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.


Inauguration of DISHA 2014 – The Annual HR Conclave of TAPMI, Manipal


With the spirits soaring and energies sky high, DISHA-2014 – the largest HR conclave in India was unveiled at T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal. The 6 daylong event with 50 plus eminent leaders seemed full of vim and vigor thanks to the unequaled and incomparable time and efforts put by students and faculty altogether.

The annual event that was started in 2009 began with the inaugural song seeking the blessings from The Almighty. The pronunciation and clarity of the singers was appreciated by the key note speaker Mr. Krishnan V. The delegates then went ahead with lighting up the lamp – a symbol of prosperity and well-being.

“The Talent Race In Emerging Economies: Will India Win?” is the concept of Disha 2014. With the Chief Guest Mr. Rajat Jain – Managing Director at Xerox India, Key note speaker Mr. Krishnan V. – Head of Talent Development, HCL Technologies India, Dr. R. C. Natarajan – Director at T. A. Pai Management Institute, Prof. Col. P. S. James – Area Chair Human Resources, TAPMI on the dais, the event began.

Dr. R. C. Natarajan proceeded to welcome the guests and mentioned the motto behind the presence of the event. He mentioned that exposures to the industry with the platform of Disha will benefit the B-Schools and will help them articulate the curriculum accordingly. Colonel James then mentioned about the war of the talents and importance of managing talents for a company, county and economy to prosper as a whole. I quote his words as follows: “Talent management is a complex and difficult task in the emerging and developing economy. It is our responsibility to face this challenge boldly. “

Rajat Jain

Beginning his career in 1980, Mr. Rajat Jain now is associated with one of the prominent innovation organizations in the world – Xerox. He mentions that everyone speaks about the necessary change that is pervasive in recent times. The fact dwells in managing to face that change. And the actual learning lies in it. He also highlighted the realism about childhood dreams.  Our world doesn’t get carried on our childhood dreams. Childhood plans are plans. But reality is different he mentions. The interesting fact rests in the need to manage the variation between them. He mentioned about three solvents to manage the variation issue. Open mindedness, resilience and having accurate vision and mission are the things to be done at the individual levels. “I have not seen many people who can give a good PowerPoint presentation about himself”, he quotes. On the ending note, he emphasizes on the connection between innovation, strategy and business. He quotes, “If you have a thought, be bold about it”.

V Krishnan1

Mr. Krishnan V., who has more than 20 years of experience remarked about Aldous Huxley to begin his address. Aldous Huxley was a leading intellect of the last century. A magazine decided to take a survey about his life and visited his school. During their interaction with his teachers, they expressed that no teacher wanted Aldous to attend their classes. They mentioned that his questions always made them intellectually discomforted. Mr. Krishnan further mentioned about the demographic advantage of India. In future, India will be the youngest country and net exporter of people. The issue that haunts back is to think about its social consequences. The students then would be having a larger responsibility and this would be the battle India cannot afford to lose. Lots of things are needed to be done in articulating how to create more employable graduates in the ever changing industrial demands. In the end, he mentioned about the meaning and importance of the famous Sanskrit shloka, “Saha navavatu, saha nau bhunaktu, saha veeryam karavaavahai, Tejasvi naa vadhita mastu, ma avid vishaa va hai.

The Inaugural ceremony thus ended on a high intellectual note with the students being motivated with the prospects of the insights provided by the delegates.

Onimia -The Panel Discussion at DISHA’2013 : Insight into the discussions by Panel 1


Onimia, the official HR Panel Discussion event, kick-started with a discussion on the topic ‘Does HR Analytics holds the key to the Future of People Management’. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Sidharath Tuli, who provided a brief description on the topic. He spoke about the diverse backgrounds the panelists come from like Consumer durables, Heavy Vehicles, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals and Academics. He stated that the diversity of the panelists would help to have a holistic discussion. The panelists provided various perspectives on the matter.

Mr. Sidharath Tuli, Head of HR, Larsen and Toubro Hydrocarbons, spoke about some simple examples about how HR analytics are used in people management. He spoke about the contentious Bell Curve that is widely used as an industry tool for performance measurement. He also spoke about the pros and cons of this kind of performance measurement and the role of feedback in helping better alignment of organisational and individual goals. He pointed out the importance of direct and timely feedback supported with appropriate and reliable data provided through analytics.


Mr. Bijender Vats, Associate Director – HR, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (MSD), an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, spoke about the role of HR analytics in the pharmaceutical industry. He threw light on how HR departments have evolved from just an administration unit to a business support system. He pointed out how analytics has helped not only to rope in better talent, but also to retain it in the long run. Analytics has helped organisations to better identify the talent pool and substantiated it with examples from MSD.


Dr. (Col.) P. S. James, Area Chair – HR, TAPMI provided an academic view towards the topic under discussion. He spoke from his extensive experience in the Indian Army and how analytics helped in better recruitment of cadets and minimize single community representation in regiments. He pointed out the looking for patterns in data provides a clearer picture of the people and their performance. He pulled attention towards the fact on how analytics can help in predicting performance and how this adds an extra facet to the benefits of analytics in HR.


Mr Raj Narayan, Senior VP and Chief of HR at Titan Industries spoke on why incorporating HR analytics is  important and what are some of the challenges managers face while incorporating analytics in HR related activities. Mr Narayan believes that whatever can be measured can be valued. Hence it is necessary to integrate analytics with HR related activities because it tries to make a subjective or fuzzy element, more specific and measurable. Some of the main challenges which managers face is ability to understand data. Empowering managers with information is critical and a major challenge for organisations. Mr Narayan also pointed about being cautious while making use of data as managers get caught up with numbers. He also explained the importance of using analytics wisely.


Mr Marulasidda MC,Director-HR, Scania spoke on how HR has grown from being just a facilitator into a business partner. Hence the need to understand and measure quality of parameters like performance have increased. He explained how the scope of HR analytics is increasing in this field. He also explained the need to customize and tailor the avenues through which we use data, which depends upon organisations and their strategy.