It might come as a surprise, but the history of human resources (HR) in India can actually traced by to the 4th century BC, in Kautilya’s (Chanakya’s) seminal work the Arthashashtra, where he divided the workforce into ‘shrenis’ or groups.
However, today the scenario has undergone several changes and India is more strategically positioned in the global corporate map and HR management (HRM) has become quite complex, especially after digital disruption invaded the domain. Industries are facing umpteen number of HR challenges that need to be addressed.
Global opinions see India’s human resource as a low-cost, highly skilled, dedicated and erudite workforce hence it has also become a major outsourcing ground.
On the other hand, it goes without saying that, the overall domain of HR is not without its problems and trials. The HR in India, especially in the 21st century, does face certain challenges, despite its three major roles of—transactional, transformational, and transitional. With an ever changing corporate India, HR challenges are all set to increase manifold and needless to say that HR managers have to be aware of this fact.
Some real-time hurdles faced by the Indian HR industry are elucidated below.
#1. Managing globalisation
It is important that HR personnel learn proper people management practices before planning to implement them, especially the ones that are global in nature. These days it has become quite challenging for the HR to educate its workforce on how globalisation can be leveraged and how a single employee benefits or is affected by it. Instead of imposing new practices upon them, it is best to study the prevailing practices which are in place.
#2. Retaining talent, especially millennials
Retaining is probably one of the most significant HR challenges that the domain will have to deal with in 2017. And retaining millennials is the most Herculean task for present day HR. Talent poaching and cut-throat competition has given an impetus of high remuneration to the deserving candidate. Job seekers have gained lot of exposure and have become highly ambitious as well. Which is why they are always on a lookout for better opportunities. This kind of a trend is observed mainly in the IT/ITeS sector. HR personnel in this domain actually finds it a challenge to retain its employees.
#3. Developing leadership skills
Developing future leaders is essentially a difficult task. It is not just about developing right soft skills in order to shape future leaders. Since the global economic scenario is very volatile, and dynamic, what is required now is a skillset in the workforce that distinguishes them as future leaders. Developing future leaders is a major HR challenge that needs to be addressed in the future.
#4. Managing organisational change
Change management is yet another challenge that the HR continues to face in the 21st century. With big organisations integrating Six Sigma practices in their businesses, dealing with change management is becoming even difficult with each passing day. The industrial growth scenario is such that, there is a huge demand for ‘change’ that has to be brought about within all the fragments of the society. However, there’s resistance from various sides. It is a huge challenge for the HR to curb those resisting forces and finally implement new organisational changes.
#5. Developing work ethics
With the global economy undergoing ups and downs, India also has to bear the brunt of the same somewhat—if not to a great extent. Employee morals and loyalty are being tested almost every day. In such trying times, it is becoming rather difficult for the HR management to ensure proper development of work ethics. Re-instilling values like empathy, work-ethics, respect for the weak and elderly are becoming a matter of concern for all—even HR personnel within organisations.
#6. Developing and nurturing accountability
Since the invention of Six Sigma methodologies, the tolerance levels in organisations for errors and major mistakes have gone down considerably. It is a challenge which HR management in India is facing like its global counterparts. It is not easy to train people to shoulder responsibility.
#7. Managing workforce stress and employment relations
HR management is the face of an organisation. They not only hire people but also ensure that they nurture employees, so that latter chooses to remain with an organisation for a longer period of time. If the HR management is not empathetic towards its workforce then, it does not help in employee relations. This fact is fast becoming a challenge for all HR communities in India in the present times.
#8. Managing workforce diversity
With globalisation and India’s economy witnessing an accelerated growth, organisations are now forced to depend on hiring people from all kinds of backgrounds, ethnicities and even countries. Needless to say that this has led to a completely new dimension to workplace diversity. Managing a diverse workforce is truly a demanding task for HRM in India in the present times.
The above mentioned HR challenges are something that the HR community in India really needs to sort out. However, there are other challenges such as retrenchment and downsizing in certain industries such as the BPO, finance and PSUs where the HR has to be pretty strong enough.