People-Centric HRM Practices in India.

AuthorShivhare, Amita
PositionHuman resource management


This article explores best human resource (HR) practices adopted by some leading organizations in India that are instrumental in creating a positive employee experience at the workplace. Best HR practices enable organizations to motivate their employees to achieve better business performance, thus leading to a competitive advantage (Bowen & Ostroff, 2004; Pfeffer, 1994). Such practices also reflect organizational commitment towards a performance-driven culture, empowering employees through learning and growth opportunities, rewarding and recognizing them, and thus creating a robust, diverse and inclusive workforce (Fottler, 2008).

Delery and Doty (1996) in their study advocated that organizations could leverage the benefit of adopted policies and practices, provided that these are internally coherent with the local environment and the organizational conditions. With markets breaking regional barriers, "India" as a brand has become a strong player on the global stage. The challenge in a highly diversified country like India is to adapt globally successful policies so that these generate similar value (Budhwar, 2009). It is interesting to observe how Indian organizations have realized the need to shift from traditional HR practices to innovative and robust HR practices for leveraging the valuable HR (Budhwar & Bhatnagar, 2008). In this context, some HR functions have transformed from mere operations to business enablers (Dun & Bradstreet, 2017). Organizations that have adapted to these changes have experienced reduced employee attrition, high level of customer satisfaction and higher level of employee engagement.

Data Collection

This study explores distinct HR practices in top 10 leading organizations across different sectors. These companies have been mentioned in "the best places to work" rankings in recent years and have also ranked favorably in the rankings of "best employer in India" over the years (Aon Hewitt, 2016a).Based on the information collated on these companies, the HR practices are presented in the seven overarching themes of talent acquisition, talent management, leading through diversity and inclusion, high-performance culture, employee engagement, rewards and recognition and employer branding. The data collection includes secondary data such as information from the websites of the respective companies, newspaper articles, consulting surveys, published reports on best employer to work with and best place to work.

Talent Acquisition

With the increase in the technology-based recruitment processes, 50% of the organizations in India have at least digitalized one process of the complete recruitment cycle (Hewitt, 2016b). As the present workforce majorly comprises the millennial populations, this has put emphasis on recruiters to shift to mobile platforms for better candidate experience so as to build a strong brand image. Companies are now changing their brand strategy from push-to pull-based approaches for attracting best talent. They are banking on different mechanisms that increase the recruitment efficiency by speeding the quality of hiring and lowering down the recruitment cost rather than just increasing the headcount in the workplace. The effectiveness of these two metrics is critical to business success. As the recruitment process aims to deliver the quality of hiring, it is expected from hiring managers to use different criteria to select a candidate who fits best with organizational culture, looking beyond skills and knowledge which can be developed over a period of time (Pfeffer, 1998).

Aon Hewitt (2016b) did a survey on 160 organizations across 12 industries, which showed that 43% of the companies are using social networks to attract passive talent.

Companies in India too are using technology for hiring, for example, Whirlpool India Ltd., the home and kitchen appliance manufacturer, fills the majority of their senior positions from their high-potential (HIPO) pool. For this millennial employees can register their career aspirations on a web-based portal, which is available for all senior managers and top leaders to see.

Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GPCL) has a unique talent acquisition program, namely, 100 Leaders Program, where they identify those 100 key employees who have the potential to become future leaders in different roles. GPCL tracks the careers of these selected employees and train them for future leadership roles.

It has also launched another program called "Godrej LOUD" (Live Out Ur Dream) for recruiting management students. This policy aims at encouraging students to live out their unfulfilled dreams by offering them the sponsorship and summer internships to work in the company. With referrals emerging as a favored source of recruitment, companies are turning to their employees as their new brand ambassadors. This helps in reducing dependency on external sources to search for talent and helps in leveraging the employer brand through their own workforce. GPCL is also using referral schemes for improving gender diversity in the workplace.

Talent Management

Organizations in India and at international level are applying the concept of "talent management" for achieving great results. This concept enables organizations to engage their senior leaders alongside HR personnel for crafting talent management strategies. Talent management refers to the systematic and dynamic process to identify, develop, engage, retain and deploy those individuals possessing high potential to create exceptional values for an organization (Lewis & Heckman, 2006). Leading organizations implement talent management practices, such as Whirlpool India who believes in its employees' overall development. For that, it has designed a robust framework "talent pool" for developing an individual's potential, retention and succession planning. It is an extensive process of evaluating individual performance based on a nine-box matrix tool by their managers.

Every individual is assessed using a leadership profile sheet comprising different leadership attributes and is then placed in one of the boxes on the nine-box system based on their potential. This talent pool plays a critical role in doing succession planning as it tracks the employee's current position and helps in developing his career, that is, by how much time one will be ready to move to another box. An extensive succession planning is mapped to train and develop the individuals before moving them to a new role. For instance, boxes 1, 2 and 3 are reserved for individuals who are seen as game changers and thus are given preference for a special retention plan and are successively assigned higher responsibilities, international projects and robust pay packages. In addition, another initiative is to foster younger talent management system that lets the subordinates provide...

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