NEW DELHI: At Jindal Steel & Power, about a tenth of the 16,000-strong workforce will move to digital roles this year, as the company implements a multi-skilling, multi-tasking programme for its employees.
Jindal Steel & Power’s move is coming at a time when there is a growing trend towards digitisation, with companies ranging from steel manufacturers and power transmission firms to retailers and FMCG majors adopting tools such as 3D printing, Big Data analytics, and social media and Internet marketing. They are increasingly hiring dedicated digital talent and developing their own digital strategies to deal with fast-changing technologies and business needs.
“Digitisation is the way forward, and a digital strategy brings speed, efficacy and probity which are essential for progress,” said Rajeev Bhadauria, director of group HR at Jindal Steel & Power. Headhunters and search experts say demand for digital talent is cutting across industry lines, with companies seeking people from outside their industries as well as training existing staff for digital roles.
Headhunting firm Transearch has looked at more than 11-12 mandates for digital heads across sectors over the past 8-10 months. It is currently working on mandates for two manufacturing companies. “We are seeing a huge demand for talent in the digital domain and every company is hiring for the digital function,” said Atul Vora, CEO, Transearch. “They realise this is the new reality and forging a digital strategy is important for survival in today’s environment.” Concurred Sanjiv Sachar, consultant at Egon Zehnder: “Digital is big across sectors and there has been a fair amount of discussions over the past few months on getting talent for this domain. Since there’s a paucity of talent here, there’s a need to look at global talent as well.
Companies are looking for separate people to head their digital strategies and not just the same people from technology or operations,” he said.
Kamal Karanth, managing director of Staffing firm Kelly Services for India and Malaysia, said CEOs were being asking for specialised digital talent to enhance their digital presence and to measure it more frequently and effectively. The Mahindra Group set up a central digital team six months ago to look at digital transformation across businesses, take advantage of technology trends, to focus on social media and to enhance marketing capabilities by leveraging digital platforms.
“There’s a significant focus on digitisation and we have hired people who have built or worked at startups and at large internet companies. Demand for talent will be fairly high going forward,” said Anish Shah, group president-strategy, at the group.
The group is currently looking for 20 people with digital expertise. Focus on digital functions has also gone up at the Tata Group. “There’s greater awareness around digital across all group companies, and we are looking at getting talent across divisions. Digital is becoming a way of life and can create significant multipliers for businesses,” said NS Rajan, group chief human resources officer at Tata Sons.
“We are constantly looking for people who are digitally active. We built our central digital team about a year ago under strategic marketing and we are now looking at embedding digital knowledge and are hiring people across functions including corporate HR. We are also training our employees on the use of digital platforms. This is important to enhance our capabilities going forward,” said Sumit Mitra, head of group HR and corporate services at Godrej Industries and Associate Companies.
While PepsiCo India has had digital as a strategic vertical, reporting directly to the leadership team member heading insights and marketing services, the company built a separate ecommerce vertical about six months ago and hired Archana Nilaver Thakur as associate director, ecommerce.
“We are invested in not only building the right organisation structure, but ensuring that these capabilities permeate through the organisation across all functions and layers,” said Suchitra Rajendra, vice president-HR.
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