What is Marketization of HRM? Do We Really Need to Worry About It?

In a session few weeks ago, my lecturer shared his thought related to marketization of human resources management (HRM) and the potential demise of HRM caused by it. I was a bit confused but was so interested to learn about it more, as I thought that by using the word ‘demise’, my lecturer seemed to give no room for ‘improvement in HRM’ which I pretty much was not agree with it. The discussion, however, started from how financialization shapes corporate governance and impacts the HRM.

In short, financialization is defined as the way economies being operated both nationally and internationally which are currently linked to the increasing role of financial institutions, motives, markets, and actors behind it (Epstein, 2005:3). The era of financialization is believed to start in the moment when the idea of a “market for corporate control” came up in the 1970s and 1980s (Lazonick, 1992). “Market for corporate control” would suggest that the market conditions (which one of the indications is the price of stocks) determine the fate of the company. Batt and Appelbaum (2013) explain that whenever the value of the company’s stock is under its assets’ value, it would easily be traded, rearranged, and some parts of it could be sold again.


Office (Source: https://pixnio.com/people/crowd/crowd-interior-people-architecture-building-stairs-steps-fences)

As the financialization happened, the new form of corporate governance which leads to marketization of HRM takes place.

Marketization of HRM refers to the idea that HR strategies and its practices have to be ‘pro-market’ instead of ‘pro-business’ (Dundon and Rafferty, 2018). By ‘pro-market’, it aims to support the short-term profitability based on the emerging market principles. This ‘pro-market’ term resonates with what Lazzonick (1992) termed as ‘market of corporate control’ aforementioned above. The HR strategies has no more in favor of ‘pro-business’, which supposedly supports the long-term development goals and ‘wider societal interests’ (Dundon and Rafferty, 2018).

As this short-term profitability became the center of focus, the role of HRM may be argued to become a “handmaiden of efficiency” to produce higher shareholder value through ‘labour rationalization’, instead of being a “strategic business partner” or “employee champion” as discussed by Ulrich (1998) (Dundon and Rafferty, 2018). To create efficiency, the HRM function becomes such an implementer for investors to cut wages, to reduce employee rewards and pension, or to restructure the workforce as well as to facilitate transfer of employment (Palpacuer, Seignour, & Vercher, 2011).

In relation to that, companies were being downsized -or looking for new models of employment (e.g. ‘gig’, outsource, platform based crowdsource, etc)- to minimize internal labour costs and as a way to do operational austerity. Using the study of Jung (2011) that analyses 681 large companies between 1984-2006 which announced downsizing, Batt and Appelbaum (2013) argue that downsizing is also seen as a way to increase share price and market valuation. Interestingly, another study by Shin (2010) informs that higher compensations were offered to the CEOs for subsequent years in corporations that decided to downsize.

Since the late 1970s, however, as the rise of financialization, the development of hyper-individualism became such a significant new face of the workforce (Dundon and Rafferty, 2018). Further, it is argued that hyper-individualism provides ‘an ideological justification’ to reward such label as ‘super manager’ (Piketty, 2014) in relation to the ‘modern cult of leadership’. Therefore, HRM also transforms its role to become a ‘supporter’ for individualistic determination of pay, based on structural authority as rationalized by falsely perceived market freedoms.

In this point of discussion, I became really curious about the history of HRM. I was then looking at several literatures and found that this note from Kaufman (2007) is worth to discuss:

… the term ‘HRM’, particularly in Britain, was started to be used in the mid 1980s in some journal articles. In short, British writers ‘opted for view that HRM was a substantively different model (of management) built on unitarism, individualism, high commitment, and strategic alignment (e.g Guest, 1987; Storey, 1995 in Kaufman, 2007). The concept of HRM itself perceived as a threat of a long stand industrial relations model, which also seen as a means to avoid union establishment in ‘Thatcherist neo-liberalism’ (Guest, 1987; Purcell, 1995 in Kaufman, 2007)

An interesting point that I realized from that note is, as the term HRM is actually emerged at the same era of the rise of financizalization (late 1970s-1980s), it might be argued that the concept of HRM, with its ‘unitarism, individualism, high commitment, and strategic’, is not “being shaped”, but actually “being transformed” in orchestra of the development of financialization.

Therefore, I personally saw that the HRM shall not be viewed as being threatened or would be irrelevant (potentially demise) because of the financialization or marketization. The condition aforementioned, however, might resonate with what Kaufman refers as ‘strategic alignment’ (I might need to check it again). Yet, again, as a relatively new concept (Kaufman, 2007), I guess HRM might also need such rooms to be improved and to be developed from time to time.

However, I would say that HRM, which was seen as ‘a replacement’ for personnel administration and industrial relation model might be demised if industrial/business model was totally/or at least significantly changed. So far, various names such as human capital management, people management/operations, etc. are being used instead of HRM, but the concept’s roots are quite the same with the original concept of HRM from the 1970s.

