Article: The war for talent is back with a bang: Nishchae Suri


The war for talent is back with a bang: Nishchae Suri

In conversation with Nishchae Suri, Managing Director, Mercer India

Speed - Agility and the capacity to react faster continues to be key for growth


The war for talent is back & with a bang - Nishchae Suri, Managing Director, Mercer

India continues to show great promise for growth. It is the new reality and is here to stay. Organizations are placing their bets of high growth (in general ranging from 20-30%) involving capturing market share, creating new customer bases and focusing sharply on customer retention. From a macro-economic point of view, India is also experiencing high levels of inflation. Rising interest rates as a measure to curb inflation in turn are impacting liquidity, margins and profitability creating pressure on the bottom-line. The business consequence of this phenomenon from the talent perspective is twofold – “Get the talent and get it at the right price”. It is critical to have the right players on the team as well as keep a strong eye on the efficiency of your wage bill! Moreover, keeping critical positions vacant even for a day has a significant impact on the overall health of the business. The formula for performance is simple, it is about equity and transparency, plus strong group relationships and better understanding of local nuances in what drives people.

What are the new trends on talent management?

From the talent perspective, I do not reckon the problems have changed from where we were pre-recession. If at all they are more complex and complicated. The war for talent is back and with a bang! The questions are the same - what is different are the answers. Emerging trends include the increasing importance and attention being paid to the employer value proposition as a way to optimize spends and increase return. One such way of achieving this outcome is through employee segmentation using common interests (such as savings) and aspirations (such as career growth) as a basis for building the value proposition differently for different talent pools. The other trend I see is the growing importance of communication. Employee communications too will be customized and organizations are beginning to use high touch approaches including the manager-employee relationship to personalize communications. They are also using more technology to reach out and engage the different pools of employees. Another application of technology has been in the area of measuring engagement and effectiveness of talent management initiatives, new metrics and tools to evaluate the efficacy of HR interventions at all times, more tightly linked with results than they ever have been.

What do you see companies doing different from what they were doing before?

How organizations equip themselves and the choices they make today will determine their future success. The organization's response to the environment has tuned to a new reality. So far it has been about execution in the present more than looking into the future. While it has augured well thus far, we have become increasingly better at our focus on results and establishing a performance culture. Organizations are responding in a number of ways. Some common themes that I have picked up in conversations with CEO’s include: – Renewal – It is time to question and re-think the game plan. What should we do to be successful given the new business landscape? In many ways it is going back to the drawing board and building from scratch, particularly when critically evaluating the potential of the business to sustain a certain growth momentum. While they attempt at making this happen at the organizational level, leaders in particular are also looking at their own capabilities and skills, evaluating the validity in a bid to quickly adapt to the changing reality.
Secondly, flexibility - being nimble has become a key requirement. It ought to be a part of part of the DNA of the organization; Organizations are building flexibility in their response systems today as never before. Flexibility in changing the organization’s response in the context of a certain change in market dynamics, to customer behavior as also to drivers of employee engagement are becoming increasingly vital to business success. For example, policies today are not necessarily rules without exception anymore, but the application of now calls for flexibility in different geographies, cultures and market conditions.
Thirdly, speed - agility and capacity to react faster continues to be key for growth, this imperative impacts how the organization structures and how decisions are taken.
Finally, balance - organizations today are equally focused on both short-term and long-term at the same time. There are parts of the organization that look at the quarter-on-quarter strategy and results, and others that look at long-term strategy and planning. This creates a healthy balance and tension in the way organizations take decisions.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, #ExpertViews

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