Chapter 8: Conclusion – Human Capital Management Challenges in India




Captures the essence of the insights revealed in previous chapters and reemphasises the need to revisit current measurement frameworks. It summarises why HR managers have to move from their current roles to occupy more strategic positions in organisations. The chapter concludes by encouraging HR managers to rise up to the challenge to manage human capital effectively.

Key words

HR lessons learnt

Talent management is becoming increasingly complex and the demand for astute HR professionals is on the rise. The challenges presented above are just one part of the equation. The role of HR is becoming increasingly strategic. Although organisations are aware of the importance of HR, HR personnel have not been able to stamp their authority in the organisation through the interventions they conduct. Data collected clearly indicate that HR managers lack strategic perspective and seldom apply their strategic awareness of the business for their talent management interventions.

An operations director needs the input of the product development and market research teams to refine the quality of their products/process. Although managers realise the benefits of such an approach, their conditioning and the frameworks used to explain their thoughts fuel two-dimensional thinking. Managers are increasingly realising the limitations of such thinking and have started looking for answers that help them consolidate their thoughts.

Science has demonstrated that seemingly unconnected events tend to have an overall impact on outcomes through the ‘butterfly effect’. Matrix string theory combines relativity and quantum physics in an elegant, intuitive way to explain the interconnectivity of seemingly unrelated events. According to string theory pundits, there are eleven dimensions, which have been compacted on a small seven-dimensional sphere, leaving four space-time dimensions. Hence we believe we operate in three dimensions, with time acting as the fourth dimension. If scientists can see the interconnectivity at the macro level, it is quite easy to see the interconnectivity and linkages in our daily lives.

The inability to see the interconnectivity is a product of the conditioning of our minds. Although managers are constantly encouraged to think outside the box, the tools and frameworks they use limit their thinking to two dimensions. As discussed earlier, it will be much easier to realise the interconnectivity when managers start thinking in three dimensions. Thinking in three dimensions helps them to see multiple perspectives and as a result the solutions developed to solve a problem help develop a rounded approach.

Extending this line of thinking, individuals can cultivate the ability to use ternary-based models and frameworks and habitually think in three and four dimensions. Once acquired, the new models enable individuals and managers to perceive ‘new’ (i.e. previously hidden) connections that reveal the macro-interconnectivity more clearly. The cultivation of three-dimensional and four-dimensional analysis facilitates multiple perspectives and as a result proposed solutions (to problems) become increasingly insightful and effective.

In order to identify talent, HR managers have to understand the relevance of talent from a strategic perspective. In this knowledge economy we can confidently say that an organisation is a collection of people and their collective response to a problem, situation or opportunity is strategy. In order to understand the strategic perspective, HR managers have to acquire business knowledge. They should then be able to connect their knowledge with the organisation’s strategy to identify the talent pool requirements.

The last decade has seen the emergence of a new form of relationship between employees and employers. Employees have now started viewing themselves as micro-businesses that sell their services to a larger corporation. As a result, they do not demonstrate any form of loyalty to the organisation they work for. Money is seldom the prime motivator for employees. Job enhancement, enrichment and learning that transpire as a result motivate employees to prefer one organisation over another.

Employees have accepted the fact that there are no jobs for life. As a result, their loyalty towards the organisation has also waned. In addition to this scenario, employees are increasingly getting better opportunities than ever. They are willing to take more risks to try different roles. They are ready to move on if they believe that they are not progressing. Some employees would want to work for the same organisation and they might then approach their bosses with the offers they have and expect the bosses to counter the offer. It might sound rude or even outrageous; however, that is the reality organisations have to face today.

Gone are those days where organisations could afford employees and still progress. A high burnout rate is clearly an indicator of the ‘toxic’ culture of the organisation. The connected workforce of this age is aware of such organisations and steers clear of them. Maintaining talent therefore becomes much more important than identifying new talent. In this day and age, there are very few specialists. People are willing to adapt and learn new concepts, and acquire new skills if they believe it is going to benefit them in the long term.

The role of an HR professional therefore becomes more challenging than ever. Not only do they need to have the ability to identify talent that would help them meet their objectives, they also need to forge creative policies and processes in a way that will capture the attention of individuals. The new breed of HR professional has to acquire business skills while refining the art of engaging the workforce. The challenge no doubt is daunting but it also affords an opportunity for HR professionals to regain their position in the organisation. HR professionals have to rise up to the challenge. Will they?