are unaware of the job market and even the work culture.

Last year I posted an infographic on Trailing spouse, things one should explore and know before becoming a trailing spouse. I wrote the next piece on the topic recently for

We both were working and well settled in our respective lives when we got married. We had no intent, (except for vacations) to go and settle abroad but life had different plans. My husband’s job took him on international travels often but I never accompanied him because I was busy at work. 3 years later, he had to move overseas for a long-term assignment and that’s when I took the difficult decision – to accompany him. Things seemed more like a holiday initially – luxurious hotel stays, new home, new friends, new country but gradually all excitement died down and reality resurfaced. From an independent, working woman I turned to an immigrant job seeker.

This is the story of all women who follow their spouse abroad as trailing spouses. The transition isn’t easy for all, either visa restrictions or restricted job market limit career options for trailing spouses. It is tough but for those who are willing to explore and experiment, being a trailing spouse is not the end of career. What are your options?

 You can read the complete post here.

Are you or have you been a trailing spouse? How have you managed to deal with the situation and what options did you chose for work/ career?

Share you story with our readers here…

Employee dress codes in 2016

Here’s another guest post by RChilli on dress code. As they say, dress to impress

 RChilli is a resume management and automation firm specializing in giving resumes a social touch . Vinay Johar, CEO of Rchilli enjoys talking to people about their recruitment software challenges and proposing simpler ways of automating things. Apart from work, he loves playing with his kids and traveling to new places. Click here to check complete company profile.

dress code pic

As much as people may like to think they don’t judge others on how they look, the reality is that everyone does. According to a Princeton University study, opinions of people are formed within the first 500 milliseconds upon meeting. Since employees are an extension of a company, it is important that they give a positive impression to stakeholders.

Industries often influence what is seen as appropriate attire; however it should also depend on the company culture and the expectations of the clients. For multinational corporations, what is seen as appropriate in one country is inappropriate in another, and could even differ based on the region of the country. Employees should observe what others in the company are wearing (or rather not wearing) to get a sense of what is appropriate dress. Even better, employees should look to senior management because as the saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

The reality is that not everyone is good at assessing what is work appropriate, and since companies have become considerably relaxed about dress codes in recent years, there is more ambiguity. For women it is even harder because there are many more clothing options, leading to more ways to go wrong. When an employee dresses inappropriately, what should be done about it?

One option is to make the dress code clear from the first day of work, or even during the interview to give insight into your company culture, and to make expectations clear. Even companies that think of themselves as having an open culture with clothing likely have a breaking point. Having a dress code is a proactive way to handle inevitable confusion, and if an employee does not fallow the dress code, the violation will be rooted in fact rather than opinion.

If your company has a dress code and an employee is not following it, the best way to handle the situation is to have their manager pull them aside and remind them of the policy. It is very important that the policies are enforced evenly across the organization to avoid resentment and possible lawsuits. The gender of the manager should not make a difference, however in some cultures or circumstances it may be better to have someone of the same gender speak to the employee.

HRonline suggests that, “The emphasis is on the clothing, not the person wearing it.” Keep this in mind when talking to the employee since it could be a sensitive topic. You don’t want to damage your relationship with them, or make them feel like their freedom to express themselves is being limited for no apparent reason. Instead you can focus on how you are trying to help them with their career aspirations because their clothing choices could hold them back from moving up. Focusing on career advancement could also self motivate them to “dress for success.”

If your company is considering forming a dress code policy, it is important that the reason for the dress code is communicated well to all of the employees (such as a way to set them apart among competitors, to show professionalism, etc.). Additionally, companies may want to consider the economic effects it could have on the employees. It may be difficult for some of your employees to afford the additional expense, such as investing in new clothes and dry cleaning bills. Employee credit for clothing is one option to make the change easier.

Another option is to not have a dress code, and instead focus on a culture of trust in your company. Liz Ryan for Forbes writes, “You can build the trust level at work so that even sticky conversations happen easily and without anyone’s feelings getting hurt.” Liz suggests that if an employee dresses inappropriately, the problem should be seen as a mentoring opportunity because their clothing could hold them back from advancing in their career.

