Hampi – Hallowed land and delight

The sheer abundance of delicately placed, intricate ruins on the barren lands takes you back to an era we all wish to see but can never live in – remember androids and wifis!

There are some places where you always want to go but never find the perfect mix to begin. For me that was Hampi trip – I have been planning this trip for more than 2 years but somehow every-time we planned, we skipped. One of the key reason for that was lack of information and hence I am penning this blog for others to know what to do, what to avoid and some tips. And you know I will tell stories too and will not instill logophobia!

Hampi is a mix of a set from Jurassic Park and the Flintstones – it feels like  you are on Mars or as if you’ve teleported back in time. Huge boulders can be seen scattered around  – sometimes you wonder how kings and soldiers must have lived here or may be some dinosaurs jumped around on them while the river slowly flowed with palm trees swayed overhead.

Bangalore to Hampi Road Condition

Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site in Karnataka, India, about 7 hours from Bangalore. Since I always drive, I did an extensive research on this as for me driving is a key experience. Finally the route I took was perfect with beautiful roads and hardly any traffic – I touched 180 at certain points, with 140 being consistent. See the route below: Start from Bangalore to reach Hiriyur and then take right to go to Ballari and then Hampi.

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#roadtrip #hampi #statehighway #beautiful #roads #music #zayaanraza #travel #weekend

A video posted by Khalid Raza (@khalidraza9) on

I would have to tell you that there are hardly any good eating joints on this route, so if you do get one, then eat, unless you are fine with local spots.

Where to stay in Hampi

Since I am a Hyatt fan, I decided to stay there. However, Hyatt Place Hampi, lacked the zest and could not make it awesome for me. This property is in Vidyanagar Township, which is beautiful, and around 1 hr away from Hampi. There are couple of places near Hyatt to eat in Vidyanagar Township and I would totally recommend ‘Convertor’ restaurant in Hampi House. The food was simply amazing and super inexpensive. You can hardly find this on net but take my word!

I would recommend you to stay in Hampi and not anywhere else.

What to see in Hampi

Well, Hampi is a town with ruins scattered all over the place, hence you are required to visit each place. If you have a car then you can take it to all the places, else you can hire an auto or cab. Also see the park and museum in Vidyanagar Township.

#hampi #ruins #temple #heritage #travel #historical #India

A photo posted by Khalid Raza (@khalidraza9) on

What to wear and more

Sunscreen and sport shoes. I made a mistake and did not take both – no one told me! You will thank me for this. The heat accentuates once it reflects from the stones and hence you need to dress accordingly. Sport shoes are needed as you are required to walk in and out of ruins, walk up and down, so be ready. Carry water, although you can find soda bottles, juice counters everywhere. Buy a guide book as it will tell you some details of the place you are seeing. The boards outside each monument left a lot to be desired.

Yes, this is #hampi #gorgeous #historical and #fun #vacation #travel #roadtrip #India

A photo posted by Khalid Raza (@khalidraza9) on

After driving for around 800 kms and spending 3 days in Hampi, I am left with more thirst to see the place. I plan to go again and stay on the other side of the town (see the image above) – will I remember to blog about that? I guess not. But if you have been there, do share your thoughts and tips.

Exclusive discount of 10% for #TechHR16

My dear readers, here is an exclusive discount only for you for all the love you have for #SocialGlamor blog.

As you know, People Matters is organizing TechHR ’16. This is Asia’s largest conference where thought leaders will explore the various opportunities emerging for organizations to reinvent the talent practices by leveraging the power of technology. Given below are quick details of the conference

TechHR Conference & Exhibition
A People Matters Initiative
4th & 5th of August 2016
The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon

It is my privilege to offer you an exclusive discount code to the conference. Just use “khalidraza9”as the discount code at the registration page to avail 10% discount on the delegate. Given below are a few links for your quick reference

·  Access all information about the conference by visiting website
·  Download the conference agenda by clicking here
·  Register online by clicking here and use the discount code “khalidraza9” to get 10% discount on the registration fee.

