Article: Corporate-academia partnerships will help solve talent challenges

Strategic HR

Corporate-academia partnerships will help solve talent challenges

Long-term partnership between industry and academic institutions will help in engaging talent differently.
Corporate-academia partnerships will help solve talent challenges

There needs to be a synergy among the business leaders, HR professionals and academia in making HR succeed. The talent war has always been faced by many organizations, and one of the major causes of worry among the corporates is why aren’t talent absolutely industry-ready. Academia, on the other hand rues the fact that there aren’t any corporate which shows interest in sponsoring or in collaborating with education institutions. While hundreds of colleges churn out management graduates, their employability has always remained a challenge.

The problem

In this fast-growing dynamic business-like world, people issues and approach to people issues are always reactive. Customer behaviour has changed over the years. It has become a mindset challenge for the HR team when conventional functions and roles are being regularly challenged by the new business models. Businesses usually look for short-term goals for revenues, but academics are more long-term. The problem is that campuses look for getting the top-rated company which will dole out the maximum salary, in turn making the ROI of the academics as mere hiring issue. Instead of the business realities, students are still taught various theory-based issues which will have very few impact on the way they will work later. The corporates are also not interested to forge long-term partnerships with academicians – they are not leveraged well in the industry. In this VUCA world, the number of times the business models and strategies for various HR functions have changed – hardly we will see any changes in the way knowledge is being imparted. By the time a change was made in an academic session, the modus operandi of doing the business changed dramatically. Most management schools have become placement agencies – the only care is to place all their students.

What’s the way forward

A strategic need is to have episodic interactions between businesses and academic institutions, and it should be long-term partnerships. A short-term approach restricts corporates to think forward in terms of skills, employee engagement, challenges, culture-readiness. Very few corporates have taken this step. HR doesn’t really need to justify its business existence – HR is intrinsic and the value it creates exudes from the fact that it engages the most vital resources of corporates i.e people. And corporate-academia partnership can help in further strengthening this resource pool while creating people with systemic perspective. The need for cooperation can be gauged by the number of Corporate Universities established in the country. These universities enable organizations to handle the challenges of tomorrow. Industries must participate with B-schools to create centre of excellence through training programs, co-creating knowledge. These B-schools can be the safe-testing grounds for solutions – with alternate solutions in the class with case studies which are not just quick-fix but strategic. The industry-academia must propagate to remove the negative image which research has – ie if it’s research then those policies are not implementable. And in this HR plays an important role. No strategy gets done without HR intervention. It’s the best form of coaching – the qualitative aspect and that’s why HR does add a lot of value. 

(This article is curated from the Panel discussion on Challenges and opportunities in managing the synergy of business leaders, academics & HR professionals in making HR succeed at HR Confluence 2017.) 

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Topics: Strategic HR

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