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End July 2015, and Chennai beckons. For the past 11 years it has been doing so unwaveringly, and this is the summit’s twelfth edition. The NASSCOM HR Summit, 23rd – 24th July at Hotel ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. Riding on its success over the years, and the loyal fanfare it has mustered, the event is now well considered as the intellectual potpourri of human capital and business leadership alike.

HR is no more only about people. It now embraces business and the technologies that run business. With the advent of CHROs we have seen that shift. As a C-suite executive, a CHRO is as critical to strategic decision making, as any other. So what are we conveying this time at the summit? Well, it is going to be about “The Digital Highway: HR’s Journey into the Future”.

This blurring of boundaries between HR and business has far reaching implications. Business impact because of on-setting trends, would find resonance in the HR function as well. Across the industry, digital disruption is right on cue and business leaders are gearing up for this change. “Disruption” by nature implies, that the future will have to be re-scripted. Like a wave it sweeps everything in its path and reaction time has to be very quick. It has been observed, often the best way to combat such forceful change, is through a collaborative approach.

Who will collaborate with whom? HR function will collaborate with frontline business, and employee engagement methods will have to be re-modelled accordingly. At the heart of this engagement, is digital technology. HR function impacts the entire lifecycle of an employee. For instance, retention & talent acquisition strategy, learning & development in a digitally empowered environment will be very different from what we have seen in the past. As witnessed, gamification, hiring through social media are all ideas which are spawning rapidly. Often, it is misconstrued that such change in HR function will impact large companies only. Not at all. Cloud-based services have ensured that capital investments are done away with, and SMEs too can go the Digi-HR way. The idea of being immune to change because of small size, is really a luxury living on borrowed time.

Against this backdrop, our summit snugly fits in. Spread over two days, it’s an opportunity for us to be part of sessions that focus on : creating an innovation culture, exploring new methodologies in the digital world, global insights, embracing social media, creating efficiency & optimization, data privacy in a highly networked world and the likes. Knowledge dissemination will be done by some of the brightest of minds in the field of HR. You may like to have a look at the list (partial) for now

Two days, 700 participants, over 60 speakers featured in more than 20 sessions, would be a very powerful platform to get a sneak preview of what the future entails. Sharing of global best practices, focused panel discussions, networking and bonhomie that characterize all NASSCOM conferences, would naturally feature here as well.

The future that I spoke about from an HR function standpoint, is inevitable. Conferences such as these, are great opportunities to negotiate with eventualities that are going to happen sooner than later.

At 25 – 40 per cent, the IT BPM sector ranks highest in employing women, which easily translates into a million jobs. Admittedly, in the leadership grid there’s a perceptible drop, sometimes even as low as 5 per cent. However, a compounded annual growth of 11 per cent of female recruits at entry level, clearly signals this sector continues to do many things right, and create a favourable environment for women to pursue their careers.
Gender Inclusivity – Unleashing The Value Of A Million Minds

It is widely acknowledged across the industry and especially amongst the best in breed, that the case for gender inclusivity is one of business imperative. The need to innovate and stay competitive is an overriding one. Unarguably, women bring in a set of complementary skills and different approaches to problem-solving. Corporate report cards are replete with examples of gender inclusive companies which have performed favourably across the value chain. Perceptibly, well-balanced teams score higher, than those which are biased towards any one particular gender.

A professional career spans across several decades. From an Indian context (not very different in other countries) women would also have to critically balance this time in managing major changes in their personal lives – marriage and childbirth for instance. Without wanting to sound archetypal, the percentage of women who are expected to make a compromise in terms of career would be significantly higher, than otherwise. If leakages are to be arrested, and loss of talent minimized, then these enablers have to be in place and continually improved upon. Companies which are high on gender inclusivity – NASSCOM’s D&I award data would also reflect that – are focused on these enablers with a sense of purpose. Empirically, in Fortune 500 companies, only 6 per cent of positions like Chairman, President, CEO and COO are held by women. Clearly, the issue is not only India-centric. The proverbial glass-ceiling is actually a labyrinth that is complex, challenging and would have to be negotiated with, layer by layer in a career spanning several decades.

Women in the  indian IT Industry

Increasingly, more people are seeking out entrepreneurship as a career option. Women constitute about six per cent, out of which, an overwhelming eighty-four per cent operate in the B2C segment. Blue Ocean is in B2B. But, operating in that segment would effectively entail a higher risk-appetite. Fostering an entrepreneurial eco-system is a subject in itself and beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say, this community (stakeholders) too needs to undergo a mind shift, and create an environment which does not discriminate against women tech entrepreneurs.

NASSCOM’s D&I initiative is over a decade old and predominantly our role as a catalyst has been focused on engaging with the industry and building partnerships with governments, academia, media, and NGOs. With time, the shift in organizational thinking has been unmistakable. Wider in its scope today, inclusivity also extends to the differently abled. The approach in future will have to be more comprehensive and overarching. The tangible increase in outreach will have to be manifold. The Indian success stories will have to be show-cased in the global arena, and position these companies as best-of-the-breed employers. Staying ahead in future will be about attracting and retaining the best available talent. Workforce diversity would be a very important parameter. The power of social media can never be over-emphasized and that it has to be leveraged to get the right messaging across, is almost given.

Finally, and amongst the many positive developments, male employees are increasingly seen to be enthusiastically participative and supportive in equal measure. Though the issues affect a particular gender more specifically, but its impact is much wider. That, these changes can only happen if both genders work cohesively, is a message that has been adequately sensitized.

Methods, messaging & medium will have to continually adapt with the times and oscillating perceptions.

For India’s IT-BPM industry, its people have been the biggest differentiator and as such, it has made substantial investments in developing a future-ready workforce:

  • 3.1 million: Largest private sector employer in India
  • USD 1.6 billion: Investment made by the industry on training
  • USD 4,000 per new recruit
  • 5% man hours per annum


The industry has been implementing best practices in HR – employee engagement, leadership development, career management, skills development, etc. With a view to benchmark the industry in terms of its people connectivity, organisational culture, leadership development and employer brand, NASSCOM-Aon Hewitt published the Best Employer Study 2013:


Overall, though the IT-BPM Industry scores are healthy across the four indices, there is scope for further improvement to reach Best Employers level.

This push needs to come not only from HR but also from Business – with endorsement from Top Leadership.

Employee Engagement: The industry’s clear areas of strength are Work Tasks, Sense of Accomplishment and Managing Performance.

However, Stay scores (employee stickiness) is relatively lower – indicating a need for firms to focus on developing career management and long term career paths for employees – job rotations, learning & development programs, senior level coaching, tools for career management and defining career path.

Effective Leadership: Scores are lower in comparison to Best Employers in aspects of people connect, strategy and business communication. This implies that IT-BPM industry leaders need to focus on improving both their people connect and the employees’ faith in their ability to truly lead a business. The key lies mainly in communication:

  • Two-way communication: Dedicated time for employees; greater use of internal social media
  • Execute: Leadership accountable for employee benefit programs as part of their KRA
  • Going beyond Strategy: Employees mentoring leaders on their vision for the firm; ‘Shadow a Leader’ opportunities for employees


Compelling Employer Brand: For IT-BPM industry, where Employer Brand scores are good, Credibility Index - which measures the image of the firm as an employer delivering consistent employee experience – is main area of improvement.

High Performance Culture: With focus on performance metrics, the industry already has an edge as it has always been living the high performance culture. To take this to the next level, the industry needs to focus not just on competitive rewards but also increased accountability and continuous dialogue with employees.good, Credibility Index – which measures the image of the firm as an employer delivering consistent employee experience – is main area of improvement.




For the IT-BPM industry, it is more important than ever that they develop unmatched talent practices that would equip them with capabilities for the future. An analysis of the Best Employers’ indicates:

  • Best Employers have 25 per cent lower employee turnover
  • Fill 40 per cent more job openings internally
  • Achieve 20 per cent stronger earnings
  • Achieve 40 per cent higher growth in profits


The industry has already taken numerous strides in this direction with firms like SAP Labs India, SCOPE International Pvt. Ltd., Wells Fargo India Solutions, RBS Business Services Pvt. Ltd., Ajuba Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. and Aegis Limited., being recognised as Best Employers for 2013.

