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The Indian Industry and the Way Forward for Manpower Development

I am pleased to present my summarized observationsabout the use of Training and Development - (T &D) Function for TalentManagement in Indian Companies at present and suggested inputs on strategic useof it in the years to come.

While making this concept note, 

·        I have observed some of the corporate houses from within and from somedistance.

  • I have spoken to a number of Employees working in these corporate houses. 
  • I have interacted with a number of HR /Training/OD team members handling the responsible function of manpower development in these corporate houses. 


The summary of our observations

A look at the current state of affairs

1.     Capacity &Capability Building efforts taken at present in the Indian Companies

2.     Challenges andneeds for the future of Training Strategies for managing talent

Capacity & Capability Building in IndianCompanies

1.     Many of the Indiancompanies have their HR Department which looks after the training function aswell. However, practically, many of these employers are yet to accept the realneed and importance of Capacity and Capability Building of their workforce as amust for sustained and continuous business growth.

2.     While theseorganizations want to grow their business results, market share andprofitability at a desired speed, the efforts and attention is not enough andapt to ensure that the employees’ capabilities and capacities are growing atthe same speed.

3.     Even today, manyorganizations feel that acquiring talent from outside and expecting immediateproductivity is the appropriate HR Strategy.

4.     Resultant? Manyemployees are unable to cope with the stress created because of this gap intheir capabilities and the desired output expected out of them by theiremployers.

5.     Impact of this? InIndia, especially in the private sector, the average shelf-life of an employeewith the organization or in the given role/department has come down to mere 2to 3 years. Today’s youngsters don’t really believe in building careers. Theyare happy addressing their job as an assignment of a year or a two to grow tothe next level in their role/job within or simply outside their currentemployer.

6.     In this search fora new workplace/new role, they end up changing their jobs too frequently.Impact of this? At an early age of 35-40 they are either stagnated or don’treally know where to go in their career.

7.     Some companiesthough are an exception to this. They have drawn Learning Paths for theiremployees. There are structured efforts being taken by these employers toidentify talent available in-house, take strategic training efforts, providetimely and effective learning tools and equip employees to get ready for thenext level. These employees seem to sustain the ever increasing productivitydemands and successfully deliver business expectations with far moreconsistency.

8.     However, thesetypes of employers are very few in numbers and many organizations still stop atonly providing basic induction training to a new team member and expect him/herto deliver desired business results year after year.

2.  Challenges and needs for the future of Training Strategiesfor managing talent

1.     The first challengeis the cost of training. The prevailing economic situation forces a thoughtprocess amongst decision makers to save cost on training. It is important todigest the thinking that the expenditure incurred on training the team membersis an investment similar to an investment made to acquire an asset. 

2.     The secondchallenge is that of perceived opportunity cost.  Employers are attractedto the strategy of providing just about necessary workforce or even less thanthe desired number and save on the salary costs. When training is organized forstaff, the unit managers/departmental heads find it challenging towork/transact/service in the absence of team members relieved to participate intraining. This also creates a backlog of work for the staff on training and/orputs added pressure on other team members who manage work in the unit in theirabsence. Resultant? Either the Staff Productivity or Customer Service or bothare hampered.

3.     While staffing mustbe an area to tap and control unnecessary outflow of salary costs, it isimportant to factor-in the absence of certain team members who could beprovided training off-the-job on some occasions. Therefore it is necessary thatthe unit managers/team leaders are adequately trained to plan well and managetheir workforce with improved efficiency and a positive mind-set.

4.     To overcome thesechallenges it is important to draw a manpower development strategy at theorganizational level and it should be openly shared with all the stakeholdersusing the Top-to-Down approach and in a transparent manner. An organizationwhich shares with employees a learning path to march on the career path, oftenfinds increased employee stickiness and higher level of commitments towardstheir contribution.

5.     This strategicapproach will definitely prove as an effective tool to retain and develop talent,create future leaders and plan structured succession of the middle managementand the senior management. This will prove to be beneficial for ensuringuninterrupted speed of business growth.

The next 5 years of Indian Industry

1.     The Indian Industryis going through a challenging phase. There is clear pressure on pursingbusiness expansion plans due to economic conditions, political instability andthe forthcoming general elections, the results of which may bring changes inthe economic policies.

2.     There is continuouspressure on the cost of operations due to Rupee volatility and stringentregulatory expectations for effective management of business/market/financialrisk to safeguard interests of the investors.

3.     With furtherliberalization of different business sectors for entry of competition, theIndian Industry will face a tough challenge of losing business opportunities tonew players entering the market.

4.     However, thetoughest of the challenge the Indian industry will have to address in the yearsto come is ‘Erosion of Talent’. Every new entrant in the current market willdefinitely try and attract present talent by offering attractive financialemoluments ad key positions.

Scope of Training Function in OrganizationDevelopment

1.     T & D functionis historically perceived as a reactive function. When a training need isidentified through a business situation or a market compulsion, then T & Dhad a role to play.

2.     A few largeorganizations have risen to the stage of building OD (Organization Development)as a separate unit within their overall HRD function and focus on talentmanagement and grooming future managers and leaders in-house.

3.     However, there ishuge scope in the mid-sized segment of Indian Industry and the small scaleindustry where the focus is yet to be on T&D as a profit generating unit.

4.     Today, it’s a greatopportunity time for T&D professionals to make the decision makers in thecorporate sector aware of these threats and seek consulting opportunities atthe organization level.

5.     It is importantthat T&D as a function seeks participative role in structured organizationdevelopment through talent retention and planned grooming of human capital. 

6.     T & Dprofessionals can now look beyond the mere training opportunities and seek longterm business opportunities to consult Indian organizations, their seniormanagement and work closely with the HRD and play a key role in their processof manpower development.

Based on our Training derived from the above, we strongly feel that the nextfew years will post challenges and testing times for the overall businessactivity in India. However, this will prove to be an exceptional opportunityfor the T&D professional to blossom.
Thank you!
Study Report presented by: 
Siddheshwar Vinayak Natu
Founder Member - MIDAS TOUCH Consultancy Services - India