The Adecco Group is the world’s leading provider of workforce solutions, transforming the world of work through talent and technology. Each year, The Adecco Group provides over 1 million people around the world with career opportunities, guidance and insights. The Adecco Group offers total workforce solutions including temporary staffing, permanent placement, career transition, talent development, and outsourcing.
Priyanshu Singh, Country Manager & MD, Adecco Group India shares some of his views on talent challenges, conditions of the job market, how AI is helping HR and more.
What are the talent challenges of managing multigenerational diverse workforce?
Managing workplace diversity has always been tough, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. In recent times, the speed of communication and development has exacerbated the gap. However, this is not unlike most other issues today’s managers typically face.
Successful managers find the right balance between the exuberance and experience they have on their teams. It is mostly the right attitude and openness to new ideas that helps traverse this potentially destabilising chasm. As distances between countries and cultures speedily diminish, managers need to encourage their teams to imbibe the best practices from across the world. As with most leadership principles’ leading by example works best in driving ownership.
Any framework/toolkits adopted by talent leaders in solving current talent challenges?
Good talent will always be in short supply and hotly contested. The best organisations have strong development tracks based solidly on meritocracy.
Intake can only provide so much depth to an organisation, and competition is very fierce for high quality entry level talent as most companies choose to pick from similar, or often the same, institutions. Once employed, the differentiation between employees is not as much about where they studied but what they learnt at their jobs. This is where robust talent management programs and processes come in.
Employees who feel their employers are deeply invested in their development usually are easier to motivate and retain. They also believe more strongly in the overall strategy of the company, more so as their training and development programs are aligned along similar lines.
These programs can be developed in-house or through professional agencies, depending on the focus, scale, and requirement of the organisations.
What are the different levers/dimensions to re-assess to create an environment for this workforce to work?
Having a common, clearly communicated goal works best to rally people to the cause. It is important to respect and deliberate opinions and inputs from all your employees. It is not necessary to incorporate all views, but people need to know that they are respected and key members of the team. This will encourage an environment where people contribute more freely both in terms of ideas and efforts.
‘Leave no one behind’ should be the mantra as organisations move along their growth aspirations.
In terms of the overall health of the jobs market, what lies ahead for various sectors in the region?
India remains poised on the verge of high economic growth. While the macro indicators are moving in the correct direction, it will still be some time more before jobs are created in a big way. It is, however, quite likely that we will then be faced with a bigger challenge of filling those vacancies. As things stand currently, there is a huge skills gap and precious little being done to plug it. Our massive demographic dividend of having one of the youngest populations in the world could very quickly transform into a bane unless we do something about it.
Our traditional industry sectors like IT, ITES, BPO will continue to hire though not in the same large numbers, and expectations will move up the value stream in a way that they will need fewer people with higher skills. Manufacturing will take longer to develop high demand as there are still challenges that need to be addressed. Pharma and Automotive should see more action that others.
Startups and new technologies will continue to be dark horses, and could create opportunities that are currently not clearly established. That said, it is imperative for us to actively re-skill the current workforce and work towards right-skilling the future workforce.
Artificial intelligence tools, robotic process automation and self-service transaction integration can facilitate a total redesign of the employee experience. In your views, in what ways are they improving the value of HR?
As with other functions, technological improvements have increased the efficiencies in the HR world as well – though I must admit that the offerings are not as advanced as in other functions. This holds true for both the internal systems at companies as also for the Staffing & Recruiting industry. Automation will surely speed up processes and reduce if not eliminate errors. One area that technology is critically needed is in matching people effectively to the jobs at hand. However, as stated earlier, most of the current options are at an early stage of development and not as comprehensive as they need to be to provide a holistic solution.
How can Technology integration facilitate HR in helping in learning (eg. through virtual classrooms & byte-sized learning modules through smartphones?)
There is no doubt that technology has made it easier and faster to gather, collate, and deliver information and communicate with employees. More importantly, it has the potential to reduce the administrative burden on the HR department so it is able to focus on more meaningful HR activities, such as providing managers with the expertise they need to make more effective HR related decisions. Research has indicated that companies who effectively use technology to manage their HR functions have a significant advantage over those that do not. Often it is seen that employees with very different experiences, knowledge, and skill sets are made to attend standardised modules. For increased engagement, with technology advancements now we can even consider building a virtual and customised classroom environment in which the employees can plot their own learning path which is more relevant to them. Even more complex modules such as virtual reality ones are increasingly becoming available, but may not be as attractive for sub-scale use at the moment.
While there is a renewed emphasis on tech in HR, somehow the understanding of how Tech can smoothen the HR processes is still ambiguous. What must HR leaders do to steer this confusion away?
Emphasis needs to be backed by intent, and that is currently missing. While everyone talks about the need to adopt the latest technologies in the HR function, there is limited budgetary provision and hence development in this direction. For the moment, the HR leaders would do well to clearly establish their ask and work in a modular fashion to adopt the technological offerings in a manner that best fits their budget and needs over a period of time.
Talent management was very much seen to be the exclusive preserve of HR in the past, but because of the technology influx, it is now becoming very much more of a business priority. Your view on this.
In the current business environment, companies are beginning to realize the tremendous competitive potential of a fully evolved talent management system driven by the business plan — from recruiting right through strategic workforce planning, global job grading, performance management, succession planning, career development, competency learning, compensation planning and analytics. However, for most companies, it remains a challenge to achieve this level of integration. Talent management technology has been steadily evolving — from single-process modules to the full integration of all HR transactions. However, what many talent managers are still missing is the level beyond transactions: the seamless integration of HR processes with overarching business goals and strategies. If you see in the past, simply automating manual transactions could produce cost savings and create better business performance. Now it’s more complicated. Companies need to understand how strategic business goals translate to talent management. They need tools that can rapidly analyze data, predict the correct time and place of future talent needs, and implement programs that identify potential, build competencies, match employee career goals, plan succession and deploy talent but with technology integrated in Talent Management.