GeneralHr News

India Inc has a new headache: Short stints by HR heads

Source | : By Saumya Bhattacharya

New Delhi/Mumbai: India Inc. has an HR problem at the top. The tenures of human resource heads are getting shorter with a large number of them quitting in three years or even less. According to data collated by executive search firm EMA Partners International exclusively for ET, more than 30 HR leaders have quit to join another company in the past six months. HR market watchers confirmed the trend.

Among the big e-commerce companies, both Flipkart and Amazon are looking for HR bosses. Flipkart has been looking for an HR head since COO Nitin Seth, who also handled the department, quit in May 2017. CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy is currently in charge of HR. Raj Raghavan, director of HR for the Asia-Pacific region at Amazon, is in the process of moving out to join InterGlobe Aviation, which runs IndiGo airlines.

A volatile business environment and paucity of talent are cited as the main reasons for the churn.

“Companies are now changing business strategies way too often,” said K Sudarshan, CEO at EMA Partners International in India. “Talent is key to achieving business goals, and the demand for senior HR executives is high, resulting in attrition. In some instances, HR heads find the requirements of the role totally different from what they were roped in for. This leads to a disconnect.” There have been several high-profile exits in the past six months. January alone has seen around half-a-dozen changes: Raghavan will join IndiGo as senior vice president, HR; Sameer Wadhawan, formerly of Coca Cola, joined Samsung as India HR head; and Kaustubh Sonalkar moved to Essar Group from the Future Group as president, HR.

“Generally speaking, HR has become an important business partner,” said Navnit Singh, chairman and managing director of India for Korn/Ferry International. “Almost everyone is looking at upgrading existing talent or hiring more senior people. Like any other function, there is a shortage of good HR heads. Salaries are on the rise and large Indian conglomerates or mature ecommerce companies are paying HR heads anywhere between Rs 4-6 crore.” Then again, some companies are looking to experiment with younger people who have the potential to grow into the job, Singh said.

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