‘Talent Triggers’ for Business Continuity Planning and Location Selection – Evolving Role of HR

April 26th, 2013

Business Continuity is a key risk mitigation strategy that enterprises adopt to respond to adverse events.   Business Continuity is considered an uncool governance activity due to its focus on infrastructure readiness centric activity i.e. planning for network redundancy, backups, RTO & RPO etc.  There is detailed framework for risk evaluation and BCP planning. This will be discussed in the next   blog.

The focus of this blog is to analyze the impact of talent on Business Continuity planning. Our experience at Talent Neuron indicates that organizations seldom think about talent risk as a key trigger point for business continuity initiatives.  Based on our extensive experience in Global Talent Planning and Management we have identified the following key parameters as the ‘Talent Triggers’ for Business Continuity planning

  1. Interviewed All – This trigger is gradual in nature.  Companies never realize when they have hit this point of saturation.  Typically in an upbeat market, about 15% to 20% of workforce is actively seeking jobs (considering an average attrition rate of 15% to 20%).  Which means within 5 to 8 years your organization would have interviewed or hired a majority of the eligible candidates in the market . However there will be a small set of passive candidates who would not have been interviewed.
  2. Hunting Ground – This is possible when a lot of new companies enter the market.  This is the downside of being in a high growth market.  When a new start-up emerges they hunt your organization for key talent.  This is not volume attrition but focused hunting for key technical brains.  Impact of such a hunt is huge and can make or break your organization’s success in the short term
  3. Big Fish in Small Pond – This is typical for companies, which become too big in a small market.  Our benchmarks indicate that if an organization’s workforce is over 8% to 10 % of the total talent in the market then there is a huge risk exposure (This number can be higher depending on the market dynamics and Government support).  Every peer company in the market would want to hire from your organization.  This risk is similar to ‘Hunting Ground’ but here the hunt is in volume across multiple levels
  4. Shunted Growth – In this scenario, the talent pool in the city is not expanding at a steady pace.  This may be due to the lack of a good university ecosystem, city losing its charm, unemployment in other verticals forcing talent to move out, rapidly increasing costs, infrastructure not keeping pace with development etc.  Lack of growth in the overall ecosystem will create either a stagnant or shrinking talent pool, which increases the talent risk profile.  This is a dangerous situation to be in.
  5. Hate the City – Deteriorating external market conditions changes the perception of the city making it unattractive for top talent.  This again is not in within an organization’s control and happens over a period of time.
  6. Expensive – Cost of talent increases year-on-year making is less viable for your company to hire talent in the city.

Now that the triggers have been identified, how do you sense them and put in place mitigation strategies?

Triggers 1, 2 and 3 are internal to your organization.   The changes will be gradual and sometimes unnoticeable.  HR groups are best positioned to identify this early.  If your HR can sense the early signals and trigger Business continuity initiative (Talent Availability Initiatives), then your organization can take control of the situation and avoid a slow death.  Sensing early signals is the role of talent planning and acquisition stakeholders.  Their role is to capture the right metrics and analyze the trend.  Talent acquisition teams are your foot soldiers and can provide great insights about talent.  Key is to have a well-defined Talent Planning Process in your organization so your HR leader is best positioned to own this initiative from the Talent Availability Initiative standpoint.

Triggers 4,5 and 6 are external to market.  Organizations do not have much control on these triggers (baring few exceptions).  The best approach is to consistently monitor the market trends.  Being abreast with market is challenging and takes lot of talent acquisition/planning effort (translates to expensive dollars).  Again this can be the role of either corporate planning teams or the HR teams.  Corporate planning teams are best placed to undertake this at global level, while HR teams can lead the initiative at country/geography level.

