From the license raj to the opening up of the Indian economy in 1993, the Indian industry has come a long way. And with that, talent acquisition has also come a long way. How has the talent function evolved over the years and what are the technologies TA leaders need to leverage to upskill their game? In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Anthony Joseph, President of Human Resource, Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) throws light on the same.
How have you seen the Talent Acquisition function evolving over the years?
I am going a little back in time wherein I would like to shift from the subject of talent acquisition to industry itself. I started my career a long time ago. Back in 1993, the industry was different, a very controlled economy or the license raj as we call it. We would wait for the budget announcements which would be a significant guide for us on what the next year would look like. From then on, the economy has opened under the Prime Ministership of P V Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister in the 1990s, and what we see today is a very different India and a very different world when compared to what it was when it was started. So that’s one.
Secondly, what you would see in India specifically were a lot of British companies in certain segments and engineering companies which had an affiliation or technical collaboration with Japanese, German or British companies. Chemical companies, manufacturing, and banks were huge both in terms of the public sector and the private sector.
“So you had the public sector; government sector and you had an emerging private sector. A lot of that has changed because of the coming over of internet as companies like Google, Facebook or Amazon didn’t exist even twenty years ago. And that has impacted the way we work and the way we live, and that has also impacted the kind of services that are offered.”
It has impacted how people choose their careers and their lifestyles which have all impacted the talent acquisition. Therefore, talent acquisition is the result of these multiple changes versus just an activity or a channel of functional expertise.
So right from banking to shopping to ecommerce services; everything has changed. These have impacted the kind of services that are required which in turn have impacted the talent pool in terms of demand and supply which has impacted the way talent acquisition works.
What are some of the latest trends changing the game in the TA space?
I am going to start with the first survival requirement which is just keeping up with ever-evolving requirements. So, for the talent and services, we got to look at the people. Earlier we looked at people who would have worked at only one to three companies in their careers. That has shifted to actually people changing their jobs at an average of almost three years at the executive level and between six months and two years depending on the nature of the industry at the entry-level.
Secondly, technology is a huge force impacting on both how we work and when we work. If you look at the latest trends, number one is keeping up with what is required which means understanding based on the nature of work, the skills of people. With technology changes that are happening, a lot of the routine is either getting automated or getting machine-read. This impacts the people who have the ability to follow the instructions i.e. the entry-level routine kind of work. On the other hand, you have more people that are analytical, looking at new trends, trying to be above learning curve or trying to be ahead of the competition in the work available.
Also, we have customers from multiple age groups. You have parents who are living longer and living alone because kids are away. That is one customer group. Then you have people who are still active between mid-forties and mid-sixties. So being at the cusp, we are all doing the same thing and getting impacted by technology. Then there are people in their thirties or mid-forties who have a different set of expectations or whom we call the millennials. All these segments impact the nature of work and demand of services; impacts the kind of people who are going to be hired and people who would stay, which makes us pertinent.
Based on the new products, the nature of services and the nature of the talent required, there is an impact on the quality of the talent that is required. I have honestly made the statement twenty years ago and its sort of binding right now. We are going to be in a stage where talent is available and it’s going to be a percentage of people who will have multiple options, and it will be a high percentage of people who are going to be unemployed.
“Earlier, it started like one job for a lifetime. It has shifted to between two and four jobs over a period of 35 to 40 years. So that is very clearly shifting to one employee doing multiple jobs part-time.”
There is another sort of working to avoid transportation as well as technology to increase the pool- which is the whole concept of work from home. In terms of work from home, the technology directs what you are doing but finally, organizations are laying more stress on I care about the outcome but I don’t care about the constraints. It requires you to address what you need in terms of technology.
In terms of tools, very high automation, video recording or clips instead of face to face meetings or interviews are trending. We use equipment that can look at your voice modulation as well as your emotion. The scope of Artificial intelligence is very vast which means that are you getting insights or different perspectives based on data which you weren’t getting in the past.
What are some of the new-age technologies that TA leaders should leverage to improve their hiring?
First of all, the use of tools, that’s a huge one as well as the usage of various platforms.
“There is no one platform which is best for all cases. So, when you do mass recruiting, you would be significantly looking at high-efficiency tools which can look at very high processing rate.”
Today the fit index based on the characteristics that you put in your recruiting system has become far more intelligent and robust than it used to be.
One thing that is waning is the emotional quotient and the definition of emotional quotient itself is changing. Another widely talked about parameter but difficult to pinpoint is the culture fit which means that how the person fits in the current culture of my organization. I think it has both trends and limitations. Because of the technology and social changes that are happening very fast, an organization’s culture itself is continuously evolving. So, you need to ensure that you are looking for people who are fitting into your own evolving culture. Hence the term culture fit as an attribute can be misleading or it can be misconstrued or misplaced.