HR concerns of the day
Srinivasa Rao Dasari writes about the main issues
on the minds of HR managers, and the way they deal with them
Human resources (HR) as a function is fast changing since it works closely
with senior management, business segments, line management and functional leaders
in an IT organisation. HR management is undoubtedly one of the major challenges
ahead for Indian IT companies.
The IT industry is already under stress on account of persistent problems like
attrition, confidentiality, loyalty, etc. Managing HR in the knowledge-based
industry is not a cakewalk for HR managers as it a multi-task responsibility.
In the present scenario, HR managers are performing a variety of responsibilities.
Earlier, their role was confined to administrative functions such as looking
after manpower requirements and maintaining rolls for the organisation. Now
it is more strategic in keeping with the demands of the industry.
A S Murti, Senior Vice-president, HR, Satyam Computer Services, explains, Since
the IT industry is growing at an encouraging rate, the supply-demand issue will
pose a major challenge for the industry, particularly for experienced professionals.
Retaining the best talent will also be equally important. We cant retain
professionals only by paying higher salaries and offering attractive perks;
that is the not the best way. We need to create enthusiasm in their role, their
work and the organisation. He says that Satyam focusses on internal and
external training programmes on periodical basis; there is also job rotation.
Every 18-24 months, professionals are placed on different processes of their
We cant retain
professionals only by paying higher salaries and offering attractive perks;
that is the not the best way. We need to create enthusiasm in their role,
their work and the organisation
A S Murti
Senior Vice-president, HR
Satyam Computer Services
Some of the issues that the IT sector faces are managing
people, motivation to adopt new technology changes, recruitment and training,
performance management, development, and compensation management.
Managing people in the knowledge-based industry is critical
as the human resource is the soul of the organisation. Since there is a high
demand for knowledge workers, talented professionals often enjoy high bargaining
power due to the knowledge and skills they have. The attitude is different for
those who are taking up responsibilities at a lesser age and a lower level of
experience. These factors have resulted in the clear shift to individualised
career management from organisation career commitment. Managing the pool of
people talent is essential for the growth of knowledge-based sectors like IT
Motivating the workforce
As global competition is growing rapidly, a technological
edge supported by talented manpower has become crucial for survival in the market,
which is why organisations give top priority to technology advancement programmes.
HR managers are now performing the role of motivators for their knowledge workers
to accept new changes.
There is a need to develop competent HR professionals
who are sound in HR management practices with strong business knowledge
The success of the knowledge-based industry is dependent on its manpower talent
pool. Hence, human capital is the real asset for any organisation. This makes
HRs role critical in recruiting, managing and retaining the best people
available. The HR department has a clear role in this process, and determines
the success rate of any organisation. If HR managers are not competent enough,
this will have a direct impact on the organisation. There is now a need to develop
competent HR professionals who are sound in HR management practices with strong
TCS values every associate and invests in their personal
development. We have a number of initiatives that bring associates and
their families together in fun,
learning and social
TCS (Deccan Park-Hyderabad)
Recruitment and training
Recruitment has become a major function from an important
sub-system in HR, particularly in the IT industry. HR managers play a vital
role in creating assets for the organisation in the form of quality manpower.
Another challenge for HR managers is to put systems in place
to make people a perfect fit for their jobs. Skill obsolescence is rapid in
the software industry. To overcome this problem, organisations give utmost priority
to training and skill enhancement programmes on a continuous basis. Many IT
companies are providing technical training to their employees on various platforms
every quarter. Most find this regular training quite useful, apart from the
feeling of security it provides.
The trust factor
Low levels of trust inhibit knowledge sharing in the knowledge-based industry.
Concerned over recent reports about an employee of an Indian call centre who
allegedly sold bank account details, Nasscom is gearing up to face unforeseen
challenges regarding confidentiality in the IT industry. It is working closely
with legal authorities in Britain to ensure those responsible for criminal breach.
Any case of theft or breach of confidentiality should be treated seriously.
Such malpractices would pose a serious threat to SMBs in the BPO sector. Most
of the small and medium companies in this segment do not have enough capabilities
to tackle the situation themselves.
Lt Bipin Chandra, Vice-president, India operations, Knoah Solutions, does not
believe that this will severely affect the BPO industry in India. He says, We
have enough security measures as far as data security is concerned. Accessing
the database should be need-based only, and if, without necessity, anyone tries
to access it, our system will alert us. We have been strengthening our security
policies; in any case, our existing system does not allow employees to browse
through the data. Going by recent reports, I dont think there will be
any significant impact on BPO companies. Our clients ask for higher levels of
security on information systems. Every organisation needs to have a fool-proof
security system, apart from building loyalty and commitment among employees
as part of good HR policies which are common for all types of organisations.
At Wipro they believe that the knowledge-based industry faces five critical
challenges. One of the most important is talent management and development.
