Human Resource - People First Mission Always

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Yusuf, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Photo Credit : IAF
    The IAF strives to develop human management as a verifiable, objective and transparent process, comparable in quality and output to the most advanced models in place

    On taking over as the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne gave the Indian Air Force (IAF) a vision statement “People First Mission Always”. It underscored the importance that he placed on human resource in the IAF. The man/woman behind the machine is the pivot who would eventually decide the outcome of any operational endeavour. Coupled with the technology leap that the IAF is at present undergoing, it is therefore essential that they train the air warriors into professionals who can exploit the new systems to achieve the desired operational goals. There are processes spanning the functions of recruitment, training and developing the individual into a skilled next-generation air warrior who can excel in a high technology battlefield.
    Induction and Brand IAF

    IAF faces similar challenges that any expanding high technology force faces. With the dawn of the information age and an expanding economy, personal aspirations have grown. Therefore, finding a perfect match between organisational and personal aspirations is one of the major challenges in the development of human resources. Indoctrination of service ethos and providing the air warriors with the skills and knowledge to operate and maintain modern systems is the main focus and is given constant attention. The IAF builds capability to adapt those to the rapidly changing aerospace environment. To ensure that the best join the IAF, the “Brand IAF” is being systematically projected across the country. Specially focused recruitment rallies are conducted in low catchment areas to make the IAF a homogenous service. Motivational lectures are held in colleges and career fairs are organised around college clusters in big cities. Social media, including bulk SMS and e-mail communication are employed to target the youth. ‘You Tube’ is being used to upload motivational videos. Digital cinema halls, FM channels, news channels, magazines and newspapers are used to educate the young about the IAF in a big way. Over 50 lakh hits are registered daily on the IAF banner on jobs portal. The IAF is thus able to reach out to a large section of the youth in the country. With the number of applicants to join the officer cadre increasing to nearly three lakh, the IAF is setting up two additional Air Force Selection Boards. Similarly, for the airmen, two additional Airmen Selection Centres are being created. Applications can now be made online. The selection procedure has also been rationalised with the introduction of the ‘Air Force Common Admission Test’ (AFCAT). The IAF is currently short of approximately 800 officers. Training capacity at the Air Force Academy is being enhanced from the present 480 cadets to 750.

    Air warriors today operate complex technological systems with near zero levels of error tolerance. Hence, there is a need to raise the training standards to the level mandated by modern inductions. IAF procured the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II recently for basic stage training. Stage II fighter training remains on the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)-built Kiran aircraft while the IAF awaits indigenous intermediate jet trainer (IJT) under development with HAL. The BAE Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) is used for advanced jet training. Helicopter and transport pilots train at Hakimpet and Yelahanka respectively. The government has already approved setting up of the Air Force Engineering College, which would help create a dedicated pool of engineers, specially groomed for the IAF. In respect of airmen training, trades have been restructured for optimal utilisation and also in consonance with the maintenance philosophy of the new systems being inducted. On the job training (OJT) has been introduced at all units to ensure air warriors get practical training in their respective trades. In-service courses are conducted at various seniority levels. To inculcate a habit of ‘self-education’ amongst the personnel, e-subscription of books and magazines are available on the Air Force Net in the station libraries.
    The Centre for Leadership and Behavioral Studies (CLABS) conducts regular capsules on leadership at various IAF stations and during the ‘in-service’ courses. Additionally, leadership seminars are conducted regularly. Leadership courses have also been introduced for the airmen so that they become effective supervisors and leaders.
    HR Issues

    Career growth and motivation are requirements of the individual and the organisation. Officers are made aware of their performance at regular intervals, are guided about their growth in the organisation, and the system is fairly transparent. To ensure objectivity in criteria selections, the selection of officers is carried out by a panel of officers based upon merit, calibre and demonstrated performance. Officers are given an ‘appraisal report feedback’ at specified years of service and also a ‘performance review’ is carried out every quarter. Career progression pamphlets for all branches of the IAF are routinely updated and disseminated. The IAF’s appraisal system has been appreciated by many other government departments.
    The HR branch of the IAF has an intensive outreach programme through personal interaction, website posts and various newsletters. Interactive HR seminars are conducted across Commands. Officers from the personnel directorate visit various stations and interact with air warriors. Personnel are encouraged to share their problems and aspirations through email with the personnel branch for better career management. E-mail IDs of key appointments in the personnel branch are available in the public domain. There is also an open forum where personnel can post views and the responses can be read by all. The feedback helps the HR managers introduce policy changes in line with IAF’s vision statement.
    Stress Management

    The incidents of suicide and other stress-related issues are under close watch at all levels. Professional counsellors have been employed at all Air Force stations. Studies are routinely carried out to identify the stress inducers and personality traits to help cope with the inherent/perceived stresses of military life. Regular interaction between the men and officers through informal gatherings and organised sports activities are encouraged. A few air warriors have been trained as mentors to guide the newly enrolled personnel. Also 24x7 helplines have been set up. In order to create a system of structured informality and to increase interaction among all ranks, Air Chief Marshal Browne has introduced a concept of ‘Cohesion Day’, a day on which all ranks get together and participate in team activities related to work and sports. It serves as a forum for exchange of ideas and interactions with other branches for a better understanding of work-related issues and also in developing stronger bonds and camaraderie.
    Efforts are continuously on to improve the standard of living of personnel based on changes taking place in society. Scales of accommodation have been revised recently. Educational facilities in Air Force Schools are being improved with the introduction of smart classrooms and use of Internet. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for ‘Project Akashdeep’ allows recognition of basic and in-service training imparted to the Airmen and NCs(E) for award of certificates, diplomas and associate degrees. MoUs with many other universities has resulted in allotment of seats for Air Force personnel at preferential fee structure.
    The IAF appreciates the need to take care of retired personnel as they often face hardships on many issues. The IAF has thus set up a separate single portal under the aegis of ‘Directorate of Air Veterans’ to provide composite support to Air Veterans on pension benefits and other welfare issues. Handbooks on pensioners’ benefits are prepared and distributed. An Air Force Placement Cell helps retired personnel in their resettlement.
    Sustained effort and focus are required to achieve the desired standard of training, operational prowess, maintenance culture and administrative acumen to prepare the next-generation air warrior. The ‘Brand IAF’ has to be continuously strengthened to secure ‘first-option’ priority to attract quality manpower. Vocational training and productive resettlement have also to be proactively addressed. Proactive measures to integrate IAF personnel and the civilian workforce in certain sectors of the industry, such as defence production and R&D, would go a long way in military-civil integration and interchange of work ethics. The IAF plans to continuously revamp the HR model, wherein benchmarking of work output, accreditation of professional training while in service and total objectivity and transparency in individual assessment, would continue to be key result areas. The IAF strives to develop human management as a verifiable, objective and transparent process comparable in quality and output to the most advanced models in place.

    Human Resource - People First Mission Always - SP's Aviation
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  3. Bancrofto

    Bancrofto New Member

    Oct 14, 2013
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    Good read. Go india

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