To conclude, the term ‘marketization of HRM’ is quite problematic; to me, if you want to be ‘pro-business’ you would also need to be ‘pro-market’, as business most probably changes when the market changes. The challenge here is how HRM could be ‘business partner’ & ’employee champions’ (mentioned in the article) in ‘always-changing’ market.

On another note related to the topic, the use of ‘hyper-individualism’ used by Dundon and Rafferty (2018) as an impact of the ‘marketization of HRM’ implies an indication how it significantly sharpens the value of individual and started to dismantle the collective approach through HRM activities. Importantly, a need of individual efforts to develop ‘external employability’ to stay relevant with labour market became necessary (Currie et al., 2006). Further, this individual’s effort, would help to find a way to secure oneself in facing ‘blocked careers or employment instability’. I would probably try to discuss more about this ‘external employability’ in another blog-post.

What do you think? How HRM might be transformed in the future?



Would you use simulation/role-play for the hiring process in your organization/company? Pay attention to these 4 points!

I recently had an opportunity to observe an assessment center that involves simulations/role-play as one of several methods for assessing candidates. This assessment center aimed to select ‘entry level’ employees who will be projected/developed as ‘future leaders’ of the company.

The assessment center was scheduled to be done in 2 days, consisted of 5 ‘exercises’ in which 3 of them were using simulation/role-play as a selection method. The other 2 were presenting innovation ideas for the company and doing self-reflection based on other 4 previous ‘exercises’. In this post, I will try to reflect my observation, focusing on the 3 simulation/role-play exercises.

O’Leary, R., et al. (2017) review that simulation/role-play was initially used in the military personnel selection back in 1940s and started being adopted by organizations for managerial assessment center in 1950s. An international study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in 2013, 67% of the companies surveyed use some form of simulations as part of their hiring process. Simulation/role-play is seen as “show me” and not “tell me” measures which gives benefits for organization/companies to mitigate distortion as candidates might not be able to fake proficiency and requires a behavior response to mirror actual ability (Gatewook, Field, & Barrick, 2008).

I personally had chances to design such assessment centers, but never used role-play as one of the methods. I believe that role-play is actually best for learning and development purposes, but I am not quite sure when it’s used to determine candidates’ future with our organization/company.



However, observing these 3 ‘exercises’ involving simulation/role-play, I became aware on several important points to consider whenever HR/Organization practitioners consider to use this method for hiring purpose (‘selecting’ people):

  1. Making Sure the Fidelity of the Simulation

In the context of assessment, fidelity is ‘degree to which a measure represents or replicates actual features of the focal job’ (O’Leary, R., et al., 2017). It’s further explained that fidelity has 2 aspects: psychological and physical. Psychological fidelity has to ensure that during the simulation/role-play, candidates need to utilize the knowledge, skills, and abilities during the simulation/role-play that they will use on the job. Related to this, physical fidelity refers to which extent the simulation/role-play replicates actual tasks performed on the job. High level of fidelity then will surely enhance the validity of the assessment method.

Fidelity would impact to what degree the simulation/role-play brings the “Realistic Job Preview” (RJP), that would influence candidates with quality of information to ‘self-evaluate’ whether the job (and the organization/company) fits their interests, skills, and preferences – which might result to the acceptance/refusal of job offers (Downs et al, 1978).

  1. Understanding ‘a Sample’ and ‘Sign/Indication’ Behaviors

Simulation/role-play try to measure candidate’s performance related to job/work by performing certain tasks, using tools or technology, and interaction with other employees or customers (Callinan & Robertson, 2000, O’Leary, R., et al. 2017). This method relies on ‘samples of behaviors’ to predict the whole job performance of the candidate. Thus, it would have a better accuracy when it’s based on behavioral consistency; considering that the ‘the predictor of future behaviors is past behaviors in the same or similar contexts (Wernimont & Campbell, 1968).

Thus, the assessors should be careful in deciding whether the ‘acts’ or behavior during the role-play is just a sample of variety behaviors might be performed by the candidates or the sign/indication of the whole personality/characters of the candidate; providing an assumption of how a person might response a same thing differently in different situations.

  1. Managing Candidates’ Reactions from the Process

Candidates’ reaction to an assessment method is typically being evaluated with a framework from organization justice theory (Gilliland’s model, 1993). The 3 dimensions on this matter are “(1) perceived job relatedness, (2) opportunity to perform, and (3) interpersonal treatment”.

A candidate told me that she felt unsatisfied being assessed by simulation/role-play method, in which she was only given 20 minutes to understand 4-5 pages’ simulation/role-play context and 15 minutes to perform. This might seem more like an ‘Acting School’ or ‘Movie Casting’, rather than selecting ‘future leaders’ – as script was given and candidates’ need to act based on it.

“I think, it might be quite unfair that one’s competency and capability be captured by a 15 minutes of acting, the feedback that I received was mostly from those exercises” – quoting her comment that echoes the lack of opportunity to perform during the assessment center.