With the world economy so intricately tied to information and communications technologies, careers of today and tomorrow are directly related to these technologies. In addition, technology is changing and evolving at a break neck pace. In response, classrooms, be it in a school or college, are adapting the education system. However, it seems that Industry is changing pace at a much faster rate than the education sector.

India today is the second largest higher education network in the world. Technical education in India contributes a major share to the overall education system and plays a vital role in the social and economic development of the nation

Of India’s 1.2 billion population, 60% are of the working age. And of the 15 million individuals who join the queue of job seekers every year, only 3% undergo vocational training. On a global benchmark, the country still has a long way to go before bridging the skills deficit.

According to Manpower’s Talent Shortage Survey 2013, the talent shortages are reported in Asia Pacific, with more than half the employers surveyed in India (61%), Hong Kong (57%) and New Zealand (51%) saying that talent shortages prevent them from hiring people with needed skills.

Do educational institutions adequately prepare students for a competitive and dynamic work environment? According to a McKinsey study, while 72 percent of educational institutions believe recent graduates are ready for work, only 42 percent of employers agree.

To bridge the gap

At the core of bridging the gap is strong, deep and long term collaboration, and partnership between academicians and employers. A number of leading IT companies today are known for their long-standing and innovative training solutions for university graduates. The current system of education requires innovative, simple and practical ideas to keep pace with changes in Industry to better equip the students to stay ahead in the years to come. However, in addition to innovative solutions are required sincerity, commitment and dedication of both parties. On the part of industry, it requires specific focus and investment on this often neglected area. According to technology market researcher IDC, about 5% of the $40 billion (2.4 lakh crore) IT market in India, including hardware, software and IT services, was in the education sector. The market is expected to grow at nearly 12% by 2017.

It is essential that businesses commit and continue to partnering with academia to provide students with advanced curricula to make an impact in today’s technology-driven marketplace.

For a case in point, through Shared University Research (SUR) program, IBM partners with different Universities to facilitate deep research involving multiple disciplines, multiple agencies and the government bodies. These projects result in solutions that impact the society and the planet by focusing on applying industry-relevant technologies to solve real-world problems, through academia-corporate partnerships.

Move beyond the traditional methods of teaching. There is a growing demand of skills on Big data and Analytics mixed with business and management education. The move toward using data and evidence to make decisions is transforming other fields. Analytics spans the full scope and range of activity in higher education, affecting administration, research, teaching and learning, and support resources. An innovative approach could be to deploy analytics in the administration of a college and have students develop the analytics needed in conjunction with mentoring from Industry. This could bring in potential process efficiencies into the administration while at the same time impart practical skills to students. The same idea could be extended to have students work on projects to automate or IT enable administrative processes and thereby gain a range of IT skills.

Another critical element would be for Universities to hire faculty who are open to constant and rapid learning, and ready to embrace change. This in turn would require innovative ways to attract such people into academia. Inclusion of significant soft skills and leadership skills into the curricula or coming up with indirect ways to build these soft skills in students is another often neglected area that needs specific focus and attention. This will help build many more leaders in a country full of talent. According to estimates, India trains around 1.5 million engineers, which is more than the US and China combined.

Bring Transparency to an Opaque Process

Having companies articulate job descriptions not only by way of traditional job descriptions but also by a set of skill-based courses over which prospective jobs seekers can demonstrate mastery would also help students greatly. Job descriptions could include a playlist of courses required to prepare for the job.

In order to succeed, Job seekers not only require core skills i.e. technical knowledge, but also the applied skills to understand the business and ability to apply technology to solve business problems & the ability to articulate the value of technology to the business in simple terms.

As it turns out, deep and long term Industry academia collaboration may be the only sustainable answer to matching the emerging workforce skills with companies’ requirements.

About the Author

Mezjan Dallas

Mezjan Dallas is the Country Leader, University Relations for IBM India/ South Asia. In his over 17 years of experience in the IT Industry, Mezjan has held roles across software product development and project management including most recently managing a first of a kind services project in the manufacturing domain. He has been very closely involved in developing and nurturing talent management programs at IBM. This includes building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with Universities across India, where IBM invests in talent programs such as its premium internship program -- Extreme Blue, building curriculum and setting up of technology labs in growth areas like Analytics. He also managed the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) for advanced research and incubation of new technologies with Universities. Recently, he worked with IIT Kharagpur on an IBM Centennial Grant that looks at a joint proposal on Urban flood management. Mezjan is passionate about the field of education, talent management and people management.

Sustainability can be a complex and somewhat distant topic, so today I would like to share with you a more practical perspective on the challenges around sustainability especially in the context of our cities, and some personal experiences around solutions.

Let’s start with why sustainability is a topic all of us need to worry about and do something about.  A recent ranking of top cities in the world on sustainability ranked Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam as the most sustainable cities in the world. Equally it rated high-growth cities in emerging countries like Jakarta, Manila, and our own Mumbai and Delhi at the absolute bottom of that list (Mumbai was 47th and Delhi was 49th out of 50 cities surveyed!!).   In a different survey, out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are from India!!  On a related note, if you do a Google search on “building sustainable cities” the first article that pops up is a Harvard Business Review article by John Macomber, and the case study he mentions of how not to build a city is Gurgaon!!  These global studies are an eye opener but at some level we don’t need them to tell us what is wrong with our cities.  We face problems like traffic congestion and pollution every day.

Let’s take the example of Gurgaon, the city I live in and work in.  It has one of the highest air pollution levels in the world.  PM 2.5 levels are at 966 micrograms/cubic meter, which is 4 times the concentration levels marked as unhealthy.  Therefore children are developing respiratory problems and many households are forced to install air purifiers.  While air pollution is more apparent, the depletion of the water table is perhaps even a more serious existential issue.  Ground water levels are depleting in Gurgaon at 2-3 meters per year.  At this rate, ground water reserves will be all but extinguished by 2030.  That is only 15 years away!!

Our fast growing cities like Gurgaon are a magnet of economic opportunity; however, it is clear that if they continue growing in this crazy, unplanned, unsustainable way, this party is not going to last.  History is full of examples of great cities that died.  I give some of our fast growing cities like Gurgaon not more than 10-15 years in which they will become ungovernable and unlivable and will choke themselves to disaster.

I am sorry I have started off like a Cassandra and talked about doom and gloom!!  Let me now turn to the glass half full side and focus on solutions.  I have had the opportunity to be a part of NASSCOM Haryana over the past 5 years, initially as the Co-Chair and past 3 years as the Chairperson of the NASSCOM Regional Council.  We set ourselves the vision of making Gurgaon the “Silicon Valley of the East”, and looking at the city’s growth we believed the opportunity was real. However, as we assessed Gurgaon’s competitive position, it was clear before we talk about a fancy vision we had to solve the more basic problems and ensure that Gurgaon was a sustainable and livable city.  As we analyzed the root causes, we came to a conclusion that the greatest challenge the city faced was poor transportation infrastructure.  This resulted in the city getting clogged with traffic jams, dangerous levels of pollution, and a sense of frustration & despair for the citizens.

As we thought about solutions it became apparent that we have to reverse our fatal fascination with cars.  Cars are the most inefficient way of transportation in so many ways.  They occupy large volume for the number of passengers transported and have high pollution footprint.  Our roads are bad and need to be improved, but no amount of road construction can keep pace with the growth of vehicles.  There is no option but to embrace public transportation and multi-modal transportation in a very pervasive way.  I am reminded of a quote by Enrique Penelosa, the former Mayor of Bogota in Colombia, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars.  It is where the rich use public transport.”

