India is well endowed with mineral and agricultural resources and it has seen a significant increase in offshore outsourcing and manufacturing over the last couple of decades, which have helped India’s economy grow at a tremendous rate.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs reports that its higher disposable incomes, rising middle class, investment friendly policies and forward-thinking reforms all make India an extremely attractive place for foreign investors. There are several key benefits for doing business in India:
Engaged and career focused – On a social level, India is predominantly a collective society which places a huge emphasis on the group. However, in business culture individualism is becoming more common as employees are increasingly recognised, paid and promoted on an individual basis. Many Indians, especially those working in westernised offices or companies, are now turning their focus to their own career advancement and performance. Through training initiatives or certificate programmes Indians are constantly taking steps towards obtaining more knowledge and qualifications, which in turn helps international organisations doing business in India by providing a constant flow of highly engaged and career focused individuals.
High levels of English – The historical relationship between the UK and India means that Indians have a high level of English. Although the accent and vocabulary of Indian English is slightly different from that of British or American English, international organisations will benefit immensely from graduates’ ability to speak English fluently, as well as their command of the many local Indian languages. It is in fact estimated that there are 14 major and over 1000 minor languages and dialects spoken in India. The relatively few language barriers make doing business in India quite attractive for international organisations.
Large amount of experienced specialists – India has an extensive pool of experienced people from which they can recruit employees. There is a high value placed on education in Indian culture. Combined with India’s drive to become a successfully modernised and competitive country, this is helping to produce a population of candidates with good qualifications and specialised experience and knowledge.
Openness to new ideas and opportunities – Indians have a relatively high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty and can therefore be quite open to new ideas and opportunities. This entrepreneurial and creative spirit is evident in the recent influx of new businesses in India. International organisations doing business with Indians in urban centres such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad will particularly benefit as many younger Indians are taking on more western habits and working preferences. As they increasingly adapt to keep pace with the demands and expectations of new dynamic industries, international organisations doing business in India will face fewer cultural challenges when pushing new business ideas and endeavours.
Dedicated employees – Indians have a strong work ethic and take pride in their jobs. They tend to work long hours in the hopes of showing their dedication and increasing their status in the company. Most Indians will work eight hour shifts six days a week. When working for organisations which require communication on a regular basis with people in countries such as the US or the UK, employees will willingly work shifts around the clock to compensate for the time difference. This group of highly dedicated employees, willing to work long shifts over unusual hours, is a huge benefit for international organisations doing business in India.
All the above benefits are good reasons for global organisations to do business in India. Harnessing these benefits comes with the need to navigate the geographic, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity of Indian society. This requires a comprehensive understanding of Indian business and social culture on all levels.
International organisations employing people in India or working with Indians on a regular basis should therefore have a series of cross-cultural training programmes on Doing Business in India to ensure they develop the skills to successfully deal with the many cultural differences.