May 15, 2006

India wants 'glocal' HR heads

I think this article in the Economic Times is way off the mark.

It says:
India Inc is gunning for Indian HR heads with global halos. And the foreign-returned HR executives seem to be the breed in vogue these days. Even before the demand for globally-bred CEOs is met, companies in India have begun hankering for HR chiefs with global experience.

I think the ET has got it wrong. Sure it points to certain chiefs of HR like Aquil Busrai and Abhijit Bhaduri who have had global experience, but saying that they have been primarily hired because of their global experience is not right.

There is a shortage in the HR leadership talent pool in India these days. No question about it. Executives who are moving back to India are moving so that they can take advantage of these factors, and companies who are hiring them are doing so because of their HR skills. The fact that they have global experience is an added bonus.

If getting HR executives with global experience was such a imperative, why didn't Infosys ask for a phoren-returned Indian HR head or more simply a foreigner as the HR head? I think Aquil's comment in the article is more spot on:

“Executives working abroad always have the choice of more overseas assignments, but as a professional, one looks at where the action is, and all the action is in India and China for now,” says Aquil Busrai, who quit Shell Malaysia to join IBM Global services in India.

That's my rant against journalists taking some data to present it as a trend!