Unpredictable times often call for better preparation! With most organisations busy tackling the challenges of hybrid/remote work model, employee flexibility, wellbeing, etc., while focusing on growth, it seems like finding the right balance is what is keeping many HR leaders, stakeholders and CEOs awake at night.
To answer questions and offer actionable insights on the future of work, we have a spectacular line-up of global speakers, including Pratik Gauri, Ashok Ramachandran, Laura Overton, Krish Shankar and Ravinder Pal Singh, who will be attending the People Matters TechHR India 2022, Asia’s largest HR and WorkTech conference, taking place on 4-5 August at Leela Ambience, Gurgaon.
Ahead of the conference, these global leaders and experts in their own right shared their views on what it is that can help organisations break the barriers and find possibilities within the disruptions along with author squad speakers, the likes of which include Jonas Prasanna, Achyut Menon, Ruchi Bhatia, Sarang Brahme and Kunjal Kamdar, in an exclusive pre-conference Twitter Spaces curated for People Matters TechHR India 2022.
Here is glimpse of what the global leaders and the author squad had to say when we delved deeper into trends that will change the shape of people and work agenda in organisations, what is that one skill that HR leaders should invest in and as we zoom in and zoom out, what is the one thing that these leaders wish the HR would start and stop doing.
If you were to pick one trend that you believe is going to change the form and shape of people and work agenda for organisations, what would it be?
Traditional forms of education won’t be defining talent no more: Ashok Ramachandran
For Ashok Ramachandran, CEO and president, Schindler India, who is looking at all that is happening around the world, he feels there isn’t a tectonic shift happening from a people perspective. But with Web 3, crypto and NFTs defining the workplace of the future, there are a lot of trends emerging that will be shaping people and the work agenda of organisations. He is witnessing a lot of students from high-school onwards, starting to hustle a lot and trying to enter the workforce without traditional forms of education. He believes that it is one significant change that will continue. While it was a popular practice in the Western world, it is picking up now in the Indian context as well where people are starting to question the formal forms of education and taking up informal ways of getting into the workforce. Sharing an example of talent acquisition at Schindler India, he reveals how they are also recruiting school dropouts at an early stage to immerse in the organisation.
Focus on skills building and learning: Krish Shankar
According to Krish Shankar, group head- Human Resources, Infosys, we are living in what he calls a skills economy, where skills are fast changing and it is all about the kinds of skills you have rather than what you studied. With focus on skills and how you keep learning them, Shankar believes that is going to be a big trend as we move ahead.
The choice in the hand of employees: Laura Overton
For international speaker, author, facilitator and analyst and co-creator of Emerging Stronger, Laura Overton, the big trend that she is excited about is the choice among employees and organisations. Today, we see the way organisations are attracting the kind of talent they want and there are so many more choices and expectation around that choice for employees in terms of where they want to work, when they want work, how they want to work, the skills they want to pick up and how they want to pick them up.
Decentralised organisation to redefine the future of work: Ravinder Pal Singh
Ravinder Pal Singh, technologist, professor of innovation, DeepTech investor and partner, Kalaari Capital Advisors, reveals the current structure will dramatically change and decentralised organisations will redefine the future of work through the creation of global pools of digital freelancers and gig workers. He believes that governance, in part or as a whole, for an organisation will be based on efficient, equitable and compassionate capitalism, which is currently biased towards management and senior leadership.
Giving the power back to the community: Pratik Gauri
Pratik Gauri, founder and CEO, 5ire, agrees with Singh on decentralisation. Adding to his point, Gauri shares that DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) is going to be a big shift, which will be powered by Web 3 and blockchain. He reveals trust and security will be two important aspects, which will be critical to the way organisations look at employees or stakeholders. And that means blockchain is going to be the next big thing. Elaborating on the why, he shares that blockchain technology has an in-built cryptography, decentralisation and a consensus and when all of these three factors come together, it ensures a lot of trust in transactions. All the records or data of an organisation stored on the chain will mean more security with double checks, that need to be done whenever any data is speeded on a blockchain. This basically means that no one can hamper the data, which ensures trust and security and all the block transactions when they get validated and agreed upon by a consensus mechanism, offer power back to the community.
If you were to pick one skill that you would want the HR leaders to invest in, what would it be?
Innovative ways of hiring talent: Pratik Gauri
While building 5ire, Gauri observed that a lot of organisations took the traditional route of matching talent to education. But that wasn’t how he built his company. The reason being that blockchain was a new concept and most of his employees were trained on the job or learnt online as there weren’t a lot of courses available in universities or otherwise. Revealing an important takeaway from the practice, he shares that some of the best performers at 5ire were people who didn’t come with expectations. He believes that we need to move away from the mindset where traditionally, people have looked at hiring from Ivy League schools and actually look at employee hiring from a different lens.
As the CEO, Gauri is looking for candidates with learning agility and ambition, which blockchain also enables as it gives the power back to the community. He says this as he sees that most Fortune 500 companies have a clearly defined path for their employees to grow and leadership comprises senior leaders with the ability to influence most of the decisions. But the question arises, why are employees left out of the decision-making process that will impact their lives as well?