  1. A Long-Term Perception on Organization/Companies Condition

I observed that some simulation/role-play exercises gave candidates such a hard situation as they needed to ‘act’ with ‘hard managers/leaders’ within the companies. As some candidates said ‘it might happen in real life’, they also admitted that they would definitely resign / leave the organization/companies if the internal condition was like that.

Although, I assumed that the situation was given (maybe) to measure candidates’ emotional intelligence and conflict management, I do still believe that it’s more important to provide ‘realistic job preview’ in relation to aforementioned fidelity discussion. As this assessment center invited ‘future leader’ candidates which most probably have ‘other options’ aside of joining this organization/company, it’s necessary to make sure that the given simulation not become a ‘backfire’ to the organization/companies reputation.

Organizations/companies are “increasingly using assessments as an opportunity to promote their brand because they have the potential to influence perceptions” (Yu & Cable, 2012). Further quoting O’Riley et al., (2017):

“… not only is it important that those applicants/customers be treated fairly in the assessment process but also that the assessments present the organization in the most favourable light possible and leave applicants and customers with a positive impression. As previously mentioned, applicant impressions are related to job pursuit intentions. It is fundamental for the business (from direct‐to‐consumer, online retailers to large international hotel chains) that applicants (selected and not selected) view the organization favourably and remain customers. In a social media‐rich world it is increasingly likely that candidates will share their impression of the organization and its brand with others and in turn impact others’ impressions and intentions towards the organization/companies”.


Would you use simulation / role-play for the hiring process in your organization/company? Pay attention to above 4 points. Good luck!


Wow, Beruntung Ada Program Magang Keren Ini di Indonesia!

Jadi kemarin sambil makan siang, aku nyimak cerita dari teman-teman di sini gimana susahnya mereka nyari kerjaan atau sekedar magang. Ada yang bahkan cerita kalau dia diminta untuk ‘bayar’ ke perusahaan kalau mau magang. Lah, aneh banget pikirku waktu itu. Setelah aku baca-baca lebih banyak, beberapa perusahaan ternyata menggunakan kesempatan ‘kompetensi’ ini buat ‘lelang’ slot magang, kamu bisa baca beberapa ulasannya di SINI, di SINI, atau di sini untuk ulasan serupa di Australia.

Kenapa bisa sampai ada ‘lelang’ magang? Salah satunya tentu karena kompetisi yang terus meningkat. Perusahaan atau agency tahu bahwa mahasiswa sekarang butuh ‘pengalaman kerja’ di CV mereka. Mungkin kalian familiar dengan meme di bawah, soal banyak perusahaan yang pasang iklan lowongan pekerjaan ke anak fresh graduate tapi menulis syarat soal pengalaman kerja.

Source: memedroid.com

Anyway, poin bahasan tulisan ini bukan soal gimana cara ‘lelang’ slot magang. Kalau mau sih, aku bisa kasih beberapa tips untuk praktisi HR atau yang mau bikin agency semacam ini (walau tidak disarankan diaplikasikan di Indonesia, hahaha). Tapi tulisan ini mau apresiasi beberapa perusahaan di Indonesia yang menyediakan program magang yang keren untuk mahasiswa.

Banyak perusahaan yang menyediakan program magang secara regular, maksudnya hanya membuka untuk posisi tertentu sesuai kebutuhan waktu tertentu, bersifat ‘membantu’ (kurang mengembangkan), dan kebanyakan bersifat administratif atau teknis/operasional. Tentu ini sudah bagus karena kasih kesempatan dan pengalaman untuk mahasiswa. Tapi untuk tulisan ini, aku sebut ‘program magang’ karena dibungkus dalam sebuah program yang sistematis dan komprehensif dengan kurikulum tertentu, baik lewat project based atau competition based; yang akhirnya bisa kasih value lebih baik buat mahasiswa dan perusahaan. Berikut ini bebera di antaranya (masih bisa nambah!):

1. Nutrifood Internship Program (NUTRIP)

Oke, ini paling awal dibahas karena aku paling tahu. Hahaha. Kenapa bisa? Karena beruntung sempat jadi salah seorang dari tim yang ikut urun rembug nyusun konsep dan implementasi programnya. Program ini biasanya dilakukan Juni-Agustus tiap tahun, jadi seleksinya pasti sebelum itu. Mahasiswa yang dipilih akan dapat project dan mentor. Projectnya bukan cuma individu tapi juga kolaborasi, jadi bakal nambah keseruan dan keakraban antar peserta magang dengan pegawai lainnya.

Di akhir program, peserta harus presentasi hasil dari projectnya dan apa yang perlu dilakukan perusahaan untuk lanjutin atau kembangin apa yang sudah dikerjain peserta. Seleksi peserta hampir sama dengan seleksi karyawan; walau uang sakunya belum selevel karyawan (tapi tetap oke buat transportasi dan menikmati kehidupan :p). Info lanjut ada di sini: https://www.nutrifood.co.id/internship/

2. Unilever Internship Program (ULIP)

Beberapa temen sempet ikut program ini. Cerita mereka cukup seru karena terlibat langsung ke project-project yang berlangsung di Unilever dan dapet masukan dari line manager di mana mereka ditempatkan. Temen gue cerita kalau projectnya bukan administratif semata dan lebih hands-on experience ngurusin project. Makanya walau magang, dia merasa kerjaannya meaningful dan bisa kenal banyak pegawai lain.

