Tag Archive for 'CII'

From Military Service to Corporate Jobs – The Indian Experience


Today , I read about a commitment by Starbucks to hire military veterans  and their family members publicly stated as a branding exercise !. What a noble way of recognizing the contributions made by the Armed Forces of USA ! . I am also aware that the US Government and the Industry gives utmost priority to employ Military Veterans in Civilian jobs after their engagement with the Forces. In the UK , there is a Govt sponsored Career Transition Partnership [CTP ] to connect military veterans with the Civil Industry.

Hiring veterans from the military is a good business , according to a research through in – depth interviews with individuals representing 69 companies across the US , by Margaret C Harrell and Nancy Berglass from the Center for a New American Security . Advantages as per this report for hiring military veterans are –

Leadership and Teamwork skills , Character , Structure and Discipline , Expertise , Decision skills in a dynamic high risk environment , Proven success and Loyalty .

Back home in India , in spite of  a full fledged Resettlement Directorate functioning with the Ministry of Defense , and various appeals made from time to time , only a very small percentage of the Armed Forces  veterans who retire at a comparatively younger age get a second career in the civil .  Of late , there are many isolated initiatives by many agencies to conduct training programs and orientation programs but these are yet to create an impact because of the lack of willingness of the Corporate World to come out with a process to enable this. There is also no stated policy or commitment from the Government to facilitate this transition.

The general public and the Corporate World know only about the primary role of the Armed Forces – defending the nation against any external aggression. Therefore , the only skills that they generally attribute to the military officers and soldiers is in the domain of security jobs and at times general administration.  In today’s  hi -tech and most complex military environment , the men [ and now women ] in arms , possess  very high degree of expertise in many fields of technology and engineering which can be gainfully utilized by the corporate organizations. In addition, the excellent managerial and people skills of the officers  who have been tested in high pressure situations with an ability to taking responsibility for their actions and getting things done first time , can be exploited by the society at large . They are quick to learn , picking up new skills and can adapt to new circumstances with ease.

I had read a paper on this titled ‘ Share our Brain Ware ‘ in the first Army – Industry partnership seminar organized by the CII [ Confederation of Indian Industry ] at New Delhi in 1995 while I was serving as a Dean of the Management Training Wing at the Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering at Secunderabad . It was well received by the participants and some follow up action was initiated to get the details of skills and expertise from the Army sources for dissemination to CII member organizations. We also had successful Army / Navy / Air Force Officers who made a mark at Chairman / MD of public sector undertakings and other large organizations addressing the gathering.

I claim to have succeeded in my transition to the civil on my retirement from the Army after 30 years of service. What helped me was the following credentials –

A degree in engineering , my exposure to the discipline of management through various courses in premier Army institutions , a MBA from the Indore University obtained while in Army Service , my 3 year tenure as an Assistant Military Secretary at  the Personnel Branch at the Army HQ dealing with career planning and placement of senior officers in command appointments and my tenures as Managing Director  of an Army Base Repair facility manned mainly civilians who are governed by the factories act , followed by my tenure as Dean at the MCEME .

I had a successful civil career spanning 10 years with the IT Industry , working with a global IT Company  as Head of Operations and later as Corporate Head for Knowledge and Learning for their Indian Arm. I also worked for another 10 years as the Executive Director of HYSEA – Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association [www.hysea.in] , the only state level association in India for IT Companies .

I am not an exception – there are many more such profiles in the Armed Forces – with Army , Navy and the Air Force looking for a suitable break with the Industry . A few years back , the Indian Institutes of Management came out with a 6 months training program especially packaged for the officers of the Armed Forces . This was a welcome step but I remember many of those who qualified in those program , reaching out to me at Hyderabad for referring them to someone known to me. Therefore , there is a dire need to institutionalize this transition and I am sure the corporate world will benefit immensely from the well honed skills of the Military Veterans and at the same time fulfill a societal obligation they have to the nation. I sincerely hope the noble example I quoted in the beginning from the US will motivate the Indian Industry to take note and come forward to address this issue .

Day of the Generals

A page from my Army days – It was the year 1996  and the Confederation of Indian Industries [ CII ]   had organized a seminar in New Delhi at a five star hotel on a theme  ” Army Industry Partnership ”  – first of its kind when the Army came forward to understand and partner with the private industry in India in a meaningful manner instead of resorting to mere sub contracting of work which is often mired in bureaucratic maze .

The hall was full and we had at least a 100 plus Star Generals in full uniform and livery attending the seminar and participating in the deliberations in parallel tracks . I was also a speaker talking on the topic ‘ Share our Brain Ware ‘ in the HR segment of the seminar .

There was a comic sight during the lunch hour . I witnessed something very rare from a military angle – The Army Top Brass standing in a  queue for more than 30 minutes for the buffet lunch ! The hotel obviously could not help it or did not consider it odd at all in a civilian setting but I could see many of the generals uncomfortable and showing it ! .

The first lesson in partnership when working with those not in uniform !

62nd Anniversary of the Indian Republic – State of the Nation

Indian republic is 62 today – celebrations and re-dedications are  evident everywhere as is the norm along with ceremonial parades and show of strength for the whole world to watch . But – it is a very large BUT – there is unusually prominent pessimism in the general public this year .

A cartoon in the center page of the Deccan Chronicle by Sudhir Telang today captures  the mood and may be the ” State of the Nation ” with understandable  sarcasm – It shows all the scam scarred politicians and bureaucrats on top of  an elephant duly garlanded and the mahout being the Prime Minister of India with the caption  ”  Brave Children  ” drawing a parallel to the yearly parading of children who are bestowed with bravery awards on the occasion of the Republic Day .

In a recent interactive meeting organized by the CII [ Confederation of India Industries ] with all political parties to discuss growth strategies for the State of Andhra Pradesh , one politician stated that while the Central Government is on ICU [ Intensive Care Unit] , the state Government of AP is on a ventilator – very strong comment coming from a spokesperson of the regional party which was in power not long ago in the state for two full terms.

What has caused these perceptions or reality ? . A variety of factors – Most important reason is the ”  Trust Gap ” perceived by the general public due to corruption in all walks of life . The second one may be ” political brinkmanship ” keeping party and family loyalties above national priorities . Instead of  ” Performance with Purpose ” , we have neither performance nor purpose . Lastly serious erosion of social values due to nepotism , rigging of the electoral process and growth of black money all have created a ” value shift ” threatening to destroy the very fabric that is INDIA .

Do we say on this day -Enough !!. Let us change and that too fast enough by isolating the criminals and exposing their deeds in public , overhaul the democratic process to bring back sanity and order and work for an ” Inclusive Economic progress ” through home grown solutions using technology and innovation . A pledge like that will bring a needed meaning to the Republic which is now matured .