Hiring and employee retention have been identified as the “key challenges” in managing and measuring employee productivity, according to a survey conducted among more than 200 HR managers across industries.

Releasing the Workforce Productivity India 2012 report on Friday, James Thomas, Country Manager – India Operations, Kronos Inc., said the survey revealed that HR managers in many Indian companies were “too caught up in firefighting” attrition that they were less able to focus on the more strategic objectives of their business operations. “While measuring productivity among the blue collar workforce is relatively easier, HR managers complain that measuring productivity of the mid-level managerial segment proves difficult,” Mr. Thomas said.

The survey identified “inaccurate” manpower planning and managing absenteeism, especially unplanned absenteeism, as key worries of HR managers. More than half the respondents reported that they were managing workforce scheduling manually or through the use of spreadsheets instead of employing automated digital tools. “Absenteeism, especially when it is unscheduled, costs companies heavily because typically, replacement workers are only 75 per cent as productive as the regular workers they replace,” Mr. Thomas observed. More than half the respondents said their companies do not use “integrated processes and systems” to measure productivity, he said.

“In reality, hiring and retaining talent are not the most important problems that HR managers face,” Mr. Thomas observed. HR managers, he said, needed to get more involved in business organisations' “strategic objectives” such as those relating to measuring and rewarding productivity.

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