Final Word – Hurconomics for Talent Management: The Creation of a Business-driven HRD Missionary

Final Word

In a recent survey by TV Rao Learning Systems, line managers from different organizations were asked to assess the effectiveness of the HRD function. The survey results, when compared with the results of a similar survey conducted in 1991, indicated a definite decline in the effective performance of various HRD roles. The study showed that line managers’ perception of the effectiveness with which the various HRD functions are being performed today has declined as compared to two decades ago. The study concluded that this could be an indication of: (a) the rising expectations of line managers from HRD managers, and (b) the falling standards of performance of various HR development activities. Monitoring HRD implementation and conducting human process research were found to be two very poorly performed functions across most organizations. Creating a development motivation among line managers by organizing visits to other organizations was one of the least attended activities. Organizational development and self-renewal activities were also among the least effectively performed activities. The study concluded that:

  1. HRD managers need to recognize the stakeholders’ expectations and understand the overall business and strategic context of their function. As expectations from the HRD function are changing, they are expected to perform more value-adding functions and activities.
  2. The HRD function should focus on intellectual capital generation activities and, at the same time, ensure a good ROI on performance management systems, 360° feedback, assessment and development centres, skill and value development, and other interventions rather than merely facilitating in-house training activities.
  3. HRD practitioners need to equip themselves with the capacity and competencies required to build the HRD function as a hands-on, proactive strategic partner with practical contributions to organizational goals and performance effectiveness.
  4. HRD practitioners need to strengthen their partnership with and credibility in the eyes of their stakeholders by involving them in policymaking and communicating constantly.

In this book, I have made an attempt to point out how to respect every human being in terms of her/his time. Respecting time is respecting people’s talent, and we show our respect for talent by respecting people’s time. The higher we go, the more responsible we are and the lonelier it gets. Therefore, we need advisors and coaches to help us respect our own talent and get the best out of ourselves and others.

Cost to company (CTC) as a measure of a person’s value and an indirect measure of talent is a gross underestimation of the value of talent. The higher we are in the organizational hierarchy, the more value our time has. In education, health, and other social-service organizations, the valuation of talent through CTC or other such measures is a gross underestimation. The contributions of doctors, nurses, teachers, and extension workers in agriculture, environment, and other such social service agencies cannot be measured in financial terms similar to the ones proposed here. They should be measured in terms of their intellectual capital contributions.

In fact, I don’t believe that people should be measured in financial terms. I believe that human resources cannot be measured—not easily, at any rate. However, the contemporary world has reduced human contributions to measurable financial terms. When a leading Indian company put its human capital value in its balance sheet, I felt that it was a gross underestimation of the true value of human assets. If we were to have applied the formula used by this company (five years’ earnings of each employee were taken to constitute the human asset value) to its own chairman 20 years prior to that time, his real value would have been grossly underestimated as he has made thousands of people wealthy over time. Therefore, the last thing I would want to do is to reduce human value to financial terms. People make things happen and they create money, consume money, and manage money. How then can they be measured with the very thing they have created?

Human resources are invaluable. They have unlimited capacity to contribute and expand. They also have a tremendous capacity to destroy. We should, under no circumstances, underestimate them. People in this part of the world are endowed with a lot of resources—their emotions, their loyalty, their caring nature, their achievement drive, their hard work, their tolerance, their ability to sacrifice, and many more qualities. These should not be measured; nor should the joy of living be destroyed. If we do decide to weigh and measure, we ought to go all the way to decide the cost of a smile and the returns we get when employees smile. If you can make an organization smile, perhaps you are creating a collaborative culture, synergizing the team, enhancing productivity, and multiplying shareholder value. And if you have not smiled, you may just have produced a competitor, a rebel, or even a destroyer of all that you have built over the years. Let us measure our progress all the way and use it. Why should we stop simply at HR departments and their impact?

If HR people and departments can make a lot of people smile, let us go ahead without caring for the cost as the very raison d’êetre of organizations is to bring peace and prosperity into the lives of people.


T. V. Rao
14 March 2011