Month: May 2008

Employers advised to keep staff keen

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Employers advised to keep staff keen
Rania Abouzeid, THE NATIONAL

Last Updated: May 18. 2008

DUBAI // Employers who want to keep talented staff on board should woo them using the same tactics they would adopt to win repeat business from customers, says a human resources expert.

“Let’s stop thinking of employees as people who have to do what we say because we pay them and think of them as customers,” said David Creelman, the chief executive of Creelman Research, a Toronto-based human resources management company, at the seventh annual Middle East Human Resources Conference yesterday.

“How do you sell the job to them and get them to recommit?”

In a keynote address, Mr Creelman said managers should apply marketing principles to human-resource management.

“Think about marketers,” Mr Creelman said. “How would they get a customer to recommit? People in the sales side don’t just sit there and push products out. Go out there and get engaged with your people. Find out what it is they want.”

Recruiting and retaining skilled employees is particularly challenging in the UAE because of the transient nature of the country’s workforce and its multicultural makeup.

A report released last week by Hill & Knowlton Middle East and YouGov Siraj, said that managers in the UAE were acutely aware of the difficulties of finding the right people for the right jobs; more than two thirds of those surveyed said it was not an easy task to accomplish and, said Mr Creelman, “It’s not enough just to pay someone and hope they’ll recommit”. Before offering incentives, human-resources managers should consider where individual employees fell on what he called the four-point “recommitment scale”.

At the top of the scale were employees who were excited and eager to work hard. Next, those willing to do the work but not excited, followed by bored employees and, finally, those who were clearly dissatisfied.

Once an employee’s position on the scale had been identified, suitable incentives, ranging from higher salary, longer holidays or a more challenging position, could be used to retain their services.

“Different people will be looking for different things,” Mr Creelman said. “HR is not like calculus. There’s no one right answer.”

Mr Creelman said that even simple things, such as paying attention to employees, would affect their desire to remain committed to the company.

“Managers should ask themselves: ‘Who are the people you really want to keep? How much attention do you pay to them? When was the last time you had a conversation with them about their goals?’.” Mr Creelman added that managers should also evaluate their own performance and its effect on their staff.

“Did you hire dead wood or did you create it? Did you hire good people and turn them into dead wood?” Noora al Bedur, the manager of the Employment and Skills Development Center of Tanmia, the national human-resource development and employment authority, said that when it came down to it, a wage increase was usually all it took to keep an employee on the staff.

“The more you pay, the more people will stay,” she said.

Ms Bedur, who has been with Tanmia for seven years, said that, in addition to pay rises, financial incentives such as free parking and health insurance helped to keep employees committed to a company, but in her experience salary accounted for 60 per cent of an employee’s motivation.

Ms Bedur oversees about 25 employees and offers vocational training to 1,600 Emiratis a year, finding jobs for another 2,600.

“The most important thing in Dubai now is the salary,” she said, “And it’s the same for everybody, not just the locals.

“You’re talking about Dubai, one of the most expensive cities to live in. Motivation can get you through two years, but employees will then tell you that they can make more money elsewhere.”

Pauli Liimatainen, the vice president of human resources for Ericsson in the Middle East, said that his company carried out regular employee surveys to ascertain staff concerns. He also kept an eye on what his competitors were offering their staff.

Although his company’s staff turnover was less than five per cent per annum, Mr Liimatainen said that it could not afford to rest on its laurels.

“We are a little bit fortunate because our staff turnover is low,” he said after the keynote speech. “But you can’t ever relax because you have competition for labour. You need to be ahead. “

rabouzeid@thenational.ae

Best of K Mahathi – Raga Ratnam Junior Final 5 contestant

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Amrita TV through its various programmes strive to find, nurture and develop talent in all fields of creativity and human interest. Raga Ratnam Junior exemplifies this effort by showcasing Carnatic musicians in the 10-15 years young age group. This programme is a first ever in the history of Malayalam televison

Raga Ratnam Junior (RRJ), launched in September of 2007, is a Carnatic music talent hunt for children in the 10-15 age group. RRJ in many ways exemplifies Amrita TV’s commitment to its audiences of producing programs that are enriching, endearing and entertaining. The channel has become a pioneer in the field of reality TV with RRJ as a shining star in its constellation of innovative, unique and creative programmes.

