INTERVIEW WITH DR. JAGDISH
Sheth, a world renowned authority in the field of
Strategy, is the Charles H. Kellstadt Chair of Marketing
in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University,
Atlanta, USA. Prior to this, he was a distinguished
faculty member at the University of Southern California,
the University of Illinois, Columbia University and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His insights on
global competition, strategic thinking and customer
relationship management are considered
A prolific author, Professor
Sheth has published more than 200 books and research
papers in different areas of marketing and business
strategy. Many of these are considered classic
references.He was in India last month and we requested
the Management Guru to share his views on Human Capital
Management. Read on to know more.
Empowering Times: People
management has seen an evolution from a Labor Welfare
approach to Personnel and then to Human Resource
Development (HRD). The current wave is Human Capital
Management (HCM). Is HCM the next level of evolution and
how different is it from HRD?
Dr. Jagdish Sheth: Yes,
it is the logical evolution and probably there are 2- 3
differences between them. HRD looks at the people
processes involved from the time an employee enters the
organization to his retirement. HRD conducts induction
programs, trains the employees and plans their career
etc. HCM says that this is not enough; people keep
moving in and out at all levels, especially at the
senior management levels. People are no longer bound to
one organization. It is a ‘capital’, which is free to go
HRD looked at people as
‘Assets’, HCM looks at people as ‘Capital’ which has
enormous value. HRD tried to nurture people for a
specific role on the assumption that the role will be
there in the future. HCM looks at creating positions for
the person. It looks at people holistically.
Traditionally we assess people capabilities through the
resume. People capabilities are actually much more than
a few lines of achievement on paper. We almost see no
way to connect with other life experiences that people
bring to organizations. Is HCM here to help us look at
people capabilities differently?
Dr. Jagdish Sheth: Yes, I
think so. We have to look at people more holistically.
The most deceptive way of advertising is the resume.
Even at the initial screening level, there is a scope of
committing the error of omission and the error of
commission. We might be missing out on good talent if we
only consider candidates from the top universities. We
have to look at the wider experiences a person has. For
instance, if we are looking at leadership aptitude then
we should be able to see if the person has done
community activities where he had to lead
Empowering Times: Almost
all organizations say ‘People are our greatest assets’.
Would you agree that these greatest assets remain under
Dr. Jagdish Sheth: Yes, I
totally agree with this. Recently in one of the press
coverage’s of my book ‘Self Destructive Habits of Good
Companies’, I was asked, what is the Eighth Habit. I
thought about it for some time and my answer was,
Organizations plateau the potential of their employees.
The internal structure or the culture or say the
bureaucracy of organizations plateaus the potential of
the individual in an organization.
We as human beings
like to work, like to feel that we have contributed. It
is a major trend now that people leave large
organizations because they feel they are not able to
contribute. They find more scope in smaller
Some companies say this because
it is the right thing to say, but when you audit their
practices, you can see that they don’t really mean it.
For example, companies say we like employees to have a
work- life balance and then you see the staff putting in
long hours at work. If employees are assets, they should
not be exhausted. They should be re-energized. If you
exhaust your resources, you plateau your own
Empowering Times: We talk
about ‘War for Talent’. Did we forget about the ‘Worth
of Latent Talent’ inside the organization?
Dr. Jagdish Sheth: Yes,
unfortunately it is the reality. When the person is
inside your organization, you have already given him a
good entry deal, and later, the bonuses, promotions,
raises are nominal.
Lot of organizations on the other
hand prefer to groom talent internally. They refuse to
hire externally and say our graduates are the best. They
generate worth from the talent.
Empowering Times: Which
organizations would you say have learnt to maximize from
their Human Capital? Can you share some practices these
Dr. Jagdish Sheth: I can
name a few companies from different
Google is one of
them. It has very good human capital practices. It
blends work and non work boundaries very easily. With
the kind of work they do, often you need a break and
come back. There is work and play side by side. The
fixed working hours model is not suitable and they have
made the time boundaries permeable.
Nordstrom from the retail industry. These
companies have the lowest absenteeism, pay highest
salaries and their productivity is high.
Costco employees develop a personal
relationship with the customer and all the sales are
made through them. Nordstrom empowers its
people and gives them latitude to perform in their area
UPS (United Parcel
Service) takes in ordinary people and transforms
them to extraordinary people. Today best practices are
emerging from employee driven organizations.