Article: Interview: “There is no better time for being in HR”

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Interview: “There is no better time for being in HR”

Vikas Bansal, CHRO at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance talks about the HR trends in 2018, learnings, leadership challenges, and how creating a culture where multi-generational workforce can work is of utmost importance.
Interview: “There is no better time for being in HR”

Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Company Ltd is a joint venture between Edelweiss, a diversified financial services conglomerate in India, and Tokio Marine, one of the oldest life insurance companies in Japan.

Vikas Bansal heads the Human Resource function in Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, which includes recruitment and skill enhancement initiatives within the organisation. With over 16 years of experience in the field, he has worked in leadership roles across various business units and geographies with blue-chip companies like Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Dr. Reddy's labs and Hero Honda where he has handled HR intervention for diverse workforce across multiple industries and functions.

Vikas talks about the HR trends in 2018, learnings, leadership challenges, and how Edelweiss is creating a culture where multi-generational workforce can work with ease.

What are the upcoming HR trends for 2018 and beyond?

Trends for the future – Talent - Parallel talent economy will take prominence, these are workers who will be outside the organisation and will get associated on a project basis. Definition of career, spans layers and organisation structures will have to be rewritten. Experiences is what will fetch premium rather than standard career paths. The rise of Machines – Data and Analytics will play an important role in decision making and day to day operations. The human spirit and being human will come at a premium. The amount of change which is being driven by the VUCA environment HR professionals will have to learn to deliver in short cycles rather than working on the assumption HR outcomes can be seen over a long period of time.

What do you think has been the biggest learning for HR in 2018 and for you?

Building and Preparing the HR team for the new reality and new language is something I wish I could do more, which is what we would need to continue to build……our own. Every day a new idea takes birth, the innovations are happening around you, creating space and environment where we can collaborate with others inside and outside the organization. The more we give up, the more space we created to do more.

What will be the leadership challenge in managing multigenerational diverse workforce?

The biggest challenge is to create space - virtual, physical and emotional.  leaders have been used to flex few muscles however in a multi-generational diverse workforce one has to use lot more. We will have to unlearn a lot from set process to more fluidity is what we need to manage.

Any framework/toolkits adopted by talent leaders in solving current talent challenges?

Every leader is a talent leader responsible for bringing new talent, nurture and grows them and it is no more the sole responsibility of HR. Understand the context and core values/strengths of the organization first is what talent leaders need to do. Any strategy which is independent of the organization context fail.  Adapting new tool/language can help in managing the talent will be key for talent leaders.

What are the different levers/dimensions to re-assess to create an environment for this workforce to work?

Hygiene levers will be – Flexible timings, Dress Code, Office seating, Fun Activities at work, accessibility to senior leadership. Impact Levers will be – Variety of experiences, Connecting work with higher purpose, Beyond Work

How is Edelweiss Tokio Life creating a common ground for the multi-generational diverse workforce?

Our values and governing principles are something which creates a common ground for all employees; irrespective of the background they come from. We have set a strong base by defining the leadership behaviours expected from all our employees. We are a young organization which believes in open dialogue rather than being governed by only processes and frameworks. Easy Access and Open-door practices allow employees to connect across generations and hierarchy. Emphasis on strengths/merit allows us to have minimal conflict.

What are some of the key diversity initiatives in your organization?

We believe in recruiting workforce basis the candidate’s capability and job fitment, with no biases related to age, gender, religion, geography. We have a very strong assimilation program Ankur and Aagman for all employees. CARE is an employee sensitization program which was launched across the organization aimed at creating a respectful work environment for our diverse employee pool. We allow our employees to chart their own career which is where Udaan - a development program aimed at empowering front-line sales managers to make an informed career choice and developing them to get there. We understand employees have different interest and for them, we have High On Life interest clubs which brings the best out of our employee. We support our women managers through an elaborate support system during the maternity phase and their return back post maternity. A structured program for campus hires allows us to nurture diverse talent.

What is one thing that HR must stop doing in 2018, and one thing it should start doing in 2018?

Stop playing a victim, change the language to business. There is no better time for being in HR.

Topics: Leadership

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