People Matters spoke to 60 industry veterans and compiled a list of key trends that would define the HR space in the year 2012
An organization needs to articulatehow being ‘social' is linked toits business success
The dawn of a new year is perhaps the best time to revisit the year gone by and gauge whether we are on track. Did we focus on contemporary issues? Did we stimulate new ideas and prompt an organizational or policy action? Did we start conversations on the important issues facing people managers today? Be it social media or employer-employee relations or economic reforms, People Matters dwelt on these critical issues keeping people and talent as the central theme. ‘In Retrospect’ examines our coverage over the year and deliberates on it
The economic gloom prevailed through 2012 and organizations were forced to be cautious when striking a balance between investment in the workforce and returns on that investment in terms of performance and productivity. This is the prism through which our coverage of the year must be evaluated.
Our January 2012 issue set the tone for the year ahead. People Matters spoke to 60 industry veterans and compiled a list of key trends that would define the HR space in the year 2012. Talent management in a rightsizing environment, embracing social media, talent analytics & predictive modeling, coaching, leveraging technology, empowering people, owning the talent supply chain, emergence of recruitment process outsourcing, and diversity & inclusion were a few clear trends for the year ahead. Going forward, in our regular cover stories, we keenly deliberated upon the micro as well as the macro aspects of these trends keeping people as its central theme.
While much has been written about tech entrepreneurs and their contribution, there is no dearth of entrepreneurs from other sectors who have made impressive strides as well. The HR entrepreneurial space is a case in point where early movers have tasted success and new entrepreneurs, who are unlocking the potential of business domains which have been largely untapped, are also thriving. The February cover story ‘HR Entrepreneurs’ made an attempt to uncover the unchartered territories within the HR domain, which are both profitable and scalable.
Social Media – Blurring the virtual and real world
Citing studies done by SAS, Jobvite, McKinsey, Altimeter Group, GTM and People Matters, the story ‘Adding Method to Madness’points out how the increasing reliance on social media has made information exchange very open and candid, thereby allowing companies and prospective talent to learn about each other without much hassle. While it is easy to join the bandwagon of social media as a ‘me too’, the story categorically lists out the fundamentals which are needed to leverage the opportunity arising out of social media. An organization needs to articulate how being ‘social’ is linked to their business success; whether or not they are prepared to decentralize communication and empower people to be flexible and reactive; and more importantly, can they mobilize the human resources to lead the change. If the answers to these questions are in the affirmative, then of course social media can be a game changer.
The talent agenda
CEOs are increasingly accepting the linkage between the time they spend on talent and the readiness of their organization to adapt and thrive in a volatile market. This year’s ‘People Matters – Monster.com Study’ shows that one out of every three CEOs surveyed spend more than half of their time on talent related activities. As much as 84 percent of CEOs said they spent more than one-fourth of their time on talent related activities (last year this number was 73 percent). Though it is difficult to measure the impact of CEO’s increased time and effort on talent activities on business performance, CEOs across sectors agree that their direct attention to talent related activities has a ripple effect on business performance.
The skill gap
The skill requirement studies estimate that India will require around 260 million skilled people by 2018 and around 340 million by 2022. Over 13 million people will be required incrementally every year in over 90 categories of skills. The numbers in isolation portray possible employment avenues; however, the key concern is non availability of ‘skilled’ workforce. For the third year in a row, we raised this critical issue, questioning whether the governments renewed focus and more budgetary allocation was enough to bridge the widening gulf. According to the ‘People Matters Entry Level Hiring Survey 2012’, 79 percent respondents affirm that the present educational institutes do not provide enough practical exposure to make candidates employable. Further, 66 percent say that there is not enough quality entry level talent entering the workforce, a fact further cemented as an overwhelming 97 percent of the respondents agree that training entry level talent is a must.
Besides questioning the long term sustainability of the skilling agenda, the cover story ‘Is India on track’ focused on the positive vibes arising out of the government’s renewed focus to bridge the skill gap, such as making people more employable and plugging a looming skills deficit by announcing the creation of a vocational education framework and integrating this with its mainstream education system.
Crisis as an opportunity
Is crisis the best time to reinforce measures to build capability and capacity? The answers to such questions primarily depend on the ability of the leadership at the helm to steer though the crisis. In the Indian context, at a time when the economic indicators were faltering, ‘Let’s not waste a good crisis’ put forth the question, will India Inc. only whimper and whine, or will it take the lead and reinforce its strategy and investment in people to turn this uncertainty into opportunity?
‘Shame. Labor violence - a blot on modern India’ raised questions on the role of trade unions and industrial relations amidst changing workforce aspirations in the context of the violence at the Maruti plant on July 18, 2012. It focused on the key issues of wage disparity, contractual workforce, need for labor reforms and an effective mechanism for dispute resolution. Sharing their views, a number of industry veterans felt that contract labor is here to stay and that it is time to review the legal nuances so neither the workers are exploited nor the industry suffers. With the government unleashing the second round of reforms with the potential to create millions of jobs, employer-employee relations is bound to gather momentum. The changing workforce and workforce aspirations, makes it all the more important to look at employer-employee relations from this new prism.
The new reforms
While the new reform measures announced by the government have been debated threadbare both in terms of political and economic wisdom, ‘The FDI Promise’ analyzed the entire episode from the talent perspective. While the proponents of the reforms argue that it would create millions of jobs, the story cites the existing skill deficit and reasons that there would be tremendous churn in complementary industries. The immediate question then is, will the sectors benefitting from the reform build or buy talent; how will these industries respond to an increase in attrition; will it lead to an increase in wages of employees; and more importantly, how will this increase impact productivity?
Be it managing a crisis situation or exploring new business opportunities, or for that matter, the more debatable issue on need for reforms in existing labor laws to factor in the new workforce and their aspirations; our interaction with academicians and industry veterans invariably make us believe that it is the people centric approach that really makes the difference.