Article: The CEO must zoom in and zoom out constantly: Santhanam

Strategic HR

The CEO must zoom in and zoom out constantly: Santhanam

The CEO's role is to act as the bridge between the external world and the internal organisation

The role of the CEO in any organization is to act as the "bridge" between the external world and the internal organization. The CEO must be able to interpret external opportunities, competition, environment, trends, and challenges, and provide clarity internally about the direction that the company must take. The CEO must to zoom in and zoom out constantly and be able to provide answers to internal questions at all levels.

While growth is promising, the biggest challenge facing organizations is that competition for talent is fierce than ever before and talent today has many opportunities to choose from. The key question that keeps CEOs awake at night is "Do we have the right people to capture the opportunities ahead of us?"

Therefore HR has become an integral part of any strategic decision of the organization. When I look at a new business opportunity, for example, a new acquisition, I invest as much management time in the HR aspects as I do on issues concerning finance, technology and competition. So people capability is central issue to our business.

In the wake of such changes, the top priorities for HR this year includes building a leadership pipeline to support the expansion plans of the organization. As competition for talent increases, attrition will be a common problem and require HR processes to be robust in developing and training people from within with an extensive use of technology, along with attracting new talent in the organization at the entry level.

HR is also responsible for finding solutions specifically for our industry to skill people at the entry level. The present absence of skilled talent at the entry level in the manufacturing sector is far worse than at the top level. The acute shortage of skills requires more investment in terms of time and money spent on training the new entrants. Companies need to find new models to broaden the base of the pyramid by creating mechanism to simplify training, expanding the hiring pools and perhaps recruiting less people while investing in their quality and development.

Around 30% of my time is invested in people initiatives. One of my major roles is to align the HR strategy to the current business requirement. I am also actively involved in the hiring process where at least 3 to 4 full days in a month is spent on interviewing middle and senior management.

In fact, my scorecard has includes three measures related to people - retention of key talent or 'highpos', high performers and high potential; creation of a talent pipeline and ensuring talent readiness; and increasing productivity at the grass root level.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Culture, C-Suite

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