Banking HR Leaders met in Mumbai this morning for the regular ‘APAC and India Banking HR Roundtable’ that The Chapman Consulting Group puts together. The session was co-hosted by Credit Suisse. It is always thought provoking to pull together the HR Heads of multinational and local organisations in India to compare the HR issues at play. Our last gathering with this group was held late 2011. It was fascinating to parallel some of these latest India HR issues against the global and regional trends we are seeing from our discussions across Asia, Europe and the US.
Some key observations are as follows:
- Non financial measures are becoming more important in locking key HR talent in the financial sector. Salaries are not growing at the rate they were. Flexibility, mobility to move between specialisations and impact of HR with business, are some of the key features HR talent increasingly want to see in their jobs.
- Flexible working is becoming more prevalent in the banking sector. Traditionalists argue ‘its not happening’ but creative HR Leaders are definitely pushing the envelope. It’s happening top down, so if the leader does it, the teams will follow. For example, in cities like Mumbai, many of the banks are now allowing employees to rotate between various locations to ‘break’ the commute.
- The switch between HR to business (and business to HR) is happening very frequently now in India (especially versus other locations in Asia). This is exciting and shows how seriously HR is being taken in the business world in India.
- While the banking sector is facing consolidation in HR delivery models at a global and regional level, India still remains very much in growth mode and organisations continue to add HR talent to their teams here.
- We talked a lot about the developing trend of HR shared services centres being moved outside of Asia to the US, Poland and even the UK. Most organisations reported having a major hub (or several of them) in Asia, but more are dispersing into developed markets. One HR Leader felt it was a myth that India’s shared service/business process outsourced (BPO) industry is becoming more expensive. He added that BPO’s are becoming smarter at hiring less skilled talent and at having more streamlined processes.
- Many HR Leaders in attendance felt a key aspect of their role was to ensure positivity in the relations between their regional and global counterparts. Many felt if this connectivity was strong, India stood a better chance of being understood from a global perspective. This is critical to getting funding and visibility on key HR initiatives and HR projects.
The session finished off with a discussion on how Banking HR teams will look different in India in 5 years time. Many leaders felt that technology (24/7), virtual working and further cost rationalisation in HR models will impact the nature of HR. Others felt that although the specialist functions of Talent Acquisition, compensation, employee relations and talent, are currently becoming more visible, they will be far more integrated with the objective of making HR as commercial as possible.
The India and APAC HR Banking Leaders Group will next meet again at Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai in August 2012 and we look forward to seeing everyone again soon.
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