Onimia Panel Discussion 1 – Disha 2014, The Annual HR Conclave of TAPMI, Manipal

PD 1

Topic: “The Talent Race in Emerging Economies- Will India Win?”

Disha 2014 started off with a bang with its first panel discussion “Onimia”, where six industry stalwarts collaborated to give their perspectives on the topic – Will India win the talent race in emerging economies? The question here as they put it was not “Will India win” but rather “How India will win?”  The discussion revolved around how to bridge the skill gap in India. The esteemed guests gave us knowledgeable insights into the working of corporate recruitment and the talent needs of the Industry. The lively discussion was moderated by Mr. Sridhar Krishnamurthy of Kelsa Solutions.

Mr. Sridhar Krishnamurthy, Co-Founder and Director, Kelsa Solutions: Mr. Sridhar opened the discussion by taking up the 5 C’s of talent risk that India is currently facing. They are mainly Capacity risk, Capability risk, Cost risk, Connection risk and Compliance risk. He felt that in order to overcome this barrier, we as a nation need to take advantage of opportunities such as planning education to suit the needs of the business scenario, adopting different organizational practices and by exploring new work models.

Dr. Asit Mohapatra, Director HR, Raymond: He joined the panel discussion by using his rich practical experiences to classify critical gaps that have been created in the Indian talent base. They are Strategic criticality- We live in a VUCA (Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous) world that is filled with complexity. Hiring and retaining the people who matter is a huge challenge. Functional criticality – Foundations of companies are built by talented engineers. At this time ,there is a shortage of talented engineers in India .It is difficult to harness this base of engineers as they would want to climb the corporate ladder in the shortest time and become managers. Scholarships and recognition should be provided to the engineers as incentives to overcome this shortage. Leadership Criticality – Presently, a CEO’s corporate lifespan has been reduced substantially. Managers generally come from a marketing or financial background. The managers predominantly develop their niche skillset. They find it difficult to develop people management skills.

Ms. Ruth Singh, Head HR, Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd: Ms Singh eloquently quoted that India has a challenging journey ahead in terms of talent acquisition since the core competencies and capabilities are lacking. Being from the fast paced world of Finance, she stressed the importance of skill development as only highly trained professionals are able to compete in the finance job market. She said that passion for the job is a very important criteria to be kept in mind as this talent gap can be bridged only when we choose careers according to where our heart lies.

Panel Discussion

Mr Rajat Jain, Managing Director, Xerox: Mr. Jain spoke that with the strong rise of emerging economies in the last decade, there is now a need to manage the talent supply chain. Every step in that chain – from employer branding, value proposition, recruitment, employee development to employee retention – needs to be carefully taken care of. The Indian diaspora has achieved significant success in the global platform in the last few years with a growing tribe of Indian executives heading foreign corporate giants. This shows that there is immense potential in the Indian workforce which only needs to be tapped.

Ms.  Sarojani Gaikwad, Director, People Business: Ms. Gaikwad was of the opinion that a lot of work goes in the talent assessment and leadership development of people and it is the organizations which need to take proactive measures to solve this. Employees should be able to manage and be resilient to changes and expand his risk taking abilities. People should move out of their comfort zones. There also needs to be agility in their thinking and execution and last but not the least people should have collaborative team building skills to be able to operate as a system. All this skill instillation means that the company has to invest in its people.

Mr. Clive Michael VanBuerle, Vice-President HR, ISGN: Mr. Clive successfully hooked the audience with his stirring statement that in India there is not a lack of capacity but of capability. There are three primary capabilities which are lacking. They are situational fluency, adaptability and dealing with the gap between the aspirations and patience of the people.  Hence there are a lot of people with adequate skillsets but no passion for the job and there are a lot of people with passion but no competency in their field.

At the end, every speaker reiterated that individuals need to be inquisitive, aware and be open to all choices in life. One should have clarity as to where ones interests lie and look for a career that best suits them. An important takeaway by the guests was that students should choose organizations which promote learning in a person rather than on the basis of a high pay package. It ended on a positive note with high hopes of the Indian talent pool collaborating together for a bright future to win the Talent race.


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