Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Nov 07, 2003
CEOs grapple with talent retention problems
Hong Kong , Nov. 6
TO what extent should family-owned businesses entrust company management to professional executives? How should companies deal with the issue of non-performing employees?
These were among the HR-related issues that came up for discussion at the Seventh Annual CEO Forum, a conference of select Asian CEOs held by Business Week.
A lively discussion revolved around whether or not companies should adopt `Jack Welsh-type ruthlessness', with the leading panellists in a session taking opposite positions.
Mr Jack Welsh, the renowned CEO of General Electric, retrenched the worst five per cent of employees every year, even when the company was doing well.
Mr Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company, said that Indian companies usually downsized "in a humane way", and do not "ask them to go the next morning".
TVS Motor itself had faced a financial crisis some years ago and had to cut its workforce by 40 per cent. But the company gave them two years' pay and helped many of them get another job. (Mr Venu Srinivasan, along with Mr Rajesh Hukku, Chairman and Managing Director, i-flex Solutions, was among those who received the Business Week Stars of Asia award today from the former US President, Mr Bill Clinton.)
Another panellist, Mr Luis Conde, Chairman, Amrop Hever group of Spain, said that he would not in the first place hire people if there were a doubt in the candidate's abilities, especially at the top levels.
But if the hired employee was found unfit, he would not be given opportunities to continue in the job and make mistakes.
Mr Richard Elman, CEO of the Hong Kong-based Noble group, said that while employees ought not be given a guarantee of employment, it is not good for a company that its employees come to work with the fear of losing their jobs.
However, closing down or selling a business in case of exigencies, if it happens once in a while, would serve as a wake up call to the other employees.
Mr Venu Srinivasan said that even in family-run businesses executives ought to be empowered and encouraged to innovate. If they made a bona fide mistake, they should not be taken to task for that. On the other hand, some glory-seekers would never fit into any group. It would be better to separate them, giving them adequate compensation, rather than "humiliate" them, keeping them in the job but not giving any work.
Mr Elman said that in hiring for top executives, he would not go so much by "paper qualifications" as his own assessment of the candidates' skills. He would prefer an "entrepreneurial type - a risk taker, a dreamer, who wants fun, freedom and social recognition."
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line