Auditions for the talent hunt took place in Chennai, Bangalore, Thrissur and Trivandrum.

The contest has been staged in multiple rounds of different renditions of Carnatic music; to date the rounds have been Keerthanam, Drishya Sangeetham, Swathi Thirunal, Thillana, Dance, Fusion, Jugalbandhi, Manodharma , Varnam, Pancharatnam, and Meerabhajan. For the final stage a special round called Kacheri is currently in progress with the final 3 contestants.

Today, we look at K. Mahathi, one of the final contestants, who got eliminated recently leaving way for the final 3. In this small but fairly detailed snapshot let us look at his profile and also listen to some of his performances which took her this far.

Name: S.K.MAHATHI
Age: 15 Yrs
Place: Calicut
Father’s Name: S.Yegneshwara Sastry
School: Kendriya Vidyalaya, Calicut
Standard: X
Training: In Karnatic Music Since past 6 years
Favourite Raga: Bhairavi
Favourite Musician: M.S.Subbalakshmi
Achievements: Won several prizes in the school level competitions

Mahathi – Meera Bhajans

http://www.megavideo.com/v/KMZ7NK8R7a1b7e32edfedf9975f488dcdb75414a.5794495363.0

Mahathi – Entharo Mahanubavulu – Pancharatna Krithis – Sri Raagam

http://www.megavideo.com/v/MP2DGKPQ55ddc6ef0a2a47d601bb6b49eab85cdc.5794495185.0

Mahathi Kathakalipadam 22-23 Mar 2008

My sincere prayers and best wishes for K Mahathi to achieve more glory in the coming years.

Best of Akhil Krishnan – Raga Ratnam Junior Final 5 contestant

Posted on Updated on

Amrita TV through its various programmes strive to find, nurture and develop talent in all fields of creativity and human interest. Raga Ratnam Junior exemplifies this effort by showcasing Carnatic musicians in the 10-15 years young age group. This programme is a first ever in the history of Malayalam televison

Raga Ratnam Junior (RRJ), launched in September of 2007, is a Carnatic music talent hunt for children in the 10-15 age group. RRJ in many ways exemplifies Amrita TV’s commitment to its audiences of producing programs that are enriching, endearing and entertaining. The channel has become a pioneer in the field of reality TV with RRJ as a shining star in its constellation of innovative, unique and creative programmes.

Auditions for the talent hunt took place in Chennai, Bangalore, Thrissur and Trivandrum.

The contest has been staged in multiple rounds of different renditions of Carnatic music; to date the rounds have been Keerthanam, Drishya Sangeetham, Swathi Thirunal, Thillana, Dance, Fusion, Jugalbandhi, Manodharma , Varnam, Pancharatnam, and Meerabhajan. For the final stage a special round called Kacheri is currently in progress with the final 3 contestants.

Today, we look at Akhil Krishna, one of the final contestants, who got eliminated recently leaving way for the final 3. In this small but fairly detailed snapshot let us look at his profile and also listen to some of his performances which took him this far.

Name: AKHIL KRISHNAN. J
Age: 15 Yrs
Place: Palakkad
Father’s Name: Dr.S.Jayaprakash
School:Bharath Matha Higher Secondary School , Chandra Nagar, Palakkad
Standard: X
Training: In Karnatic Music since past 9 years
Favourite Raga: Varali
Favourite Musician: Madhurai T.N.Seshagopalan
Achievements: Recipient of ‘THAMBURU’ from Dr. K.J.Yesudas in the state level classical music competition held at Thripunithura

Akhil Krishnan – Meera Bhajan

http://www.megavideo.com/v/EPOV6F8Yc32702f44059478793a612fc2a50a0ec.5794495254.0

Akhil Krishnan – Kanakana Ruchira – Pancharatnam kritis

http://www.megavideo.com/v/IRLUKZZ0ef0072d9ff51e239f7a0aa90c383fd56.5794495599.0

Akhil Krishnan Kathakali Padam 22 Mar 2008

My sincere prayers and best wishes for Akhil Krishnan to achieve more glory in the coming years.

