Swati CA

Swati_CA column in The Hindu Business Line

Monday, April 03, 2006

An African story

Comments from P.S. Rao, HR Head, CSS Group

“Are companies incapable of retaining talent? Or is it that the markets are driving the movement of employees from one job to another?”

“Markets are growing and skills are in short supply. Recruiters are aggressive, and competitors are providing attractive opportunities especially for the skilled and experienced.”

“I recall the story of two great business people – competitors – meeting in Africa and they decided to go together into the wild forests for hunting. They take a jeep, rifles, bullets, etc. with them, and after driving a few miles, there was no track for the jeep, so they leave it, pick up the rifles and keep walking. A few miles later one of them find that they forgot the bullets in the jeep. The other person immediately changes to running shoes. When asked why he was changing shoes instead of going back to fetch the bullets, he replies that he would be able to run faster in case a lion comes. “Can you run faster than lion?” “No, it is enough if I run faster than you.”

“Is 20 per cent attrition a cause of concern? Not if the industry average is 50 per cent. Are you a step ahead of your competitors? If markets do not permit you to keep employees, at least develop strategies that are contextual.”

“We need to ask ourselves: (1) Which talent do we want to keep and (2) for how long. And it is never a one-time effort. What is appropriate today need not be appropriate forever. Should we always keep the best talented people, or should the organisation convert the implicit knowledge of people to explicit organisational knowledge? How do we manage with less talented people, who are willing to serve us longer?”

“People join organisations but they work only for people. Do the managers have a pulse of what motivates youngsters in their team? Do they take care of their learning needs, give them the freedom to innovate and experiment, give them challenging assignments, help them grow in career, recognise exceptional performance and exemplary behaviour in a timely manner, or just wait for the annual performance appraisals and promotions?”

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