Many organisations in the service provider side lack the skills to customize solutions to the Indian reality
We need solutions that are customized to the Indian reality - Krish Shankar, Director HR, Bharti Airtel Limited
What is driving the growth of the HR industry?
Few years ago, organizations felt a need to relook the role of HR. They needed HR professionals to take on the business partner role and to co-create the people strategy. However people were not ready to do these roles. They were jack of all trades, from training to compensation and transactions. These transactions used to take up a lot of time but did not deliver enough value to the business. This led to organizations splitting HR into three parts. The first were HR business partners, the second part was the Centers of Expertise or Subject Matters; focusing on areas like Rewards, Talent management, Learning & Development. The third part is the Shared Services or transactions part. In some organizations these are internal centers while in others they are outsourced. Sometimes specific processes like payroll are only outsourced. For example, we have an in house HR shared services organization while that takes care of all transactions, we have outsourced our payroll to Ramco Systems.
Are different organizations using it differently?
Well MNCs have global centres of excellences and then implement processes here. Indian organizations are strengthening their centers to build specific expertise.
What implication does this have for how HR professionals develop their careers?
A HR career is like a 3 lane highway where each of the lanes is a part of HR as described earlier. Any aspiring HR professional should spend some time each in shared services/ Operations, in a Business Partner role, and as a Subject Matter Expert. HR expertise teams departments follow two models. They can have a larger team that works on a transformation agenda, or they can be a small team focusing on design. In the longer term larger teams, once transformation agendas are achieved, will move to a smaller HR team.
What are the challenges for HR people in engaging HR service providers?
In case of firms that are product oriented, they have one or two products and focus on selling rather than co-evolving solutions. They lack the skills to customize these solutions to Indian reality. The second challenge is that the quality of resources is variable.
How is the way you select a HR service provider?
Instead of looking at the cost we like to see the benefits of the cost. We assess the provider/consultant’s credibility in the market and look at the references.
What is the scope of the services in the future?
The focus of the future would be on Senior Leadership assessment and development. Organizations would probably look at more value from transactions, and spend a little more on Leadership and top talent developing.