Slow drivers ‘not being fined’

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Slow drivers ‘not being fined’
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter and Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS May 21, 2008

Dubai: Plans to implement a minimum speed limit on Dubai’s roads have gone down the drain because of friction between the authorities responsible for implementing the decision, Gulf News has learnt.

Early last year the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introduced a minimum speed limit of 60 km/h on roads, which have a maximum speed limit of 100km/h and above but this has not yet been implemented.

The RTA also spent a huge amount on advertisements and sign boards warning motorists about the minimum speed limit but motorists driving below the speed limit have never been fined.

Plans for the minimum speed limit triggered debate when introduced by the RTA. A top traffic police official objected saying that it should be 70km/h but the RTA stuck to its guns saying that it had taken the decision after comprehensive studies.

However, the friction continued between the Traffic and Roads Agency at the RTA and the Traffic Police and no measures were taken to implement the decision.

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“We announced the decision and also educated motorists through advertisements and sign boards but the police were responsible for implementing this and it never happened,” said a senior RTA official.

He said the disagreement between the RTA and the police on the issue regarding the minimum speed limit was not resolved.

A top traffic police official told Gulf News the police were never convinced on the issue. He said that there was a need for better coordination between the RTA and the Traffic Police on this important issue.

An RTA official said the aim was to encourage motorists to maintain an average speed and to avoid driving too slowly on highways.

Slow drivers cannot be caught on automatic speed cameras installed on roads because these only capture speeding motorists. Slow drivers were supposed to be tracked by cameras manned by the police but it has not been done so far.

Dangerous: Risk to road users

A study conducted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reveals that introducing a minimum speed limit does not mean that a motorist has to drive at 60 km/h; rather it says a motorist should drive at a speed (above 60km/h) to keep up with the traffic flow within the given minimum and maximum speed limits depending on the traffic situation.

The decision is aimed at motorists who drive too slowly.

The RTA study also says if the minimum speed is set at 30 per cent less than the maximum speed of 120km/h, it would be 84 km/h and it would not be workable because it would be more than the maximum speed of 80km/h fixed for trucks on highways.

The RTA’s decision to have a minimum speed limit of 60 km/h on roads calculates at 50 per cent less than the maximum speed on roads with a 120km/h upper limit and some 40 per cent on roads with a maximum speed limit of 100km/h.

COMPARISON

Limits on major roads
Country Max Speed Min Speed % of Min spd < Max speed
UK 112 km/h 64 km/h 42%
USA 105 km/h 64 km/h 39%
Germany 130 km/h 60 km/h 54%
Spain 120 km/h 60 km/h 50%
Belgium 120 km/h 70 km/h 40%
Dubai 100 to 120 km/h 60 km/h 40% to 50%

Some of the main roads in Dubai which will have minimum speed limit of 60 km/h

Shaikh Zayed Road

Emirates Road

Al Khail Road

Al Ittihad Road

Dubai Outer Bypass Road

Dubai-Hatta Road

Dubai-Al Ain Road

Garbage collector has dream for son

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Garbage collector has dream for son
By Zoe Sinclair (Our staff reporter) KHALEEJ TIMES 21 May 2008

DUBAI — More than 40 years ago, Abdul Salaam Azizurahman fled Myanmar after losing his home and suffering under the government.

He could never have imagined that he would be honoured for his hard work by the leader of his adopted country, the UAE, as happened at the Dubai Government Excellence Programme Awards 2008 this week.

Abdul guesses he is about 70 years old, but the hard worker says he will continue until his legs give way.

As a young man, Abdul gained a Bangladeshi passport and came to Dubai via Pakistan.

Abdul took whatever work came his way as a casual street cleaner, before taking the chance to start his own business trading in small items like cosmetics.

The business fell by the wayside and Abdul took a job with the Dubai Municipality where he stayed for 25 years.

Although he retired once, Abdul supports a family of 10, including his wife, five daughters, one son and two grandchildren.

He returned to the municipality where he has worked for another eight years, from 5am to 12.30pm for Dh900 a month.

Never shy of work, he instead says he is grateful to have met his wife and had his family in Dubai.

“I’ve been given everything here,” Abdul said.

“Allah says to work hard and Allah will give you everything.”

