Friday, March 25, 2011

CII hosts first annual HR convention in Gujarat

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) hosted its first annual Human Resources (HR) Convention in Gujarat on Friday. The Convention stressed on the need to invest in human resource capital for future growth of companies and businesses.

Technology and finance, which till recently were the differentiating factors between corporates, have now paved the way for human resources as the driving force for businesses in the future. Addressing the 250-strong audience comprising HR managers and business owners from the city, Rajeev Jyoti, Chief Country Representative, Bombardier Transportation India said that irrespective of scale of operation or industry, nurturing people as the primary ‘paid capital’ will make organisational functions sustainable. "With so many foreign companies now investing in India, the demand for good people seems to outstrip supply. We need well thought of strategic training programmes that will throw up talent from time to time and fill in our requirements," said Neville Lobo, Vice President, Management Development Center, Larsen and Toubro, one of the 20 speakers at the event.
 
Gujarat has more than a fair share of manufacturing, pharma, biotech, engineering and petrochemical industries. However, most of these companies are small and medium-scale enterprises, often family-owned. The nature of problems these businesses face are peculiar to their scale and type. "With more companies aspiring for faster growth and looking at expansion into international markets, there is a strong need for a highly skilled workforce that is currently in short supply. Labour is available in plenty but there aren’t enough training institutes for specific kinds of skills. Also, till recently we were relying heavily on labour from Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. But now we see a decrease in the number of workers there simply because of the development that is taking place in those states. These are the issues individual SMEs here face and we want to provide a platform to them to share their experiences and find solutions to many of their common problems," Nitin Mankad, Chairman, CII Central Gujarat Zonal Council, said. Mankad also mentioned that the Government of Gujarat has proposed to the CII to open around 100 skill-development institutes in the state in the next few years.
 
India's huge youth workforce will only be employable if they are skilled and their aspirations are met. The speakers talked about how companies have to keep up with their employees' expectations and offer them competitive salaries and opportunities for growth. And it's not just the white-collared employees who are demanding more of their employers. Sharad Gangal, Executive Vice President - HR, Thermax Group, noted that highly-skilled welders and fitters in the industry now demand salaries in the range of Rs 30,000-40,000 per month. "It is no longer the era of voluntary retirement schemes. It's about job fairs today," said Gangal, adding that the sooner companies accept this fact the better it will be for them.
 
Creating a creative climate at the workplace will also improve employee satisfaction and productivity, Vivek Paranjpe, Head - Group HR, Reliance Industries Ltd, opined. "As acquisitions, mergers and divestitures will become more common, companies will need to embrace change. And with customers becoming more demanding and huge choices out there in the market, the pressure on corporations to upgrade their products and human resources will be tremendous," he added.
 
The event also saw the launch of the CII's HR Mentoring Service that would provide a platform for young professionals to interact with experienced HR leaders. CII is the first business association to offer such service on a professional basis.  

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