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How HR can help build a strong workforce of the future

HR must partner business strategically. In doing so, they must nurture and develop leaders for the future, grooming them into future leaders with the skills to take on ever-changing business environments. An article from Forbes explains strategies that could be implemented include cross-functional or cross-geography experience.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies, recent concerns of a slowdown notwithstanding. India is also home to a young population and it is expected that by 2020, the average age in India will be 29 years. Should the current rate of population growth continue, India will overtake China to become the most populous nation by 2050. The millennials and generation X demographics dominate the Indian workforce, with 98 percent of working individuals belonging to these generation segments.

While it is popularly called out as a ‘demographic dividend’, it also implies that economic growth and resulting job creation need to serve the needs of the millions of new graduates entering the workforce each year. The situation has been exacerbated with the rapidly evolving skills requirement, with the advent of new technologies. Additionally, the curricula in most tertiary educational institutions, have not kept up with this evolution. We hope that the government will proactively take steps to address the burgeoning gap through broad-based reforms in education and focusing on better partnerships between the academia and the corporate sector.

According to Mercer Talent Trends 2017, in India, jobs in the next three years will focus more on design and innovation, and as more jobs will be done virtually; salaried workforce will primarily be in management roles, with much broader spans of control. As India Inc welcomes five generations in the workplace and embraces the shifting nature of jobs, it will be critical how human resources (HR) professionals manage to attract and retain today’s talent, while striking the right balance and finding a sustainable way to build capability for the future.

Shift in What Indian Employees Value 
Mercer Talent Trends 2016 showed that an Indian employee valued ‘Focus on Learning’ as the most important aspect of the employee value proposition. However, in 2017, the focus has shifted to ‘Pay and Promotion’, signalling a shift to what a younger workforce demographic typically values. It has been noted that 93 percent Indian employees want to be recognised and rewarded for contributions beyond their role definitions. They also seek greater clarity on performance ratings and periodic constructive feedback. With the wide adoption of technology, 54 percent workers want their organisations to offer more flexible work options.

Health and wellness are also accorded high priority and again 54 percent of the employees want their employers to focus on this aspect by way of offering compelling benefits. While the baby boomers and traditionalists sought the comfort of long-term careers, the younger workforce in India would prefer to have the liberty to navigate their own careers. 70 percent of workers would rather work on a contractual basis, resonating with the global rise of the gig economy.

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