Gurgaon: Business process outsourcing company Genpact might have hired more than 10,000 people last year in India, but when it needed someone to oversee that hiring, it turned to one of its own. Puneet Singh, who has been with the company since 2001, became vice-president of hiring in March. Just 32, Singh started out as a quality manager, spent a year on a transition team that moved processes offshore from client sites, went to General Electric Co.’s centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for another year to oversee a customer’s operations, then moved from business development to managing a GE relationship, to a brief stop in “global client” sales—meaning non-GE clients—before landing in this new post. Singh spoke with Mint about why a hiring director from within the company can work better and how to turn recruiting and training into a science. Edited excerpts:
You’ve risen up the ranks at Genpact, but mostly on client sites. Why did Genpact tap you?
Hiring right: Puneet Singh
There is a silo perspective sometimes in just an HR hiring role. You will take the job specifications as they are delivered, whereas if you have a more end-to-end view, you will question them. Let’s say the operating team said, “We need 20 chartered accountants to do this job”. Based on my experience, they aren’t right. You’re over-skilling the job. Maybe you just need five chartered accountants, and the rest commerce graduates.
So, say you needed to hire the accountants and graduates, is the hardest part managing the recruitment processes for different skills?
No, it’s just managing the customers’ expectations. Many a time, they will say, “We need an accounts payable person who also has this level of voice or communication skills, and that person should also be able to work on SAP and Oracle”. They’ll put in these nice-to-haves, which is not what we should hire for. We should hire for the must-haves, and train them on the nice-to-haves.
Genpact is known for doing a lot on the training front.
As soon as a person joins, he or she has new hire training, then product training, then, let’s say, finance and accounting training, then customer-specific training. Then “learning paths” are made for everybody, with a “training intervention” made every three months. That’s big. We almost run our own university.
So what do you want to change on the recruitment side?
We’re looking at it more from a supply-demand perspective. We’re trying to figure out the supply in the market through various channels. How we can just in time supply people, looking at the forecast for future months by skill sets, so that there is more predictability in the whole piece.
How can you do that?
That’s what we’re putting in place—how we can forecast the demand. Sales demand says we need 100 people doing accounts payable in Jaipur. We also know attrition numbers, and there are basically two options for new hires—either to pack for attrition or (account) for new growth. Both, in some way are predictable. (We want) to bring more science to it, and then, more importantly, marry it to the supply.