Current HR Challenges –Few cases

Adding a few thousand professionally qualified people every year is not uncommon in the current scenario. This kind of growth isn’t unique to Accenture. TCS added an eye-popping 32,000 people to its rolls last year and 22,000 people the year before that. It has a head count of 89,419 already. IBM India notched up a staggering growth figure of 48% in just three years – from 9,400 people in December 2003 to 53,000 in December 2006. A lot of that is on the back of significant acquisitions, like Daksh. And then there are homegrown players like financial services and real estate companies, India bulls which continue to grow just as furiously.

Fuelling growth of this magnitude needs the right kind of people in the right jobs. But as every HR head is of the opinion that it is easier said than done. Take the IT sector for example. According to a Nasscom – McKinsey report, by 2010 there will be a significant shortage of manpower: an estimated 0.5 million, 70% of which will be in the BPO sector. Smart companies have seen the coming talent crunch and are already taking steps to fix the problem.

Accenture for instance realized a couple of years back that in an industry growing at 40-50% year-on-year they will face a shortage of HR professionals before they run of IT and outsourcing professionals. So they tied up with XLRI, Jamshedpur to launch the Accenture and XLRI HR Academy. The idea is to groom HR professional for the IT and BPO sectors. It has more such tie-ups in the offing and has one with MIT globally to groom IT professionals.

India bulls have adopted a different tack steering clear of the war for talent. Most companies make a beeline for premier educational institutions, which makes it even harder to hire people from there. We combated it by deliberately staying away from the Top 15 business schools, says India Bulls CEO. What that means is that the company has to invest a lot in training and certification programs in the first few months. Besides, there is intensive handholding for the first 30-90 days to bring these people up to speed.

TCS, for instance has operations in 39 countries. To tackle this, TCS has evolved a rather rigorous induction program which includes 52 days of training on processes and technology, leadership systems, strategy and customers. It even tackles issues like how to work in a global context. Employees from other countries are brought to India so that they can see “way of working in India”. TCS has, in fact, set up several training centers abroad in addition to the three it has in India.

India bulls have managed to plug the attrition rate of employees more than six months old in the organization at less than 5%. TCS, with a head count of close to 90,000 people has an attrition rate of 11.3% as against an industry average of 15-16%.

In companies experiencing hyper-growth, HR has evolved from just being a staff function to a line function. Earlier deliverables were we’ll give you numbers to recruit, keep us out of legal trouble and make sure you manage your wage settlements, negotiations, and so on. [Now] not only do we need to recruit, but recruit at cost at a certain volume very specific level of skill sets and within very specific turnaround times. We need to manage an entire supply chain. The programs HR focuses on are geared to specific business outcomes In a people intensive business, your raw material is people your work in progress is people and your finished product is people. So the entire talent management process is big. That’s where employee engagement programs kick up.

HR function needs to be globally capable and also have the capabilities of local environments. So the job rotation applies to them too.

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