He was overcome with surprise when he found himself being honoured by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammed kept a humble Abdul Salaam, dressed in his orange uniform and white cap, by his side and often with an arm around Abdul’s shoulder, for the remainder of the awards presentation.

“Shaikh Mohammed spoke to me in Urdu,” Salaam said.

“He asked me how long I’ve been working here, what I do.

“I like to work because of Shaikh Mohammed.”

His moments of rest are spent with his family and he never expected reward except to see his family happy and living a better life. “My dream is to go on Haj. Being a Muslim I have to go on Haj and that is my dream to go at least once and put myself at the feet of God.

“My son is a coolie and I want for him to have a better job. He is a good driver and I hope he finds a job as a driver.”

Exchange students

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Exchange students

The IPL has given young players the opportunity to interact with their elders and betters – both from India and overseas

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan May 20, 2008

VRV Singh is among the many young Indian players who have benefited from sharing a dressing room with overseas cricketers in the IPL © AFP

It was the penultimate over of the Delhi Daredevils’ innings and Punjab’s VRV Singh, as he had done while bowling in the death through the tournament, was trying to get every ball in the blockhole. The first, which ended up a low full-toss, was turned to short fine leg by Virender Sehwag; the second, which Tillakaratne Dilshan tried to pull, was an attempted yorker that turned into a beamer down leg side; and the third, which Dilshan paddled past short fine leg, was another low full-toss.

That was when Mahela Jayawardene, fielding at deep third man, decided to run halfway across the field to have a word with the bowler and captain. As someone who captains Dilshan in the Sri Lankan team, it was obvious Jayawardene saw through his plan. Fine leg was pushed back, three full-ish balls followed, the line was controlled according to how Dilshan moved in the crease, and the remainder of the over produced just three. In a game that was decided by six runs, it was a crucial over.

There are many reasons for Punjab’s ascendancy to second spot in the IPL – balanced side, strong bowling attack, good mix of Indian and foreign talent – but tactics have played a big part.

The international players have imparted their ideas and the local players have chipped in during brainstorming sessions. Australians have helped in analysing Australian opponents, and Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have been perfect allies for Yuvraj Singh.

Brett Lee, for the two weeks he was available, was a big brother to the fast bowlers. One young Indian bowler talks of the “highly emotional” atmosphere in the dressing room the day Lee left. “We became so close to him that we felt bad when he said goodbye. The amount we learnt from him in such a short time was unbelievable. He used to treat every practice session as if it was his last.”

Sangakkara has missed the last four games but that hasn’t stopped him from making a serious contribution. “Uday Kaul [the young replacement wicketkeeper] had never kept to quality fast bowling before,” says a team member, “but Sangakkara has ensured he gets adequate training.” Even during the early games, Sangakkara made sure Kaul got enough preparation in the nets.

How useful has it been brain-storming with international and local players? “It’s interesting to see how the same questions are approached by people with different perspectives,” Sangakkara told Cricinfo. “Sometimes you get two or three opinions on the same subject – or more. The debate then starts. It’s important how you bring all those into one thought process or one strategy.”

What’s been really challenging for Sangakkara and Jayawardene is coming up with strategies to counter their fellow Sri Lankans – which they haven’t quite managed against the wily Muttiah Muralitharan, who’s foxed them both at crucial moments. Sangakkara thinks there are advantages to planning against your own countrymen.

“You find yourself coming up with new ways to combat these players [like Murali],” he says, “but you then realise there are new dimensions to their game that can be exploited to Sri Lanka’s benefit later. When you analyse someone’s game, you try and find how you can get the better of them, but also find new ways in which they can be lethal. It’s nice to sit back and analyse your own team members – gives you an appreciation and new-found respect.”

If he gets a direct hit, he analyses what went right. If he misses, he analyses what went wrong. It’s the attention to detail that was mind-boggling for us
Aakash Chopra on Ricky Ponting’s approach to fielding in the IPL

The Australian way

Like Punjab, all eight franchises are experiencing the benefits of players interacting with their international peers and elders. The prolific Rohit Sharma has attributed part of his success to Adam Gilchrist. “He told me not to get swayed by the results, as my job is only to keep performing.” Delhi’s young bowlers can’t stop raving about Glenn McGrath, and over in Jaipur, Shane Warne has been inspiring a whole generation.