Talent Neuron – Right Talent | Right Location

Talent Neuron can help you with an effective solution.  Our understanding of the triggers has helped us define a solution, which can help you achieve your goals. Our data driven approach will provide ground level insights on the talent market, hiring trends, compensation, talent pool availability by skill, talent pool growth and university ecosystem (Triggers 1 to 3) which are important for talent planning and hiring.  Talent Neuron also provides holistic view of a city by capturing over 200+ location parameters, which will help you to understand the slow transitions in the market (Trigger 4 to 6).

Flexible workforce models, a winning strategy?

April 25th, 2013

Today technology companies have to compete harder to find the most relevant skills in an ever changing and dynamic business world. Hiring for niche skills is one of the top focus areas for HR leaders today.

Research and discussions by Talent Neuron with HR and Engineering leaders has brought out the consensus that retaining workplace flexibility will help companies attract and hire the most talented people in the market today. Through this work model companies can build trust and send positive signals to their employees to deliver better work results.

Advances in technology allow employees to collaborate and communicate from different places, even remote locations. It is estimated that by 2016, 40-45% of white collar workers in America will spend 30-35% of their working time outside the office. Talent will not be office/location centric in future enterprises.

A survey by Talent Neuron indicates that more than 35% of engineering leaders (Director levels and above) in companies are apprehensive of flexible work models. Key concerns indicated by them include-

  • Technology makes video conferencing possible but the time taken to ensure all people participating in the meeting are online is between 10-15 minutes. This tends to become a deterrent to flexibility
  • Employees opting for flexible workplace models are expected to develop different skills and communicate better than the rest
  • Even if one email goes unanswered, this can lead to unpleasant results such as SLAs not being met

Workplace flexibility is a strategy towards effective talent management. The model leads to building trust among employees of an organization, fosters innovation and leads to cost savings. Once an organization figures out how to deal with its limitations, workplace flexibility can be a winning strategy for a company in attracting and retaining top talent.

To read our complete report – Flexibility – A Serious Business Imperative, please follow the link below:


Talent Neuron Weekly Digest – 14th to 20th April 2013

April 25th, 2013

Recent Reports

  1. Talent Neuron released its comprehensive report on “Global Mobile Talent Landscape”.  Summary report can be downloaded here.  Members and login to www.talentneuron.com and find the full report in content module.
  2. Talent Neuron article on flexible workforce models.  As part of this article we have covered our view on Benefits, Challenges, Needs and future of global mobile workforce models.  Summary article can be read here.

Zinnov Confluence 2013:

  • Our Annual Thought Leadership Summit held in Santa Clara, CA, registered a presence of over 300 delegates.  More than 35 eminent speakers from HR and Technology fraternity shared their thoughts on the future of global innovation and talent.  For a detailed list of speakers and session, please click here

Mobile Talent:

  • Globally, there are approximately 285,000 registered mobile developers. 57% of these developers have iOS skills whereas 32% have Android skills. The number of registered mobile developers is expected to grow by 13% annually till 2015.
  • Over the last two years, job postings for mobile developers have doubled. In January 2013, leading online job posting portals listed about 12,000 mobile programmer jobs as compared to 6,500 jobs in the preceding year.

Big Data Talent:

  • By 2020, there will be shortage of 200,000 Data Scientists globally. This will result in up to 50% gap between demand and supply for desired Big Data talent.
  • In US, Washington D.C. accounts for one of the largest talent pool in Big Data i.e., approximately 4500. This is attributed to various factors including the presence of several public sector offices requiring the skill set and the increased investment in Big Data analytics by the US Government.

Business Functions:

  • Niche Skill Hiring, Skill Set Assessment and HR Analytics will be the key focus areas for HR departments in 2013. According to a Talent Neuron Survey, over 50% of the organizations lack a dedicated statistical or data analytics teams across HR departments.
  • Locations such as Costa Rica and Sri Lanka are fast emerging as hubs of F&A related activities. Now companies not only offshore transaction processing functions but also high-end work such as statutory compliance to these locations.

Key Acquisitions:

  • LinkedIn acquired Pulse, a leading news reader for web and mobiles in a deal valued at USD 90 million. This acquisition aims to fulfill LinkedIn’s objective to become a content publishing and distribution platform
  • Acquisition for talent has become a mainstream strategy for technology companies. Through these acquisitions, companies aim to scale up their engineering and mobile teams. E.g.,
    • i.     Google acquired Behavio, an Android data firm, as part of its acqui-hiring strategy
    • ii.     In first quarter of 2013, Yahoo! acquired Summly, Snit.it, Alike and Jybe

University Trends:

  • Over the next three years, Microsoft and Nokia plan to invest about USD 12 million each in AppCampus, a mobile app start-up accelerator program, at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Through this program, both the companies plan to accelerate development of mobile applications for Windows Phone, Symbian & Series 40 platforms.
  • Volvo group signed an Academic Preferred Talent Partnership with Pennsylvania State University to provide students with co- op and internship opportunities in exchange of recruitment benefits.

From Neuron Lab:

  • Talent Neuron is working on implementing a comprehensive public profile search which will prove useful in talent planning and talent acquisition.
  • In addition, a dashboard will be implemented on the job engine which will provide a comprehensive overview of the demand situation

For more information, please contact

info@talentneuron.com |  www.talentneuron.com

Zinnov Talent Outlook, 2013

March 26th, 2013

Our recently launched study titled ‘Talent Outlook 2013’ indicates a paradigm shift in HR trends this year. The survey revealed that 2013 will be a year of skill and talent reconciliation, even as new skill sets are brought to focus and HR is challenged to implement strategic planning within the organization.

The Silicon Valley will continue to be the Innovation hub, with 80% of respondents to the Zinnov survey indicating that their organizations’ headcount will increase the highest in this region. India ranked third among preferred innovation destination globally, with organizations revealing that 15% of innovation is expected out of the country, followed by EMEA at 10%. In 2013, China and India are expected to witness marginal growth due to factors like cost and talent availability. The headcount in India is expected to increase by 13 % in 2013. However, the study revealed that China would no longer be the preferred key innovation destination and hence, would not be on the priority list of most companies.

The demand for data scientists and user experience designers will remain high, while demand for mobile application developers and cloud computing experts is expected to range from moderate to high. Significantly, all these skills were non-existent till a decade ago. In addition, this year, organizations are expected to increase their focus on soft skill development across levels and functions.

Organizations believe that 25% of their current talent will become redundant in the next 3-5 years, while specialized skill sets in User Experience and Mobility will witness rise in demand. In 2013, organizations will seek  to hire talent  with skills in the areas of Engineering (50% of respondents indicated that it would be among the top 3 skills of the future), followed by Analytics skills (40%) such as Big Data, Predictive Modelling, HR Analytics, and Mobility (32%).

Niche hiring and skill set assessment are the key talent related challenges that organizations continue to face. 50% of the respondents suggested that these would be the key focus areas for the year 2013. Dedicated statistical teams within HR departments can reduce challenges around skill set assessment, large volume data analysis and workforce planning. However, most organizations lack such resources and only 20% plan to focus on it in 2013.

The following are some of the key findings of the study:

  • India is the third preferred destination for innovation after Silicon valley and other US cities
  • Organizations believe that 25% of their current talent will become redundant in the next 3-5 years
  • The demand for specialized skill sets in User Experience and Mobility is expected to rise
  • Countries such as India and China will witness growth primarily due to cost and access to talent.

Indian SMB market at 48.8 million units growing at a CAGR of 4.53%

March 26th, 2013

Our recently launched study titled, ‘Indian SMB Sector 2013’ captures some interesting facts and figures on the burgeoning SMB segment in India. The study reveals that with a total base of 48.8 million SMBs, India is expected to emerge as the largest SMB country globally.

The SMB sector in India is growing at an exceptional rate and has the potential to be one of the primary drivers of the Indian economy. Today, 1.5 million SMBs export their products or services outside India which is a sign of the sector’s rapid evolution. The sector is expected to be the largest employment generator in the country and today represents the true entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian business community.

The study also highlights that the Indian SMB space today is largely dominated by micro scale businesses which account for 95% of the SMB landscape. This is followed by small scale businesses contributing 4.8%, and the rest 0.2% by medium scale businesses. Out of the 48.8 million SMBs around 55% are located in urban areas whereas rural regions account for the rest 45 %.

SMBs in India have gained strategic importance from both corporations and the government. The recently announced tax incentive for growing SMBs in the Union Budget is one such example. Such initiatives have helped SMBs enhance their competitiveness in the global markets. Globalization in trade is further driving SMBs to improve their efficiency of conducting business.

The study also states that around 82% of all SMBs are situated in 10 states in India. These 10 states, also account for 2/3rd of the mobile and internet subscribers in the country. Additionally, Manufacturing is the single largest vertical at pan India level followed by Repairs & Maintenance, and Services vertical. Greater employee mobility, increased competition and expansion in terms of office locations have further pushed SMBs in India to generate more employment. The study indicates that the Indian SMB sector provides employment to approx. 81.16 million people in India, growing at a CAGR of 5.29%, while the fixed investment has been consistently increasing over the years at 11.48%.

The following are some of the key findings of the study:

ü  India is a hub of 48.8 million SMBs providing employment to 81.16 million individuals

ü  Micro enterprises account for 95% of total SMBs, small & medium put together hold the remaining 5% share

ü  1.5 million Indian SMBs export their products or services globally

ü  55% of SMBs are located out of urban cities whereas 45% are situated in rural areas

Author: Praveen Bhadada, Director, Zinnov

Next 40 Frontier Cities for Technology Talent

December 14th, 2012
Zinnov launched an in-depth study  titled “Next Frontier Cities for Technology Talent”.  The study identified 40 Global cities suitable for hiring technology talent after a comprehensive evaluation of over 400 Global cities on key parameters like talent availability, market maturity, cost, peer group ecosystem, government policies etc.
These 40 cities are spread across the regions with,
  • 9 cities in North America
  • 9 cities in South America
  • 12 cities in EMEA
  • 10 cities in APAC.

The report highlighted that the advantages of these Next Frontier cities are ease of hiring, higher resource stability, low attrition rates  etc.

The report also highlighted that
  • There is a 86% cost differential between high cost established locations (e.g. Silicon Valley) and the Next Frontier cities in the APAC region
  • Most of these Next Frontier cities have very good education ecosystem, which is conducive to breed top talent
  • Chongqing, Lima and Hanoi are the top 3 Frontier cities for R&D Talent.
  • Companies in the forefront of this evolution have already started to leverage Next Frontier cities to perform R&D, IT and Shared Services activities.
  • Faster release cycles, complexities of global team management & stable workforce have renewed interest to expand into suitable Tier 2 cities in the USA for talent growth.

However, Next Frontier cities have some key challenges related to talent scalability, operations consolidation, talent relocation, business continuity, services’ provider support and technology ecosystem availability. Though these cities have key disadvantages when compared to established locations; the report shows that they are ideal for companies looking to hire 50 -100 employees for their centers.

The Next Frontier cities highlighted in the report are

  • Florianópolis (Brazil)
  • Porto Alegre (Brazil)
  • Recife (Brazil)
  • Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Chongqing (China)
  • Foshan (China)
  • Tianjin (China)
  • Wuhan (China)
  • Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
  • Guayaquil (Ecuador)
  • San Salvador (El Salvador)
  • Guatemala City (Guatemala)
  • Coimbatore (India)
  • Nagpur (India)
  • Limerick (Ireland)
  • Johor Bahru (Malaysia)
  • Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Rabat (Morocco)
  • Managua (Nicaragua)
  • Islamabad (Pakistan)
  • Asunción (Paraguay)
  • Lima (Peru)
  • Lodz (Poland)
  • Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
  • Brasov (Romania)
  • Durban (South Africa)
  • Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Ankara (Turkey)
  • Kharkhiv (Ukraine)
  • Kiev (Ukraine)
  • Lviv (Ukraine)
  • Montevideo (Uruguay)
  • Boise (USA)
  • Jacksonville (USA)
  • Roanoke (USA)
  • Tucson (USA)
  • Wichita (USA)
  • Caracas (Venezuela)
  • Hanoi (Vietnam)

Executive Summary of the report is available here

Talent Neuron Weekly Update: Oct-30th-2012

October 31st, 2012


Here is a summary of updates for the week ending October 29th -2012.  Please login to our tool to take advantage of the new
capabilities, features and refreshed data (www.talentneuron.com).

Features enhancements:

Social Circles: The Social Circles in Talent Neuron captures the perspectives of the employees on their co-workers. Driven through a simple survey mechanism, companies can visually review the Social Skills of their employees within the organization.


Our Monitor feature serves as a powerful ground level data gathering mechanism across different parameters such as
Captives, Vendors, Cost, Risk, Talent and Vendor.  We have updated the monitor information for the following cities:

  • Ankara
  • Ann Arbor
  • Asunción
  • Brasov
  • Bursa
  • Chongqing
  • Durban
  • Foshan
  • Istanbul
  • Izmir
  • Kharkiv
  • Lima
  • Limerick
  • Lodz
  • Lviv
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Ottawa
  • Philadelphia
  • Prague
  • Washington DC
  • Xi’an


Our universities feature tracks the availability of fresh talent pool across different cities.  This week we have updated
the universities in the following cities:

  • Guatemala City
  • Istanbul
  • Rabat
  • Tétouan

Talent Pool Data and Companies Data:

We have updated the talent pool & related companies data for the following cities.

  • Ankara
  • Ann Arbor
  • Asunción
  • Bangkok
  • Belo Horizonte
  • Brasilia
  • Bhubaneswar
  • Brasov
  • Bursa
  • Chongqing
  • Cutitiba
  • Durban
  • Detroit
  • Fes
  • Florianópolis
  • Foshan
  • Guatemala City
  • Istanbul
  • Izmir
  • Kharkiv
  • Kolkata
  • Limerick
  • Lodz
  • Lviv
  • Montevideo
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Nanjing
  • Ottawa
  • Philadelphia
  • Rabat
  • Recife
  • Reno
  • Roanoke
  • Tianjin
  • Washington DC
  • Wuhan
  • Xi’an

Additional Features and Content (Work in Progress from Talent Neuron Lab):

Search Driven Scenarios:  We are implementing a Search driven scenarios module. This will transform the way executives query for
the contextual and relevant data from Talent Neuron. Stay tuned for this exciting feature!!

The Product Ecosystem in India is at the Inflection point…

October 24th, 2012

We have been long hearing that the product ecosystem in India is at the inflection point and will grow significantly over the next few years (different consultants look at 2015, 2020 or 2025 to be that period :) ). More than we hear this, we do hear lot of people talking about how the ecosystem is constrained, a number of challenges that exist and that India is not yet a “start-up” nation. Sure they have lot of data to support these as well. I also had more or less the same picture in my mind for a long time, but this is fast changing as I see some quality action in this space. Below are my quick observations on the “product ecosystem in India”:

1. It’s not just evolving, it’s happening: The product ecosystem has finally arrived and that too with full force. There are over 3,000 start-ups in the country today and 500 new start-ups are taking birth every year. The interesting fact is these start-ups are not a replica (or “copy”) of a globally successful company, but are truly innovative companies who are trying to address a genuine pain point (in their own way of course) in the global or domestic market. Most of the top VC firms globally have made commitments to India market, industry associations are aggressively looking at the start-up space, global incubators and accelerators are eyeing the Indian entrepreneurial landscape.