The challenge with not having a policy is that it is harder to have consistency. On the other hand, unless a dress code policy is very detailed, there could still be room for interpretation. If your company has a dress code policy, it should not be so strict that it leaves employees feeling stifled, or be culturally insensitive. Religious and cultural practices should be taken into account too. For example, if your company has a business professional dress code you should respect some Muslim women’s choice to wear long flowing skirts and headscarves, however you could require that they be in business professional shades. Additionally, companies should make it clear that they are willing to adapt the dress code to accommodate anyone’s needs in order to make the company a more inclusive environment.

Every company is different, which is why every company needs to decide how they will handle explicit or implied dress codes. Through creating a culture of trust, it will become easier to have dress code conversations.

Mentorship–What it is NOT


Last week kept  me too busy with new job, new responsibilities and new colleagues and thus I messed my weekly post on HRdictionary. But in the meanwhile my new article was published at EOList and so I though of sharing it with you all. It’s about mentorship and  how you (we) should approach it in real-time.

Last week, I met a friend who works with a mentorship partnering program and her organization helps people by finding them mentors who are experts in the same profession or industry. I am a true advocate of mentorship and conversation with her opened discussion on why and how of mentorship. I wish to share it with here so that next time we approach the concept with a better understanding. Starting a new job or making a career transition could be stressful, mentorship programs support this progression. Some things to consider about mentorship –

Mentoring is not about job, it’s about career

You mentor is not a step to your next job. A mentor is expected to understand your interest, learn your strengths and prepare you to overcome your shortcomings so that you can progress in your career. Please read the full article here.

Have you ever been associated with a career coach or mentor, want to share your experience with us? I will be happy to know and discuss more..

International women’s day- a new start for me


Hi friends,

Wish you all a great International women’s day. Like most of us , I too believe that we (women) should celebrate our hard-work and undying spirit everyday but having a day like today gives a special meaning to being a woman. So all the ladies out there, I salute you for being who you are and all the gentlemen who have been the pillar for a woman’s success, I respect your cooperation.

I woke up this morning to an amazing update on my twitter feed by PeopleMatters. For those of you who are not familiar with it, PeopleMatters is a leading digital platform for the HR industry. Click the link here to learn more. Today PeopleMatters released a list of top women influencers on twitter and I was honored to be part of the list. Please click the link to read the complete article and the list.

Another news, I have accepted a new job opportunity today and would be joining shortly.  So this women’s day has been a real big for me . What’s even bigger is the way women at being accepted and respected at workplace globally. Here are some recent trends on #WomenAtWork

ICICI iwork@home  – This initiative allows women employees to have access to their required operating systems in a safe and secure manner, creating a seamless office-like environment. These would include young mothers, expectant mothers, those suffering from medical conditions among others.

YouTube’s global production platform for women –  This  new initiatives by YouTube is  about empowering women to speak their minds.

Air India’s all women crew flights – The airline will operate 20 all-women crewed flights—domestically and internationally—to celebrate International Women’s Day.

How India is keeping its women productive – “Bring Your Mother-in-Law to Work” day, “Take Your Baby on Your Business Trip” programs. Longer paid maternity leaves and subsidized day care are some of the many initiatives being launched in the nation in support of female workforce.

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”– Clare Boothe Luce

If your workplace is making efforts and initiatives for their women workforce, share with us in the comments. Would love to hear and share with all …

Networking tips series – networking cards


This is the third short post of my  3 series networking tips. Click here to read the first part.

You meet a lot of people at networking events and its practically its not possible to remember them all. This is where business cards become essential. If you are  who are in transition, new graduate or currently  unemployed, you can use networking cards instead of business cards. A networking card is similar to a business card in size (5.08 cm height x 8.89cm width) and content with key essentials being

  • Qualification
  • Expertise
  • Contact

Networking cards are easily to design and print on web but its not free .  You can even save that money and  take an effort to design your cards in MS word and print them. Its easy and the video below will teach you how.


So get your networking cards ready and make that impression at your next networking event.


Photographs , Travelogs and photographs of food cooked by my wife

Micky Chopra

Employee Advocacy | HR Evangelism | Transforming People Career

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