As NASSCOM Haryana we have been focused on this topic for the past 4+ years. We have been lobbying with the state government to make the necessary investments into public transport infrastructure – simple things like a public bus service, walking & cycling paths, and integrated approach to planning & execution. However, after a while we realized that the response from the government was very slow. We then changed tracks and decided that instead of worrying just about the infrastructure/ supply side where we had little control, we should focus more on awareness building and personal change. We felt the demand side actions were more in our circle of influence. Over the past 2-3 years, we tried multiple initiatives from “CEOs walking to work” to producing a music video called “Walk On” along with Dr. Palash Sen and his band Euphoria to promote walking and cycling.

Many of our awareness building initiatives had only limited traction, but we finally struck gold with the CarFreeDay initiative. The idea came up in August/early September in partnership with Gurgaon Police to celebrate the World Car Free Day on September 22nd. Plan was to encourage users of private cars to not use their vehicles and instead use more sustainable modes of transportation like the metro, carpooling, shuttle services, cycling or walking. The entire concept was based on encouragement and not enforcement. The only enforcement was that 4 roads were identified where parking of private vehicles was not allowed. To cut a long story short, the first Car Free Day was a great success with both the print media and TV channels giving it massive coverage. This traction motivated us to celebrate CarFreeDay every Tuesday in Gurgaon and we have now done 16 consecutive Tuesdays without a break!!

We can’t claim that CarFreeDay has solved the traffic and pollution woes of Gurgaon, but I think it has been a very positive initiative on many counts. There are 6 positives that I want to call out:

1. Corporates stepping up. Corporates are often accused of being insensitive to the social context in which they operate. In this case the entire CarFreeDay adoption has been led by the IT/BPO companies who are a part of NASSCOM.   There are 35-40 companies from NASSCOM and other industries who have embraced CarFreeDay and are recording average of 20-30% reduction in number of private vehicles on Tuesdays. Corporates are not just encouraging their employees to go CarFree but are making more systemic changes in transport options they are offering to their employees (e.g., replacing cabs with shuttle buses). Recently corporates have also started experimenting with community based solutions.  For example, Nagarro, Incedo, Snapdeal and number of other companies have come together to launch an open database of employees to pool demand for shuttle bus services.

2. Awareness building. The debate of going beyond cars and using more sustainable forms of transportation like metro, buses, carpooling and cycling has become center stage. Media has picked up the theme and has been giving it coverage every week. It has become a common topic for dinner and party conversations. Most heartening, schools have been taking up the CarFreeDay topic enthusiastically and the message is going to thousands of school children. Visiting a few schools on CarFreeDay gives me hope that we are beginning to see something similar to the momentum school children created with the “Say no to crackers” drive.

3. Great people coming together. Perhaps the most inspiring and enjoyable aspect of the CarFreeDay initiative has been the opportunity to work with some truly outstanding people. A motley crew of CEOs, sustainability experts and social activists have come together united by their passion to make a difference to Gurgaon and to solve a complex problem that affects all of our lives. When I see such talented and senior individuals coming together as a team and dedicating themselves to this cause in a true labor of love, I feel there is hope not just for Gurgaon but for our country!!

4. P-P-C partnership. In our country we have a very negative view of all government agencies. In the case of CarFreeDay, the Gurgaon Police has led from the front and been a great sponsor and partner for this initiative. They have not only provided the enforcement of no-parking in the 4 corridors identified for CarFreeDay but have led the outreach to schools and other agencies including the Municipal Corporation. This partnership between the Police, Corporates (led by NASSCOM) and citizen groups is a great template for how many of the grave problems that our cities face can be solved. We have the beginnings of a Public-Private-Citizen (P-P-C) partnership model that can be a game changer for our country. Many of the problems we face are so complex that government alone can’t solve them. This partnership model could well be the answer.

5. Entrepreneurs stepping in. One of the fascinating features of the CarFreeDay has been that a number of entrepreneurs have stepped up to provide solutions. Gurgaon lacks a public bus service and we have been lobbying for it for years. Over the past 4-6 months private operators like Shuttl and Ola have stepped in providing app based shuttle bus services, which is proving to be quite a game changer. Cykul has come in providing cycle stations to corporates making cycling a more feasible option. There have been a host of carpooling start-ups. There has even been a start-up (Baxi) providing app based bike taxi service. That is the beauty of India we now live in. Where government fails to provide public services, we have entrepreneurs jumping in to provide solutions. And often these solutions are more innovative and efficient. This is another example of the expanding circle of influence as we now do not need to be only dependent on government action on key civic problems.

6. Snowball effect. The CarFreeDay initiative is now not just limited to Gurgaon. In a short time, it has been adopted by Delhi and also smaller towns like Karnal. After much hit n trial over a number of years we finally got success with CarFreeDay. But often when it rains it pours. CarFreeDay has become a trigger that is bringing the transportation and pollution topics to a tipping point. The discussion is now snowballing with even the judiciary stepping in and forcing center and state governments to act. We off course have had the odd-even decision by the Delhi government. I will not go into the merits/demerits of that decision, but it is clear that sustainable transportation and pollution are topics that have now captured the public imagination (a bit like anti-corruption a few years back) and this movement will only grow in force.

To conclude, I want to reiterate the power of bottom-up and personal action.  I have always been fascinated by top-down, big picture solutions.  However, CarFreeDay has taught me that ‘’small can be beautiful”.  We kept making big plans within the NASSCOM team for sustainable transportation but did not get real traction.  But when we worked on an idea that was more bottom-up and touched people’s lives in a real way we got more traction.  Personally for me it meant making cycling to work a daily routine.  This daily action made our mission of sustainable transportation more real for me and put the many challenges in perspective.  This helped generate more practical solutions and even more intense, personal passion.

And therein lies the key lesson about positivity that I want you to take away.  Big problems can seem unsurmountable.  The best we can do is to break down the problems and just focus on the actions we can take personally i.e., which are in our circle of influence.  Those personal experiences lead to more intimate learning allowing you to connect the dots more effectively and come up with more practical solutions.  Moreover, the personal actions can set in motion a chain reaction that can become an unstoppable force.  Truly, once you have the right intent and take personal action, universe conspires to make it happen!!

The battle to ensure our cities are sustainable has just begun. There is a long way to go to solve the problems we face. Much work needs to happen on both the infrastructure side and in changing well entrenched personal habits. However, 2015 gives me lot of hope. Positive initiative by a few well-meaning individuals gave us CarFreeDay, which is having such a positive snowball effect. Now just imagine if many more of us were to take such positive initiatives? The opportunity for impact is breathtakingly exciting and limitless!!


This blog has been slightly modified and published with permission from Nitin Seth. The original blog can be read here -

Do you often fail to understand what your employees think? Have you often struggled to retain employees while starting up? Have you ever caught your employee not working effectively during the office hours? Well.. we all entrepreneurs have this issue.  In fact this is the first hurdle that any entrepreneur faces in his or her journey while starting up – identifying right people, hiring and retaining them to grow the company is probably the biggest challenge!


Often, StartUps are a high risk game that only few people can play with precision. We entrepreneurs are constantly under pressure to make our companies work. We sweat our blood out to get those initial few paying subscribers. We do everything to bring delight on the face of our first few customers. We go an extra two mile to make every subscriber appreciate the product we would have built with so much passion, care and love,  isn’t it? These are very human centric targets, often achieved through human interactions and through a loyal, trustworthy, passionate employee base who have a sense of belonging to the company they are working for. Therefore employees are pillars for an organization’s success.


Human is the lowest common denominator for an organization that is mounted on the runway of success, if you loose your human resource, you have lost it all – no matter how awesome the product is.


Now here is the exam question. How do we gain an employee’s loyalty, how do we induce passion in him or her, how do you get them to add value to the organization? what kindles a lamp of teamwork in them?


Well, in my entrepreneurial journey, I did a lot of analysis and put my brain into a great deal of thinking to find some proven techniques that works like charm – which I am sharing with you today.


At the end of the day, employees are humans, they have a family to take care of, they have aspirations, they have dreams, they are there to earn a living.


