War of Wits- the flagship HR event saw massive participation with over 280 teams (4 members per team) from 20 colleges registered for the first round. The preliminary round included an online quiz and caselet analysis.  Six top performing teams were selected for the on campus round.

War of Wits started with a campus hiring simulation game. A minimum of 5 candidates, one from each domain of business management, was to be hired. Teams were to compete among themselves for the best candidates among various colleges. Time was so restricted that they could only choose a maximum of 3 among 5 campuses and every team had the same amount assigned to them. A choice of conducting a branding exercise was also provided at a given expenditure. Teams had to use every piece of data and resources provided to come to the best possible solution.

With the first campus round ensuring that participants think on their feet, the second was a puzzle to test their knowledge and application of Human Resources. Teams were awarded on their accuracy and efficiency. The event came to a close with a case study and presentation which was judged by professors Anita Sarkar and Gloryson R B Chalil from XLRI, Jamshedpur. War of Wits was an all-round assessment of managerial capabilities with focus on mental agility.


First prize – (ISB)

Second prize –(XLRI)


Concept of 4 day work-week in India

The concept of a 4 day work week has long been a subject of discussion in the west especially the United States. The experiment was carried out on most state employees in Utah, United States during 2008 and there was a marked improvement in the productivity of employees, reduced overhead costs and reduction in gasoline consumption, when the budgets were tight and resources in the US were dwindling. The researchers found that 79% of the employees reported a positive experience with 4 days a week/ 10 hrs a day routine and 63% of the employees showed signs of increased productivity.

However the most important question is will the 4 day work-week concept work in India? There are lot factors that need to be considered before this concept can be implemented here:

Laws of the land:
In India, according to the Factories Act and the Shop and Establishments Act of various states, the official working hours is 48 hours a week, beyond which the worker is eligible for twice the amount of wages for every hour that he works.

Traditionally Hard workers:

The 4 day work- week worked wonders for the state government employees in Utah but the same might not work out in India. The exhibit from the economist shows the working hours in many countries, which is mainly dependent on the work culture and merely aping the west might not be the best idea. Though India is not mentioned here, Indians are traditionally hard workers, be it an unskilled worker at a construction site or a middle level manager at a small organization. According to Wikipedia, an average worker in India works for over 50 hours per week. Popular data also suggests that business leaders in emerging economies tend to work the longest hours with India and Argentina at the top of the league table, both at 57 hours a week, followed by Armenia, Australia and Botswana (all 56 hours a week). Italian business leaders work the least number of hours (47) a week in the world, followed predominantly by certain European countries. Now with such increased number of hours it is impossible for a 4 day work week as it compels managers to work for at least 14 hours per day with little time for leisure or family.

India’s booming service sector:
The concept of a 4 day work week is more suited for process oriented organizations and not for the service oriented ones. In India, where the service sector contributes more that 57% to the GDP, this concept wouldn’t apply at all, as there is a large customer service component to the business and it takes a bit of ingenuity and some scheduling prowess to adjust to this type of schedule. Consider the case of IT Sector or the BPO, which are already working long hours to serve their clients in Northern America and Europe; this new concept would put undue pressure on them to stretch too far on weekdays. There is this threat of work “leaking” into the scheduled off day, such as answering emails or phone calls at home.

There is a problem implementing this concept as there might be confusion whether there should be a mid week break or a three day weekend. This might force the management to give the employees the choice, and introduce the concept of employee rotation as well. However this might cause stress to the co-workers to pick up the slack at the office on days a fellow employee is off.

6 days a week still a norm in many organizations:
Many organizations are yet to implement the 5 days work week concept in India especially nationalized banks, most of which are still working 6 days a week. The officers and managers need to work late in the night thanks to the increasing workload of the Core Banking System Platform and the drastically reducing employee strength. The banking sector also faces problems due to the ageing workforce who would definitely not be able to cope with the 4 day work week concept as it would demand high amount of energy levels to serve the customers for long hours per day. It would be wise for organizations like banks to move to the 5 day work week first, for which there is already a huge resistance from the bureaucrats of the Finance Ministry and representatives of Indian trade and industry.