Beberapa tahun lalu tampaknya sempat ada semacam ‘jadwal’ di mana peserta magang mulai sama-sama (biasanya tengah tahun), tapi tampaknya sekarang sepanjang tahun sesuai kebutuhan perusahaan. Peserta magang akan dapat uang saku tiap bulan, rata-rata lama magang adalah 3-6 bulan. Info lengkap di sini: https://www.unilever.co.id/careers/graduates/internships/

3. Mandiri Young Leaders program

Program ini terdiri dari business case challenge, internship, leadership boothcamp, dan diakhiri dengan inagurasi. Kalau beruntung, akhirnya kamu bisa dapat tawaran kerja juga. Belum sempat ngobrol atau denger langsung dari yang bikin atau peserta. Ditelisik dari websitenya, tampaknya ini program dengan budget yang ga main-main. Selain tentu karena punya sumber daya, rasanya Bank Mandiri tahu bahwa investasi ini bakal bantu banget untuk bersaing di ‘war of talent’ di masa ini. Berikut tautannya: http://www.mandiricareer.net/mandiriyoungleaders

4. PwC Indonesia Internship Programme

Dari informasi yang aku dapet lewat koneksi Linkedin, dalam setahun PwC Indonesia bisa menerima hampir 400 peserta magang. Aku pribadi waktu gabung di PwC Consulting (People & Organization Consulting) sempet dibantu beberapa rekan magang dari berbagai kampus. Nah, kamu bisa magang di hampir 5 Line of Service-nya PwC Indonesia, yaitu Accounting, Tax & Legal Services, Advisory Deals, Consulting, dan Internal Firm Services. Dalam setahun kamu bisa ikut salah satu dari 5 periode internshipnya, ini bisa bantu kamu sesuaikan jadwal. Informasi lebih lengkap soal cara daftar dan prosesnya ada di sini:  https://www.pwc.com/id/en/careers/graduates/internship.html

5. The Inkompass Program dari Philip Moris International

Aku sempet familiar dengan Philip Moris International karena perusahaan ini sempat ramai dibincangkan setelah membeli sejumlah besar saham Sampoerna lebih dari satu dekade lalu. Ga heran aku familiar karena studi S1-ku dibiayai oleh Yayasan Putera Sampoerna. Anyway, Inkompass ini menjanjikan pengalaman untuk terlibat dalam proyek bisnis, belajar dari jaringan international, dan dapet coaching secara personal. Modelnya adalah 2-cycle internship, jadi kalau terpilih bakal magang saat libur kuliah tahun ini (Juni-Agustus) dan tahun depannya di bulan yang sama. Sila disimak informasi lengkapnya di sini: https://www.inkompass.global/indonesia-internship-program

6. High Flyer Internship dari L’Oreal Indonesia

Program magang 6 bulan dari L’Oreal Indonesia ini kasih kesempatan buat kamu magang di berbagai area kerja dari brand marketing, designer, market research, HR, supply chain, IT, sampai PR. Lewat program magang ini, kamu juga bisa langsung dievaluasi untuk melanjutkan ke program Management Trainee mereka yang bernama Young Enterpreneur Program. Informasi soal magang ini di sini: https://career.loreal.com/careers/JobDetail/High-Flyer-Internship-Batch-2-2018/52255 – meski ini informasi tahun 2018. Bisa follow twitternya L’Oreal ID Talent biar dapet update nanti kalau pas butuh.

7. Sampoerna Apprentice Program

Walaupun aku sangat familiar dengan nama Sampoerna, tapi jujur aku belum denger banyak soal program Apprentice ini. Informasi di laman web-nya pun belum begitu menggambarkan bagaimana program ini dijalankan, meskipun ada kata kunci ‘assist’ dan ‘coordinate’ di gambaran key responsibilities-nya. Kalau kamu pernah ikutan program magang 3 bulan ini, boleh ya berbagi cerita! Sementara ini, informasinya ada di sini: https://www.sampoernacareer.id/

8. P&G DREAM Internship

Ini sebenarnya aku baru denger. Kalau aku search di google, tampaknya baru mulai tahun 2018 ini. Tapi melihat beberapa program P&G sebelumnya, kayaknya ini bakal keren sih. Publikasinya terpisah sesuai divisi/department/direktorat-nya walau semuanya mulai bulan Juni. Untuk sementara informasinya ada di sini: HR, Sales, dan Product Supply. Kalau ada pembaca yang kebetulan kerja di P&G Indonesia atau tahu lebih banyak soal ini, bisa share ya!


