Article: How will the roles of HiPos evolve in the digital age?

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How will the roles of HiPos evolve in the digital age?


A new research claims that by 2024 artificial intelligence augmentation will be considered a requirement for most professional jobs. As technology is disrupting business models, it is also impacting the talent and particularly the HiPos, thus creating new demands for them.
How will the roles of HiPos evolve in the digital age?

“In the digital age if you don’t use human potential to its optimal capacity you will fall back,” says Prashant Pandey, Country Head, Right Management India

The rapid technological changes are impacting and disrupting business models every day. And as digitization drives more automation and computing, it is the potential of the human being that will give the organizations its competitive edge.  In recent years, the impact of digitization has been such that a lot of new companies with new technologies have emerged and a lot of well-established companies have shut down and disappeared from the market. The urgency of keeping up with the pace of digital change highlights the need of identifying people or potentials that will drive the organization to stay ahead of the curve.  

When we talk about digital age, we forget that human potential is an important aspect of it. It is through human capacity that the new age technologies are built. In fact, it is the human potential that impacts the speed and the agility of digital transformation. On the other side, if this talent is not fully utilized the companies will lag far behind in the race, also slowing down the development of business ecosystem as a whole.  

So, to steer ahead towards a better tomorrow and to stay ahead of the curve, here is what business leaders and HiPos must remember: 

Appreciate the technology: If you are a HiPo, you shall be the one who drives the change

HiPos have to take the charge in their own hands and be the ones who drive the change. They should themselves take the initiative to understand the new technologies and their impact on the business and respective functions. Based on the insights gained, the HiPos must be the ones who help their organizations in staying ahead of the curve. They should learn and also encourage others to accept and learn about the new emerging technologies. This drive to seek knowledge will automatically ensure their learning and development. Then the HiPos can also recommend the leaders to inculcate such learnings in the existing L&D programs. The onus of steering themselves towards better tomorrow, taking along their organizations is on HiPos itself. 

Increase the scope of learning: Go beyond your function and industry

HiPos should not only be aware of their respective function but also study the entire ecosystem and look beyond the walls of their industry.  Through inter and intra organizational learning the scope of learning for the HiPos increases, thus giving them more insights and knowledge. Besides HiPos, even business leaders should take this responsibility and encourage HiPos to go beyond their own work and functions. 

Gajendra Chandel, CHRO, Tata Motors says, “Based on the level and the need, organizations can put in place learning programs for guiding their HiPos. For instance, at Tata Motors, individuals who are in senior roles are given the opportunity to be part of the industry bodies, like CIAM and also government bodies to be up to date with the regulations.” 

Learn from the experts

Every employee is usually trained to use the new technology to help him/her in their day to day work. But for developing and engaging HiPos, it’s essential to move beyond this reactive approach. Organizations should bring in the mentors and experts of digital disruption and create a platform for their HiPos to learn from them. This will not only lead to knowledge sharing but will also stimulate a mindset change.  For instance, at Tata Motors, Tech experts from Microsoft work closely with the senior managers to guide and train them about the technologies, while the mid-level managers are given exposure to in-house experts and technologies. Gajendra Chandel feels that these interactions will impact the thought process of the talent and help them to think about future. 

A research by Singularity University predicts that by 2020, AI-based medical diagnostics & therapy recommendations will be used in the majority of US healthcare and flying car operations will take off in a few cities in the world. They further project that by 2022, 3D printers would be able to print clothing and modules to snap together a house or building. In fact, they say that by 2024 drones would be routinely delivering packages to rooftops of apartment buildings and surface robots would be delivering those packages from rooftops to doorsteps throughout the buildings. 

The time is ticking and the world is moving ahead, are you in tune with it? Identifying and developing HiPos have always been crucial, but now in today’s VUCA world, it is all the more necessary.  Remember their importance, add the new dimensions to your definition of HiPo, identify them, guide them and encourage them to create a legacy. 

(This article is based on the webcast, ‘Digital Disruption: How will the roles of HiPos evolve?’ by People Matters and Right Management, which marked the beginning of the HiPo week. Stay tuned for more sessions which will discuss the impact of digital disruption on the definition of HiPos, nurturing digital competencies for them to thrive, non-conventional HiPo program designs and much more.)

Topics: HiPoWeek, Learning & Development, Talent Management

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