Thinking HR in good times

by Padmaja Alaganandan for Business Standard – November 1, 2010.

The war for skilled talent is back, but lessons from the past are helping organisations shape themselves intelligently

India was not as battered by the financial collapse and global recession as were the larger Western economies. Prudent financial and banking policies, initially viewed as the work of a weighty, bloated and self-important bureaucracy, ultimately served to protect the economy reasonably well. A couple of years after the fall of one of the world’s largest investment banks jump-started the terrible global meltdown, the Indian economy is showing signs of growing scale, slowly but surely.

The trends indicate that while there had been some workforce reduction during these two years, companies are buoyant on resuming hiring to normal levels. The war for skilled talent in India has made a strong comeback. It is estimated that the cost of losing one employee is equivalent to seven months’ worth of compensation, once you factor in salary increases required to attract a replacement and the time it takes to train them to reach a similar level of productivity. However, companies are also looking at this as a time when they can learn from the past to set a more stable, manageable course for the future.

In this context, the significant talent management trends are:

# Sizing up, shaping up: Organisations will, after the lessons from the recession, strive to right size, be in the right shape and obtain the necessary skills to succeed. A number of leaders are especially concerned about the challenges of structures and levels in their organisations. There is consequently focus on role clarification and position evaluation. Indeed, due to the overheated years before the recession, companies had created bloated structures with multiple layers that added little value.

The demand to level these structures and to consequently build stronger, more robust career paths is a trend that is likely to continue. To succeed in a hypercompetitive environment, it may not always be enough for companies to acquire best-in-class assets and talent. It is not how good the assets are in silos, but rather the pattern in which they all come together as moving parts of the organisational engine, that drives successful business outcomes. (read more)



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