2014: From Incremental to Transformational
HR’s focus over the years has primarily been incremental. Of course, incremental improvement is good but today that is not good enough
Listening to ICICI Bank Executive Director K. Ramkumar’s speech during our Talent Acquisition League in Mumbai this past month, I realized that the speed of change is such that HR cannot grow incrementally anymore. He narrated how he and his team radically changed their approach to recruitment when in the mid-90s the Board told the HR team that they had to increase their annual hiring from 250 new hires per annum to 2,000 per annum. Instead of taking an incremental change approach, ICICI Bank challenged the lazy model and reengineered their complete talent supply chain by creating their own education centers for graduate and postgraduate students. Today, ICICI Bank hires thousands of people per annum and more than 90 per cent of their recruitment happens through their own sources.
HR’s focus over the years has primarily been incremental. Of course, incremental improvement is good but today that is not good enough. For HR to stay effective and relevant to the business, they need to look at business problems with a very different lens and be courageous to experiment solutions that have never been tried before.
Our reflection over the last few years is that HR leaders are busy – too busy with systems, processes, polices, implementing practices etc. We are always in the action mode. So what can be done? The hypothesis in our cover story this issue, The ONE Thing, is that if the HR leader can identify the ONE Thing that is a core business challenge and address it appropriately, then this will in turn reduce the number of activities or efforts to be made in many other areas. That is where our focus should be.
Of course, identifying The ONE Thing is the most important part of the puzzle. Who said the journey was easy? Each HR leader needs to find that ONE Thing that is relevant to one’s context, dedicate time to it and execute it properly through a commando team. Make sure that this does not become a tick-in-the-box exercise. In this cover story, we bring to you 14 ideas for 2014 on what could be that ONE Thing from global and Indian leaders across all walks of life. These 14 columns could be your inspiration to find your ONE Thing for 2014.
The other stories in this issue include The Big Interview with CCL President John Ryan, A People Matters-The Strategist research on HR resolutions for 2014. Besides our regular columnists, we also have a news feature on how companies are not so great when it comes to granting time off to employees. We have a special column by Dr Sandeep Gandhi of Aircel on how Mahendra Singh Dhoni uses management principles on the cricket pitch.
As it is common every new year, there is no shortage of advice on what HR should do or shouldn’t do in 2014 – our advice: find your ONE Thing and focus on executing it.
Happy New Year from all of us at People Matters!