It’s time to cultivate your own inner game: Laura Overton
With special emphasis on mindset and agility, Overton believes that it is time to hone in on our own skills, rather than looking at everybody else. She sheds light on HR and how great it is at serving communities and industries but the need of the hour is to work on our skills set and mindset to strengthen our inner game. That includes looking inside on how we feel and the way we think so we are able to believe in ourselves and understand our value.
Looking at clear insights, amidst the noise and activity: Krish Shankar
Looking at the cycle we are currently in, especially in the Tech space, Shankar is of the opinion that we are in a high demand, high growth, high attrition and high hiring phase with a lot of activity happening all around. With so much going on, the one good skill for the HR leaders to invest in would be to look for clear insights, amidst all the noise and activity. That includes understanding what is needed for short-term vs long-term, getting the right feedback from different people and making sense of it and structuring it all to plan for today and tomorrow.
CHROs to learn the business and not restrict themselves to HR: Ashok Ramachandran
As a CEO, Ramachandran wants to focus on the fact that why are there not many CHROs becoming CEOs. He believes that it is essential for HR leaders to understand the business as well as they understand HR so they can grab a seat at the table. Ramachandran shares that his biggest insurance policy is his CHRO and not CFO. Driving the discussion forward, he quotes how we keep reiterating that people are the most important aspect but then, why are CHROs not the most important individuals among us.
So, learning the business and grabbing that seat is what HR leaders should invest in.
What is that one word of advice you would like to give your HR on what should be stopped and what should be started as we zoom out and zoom into the future?
Stop navel gazing the HR: Krish Shankar
For Shankar, who would like to start many things, the one thing he would like to put a stop to is the way we look at HR sometimes and say things like, Is the HR really respected, so on and so forth. With the HR in many companies driving a lot of key areas, we should stop the navel-gazing and look ahead so as to drive the agenda.
Stop matching education to what candidates are bringing to the table: Pratik Gauri
As Ramachandran mentioned, I believe, for us, as CEOs, the stress on human capital should be more than it is on relationship or financial capital and hence, HR should not match a candidate’s education to what they are bringing to the table. I have seen a lot of HRs follow that practice and I think it’s time it should stop. The big shift that HR should bring to the fore is practising an open dialogue when interviewing a candidate and understanding the different ways of interviewing.
Stop content and saving money and start believing in expanding business value: Laura Overton
Overton believes we need to get practical and hone in on, say, learning professionals. We should stop seeing our value in the amount of content we deliver and the number and amount of money that we save, so we are not limiting ourselves in the future. We should start believing that when we start to expand our services, we stop expanding the business value of the organisation.
HR should be the conscience of an organisation: Ravinder Pal Singh
For Singh, HR should not be all about technology or automation but an alternate to that as human beings need that. Since HR is the conscience of an organisation, it should continue to do that as he believes there is no other custodian of conscience in an organisation better equipped than the person leading HR.
HR should become strategic and active listeners: Ashok Ramachandran
For me, I would like HR leaders to start listening actively to understand and not just to reply. And one thing I would want to put a stop to will be HR involved in admin work, which should become more strategic.
After experts shared their valuable insights and opinions, we moved to our author squad and posed two interesting questions that have been hot topics of discussion in the recent past.
Is the great resignation a fad?
For Sarang Brahme, head of employer branding, ShareChat, the belief is, it isn’t a fad. Drawing from experience, he shares that if you recently travelled to London, you will know about the long luggage issue that happened. That is the perfect example of what the great resignation can do. He feels it is going to change the way people think about their careers and the way organisations tackle employee wellbeing.
Sharing a differing opinion, Achyut Menon, managing director, Options Executive Search Pvt Ltd feels that the great resignation is an overhyped concept that makes sense in the Western countries, with social justice, etc., but in underdeveloped countries and in India, the difference between the have and have-nots has grown so much, that we have a lot of other things to worry about.
If you were to choose one super power, that you would love to have as an HR leader, what would it be?
For Kunjal Kamdar, talent attraction, brand and marketing specialist, Air Product, if he had a superpower, he would like to create a sense of belongingness among his employees as he feels that it is the HR’s duty to ensure that employees are comfortable at work, are treated fairly and with respect.
According to Jonas Prasanna, Global HRBP, Boeing, who has employees in 10 different countries, his superpower will be to clone himself so a version of him is there, available to employees in all the 10 countries, at all times.
For Ruchi Bhatia, senior employer branding consultant, HRGurukul, she would want all leaders and people managers across organisations to have empathy. With the times we are living in with the great resignation and a lot of shifts in the market, the HR is burnt out too so empathy is a desirable trait to have in people managers.
This is your chance to become a better leader for tomorrow, today. To learn more from leaders, join us in Gurugram for People Matters TechHR India 2022, Asia’s Largest HR and WorkTech Conference on 4 - 5 August 2022. Click here to register.