Article: Who is a resilient HR leader thriving in the age of disruption?


Who is a resilient HR leader thriving in the age of disruption?

2024 calls for HR leaders to equip themselves with the skills to build agile teams and unlock excellence in a rapidly changing world.
Who is a resilient HR leader thriving in the age of disruption?

The digital revolution, the growing need for workforce flexibility and upskilling, and the challenge of maintaining human touch in a tech-driven world present both exciting possibilities and significant challenges for HR leaders. To help navigate this evolving landscape, we designed a LinkedIn Live event – a precursor to People Matters Are You In The List, powered by Aon.  This session featured Roopank Chaudhary (Partner and Chief Commercial Officer, India and South Asia at Aon), who unpacked key workforce trends with Naveen Narayanan (Global Head - Human Resources at Biocon Biologics) and Girish Menon (Head HR at Swiggy). Notably, Naveen and Girish are also ‘CHRO Coaches’ mentoring the candidates in one of the coveted stages of the award.

The candid discussion went beyond trends, offering practical strategies for HR professionals while also exploring how to redefine the HR function itself. For all those next-gen HR leaders, this is your last call to attend People Matters Are You In The List and gain valuable and enduring insights that will empower you to thrive in this dynamic environment. 

Reshaping the Workforce: Digital Dominance & Evolving Flexibility

When we look at the workplace and workforce trends of 2024, two key themes emerge: digital transformation and employee flexibility.

Digital Dominance: A Maturing Landscape: Naveen emphasises that digitalisation remains a dominant force, albeit in an evolved form. Augmented analytics and the integration of next-generation AI will significantly reshape how we work. As these capabilities mature, HR solution providers will play a critical role in accelerating talent development and adaptation.

The Rise of Flexible Work: Implications for Leaders: Girish highlights the growing importance of employee flexibility, impacting work hours, location, and pressure levels. Emerging leaders must adapt to this changing landscape by fostering open communication, active listening, and a willingness to embrace change. Careers are no longer linear – future leaders need to develop a ‘marketing lens’ to understand employee aspirations and design personalised career paths. Mass customisation of career architectures might be the future of talent management.

Beyond the Tech vs HR Debate: Reimagining the Human Touch

The ongoing debate about balancing tech and HR misses the mark, according to Naveen. Our instinct to seek control might drive this need for balance. Instead, HR should focus on employee journey mapping. “The recent crisis introduced unprecedented challenges,” he says, adding, “HR leaders must now guide employees through complexities, provide upskilling opportunities, and manage performance in this new reality."

Girish emphasises the importance of human intelligence. "While technology allows us to deliver human intelligence at scale," he explains, "HR often neglects core human skills like connecting with employees and market scanning. These are irreplaceable strengths. Technology evolves rapidly, and unlike HR, it disrupts quickly. Emerging leaders must combine human intelligence with AI for optimal results."

Navigating the AI Wave: Upskilling and Awareness

The rise of AI brings both excitement and apprehension. Naveen emphasises that resisting its adoption is futile. Businesses that prioritise large-scale reskilling and upskilling initiatives are thriving. HR must play a crucial role in managing this change and translating it into a competitive advantage.

Girish acknowledges that any significant change triggers anxiety. Leaders can address this by fostering awareness and encouraging employees to learn about upcoming AI advancements. By demystifying the unknown, fear can be mitigated. With clear communication and upskilling opportunities, HR can significantly reduce the time it takes for employees to adapt and become proficient in this new landscape.

Building Thriving Teams: Cultivating Resilience and Redefining HR

Building resilience and agility are crucial skills for today's business leaders. Girish emphasises that HR must evolve from ‘policy police’ to ‘people enablers,’ fostering a supportive environment instead of a controlling one. He suggests using ‘Why Not?’ to spark innovative solutions, complementing the traditional ‘Why?’ approach. Active listening to both employees and market trends is also critical. Finally, HR should transition from specialists to expert generalists, with a broader understanding of the business landscape.

Naveen agrees on the importance of resilience in leaders. While he acknowledges the debate on whether it can be taught, he believes organisations can identify and nurture it through targeted development programs.

Reimagining HR: The DNA of Next-Gen Leaders

The qualities of next-generation HR leaders and rising CHROs are in focus. Naveen emphasises a digital-first mindset, urging HR professionals to see themselves as ‘chief change officers’ who can transform people managers into inspiring leaders.

Girish takes a more concise approach, highlighting the need for boundless curiosity. HR leaders must be adept at understanding and embracing change. Additionally, they require the courage to experiment, learn from failures, and advocate for what's right.

The People Matters Are You In The List Advantage

Girish outlines the four key benefits of participating in programs like People Matters Are You In The List, powered by Aon:

  • Conversation: This platform offers a rare opportunity to engage with a large pool of talented individuals. By actively participating in discussions, you can gain valuable insights and perspectives.
  • Connection: Building strong professional relationships is crucial for career advancement. This program allows you to forge connections with like-minded peers who can become your support network in the long run.
  • Competitive Edge: Learn from the experiences of successful HR leaders. This program provides a platform to understand what's driving success in the industry and identify areas for improvement within your own organisation.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regardless of whether you win the award, the entire process is a valuable learning experience. Embrace the journey, constantly strive to refine your skills, and celebrate both victories and setbacks.

Naveen reflects on the courage it takes to participate in such programs, acknowledging the willingness of participants to be evaluated and benchmarked against their peers. He commends them for their bravery and growth mindset.

People Matters Are You In The List, powered by Aon will have its last batch assessed by March 17. So, if you are the rising HR leader within your organisation and wish to learn what it takes to lead in uncertain times, register now before the slots close. 

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Topics: Leadership, Strategic HR, Skills Assessments, Learning & Development, #AreyouintheList?, #HRTech

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