Changing Contours in IT: Emergence of Holistic People Strategies

Date:   Friday , June 03, 2016

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Unisys is a global IT services company specializing in providing integrated, cutting-edge solutions to clients in the government, financial services and commercial markets

It\'s no secret that a company\'s biggest competitive advantage today is its people - smart, creative, tech savvy professionals are the need of the hour. And given that top talent is in short supply, successfully attracting, engaging and retaining the right people is also one of the top organizational challenges. This calls for an integrated, holistic approach towards talent management which takes into account the entire lifecycle of an employee.

As organizations strive to attract and retain top talent in the face of rapid technological changes, competitive market forces, changing workplace practices (cross-border teams and virtual/flexible teams), and increasing customer demands, HR teams are increasingly integrating all their functions and workforce management practices so as to align with the needs of the business. It is imperative that HR teams take a proactive approach towards integrating all aspects of the employee lifecycle including onboarding, engagement and retention to plan for current and future workforce needs. This is also one of the biggest challenges facing IT companies today.

According to a report by NASSCOM titled \'Reimagining HR in a Changing World 2015\', 87 percent of HR leaders cite employee engagement and culture as the biggest challenge. The fact is that not only are the needs of the business rapidly changing, but so are the needs of employees who take into account multiple factors before choosing their employer.

Changing Needs of the Business

Ask any CEO of an IT company and they will tell you they are looking for niche talent who understand the business, possess a design thinking approach and can innovate and experiment at a rapid pace. These are the changing needs of the business. And they are being driven by clients of technology companies. Today, clients are keen to know all aspects of HR practices across talent acquisition, engagement, development, performance management and governance and risk and compliance models. HR is expected to not just devise a client-centric, holistic approach, but also become agile in understanding and delivering as per client\'s expectations.

Further, the emergence of disruptive technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud as key drivers of marketing, business, and client relationship management for enterprises has also had an impact on the talent requirements of IT organizations. Increasingly, IT companies are looking to recruit people with niche skills - mobile and web app developers, data scientists, cyber security experts and many others. In addition, automation has eliminated the need for hiring talent for simple tasks like software testing. According to a report by Centrum Broking, the IT sector has started witnessing a fall in recruitment numbers due to automation and commoditization.

Compensation No Longer the Clincher

Gone are the days when a hefty pay packet was enough to attract and retain the best of talent. HR teams including Recruitment, Compensation and Benefits, Performance Management, Learning and Development, and HR Analytics can no longer afford to work in silos, but in a holistic manner with a common focus - ensuring employees are motivated and engaged throughout the course of their career. Employees, both freshers and laterals, want to understand a company\'s culture, what the company stands for and their job profile in detail to decide if it suits their aspirations. They want to be entrusted with challenging responsibilities and feel like they are contributing to the organizational strategy.

In addition, prospective employees now keenly look at the growth and development opportunities as they are eager to upskill and groom themselves for the next rung of leadership. They want to pick up technologies and skills that will serve them well for the later part of their careers. Once they join an organization, they also look forward to robust and transparent internal job posting systems, so that they have view of the opportunities available within the company. Potential employees also lay stress on flexibility, work-life balance and other benefits.

To summarize, there is a war out there for the right talent fueled by the changing market and business needs, which has had a significant impact on acquiring, engaging, and retaining talent. Further, as deal sizes and labour arbitrage have shrunk to challenging levels, the onus is on non-linear growth driven by employee productivity and innovation. IT companies need to adopt holistic HR approaches that take into account the entire lifecycle of employees to maintain a distinct competitive advantage in the current market scenario.