Professionals bring with them a lot of aspirations, and to be on the competitive
edge they look out for three important dimensionslearning, technology
and early opportunities. A recent study conducted by Wipro showed that people
join the company because of the above, and these act as a differentiating model
for the organisation. In the IT industry, the best practices of today may not
be the best practices after some time, so it is imperative that the company
constantly improve its own business-aligned HR processes to be at the leading
edge. Another dimension to the challenges faced by the industry is the growing
pace of talent acquisition, which creates with it the challenge of smoother
assimilation of new employees into the organisation fold. The pressure of delivering
the best quality service in reduced time-frames calls for ensuring that employees
maintain a work-life balance. Another important issue, which will continue,
is retention of existing employees.
Addressing the issues
Manjula Rajoli, Manager, Talent Engagement & Development,
Wipro Tech-nologies, elaborates on how Wipro manages the challenges. Wipros
talent management and engagement has a two-fold approach. We contain the challenges
by following best practices in two areascompensation and non-compensation.
Challenges arising due to compensation reasons are contained at Wipro by continuously
benchmarking our salaries with our competitors and providing merit-based salary
increases. In addition, for middle and senior management, we have equity-based
compensation through Restricted Stock Units. We also have various employee benefit
programmes. These ensure that we stay competitive on the compensation front.
(For non-compensation issues, see box alongside.)
Employee care is a top priority. Elizabeth Mathew, Head,
HR, TCS (Deccan Park-Hyderabad), states: At TCS, we value every associate
and invest in their personal and professional development. We have a number
of associate engagement initiatives that bring associates and their families
together in learning, fun and social activities. This enhances the bonding and
commitment to the organisation. We also continuously revise our HR policies,
listen to our associates opinions, make our policies more people-friendly,
and cater to varied needs of a diverse workforce. The following, according
to Mathew, are some of the key issues faced by the industry in general: attracting
and retaining talent, meeting volume and quality needs, providing multiple career
opportunities, aligning and integrating policies with market needs, and coping
with the constant pressure on compensation.
Mathew points out that a survey by Hewitt-CNBC TV 18 rated
TCS as the best employer in the country. The company has associate-friendly
policies, a dynamic focus on people as an asset, and a work environment which
is challenging and rewarding. Career growth and clear career tracks endear
the organisation to its people. The focus on Economic Value Added (EVA) to calculate
variable performance pay makes TCSers among the most competitively paid in the
market. TCS has a strong Academic Interface Programme for creating synergy and
forging strong relations with educational institutes, which brings TCS closer
to the budding software engineering community, adds Mathew.
Hanneke Frese, an HR consultant based in Zurich, believes that in order to increase
the quality and capabilities of employees it is better to align professionals
with the business strategies of the organisation and create an organisational
culture that attracts highly competent employees. She was recently in Hyderabad
to participate in an interactive session organised by Nasscom. Frese advises
IT companies to achieve the best possible fit between the aspirations of its
people, the organisations needs and its clients expectations. Productivity
in the knowledge-based industry will be another challenge as some key issues
are still uncertain. These issues arewho will own intellectual capital,
how will knowledge be patented, and what new business models will emerge to
make organisations more competitive.
Frese foresees future challenges as confidentiality, managing change, developing
leadership, movement of labour and workplace, globalisation, managing knowledge
workers and productivity. For HR managers, who are already burdened by present
day concerns, the future holds tougher problems which need to be addressed from
Wipro, problems arising due to non-compensation reasons are addressed by
four initiatives, informs Manjula Rajoli, Manager, Talent Engagement &
Development, Wipro Technologies. These initiatives are: Meet Your People
Programme, Wipro Listens & Responds, Best People Manager Awards, and
Talent Review and Planning.
- Meet Your People Programme (MYPP): From our
research at Wipro, we found that some managers have higher levels of employee
engagement, satisfaction and productivity than others Such managers enjoy
a greater bonding with their teams. Wipro has studied their best practices
and created a framework called MYPP, which is an initiative launched to
increase supervisory touch time and effectiveness with team members. It
is a framework which defines the various touch points that the manager
needs to engage with the team. It enables every manager to connect the
team to a bigger picture, create an understanding of the organisations
objectives and the team members role in the same, create fun at
the workplace, work on the career aspirations of the team members, and
conduct regular and periodic meetings that increase the productivity levels
of the team.
- Wipro Listens & Responds (WLR): WLR aims at
improving the health of the workplace. WLR continuously maps the needs,
preferences and choices of employees, and in a structured and responsive
manner resolves all
employee issues to create talent engagement and productivity. It works at
two levels. At one level it is Wipros way of listening to employee
feedback and suggestions on different issues like policies, benefits, workplace
conditions, growth opportunities, etc. At the second level it acts on those
areas of feedback by improvising existing systems and identifying new processes
in response to the changing needs and aspirations of employees.
- Best People Manager Awards: Talent engagement initiatives
have always been a major thrust area, and will continue to be so. All
its managers strive towards the same, with some of them going an extra
mile to ensure superior levels of engagement, motivation and retention
of their teams. The Best People Manager Award is an honour given directly
by the Chairman and CEO to those managers who create a better workplace
for their team members. These are managers who show high employee satisfaction,
engagement, productivity and low attrition.
- Talent Review and Planning: This exercise is undertaken
every year, and helps in identifying high potential talent at different
levels, their position movements, their professional development and aspiration
tracking. It creates a snapshot of the talent pipeline for the whole organisation
and also at the business unit level.