The Chapman Consulting Group spent a busy week with HR Leaders in three locations in India; Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore this week. Our Half-Yearly HR Briefing Series for Quarter One and Two for India and Asia Pacific was hosted at the premises of many prominent companies such as Convergys, Philips, Nielsen, Coca-Cola, Shell, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cisco, General Motors and Standard Chartered Bank.
During this week-long series of HR Briefings with more than 300 HR Leaders across India, we noted the following trends:
- Increasingly, India is being split off from Asia Pacific or the Middle East to be its own region, with a direct line to the Global HR Head. Even if India continued to sit as part of a South Asia geography or an Asia Pacific geography, HR Leaders all reported that, despite this layered reporting, India still had high visibility at headquarters and could often ‘bypass’ the regional structures to get their voices head at the global level.
- There is a continued emergence of regional HR roles being positioned out of India, particularly in the talent and rewards spaces. We also saw evidence of more global HR roles coming to India, at the same increasing rate that we are seeing similar movements into China. This is a particularly exciting trend.
- The growing visibility and scale of HR roles in India is fast attracting back international HR talent that has been outside of India for some time. During our trip we saw many familiar faces – HR practitioners whom we have known in roles in Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai, all of whom had returned home to India due to the lure of bigger roles.
- While costs of living in the main Indian locations are rising, many returning Indian nationals reported that the increased purchasing power of their income (especially with salaries rising) made it very attractive to return to India from a lifestyle perspective.
- Many Indian HR Leaders reported success at having their global HR and business decision-makers taking India very seriously now. There is less naivety at a global headquarter level on how India should be handled and many now see its importance for rapid future growth. Some HR Leaders reported that their Indian HR operations were now widely seen, within their global organisation, as having world leading HR practices. So the spotlight is trained firmly on India.
- Smart HR Leaders talked about their strategies on gaining greater global HR buy-in on the India location. Many described that 30-50% of their role was spent managing outside-of-India stakeholders to ensure maximum regional and global connectivity. While some HR Leaders found this outside-of-country focus frustrating when also balancing their India responsibilities, those with a positive mindset saw significant benefits to be gained by maintaining a global agenda.
- Social media has fast become an important topic in India. HR Leaders are becoming very involved in their companies’ strategy in this domain. Some leaders reported having success in hiring bright HR interns to bring cutting edge thought-leadership in this area. A common theme was that the best ideas in this space sometimes sit randomly across the company, meaning that it was important to creatively spot these super-users or thought-leaders in this area and encourage their input.
The Chapman Consulting Group’s next Half Yearly HR Briefing Series for Quarter Three and Four for India and Asia Pacific will happen in Bangalore, Gurgaon and Mumbai in November 2012. Details will be published soon.
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