Is HR’s role centered around hiring staff? Is it just about arranging training facilities, making background checks, negotiating bonuses and conducting hiring procedures? Gone are the days when HR’s role was limited only to hiring and firing.
India Inc must gear up to the new role of HR in the ever changing, dynamic, competitive Indian corporate and economic scenario. Let’s take a look at the strategies that HR in Indian corporates should adopt.
Connecting with Gen Y
For the longest time, PSUs and other government organizations in India have been reluctant in believing in the power of Gen Y, laying down employee engagement strategies or enabling HR to map out young talent within the company and offer them leadership development. And the results of such behaviors have been obvious. One of HR’s significant roles these days is to ensure that young blood is continuously circulated through the system, they are challenged constantly and are allowed to make mistakes. Judhajit Das, Chief of HR at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. tells WSJ India that HR needs to hone young talent and train them within the company infrastructure instead of hiring already experienced professionals at market price every time. Whether it is a direct connect with the company’s CEO and senior leaders, guest lectures from industry experts or off site interaction, the HR department can do a lot to harness the power of the youth.
In this day and age, HR professionals should see themselves as change makers and champions of increasing people productivity, not just as the evil devils who hand out pink slips. For instance, corporates like Maruti Suzuki, MakemyTrip.com and Airtel have been conducting and organizing brainstorming sessions to being about innovation as per a TOI report. MakemyTrip.com calls its brainstorming sessions ‘Gold Mine’ meetings because they enable employees to take their blinkers off their yearly targets and spur some innovative solutions for the company.
On the other hand, Bharti Airtel launched Sparkplug, a quarterly forum that enables employees to participate in problem solving sessions or simply discuss any given 10-12 topics. HR teams of companies have to make sure that the wisdom and experience of senior management is set in a context of ideation from across the company board, so that strategies remain real and grounded.
Revolutionizing campus placements
While recruiting and hiring remain an important part of HR’s function, many Indian companies are innovating within the same. TOI reported an interesting method through which organizations are currently revolutionizing campus placements. Giants like Wipro, Mahindra Satyam, Tesco Hindustan Service Centre, Cognizant and MphasiS have decided to deploy their recently graduated employees and senior managers to their respective alma maters as the company’s ‘brand ambassadors’. This has a couple of advantages for recruiters and students alike. While companies can better penetrate into student population to recruit the right talent in competitive markets, students can freely approach these ‘brand ambassadors’ who would assume a mentor-like role. Brand ambassadors would also be able to test students in a transparent way by creating an informal ambience unlike that in an interview held at company headquarters. This would make the campus placement process faster, cheaper and more efficient for recruiters and friendlier for students.
Forming a multi-faceted employee base
A significant challenge for HR professionals these days is to be able to cater to varying job expectations, changing mindsets, evolving job philosophies and a workforce that spans 2-3 generations and socio economic backgrounds, notes Judhajit Das. He further suggests that HR teams must align the company’s existing policies and practices to position itself as a preferred employer for qualified young professionals from all sorts of backgrounds. HR teams needs to cater to and retain employees who bring the experience and insights of their hobbies and other interests such as philanthropy, sports, entrepreneurship, social media, networking, academic backgrounds and so on into their jobs. Gone are the days when remuneration was the only point of interest for a job seeker.