Ini juga program baru yang mulai dijalankan DBS Indonesia tahun ini, meski sudah dimulai di Singapore sejak tahun 2016. Sepengamatanku, di Indonesia programnya fokus ke teknologi terkait keuangan dan investasi (info: https://id.techinasia.com/dbs-unicorn-program). Kalau melihat website dari DBS-nya, program ini dikemas cukup komprehensif karena ada kurikulum yang disusun khusus untuk program ini. Aku rasa ini perlu dilanjutkan untuk di Indonesia, karena progam semacam ini unik dan berdampak positif buat peserta dan perusahaan. Monggo disimak: https://www.dbs.com/innovation/unicorn/index.html

10. Accenture Future Technology Leaders Program / Accenture Discovery Internship

Info ini dari temen, seorang manager di Accenture. Jadi di sana sempet ada Accenture Future Technology Leaders Program (AFTL) yang kemasannya lewat program dengan seleksi, mentoring, dll – video promonya di SINI. Entah apakah program ini akan dilanjutkan atau tidak. Tapi jangan sedih, karena ada Accenture Discovery Internship yang meski ga ‘se-njlimet’ AFTL kurikulumnya, mahasiswa tetep bisa belajar banyak di lini Strategy, Consulting, Digital, Techonology, Operations, dan Security. Monggo kalau mau digali lebih dalam: https://www.accenture.com/id-en/Careers/jobdetails?id=00424191_en

11. Toyota-Astra Motor University Leadership Internship Program (TULIP)

Ada temen nyaranin aku untuk masukin ini di list untuk mewakili industri manufaktur dan/atau otomotif. Walaupun aku belum nemu website dari TAM yang memuat informasi ini dan poster yang beredar menurutku bisa banget diimprove buat sekelas TAM. Website TAM soal TULIP cuma seperti INI. Tampaknya publikasi mereka melalui jalur universitas, makanya banyak dimuat di web kampus walau sangat minim gambaran kurikulum programnya, contohnya di web Karir IPB, ITB, dan UGM. Ada yang tahu lebih soal ini?

12. Bukalapak Internship

Informasi ini datang dari Mbak Belinda, Senior Recruiter di Bukalapak. Kabarnya tahun kemarin Bukalapak menerima sekitar 100 mahasiswa buat magang, kebanyakan di area engineering. Komen dari VP engineering Bukalapak soal ini ada di SINI. Video proses magang yang baru diluncurkan Maret 2018 bisa dilihat di SINI – Nah kalau kamu tertarik ngikutin informasi soal kesempatan magang di Bukalapak, bisa ikutin laman ini: https://careers.bukalapak.com/

13. Program Leadership dari organisasi dan perusahaan lainnya

Nah, sebenarnya ada acara lain juga buat mahasiswa nambah ‘value’ dan bikin CV makin keren selain magang, yakni ikutan program-program leadership dari perusahaan, yang kadang juga ada project-project rasa magang di dalamnya. Di sini aku masukkin beberapa program yang bukan cuma 1-2 hari, tapi ada proses dan kurikulum-nya dan sudah dilakukan beberapa tahun secara rutin. Beberapa di antaranya adalah:

  1. Young Leaders for Indonesia (YLI) – program ini awalnya diluncurkan oleh tim dari McKinsey and Company yang akhirnya sekarang dikolela sebuah yayasan, meski McKinsey & Company tetap menjadi Knowledge Partner. Program ini bakal bahas ‘Self Leadership, Team Leadership, dan Leading for Change’. Nah di bagian ‘team leadership’, kamu bakal dibagi kelompok dan dapet project dari organisasi dan perusahaan partner untuk dikerjain beberapa bulan. Kebetulan kalau pengalamanku, dulu dapet project dari McKinsey & Company untuk amplifikasi program Young Leaders Indonesia yang sekarang jadi regional program di area Jawa Barat, di ITB. Info lanjut ada di sini: http://yli.or.id/
  2. XL Future Leaders (XLFL) Program – sempet ngobrol sama konsultan yang bantu bikin desain program ini, menurutku ini investasi cukup besar dari XL Axiata. Selain rekrut cukup banyak mahasiswa, program ini juga menyediakan kurikulum menarik dan fasilitas yang mumpuni untuk ngerjai beberapa tantangan yang diberikan. Beberapa teman sekarang menjadi fasilitator program ini. Ngikutin timeline mereka, tampaknya asyik sih. Monggo disimak: http://www.xlfutureleaders.com/
  3. Nutrifood Leadership Program – yak balik lagi ke Nutrifood. Hahaha. Karena juga sempat jadi peserta dan terlibat dalam penyelenggaran, durasi program ini mungkin lebih pendek dari YLI dan XLFL di atas karena tujuannya lebih untuk mengapresiasi mahasiswa yang sudah menunjukkan potensi kepemimpinan lewat aktivitasnya selama kuliah. Meski lebih sebentar, topik-topik diskusi dan aktivitas di dalamnya selalu kekinian. Cuss mampir: http://www.nutrifood.co.id/our-events/nutrifood-leadership-award/ 
  4. #BukaPotensi: Beasiswa Bukalapak – Beberapa teman kerja di Bukalapak, jadi sempet banyak denger cerita program-program di dalamnya. Salah satunya beasiswa Bukalapak buat mahasiswa tahun terakhir jurusan Ilmu Komputer, Sistem Informasi, Teknik Elektro, atau bidang keilmuan sejenis. Benefit dari program ini antara lain biaya perkuliahan selama 2 semester, uang saku sebesar Rp2.000.000,- /bulan, program pelatihan dan pengembangan diri, dan berkesempatan berkarya bersama Bukalapak. Info lengkapnya di sini: https://scholarship.bukalapak.com/