McGrath’s influence goes beyond his role as a fast bowler: he asked for videos of Pradeep Sangwan’s Ranji Trophy matches to analyse his action and suggest improvements. “McGrath makes it a point to stand at mid-off or mid-on when the youngsters are bowling,” says TA Sekhar, cricket operations chief of GMR Holdings, the owner of the Delhi franchise. “Now that itself is a great inspiration for young bowlers like Yo Mahesh and Sangwan. If they bowl a no-ball, he’s encouraging them, telling them how to deal with the free-hit ball. If they bowl five good balls, he makes sure they don’t get carried away with the sixth.”

Halhadar Das, the Orissa wicketkeeper who plays for the Hyderabad franchise, says he never imagined he would even see Gilchrist, let alone learn from him. Sumit Khatri, Rajasthan’s chinaman bowler, says he needs to pinch himself every time Warne says “Well bowled.” And S Badrinath, who is yet to make the national side despite years of domestic consistency, talks of the lessons learnt from Michael Hussey, who went through a similar phase (“His message was simple,” Badrinath says. “Enjoy whatever you are doing and the rest will follow”)

Ricky Ponting’s dedication to fielding was an eye-opener for everyone in the Kolkata side. “His dedication to fielding is unbelievable,” says Aakash Chopra, the former India opener who’s currently with the Knight Riders. “If he gets a direct hit, he analyses what went right. If he misses, he analyses what went wrong. It’s the attention to detail that was mind-boggling for us.”

Australians have dominated the tournament so far but it’s been their attitude to practice that has really benefited their teams. McGrath is the first to arrive at nets and the last to leave. Ponting ensured that every batting session was planned properly, and while he may not have scored many runs, his approach was inspiration enough. Warne has managed to throw in tactics even while relaxing in a swimming pool in Goa. (“It was great to sit around the pool and talk about how to construct an over,” he said.)

The approach is likely to rub off. “I always wondered how some Australians manage to score despite looking so badly out of form,” says one former India player. “Now I realise it’s because of the amount they practise. They target one area and go on striking the ball there, irrespective of the length. It’s such routines that makes them come out of slumps.”

The likes of McGrath and Lee have taken their duties as mentors seriously, and have also set good examples with their dedication to practice © Getty Images

Local flavour

It’s not all been one-way traffic. In an era of packed international schedules, the IPL has also allowed Indian superstars to interact with domestic players. “I hadn’t seen him earlier but one ball was enough to convince me that he was a talented bowler,” said Sachin Tendulkar of Dhaval Kulkarni, the 19-year-old medium-pacer who is the highest wicket-taker for Mumbai after nine games.

Ross Taylor made it a point to talk to Rahul Dravid and Shivnarine Chanderpaul about batting in England, where he was set to join New Zealand for a Test series; and Cameron White said his most satisfying experience in the IPL was discussing legspin with Anil Kumble.

India’s domestic cricketers, who could never have imagined sharing the same dressing room with legends like Tendulkar have probably benefited the most. “More than anything else, it’s given domestic cricketers a strong belief,” says a former India allrounder who is currently with one of the franchises. “There is a general perception that international cricketers are perfect, but you realise that all of them have weaknesses too. It’s because they work around these weaknesses that they play at the international level. So domestic cricketers will start to believe they can make it too, as long as they are focused and totally dedicated.”

The downside

It hasn’t been all good, though. A few foreign players have treated the tournament like a circus that offers them generous pay packets, and some have shown no restraint when it comes to late nights.

“Most of them are used to drinking late and partying hard but the worrying aspect is that some of the young Indian players are emulating this,” says an Indian player who is part of one of the franchises. “They must know their limits. Just because they see their heroes partying, it doesn’t mean they need to follow that.”

Halfway through the tournament, Bangalore’s think-tank felt the need to read the riot act to the players, listing the kind of discipline that was expected from them. Murmurs have been heard about the Deccan Chargers being distracted about the number of get-togethers and promotional events being organised. Such talk usually accompanies teams that are not doing well but it’s a warning one mustn’t ignore: revolutions have their flip side too.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo