Talent Management for organizational Sustainability @ Prestival 2012

From L to R : Parul Sardana, Tanuja Kehar, Devdarshan Chakrabortyy, Rajeev Chawla

A discussion on Talent Management – Capacity building and skill development for industry evolution, was moderated by Devdarshan Chakrabortyy (Dean – PRCIMS) with Parul Sardana (Head Talent Sourcing – Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces), Tanuja Kehar (Head- Corporate Communications, Unitech) and Rajeev Chawla  (Course Head – PR, Xavier Institute of Communication) as panelists, on Day 2, PRestival 2012. PRestival, a two-day Public Relations festival was organized at the Devi Ratn Resort, Jaipur.

According to Parul Sardana, sustained competitive advantage is created by an organisation when its competition cannot replicate, cannot reproduce a resource that created advantage for you. The only resource in the world created by you that creates advantage and that cannot be replicated by your competition is your human capital pool, the talent created by you.

Parul said “Talent is human resource that creates positive value for the organisation. It is unique or rare with respect to current or potential competition. This human resource can’t be imitated by competition and it is organisation specific and can’t be replaced by any other resource from any other organisation. This is called the VRIO framework : Valuable – Rare – Inimitable and Organisation specific. This human resource creates sustained competitive advantage.”

From a phenomenological perspective, any discussion on talent will remain in the realm of abstract theory unless it is based on the profound understanding of the value systems that are required in a rapidly changing world. From her experience, Parul believes that talent Management has very little to do with privilege of background, academic or otherwise. Talent management in her opinion comprises of people who demonstrate value system that do not discount the importance of building trust and integrity in their action, people who take responsibility, who believe in walking the talk and work hard.

“If we are to go forward and build ethical, value creating, mission orientated organisations, we need to start by identifying young people who have personal value systems and ethos that resonate with the kind of organisations we want to create,” said Sardana.

Speaking on the need to create job-ready professionals for the industry, Devdarshan said, “Given the rough and tumble of our industry, and the speed at which it operates, and the expectations we have, it is important to integrate talent quickly. Training time is limited, and client expectations are skyrocketing,”

Providing a corporate communications perspective to the discussion, Tanuja Kehar added: From my years of working, We as communications professionals do not realize the importance of our function ourselves.  This is a very critical function, especially when an organisation is going through a challenging time. 15-20 years back, this was like a back-room function, considered part of marketing, and did not have a direct link with the company’s leadership. All that has changed now – it is as very strategic function. The Corp Communication heads and the PR head report directly to the leadership of the organisation.”

She also spoke on the need to give more visibility to the communications function. “How many people know the kind of impact on the market happens because of a PR campaign? How many case studies do you see in PR, or communications? We pretty much become unsung heroes.”

Speaking on critical factors that determine success in this industry, “The key to success is to correlate the work that you do with business impact.  Passion becomes very critical to succeed. There is definitely a gap between the employment talent in the market, and the requirements to fill those.”

Speaking from his experience in creating and executing the PR and Corporate Communications program at Xavier Institute of Communication, Rajeev Chawla shared changes and insights used to build a better program.  “The keyword is industry relevance. We defined that only industry professionals would participate in running the program. We design our curriculum in consultation with the 20-25 CEOs in PR companies and Corporate Communication heads, and evolve the program.  An event management module, for example, has to culminate in a real event. To learn media relations, students went out and got media lists.”


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