Understanding the psychology of an employee is key to get the best out of them. I was quick to realize that understanding the most inherent and instinctive characteristics of a human being is very hard when there is a layer of human led deliberate manipulation on top of natural behavior of people – example : an employee trying to smile when there is no salary hike declared, or an employee pretending to be happy at work when he is assigned a less challenging role – all these are pseudo gestures that prevents an employer from knowing what exactly goes on in the minds of an employee when an undesirable event takes place. To get to the bottom of this, I started observing my own daughter who is 3 year old, at this age, they have no masks, they exhibit their natural basic instincts without fear, they act and react naturally to situations and they form the best prototypes that could help us understand our employee’s behavior in the most definite way.


After spending hours with the little one observing her behavior quite closely here are some of the conclusions I could draw and have found very beneficial in my day to day work as an entrepreneur :


1.    Employees need attention like the kids do :
An ignored employee is lost forever, employees need attention almost on a daily basis. They need to be spoken about in an organization in a positive way. This creates a huge impact. They are exactly like our kids, if you do not given kids the necessary attention during the day, it affects their moral and they start getting very disturbed and throw tantrums (often unrelated to their daily routine and often attention grabbing) to regain the sight of their parents. Similarly, an employee, if not spoken about in the organization or ignored by their bosses, often look to move into jobs where they can actually be looked at “being important” – it is not only vital to make them feel “important” but also give them the necessary attention in the organization. Like I often give building blocks to my daughter to build a car while I watch the TV or browse internet whilst she builds the car, once the car is built (of course with a little help form all of us), I drive the car around the house and show how beautiful the car looks and appreciate the efforts of the “little one” in building it – this brings the delight in her face and she is on a high for the rest of the day. This is exactly what needs to be done to an employee. Try to include their names in company newsletters, try to give them small gifts from time to time (it could be as small as a voucher to a near by cinema or a dinner vouchers) – you will see such positive changes in them.


2.    Employees need to be promised of a reward and fulfilled :
Often when our “little one” does not eat properly, we promise to give them something they enjoy after the task (eating food is the task here) is completed – like chocolates or ice-cream if they eat their supper fully. This serves as an instant motivation for them to complete the tasks (finishing the food on their plate in this context) – but soon after they complete it, they expect you to honor your promise. If they find out that your promise was false, the same trick will most certainly fail to work the next time. Similarly, when you ask your employee to work slightly over-time or beyond their boundaries of the normal work, do not make it look ordinary. Always tag it with a reward, the reward could be as simple as sponsoring a pick up and drop cab service for them to come to commute to work on that day or allowing them to order their favorite food from an otherwise expensive restaurant and footing the bill as an employer, paying for the extra hours of work they put in (like add a surprise bonus component at the end of their month on to their salaries) and give them the required credit by saying “because XYZ worked so hard to complete ABC, we achieved EFG” and mention about it in the weekly employee communication or a staff meeting. Often an employer takes the employees for granted and expects the employees to take up addition tasks as “business as usual” without any reward components attached to it.  Avoid this culture.


3.    Paying on par with market :
If you kids do not get the toys that their peers get to play with, they either want to spend time at their friends place to play with those toys they crave for (comparable to freelance culture in employees who work to earn that extra money after their regular day jobs) or they demand parents to buy them these toys so that they could enjoy playing with it at home all by themselves (comparable to employees expecting promotions, wage hikes etc and are explicit about their demands) – In the factory based models, a few years back, employees often use to go on “strikes” to get their wage revised. This is done in a very polished way these days – an employee either takes up a freelance work to meet his own demands or ends up changing the job for a better pay. While starting up, if a cash compensation is not possible, an entrepreneur should either look at compensating them with suitable ESOPs or a pay them a cut from the revenue that they directly generate for the company.


4.    Give them a break :
Often kids complain that they want to take a break from their schools, they get overwhelmed with their homework and wants a time off from their daily mundane commute to school. Likewise you do not wantpeople to be dragging their foot to offices just for the sake of it. Introducing a flexible work culture with achievable targets can be very effective way of keeping the employees excited, like allowing people to work from home, paying for their internet connections, giving them a work phone and forcing them to take good breaks at regular intervals or arranging team outings along with the family members of the employees can be a great stress buster and can add immense value to the company.


Don’t you trust your own kids? Most parents do, similarly trust your employees, the lesser you monitor and supervise them the more responsible they become. They could do their own things when not supervised initially, but when they are loved, pampered, rewarded and made important genuinely, the guilt of not giving back to the employer in them takes over and they begin to work in the interest of the organization, they genuinely compensate the lost hours and gives more than their 100%.


Let me know what you think!


This blog has been reprinted with permission from the author. The original blog can be read here-


About the Author

Karthik Prasad

Co-Founder of, KP writes on technology, mentoring, leadership and startups. With this blog, attempts to share his experiences with various entrepreneurs.

This is a story of a startup based in India. I worked there in senior leadership role. The key USP of the company was its focus on technology innovation, thought-leadership, encourage people to become authority in their respective field and flat hierarchy. Flat hierarchy for this simple reason – it can be one of the biggest blocker for empowerment, innovation and decision-making in a startup. By having flat roles you can build a self-organized and empowered team, which then can take its own decisions.

Here are some of the snapshots of what we were looking for.

Employees were encouraged to consider organisation like a clean slate. They could write on it whatever they want as long as it brings improvement in status quo and a group of colleagues are convinced about the idea.

If anybody felt uncomfortable the way things are working in the organization, she could initiate a discussion in the company around the change and if idea makes sense, it gets implemented.

Considering all mentioned above, it was not a surprise to see a big focus on the following mantra in the company.

Scratch your own itch. If it’s itching you hard, fix it.

The essence is – people were encouraged to come up with solutions instead of just coming out with list problems. Everybody in the company was considered an equal partner in improving things.

The result was – anybody could start any initiative, which he/she thinks to be beneficial for the organization. Senior management helped in shaping up the ideas. However people themselves had to sell their ideas to fellow colleagues and garner support.

Bringing this kind of cultural change was a huge challenge for us considering the existing industry environment and inherited cultural mindset around.

To provide some impetus and catalyst to these cultural changes, we started promoting some activities like blog writing, creating videos on our technical expertise, communities around various emerging Software technologies, participating as speakers in various technical and Agile conferences, exploring new technologies and then doing sessions for the entire company.

The medium of the communication was through emails, face to face interaction on individual or group basis. People were asked to come forward and lead these initiatives.

There were some lighter initiatives too like guitar, LAN games etc which were necessary to break monotony of work place and do other things which were close to people’s heart. That gave a wholesome feeling to people, as they stopped looking office just as another workplace. Instead they started appreciating it as a personal space where they could also give shape to their passion or interests. This was like providing a space for people to bring their inner feelings and space to explore themselves more.

Initially everything worked as expected. However after few weeks or so, to my surprise, steam started dying down. Many people backed out when it came to do some work, though they expressed their keen interest initially.

Another important fact was – only few selected people were participating in most of the activities. Just 5-10 out of 60-70 people was not an encouraging number.

That brought a bit of frustration in me, as I couldn’t understand what went wrong. Though I tried understanding things like what exactly motivate people and experimented with those ideas but again that didn’t bring any significant result.

One fine day, I was talking to a colleague whom I thought could bring a lot on the table. However surprisingly, he wasn’t participating in any organization level initiative.

While having conversation with him, I expressed my frustrations and asked for his opinion. I said, “Rajesh, what are your views on current initiatives going on in the organization. Also what do think why people are not responding to them?”

In response whatever he told, surprised me.

He said, “Why do you expect people to come to you? There are many people who are not that outgoing in nature and feel shy to come out of their shell. Also many may not be interested in the initiatives you are talking about but may be interested in others which don’t exist as of now. Why don’t you talk to the people and understand what really motivates them instead of just focusing on what’s important to the organization?”

Honestly I never thought about it before and it opened my eyes. In order to implement this new revelation changed the approach completely.

For the moment I completely set aside the organizational goals. The focus now was to understand people and their passions.

The idea was great but honestly it didn’t seem simple enough to execute.

There were two different sides of coin. One, what exactly people want which is comparatively simpler to find.

However other bit – what exactly people want to do is not that simple to find. That may relate to their passions. However, many a times, even people themselves don’t know what exactly they are passionate about. They might tell you things based on context or who is sitting in front of them but in that process they might fake the reality.

Also in many cases, passion may not directly translate into achievements. In those cases, people try to downplay those aspects of their personality.

On experimental basis, I started having open-ended informal conversations with people on individual basis. The idea was to know a little bit more than just their professional persona. Also, it was important to make people comfortable in their own space.

Those conversations had hidden goals and focused on to identify:

  • Their strengths
  • Limitations
  • Subjects they are passionate about. Things they really enjoy doing. Things they would like to do again and again.

While having these conversations, I realized that as people may not be aware about their own passions sometimes, one has to make conscious effort in discovering them.

That’s why my open-ended conversations were full of questions related to their personal and social life, their interests, things they like and dislike. Some questions were also related to their college or school life, a time when most of the people do what interests them the most.

During those conversations, I found that many people had lost their vigor and zeal in maintaining their interests because of changed priorities in their life. But rediscovering those lost interests in itself was very enriching experience.

For instance, one of the colleagues did a research software project to transform the voice of a person into someone else’s. He also created a software project, which could convert a human skull into some recognizable human face.

Yet when I looked back, I realized he never got any right opportunity during his last 1 year with the company. Also nobody ever knew about his hidden talents.

Similarly another colleague was very interested in organizing events in college and had already organized mammoth college event single-handedly. Yet another colleague was an editor of college magazine and was very good at writing.

Based on these conversations, I discovered people with many sorts of interests. All it required was to synergize their passions and energies into bigger organization level goals.

Organization is like a soccer team

One of the biggest myths in the any organization is – we just need players (read heroes) who could play at the front and score goals.

However the truth and the reality are way different.

You get fruit from a tree having a solid foundation. Similarly a100-stories building can’t sustain without having strong foundation.

Organisation is like a soccer team. In soccer, win is not only dependent on scored goals but also on saved goals. Soccer or any team game is incomplete without the collaboration of forwards, mid-fielders and defenders.

Scoring a goal is also a team-effort, which generally is perceived as just forward’s effort in large organizations. Defenders and mid-fielders lay the foundation based on which forwards score goals.

Similarly in an organization, it’s useless to push everybody to become forwards or heroes (key innovators, conference speakers etc) as everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. Pushing people to do something towards perceived organizational goals may not always work.

This was one of the key ideas I tried pushing in company culture.

Passion Driven Work and Organizational Goals

The exercise of identifying passions in many ways was to recognize a great self-organized energy pool.

People generally love to do stuff they are passionate about. All a senior leader has to do is to synergize their energies towards organization vision and goals.

Organization needs everybody. Not only forwards but midfielders and defenders as well.

That’s the basic foundation of Passion driven work.


Based on received inputs from colleagues, we started aligning their interests towards the long-term organizational goals. After some time we started getting sustainable and dramatic results.

At one point, people writing on corporate technical blog were around 5-10% of total number of people. That changed to around 50-60% people in the organization initially because of the interest shown by people passionate about it and then because of healthy competition among the colleagues. We started finding the involvement of people in various activities like hiring improvement, Big Data initiatives, Mobile apps creation, multimedia and marketing, software design competition, organizing events, innovation and speaking in conferences.

At the end of continued effort of more than 1-1/2 years, we could see a great outcome in a 60 people organization, which was comparable to an organization of more than 1000 people.


About the Author

Shrikant Vashishtha

Shrikant Vashishtha is the Director of Engineering for GlobalLogic’s CTO department. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry and is currently based in Noida, India. Shrikant is a generalist and an active thought leader in Agile and technology spaces. He currently works as an Agile coach for large portfolios and has in the past worked as an architect for large-scale software programs for Fortune 50 companies. He is frequent speaker at Agile & technical events and publishes blogs on and . His current areas of interest are Lean Startup, Lean UX, Scaled-Agile, Continuous Delivery, DevOps and Acceptance Test Driven Development.

The Big Data phenomenon has led to an increasing demand for data scientists – professionals conversant with both the business context and data analytics involving both statistics and machine learning – who play a crucial role in extracting insights from large data sets, analyzing these and then presenting the value-added information to business users or non-data experts. There is a worldwide shortage of such people, which presents a significant challenge that companies need to address for successful Big Data implementation.

According to McKinsey, the US alone faces a shortage of 140,000-190,000 analysts and 1.5 million managers who can analyze Big Data.

analytics talent shortfall.png

To address the shortage, companies have embarked on initiatives to train their existing employees and develop new talent. Companies are partnering with universities to offer courses on various elements of Big Data. Internally, enterprises are creating organizational cultures that are favorable for data-driven decisions by hiring employees from academic fields such as statistics, and mathematics, as well as through on-the-job training on emerging technologies in the Big Data space.

Industry bodies such as NASSCOM SSC are creating course curriculum and formalizing job roles and skill requirements for big data and analytics.

But is that enough? Or more needs to be done? Share your ideas on creating analytics talent pool in India in this engaging thread in the NASSCOM Community.

Over the past four decades, the IT-BPM industry has come a long way. From cost arbitrage, collaboration and value addition, the focus has now changed for organizations to deliver business outcomes for their clients. India continues to be the one stop destination – in 2015, it retains its leadership position with a share of 55 percent cent in the global sourcing arena.

The IT-BPM industry is experiencing breakthroughs faster than ever, life-cycles for innovation are shortening, the East is gradually becoming the new West and more importantly technology is the new fuel disrupting and enabling businesses. Leading firms are leaving behind the traditional models of market access; instead they are creating new markets and controlling consumer experience like never before.

The only static paradigm that remains is the access to talent as an enabler to organizational capabilities; yet even in its static state, the entropy defining changes within the talent conundrum across demography, values, culture and psycho-graphic is immense.


As organizations navigate these times, this convergence of talent, technology and shifting psycho-graphics brings HR at the crossroads. The new work, workforce and workplace are driven by business and talent aspirations.

Talent has remained front and center for the IT industry and with signs of changing contours, mega trends affecting employment patterns, globalization and associated diversity are making the evolution of the HR organization an imperative. Driving business outcomes, developing dynamic talent programs that evolve with changing business needs, and leading change associated with business transformation are key business requirements for the HR organization going forward.

Business existence is gravitating towards three anchors:

  1. Agility: both in mindset and strategy to accommodate and create place for itself in the disruption era where mega trends are a given
  2. Speed: in executing an agile strategy that is living and mature enough to deliver till the next iteration kicks in and
  3. Innovation: that remains the last standing pillar of competitive advantage in a world where the business model is short-lived

Talent Risks for the IT-BPM industry span a variety of focus areas:

  • Shortage of skills will impede anchoring of business to domain specific services and SMAC innovation
  • Looking at talent costs and employee productivity in silos risks scuttling innovation
  • Limited availability of niche skills needs to be countered aggressively by capability building

Inadequate selection systems may impact holistic assessment of candidates as against selection based on skills THRagenda-1In this context, NASSCOM and Aon Hewitt partnered to build an exclusive HR initiative titled – “The TransfoHRmation Agenda” Taking on the theme of “What got us here, won’t get us there”; NASSCOM and Aon Hewitt engaged with the industry leaders to better understand the shifting business priorities, their implication & linkages to HR of the future. The study features inputs from 49 companies, presents the views of leaders across the talent value creation landscape. The findings of our study present an imminent case for the Refresh and Reboot of HR. HR in this industry has matured rapidly to deliver success time and again; our findings shed light on the contours that define the future of HR beyond this tipping point.What should HR do more?THRagenda-2 What should HR do less?THRagenda-3 Successful HR organizations will live this “refresh and reboot” reality by breaking away from the usual rut of transactions and budget efficiencies. The power of co-creating and delivering business outcomes will be critical for the function to create impact. Our insights into this re-imagined HR of the future leads us towards five key outcomes that successful HR organizations will deliver upon.

