A “HIRE” Balancing Rope

Suma Subramanian

Partner and Director, CaptiveAide

After months of work sorting the legal and infrastructure areas of your captive entity in India, the least problematic ought to be that of hiring staff, right? After all, the industry has been around for a long time and there are experienced professionals available for hire as are 2.5 million young graduates who stream out of colleges annually, of which, over a million have engineering qualifications. hiring in India isn’t so simple.

Hiring of experienced staff as lateral movements has the attendant risks of fitment, culture and cost associated with it.

As for young blood (fresh from campus), not much is readily employable as is. Nasscom, the technology industry’s representative body, has found that unless trained after they graduate, about 75% of tech grads are not employable. The reality of staffing your captive center in India isn’t pretty – but careful and strategic planning will help in a big way.

Mixed Bag

The best path to take when you’re hiring for your captive center is the middle path. Obviously the post right at the top will not depend upon age or even knowledge of the technology in depth but someone who understands the nuances of working with global in-house centers and is comfortable in managing stakeholders within the parent organization.

Depending on the nature of work (processes) the traditional pyramid structure may work, where the base is made up of young staff – and the more experienced, older employees/managers making up the middle and the top.

 Train Gain

Hiring the right peope alone is not enough. From the outset, invest on training programs for every single person joining the captive. This will provide a good base for employees to understand the organization they are being hired for, its customers,overseas counterparts they will interact with and so on. While Skype is cheaper (even free!), I would rather have a few senior managers meet the new employees face to face. It’s a great way to forge work bonds and build trust.

Culture mash-up

There’s every likelihood of one side misunderstanding the other even in the work environment where you’d expect clinical efficiency. And that’s because office environments differ hugely depending upon the geography they are in. One thing that is a must do are culture workshops that need to be held on both sides of the ocean. Additionally, I’d suggest having a cultural mash-up between the captive and parent, wherein employees engage in discussions, exchange stories, fables, have meals together and so on. Being horrified before the work begins in real earnest is better than rude shocks once deadlines loom.

Go Local

Offshore captive centers have to make sure they deliver the goods to the parent, but the parent needs to be nurturing as well. Take stock of local holidays; if you still need employees to work on an important local holiday, think of rewarding employees in a way that they feel motivated enough to sacrifice that holiday.

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