Article: HR leaders must solve problems in their entirety: Aon's Anirban Gupta on the power of holistic solutions


HR leaders must solve problems in their entirety: Aon's Anirban Gupta on the power of holistic solutions

Explore the dynamic world of HR leadership with Aon's Anirban Gupta as he shares insights on navigating challenges, embracing emerging trends, and leading through the digital revolution.
HR leaders must solve problems in their entirety: Aon's Anirban Gupta on the power of holistic solutions

In a dynamic world where change is the only constant, HR leaders stand at the forefront of steering organisations through unprecedented challenges. The ‘Are You in the List Awards 2024,’ in collaboration with Aon aims to explore and celebrate the resilience and innovation demonstrated by HR leaders in the face of evolving workforce trends and digital transformations. 

This year, in conversation with Anirban Gupta, Partner, Human Capital Solutions at Aon, we will delve into the dynamic landscape of HR, exploring emerging trends, critical capabilities, and strategies that will shape the future of HR leadership.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

One of the key lessons of the previous year is to keep a watchful eye on emerging and disruptive workforce trends. Given your expertise in the HR space, what will be the major trends and challenges that will impact the HR leaders in 2024?

I think the challenge we all have to face is how to deal with rising uncertainty which can take both positive and negative forms. The pace of change is only set to increase and it will have an enormous impact on the workplace and workforce that I don’t think we have fully appreciated. AI is an opportunity that’s spoken about a lot but I don’t think is understood enough how it can fundamentally change the employment landscape and the supply of talent that will be required to deal with a post AI world. Also, the way I see it, is that the macro shocks that economies will go through are set to increase, which means building resiliency of talent supply chains, understanding how that supply chain needs to change etc. will become of utmost importance for leaders.

As HR leaders brace themselves for a volatile and rapidly evolving business and talent landscape, what do you believe are the critical capabilities that will give them a leading edge? What will it take for them to win the game?

Here are a few things I’d list out:

  • Get closer to your client: HR over the last couple of decades got its proverbial “seat on the table”. When you get a seat you are asked to pay for it. HR chose to pay for it by cutting the cost of delivering employee experience through technology etc. What that’s meant over a period of time is that HR has become overtly focused on the process and not the outcome. If you talk to most business leaders you will hear them say that they need HR to be a partner in solving real business problems and not just run processes.
  • Solve problems across borders: Our current HR structures focus on siloed problem-solving. Even in that it is problem-solving using a functional body of knowledge. As I look at it, for HR to deliver value it needs to solve problems in their entirety and not break it down into a Learning problem, a Talent Acquisition problem etc. On top of that the solutions to some of the biggest talent problems lie outside the domain of knowledge of HR. A recruitment problem can be solved through techniques of supply chain optimisation or an incentive design problem can be solved by better understanding the fundamentals of behavioural sciences. 

The point I am making is that HR professionals need to understand and appreciate problem-solving techniques that lie outside the domain of HR for it to be able to holistically solve problems. That requires more and more HR professionals to be less committed to the process and evolve as polyglots who understand a broad variety of knowledge areas and know how to apply it to solve the biggest talent problems that their organisations are facing.

The role of CHROs is becoming more and more critical, as they work closely with CEOs to design workforce strategies that deliver business outcomes. How can CHROs better align their people strategies to the organisational goal plan? 

I think CHROs don’t necessarily articulate value in terms of business outcomes very well to the C-Suite, the why we are doing something and what will you get out of it in language they understand is very important and is something I have seen to be a bit of a struggle. Also I think there is a gap in what CHROs are measuring and what should get measured from a business perspective. Getting a boundaryless view of the inputs made on the talent and the outcome the business could generate with that is critical. Today the way data is set up, how information flows, and the analytical ability to draw inferences and insights seem to be too siloed for real value to emerge. So identify key measures which are important to business leaders as outcomes and communicate the impact of what you are doing to how those outcomes are yielding positive impact.

One of Gartner’s workplace predictions for CHROs in 2024 is how the Gen AI experiment will yield hard lessons and painful costs, even though AI overall will create new workforce opportunities. How can CHROs effectively lead themselves and their teams to success in the face of this digital revolution? 

Don’t get carried away by the trend and understand that you have an immense fiduciary responsibility towards your employees as you go through this change. I don’t doubt whether new jobs will be created through AI, but everything I have seen points towards the fact that it may not be the same people who are working with you today that will take the new jobs. Something like this has an immense socio-economic impact. As the CHRO I would honestly be looking at the skills I possess today, and what I need in a post-AI world, identify those gaps and deploy large reskilling programs to ensure that we can repurpose large portions of the workforce as the disruption quickens.

If you are eager to succeed as an HR leader and lead your teams in the face of the digital revolution, People Matters Are You In The List powered by AON offers you a unique platform to hone your skills. Register now before the closing date on March 17. 

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Topics: Leadership, HR Technology, #HRTech, #AreyouintheList?

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