Wednesday, 26 March 2008

More on the language of people

I've previously encouraged HR functions not just to learn the language of business, but to help the business learn the language of HR, or the language of people.

Well, I'm in Singapore to deliver a workshop on talent management and I've been looking at a couple of Asian case studies I might use.

One of the best is a Stanford case study on Indian outsourcing firm, Infosys: 'Building a Talent Engine to Sustan Growth'.

This outlines Infosys' sophisticated approach to human capital management and describes the role of Mohan Pai as head of HR. Pai was previously CFO and describes the quick shift in mindset he made in moving to HR:

"As CFO, he had regarded employees as economic assets. In his new role, he also had to view them as emotional humans. He noted the difference in perspective, saying, "For me, the big shift happened because every time a person walked into my room, I looked at the person's net present value. Now, I'm head of HR, and the next person who walked into the room, I see that person as a bundle of emotions, as a person with aspirations, as a person whom I hired and who has to deliver value.' "


Now Infosys is a hugely successful and well led organisation which Pai likens to a human capital supply chain company. But wouldn't it be even more successful if its CFO and line managers had Pai's approach to people (a willingness to engage with their emotions and aspirations), not just the folks in HR?

Just a thought.