May 17, 2007

HR attrition and retention

Sanjay thinks that HR people's high attrition in some industries is symptomatic of their lack of belief in their own talent retention practices.

So my simple thought is follow the old wisdom of 'charity begins at home'. All you guys in HR first think of programs to retain yourselves before you embark on making successful retention plans for the others, your own conviction will make the programs much more successful than anything else.

There are a number of reasons why the HR attrition is high.

One, traditionally, there have been very few HR focussed post graduate education in India. With the result that HR leadership talent is very limited compared to the number of openings. That is why certain industries like IT services, outsourcing and insurance have HR leaders who might be considered very young. It is also the reason why non-HR leaders are moving to HR.

This is coupled with the growth of people intensive businesses in India which should ideally have a higher HR professional to employee ratio than a capital intensive business.

The fact remains that it is not HR people who control the budget and whom the retention programs target. That focus remains to be the line employees, and HR remains a facilitator. However, once that starts to pinch the business, I am sure retention programs focussed at support services like HR will come to be rolled out.