Human Resource Management has had a checkered history in Pakistan. The concept evolved from Personnel and Admin departments= to the HR role we witness today. Even today in the new millennium, HR remains an oft-disputed subject as organizations seek to tackle the realities of everyday working in an increasingly depressing economy. We see at present, a patchwork in HR approaches, from the administrative role of compensation and benefits, implementing decisions which come “from the top” to performance appraisal-based systems to organisation which seek to integrate the concept and practice of HR. Unfortunately, these in the latter category are few and far between.
Professionalisation of HR in Pakistan is a somewhat recent concept, perhaps emerging more conspicuously in the 90’s. As such it is still in its infancy, so the problems and diversity which we all experience are, to say the least, understandable. In light of this need for professionalism that a group of HR and Training managers got together in 1995 to form the Trainers Resource Group.
It was on March 30, 1995 that M. Alam Halepota, then Training & Recruitment Manager, ENGRO Chemical Pakistan Ltd., wrote to the HR Managers of ICI Pakistan, IBM world Trade Corp., Lever Brothers, Union Texas Pak. Inc., Siemens Pakistan, PPL, Caltex Oil Pak, Phillips Electrical Co. Manager, suggesting forming a network of the Training Managers to provide the following:
- Share High Quality internal & external training resources on a cost sharing basis.
- Share information about the latest advances & trends occurring in the fields of Training Organization & Employee Development.
- Arrange joint sessions, seminars.
- Consider other issues member organizations are facing in this important area.
Only two – Syed Muzzafar Ali Shah, Human Resources Manager, Reckitt & Coleman, Mr. Salim Khan, Training Manager, ICI Pakistan Ltd. – responded and supported the idea initially. The idea was further discussed at an open house session of KZR in Karachi around April 1995. This is where it got a boost when Mr. Azhar Iqbal Mir, then Director HRD, Hoechst Pakistan Ltd. took the initiative and Hoechst hosted the first network meeting.
Yet another important milestone was reached when the TRG, British Council and TCS relationship was developed around 1997 with the compliments of Jamil Janjua (JJ). This relationship continues to flourish even though some key players may have changed positions.
From small acorns do great oaks spring, and so it was with TRG. The original group was some eight people and consisted mostly of Training & HR Managers only. TRG operated as a selective group initially catering to the corporate sector only, as it was felt by some that opening the gates to general public and the Training consultants would dilute the quality. It was subsequently decided to broaden the scope of TRG and make it an open forum and allow non-corporate members also.
Today, twelve years later, the group has swelled to over two hundred members. TRG members belong to all types of organisations. From multinationals which lead the way in Human Resource Development, to locally owned organisations, government organisations, & NGO’s. They come from a variety of industries such as the oil and gas sector, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing companies, health service providers to training consultants.
‘Learn to Share. Share to Learn’
The TRG key stated objective is to share our experiences and knowledge, and to disseminate what we know.
- Identify and utilize available training expertise & resources
- Exchange information
- Be aware of each other & maintain contact
- Participate in joint training programs
- Organize & conduct seminars of mutual interest on cost sharing basis
- Organize and contribute to training related social services
Each TRG session is a learning experience, geared to enable individuals to come away with something they can use in their workplace – to enhance the training they provide. Each session consists of a presentation, with questions, much discussion, and sometimes exercises.
TRG meets once a month on the last Thursday of each month. It would be too lengthy to list the wide variety of topics covered at these meetings. These have ranged from:
- Training specific topics such as training needs analysis and training evaluation, making training fun, and using ice breakers
- Management focused topics such as leadership, emotional intelligence, customer care; IT based sessions and many others.