Article: In the face of layoffs, here's how Bata India's CHRO ensures employee confidence


In the face of layoffs, here's how Bata India's CHRO ensures employee confidence

Ms Pooja Minocha highlighted Bata's adoption of AI tools for instant employee pulse assessments, while underscoring the value of human-centric abilities like innovation, emotional intelligence, and intricate problem-solving.
In the face of layoffs, here's how Bata India's CHRO ensures employee confidence

Layoffs and restructuring have become common occurrences across industries, serving as crucial mechanisms for organisational adaptation and evolution. While these changes may initially evoke concerns about job security and stability, they are often essential for organisations to realign their strategies, remain competitive, and navigate shifting market dynamics. 

However, despite the challenges they present, layoffs and restructuring need not be viewed as setbacks for HR departments. Instead, they can serve as opportunities for HR professionals to showcase their strategic prowess, agility, and resilience in supporting employees through periods of change and uncertainty, fostering a culture of trust, transparency, and resilience within the organisation.

But the question that arises is how? 

To uncover answers, we reached out to Ms Pooja Minocha, CHRO & VP Human Resources at Bata India. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, she shared invaluable tips and strategies that HR departments must consider to navigate tomorrow's ever-changing job market, enabling employees not just to survive, but to thrive.

Excerpts from the interview: 

How would you characterise the current job security landscape in India?

In the post-Covid era, India's job security landscape is undergoing a significant shift. The initial surge in consumerism for shopping and travel has given way to a more balanced and minimalistic lifestyle. Digitalisation is reshaping the workforce dynamics and technology-driven simplification of operational rules is placing a greater emphasis on job experience over job expertise. 

Moreover, the emerging workforce, particularly the younger generation, is prioritising purpose-driven and flexible engagements, challenging traditional organisational hierarchies. This shift is leading to the adoption of more project-based team structures as companies strive to align with the evolving preferences of the workforce and ensure sustained job security in a changing environment.

How should HR departments address employee concerns about job security, and what's the best way to facilitate this communication?

To effectively address employee concerns about job security, HR departments should adopt a holistic and proactive approach. Communication is key - clear communication can alleviate uncertainties and build trust within the workforce. A comprehensive approach involves redefining roles, identifying outsourcing opportunities, and incorporating flexible work arrangements to align with changing demands. Emphasis should be placed on guiding employees and managers through technology adoption and fostering a flexible, agile mindset in career paths. 

We, at Bata India, recognise the need to transform into a future-ready organisation by prioritising employee development through talent initiatives and focusing on talent mobility and career growth opportunities. Through career development program we offer valuable advancement opportunities to our frontline managers and fuel the growth and development of our store sales team. Furthermore, we remain committed to driving innovation through continuous investments in technology, focusing on future growth opportunities. 

In times of organisational changes, such as restructuring or mergers, how can the HR department ensure that employees feel secure in their roles?

During organisational changes like restructuring or mergers, the HR department needs to play a crucial role in ensuring employees feel secure in their roles. Bata carefully crafts change management and communication strategies during transformational initiatives with the intention of providing a sense of security to employees. 

Effective communication is paramount, necessitating a tailored approach at various organisational levels to address individual concerns. Building a journey for the employee experience is crucial, helping them understand the big picture and addressing specific concerns. Proactive measures such as reskilling initiatives are essential to demonstrate the company’s dedication towards retaining employees and instilling confidence in them. 

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What is your outlook on the future coexistence of humans and AI in the workforce, and how does this impact overall job security?

The future coexistence of humans and AI in the workforce is inevitable. HR needs to strategically plan for roles where AI complements human capabilities and should proactively enable upskilling of employees in areas where automation may replace tasks. While certain tasks may become automated, this evolution opens the door to new opportunities in the employment landscape. 

There is also a need for HR leaders to champion a mindset shift towards the collaborative potential of humans and AI. Bata, for instance, introduced AI tools for real-time employee pulse checks and emphasises the importance of uniquely human skills in innovation, emotional intelligence, and complex problem-solving. This supplements HR efforts and provides insights for talent management strategy.

How do you envision the future of job security in India, considering the evolving nature of work and industries?

As technology continues to shape the business landscape, the future of job security in India will get more tightly woven into the fabric of ongoing digital transformation initiatives, and the evolving nature of work and industries. HR will need to play a driving role in navigating these changes. It is crucial for HR professionals to identify areas for upskilling to align with industry trends, ensuring that the workforce remains adaptable and equipped with the necessary skills for the future. 

In addition to digital transformation, factors such as macroeconomics, geopolitical headwinds and ever-evolving retail landscape contribute to the dynamic nature of work. The ability to embrace change and cultivate a culture of continuous learning will be of utmost importance for both employees and organisations.

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Topics: Leadership, #PracticalTips, #Layoffs, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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