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HR in India – Is it still in an Infant Stage ?

Human Resources functions gained its importance in India in late 80s and the Personnel and Administrative functions were enriched to Human Resources Functions. More and more institutes started offering specialized courses in Human Resources. Demand for HR functionaries is now on its pick and the current generation of students is seriously considering opting for HR Specialization.

Post independence to Late 80s – Administration, PM and IR functions This was the era of Administrative functions, Personnel functions and Industrial Relations. Personnel functions included typical paper and administrative work of legal and statutory compliance like PF, ESI, Factories Act forms and returns etc. Industrial Relations included maintaining harmonious management-union relations and handling labour unrest. The important feature of this era was that it was centered around legal compliance and maintaining the management-union relations. However, the factor of Promoting or Improving union-management relations and promotion individual development was missing. Further, it was more of a reactive approach rather than pro-active approach.

Late 80s to Liberalization era – Human Resource Management During this era, many large organisations’ focus shifted to Human Resource Management and the paradigm shifted to pro-active approach and promoting Individual Development. Employees were recognised as the most valuable asset of the organisation and measures were taken to promote employee welfare and development. Unlike the olden time, qualified people were recruited to handle Human Resources and Personnel Functions. Many organisations even went to the extent that they changed the name of the Personnel Department to HR Department or Employee Relations Department. TATA groups of companies, Godrej, Reliance, few other leading IT organisations and few Public Sector enterprise were pioneers in this initiatives. Moreover, spends on Training and Orienting employees to the organisations’ requirements were also coupled into the HR activities.

Post 1991, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s liberalized industrial policies, India witnessed a great boom of industrialization and many foreign firms entered Indian markets. They brought with them their new and innovative HR practices and India was all set to enter the advanced stage of Human Resources Development practices. Situation Now – Is it good enough? Indian organisations and MNCs' present in India promoted many innovative HR practices. Focus gradually shifted to benefiting the organisation as a whole through individual development and OD and OB concepts also have gained significant importance. Currently, most of the medium size to large sized firms/organisations have HR practices and dedicated HR Department. More and more organisations are fine tuning their HR practices to benefiting the organisation to the best. However, it is surprising to observe that India has virtually contributed nothing to the HR field. India has been adopting and practicing the good HR concepts and innovations invented by International HR fraternity, but have failed to offer an innovation or invention in the field of HR. Firms have been able to maintain the current HR functions in a decent manners, but have spent little efforts for innovation in the field. We are still believing that whatever we are doing is good enough, but the fact remains that the world is constantly changing and we also need to match the pace of the development. HR in India is in Infant stage If I were to conclude on the basis of my experience, generally (remember, there may be exceptions) Assessment Centres, Psychometric Test etc. have help the organisation to select best of the best people matching their requirements; however, they have been unable to help in retaining them. We have been implementing training and nominating employees to training, but have been unable to measure the impact and taking the corrective actions on the same. We have been offering more and more money to retain the employees, but have been failing to look at the softer aspect which play significant role in building employee loyalty. It would not be an exaggeration to say that HR in India is still in Infant stage and it has to grow significantly if it has to retain is advantageous position in the world as a cost effective and efficient labour source.

Organisations are under constant pressure to reduce cost and increase productivity and this is possible only through increase efficiency of employees. And hence, HR practices in India have to mature and graduate to the level that can offer the innovation and employee development in such a way that it can foster the growth of the organisation and economy as a whole at a faster pace.

Author : Mehul Pandya

Comments Listing
Posted: 06/02/2013 00:35:33

Interseting writeup

Posted: 28/01/2013 08:58:14

I really liked the way author was true in the sense that we had to go further to adopt the HR practices globally to come out of that infant stage.

Posted: 31/10/2012 02:11:09

Goodone Mehul

I have observed in past...that YES INDIAN HR has moved inertia towards maturity.. Infact we certainly are struggling towards benchmarking in HR.

The kind of potential HR has in India is mind boggling. we are groomed and nurtured from day one in regional cross cultural conditions. which is exactly the need of the hour....

but yes miles to go....


Posted: 17/08/2012 06:27:34

thanks for sharing the knowledge...

Posted: 25/01/2011 02:25:48

Thank you for the basic knowledge

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