Feb 16, 2007

Gossip from the HR Consulting market

Last Sunday I was in Delhi. It was bleak, windy and wet. Having lived in the southern part of the country for the last eight years, I now find the north's cold winters quite unbearable.

But yes, without doubt, Delhi is the headquarters of the biggest HR consulting firms in India, and therefore exchanging the consulting world's gossip is a must do whenever one visits Delhi.

For example the country manager of this large consulting firm is hardly seen as a "thought leader" or "creator" by her own employees. So they are quite stunned to see that the firm's Indian practice has turned fully profitable. All divisions. Quite bemused my friend said "I dunno what she does, she just hired a lot of competent people and gives them a lot of autonomy"

Ah, the elusive holy grail of management :-))

Then there were talks about how a large industrial group which works with a large HR consulting firm in all areas and practices was mulling a large foray into retailing. So all the consulting head needed to do at this firm was meet the Retailing business's HR head over dinner and finalize the deal. Guess what? The client reached the dinner and the consulting head forgot the appointment !

Soon the consulting deal went to the international HR firm that is still trying to grow its practices in India. And the other firm is "persona" non-grata in the retailing group of the large conglomerate.

HR consultants in India's 2-3 biggest firms are not so happy when their promised "international projects" materialise. That's because the "international" bit is "merely" Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And for the lucky few who do manage to get a South-East Asia project, the project team is totally based out of India. No learning by interacting with global counterparts for them :(

Delhi is also the place where any sort of money seems to be never enough. HR colleagues with eight year experiences are already commanding salaries of Rs 30-45 lakhs (USD 70,000 to 100,000), the spike being driven by the huge shortage of HR talent being faced by the sunrise industries of retail, insurance and the always hemorrhaging talent pool of the FMCG industry.

Apparently HR consultants who carry out salary surveys are the first ones to be very dissatisfied :-))