Sunday, June 8, 2014

B.Ankhbayar: Mongolian businesses need to understand the importance of human resource management

The following is an interview with B.Ankhbayar, executive director of UA Consulting Company, highlighting important aspects about human resource (HR) audit services. UA Consulting Company is the first company to offer HR audit services in Mongolia.

B.Ankhbayar graduated from Humboldt University of Berlin and majored in HR management at the University of Melbourne, Australia. While working in the US for more than ten years, she dedicated her knowledge and capabilities to two major banks and an aviation company.

Can you tell our readers about what HR audit is?

This is a service with the highest demand in the world. Over 20 years have passed since private companies were established here and yet knowledge about HR audit services is very poor. It’s actually something as important and necessary as financial audits. For instance, let’s say a company has 1,200 employees; as it’s common for companies to experience losses from incorrect organizational structure and allocations of personnel, it’s important to see if the organization’s productivity is as high as it should be. Productivity and efficiency corresponds to salary, rewards and bonuses which then influence the organization’s finance. By introducing HR audit evaluation, the organization will be able to supervise and assess how many employees are working in how many department, whether the work is being done by three persons or by one, whether there’s appropriate amount of workload and the amount of total workload affecting productivity. Furthermore, an organization can monitor, receive counseling and advisory services for checking and correcting personnel related policies and documents as well as evaluate whether their definition of staff roles is relative with their official position. Extended services include evaluation system, which makes it possible to find out whether an organization is rewarding capable employees or unproductive employees. Currently two big business entities are adopting and starting to know the effects of our services.

Many businesses in Mongolia are not aware of the obligations and functions of a HR personnel. What do these officers of the HR audit do?

A HR officer isn’t someone who fulfills just any orders. They serve a crucial part in identifying a company’s policy. As mentioned before, a HR officer defines how many employees are working in how many departments or sectors of an organization, which positions are vacant and which employees are working efficiently. They are policy definers of an organization who serve fundamental duties. In accordance to international standards, it’s specified that there should be a HR officer per 45 to 47 people. In Mongolia, there’s a HR officer per 400 to 500 people. They do nothing more than calculate employees’ holiday and account holiday allowances, write out director’s orders and present them. This isn’t the work they’re assigned to do.

Directors of companies only think about the current generation. A company is based on four scales, which are finance, HR, operation and product marketing and technologies ,which introduce new ideas. These four are coordinated by humans. No matter how great the know-how and technology may be, only humans can control and make use of them in their operations. From this, we can conclude that personnel are the most important assets of an organization. The one who keeps an eye and corrects mistakes of employees are HR managers. To enhance skills and intelligence about rights and obligations of a HR manager, we’re giving trainings to HR managers.

Besides educating HR managers, is it necessary to give correct understanding about this matter to company directors and administrations?

When HR officers finally understand and try to do their duties after being trained, top executives do not approve of their work. In other words, they don’t understand it. Presently, to become a director, people primarily train and major in marketing, management and business management. They leave out the most important aspect which is the HR sector. This lack of knowledge becomes the main difficulty when they try to do operations not only in Mongolia but also in other countries, step up to the next level and compete in foreign markets as well as when they try to introduce famous brands to Mongolia. Simply put, it’s absolutely crucial to give knowledge about HR management to top executives in Mongolia. We will organize trainings under the topic “Roles of administrations in HR policies.”

The fact that some executive directors of companies are participating in our training workshops with their HR officers is an indication that many have already started to understand the significance of the HR sector for a company.

There are many available workplaces in Mongolia and yet so many are unemployed. It is said that to bridge this gap, companies and policy makers need to form policies based on applicable research. What is your though on the subject?

Indeed. We’re always ready to help anyone who wants our training and counseling. Even parents conflicting about their child’s future profession come to us for advice. To young people who are about to go to foreign schools that cost over 20 to 30 thousand USD to get master’s degrees in business management, I personally tell them that it’s unnecessary and that the best investment would be to become highly specialized in western schools with that money. Our director, Urangoo, used to encourage young people studying abroad to return to Mongolia when she first established this company. Now, a lot of people connect with us through the internet to get facts and advice about workplaces. Many great, capable young people received not only information but also workplaces through us. We’ve signed contracts and are working with 37 companies to assist them with HR management and its selection process. These companies come to us when they have vacancies for capable personnel from middle-level managers to management positions. In the Mongolian HR database, we have around 1,500 to 2,000 very capable personnel.

We’ve exclusively received applications from young people who received their masters and doctors degrees in foreign universities and are willing to work in Mongolia. These people know their positions very well; therefore, they don’t go around handing their application sto just any places or use their backgrounds to become employed in any company that will accept them. These people have already planned the next step. Some of our contracted companies even let us select people for the general director’s positions. The generation when relatives would swarm around a company has changed. Directors now understand that it’s essential to hire capable personnel and offer sufficient salaries in order to advance to the next level as relatives are hard to not only deal with but also to give orders to.

From what you’ve mentioned, career planning seems to be an interesting topic. Career planning is not about getting employed as soon as possible but planning what you want to do for the rest of your life and doing sustainability work in a secure workplace?

You could say that. We talked with people for a long time. We give advice after discussing in detail about their three to five year plans, how they’ll view themselves at that time, why they chose that specific company and what sort of changes will happen in their future if they work in that particular position.

Presently, young people of Mongolia are criticized for not working in organizations for a long time. This is happening because from the start, they never knew or got to know what their interests were and what sorts of skills they have. We give trainings to students who are about to graduate from universities regarding these matters. We also speak to companies about the sorts of opportunities they can offer a person when they inform us of the vacant positions.

By employing appropriate personnel for the right positions, we can expect enormous amount of productivity from that person. These employees get a lot of encouragement and confidence in their future as they’re assigned after a rigorous screening. This is the root of career planning. Another thing we advise young people is the proper way to fill out applications, in other words, how to market themselves in the labor market. Since that small application form becomes the name card which will represent them, it must be as captivating as possible so that it’ll make the HR manager want to meet them. We also have special instructions for filling out application forms for jobs.

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