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Monday, April 17, 2006

Why did Infosys CFO Pai move to HR?

Hey India Inc, if surging employee attrition is bothering you, flagging employee morale is becoming an issue, and hiring people is giving you sleepless nights, then wake up and listen to what job-hopping high-flying executives in Corporate India are demanding.

For top-rung executives, clearly, empowerment and a clarity in the organisation’s vision is what matters the most — while 62% of India’s top executives want their organisation to clarify its vision, 31% want more empowerment. However, for the middle and junior management, rewarding performance on a frequent basis appears to play an important role.

A survey carried out by the executive search firm, Executive Access, reveals this and provides many more insights into what Indian executives are looking for in their career.

HR is no longer a non-core function and in the ongoing talent war, it will play a critical role in employee engagement and retention. Look at what just happened at Infosys — TV Mohandas Pai traded his CFO job for the position of HR head, something virtually inconceivable a few years ago. Progressive companies are now waking up to the importance of the HR function.

According to the survey, one in every four respondents across the country wants his/her company to let HR play a proactive role. Understandably, in the already-conscious IT & ITeS sector, this proposition got a high 25% vote. But even executives in the FMCG and hospitality sectors voted in a similar range — 21-25% — showing that the criticality of the HR function is being felt far beyond the technology sector.

This is also a wake-up call to the manufacturing sector, which has seen top talent fleeing to the services sector. Lagging far behind the services sector in employee engagement, a high 37% in the manufacturing sector want their companies to empower HR and make it play a proactive role.

The maximum overall executive votes — 33% — however, go to giving clarity to the company’s vision. Employees want their companies to deliver what they promise and walk the talk. Clearly, employees want their companies to constantly communicate and update them on its visions and goals. “There is a very serious disconnect. One in every three employees is not clear or cannot relate to his/her company’s visions,” says Ronesh Puri, managing director, Executive Access.

Rewarding performance is the third most critical area of concern for employees. And guess what — this is being felt most acutely in the media sector. Around 30% of respondents in the sector — almost double the national average of 15% — want their companies to focus a lot more on performance reward.

As expected, performance rewards got the highest marks in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, where the presence of a large number of IT companies and MNCs has raised awareness levels among executives about rewards and compensation. 21% of executives surveyed in Bangalore want companies to focus on performance rewards to retain top talent.

What also came out loud and clear in the survey is a strong gender bias on the empowerment issue. While for male executives, empowerment is an area of concern with 17% voting for it, only 2% of women executives found it important enough in making their career decisions. Perhaps, the fact that top management in India Inc is still a male bastion has something to do with this, since empowerment as an issue becomes important in the top echelons.

1 comment:

Razib Ahmed said...

HR is no longer a non-core function and in the ongoing talent war, it will play a critical role in employee engagement and retention- very well said. Many companies in South Asia did not realize the value of HR until recently but now things are changing.