Managing Talent crisis

iStock talent

Talent is the most difficult thing to find these days. Companies are lucky if they are able to get good talents, but even greater challenge is to retain the talents.

In my interaction with several companies, mainly IT Captive companies, I found that there are qualified and good teams doing jobs which are below their calibre. They were probably recruited with high salaries just because the companies had more money to spend on staffing and no one wanted to take chances with sub standard staff. Going forward, such a precaution becomes an issue for companies who find difficult to excite these talented staff with more complex and challenging work. Attrition becomes common and the exercise to refill the position with the same kind of talent again starts.

“ Talent is the most difficult thing to find these days. “

In my own understanding, most of the IT work is repetitive and routine and does not require high level talented people. The job, once streamlined can be carried out by teams with basic skills and robust processes. It is also seen that a lot of new development activities ends up with standard and routine maintenance activities, thereby leading to dissatisfaction amongst the talents who are capable to keep their value higher than what is being derived out of them.

The conclusion I have derived out of several months of similar experience is that it is always better to separate maintenance and development activities. While maintenance can be managed by process oriented standard skills, the development can be done by those who are better qualified and experienced for such work. It is also essential to keep doing the job audit to understand if the skills at play are adequate for the jobs being carried out or there is a mismatch. Correcting the mismatch and a distinct maintenance and development teams would help lower attrition and lead to better employee satisfaction.

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Picture Credits : talenttariumselection,For representational purposes only

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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3 Responses

  1. Akesh Awasthi says:

    I really appriciate your blog but same time I would like to ask that person who are well qualified and doing regular routine job with good salary where to go? yes in this compition age no body is ready to take risk therefore they are not appoiting sub standard staff , small concern can give chance but big concern really don’t want to take risk……..but I like your blog …….whenever you post any blog pls sen a copy to my e-mail id.

  2. Pankaj Dutt says:

    Dear Alok,

    You have very precisely captured the common mistake which most companies make while trying to leverage India’s IT skill pool. However, root of this problem can easily be attributed to lack of a India specific and in general an overall IT strategy of the company. Adobe and GE are classic examples of how separating development from maintenance work can contribute to their global product portfolio & its optimization for emerging markets using the concept of applied innovation. In fact, many companies focus too much on retaining or attracting highly skilled employees without focusing on their talent acquisition methods. Development Center heads seldom get involved in shaping up or participating in hiring process and HR ends up using same methods to attract highly skilled employees (who demand more engagement) which they use for hiring semi-skilled IT professionals for maintenance activities.

    With thousands of Indians returning and more waiting for right opportunities, its high time that business leaders take active role in defining a separate strategy for hiring highly skilled employees, if they want to leverage more from their India development centers. Right search and screening can go a long way in matching employees’ expectation with organizational goals instead of paying more to retain such employees after they get hired without proper assessment.

    Pankaj Dutt
    Welkin Partners

  3. Alok Kumar says:

    Hi Pankaj,
    The underutilized brains can deliver far more than what they do now. However, the challange is initially in getting or creating such challanging work. Most of the Indian IT companies are no more than manpower suppliers. Very few really do the quality work, but we are still far away from what US technology companies have been able to do with the same Indian brains. The crux again lies in the leadership. I hope this will contine to improve as it has been over last decade.
    In my company, my team has embarked upon a lot of innovation around better engagement through challanging work. This has worked wonders with low attrition and my company getting top of the line technology work in a short span of few months.

    Thanks for your response.

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