  1. Deliver on Experience and Aspirations: If the aim is to get to the heads and hearts of their employees, organizations need to treat them as customers. Organizations have to begin by clearly defining brand promise, which includes a higher purpose, meaningful work, the opportunity for personal aspirations actualization and learning, an appealing organizational culture, a sense of purpose, and a pride-inducing set of workplace values. It is in this context that the HR function should introspect on why they exist! The brand promise to the employees hence needs to be real, relevant and consistent across all employee touch points.
  2. Actualize Culture: Culture plays the binding force between the what and the how. As the anchor of the values of an organization, it is the converging point of delivering on both the business demands and the aspirations of the workforce. A strong culture provides not only great business results but also helps one become a talent magnet.
  3. Future-proof the business through capability: With the growing importance of capability as an enabler of an organization’s strategy, the ability to take a long term view on “here and now” capabilities and how they will shift in future, is critical to businesses today. The “refresh and reboot of HR” will deliver on the goal of future proofing the business on the backbone of delivering a capability pipeline at all levels and for all skills.
  4. Enabling High Performance: High performance organizations have clear accountability for strategic goals, which are well communicated and understood by their employees. It not only rewards and recognizes their prime talent, but also provides challenging growth opportunities that meet the future needs of the organization. The effort of HR should be towards driving social collaboration, individual development and learning in the context of the enterprise.
  5. Influencing Change: All the efforts and outcomes we spoke of will come to fruition if there is the ability to influence change; there are elements that HR can drive, but there are also those where HR will play the role of a facilitator. The journey to driving these outcomes needs willful collaboration and not power plays, it needs shifting mindsets and not diktats, it needs storytelling and not numbers. Change and influence on the business and employees will define success.

To know more about CHRO success mantras, download the FREE NASSCOM- Aon study from here-

In the new digital environment, productivity is being driven by technology improvements, rather than labor growth, and this decoupling of revenue from head count is likely to continue. The Indian IT industry – IT, BPM, and engineering services – added about 3 million people to reach its first USD 100 billion in revenue, but will likely add far lesser to bring in the next USD 100 billion

Over the past decade, increased revenue per employee has been driven by several factors. Among these were increased utilization, increased billing tied to a greater share of consulting and application development projects, and overall productivity improvements forced by more frequent fixed-price contracts. The geographical mix of clients and currency fluctuations were also important factors. Looking ahead, the crucial factors behind greater employee productivity will change drastically.

First, digital service lines are expected to account for 10 per cent of industry revenues by 2020. Digital service lines require a smaller staff to earn the same revenue because of the premiums they command – collaboration with the client is tighter and the necessary specialists more expensive – and a higher reliance on intellectual property and technology investments to develop digital products and services.

Second, new products and services will rely on a greater level of automation than traditional IT offerings. As much as 20 per cent of the underlying processes could be automated in companies with high aspirations, especially with a migration to cloud-based services. In BPM services, as much as 50 per cent of the processes could be automated as they become digitalized and decisions are increasingly driven by analytics rather than by rules enforced by individuals.

In response to the changing staffing trends, technology partners of the future will need to hire specialists with expertise in the digital technologies including big data analytics, mobile application development, new user interfaces, social media, and cybersecurity. This would require hiring more staff with doctorate degrees and qualifications in graphic design, humanities, sociology, and security.

Also, many current staff members will have to be retrained in new skills. The McKinsey survey of top executives at technology companies found that respondents believed that by 2020, skills held by 50 to 70 per cent of their current staff would not be relevant to their businesses.


With retraining, about 50 to 70 per cent of current staff would remain relevant, the survey showed. Along with increased domain expertise, capabilities would have to be shifted from custom software development to standardized software development and from legacy systems like COBOL to digital technologies like .NET. Companies would need skilled partnership managers well-versed in areas including digital technologies, big data analytics, mobile application development, cloud services, and cybersecurity services.

Because manufacturers were early to adopt automation processes, engineering services will likely move counter to this overall trend, and employee growth will track revenue growth closely. However, staff retraining will also be crucial in engineering services. In the McKinsey survey, 62 per cent of the respondents working in engineering services said less than half their current staff would remain relevant without retraining. With retraining, about half said the more than 80 per cent would remain relevant. Capabilities were seen to be needed in diverse fields, including emerging protocols, mobile hardware, the Internet of Things, service delivery automation, hydraulic modelling, and computer control programing.

Join us on October 5th in New Delhi in an interactive, immersive and informative full day NASSCOM event with Indian IT and McKinsey global leaders to understand how to build digital talent pools.

Continued from my previous blog post, here are the last 5 megatrends shaping the way of work-

Trend 11: HR is the New Marketing

HR leaders are rapidly adopting measurement strategies to enable efficiency, effectiveness, and business alignment — providing the insight and support to shape a high performance business and people strategy. Key to teamwork is finding the right diversity of people and ideas that complement each other. To do that, HR needs to get into the minds of candidates. And today’s candidates are thinking and acting like consumers. To guide the strategic development of the employer value proposition, HR has to embrace the same sort of tools used for decades by marketing. They can no longer be passive in their attraction strategy. Successful companies have recruiters and HR leaders actively marketing their employer brands to the talent pool. Employing sophisticated recruitment tools and channels such as social networking, talent communities, and peer outreach, talent acquisition leaders continue to find innovative ways to attract and engage the talent they need, in addition to connecting their corporate brand to their employer brand.

Trend 12: The Increasing Role of Employer Brand

LinkedIn studies have shown that a company’s employer brand is twice as likely to drive job consideration as its company brand. Organizations that invest in their employer brand are likely to see a more direct impact on their talent acquisition efforts. Much like consumer marketing, social media is also gaining speed as a strategic channel for employer brand development. Organizations will continue to align their social media approach with their career and corporate sites to drive talent attraction and engagement.

Trend 13: Value-added RPO

In some companies, rebuilding an internal recruitment function after a long period of resource rationalization is difficult. Recruiters are now some of the hottest professionals in demand and, as a result, many organizations see outsourced solutions such as recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) as the answer to sustainable talent supply with strategic business partners who have the capability to continuously invest in recruitment talent and innovation. RPO buyers look to their service providers to deliver benefits beyond cost savings, process efficiency, flexibility, and scalability. Today’s HR leaders want RPO providers to help empower their analytics, employer branding, talent communities, and assessment processes.

Trend 14: The Integrated Talent Solution

Companies are increasingly looking for a single partner for all their talent acquisition activities: workforce planning, supply chain management, employer branding, sourcing, talent assessment and identification, hiring processes, reporting, analytics, and on boarding. The result is a consistent, high-touch program customized to business vision and goals, company culture, industry, and geographical footprint. The benefits of an integrated talent solution include holistic management, consistent processes, access to best talent, cost efficiencies, governance enhancement, and access to best practices and innovation.

Trend 15: The Total Talent Architecture Approach

The most agile, talent-centric strategy must factor in market trends, changing workforce demographics, and economic growth targets. Understanding such dynamic changes and how to adjust to them is crucial to an organization’s business and therefore, talent strategy. For employers to drive better business outcomes, they must build talent in a cohesive way that addresses strategic goals through the optimal balance of permanent, contingent and freelance workforce. Traditional talent acquisition is typically executed in silos, involving many stakeholders concerned only with fulfilling their particular talent needs at a certain moment. The Total Talent Architecture approach encompasses much more than a set of services. It starts by examining market and industry trends and their impact on the company. This is reviewed against the organization’s current and future business goals, and its workforce plan and targets, to build a talent strategy aligned to growth and profitability ambitions.


15 megatrends

Continued from my previous blog post, here are the next 5 megatrends shaping the way of work-

Trend 6: Culture and aptitude fit will win over skills

“Culture will eat strategy for breakfast!” – Peter Drucker

Employees whose aptitude, work habits, and values closely align with those of their employers will naturally deliver better results. Hiring managers recognize this and place a greater emphasis on finding and attracting such talent to drive organizational performance. Defining your own culture, bringing hiring managers into alignment, emphasizing cultural fit assessment and using advanced analytics to refine assessments are essential steps that need to be taken to ensure employee- organization cultural fit.

