Careers

Where they fear to tread

Finding managerial talent for operations in Tier 2 and 3 cities can be a big challenge for organisations

Where they fear to tread
 

 

 

By moving to his hometown Udaipur to start a BPO, Kapil Sharma did the unthinkable in the eyes of his former colleagues. Prior to this move, Sharma had worked in London, Bengaluru and Pune, and rubbed shoulders with the creme de la creme in his industry.

Where he saw an opportunity, his former associates saw a challenge, one they believed would eventually overwhelm him. Nine years since he moved to Udaipur to start Five Splash with 12 employees, Sharma believes there was a grain of truth in their warning. Today, he sits pretty as his company has 350 employees and is present in five Tier-2 and 3 cities. However, over the years, getting the right talent for mid- and senior-level management was a challenge for Sharma.

For, the right talent saw moving to a Tier-2 or 3 city a big stepdown. Some would offer sound personal reasons for not making the shift: Lack of social infrastructure such as good schools and entertainment centres.

Some organisations decree that their employees take up assignments in small cities. Coercion is almost always counter-productive.

“We suffered attrition when we moved employees from a big to a small city,” says Dina Mukherjee, Chief Marketing Officer, Carnival Cinemas and CEO and Director for MoviEcard Sales.

In the IT and ITeS sector, it is common for projects to suffer delays for want of someone who would be willing to move and head an operation in a small city.

Kamal Karanth A., co-founder Xpheno, a specialist staffing company, says it is easier to find talent of a generic kind for Tier-2 and 3 cities.

“Finding specialists is a challenge. Recently, a non-banking financial company was looking for a Credit Underwriting City Head for Loan Against Property (LAP) in a Tier-2 city. Generic profiles with experience of working across products were readily available, but not specialists in LAP,” says Karanth.

He says often staffing agencies set base in small cities to tap local talent, for their client-companies.

Rotational basis

“Some companies send employees from a metro to a small city on rotational basis. In most cases, employees with young children and those who belong to the state where the operations are taking place, are chosen for a two- or three-year stint,” says Karanth. Big companies don’t disturb their high-flyers for fear of losing them.

A viable strategy is finding talent from metros who have roots in the small city in question and send them there on elevation. “The top management takes these employees into confidence, promising them to enable their return to the metro after a few years,” says Karanth.

Internal talent

Some organisations groom internal talent for roles in small cities. Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic, present in 20 locations, has such a grooming programme in place. Invariably, for employees who take up a new role in one of the small cities, the move signifies a step-up.

These willing employees are ultimately rewarded abundantly. A woman employee from Dehradun, who joined the organisation as receptionist is now head of purchase in Delhi , and her journey to the top involved stints in smaller cities.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 8:58:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/where-they-fear-to-tread/article23583138.ece

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