Apurv Choubey, CHRO Bridgestone India, is a seasoned HR professional with 27 years of diverse experience in multiple functions of the HR domain. In an interaction with People Matters, he shared his thoughts on the future of HR and the workplace and how should HR heads prepare for their future roles.
Do you think your role as CHRO will continue to exist in the future landscape of work? If yes, how will it have changed?
The concept of a workplace sans human interface is still in the realm of science fiction. As technologies evolve, the role of HR too has changed, as has been the case at Bridgestone. From an industrial relations focus when we first started operations two decades ago, today, HR has transcended to being a strategic partner and an enabler. This change is real for Bridgestone as it is for organizations, be they manufacturing or a service organization. People will remain an essential component in economic activity even with the inroads of technology. As such the role of CHRO will not only exist but shall further evolve to suit the fast-changing dynamics of the workplace.
If not, how will you prepare for your future role?
The role of a CHRO will be that of a change enabler and should be appropriately called Chief Change Officer. Enabling change will be in focus and need for most of the organizations. CHROs can develop skills that are needed for the business, more focused on general management skills and partner with a strategy of the business, enable transformation, be the custodians of organizational culture with the responsibility to develop agile leaders, and preparing change-ready organizations.
As more technologies invade the HR and talent space, how do you see the future of HR roles?
Technologies have improved efficiencies in whichever sphere that they have entered. When the technology first entered the HR space, payroll function got automated, leaving more time for HR to focus on other aspects. With more and more technology coming in, the HR function is focusing significantly on talent development, skill upgradation, and knowledge enhancement within the organization. In future technologies like AI, predictive analysis, and blockchain will assist HR in finding the right profile and skills for the roles.
Your take on the future of HR jobs now that technologies such as AI, IoT, and big data are making inroads into business DNA and transforming traditional roles?
Technology has to be looked at as an enabler in driving efficiencies and making decision making much more straightforward. With the technology making inroads in organizations, HR has more time to focus on people, leadership, and cultural issues, which impact organizations in a big way. Technology can help run the operational engine smoothly, leaving more strategic issues for HR to focus on.
As an HR leader, what are the two critical aspects of your role that you will no longer be engaged with in the future of work?
Time in the recruitment process and grappling with data to make logical decisions are two things that I see will no longer be taking time and space.
How has automation in HR impacted managing talent in manufacturing industry? Is it a challenge or an opportunity?
Automation is an opportunity and has dramatically enhanced the efficiencies across all functions, leave alone HR. Automation has given HR functions more time to focus on talent development, skill upgradation, and knowledge enhancement within the organization. We at Bridgestone are focused on people development and learning as we progress.
How do you envision the future of work and the role of next-gen technology in redefining the role of HR?
HR has to learn to work with technology, not getting worried about the redundancy of their roles as a result of technology invasion in HR. The technology boom is reshaping the way the future of work looks. It's a tool that should be leveraged to deliver the best HR solutions to the business. Technology will help HR in better hiring decisions, analytics-driven Talent and Performance management processes, better compliance, faster connect and communication, managing virtual teams, and shrinking geographical distances will help integrate organizations.
This interview is based on our monthly theme #MyNextCurve wherein we are interviewing industry leaders and asking them about how HR's role will look like in the future. Click here to read more interviews and articles.