Trend 7: The human cloud and taming big data

A significant driver of change in the world of work today is the near-daily evolution of technology. Data on the cloud ensures anytime accessibility, which in turn empowers teams to share, collaborate, grow their knowledge and execute with speed. As a result of improved integration and greater visibility, employers are better able to align their workforce and organize teams by customers or by products. Successful companies have leveraged the power of cloud and big data to remove silos and enable cross functional collaboration, implement flexible modes of work and business process efficiency, transcend geographic and time based barriers, and advanced overall employee and customer engagement.

Trend 8: Talent engagement goes social & mobile

Technology today connects job seekers anywhere anytime making life more easy and flexible. Mobile technology has changed the way we communicate and the biggest advantage job seekers have these days is speed and connectivity. While a growing number of job portals are optimized for mobile devices, corporate career sites seem to be lagging behind. Social media is also a valuable tool and sites such as LinkedIn allow head-hunters to locate suitable candidates and help jobseekers connect with their network. Best in class companies have identified mobile users, beefed up organizational branding and messaging in social channels, and optimized website navigation for mobile users.

Trend 9: Business-aligned HR

Understanding the impact of globalization on human resources can help business leaders better equip their organizations for the increasingly global business environment. Today, we see businesses developing global and regional HR and talent acquisition functions. At the same time, to compete successfully in diverse markets, companies should continue to recruit, train, and manage talent locally to reflect culture, workforce markets, and the needs of local operations. Creating global standards, platforms, and service centers only addresses part of the challenge. High-performing companies are building an integrated global-to-local HR model, which brings agility to individual business units while at the same time accelerating global growth. The ultimate goal is to combine this agility with scale to optimize talent management in all markets.

Trend 10: Talent analytics and predictive workforce intelligence

Organizations large and small, private and public can leverage vast amounts of data that can help them predict, find, engage and keep the most talented employees. A study from a consulting firm indicated that most HR teams understand the potential value of intelligence, but they continue to only look at generic and basic operational and transactional measurements. Best in class companies use predictive tools and generate insights that positively affect organization success. Focus areas include workforce planning, skill gap analysis, identifying high potential employees, development needs, performance linked compensation and improving alignment of people and company strategy.

15 megatrends


Stay tuned for part 3 of the series!

The workplace as we know it, is being rapidly reshaped by multiple game changing trends which is having a significant impact on business growth and access to skilled talent with HR at the epicenter. Today’s dramatically shifting business, increasing globalization, widening talent pools and complicated regulatory landscape is continuously throwing up new challenges for HR leaders. In light of these changing trends, the role of HR function is shaping into a more strategic role, with increasing focus on broader human capital issues.

So what are the chall15 megatrendsenges HR leaders face today? The inaugural issue of Randstad talent trends report which is based on a survey of 350 HR leaders, identifies 15 megatrends shaping the world of work and their implications on talent and business strategy.

Being written in a 3 part series, here are the first 5 megatrends-

Trend 1: The multi-generational workplace and growing influence of millenials

Ensuring a cohesive, multi-generational workforce is a top priority for HR leaders. Multiple generations constitute the workforce today- Baby Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X and Gen Z. Each generation is significantly different when it comes to communication, use of technology, and relationships with colleagues and coworkers. As a result, employee engagement presents a huge challenge. Managing a multi-generation workforce will involve having an organization wide view on age diversity, understand how each generation is motivated, to build a tailored engagement program for each group, the effectiveness of which can be measured and customized over time.

Trend 2: Diversification & diversity

In an increasingly competitive economy, companies are focusing on diversifying their teams across all levels to acquire access to a great talent pool. Today, a high-performing, inclusive workforce is about having the right people in the right roles at the right time — regardless of age, gender, race, physical disability, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Successful companies are approaching diversity with C-level commitment, have assessed current hiring practices, provided their recruitment teams the necessary trainings to ensure diversification in hiring, have ensured compliant practices, and incentivized diversity to strengthen the business case for the same.

Trend 3: The freelance and contingent workforce

What will the workforce of tomorrow look like? No longer shackled to a traditional office desk living a life built on the 9-to-5 business day or a work day with shifts, many talented workers are opting to call the shots by becoming independent contractors — a trend that complements the desire of employers who want a more agile workforce. Organizations need to assess their internal talent strategies to determine preparedness for a structural change and decide whether they can fulfil their business needs internally or with the help of HR partners.

Trend 4: Remote working and device detox

The ease of staying connected has facilitated alternative work arrangements such as remote working, which has become more commonplace around the world. Not only does work-from-home enable employees to achieve a better work-life balance; it also means employers can access talent virtually anywhere around the world. The proliferation of high-speed internet and services such as Skype and Google Apps for online collaboration, at-home virtual meetings, and easy file sharing are making this a real possibility. Best in class companies have optimized remote working arrangements by gauging cultural fit of the concept with organizational priorities, communicated expectations, scheduled in-person meetings to strengthen team cohesion, supplied necessary tools and technologies to enable remote work, and monitor the entire engagement in a regular basis.

Trend 5- Critical talent scarcity

The way we work in every professional field is being transformed by the combined forces of globalization, technological advancement, and new generations of talent joining the workforce. Skilled knowledge workers are becoming more mobile, condensing the available talent pools individual countries have to choose from, while rapid technology innovation is changing the way we analyze business performance; market different brands; communicate with customers; and deliver products and services. This changing nature of work from resource intensive, transactional work to knowledge resource intensive and technology-enabled work is contributing to significant skills shortages of professional and technical talent. Successful companies have addressed talent scarcity by scoping out talent needs and availability, adjust expectations to realities, consider alternative work arrangements such as contractual hiring, look beyond local market given advanced mobility options, and also grow their own talent pool.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series!

Changing mindsets begins with you! The only mind you can be sure of changing is your own, and the only way that you can demonstrate this mindset change is through your behaviors. If you aspire for your organization to be faster, more innovative, less afraid of failure, it has to begin by you being faster, more involved in innovation and being willing to be the failure role-model. If you won’t try it, why should anyone else who works for you?

We live in the midst of a landscape-changing revolution, driven by unprecedented access to information, the globalization of ideas and accelerating convergence of sensors and knowledge. Business models are unrecognizable; customer engagement is completely different than it used to be; revenue is collected in patterns that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago, including “free”; our new talent has different aspirations; and we all work in a fundamentally different way than we did in the past. Powerful digital engines are everywhere, capable of the continuous production of new knowledge to feed new ideas. But, where are you? Are you still an analog leader in a digital world?

The key aspect of digital mindsets are:

  1. Speed in everything – quick bursts of experimentation and feedback seeking; prototyping and then rapid scaling up. About 100,000 customers had registered on Flipkart to buy the 20,000 Mi 3 smartphones. They were sold out in 5 seconds. Analog mind sets cannot comprehend this kind of speed, much less respond in kind.
  1. Think continuous processes, e.g., customer surveys are ongoing and the response to feedback is instantaneous. Every employee is in both sales and customer service!
  1. Multiple sources of data. Data gathering is also continuous. Big Data backed by Analytics drives choices.

We believe that leadership and innovation starts with personal action. Want to be innovative? Act innovatively! The metaphor that we think fits best with this is that the “spirit of our times” has moved from analog to digital, and that leaders now need to act digitally rather than analog. That means doing things in a way that the digital economy would suggest, rather than the way we’ve always done it [analog]. Below are some of the attributes of analog and digital leadership that we see – in an exploratory, prototyping sense.

What you’ll notice is that some aspects of digital leadership have been around for a long time…not surprising! However, it’s the coherence of the leadership approach – practicing all of these things routinely, rather than one of these things occasionally, that makes the difference between an analog and a digital leader. If leadership style matters, and we think it certainly does, than a coherent style will always be better than an incoherent one, especially if you want to establish a shared style among your team, or your colleagues, or your organization.

Be digital!