2. Modern IT is the new buzz word: Modern IT (Cloud, big data, social and mobility) is the new buzz word in the start-up space. While Indian ecosystem may have lagged behind in the traditional IT areas (don’t have enough data to prove this though) however these modern technologies are whitespaces worldwide and surely Indian start-ups do realize this. Over 70% of the new start-ups formed in India are focused on modern IT. In fact most of the 40 start-ups I met recently were based on modern IT. It is interesting to note the way these start-ups are defining use cases based on convergence of these modern technologies (cloud + Big Data OR Social + Mobile OR Social + Big Data etc.) and competing with some of the top companies worldwide

3. Indian entrepreneur is equal to a confident entrepreneur: I must say I was thoroughly impressed by the confidence that most of these start-ups had while talking about their vision, mission and the company. In my recent meetings with start-ups, it was fascinating to note how well prepared each of these entrepreneurs were, no one fumbled on the “tough questions” and everyone seems to believe thoroughly in what they were doing. While some of them went to the extent of being arrogant about this, most of them were flexible enough to take feedback and keep going

4. Indian start-ups as leader in their own niches: “No, we do not have any competition”, “We are the market leaders in this space”, “We haven’t come across a company like us worldwide” were very commonly heard statements during my recent meetings with start-ups. Of course they had a lot of data to prove this as well. Everyone was eyeing a large opportunity and a bigger market share in the times to come. I think we certainly have a few billion dollar companies in making from India

5. Who says enterprises only prefer working with big IT companies: This was a perception (at least I had one) that large Indian enterprises only prefer working with bigger IT companies. However, it was thrilling to note that many start-ups today work with some of the biggest Indian enterprises including Airtel, SBI, ICICI, Reliance, and many others. Some of the start-ups have also extended the customer list to include large global enterprises. Many of these engagements are enterprise scale and the pipeline for many of these start-ups looks very strong

I am personally thrilled by the progress seen in this landscape (and can go on writing about the same :) ). While the ecosystem may have been weak for the last decade, that does not hold true for the current decade (beware consultants :) ). It is time that we start recognizing this and help accelerate the ecosystem faster. Obviously, start-ups will need more support from the industry, associations, government as well as VCs/ angels/ incubators to evolve faster from the current state.

Author: Praveen Bhadada, Director, Zinnov

Talent Neuron Weekly Update: Sept-24th-2012

September 26th, 2012


Here is a summary of updates for the week ending September 24th -2012.  Please login to our tool to take advantage of the new
capabilities, features and refreshed data (www.talentneuron.com).

Features enhancements:

Supply Demand Forecast: This feature provides the gap analysis for the business based on the supply and demand for the talent.
Users can change the key business and employee parameters to forecast the supply and demand at a Location, Business Unit and
Job Function level.


Our Monitor feature serves as a powerful ground level data gathering mechanism across different parameters such as Captives,
Vendors, Cost, Risk, Talent and Vendor.  We have updated the monitor information for the following cities:

  • Reno
  • Omaha
  • Memphis
  • Chandigarh
  • Nashville
  • Albuquerque Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Curitiba
  • Recife

Our universities feature tracks the availability of fresh talent pool across different cities.  This week we have updated the universities
in the following cities:

  • Portland
  • Nashik
  • Goa
  • Ann Arbor
  • Denver
  • Charlotte
  • Jacksonville
  • Omaha
  • Reno

Talent Pool Data and Companies Data:

We have updated the talent pool & related companies data for the following cities.

  • Leeds
  • Oxford
  • Suzhou
  • Nashville-Davidson
  • Portland
  • Minneapolis
  • Charlotte
  • Cincinnati
  • Jacksonville
  • Albuquerque
  • Kansas City
  • Omaha

Additional Features and Content (Work in Progress from Talent Neuron Lab):

We are currently working on “Supply – Demand Forecast” model for the Internal Talent Module. This feature will
enable our users to plan the workforce based on the existing talent characteristics and future business needs. Stay
tuned for more updates !!!

Infographic: Global Attrition Trends

September 10th, 2012