According to a survey, the scarcity of talent is an imminent concern for India Inc with 67 per cent of employers struggling to fill jobs. Businesses need to adopt a long-term approach to ensure they have the right talent to achieve their business objectives. While talent cannot be "manufactured" in the short-term, a robust recruitment strategy can ensure a company's business strategy is supported by having talented people to execute it. Is the competition to attract a skilled workforce forcing companies to revisit their recruitment strategies?
While not all employers are feeling the pain associated with the global talent shortage, external forces mean it is likely that they will soon feel the pressure
With more than one lakh fresh graduates from B-schools and many more experienced professionals around, why is India Inc. still struggling to fill ‘mission critical' positions with the right talent? "Even though the B-school campuses are churning out thousands of graduates each year, there seems to be a gap between the industry needs and the quality of talent available – hence the struggle among corporates for quality talent. At Siemens, we believe in bridging this gap and have thus collaborated with well-known institutes to roll out customised programmes for our employees. This not only helps our employees but also helps these institutes to further enhance their method of teaching and executing methodologies," says Ramesh Shankar, head corporate HR, Siemens Ltd.
The main reason behind talent scarcity is the fact that the demand for talent is increasing in India, but the supply is limited as individuals lack ‘mission critical' skills to some extent, and at some instances companies fail to attract qualified and skilled talent for one or another reason. "To bridge the gap between the industry and the academic sector, companies need to work closely with students and several bodies such as educational institutions, government, privately-run finishing schools, etc. Companies have taken several initiatives to set up training infrastructure on their own. They are also working with universities and colleges to create curriculum, training and content that are relevant to the needs of the industry. This needs to be broad-based," says Shankar Srinivasan, chief people officer, Cognizant.
Even for the brightest, the learning curve to be productive on mission critical projects would be quite steep. As we know, the industry outpaces academia in keeping abreast of changes. How can recruitment practices be strategised for sourcing talent by organisations? "Though catching from relatively unfamiliar territory is something most companies will have to resort to, that may not yield the best results. Our approach is to target fewer educational institutions more intently, build a strong relationship of mutual understanding through sustained engagement and use that relationship to meet a big chunk of our talent requirement. The rules of engagement are different here compared to a mass recruitment approach," states Ramesh S. Kumar, head-HR, Verizon Data Services India.
"We try to make our interactions on campus as innovative as possible. Our application process is tailored to better understand students on a more personal level. You can opt to send in your applications to us as a short video clip, a song, a poem or even a cartoon strip. We don't use traditional group discussions as part of our selection process – creative simulated games work much better. Our senior leadership team also spends a lot of time on campus interacting with students as a part of ‘Godrej In tune', our campus engagement programme," adds Sumit Mitra, executive VP-HR, Godrej industries Ltd.
Businesses need to adopt an innovative approach to ensure they have the talent they need to achieve their business objectives. "To develop a clear talent management strategy and to increase awareness of available talent and successors, organisations should conduct regular talent review meetings which prepare employees for a variety of business changes, such as mergers, company growth, or a decrease in talent needs. A talent review meeting should be designed to review the current talent status and future successor needs in the organisation," concludes Rajiv Vastupal, president, AIMA.
- Manoj Reddy