Nah, kalau kamu tahu program magang atau leadership keren lainnya, termasuk dari start-up, bisik-bisik yah lewat komen atau email, nanti aku tambahkan di list ini. Banyak juga program bagus lain yang sempat aku dengar, tapi saat aku nulis ini ga nemu dedicated web-nya. Mungkin hanya muncul di periode-periode tertentu.

Kalau pembaca adalah praktisi HR, jangan mau kalah untuk bikin program magang keren atau leadership semacam ini. Beruntung kalau perusahaan tempat rekan-rekan ‘sudah keren dari sononya’, tapi jangan terlena karena sekarang semuanya cepat berubah. Bisa jadi tiba-tiba ada perusahaan yang transformasi, bikin program-program kerena, dan ahirnya talent-talent yang potensinya bagus lari ke sana. Bikin program semacam ini bukan cuma bikin employer branding terdengar bagus, tapi bisa diintegrasikan dengan strategi bisnis lainnya. Kalau perlu sharing soal ini lebih detil sambil ngopi, monggo bisa colek 😉


(A Short Note) In Choosing Jobs (If You Could): Thanks, but It’s Not ‘My Game’

I sent an email to express my gratitude and to apologize as I would not be attending to an invitation from a giant consulting firm for a recruitment process in London (for a placement in South East Asia) earlier this month. Indeed, I felt grateful because they recognized my profile and considered that I would somehow ‘fit’ with the job and their organization. However, after thinking about it for few moments, I realized something and decided to send that email. In short, I thought that the business and the remuneration package if I joined them would be amazing, but it’s not the kind of ‘game’ I would like to ‘play’ for my next career journey.

Remember when we’re children (and in fact we still have some ‘childish’ behaviors), we might try many things and play everything. Yet in one moment, we would have some preferences of ‘games’ that we wanted to play and then ‘stayed’ on that. The ‘game’ we preferred to play might have several characteristics that the others don’t have. It could be as simple as the display (color, weight, etc.), to the difficulties (simplicity or complexity), or even the sources (who gave the toy / who provide the game), etc. Nevertheless, there are also moments that you might change your preferences, which is also fine. The point is, that consciously or unconsciously, you’ll have preferences and factors in determining what kind of ‘game’ you would like to play.

It’s similar with career and jobs. You might have different jobs in the same career track. You might also have different career tracks with various jobs within them. No matter what job it is, the question to be discussed here is: ‘Do you really enjoy this ‘game’? How mindful was I when choosing the jobs (if I were able to choose)?

Jobs, like games, have ‘rules’ that you need to ‘follow’. Some of the rules will require yourselves to sacrifice parts of your life; this then usually called as the ‘trade-off’ process. How much you would follow and deal with those rule of the games will determine your next step in your jobs and career journey.

I decided not to join the ‘games’ invited by that giant consulting firms because of several reasons, which I finally considered that it’s not ‘my game’. I would not share the reasons here anyway, but you could send me a private message if you want to know more about how I considered whether this is ‘my game or not’.

Again, to end this short note, it is really important that we keep ourselves as conscious as possible and as mindful as we can when making any decision whether to join ‘a game’ or not. Things might change, our preferences might also differ time by time, but we can focus on this moment by understanding what kind of rules we want to follow or how possible we can change the rules and create our own? By understanding that, we will be able to choose wisely to join the ‘best game’ (job or career) we want to ‘play’ or to say ‘Thanks, but it’s not my game’.


Sorry, I’m Not a Believer on ‘You Can Be Anything You Want’, at Least When Talking About Career Journey

I almost finish my master degree. It feels so quick as now I need to rethink the next journey for my professional career. Although gratefully I received several job offers through my LinkedIn profile, I haven’t decided anything and will give time to myself to think carefully on several aspects.

The phrase ‘you can be anything you want’ is so attractive. You might hear this in many occasions, esp as an advice for your future in motivational sessions. In a career journey, it implies that career is ‘boundaryless’. By boundaryless, it means that career could become ‘a sequences of job opportunities that move beyond the boundaries of single employment settings’ (Arthur, 1994) or easily ‘move across the boundaries of separate employers’ (Guest, 2015). To me, this is not entirely true as career does have boundaries. In this blogpost, let me try to discuss several of them. Not to be such a pessimistic, but more on realistic context which might help us to determine our career wisely.

