Fresh breath of life: New HR startups trying to change old ways of doing business

Source | The Economic Times : By Rahul SachitanandIndia ranks 116 of 130 countries on Unesco’s Gender Parity Index. Other data suggests that under a fifth of women are present in mid-level management and of these at least half will drop out. Vexed human resources chiefs have wondered how to deal with this sharp gender skew for years. Sairee Chahal, founder of Sheroes, an almost two-year-old online career platform for women (one million and counting), may have some solutions.

The platform provides women — from Chhapra to Chennai — a dedicated career management resource to navigate their work life, from locating jobs (in various forms, ranging from micro entrepreneurship to remote working opportunities), building a peer support network and offering expert mentorship to members. About 20,000 companies of various sizes and shapes have signed on to be part of Sheroes to, for example, deploy remote work offerings and to deploy a big team of trained women in quick time.

A raft of ambitious ventures such as Sheroes are trying to breathe fresh life into the world of HR, once considered a dusty support function ridden with slow-to-move paperwork and saddled with outdated technology. While early ventures struggled to get the attention of customers and investors — primarily because it was considered difficult to monetise a business focused on squeezing revenues out of a support function — the tide is turning, as startups look to uproot old ways of doing business and shake up entrenched incumbents.

“Multiple choice questions were possibly the last big innovation in HR,” says Karan Kapoor, cofounder of Mettl, a talent assessment company. “There is a need for breakthrough innovations, but HR is a tough segment to build a business, since there have been few success stories and investors are wary of backing the unknown.”

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