Hindu Business Line, 8th May 2014
India has a large and constantly growing potential workforce across different disciplines. To reap benefits from this potential, it should be ensured that right jobs reach the right candidates. Match-making between job seekers (based on their skills, preferences and attitudes) and jobs is of utmost importance. But matching the right job with the right candidate in the right geography is no easy task. More often than not, the hiring process turns out to be very complicated and results in staff with little aptitude and skill joining the workforce. Hiring the right person is among the top challenges faced by CEOs and HR departments in India. In a country like India, where economic activities are spread across a vast geography with over 800 districts or over 32,000 pin codes, hiring the right candidate at the right time becomes critical.
If a corporate has to hire 1,000 people, picking 900 from Gurgaon or Mumbai or Bangalore is relatively easier than hiring the remaining 100 that are spread across, say, 30 different locations — five each in Kanpur, Chandigarh, Varanasi and so on. Probably, the biggest and most complex dilemma of the Talent Acquisition Head is hiring of this small, but decentralized number, within the right costs, the right time and at the right locations.
In the last few years, there have been tremendous changes in the job market with respect to technology, modes of hiring, competition in the market, etc. Problems such as lack of workforce — skilled or otherwise — have resulted in increased poaching and raiding, putting greater stress on an organization’s most important function — recruitment. Skilling the existing employee is important, but sourcing the right talent poses a bigger hurdle for India Inc. US economists Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for their match-making theories relating to supply-demand issues prevalent in the market. The recruitment industry was thrilled that the coveted award has been given for something that can solve this perennial problem of match making in the hiring process.
Let us evaluate three typical recruitment problems faced by India Inc:
The traditional challenge of hiring: This is about hiring the right person at the right time and within the right price. Employees have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to meet the performance/revenue targets, especially in service industries. Regardless of how much one invests in the other factors of production such as capital, material and technology, ineffective recruitment will lead nowhere.
No-show problem: This is a new age demand-supply problem. There are so many options in the market that the time-lag between an offer release and date of joining may lead to loss of talent. But the real problem lies in the quality of hire. In industries such as insurance and information technology-enabled services, almost 15-20 per cent of people leave the organization within the first 90 days of joining. This trend can be seen in almost every industry today.
Placing square pegs in round holes will only lead to dissatisfaction, under-performance and attrition, leading to increased cost to the company. Even if we solve the first two problems, the third one is eventually going to define the success of any company in India. So what’s the way out? There is an urgent need for ‘last mile’ solutions. The government has taken a few right steps to fund skill initiatives. That said, our skilling programs — from the government or private sector — are like an answer searching for a question. The question is simple: Does every skilling program lead to a job? Let’s look at some possible solutions here:
Pin code hiring: The ‘think global and act local’ lesson of early days of globalization can be applied to recruitment strategies as well, making way for decentralized or location-specific recruitment strategies. It is about hiring at the location or district or pin code where the job is to be executed. India can be divided into 800 districts and each district can be drilled down to the level of the pin code or zip code. India is not only about the top 10 cities but about thousands of pin codes where most economic activities happen. The need is to move to a platform that shows the job and the available candidates at a particular location. This is because India Inc. needs a sales person to sell at a given pin code level, and not only at the corporate office.
Talent stock exchanges: Today, employment exchanges have become obsolete with their slow processes. The successful job data is less than 1 per cent and takes almost three months for registering a candidate. So, time is ripe for a new platform like a talent stock exchange, which will be helpful in talent matchmaking. Under this platform, people, process and technology would collaborate for an effective matchmaking between demand and supply of talent. With jobs as its center, the talent stock exchange will help the talent stocked in homes and colleges reach employers. It would be a common platform or meeting ground where candidates and employers would help each other to fulfil mutual needs. The BJP manifesto talks about transforming employment exchanges to career centers and connecting youth to jobs through the use of technology. If this is implemented efficiently, this would change the landscape of India’s talent market.
Sourcing candidates: Sourcing or ‘matchmaking’ as it is often called, is the biggest challenge. People often and almost always confuse recruitment channels or intermediaries (placement consultant, job boards, ads, employee referrals) as the source. We must know that these channels or intermediaries can only provide us the candidate profile. It is difficult to expect a consultant in Mumbai to source a profile for Bhatinda and vice-versa. It is very important that the candidate searched by the local consultant of Bhatinda matches with the job in the location. When this matchmaking happens at the local level, it provides the employer with candidates within a defined schedule and along a localized solution, facilitating India Inc. to focus on required profiles rather than being engaged in achieving a periodical hiring target in each state, district and branch. There is a constant need to innovate and improve the processes and practices for matchmaking jobs and candidates in future. We hope that the upcoming government understands this.
Hindu Business Line, 8th May 2014
Authored by Pankaj Bansal, Co-Founder and CEO, PeopleStrong