Article (October-2019)


Careful analysis of man power planning helps handling situation

Alok Nigam

Designation : -   Senior Vice President and Group CHRO

Organization : -  Bhartiya Group, Gurugram


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How do you see the current economic slowdown on a larger scale?

AN The recent economic slowdown has overturned the market which has affected many sectors leading to a meltdown. The manufacturing sector has been hit leading to job crunches; the production in the automobile sector has been stopped leading to laying off people in hundreds. Though experts claim that this is a temporary phase but since the business will take time to achieve its normal course, so will the job market.

Is it restricted to India only because of localised circumstances or have reached to global level?

AN Globally, there has been a massive shift happening with increasing unemployment on one hand and lack of specialised skill set on other. By 2030, the technological advancement will eat up approx 800 million jobs. The advent of AI and robotics will take the place of people all over the globe.

What are the factors that have triggered this downturn?

AN In India this is an effect of the global situation. Also the stringent procedures of the government have affected businesses to operate within the country leading to closure of small businesses. With demonetization and application of GST, many small traders have found it difficult to operate leading to unemployment. One of the many reasons can be cited is low liquidity which leads to low demands which in turn has a direct impact on production costs. With the increase in the production costs, businesses curtail expenditure on the same which results in laying off people thus increasing the rate of unemployment.

How do you specify see the relationship between economic downturn and job losses and how HR should address the challenge of job losses and maintain existing employees' morale?
AN The increasing costs of operating a business has always been a concern and on top of the mind of any entrepreneur. One of the many costs which affects the business and which is targeted upon is the human resource cost. A deep study on maintaining the HR costs is what is required at this time of crisis. The HR needs to analyse the job roles and how similar job roles can be combined to work out the crisis of people losing their jobs. The HR needs to pay attention to develop the skill set required in their line of business so that the lateral hiring can be avoided and at the same time the leadership pipeline is built so that the existing people can fill in the required jobs. A careful analysis of manpower planning and review of the same from time to time will help businesses to handle the tricky situation.

How HR should prepare well in advance for such massive job casualties?

AN We need to educate the top line of such crisis and invoke their thought process towards initiating and developing the skill set of the existing employees and give them an opportunity to have a well-developed all-rounder who can come to the rescue at the time of need. The HR should induce this in the culture of the organization which in turn should become the DNA of the organization. The HR needs to pay attention to develop the skill set required in their line of business so that the lateral hiring can be avoided and at the same time the leadership pipeline is built so that the existing people can fill in the required jobs.

Who do you think suffers the most during recession - employee or the employer?

AN The effect of the fall out between an employer and employee is the same during such circumstances. As much as the employee is suffering due to loss of job, the employer also suffers equitable set back.

What are the jobs and domains that are most susceptible to economic slowdown? Are there industries or roles which are recession proof, in some way or the other?

AN There is not one particular sector or jobs which get affected by the slowdown. Some may feel that since the manufacturing sector is going down the road hence the workmen will be affected largely. Others may feel that the executives are the susceptible lot to succumb to such situations.

Do you think that labour reforms have anything to do with enhancing job opportunities and why rolled out labour reforms are not able to improve business sentiment and help recovering industry from recession?

AN Labour reforms often protect the people from facing complex situation but in our country Labor laws can only help strata of people to carry on with complex situation like these. The reason is our increased population and fewer jobs. The government does not have stringent reforms for the entrepreneurs from taking hard action against their employees and the government does not support any schemes either to support people who are out of employment.