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Media Coverage : ( BUSINESS INDIA - MAY 1-14 ISSUE ) Finding the Fit - Excerpts from the interview with a Pune-based duo which is helping Indian companies use a 45-year-old tool to recruit the right people and reorganise work teams.
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Mr. Venkatesh Desai
The Rs. 230-crore Sudarshan Chemicals Ltd. (SCIL) wanted to formulate job profiles for key positions, then use these for trait appraisals to help in recruitment and to identify training needs. Enter Praendex Management Resources (PMR), a two year old company which brought the Predictive Index® (PI®) to India to do just that. "We started by using the PI® system for this," says SCIL managing director P.R.Rathi. "We are now working further on improving our job position and job evaluation methods-which will then be used for further reviewing the compensation management system."
PMR president Venkatesh Desai discovered the PI® when he was head of human relations (HR) at Alfa-Laval (India) Ltd. (ALIL) till 1997.

"The Tetra Laval group has been using PI Worldwide India for the last 25 years," says Desai. "So I knew the power of this tool." So, with colleague Sujata Rege, he quit to set up his own outfit, which is a licensee of the Massachusetts, US-based Praendex Inc for India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

PI®, explains Desai, helps the leader of an organisation identify the motivating needs of his people, and the impact of these on their performance at work. There are a lot of intangibles in this process, and it usually involves a lot of guesswork to convert these to tangibles. "PI® reduces the guesswork by half," he says. "Behavioural dimensions are measurable on a sigma scale."

Obviously, ALIL was one of the first companies Desai and Rege put on their client list. "PI® is good for new recruitment, where it allows you to judge the character of the applicants and fit them in," says ALIL managing director Satish Tandon.

Gopal Amin, managing director of compressor manufacturer Kirloskar Copeland Ltd., agrees : "It's really a terrific tool, providing a good insight into a prospective employee's psyche," PI® helped us evaluate the behavioral patterns for both recruits and existing employees at our plant. It's a good way to fit a person into the kind of job he likes, depending on your requirement as an employer. This keeps the employee happy, too."

The system, he points out, has been validated over 45 years, having been developed and first administered experimentally in 1953-54 and accepted worldwide since 1955. Thousands of managers and executives have attended the PI® management workshop, and the checklist to arrive at the analysis of employee behavior and aptitude has been administered millions of times.

PI®, which its exponents describe as a comprehensive programme that provides tools, training and consulting support to improve the effectiveness of managers in developing and focusing the energy of their people to meet the needs of the business, is currently being used in nearly 40 Fortune 500 companies. "People in an organisation who have been working together for years, look at their job needs differently," Desai points out. "PI® provides the job benchmarking to help prevent selecting the wrong people, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole."

PMR's client list in India is already impressive, in the short time it has been in business. Most of the companies-like Bajaj Auto, Deepak Nitrite, Thermax and Virgo Engineers-are in Pune. Mumbai and Bangalore a couple each, including Ingersoll Rand and Toyota Kirloskar Motor, while Chennai has one : CG Maersk Info Tech. It costs between Rs.75,000 and Rs.10 lakh per company, depending on its size and complexity of operations. But it's cheap at the price if the success rate is really close to 100 per cent as Desai says, and results are visible
within six months.

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