The above mentioned factors clearly suggest that the 4 day work week will not work in India and there is an urgent need of uniform implementation of a five day work throughout the country before carrying on with further experiments.

by Sunil. S. Kamath

XLRI HRM 2012-14


Tata Steel Adventure Foundation-Live Case challenge concluded by Sapphire

Sapphire XLRI concluded the TSAF – live case challenge on 18th August, 2012. The problem statement for the event was to create a “Leadership Measurement Appreciation System” for the outdoor leadership training programs conducted by TSAF. The first elimination was based on the way teams proposed to develop their respective systems. The applicants were asked to send in their presentations on the same on February, 2012 and four teams were shortlisted to present their entries to Mr P.P. Kapadia and Prof. M.G. Jomon(Faculty Advisor- SAPPHIRE). – Mr. Kapadia is a part of TSAF and has extensive experience in mountaineering and adventure profiles. –

The Leadership Dimensions to be measured included competence, environmental care, self-awareness, vision and action and expedition behaviour. A survey conducted pre and post course was concluded by all teams as the most practical approach. The issue faced was interference due to Social Desirability Bias and questions were formulated using verified existing questionnaires or by creating questions without negative overtones. Teams also tried to measure the expectations from events conducted at the programme. Care was taken to create a system to measure any disparity between counsellor’s and participants’ opinions. The entries were judged on the application of original concepts and ideas and the practicability of implementation since actualization of the system is the next phase of the project. On the above criteria, the team comprising Sakshi Wadhwan, Ritwik Sinha and Anumeha Gupta were judged to have completed their task most successfully. The team judged second was that of Narsimha Prasad Bulusu, Puja Pradhan and Praneeth Podduturu.


First prize:  Rs. 7000 + Himalayan Trek worth Rs. 25,000

Second prize: Rs 3000 +Himalayan Trek worth Rs. 25,000

The winning team !

The runners-up !








Has the Corporate neglected the real facets of HR for too long?

If it is about managing the people it has to be under human resource management.  Mostly seen in supportive role and not so an important function, human resource department is always under criticism. More often than not, it is blamed during adversary but is never appreciated during prosperity. There are numerous domains under HRD and they need to be reviewed and revised time and again with the changing scenario of the working environment. One such domain under HRD is the Industrial relation which is considered as the dark side of the HRM. In countries like India where the manufacturing sector contributes 75% to IIP and is expected to contribute around 25% to GDP within a decade, the issues of industrial relations will crop up time and again. But who is supposed to take the responsibility of this? IR certainly comes under the purview of human resource management but is the HR department vested with enough power to take care of IR on its own?? The answer is simple no.  The HR professionals are often the face of the organisation in front of the labours. The workers fail to understand that the HR manager is simply executing the orders which have been given to him by the senior authority. The tragedy that took place at Manesar last month was quite similar to what has happened in the past at Pricol and Grazziano Transmissioni.

Industrial relation was seen as an HR domain because it included the relationship between the employer and the employees which can be indirectly referred to as the union-employer relationship. However, the Industrial relations Act 1971 cannot be expected to work in today’s scenario when there is politicisation of the trade unions on a large scale. There is a need to review the labour laws which have been in place since centuries so that they could be amended according to current needs and demands. A few amendments have been made in the past but they are not enough to handle the labour related issues today because there has been a complete change in the dynamics of the industrial labour and their working environment.  The laws related to the contract labours also need to be simplified as major problems lie in dealing with them. There is lack of communication between the top level management and the shop floor workers. With the rise in the service industry there is decline of IR and the HR profession is seen more as managerial position in corporate office than as HR manager at a factory. IR is an integral part of HR and should not be seen as separated from it by the HR profession aspirants. It is also seen that not many countries have facilities for training in labour law and IR. For instance, things like negotiation, dispute prevention, and aspects of contract labour are subsided to a large extent.

The government is an important body other than the employer and the labours when it comes to industrial relations. No reform can take place without the active participation of all. It is important that the government, corporates and the union leaders come together on a common platform to reach at a consensus over several issues which crop up time and again in the labour relations. It is not possible to satisfy all, but doing nothing with such a fear will make matters even worse.
By- Noopur Borwankar

IIM Shillong




CHAOS’ 11: It’s gonna be maddening out there !

SAPPHIRE in association with the Union Bank of India presents CHAOS’ 11.

Amidst the entire hullabaloo about the SIP, the junior SAPPHIRE team came with the much awaited event CHAOS.  The entire event was spread across 3 rounds, first one being a quiz on leadership, which had various questions on the veteran leaders, the world has seen so far.  The second was a recruitment based strategy game, where in a team of 4, two participants were the college placement cell and the other two were the company recruiting for their vacant posts.  The game had put them through a whole lot of negotiations where the placement cell of each college had the onus of securing a placement for all the students in their college with the best possible remuneration and role whereas the company recruiting for their organization had to ensure that the package they offer is within the bounds of the budget of 1 crore and all the vacant posts are filled.  The overall score of a team was calculated based on the difference of overall salary package bagged by the placement cell for the students and the amount spent by the company for recruitment.  The team with the maximum score for both the rounds emerged as the winner.

Winners : Change Agents (Honeydeep Singh, Pratik Tripathi, Amrit Datta, Anurag Gupta)

Runners-Up : Jaisi Aapki Shraddha (Anindya Upadhyay, Sargam Toor, Harsh Seth, Hemant Bhardwaj)

Second Runners-Up: Chaos Grenades (Saurya Chakraborty, Sumant, Neelshekhar, Vivek)


1st – 5000

2nd – 3000

3rd – 2000

To add to the fun, there was a 3rd round about the comic employer branding where the teams had to choose from a list of comic characters.  Winners of this round – Victorious Secrets (Rajiv, Sameer, Sanuj, Saurabh)

All in all, the event lived up to its name ‘CHAOS’ and was a truly exciting and thrilling experience for the participants as well as the moderators.

Kudos to the junior team for pulling it off successfully!!!

Confessions of a CHRO: A Talk by Prof. Richard D. Sibbernsen, Former CHRO AT&T

It is a well-established fact that Human Resource Management plays a vital role for organizations to deal with modern challenges and improve the overall quality-of-life of its employees as well as the society as a whole. To achieve this, it is essential to drive goodHuman Resource policies through effective change management strategies, state-of-the-art technology and sustainable HR models.In order to address these emerging issues of human resource management in a global context, SAPPHIRE organized a guest lecture for the students of XLRI, Jamshedpur by Dr. Richard Sibbernsen – Ex Vice President of Human Resources at the telecom giant AT&T and at Bellsouth Corporation.


Dr. Sibbernsen started his lecture by telling the students about his career transition from being a lawyer to the Vice President of Human Resources at Bellsouth Corporation. He then explained what the study of social science actually is and related it to the field of psychology and diagnostic tools. He talked about the complexities faced by business firms globally and quoted some personal experiences from Tenneco Inc. where he was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations. He talked at length about how to handle surprises effectively and execute HR processes flawlessly. He also stressed on the importance of sharing good practices of different cultures and effective communication within an organization.


Dr. Sibbernsen said that we, the students at XLRI, being the future HR managers should create a sense of urgency to develop HR practices. He supported his statement with the varied experiences he had at Bellsouth Corporation and quoted an example of global surveys as well as local inputs taken by the organization which encouraged open comments and feedback about leadership and its success in changing the attitude of top leaders. He listed out the top five qualities which are critical to a good human resource manager:

a)      Integrity and related it to being a good team player

b)      Technical capability

c)      Effective execution of organizational policies and result orientation

d)      Dealing with ambiguity – He said that in an organization one cannot get 100% information about everything hence it is important to take a sensible decision with limited information at hand

e)      Change management


He then talked about how line managers are talent managers whereas HR managers are talent developers and ended the lecture by emphasizing the importance of ruthless prioritization and factual analysis of situations for a Human Resource Manager.