It’s worth to note what it means by boundaries, I would bring Ashforth’s, et al (2000) perspective on this; as he explained boundaries as limits around ‘physical, temporal, emotional, cognitive, and/or relational’. Those boundaries also have ‘textures’ as mentioned by Guest (2015). Some boundaries could be physical (e.g. location), social (e.g. discrimination), and even psychological (e.g. working preferences) which make it less visible. Those boundaries involve circumstances within person or surrounding environment (e.g. education background, difficulty in finding mentors, or lack of social capital); which somehow limits career mobility and development.

The concept of ‘you can do anything you want’ / boundaryless career emphasizes the freedom of individuals to decide their own career. However, regulation from government, education background, and social class take place in shaping an individual career. The believe that boundaryless career is driven by individuals and indeed sounds so attractive; but this thinking only benefits people with good education and high skills, but not for minorities, women, low skills and disabled people, as argued by Currie, et al (2006).

In reality, to get a job, you will need to cross such boundaries which usually involve such gate-keepers. The function of gate-keepers is to make sure that the employees who will enter the new role are suitable and most likely be successful in all the needed processes. These gate-keepers usually in form of as recruiters, examiners on chartered bodies, or managers and leaders of an organization/institution. To pass the gate-keepers, you will need to fulfill all the requirements from skills, education, previous experiences (or sometimes whether you know somebody from that particular organization/institution!).

Instead of keeping in mind that ‘you can be anything you want’; I prefer to look re-evaluate ourselves by understanding what might be such boundaries for our career journey. Once we evaluate our career boundaries, we will be able to re-arrange our situation by re-learn, re-train, re-skill, or equipping ourselves with possible new knowledge and skills to be able to cross several boundaries to obtain a ‘better career journey’. For instances, I never learned about data analytics; those are boundaries for me to pursue a career journey in tech-driven company as a social data analyst (e.g. people analytics). If only I strive to equip myself with the needed skill, I would then get a chance to cross that boundary.

Illustration: re-learn, re-train, re-skill yourself

Nevertheless, in some cases, we just need to embrace boundaries that we have. For example, I am aware that my mathematical intelligence is not as strong as my linguistic/verbal intelligence; thus I would not bother to pursue career that involves strong mathematical skills and focus to develop careers that would appreciate my other skills.

Telling ‘you can be anything you want’ for kids who’re still grow up would be fine, telling that phrase to young-adult who have more boundaries could be problematic. On some contexts, career boundaries could be less but also could be more complicated once an individual grew up. If it seems that you only have to embrace some of your boundaries, be explorative on what you have and design your best career aspirations from those. Don’t forget that you’re able to increase your value to cross more boundaries by re-learn, re-train, and re-skill yourself. You cannot be anything you want, but you might be able to be the best version of yourself.


#MayDay and The Dark Shades of Employment Relations in Gig Economy (in Indonesia)

The International Labours/Workers Day or May Day is ‘celebrated’ in many countries, including Indonesia. Various issues and demands were voiced by Indonesian trade unions in each year’s May Day ‘celebration’. Lately, the demands were predominantly around issues of outsourcing and (increased minimum) wages. The movement does indeed contain positive message in improving the condition of Indonesian working class. However, several riots and chaos situations happened during the May Day brought negative stigmas about trade unions.

Many companies started to find a way to avoid the establishment of trade unions in their company by making their own employee relations programs, to using certain employment models, such as outsourcing, zero hours’ contract, or even using term of ‘partner’ instead of employee as applied by some newly web/app-based companies.

Companies that design their own employment relations programs are tried to minimize the ‘noise’ of the employees by providing certain level of open internal communication, easily access management team, and such effort to involve employee representatives before deciding any policy. Using this way, the companies expect that employees would not feel any need to gain ‘power’ (through union) for negotiating or communicating their grievances to the management.

Companies that use the term ‘partner’ instead of employee indeed limits the ability of the workers to form a lawful union under the company, or to join any. This raising trend was marked by the development of online/web/app-based companies, which many literatures refer as gig economy.

Nevertheless, with the freedom of association as the right of Indonesian citizen and under the sense of ‘solidarity’, those ‘partners’ and/or online workers formed such ‘online workers’ association’ both in social media and even conducted such offline manifestations to voice their grievances.

Gig economy, however, is not something new and not merely in technology or digital based business. Friedman (2014) explains that ‘gig workers’ work to complete a particular task or for a defined time. This could be employed as a waiter in a restaurant, a cleaner of a building, a singer in a pub, etc. Nevertheless, Cockayine (2016) argues that gig economy is also usually referred as on-demand or ‘sharing’ economy. In his perspective, technology and digital platform strongly enhance the development of this model, which resonates the current situation in Indonesia: online ride-hailing (ojek online), online selling, etc.

Some companies who employ this ‘partnership’ model, save lots of money as they don’t need to provide any kind of employee benefits such as holiday/sick pay, parental supports, etc as ‘normal’ companies do. Yet, those companies most possibly do not have any clear strategy to manage the grievances of their ‘partners’, which might happen quite a lot as it’s believed that ‘partners’ under this employment model have weaker ‘psychological contract’ with the companies.

