Kauffman Foundation Report on Training in IndiaLast month the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City MO released a report examining how India has been able to upgrade its workforce in rapidly growing industries despite continuing pervasive deficiencies in the country's school system.1
The full report, written by Vivek Wadhwa, Una Kim de Vitton, and Gary Gereffi (WVG), is 77 pages long. The Harvard International Review provides synopsis.
WVG's central conclusion is that Indian companies in IT and other sectors, such as business-process outsourcing, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, financial services, retail, hospitality, and education,
have adapted and perfected western practices in workforce training and development, and now take workers with poor education and weak technical skills and turn them into highly productive technical specialists and managers able to compete on the world stage.The message to companies in the United States is "go thou and do likewise."
... We conclude that out of necessity because of educational weaknesses; skills shortages; competition for top talent; turnover; and rising salaries leading businesses in India have developed highly advanced, innovative practices and that these are allowing industries in India to become globally competitive and grow rapidly.
So what exactly have companies in India been doing to recruit and retain talent and to equip their workers to compete at an international level? WVG conclude that
India has learned and perfected the best practices of leading companies that have been outsourcing their computer systems and call centers.WVG identified seven areas in which Indian companies are using innovative HR practices:
... Indian industry ... has built innovative and comprehensive approaches to workforce training and management. The initial focus was on training new recruits and filling entry-level skill gaps. Now, these companies are investing in constantly improving the skills and management abilities of their workers and in providing incentives for them to stay and grow with the company. There is also widespread collaboration between industry players and academic institutions to accelerate the growth of needed talent pools.
- Employee recruitment
- New-employee training
- Continuing employee development
- Managerial training and development
- Performance management and appraisal
- Workforce retention
- Education upgrades
- thorough integration of HR development efforts into day-to-day operations, employees' career advancement, and company reward systems.
- application of technology to managing and integrating the processes listed in the previous bullet.
- basing executive-level decision making on these processes.
1 If you have trouble accessing the pdf file of the report from the link on the Kauffman Foundation website, you can go to the Social Science Research Network to download the file.
2 Vivek Wadhwa is an executive in residence/adjunct professor at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and a fellow in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. Una Kim de Vitton is a doctoral candidate in the organizational behavior department of Harvard Business School and the sociology department of Harvard University. Gary Gereffi is the director of the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness at Duke and a professor in Duke's sociology department.