HT Power Jobs: New-age retention routes

Intraplacement helps promote key employees who have rusty job search skills, writes Indira Dharchaudhuri.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 14:42 IST

Move over "paper postings". Companies like Sun Microsystems, HP, Silicon Graphics, Pacific Gas & Electric, Intel and Flextronics have advanced beyond relying on this staffing method. They’ve introduced mechanisms to increase the growth and internal movements of their employees.

The Gen-X workforce has ample opportunities in the market, has lower tolerance for stagnation, is easily bored and is ready to leave at the slightest frustration.

Hence, says Aadesh Goyal, Centre Head and VP-HR, Flextronics Software Systems, "If you don't act to keep their careers moving (especially in case of those who are passive job-seekers), they may become your next retention problem."

So, here comes intraplacement or intrasourcing (different from internal job posting) — a New-Age retention tool that not only re-deploys a firm's human assets to areas of business needs, but also promotes key employees who lack self-confidence, are shy or have rusty job search skills.

Explains Keshav Sachdev, Executive Director-CEO, DCM Engineering, "Most firms put tremendous capital into external recruiting, but often fail to seek the best talent — right under their noses — their very own employees."

In fact, says GK Kalidasan, VP-HR, ISG NovaSoft, "Organisations often fit employees into virtual hierarchical set-ups with prescribed positions at the time of their joining. These positions predetermine the future of these employees. And that's one reason why Indian firms lack home-grown 'Cs' (CEOs, CFOs, CIOs or COOs)."

The factors that influence internal movements include entry-level psychological positioning of employees in the minds of decision-makers, scalability of individuals, their willingness to move a notch up, risk-taking capabilities and a total lack of a professional fusion mechanism on the part of HR.

So, how does intraplacement differ from traditional internal job posting? Informs G Ashok, Head-HR, Servion Global Solution, "Internal job postings rely on the employee to initiate the search for a post. Discovering a new job takes hours of detective work and if you are not well linked, it's a shot in the dark.

Firms post the openings on their notice boards, but just flicking through it can brand you as unfaithful. Some bosses even 'hold back' the best employees from transfers for their own advantage and brand those who transfer often as 'job jumpers'. In contrast, for intraplacement, intrarecruiters proactively seek and place the best internal candidates."

Agrees V Ramachandran, Director-HR, Murugappa Group, "Internal job posting systems are not well-automated and measured." Adds Shailja Dutt, MD and Founder, Stellar Search and Selection, "They often morph into a less formal process. Intraplacement systems are always formal and structured."

“There are several advantages of intraplacement,” says Shalini Sarin, GM-HR (Training and OD), Godfrey Phillips India, “like back-fill capacities in case of unanticipated openings, greater rates of retention, higher motivation levels and an opening out of employee competencies."

Adds Lalit Khaitan, CMD, Radico Khaitan, "Since internal candidates already know the organisational culture, they have a much higher success rate in their new jobs."

Many case studies show positive results of intraplacement. Says Nandita Gurjar, VP and Head-HR, Progeon, "Our intraplacement process has a clear message — you don't need to go beyond Progeon for your career growth.

In fact, our experience with intraplacement has been excellent with 71 per cent successful closures to advertised job openings from internal responses. This reduces our recruitment turnaround time for new posts and in turn lowers the cost of sourcing at lateral levels."

At Flextronics, almost 500 employees in the last five years have been retained through intraplacements. Even Godfrey Phillips has had about 26 job rotations in the last one-and-half-year including both its CEOs.

Says ML Taneja, Executive VP-HR, HCL Infosystems, "We create intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. Hence, we recruit people from the campus, groom, mentor and nurture them for leadership roles. Today, 90 per cent of our leaders are the ones taken in from campuses."

So what are the challenges involved in this exercise? Explains CV Prakash, Head-Human Capital, Team Computers, "Firms must be prepared for cascading effects in replacements. One movement can create an effect of moving multiple people to fill the vacuum created."

Adds Atul Saini, CEO, Fiorano Software Inc., "It’s also necessary to ensure that internal jumping is controlled. It’s important to weed those people out who jump simply because they are dissatisfied or are poor performers."

Further, says Deep Kalra, CEO and Founder, MakeMyTrip.com, "When a company is in the growth phase, the need for external recruitment can’t be undermined." Agrees Sarin, "Then there's a need for infusion of new talent, fresh ideas and a paradigm shift. While there is great focus on looking for the best ones within the organisation, we cannot compromise by not recruiting someone from outside."

Hence, perhaps it’s best to have a basket of both internal and external talents. Reiterates Anand Shukla, Head-HR, SABMiller India, "An effective policy may include a combination of internal posting, external sourcing and career development tools to accomplish company goals."

Adds Anuradha Purbey, Director, Aviva Life Insurance, "HR needs to shifts its gears from ‘filling-the-vacancy’ to a ‘succession-planning’ mindset."

So, should the vacancy be posted simultaneously to employees and the public, or should public posting be delayed? Says Suhas Nerurkar, President, TVA Infotech, "Public postings can be delayed unless there's a business emergency." Adds Shirish Kerkar, Line HR, UK, 3, "Internal talent must be the first to undergo the selection process, after which the sourcing team can look at evaluating external talent."

However, while following this procedure, says Arvinda Dahiya, GM-HR, QAI India, "Do have a transparent process and communicate."

Concludes Harish Bhattiprolu, Director Sales, Kenexa Technologies, "HR must ensure that favouritism and nepotism are not demonstrated to employees; else, existing employees might misinterpret the very best work environments, leading to a cascade of problems."

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 11:45 IST