Article: Talent is a set of life experiences: Santrupt Misra


Talent is a set of life experiences: Santrupt Misra

In conversation with Dr. Santrupt Misra, CEO Carbon Black Business & Group HR Head, ABG

Talent is no more seen as just a set of paper qualifications and experiences, but also looked at as a set of life experiences


Talent is a set of life experiences - Dr. Santrupt B. Misra, CEO, Carbon Black Business & Director, Group H.R. Aditya Birla Group

What are the new key trends in Talent Management?

There are few trends emerging in most organizations in India that are redefining talent management. Firstly, talent management has ceased to be a monopoly of the HR team, and moved up, not only to Chief Executive level but also to the Board of Directors level. Secondly, talent and leadership development, which are core to talent management, have gained importance in terms of budget and autonomy. Thirdly, talent management has gone deeper into the organization. Originally, it was concentrated on few people in positions middle and above, while today we talk about the talent pipeline instead. That includes all levels in the organization. Fourthly, when we talk about talent management, we are looking at identifying, grooming and assessing a set of business capabilities, and not pure attributes and competencies anymore. Behavioral competencies related to business have
gained sharper focus. Finally, while talent management has gained independence, integration with other people areas has become crucial for the success of the organization.

What are companies doing different today from what they used to do in the area of Talent Management?

Today, companies are attempting at defining talent differently. Talent is no more seen as just a set of paper qualifications and experiences, but also looked at as a set of life experiences. Therefore, companies are more willing for their employees to go for sabbaticals, to take time off to work on social projects, as these initiatives allow people to gain life experiences, and connect better with the society and the environment that the company operates in. We value unrelated business experiences which will help bring the right connect with the society. For example, in the Aditya Birla Group, we have management trainees taking 2 years off jobs to join the ‘Teach for India’ campaign, and we also encourage people in the middle level to help NGOs in building a new business model. We believe that experiences in these different settings will create different capability in our understanding of the environment that we operate in, such as, understanding community sensitivity, local customs, ethics etc, which can only happen through first-hand experience.

What, according to you, have been the triggers for these changes?

There are many triggers that are driving these changes: shareholders have become more demanding; businesses are no longer stand-alone entities but they are dominant institutions in the communities they operate in; their visibility has increased, and so their need for transparency has also increased; the standard expectations from business are much higher than before, in the presence of active business media. Overall, this has increased the demand on corporate leaders.

How are organizations adapting to the new needs of managing talent? What are the challenges for Indian companies?

There is actually nobody of knowledge to refer to when looking at talent management practices in this environment. Most of the learning of talent management comes from the West, and these are inadequate for an emerging market like India as the types of questions we are trying to solve here are very different from the West: How do you accelerate talent development to cope with the prevailing growth? How do we groom global managers faster? How do you equip your talent to deal with the need to deliver in a complex business environment that requires high visibility and transparency? If we hire trained talent from MNCs, how do we efficiently integrate them into our structure and culture? All these questions have been answered by experimentation alone, and unfortunately there is no documentation that has happened, and there is no body of knowledge to refer to.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, #ExpertViews

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