Article: Publicis Sapient’s Chief Talent Officer, Kameshwari Rao, on HR’s Next Curve

Leadership

Publicis Sapient’s Chief Talent Officer, Kameshwari Rao, on HR’s Next Curve

Here are some excerpts from the rapid-fire conversation with Kameshwari Rao, Chief Talent Officer, Publicis Sapient, on the future role of HR in the world of work and people.
Publicis Sapient’s Chief Talent Officer, Kameshwari Rao, on HR’s Next Curve

As the Chief Talent Officer at Publicis Sapient, Kameshwari Rao has seen the world of HR evolve and transform into this digital age. A skilled HR professional in talent management, performance management, people strategy, Rao is passionate about driving diversity and inclusion in the workplace and advancing the corporate social responsibility agenda. She is also incharge of providing strategic leadership for the organization’s people strategy. 

Having worked as an HR leader with demonstrated experience in the information technology and services industry, Kameshwari Rao has been instrumental in driving the people strategy and diversity and inclusion agenda at the company. 

“It’s truly an exciting time for HR professionals and we need to go ahead and seize the space,” said Kameshwari Rao, Chief Talent Officer, Publicis Sapient, during a rapid-fire interview with the People Matters, on the changing role of HR in the future of work and what would the Next Curve be for the HR fraternity as the world of work and people collectively strives to become future-ready. 

Here are some excerpts from the rapid-fire conversation with Kameshwari Rao, Chief Talent Officer, Publicis Sapient. 

What will the role of HR look like in the future?

The days when HR was driven by trying to find a seat at the table are long gone. As HR, we now have a seat at the table and we now need to be able to lead the table. This means several changes-

  • HR needs to move away from just delivering processes and programs to focusing on value, quality and speed. 
  • There is a need to focus on mindset changes and outcomes which differ vastly from task orientation and outputs.
  • Orient around people experiences that cover the cultural, physical and technological aspects of the workplace.
  • And lastly how to build a culture of learnability in times that require people to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn.

It’s truly an exciting time for HR professionals and we need to go ahead and seize the space.

In your opinion, will HR be managing people or robots (or both) in the future?

I certainly see this as in the realm of possibility, although it’s probably a few years away. We have to first have a way to manage the varying types of people we now have in the workforce – gig workers, freelance workers, virtual workers to just name a few. We need to be able to access and manage on and off balance sheet talent, while trying to meet the personalization and democratization needs of the people who work with us. HR is now using bots to manage a lot of our processes, if our workforce is able to interface and work with our bots, we should prepare ourselves for the next phase, when we will have to manage robots.

How should HR upskill themselves to become future-ready?

The biggest challenge facing HR is how we upskill for a future we don’t know and cannot predict, while we try to manage the talent that is ever changing. How we apply transformation principles to ourselves will be key to unlocking value both for the employee and the enterprise. Some skills that HR professionals can consider drawing are from our LEAD framework which focuses on:

  • L- How can we be light and fast? Can we experiment, identify the desired path, learn and relearn.

  • E- How can we be ethical and conscious in complex workplaces? Technological advances and speed of change, will throw at us challenges that will need us to be the custodians of what is right.

  • A- We need to be accessible and open. With so much automation, let us not forget the heart, which is who we need to be. 

  • D- How do we become dataful? Leveraging data to make decisions that are fair, objective and transparent.

Going forward, what do you think will be your #NextCurve as an HR professional?

I feel as though I have been on the #NextCurve as an HR professional for a long time. Gaining perspectives externally, regionally, culturally and globally have made my learning curve steep and I have thrived in making transformational changes and not just incremental ones. I plan to continue raising the bar at every turn. Having said that, I love what I do and cannot think of anywhere else that I would rather be.   

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Development, #MyNextCurve

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