Long time ago, Arjuna was fighting the demons inside himself. In stepped Lord Krishna to clear his apprehensions, and the rest as they say, is history… As the junior batch set foot into the unknown world of HR, SAPPHIRE senior members shared the wealth of experience (!) they gained in the field of HR over their prolific year at XLRI as well as summer internships, in a session taken at Father Prabhu Hall on 19th of July 2011. The session aimed at assisting the junior HRM batch to get the better of their doubts.


The session was attended by approximately 50 students, which began with addressing few of the biggest concerns the students had for example:  “Why HR?”, “What roles can I get being in HR?” “How will I be able to fare well?. SAPPHIRE members introduced the courses to be covered over the first year, along with the importance of each course in an HR manager’s role. Not only did they speak about the relevance of each course being covered, they also quoted examples from their summer internship experience elucidating interdependence and relevance of the courses, and how sincere study of these courses would help us as HR managers.

There was also a sub-session on the various courses that students would be taking over their first year at XL and tips and tricks about how best to deal with the course (and the Professors teaching!).

The session proved to be of great importance in clearing the air of apprehension that the first year students had regarding different roles being offered to an HR professional. Questions were taken up wherein students asked about the prospects an HR professional has, also about various roles available to an HR. The summer internship experience shared by the seniors provided much clarity on the issue. A detailed break up of sector wise HR roles was presented, wherein analysis of HR roles in different sectors including FMCG, IT, Banking, Consulting, Manufacturing, General Management, and Real Estate was given. This session also acquainted students with numerous roles of an HR ranging from corporate HR, HR sales profile, IR roles, PMS, BP HR, contract labor management to various client dependent business roles.

Next on agenda was the much spoken about but mysterious SIP which was discussed. The session provided an insight to the students regarding which courses they should focus more on, topics that are frequently asked during SIPs also few tips to fare well during the SIP. Students showed a great deal of interest in understanding the process of summer internship, and got their doubts cleared related to the whole process.

The session effectively cleared the air of apprehension that the students had and also helped them fathom the roles of an HR manager while providing them with a peek into what could be expected in the coming year at XL. 


Ice Breaker

Welcome Juniors

As the academic session for the year 2011-12 began and life became more taxing at XL, Team SAPPHIRE was back with a bang with the Ice Breaker event for the Junior batch. Held on the 25th July at 2200 hrs at our very own Father Prabhu Hall, it was open to both the HRM and BM batches and saw a huge turnout being attended by over 100 participants.

The event was designed to capture the essence of HR and its related fields. Conceptualized and compiled by the senior SAPPHIRE team, it had tempting cash prizes to be won:,

1st prize: Rs. 3000

2nd prize: Rs. 2000

3rd prize: Rs. 1500

The event began with a mind-boggler of a quiz containing questions on all aspects of the Human Resource Management. And if the teams thought that was kind of tough (as could be gauged from quite a few agonized expressions!), it was followed by a group task where the teams were provided with the profiles of 13 candidates for the post of a manager and then had to choose the best amongst the potential candidates after identifying the required KSA’s for the job based upon job analysis. Each team thus picked one candidate. After that they were thrown into new groups comprising of 1 member from each team and the participants were required to brainstorm and come to a consensus about the order of the candidates suitable to the post of the manager.  This led to some extremely heated discussions and some serious out of the box thinking as all the participants tried to vouch for their chosen candidate as the best suitable candidate for the job! Budding recruitment guru’s are a plenty at XL for sure!  And finally, the teams were given a brain-tickling crossword to solve.

All in all, it turned out to be a fun-filled affair where the participants were enthusiastically engaged in discussions and proved to be quite a learning experience for the ‘potential managers’.  

The results were declared the next day and the following teams emerged as winners !!!!

Winners :                           Kar Lo Employees Mutthi Mein

                                              (Anusheel, Abhay & Rahul Kalra)

Runners-Up :                  McGregor’s X-Men

                                             (Abin Sarkar, Radhika Gupta & Pranav Kedia) 

Second Runners-Up:   HR Devils

                                            (Rahul Krishnan, Vikrant Chaplot & Srikanth SV)