HR Heads In IT Cos Seeking Greener Pastures: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 27, 2015

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The Indian IT and telecom industry is currently in a fix as HR heads shift loyalties from one company to the other. Since May, at least 17 HR heads have changed loyalties with movements happening across companies, reads an ET Telecom report. Some of these companies include, Reliance Industries, Infosys, Philips, Accenture, Dell, Adobe and Vodafone to name a few.

While several top headhunters involved with some of these searches declined to be quoted for the story, they mentioned that a combination of factors such as increased outside opportunities, relationship with the CEO and in some cases, lack of internal recognition were driving the moves.

While it’s common in the industry to move on to more challenging roles or bigger brands, for others, it was their inability to adapt to the organizational culture. The latter reason, as headhunters note, is more applicable to promoter-driven companies.

In many cases, today’s complex talent scenario is to be blamed for HR heads making such a move. An HR executive who was quoted in the story on grounds of anonymity stated: “While companies need the best HR leaders to help them navigate in today’s workplace, they aren’t always receptive to changes. Worst, HR heads get blamed as an easy scapegoat. With more opportunities, they cut their losses rather than waste their time.”

The report mentions a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review had Ram Charan, Dominic Barton and Dennis Carey suggesting that the most important triangle of leadership in any organisation is the CEO, CFO and the CHRO. It says that companies that have this competent trio are more likely to win in the marketplace as compared to others.

In the last 3 months, there have been exits galore of high-profile HR executives. In July, Prabir Jha, CHRO of Reliance Industries quit to join Cipla soon. In May Madhavi Lall joined Deutsche Bank as MD, after serving head-HR after a nine-month stint at Accenture, Somnath Baishya who moved from Adobe India to Intuit India as director and head-HR, Rohit Sandal joined as Lenovo HR director from Dell and Vodafone HR director Ashok Ramachandran is now set to join the Aditya Birla Group.  Recently, Krish Shankar, the head of human resources for South Asia at Philips is believed to be joining Infosys as its global HR head.

A paradigm shift is needed in human resource, believe experts. As Edward E. Lawler III, author and HR evangelist states in a Forbes article that over the last 20 years, there has been very little change in how HR allocates its time. It still spends the same amount of time performing its administrative activities as it did 20 years ago. As a result, HR often fails to engage in important issues related to business strategy, organizational change, organization design, sustainability, and a whole host of other important organizational effectiveness issues.

It is better to position HR in organizations as an effective administrative unit that supports the smooth operations of an organization and to create a separate group that deals with the key talent, organization design, and strategic issues that emerge within organizations today,” he states.

As a senior headhunter sums up, the next stage we will see is a generational shift, with so many senior seasoned HR leaders already making the change.