Article: Retaining our intellectual capital: Tiger Tyagarajan


Retaining our intellectual capital: Tiger Tyagarajan

N.V. 'Tiger' Tyagarajan, President & CEO, Genpact
Retaining our intellectual capital: Tiger Tyagarajan

We see the world as clearly uncertain and volatile, and this is how it will remain. So, to some extent, one is needed to run the business with a clear understanding that clients are going to have ups and downs. Therefore, there is a need for very high flexibility in all businesses. Flexibility applies to everything; is critical in making people mobile, moving locations or entering new businesses. Hence, from the talent management perspective, it is important to make people understand that flexibility of career is crucial today. If people do not think about their own careers as flexible as possible, they will then miss out on opportunities.

Our top HR priorities this year would be three of them, not necessarily number one, number two or number three. First one would be to continue to focus on employee retention across the board. In our business, it would be a game changer if we are able to drive attrition down further, for us as well as for the industry. Second would be the assimilation and integration into the culture of new sites, new geographies, and new businesses. We are doing more acquisitions than before, we are bringing in more people from the outside with domain and industry knowledge, opening more centers, and all of that more than ever before. We aim to drive the cycle time down for cultural assimilation and integration of all these constituents - new people, new acquisitions, new geographies, and new businesses. The third would be leadership competency development to build a robust leadership development engine.

As a CEO, I spend more than 20 percent of my time on people-related activities. This time is spent on activities like performance management, succession planning, organizational design and structure in terms of who does what at the leadership level, senior level recruitment, reviewing program design and performance of programs to support the key HR priorities that I mentioned earlier, drive attrition down, build more leaders and drive integration and cultural assimilation.
Particularly in our business, there is a definite correlation between the amount of time that the CEO spends on talent-related activities and business performance. For us, our intellectual capital is really the people and the better people you have developed and the better processes you have in place to develop them, the more the competitive advantage. Therefore, I think the two are hugely correlated. My time spent on talent activities is also correlated to attrition, client satisfaction and therefore, to growth.

Any leader in the company will have clear talent related goals like attrition, net promoter scores, client satisfaction, bringing in new people, building domain and bringing experts, to add to the DNA of the company. While these are all important for the business and there is a clear return, they are not always easy to measure. You need to look at several outputs to determine if the person is performing on that measure, for example, to measure whether the leader is building leaders from within, one can assess if the leader drives internal promotions hard, or he/she has been able to take people from one business and move them to another; these together reflect the impact that leaders make to business performance as a result of their time and effort investment on people.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, #ExpertViews

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