You can reach out to the People Matters team if you need help, but remember to use my discount code!  Here are the details of the contact person from People Matters: Parul Shukla | parul.shukla@peoplematters.in | 8750096719.

I will miss the conference as I am out of India, but will chime in using #TechHR16

Destination Unstoppable with Maureen Monte – A Journey of Strengths

On 28th July 2011, almost 5 years ago, I got an email from a lady, asking me to remove a link from IBM Manager Community – a place for all IBM People Managers, across the globe. I was the community manager then. It was 12:10 AM, India Standard Time and I was surprised – why would someone ask me to take down anything from a community I manage! The sender was Maureen Monte – someone I have never seen, never met, spoken to only once on a call with few other people.

Her point was valid – Why should we restrict the learning to a special set of people, when we can make a bigger, larger, more astounding impact. We did exchange few emails back and forth and we both knew, we are heading towards something brilliant.

We both joined hands and ran. The result of our partnership was the ‘biggest’ virtual learning event in IBM till date – from attendance: over 7000 people enrolled and attended the webinar sessions. Greater than 90% of the responses indicated that the workshops were valuable and should be shared with other IBMers.

I checked the replay data today: Our five webinar recordings have been downloaded over 12,500 times, accounting for 40% of all the downloaded recordings since June, 2011 (There are total 72 recordings). Continue reading

How to not screw your career!

First Scene: 2010, 2 years after I joined IBM.

I got a call from a recruiter who was hiring for a fortune 100 company. The articulate lady called me to see if I will be interested in a role she has with her employer. The role sounded exciting, although we agreed it was not perfectly aligned because of my lack of experience, and after reading the JD, I shared my resume to be processed. We spoke 4-5 times over phone as we proceeded towards the first round of interview. I was invited to speak with one of their leaders, after a telephonic interview, and had a great conversation, but I got the feeling it will not move forward, which was not a surprise. None the less I got an opportunity to meet and interact with a leader, which was my takeaway.

As anxious as one can be, I waited for the formal revert from the recruiter. Weeks passed and I did not hear anything. I tried to reach her over phone to understand the next steps, if any, or get some feedback. However my calls were not replied to. After waiting for few days I sent her few emails to seek guidance/closure and I never got a response. I was not impressed as a simple closure email with a thank you would have worked.

It showed me how much this recruiter cared or bothered about candidate experience and professionalism which every organization strives for.

Cut to 2016.

Recently, one of my friends had an open position for a Senior Manager – Talent Acquisition and reached out to me if I had any references. I did pass on couple of them to him. My friend and I spoke after a week to see how is it going with his search and he mentioned that he has zeroed in on 3 candidates and wanted to check if I have any information on their profiles – we all know HR fraternity is very close knit.

The moment I heard the name of the lady, I knew who she was. Now you know what must have happened to her chances of bagging this juicy role of Senior Manager.

End of Story.

What do we learn from this story?

  1. Always close loop your business transactions – especially as a recruiter, it is your duty to revert to the candidate with information and feedback.  It will save time for you as the candidates will not be reaching out to you over phone and email and will also build credibility and relations for you.
  2. Builds a reputation for your company – Every time I have a case study of bad recruitment, I share this story. I have kept the names away from this blog, but in those off-the-table talks, names come out and reputation takes a beating. TA Leaders should ensure their teams close loop with each candidate. The person may not be a fit right now but who knows about the future.
  3. Perception is the Key to Success – While you may be putting in super human effort but how others look at you is directly linked to how successful you become. So ensure small slip ups do not wash away the brilliant work you do.

Now pause for a second and read these 3 points again – hey hold true for all professionals. We know that leadership is all about compassion – we should learn to treat like we wish to be treated. So are you guilty of not treating others respectfully? Do share your thoughts with me.

