Igniting a reverse brain drain


One of several embattled corporate challenges over the last two decades and currently an unfathomable phenomenon has pushed organisations into exploring every possible creative avenue: seeking redeeming solutions to contain the brain drain.

Not completing the career span with organisation ‘A’ is no longer considered a stigma. On the contrary it is discretely acknowledged as healthy to switch career between companies; besides, this is believed to have an appreciable correlation between complementing the individual advancement and achieved organisational milestones.

While the truth remains camouflaged, today’s impending conflict is “to invest or not to” in employees to enhance the scope of human capital retention. Indeed, a situation of complex intricacies.

While we recognise non-existence of off-the-shelf solutions, a comprehensive canopy of collective approach does offer means to sustain or limit the damage over a period of time.

The current approach by the corporate world to this issue has been a distinct two-way, mostly. One that belongs to the category of continuing to invest, extensively to moderately, and that strongly believes such an act will slow down separations, giving them the power of better retention. And, the other category that belongs to those who limit or do not believe in investing in their human capital assets, contending to deal with the struggle, hoping one day draining will slow down on its own volition.

Who is the better of the two?

Results are clearer in the longer run. Those who invest to stay abreast of technical advancement, enhancing individuals’ expertise through established academy and by other means that undertakes extensive continued education, aligning business verticals within that interfaces with ever evolving global climate, leading the way in research and development that maps an era a decade ahead, tend to experience far better retention percentage than those who limit or not invest at all.

Is such investment a good enough measure to achieve higher level of results in human capital retention? Observing from current metrics, it appears that it may not be so: inadequacy in any retention programme does reflect an ever expanding gap, and it is a nagging concern, setting everyone on a course of solution- seeking.

Those companies who limit or do not invest at all have set themselves up, predominantly, to be the hunted, depleting them further of their potential employee base, leaving them in a constant build-up mode from ground zero levels.

What triggers then this alarming, never ever seen level of separations, despite best of corporate initiatives?

The root cause is no longer an unknown secret any longer, I presume. A careful analysis will lead us down the clue lines with no misleading factors. The scale of economy the company wants to achieve and the sense of belonging the organisation perceives to have created between itself and the so called “human assets” are the true triggers.

The state of economy and the sense of belonging are two huge diametrically opposite phenomena. Both have an extreme delicate bearing between them. An uncanny or an unintentional effort to side with either one of them could cause an unnerving imbalance.

Then, what options are out there to deal with this ever-evolving challenge and how could one stem the rot? Is there even a plausible solution that exists remotely to address this complicated reality?

Firstly, it can be drawn conclusively, to a greater extent, that monetary credentials have assumed a larger slice of the share as a leading cause for this ever-evolving momentous imbalance between the human and its vortex of abstract emotions, an inseparable coexistence.

Organisations walk the fine invisible lines of financial stability, profitability, creating room for future investment and strive laboriously as well to keep the present crop of employees ticking productively. It is indeed a jugglery that demands attention to minute details similar to “not taking one’s eye off the ball”; lack of mechanism for an early detection of likely failing operational intricacies on an ongoing basis can become counterproductive or derail the progress in no time.

Secondly, the sense and sensibilities administered through corporate policies and the methods adapted to execute them completes the graph, triggering further reasons for separations in general and may likely to expand to alarming levels as a direct correlation to the intensity each individual is subjected to.

Third factor, that largely deals with human perceptions, a bundle of indefinable idiosyncratic elements by any scientific equations. Those who belong to this group demonstrate more or less no strong evidence of any influencing reasons for separations. They just do it and attribute reasons on being confronted, thereafter.

It is a challenge to define programmes that will effectively cater to all these multi-faceted dimensions. The approach — there are three critical components that render a comprehensive organisational effectiveness to any human capital retention programme.

Financial security

Compatible to logical presentation and competent to battle unreasonable expectations. Business competitiveness vs. profitability vs. affordability vies with each other in an unsettling wave of events. Though, a progressive compensation programme that offers scope for “true” recognition of individual value, qualitatively and quantitatively, pre-empts and slows down separations compared to absence of such scalable programmes.


Demonstrate actionable policies in a less complex but collaborative manoeuvre, letting the programmes evolve an intrinsic value. Intrinsic value is an intuitively subjective element with rarely definable boundaries. It a value that enlivens the corporate environment, a value that evolves as nuclei of every management programme, no matter how big or how small the organisation is.

Finally, sustainable role esteem. Programmes that define, just not the role, a role that gets enriched in content, groomed appreciably over a span of growth, creating sustainable human intellectual property pervading across the organisation.

This is not a process; this is a culture, enabling an organisational maturity for lifeline sustenance. In the current world of ever changing business canvas, dimension of human emotions have assumed no greater value than usefulness of a commodity. In a world of commodity, role esteem can only be a sham and would take immense character to value it higher; those who do it persistently survive the longest, with dignity too.

While the above seem insurmountable and overwhelming, it is still doable with programmes that have integrated growth sensitised elements, aligning well with a globally evolving corporate climate.

Ingenuity, a proclamation for efficient sustenance. Where does your organisation fit in?

The writer is vice-president, Talent Capital Management Group, HTC Global Services.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:38:17 PM |

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