‘Leveraging Human Capital Critical For Competitive Advantage’

Mumbai: | Updated: Aug 1 2002, 05:30am hrs
Should corporates look at ‘Human Capital’ as an investment which can deliver financial returns How relevant is it for human resource (HR) professionals to arithmetically measure Human Capital Are there any sureshot ways by which HR professionals can gauge the effectiveness of their people management systems

These were some of the contentious points that were debated by HR chiefs and corporate leaders at a seminar titled ‘Return on Human Capital’ hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Satish Pradhan, executive vice-president, Group HR, Tata Sons Ltd, said: “Human capital as a function of people management is all about having an objective view on the deliverables that professionals can create. And in no case can we replace it with figures and logarithms.”

However, some panel members were also of the view that such measurements may enable corporates to determine the effectiveness of their Human Resource Management (HRM) strategies and systems.

During the discussion, Mr TV Rao, noted HR expert of TV Rao Learning Systems Ltd said: “These initiatives will enable in understanding the business linkages of HR along with adopting more substantial processes to manage talent. It may also aid in driving a robust HRD culture in any organisation”.

Corporate leaders also accepted the recommendation of having a special R&D system in the organisation to constantly explore the various possibilities to leverage human capital.

According to Dr Santrupt Misra, president, HR, AV Birla Group: “At AV Birla, we have already created systems for research in people processes. Research has revealed that contrary to perceptions, we are a young organisation with a large number of professionals below a certain age limit. All of them are involved in various core functionalities of the business”.

In terms of employee satisfaction their research revealed that those professionals who have joined the group after having stints with various other organisations displayed a higher level of job satisfaction. This was specially higher in comparison to those who have extensively served the group for many years, he said.

According to Ms Lalita Gupte, joint managing director, ICICI Ltd: “As a customer-focussed company, our endeavour has always been to leverage the criticality of our professionals for holistic customer service”.

The final conclusion that emerged from the extensive panel discussion was that the economy is moving from an era of physical to intellectual capital. And senior professionals from corporate India need to focus on human capital as a strategic thrust to gain a long-term competitive advantage.