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ROI on People: Loyalty or Skill

When innovation disrupts markets, and makes entire organisations lay off employees, who is to blame? The innovator? The HR? The management of the organization that has been hit? Or the employee who has not seen it coming?

These questions are always asked at every HR summit, conference, congregation or conclave. Many words are bandied, many platitudes are thrown around, the air turns thick with words scattered from all degrees of the opinion compass. Loyalty, profitability, social responsibility, headcount, retrench, attrition engagement buzz around like flies around a dung heap.

And yes, it is a dung heap.

We don’t like it, we are aghast when winds waft the stink to us, yet we buzz around it and come back to it time and again.

Most organisations, when it comes to people engagement, spiral around on Mobius Strip structures of indecision and information processing. They keep revisiting the same point, the same old worries, with rehashed theories, repackaged with latest buzzwords and jargon. There are times when one yearns to stand up and thank management gurus for coining buzzwords, without which we’d be stuck in rehashes without the glory and glamour of repackaging.

Rants aside, many HR teams in various organisations across India are waking up to the fact that employees aren’t a count of attendance as a function of leaves, time spent near coffee machine and attendance at socials and parties. In a world that leads by innovation as opposed to sheer manufacturing muscle powered by raw financial energy, one needs to measure skills.

Acquisition of skills have moved in the era of millennials from ready to be trained, to ready to work, EXPENSIVE propositions. And there is no one more aware of it than the HR person of an organization. Propelled from a passive role of managing people from an operational perspective, they have moved to the forefront to engage with business needs vis-à-vis skill and talent.

And skills in the meanwhile, have moved from passive workforces to aggressive delivery. The millennial engagement with an organization has moved from loyalty to organization, to commitment to work on hand. Unlike the generation that braved organisations and their demands at the cost of personal lives and weekends with family sacrificed, the millennial works for the project, and takes personal time very seriously.

The query is, thus, this. Will the millennial focused around the skill and the HR, get along together in the near future? Or would HR continue to offer loyalty bonuses and skill upgradation to offset the high rates that the millennial who’s ready and equipped to deliver, demand?

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