The New Wave

DQI Bureau
New Update

If we trace the history of the business environment, trading

patterns and markets were stable, technology was static, customers were passive,

the speed of getting to market was secondary, competition was limited to sectors

and regions, and hierarchies were generally accepted. But that is not true any

more. Since the 1960’s, the US and much of the rest of the world has been

almost continually buffeted by change. Customers demand that businesses do it

better, faster, and cheaper. Employees want to control more than the ‘stop’

button on the assembly line.


“Attracting, managing, nurturing and ultimately retaining talent have emerged as critical challenges for HR”

The 20th century saw nations around the world become part of

the global village, with trade barriers between them reduced or removed

completely. Events of the last five years of the previous century have focused

our attention on knowledge industries.

A look at the trends in managing people in this dynamic

industry reflects that attracting, managing, nurturing and ultimately retaining

talent have emerged as critical issues in lieu of the enormous opportunities

spun off by the market. The new avatar of talent is the knowledge professional

who is innovative, business savvy, quick on the uptake, has an instinctive

ability to network and possesses unbridled ambition. Professionals today are

propelled by an urge to experiment and scan new avenues that can spur their

creativity. The knowledge professional will gravitate to an organization that is

flexible, has strong values, robust performance ethics and provides challenging

work on latest technology. This has led to companies proactively taking measures

on three fronts. First, companies create an organizational ambience where talent

can bloom. Second, they put in place systems that help unleash the potential of

this talented workforce and third, they build a reward and recognition mechanism

that provides value for people. 


Profound systemic changes have been seen in the way companies

are structured. The concepts of leadership and managing people have undergone a

radical rethink. Cubicles, hierarchies and rigid organization structures of the

past, have now given way to an open work environment, a flat structure with

informality being a general rule that leads to the empowerment of individuals.

Today, work itself is centered around projects, which have virtual teams working

on them. This work structure has led to a culture of flexi time and round the

clock accessibility to the workplace. Also catching up fast is the trend of

workstations at home, remote access and video-conferencing. In order to stay a

step ahead of the aspirations of their people, companies are continuously

striving to provide an intellectually stimulating environment. Few examples

being, in-house libraries, continuous upgradation of knowledge and skills,

knowledge sharing and building relationships with academia thus enabling

knowledge workers to pursue multiple careers within a single company. The times

to come will see sabbaticals forming part of the organization culture, corporate

universities dotting the new horizon and competing companies bunching together

to set up knowledge networks. 

Companies are constantly striving towards enhancing the

quality of work life and also the personal life of its employees. In-house

health clubs, yoga and meditation centers to relieve stress, sports and cultural

activities, employee get-togethers with invitations to come over with families,

day care centers and other such perks are being provided.

With the increasing size of the companies, the top down

communication model of yesteryears has been replaced by bottom up, cross level

communication. Open house sessions, mentoring and online chats have emerged as

communication enablers. 


The new economy has given rise to a culture of working in

teams. Since working in teams is not a passing fad, companies are now designing

compensation structures, which reward team performance in addition to individual


To conclude, change is here to stay, and we need to

understand that all the practices that work today may not necessarily work

tomorrow. The tools for managing human assets will be derived from expectations

of customers and changes in market conditions.

BY Radha Shivakumar The

author is manager, human resources, Tejas Networks.