Human Resource Management (HRM) has a long history in India, as reflected by Kautilya’s accounts in the “Artha Shastra”. HRM in the 4th century B.C. was more about logical but simple procedures and dividing the work force into ‘Shrenis’. Today, India is more strategically positioned in the global corporate map and HRM has become more complex. Global perceptions see India’s human resource as a low-cost, highly skilled, dedicated and knowledgeable workforce hence it has also become a major outsourcing ground.
Human resource element works towards the Vision, Mission and Goals of an organization. The three roles of HRM in any organization are transactional, transformational, and transitional. The challenges faced by human resource managers in India are naturally evolving with the ever-transforming scenario in corporate India. Some of the major challenges which HR faces in India today are discussed hereunder.
Managing globalization: It is important for an HR Manager to study people management practices before implementing new practices which are global in nature. It has become a challenge for the HR to educate its workforce on how globalization can be leveraged and how an individual employee benefits or is affected by it. Instead of thrusting new practices upon them, it is ideal to study the existing practices which are in place.
Developing leadership skills: It is not just about knowledge, experience and expertise it is also about developing the right soft skills to give shape to the future leaders. Since the global economic and industrial scenario is very volatile and dynamic, what is required now is a skill set in the workforce which distinguishes them as team leaders.
Managing change: Change management is the call of the day with big organizations integrating Six Sigma methodologies in their businesses. Change management defines the response of the business to the changing external and internal environment. The industrial growth scenario in India demands that there should be change brought about within all factions of the industry. But there are internal and external forces which resist the change. It is a huge challenge to influence the resisting forces with the organization, manage internal conflicts, motivate them to embrace change and implement the changes.
Developing work ethics: With back to back slumps in the global economy, India has not remained unscathed. Employee morals and loyalty are being tested in a business’s day to the day functioning. It has become very important to re-instill cultural values, loyalty, respect for the weak and elderly, and infuse qualities like empathy, charity, austerity, team spirits, ethics and bonding in the workforce.
Retaining Talent: Yes, this is one of the major challenges which HRM faces today. Poaching and cut-throat competition has given an impetus to high remuneration to the deserving. People have gained exposure and their yearning to rise is sees them changing loyalty and organizations very frequently. This is especially observed in the IT and ITES sector. To manage low attrition rates and retain talent has become a mammoth hurdle which all organizations want to cross in order to reach their goals.
Managing fast changing technological trends: Most large and medium scale organizations today prefer to be technologically oriented. The technological trends in today’s global scenario are fast changing. Educating the human resource about these changes, upgrading their knowledge and motivating them to learn, absorb and come out of their comfort zones is a great challenge faced by many organizations.
Developing Accountability: With the advent of Six Sigma methodologies, organizations have lowered their tolerance levels for mistakes, errors and delays. It is a challenge which HRM in India is facing like its global counterparts. It is not easy to train people to shoulder responsibility.
Managing workforce stress and employment relations: HR is the face of an organization. It hires and fires employees and if the HR of an organization is not emphatic towards its workforce it does not help in employment relations. This factor is fast becoming a challenge for HRM especially in sectors like hospitality, IT and allied support services, media and entertainment.
Managing inter-functional conflict: Earlier it was the friction between different levels of an organization and now the new emerging challenge for the HR is to manage inter-functional conflict within an organization. With organizational restructuring becoming common in the past few years, disputes and friction between different functions has been on the rise.
Managing workplace diversity: With globalization and India’s economy changing gears to accelerate growth, organizations hire as well depend on a people from different countries, cultures and ethnicity. To manage the diverse workforce who have fairly diverse physiological and the psychological influences, is also a huge challenge for the HR in the emerging Indian economy.
This is not an exhaustive list of some of the challenges of HR in India which includes many other factors like retrenchment and downsizing specifically in the BPO and finance sectors, managing knowledge workers, occupational shifts, trade unionism in the public sector and manufacturing sector, limited exposure and research in the field of human resource management and limited training resources to handle.
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