Tu Beer Hai – Startup Bubble is Bursting

Disclaimer: I believe in the potential of startups and as a consumer of many of them (For example: Uber, Inshorts, Flipkart, TinyOwl, Quikr, …and many more) I feel they have made a difference and are needed.

Startup Bubble Khalid Raza #SocialGlamorYesterday I opened a nifty startup news app to read that Flipkart deferred (read declined) the joining of some very glossy IIM A MBA grads, to whom they promised hefty packages (and created artificial talent wars). While I understand that there is some internal structuring going on but a company which is leading the current e-commerce scene, not only in terms of losses, really has not gotten its act together. In April, Puneet Soni, Flipkart’s Chief Product Officer and expensive import from Silicon valley, left Flipkart within 14 months of joining.

Snapdeal and Flipkart have reported losses in financial year 2014-15. Snapdeal’s financial report revealed a loss of Rs 1,328.01 crore.  The highest loss reported last financial year was by Flipkart at Rs 2,000 crore.

2 days ago, Anand Chandrasekaran left Snapdeal. Anand, a former Yahoo executive, returned to India in 2014 to run product for the carrier Bharti Airtel. He jumped to Snapdeal last June, and led an effort to integrate more services, like Uber, into the company’s flagship app, a model similar to China’s popular WeChat.

3 days ago, Tiny Owl, another start up shut all his India operations, except Mumbai. Wonder why that was left. The Mumbai-based company was operational in 11 cities, including Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Chennai, but will now operate only in select areas of its home city. It laid off 160 employees in August. In November, it shut operations in four cities — Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai, and laid off another 100 employees.

Housing.com, which is backed by SoftBank and witnessed a management change after founder Rahul Yadav was evicted following a boardroom battle last year, posted a loss of Rs 279 crore on a revenue of Rs 12.7 crore, up from Rs 48.9 crore in the previous year.

Sulekha went to Rs 98.5 crore from Rs 80.9 crore, and AskMe’s revenues grew to Rs 43.4 crore from Rs 42.7 crore. Losses, however, went up massively, with Quikr and AskMe posting a combined loss of Rs 704.9 crore during FY15, up from Rs 380.9 crore in the previous year.

Zomato, which posted revenue of Rs 96.7 crore during FY15 had an employee cost of Rs 130.3 crore, while FoodPanda, with revenue of Rs 4.6 crore, had an employee cost of Rs 5 crore. Earlier this week, however, Zomato said it has reached operational profitability in six markets, including India.

Uff, stop it! So whats now?

The startup bubble is bursting!

Let’s understand what I mean here: The valuations… read more

Driving talent engagement through social

Talent is the biggest challenge organizations are facing in today’s environment where the millennials are taking charge. Employers all over the world are looking to find ways to keep employees engaged. Gallup research shows that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged, that they are likely to spread negativity to others.

If people are not engaged, how can leaders attain those business objectives that are critical to improving organizational performance? And, at the same, we need our leaders to engage employees.

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An engaged employee becomes an asset to the team, department, business unit and organization by continuously thinking about the bigger picture. In his book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, author Tim Rutledge explains that the truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work (“I want to do this”), committed (“I am dedicated to the success of what I am doing”), and fascinated (“I love what I am doing”). Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the discretionary effort – exceeding duty’s call – to ensure that the organization succeeds.

Talent engagement is not a goal, it is a state of being; focus should stay on sustaining it.

Most organizations have an annual employee engagement survey which helps leaders assess the engagement levels but it’s…

Read the complete article on People Matters or on LinkedIn.

My 2015 in review

2015 is over but I am still hungover. What an year it was. Lemme quickly share with you some highlights of my 2015 and I will eagerly wait to hear your top highlight of the year through the comment section.

To begin with, my blog got a lot of love from all of you. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

And I became a proud father of Zayaan Raza, who joined us on 5th Dec 2015. Here is us wishing you an awesome New Year!

Last but not the least, the icing on the cake was when I got selected in the 25 Top Indian HR Professionals – what an honor!

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