A call from the CEO’s office sounded urgent and Ayushman reached his workplace in no time. He could sense the issue was pressing. The CEO said that the CFO has resigned and wants to leave in a couple of weeks, and at a time when the full year closing is at stake. As the HR head, Ayushman had to come up with a solution. A new search would have meant at least 6-8 weeks before he could get the new person on board, leave aside time to acclimatise.
This year is yet another one that will keep the HR at the edge. The HR focus is increasingly going to be retaining talent and preparing the organisation for the next generation of leadership. As the economy is opening up, the exodus at the middle and top level could increase and a majority of them may move to satisfy their aspirational needs, and rightly so. A couple of years ago when the decision of bringing in new players in the banking sector was taken, the players sensed a crisis-like situation of shortage of talent. One of the key decisions taken was how to retain the talent within—identification of key people, knowing their aspirations, designing their growth paths, realigning responsibilities and reviewing the whole process every 6-9 months to assess the efficacy were some of the activities followed. In fact, almost a similar phenomenon is taking place in many sectors today.
India’s young age structure offers a potential demographic dividend for growth, but this potential will be realised only if the extent and quality of education and skill development among new entrants to the workforce is greatly enhanced. The HR focus has to shift from hiring only the required skill to recruiting raw potential and then honing this potential. The gap between demand for a ready resource and supply of the right-fit in manufacturing industries has widened. To manage such a situation, it is imperative that we get raw talent and nurture them. An analogy can be drawn from defence services. Their intake is at the base of the pyramid and then they are made to grow within. We must increase intake at diploma and degree-level education and then hone them in their respective organisations’ work culture.
Another major challenge for the HR is going to be to identify and foster the next generation of leaders through mentoring, training and coaching. Today’s organisations cannot afford to suffer due to non-availability of leaders. The HR should keep a sharp eye on such trends and emerging best practices on managing talent pipeline.
As Make-in-India starts to take shape, the countries which have assured investment in India or are in the process of doing so must have also started working on talent acquisition. This essentially means that the HR functions of already established companies have to begin work on managing talent pipeline, now.
The author is senior vice-president, HR, Jindal Stainless Ltd