HR today must attend to both the day-to-day administrative processes and also focus on long term strategic practices
One of the flagship programs of XISS was HR. What do you think of the HR industry as a domain? Do you think HR is still an exciting space to be in right now?
I think HR is one genuine cross functional domain, which impacts everyone in the organization. HR today must attend to both the day to day administrative processes and also focus on long term strategic practices. The role of HR today is not conducted in isolation, but one that looks for sustainable and integrated solutions. Today, HR must turn outside business trends and stakeholder expectations into internal actions. Moreover, the core of an organization is its people. In today’s fast paced world, almost everything you do can be replicated in a very short time by your competitors. What cannot be replicated however is the commitment and capability of the people to the organization. This is where the HR profession steps in. People are excited to join the HR profession today.
Talking generally about management schools, how is the placement scenario like for HR students?
There are great opportunities brewing for the discipline. On one hand, the economic environment is increasingly becoming healthier which means that established corporates are likely to increase hiring. On the other hand, a robust start-up environment is taking shape in the country creating even more jobs at all levels. Both of these augment well for the HR Professional. However, to succeed in such an environment where the boundaries between functions are blurring, HR professionals need to increase their business acumen and work closer to the ground. HR is increasingly becoming an action-oriented profession and those who can stay in the thick of things will succeed.
Is the HR function going to attract more students in the near future? What are some of the trends you are seeing?
Definitely. There are no two way about it. In fact, I foresee a future where even practitioners from other disciplines are going to try their hand in people management. Some of the specific trends I see are:
- Practicing Managers expecting a stint in HR including professional courses
- HR getting closer to the CEOs agenda as appropriately trained talent becomes scarce and the CEO realizes that the most important CXO in her team is the CHRO.
- HR professionals putting plans in place to attract even younger talent, at pre-MBA or even school levels to ensure that the quality of talent improves.
I see a future where businesses will realize that there are factors playing out in current environment which impact health and well being of employees and put programs in place to address this. The need is to introduce the “Human” in Human Resources.
XISS is one of the premier B-schools in India. But the competition between management schools is high. How does the institute maintain its competitive edge?
The course content and the pedagogy at XISS is same as that of the other B-schools. But our approach to management education is different and as a result we groom “professionals with a difference”. We believe in offering “value laden management education.” Subjects/papers unheard of in a B-school are taught to our students giving them their “Human Face” like exposure to business ethics, rural life, urban slums, differently abled etc. Similarly they are given field assignments that are the USP of XISS giving them a whole new orientation as they deal with the organizational problems. We also ensure that our students remain grounded, understand their role in society and live for a cause greater than just materialistic gains for themselves. XISS has been successful in identifying, nurturing and finally unleashing on the industry talent that is “different”. To my mind it is this difference that makes us successful. XISS not only produces ‘management professionals’ but ‘development professionals’ also.
We compete with ourselves. Today XISS is a brand in itself. Our only concern is to set the standards for ourselves that will keep us on our toes marching ahead with a firm resolve to keep a trained eye on industry to constantly understand the demand of the business and adjust and readjust curriculum and pedagogy accordingly. We do acknowledge the meaning of full contribution of the premier B-schools to management education but we would like to make education a collaborative effort rather than being a competitive effort. Management Education is not about B-Schools playing game of one-upmanship with each other. Management Education is about all stakeholders getting together and collaborating to provide holistic learning to Managers of tomorrow so that they become capable of managing Teams and Businesses better and participate in nation building.
You also work for the development of the under privileged students. How is XISS doing that?
XISS being a Jesuit B-School and in keeping with the Indian constitution’s objective of social justice it is but fair and just that we provide equal opportunity for the under privileged students through reservation of seats. But there is equal demand of rigor in education from all. Also in the mentorship program all the students are guided without discrimination. And if found poor in studies and wanting in necessary skills, the students – whether under privileged or not – are provided special efforts to catch up with the rest and to hone- up their soft skills through in-house faculty and professional trainers. Efforts are also made to help the economically weaker students to procure scholarships from governmental and private organizations.