Key HR Trends in India for 2014


By Sharad Verma April 15, 2014

This is an exciting time for human resources management in India. The HR scene in India is both transformational and challenging as businesses must recognize and create strategies at a local level that are in harmony with a global plan.

2014 is an election year for India, during which industry typically takes a “wait and watch” approach. In this context, here are five important HR trends to be aware of:

Improving Career Experience

Two decades of steady economic growth in India has resulted in maturing industries—IT, retail, consumer goods, consumer electronics, automotive and manufacturing, and others. Many multinationals have consolidated their set-ups in India in the last decade. Along with this surge, the employee population has grown. This large population wishes to enrich their work, to come into their own and to find new meaning. Defining meaningful careers—through acquiring mastery and specialization, through mobility, and with the help of mentoring—is clearly the top trend to keep the workforce engaged and excited.

Building a Global Mindset

In India, growth in the last decade was inevitably linked to the U.S. economy. Offshoring, software exports and U.S. multinationals establishing a footprint in India fueled growth. Post-recession, the same companies no longer find the cost arbitrage attractive but are looking for value creation, innovation and intellectual capital. This requires HR in India to focus on quality and innovation rather than on just quantity and commoditized practices. Building specialization, operating in a truly global environment as integrated (and not just extended) teams, and being culturally aware are all key competencies that need to be built within the workforce.

Seeing Talent Strategically

More than ever, talent is a strategic function. Identifying top talent, grooming high-potential employees, reviewing talent, strategic mobility programs and predictive tools for hiring the right fit are extremely important. While a good sign for HR, this has also meant an influx of specialist talent entering into the HR space. Business leaders have increased ownership and awareness of people issues, data scientists crunch numbers to prepare models, and financial analysts are indulging in human capital analytics like revenue and compensation.

SMAC, Gamification Are Here to Stay

Social media, Mobile, Analytics and the Cloud (SMAC) are strong waves that cut across industries and cannot be ignored. A couple of important statistics that make these trends even more important from an Indian perspective:

  • Most major social media networks have substantial Indian presence.
  • Mobile growth in India is among the highest in the world.
  • Networks like the cross-platform WhatsApp have dominant presence in India.

Overall SMAC is especially appealing to the younger Indian demographic. The expectation of this younger, tech-savvy, networked workforce is to see an equally flexible, dynamic, tech-friendly HR. It also means sweeping changes in terms of how talent is spotted, hired, on-boarded, retained and engaged.

Gamification is a huge draw for young HR practitioners as well as employees in India. For a generation that has grown up connected to the Internet and video games, gamification scenarios that mimic work-life situations draw employees in and have great appeal.

Sharad Verma is senior HR director at SunGard Global Technology, based in Pune, India.

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