HR managers need to be better performers


It may sound a bit ironic. Indian managers may be high performers in their area of expertise but the performances of the people who manage them leave much to be desired for. That in short is the synopsis of a recent survey conducted by global management consultancy firm.

In the firm’s High Performance Work Force study 2007, conducted by interviewing 40 Indian CEO and Human Relation (HR) department heads, the majority of the executives cited that HR is their most critical workforce (Globally, HR is ranked No. 7 in the pecking order of importance).

However, there was deep dissatisfaction with HR’s performance. In an adequacy vs expectations survey across different workforce like sales, manufacturing, R&D, HR, etc HR performed the worst. The study pointed out that CEOs believed that there is a huge gap between the potential and actual achievement by their HR function.

The survey sought executive insights in three broad areas – most important factors in achieving high performances and how their companies are addressing these factors, the importance of various workforces to company’s success and their performances and the extent to which the HR function is supporting the company’s key workforces and positioning them for success.

The executives in the study came from diverse industries like steel, construction, engineering to finance and entertainment.

In India, both old and new economy companies are trying to fish in the same pond, creating severe talent crunch.

As new economy companies continue to attract talented people in droves, old economy companies such as those in steel, power generation and manufacturing appeared to be better prepared to deal with talent issues. These companies are more willing to use “appropriate metrics” to track HR and over workforce performance.

In what could be particularly worrisome, the middle management level was found to be unhappy with how organizations treat them. The amount of effort in retention and leadership development at this level is just not good enough.

As companies often get their next generation of leaders from this level, the study found that the HR department needed to do much more as executives in this level are at a critical point of their career. The study found that it is a situation that should be troubling not only for HR leaders themselves, but for the executives as a whole.


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