Analog vs Digital Leadership


About the authors:

Abhijit Bhaduri

Chief Learning Officer, Wipro group


Abhijit Bhaduri works as the Chief Learning Officer for the Wipro group. Prior to this he led HR teams at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Colgate and Tata Steel and worked in India, SE Asia and US. He is on the Advisory Board of the prestigious program for Chief Learning Officers that is run by the University of Pennsylvania.


He writes regularly for The Economic Times, People Matters Magazine, the Conference Board and blogs for the Times of India. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Operations Research & Management Sciences Today. SHRM voted him to be the 2nd most influential HR person on social media.


Abhijit is the author of two best selling works of fiction and most recently a book on how to hire for culture and role fit and is called “Do Not Hire the Best”.


He writes a popular weekly post on movies, music and management for his website


Bill Fischer

Professor, IMD


New Yorker by birth & attitude, I live in Europe, where I am a Professor at IMD, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and where I co-direct the IMD/MIT-Sloan "Driving Strategic Innovation" program; and have had a long-time love affair with China, where we first moved our family to China in 1980, and where later I was the Executive President & Dean of CEIBS (the China-European International Business School) in Shanghai (1997-1999). I've recently co-authored (with Umberto Lago & Fang Liu) "Reinventing Giants" (2013) and (with Andy Boynton): "The Idea Hunter" (2011) and "Virtuoso Teams" (2005).

Forty years ago, someone asked a profound question that fundamentally changed how we communicate with each other every day. At the time, I was nine years old living in South Africa. When our family visited my grandfather’s farm for the holidays, the telephone we used was a “party line”, where we would listen for the pattern of rings when the telephone rang to determine if the call was for us or for the next farm over. Hard to believe now–it does not seem that long ago.

At the same time, Marty, a young engineer at Motorola, was given a new assignment. He was asked to lead a team on a project that showed great promise—the next generation of a car radiotelephone. Marty accepted the challenge. However, instead of jumping in, he stepped back and paused, which led him to ask himself a very insightful question.

“Why is it that when we want to call and talk to a person, we have to call a place?” That nagging, insightful question changed the entire trajectory of his work, as he refocused his team’s attention on untethering a person from a place (including a car).

In 1973, Marty made the first cell phone call on a prototype of what would later become the DynaTAC 8000X, lovingly referred to as “the brick”. It cost $4000 USD and had a battery life of just 20 minutes. That first cell phone marked the beginning of a new era of personal communication.

Our interview with Marty had striking similarities to more than 250 interviews we conducted and 10,000 descriptions of award-winning work we analyzed as part of a comprehensive study on great work. When we traced the genesis of innovation and value creation back to its source, we were surprised to see how many times it began with asking the right question.

The right question can be a disruptive agent, cutting through years of complacency to redirect a team or a company’s focus. It serves as a pointer, aiming us in the direction of the answer. As Einstein put it: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

From our research, the following three practical assists can inform and enhance the quality of the questions we ask, and lead to great work.

Pause. When a person opens their mind to the kind of ideas that come quietly they unveil the deeper, richer thoughts that are too easily chased away by the adrenaline of taking immediate action. Spend some time alone with your thoughts. Pause to let the purpose of your initiative marinate, percolate, and simmer. In the early stages of a difference-making quest, the simple act of paying attention to your thoughts can provide the few degrees of adjustment that brings about the greatest innovation. Everyone has hunches, impressions, and the fragile beginnings of new ideas still forming. Absorb them. Listen to them. Take counsel from them.

Think about the people. Who will the work or the product benefit? What are they trying to do? What do they value? What do they hope for? I love the question Clayton Christensen posed in The Innovator’s Solution, “what is the job this [product] is being hired to do?” What is hoped for, what outcome is desired, and what benefit will this solution provide to the beneficiary of your work?

What difference would people LOVE? What would the beneficiary of your work really love? Not just like. Not just feel better about. But what difference would they love? That question in particular seems to activate a deeply human power of creative energy inside us. It seems to open our minds beyond the ordinariness of what “is” in favor of what “could be”. In most of our interviews we were intrigued by how.


About the Author

David Sturt

David Sturt is a NY Times bestselling author and Executive Vice President of the O.C. Tanner Company. He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CBS Radio, Huffington Post, and numerous other media organization. A weekly contributor to & speaks to audiences worldwide at HR & leadership conferences like SHRM, World at Work, ASHRA, Employers Council, Recognition Professionals International, HR Houston and Evanta. David has a degree in Training and Development and an MBA, and has two decades of experience in research, innovation and leadership.

The rise of the millennials, in addition to pervasive technological disruptions, rapidly evolving business environment and exponentially higher customer expectations are factors that are impacting and influencing business everywhere. Organisations are facing an urgent need to re-invent and re-orient themselves to these changes, leading to a new world of work – global spread, greater collaboration, knowledge driven.

“75% of the global workforce will be millennials by 2025”

Millennials: Definition- Those who enter the workforce in this century.

Millennials: Key Characteristics- Gadget freaks, of entrepreneurial spirits, always connected citizens of the world. They are people full of contradictions- seeking meaningful, challenging work along with instant gratification; rapid career advancement, along with work-life balance.

“87% of HR leaders state employee engagement as the No.1 challenge”

Human Resources, a sector that has traditionally been associated with back-office, administrative services, with a focus on people management, has not been immune to these disruptions. In fact, as firms adjust to the new world order, a new way of work is emerging, where HR has had to change the way it functions:

  • Be Agile – to access skills and people on demand, adjust to changing business environment, and align with business
  • Be Innovative- to adopt technology for greater reach, derive deeper insights for employee engagement models, customizations
  • Be Flexible- to leverage social media for internal/external branding
  • Be Progressive- to develop leadership talent with an eye on the future
  • Be Collaborative- Integrating hitherto siloed teams, drive engagement and culture

Underlying all these functions is technology that is disrupting the status quo & opening up new possibilities for HR and business.Key findings from a global HR survey indicates the following-

  • 88% of respondents will spend the same or more on HR technology – HR portal, implement SaaS, etc.
  • 40% are looking to change their HR structure
  • 61% are using or are planning to use mobile technology
  • 30% will replace their core HR systems in 2015 – an all-time high

Technology is permeating across the HR value chain with the aim of simplifying work, 24/7 access, faster turnaround time, ease of use – leading to higher efficiencies & productivity.The degree of automation varies across HR functions- highest adoption is seen in transactional areas of payroll and time & attendance management with the additional feature of self-service. This shifts the control to the employee and the manager – enabling quicker resolution of requests and freeing up HR team to focus more strategic objectives. Technology is steadily penetrating into areas of recruitment – which includes requisition management, talent sourcing, candidate management and on-boarding of new employees; in addition to workforce planning and analytics, organizational scorecards, benefits management, career planning and competency management, skills mapping and succession planning.Use of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) technologies by HR is empowering both people and organisations-

  • Social Media: HR using social media tools and technologies for outreach and engagement with both internal and external communities. Promoting opportunities by tapping into employee professional and personal networks, establishing employment brand, develop engaging content, marketing pitches and enabling online learning programs.
  • Mobility: HR organizations using mobile technology for anytime anywhere access to employees, in addition to ensuring superior employee experiences. Fastest growing mobile enabled HR processes include record keeping and payroll, workforce scheduling, recruitment, performance management, learning & development, and on-boarding.
  • Analytics: Key HR uses of analytics is around strategic workforce planning- which includes current and future supply of talent and skills, predictive analytics- which can anticipate and prevent high performer turnovers in addition to ensuring effective and productive hires, and measure employee engagement and satisfaction levels.
  • Cloud: Adoption of cloud to integrate HR, attendance records, payroll, compensation, rewards and overall workforce administration is a growing trend. Lower maintenance, faster upgrades, uniform user experience and greater agility are key benefits achieved.

“65% of firms indicate improved E-SAT due to use of technology”

Technology in HR is driving organization wide collaboration, engagement and communication, thus providing an enriching employee experience, positively impacting employee and manager satisfaction scores. To know more, download our free report -Technology in HR- Taking Collaboration to the Next Level from here