‘RPO should be viewed as a tool for developing competencies’

Post 2007-08 global financial crisis, the context has changed. With it, the skills required of a HR professional too have changed. “We were not prepared to handle a downturn,” E. Balaji, Managing Director and CEO of Randstad, said. Dark clouds were still on the horizon, he said. “With such strong head winds, the need is to find out whether HR is equipped to handle the associated factors such as cost cutting, lay-off and demands of the CEO,” he said participating in a panel discussion at The Hindu Shine HR Conclave in Chennai on Friday.

Besides serving as a networking forum, the event turned the spotlight on a host of issues confronting professionals in the backdrop of the economic slowdown, growing demands of management and a never-before need to retain talent.

Cautioning against a cut and paste strategy as all corporates were not the same, Mr. Balaji said companies should consider recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Though a large pool of talent was available, not many passed when put through a funnel, he pointed out. Rajeev Bhatnagar, Vice-President and Head-HR, Larsen & Toubro, said RPO should be looked at more as a tool for developing own competencies.

A major challenge for companies engaged in research and development work, according to Arokia Sagayaraj, Head-HR, Renault Nissan Technology & Business Centre India P Ltd., was talent acquisition, and it was only going to get bigger.

Moderating the discussion, Sandeep Bhushan, Vice-President, HT Media, said HR had come to be an important component of business. Lot had changed from one of lack of opportunities to lack of talent, and from IR (industrial relations) to employer branding.

In his opening address, C. Sreetharan, Vice-President-HR, The Hindu, said HR function, per se, was going through a transition.

It was increasingly required to contribute to the bottom line in a direct manner, necessitating a shift from operation management to the challenging task of talent management.

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