Article: 5 key Learnings from India’s SAP #HRConnect16

HR Technology

5 key Learnings from India’s SAP #HRConnect16

HR needs to change its mindset to business. A huge cry from CEOs is that they want HR to play a strategic, transformational, business accelerator role from reactive to proactive.
5 key Learnings from India’s SAP #HRConnect16

SAP conducted their #HRConnect16 this month across the cities of Mumbai and Delhi, and saw HR leaders from across industries joining in to keep up-to-date with the world of technology, innovation and HR Transformation. People Matters had the privilege to be the knowledge partner for #HRConnect16 events. 

Here are the 5 key takeaways from this year’s SAP #HRConnect16:

  1. The unique HR context of India. The context of the world at work in India is driven by two main factors: consumer changes and the emerging landscape of start-ups. Firstly, consumption patterns are changing and the preferences of consumers on how to buy, consume and experience products and services is changing very rapidly. This is very relevant for HR as well, after all, our employees are consumers outside of the workplace and their expectations at work get affected by their experience outside of work. This is extremely relevant for HR leaders to be aware of and integrate in their transformational journey. Secondly, the emergence of start-ups in India in the last 5 years has created new opportunities and provided more choices for employees, new requirement of skills and more pressure for retaining employees. These have disrupted the job market in some way – increasing salary levels in particular roles and functions has created a vacuum in traditional industries for very specialized skills; tech or e-commerce firms created a demand-supply gap of new skills required for the new digital world among others. Again, this second element has tremendous implications for HR – in terms of short, mid and long term workforce planning, retention strategy and capability building plan for today and for the future.

  2. Lack of Digital Leaders to lead organization’s transformation. Workforce 2020 Study by SAP and Oxford Economics that surveyed over 2,000 managers and 2,000 employees across the world, defines a Digital Leader as somebody who can 1. Design and communicate digital strategy of the firm; 2. Make data-driven, real-time decisions; 3. Facilitate collaboration, inside and outside the organization; 4. Provide the necessary technology and development interventions for employees to perform at their best. The Study tests some of the hypothesis to be true: Digital leaders have more mature talent strategies; they have more engaged employees; and they enjoy higher revenue growth and profitability. The Study also shows the gap between the desired state and the real state in today’s organizations. Only 16% of companies surveyed are digital transformation leaders; Only 46% of participants say that company devotes enough resources to develop leaders; Only 55% of participants say that decisions are informed by data. 

  3. Dejavu: HR needs to change its mindset to business. A huge cry from CEOs is that they want HR to play a strategic, transformational, business accelerator role – from reactive to proactive. This mindset shift will come from cross-pollination of HR leaders moving to HR roles and HR leaders to dreaming and aspiring to be CEOs – that dream and aspiration will translate in shifting of behaviors and priority. As per the People Matters State of the CHRO Study 2015, 64% believe that a rotation outside of HR is critical for career progression of an HR leader but only 4 out 10 have actually taken a non-HR leadership role in the past and only 10% had it planned as part of their career planning for the year.  NEED for cross pollination, expand the comfort zones and get going. 

  4. Journey of transformation requires strong leadership commitment to lead from the front. The event hosted both Indian companies and MNCs from across industries who shared their stories of transformation - Genpact, Lava, Vedanta, Trident, JSW, EY, HeroMotorCorp, Relaxo footwears, Deloitte, Cox & Kings, Tata Motors, KEC, Essar Group, Cox and Kings, Reliance ADA Group, Future Group, Mahindra & Mahindra – in all of the case studies, it emerged that the leadership commitment to the transformational journey was aligned to the business roadmap, the leader created the urgency within the organization and led from the front by showing commitment in terms of time invested. The need for change to be materialized needs to come top down.

  5. HR is too busy but HR needs to enhance its effectiveness. CHROs agree that HR needs to do less to contribute more. As organizations complexity and scale changes, what brought HR there will not take the function forward. Here are a few practical takeaways for HR leaders for enhancing HR Effectiveness: 1. It is critical that HR realizes that HR stuff is not HR’s job. It is time to give people operations back to the people – enable, decentralize and create systems for employees and managers to take decisions. Empower individuals and teams. 2. HR should spend more time looking at trends, enabling the right systems and architecting the culture and to initiate conversations when required. There is a need to re-focus where HR’s time is going. 3. Investment in technology will be the backbone of HR transformation. Other functions have matured much faster than HR, create business case for technology investments and don’t cut corners – this requires HR to wear the business hat and create business case for innovation in HR and technology implementation. 4. If it is not in the dashboard, it does not exist. HR needs to finally come to terms with the business parlance and how business leaders communicate – dashboards, data, business outcomes. There is a need to change the HR vocabulary. 


We invite you to visit the Twitter handle #HRConnect16 to access the rich content flow from speakers and delegates on the social platform. 

We thank all the leaders from Genpact, Lava, Vedanta, Trident, JSW, EY, HeroMotorCorp, Relaxo footwear, Deloitte, Cox & Kings, Future Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance, KEC, Tata Motors, Essar group who contributed in making this event a great success.

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Topics: HR Technology

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