If the Indian economy has to reach its potential, every member of the workforce will need to enhance their productivity to the maximum
Vasantha Angamuthu on the first Hindustan Times Shine HR Summit that initiates the big conversation on enhancing productivity in Indian workplaces
What led to the conceptualization of the Hindustan Times Shine HR Summit?
For Hindustan Times, central to how we work is a finite understanding of what our readers and users want and need from us. This includes everything from the big role of being the fourth estate and powering the political and social discourse, to ensuring that our products are focused on presenting utilitarian information, that can help people make the best choices with respect to everything, from what course of study to pursue, to buying a house, to understanding fashion and lifestyle trends.
We often hear of India becoming a global superpower, but we also hear of stories about Indian companies needing to evolve out of the “jugaad culture”, and focus on project management, innovation in doing business and enabling work-life balance. If the Indian economy has to reach its potential, every member of the workforce will need to enhance their productivity to the maximum. And this will require action from both the employee and employer. The Human Resources Leadership Summit this year aims to start a national conversation around the “big HR issues”.
How will the change in the conversation contribute to making India a more productive workplace?
Our attempt is to create a platform for a broader conversation around productivity, organizational culture and impediments to good working environments. It will witness business organizations sharing best practices, taking a good look at what changes are needed to be made individually and jointly (by HT, Shine.com and the employer fraternity) to decipher the factors that will make India a great workplace and then, to implement such changes.
How will this be broken down into execution points?
That will be determined by the organizations at the HR Summit. We may look at scholarships to address the skills gap needs, refocus on our training spend, address issues of work-life balance and determine the small and big changes that individual organizations would need to make.
The event will start with a policy perspective from the Government and the CEO panel, in the hope of bringing all stakeholders together, rather than confining the productivity agenda to HR managers only.
A survey of human resource managers from across the country has churned up some interesting findings that will prompt the conversations at the Summit. The survey probed on issues such as organizational culture, productivity, and skills gap. It showed that managers, more or less, say the same things about these issues – that they can become better organizations, work more effectively and that there is a need to focus on addressing the skills gap at a macro and micro level.
What are the challenges that can act as impediments to realizing this objective, at the organizational level and the individual level?
The worry is that this will not go beyond just being a talk-shop. Conversations that happen, should result in some commitments – from small commitments, such as implementing structured training programs especially around skills gaps, to bigger ones like rethinking the 6 days work week.
What do you expect to achieve out of the discussions at the HT Shine HR Leadership Summit?
We intend to end the program with a specific action plan that we all agree on, and hope many corporate leaders there will sign up for the same. The aim is to translate talk into action. We hope to create a platform for a big conversation around the impediments, to India being a great place to work. We seek to create a platform for sharing best practices in the areas of organizational culture, productivity, and innovation, as well as, identify some small and big actions that can be taken, individually as organizations and collectively, as corporate India, to initiate the change towards becoming organizations that are great workplaces.
What is the way forward, post this discussion?
This is just the start of our commitment. Both from HT’s editorial point of view and Shine’s HR interests, our aim is to push the agenda for India’s workforce productivity. We will kick-start an edit series, that will profile good and innovative work in this area. This will also follow up the HR survey with an employee survey, on how they perceive practices in their work area, which will tell us whether good intent translates into good action.
Vasantha Angamuthu is the Editor for Special Projects, Hindustan Times