These kind of gig companies have been seen unable to manage the grievances in their business models, as we can observe that the disputes and grievances of ‘partners’ through ‘online workers’ associations’, were addressed to the government, instead of the companies.

It is worth noting that industrial relations involve at least 3 actors: company, employee representations (trade unions), and government. In the event where company and employee (or in this case, partner) representations failed to establish a good employment/partner relation, government would need to intervene.

In regards to that, government has significant role to both actively facilitate the growth of economy and identifying potential disputes by designing appropriate regulations and law. It’s hardly to say that Indonesian government is quick enough to properly response to any potential disputes related to employment so far. Take example on the online ride-hailing service. At the end of 2015, the Ministry of Transportation banned this service because it’s considered as ‘unlawfully established in the context of public transportation regulation’. The President, however, argued that the service is ‘needed by the society’, which then the service continues to operate. Yet, nothing to hear from the Ministry of Manpower or published comprehensive discussion from related stakeholders about the employment model caused by this service which now make lots of ‘noise’ in the employment/partner relations.

Aside from above case, it’s interesting to see that since June 17th 2016, the government, through the Minister of Information and Technology affairs, fully supported the launch of an initiative called ‘Gerakan Nasional 1000 Start-Up Digital’ (The National Movement of 1000 Digital Start-Up). Cited from a press release, more than 32.000 people registered themselves which 6500 of them joined the provided entrepreneurship training in 10 cities, resulted 123 start-ups so far. Observing from various newly digital start-ups that employ such ‘partnership’ employment model, it is important to note that those start-ups also need be equipped with the capability to manage employment/partner relations in the future.

To maintain a positive relations and its stability, (gig) companies have to understand the importance of providing a continuous communication with employee/partner representations and to act on it. For instances, an Indonesian e-commerce based in Jakarta establishes a community for its online sellers. The community is maintained through an online platform and several offline meetings across the country to develop ‘selling skills’, but also as a platform of grievances mechanism from the sellers to the platform provider (the management). This model is also possible to be adopted by (gig companies) in transportation and education services to better manage their ‘employment’ or ‘partner’ relations.

It is believed that 3 actors of industrial relations have to establish a harmony. Some argue that trade union might not be the best form of employment representation in the near future because of the transformation of employment model. Yet, whatever the form of employment representation: could be trade union, establishment of work council (e.g. in Germany), or even softly’ managed by the company; both government and companies shall carefully provide accessible communication mechanism with the workers in creating the best working condition that could be achieved, although there might be tension of interests from each actor.


An Old Q: Is Any Job Better than No Job?

‘Normal’ discussion topics among last-year undergraduate or graduate students would be ‘have you applied to jobs?’ and/or ‘have you been accepted for a job?’. I assume that those who got a job before finishing their study would be having certain higher level of pride than those who still look for, or even don’t have any plan yet. To reach this kind of pride, I suppose, many graduates might consider to take any job they were offered. Although some reasons would also determine this decision, such as a financial condition as he/she might have to earn some money for living or for supporting his/her family. But, this old question remains: is any job better than no job?

Last week, I attended a discussion from Work and Equality Institute in Manchester, entitled “Work, Health, and Stress: Some Observations”. Prof. Tarani Chandola, a professor of medical sociology from the University of Manchester shared some perspectives of his research and thoughts on how job and stress can relate each other. It is interesting to know that based on medical data that he collected (in civil service): the lower the grade of the job, the higher its job mortality. It’s indeed because of several factors such as financial, relationship stress (with bureaucracy), etc. Yet, that data actually shows ‘the myth of executive stress’. It is argued that stress of the executives is only being perceived, but not ‘as bad as’ it is on medical data.

Good Job or Bad Job?

Another finding from the session was that people with ‘bad jobs’ increase their happiness some years before retirement; but those in ‘good job’ remain no significant differences. However, it is actually contradicting with an argument that ‘retirement is beneficial, but only for those in the top / good grades (jobs)’. Those with bad jobs might face another ‘episode’ of stress after that short-term happiness, as the might not have an enough pension/fund for living and since they would be ‘unemployed’ again.

Somebody said that, ‘the worst work status for health is unemployment’. But, is it true that any job is better than no job? Well, from the medical measurement as what Prof. Tarani did above, it might not be entirely true. Some people might be ‘healthier’ with no job rather than doing ‘bad job’. The term bad job here could be assumed as job with under/minimum pay, job with bad relations with managers, etc; and I guess you might have some definitions on what good or bad jobs for you based on your interest, skills, passion, and other dimensions.

It is important then, for me and my fellow graduate students, to really think about jobs to do after finishing our study. Again, some factors might determine or even push us to some decisions in taking a job; but whatever the decision is – make sure that we’re being mindful and consciously know the consequences. Some organisations or companies might try to help its employees to reduce stress at work by assigning a Chief Happiness Officer or some ‘fun internal events’; but it might be useless if we have a ‘bad job’ (structurally or emotionally). Good luck for (y)our career journey!