Gaurav Mehta is the Associate V.P. for APAC at Cvent, managing Total Rewards, Mobility and HR Operations. He is an alumnus of the Asian Institute of Management Manila and presently pursuing Ph.D. from Tata Institute of Social Science. With 18 years of experience across industries like IT, ITS and Infrastructure, he has delivered on numerous change management projects at varied business life cycles from startup to maturity. including M&As and PE take-overs.
An online marketplace for all your HR-related needs? Intriguing, right? The concept is indeed overwhelming to some, while our columnist Gaurav Mehta thinks it could be the need of the hour given the challenges organisations are facing in terms of procuring products and services related to HR. Let’s understand.
Human Resource department (as a buyer), arguably, makes relatively more purchasing decisions than any other corporate department, mostly for products and services related to HR Technology. Recruitment & Staffing, Training & Development, Compensation/Payroll/Employee Benefits, Legal & Compliance, and Consulting Services. Recognizing the fact that senior management needs to get out of mundane day-to-day operational work and focus instead on strategic planning and decision making organisations have begun outsourcing their HR services rampantly, though issues related to HR outsourcing remain largely non-standardized and unresolved mainly around the strategic and management complexities related to the process Le collect enough data to defend the business case, administer request for proposals, negotiation Issues, contracting and Service Level Agreements, confidentiality, and data security and project management issues.
HR buyer’s primary challenge is networking, to reach out to the best suitable suppliers available from an unorganized and fragmented HR Industry encompassing thousands of suppliers. The instincts, skills, and strategies necessary for networking are varied, complex and don’t come naturally to most people. Also, an HR buyer has a limited network and thereby naturally constrained in terms of outreach to a larger base of suitable suppliers of HR products and services. The other big challenge is the basis of the buying decision, which is dependent majorly on the official presentation from HR suppliers due to lack of hard-to-source “ground truth” i.e. advice and recommendations from existing users.
These challenges adequately validate the need for a Holistic Online Marketplace for HR Industry as a compelling concept, presently non-existent, which can provide tools to ‘capture, curate, manage’ the process of finding and sourcing solutions to diverse and complex problems faced by organisations and HR managers.
The Internet has created a new market for both Suppliers and Organisations and has been an alternative market to the traditional market. Within the Indian HR industry. Society for HR Management (SHRM). CiteHR, HRvillage.com, India HR Live, The Human Factor and HR Link are some notable professional service and networking providers that are focused on transactions, interactions and relationships of a business nature, however, they are NOT completely holistic marketplaces or platforms.
Could one imagine! An HR marketplace similar to the likes of Tripadvisor.com (Travel Industry). which empowers people with the “ground truth”. provides data to make an “enlightened” choice among dozens of service providers and vendors, aggregates financial transactions and trends to be constantly updated.
Could one imagine! Curating all the elements to establish a Holistic Online HR marketplace with the involvement of Innovators who have a good understanding of multiple perspectives – Human Capital Management, Business model & strategy, and Technology.
Could one imagine! Decoding the formula on how to build out both demand-side and supply-side simultaneously, while keeping the audience engaged to grow and sustain the online HR marketplace by sculpting a holistically relevant way for HR buyer(s) and HR solution providers to interact effectively.
Well, let imagination not take us everywhere, but it’s a fact that the HR fraternity is as busy it can get to contribute to the exponential growth in the Ecommerce Industry, however it’s ironical that little attention has been paid to e-commerce, an emerging and fast-growing trend which must be leveraged by HR practitioners and organisations for competitive advantage with its inevitable effect on work organisation and HR management.
Wish there was a Tripadvisor for the HR Industry relevant to the Indian context and we could move away from the current approach on how the HR buyer(s) interact and transact with HR Service Providers, maybe for the high-volume and high-spend HR product and services to start with!