Engagement and productivity will be two key areas where HR consultants will see a lot of demand in the coming months
The HR consulting space in India has seen some difficult times in the last two years owing to the reduction of growth opportunities. The industry has not grown significantly and the outlook for the coming months continues to remain neutral. Experts believe that this is the time for HR consulting companies in India to sustain and consolidate operations and prepare for a busy period of long-term growth. Many factors will present key opportunities for this space in the coming months, including technology and talent market developments. It is important that HR consulting organizations bank on these opportunities to build a solid base for the future.
Technology is changing nature of demand
Technology’s influx into HR has resulted in altering the nature of demand in the past 12 months. There have been several key technology developments, which are enabling organizations to access details about their human capital in far greater depth compared to what they could access earlier. Technology, for example, allows an organization to pull data from various systems and provide key insights about workforce measures such as engagement and productivity. As a result of this, consumers of HR consulting services are demanding higher-level insights from their HR consulting engagements.
It is important to note that the Indian consumer is a price-conscious consumer and operating in the Indian market will become even more difficult owing to higher demand expectations. As a result, it is important that Indian HR consulting companies invest in acquiring good talent who can enable them to create and execute higher order consulting services. It is no secret that talent costs are rising and margins are shrinking.
Time to develop specific expertise
Organizations are looking at ways by which they can hire consultants to find opportunities for developing the overall skill profile of the organization. The key areas of opportunity include attracting, retaining, developing talent, EVP branding, L&D and succession planning. Secondly, organizations are also looking to optimize their HR operating model and maximize efficiencies. There will be a lot of demand to create the right delivery and control models.
Many of the experts who were interviewed for this study say that HR consulting organizations should invest in developing higher order competencies in specific HR areas. Service arrangements will likely become much more high involvement and customized, where an organization will be asking very specific questions from their HR consulting partners.
Engagement and productivity will be key
Studies reveal that the Indian workforce is among the least engaged globally, and this is affecting productivity of the workforce. Engagement and productivity will be two key areas where HR consultants will see a lot of demand in the coming months. Organizations are more prepared to look at the complete employee lifecycle to build engagement strategies around them. As a result, the occurrence of discreet engagement activities will come down as organizations will seek the help of consultants to build engagement and productivity strategies that spans across several aspects of HR.
Buyers of HR consulting services in India seek services from three distinct segments depending on the nature and extent of the engagement. The three segments are homegrown consulting companies, multi-national-global consulting companies and individual consultants. Many buyers say that while global companies bring in the expertise, experience and best practices from global markets, they need to make efforts to tailor them according to Indian conditions. In this aspect, local homegrown players and individual consultants fare better, as per their superior knowledge of Indian operating conditions. As organizations continue to monitor their discretionary spending, the outlook for the consulting services space in India is neutral for the coming months.
- Global expertise
- Specific HR services
- Skill & operations consulting
- Low margins
- Low discretionary spending of consumers
- Talent availability