Article: What is the CHRO’s role in the age of augmented work?

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What is the CHRO’s role in the age of augmented work?

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One key item in the leadership agenda is to create a workplace where ambiguity and change is embraced. What else can HR leaders do?
What is the CHRO’s role in the age of augmented work?

The augmented workplace is fast evolving. On the one hand, emerging technologies are transforming work. On the other hand, the workforce composition is evolving to include gig workers, bots, robots etc. The composition of the workforce is also becoming more diverse- multi-skilled, multi-generational, each with their own with distinct aspirations and drivers such as passion, meaning, flexibility.

Organizations are left with no choice but to address these transformations by re-conceptualizing work, reskilling the workforce and using technology solutions to support their business processes.  

Change is inevitable

The technological changes in the last few years have radical transformed the professional and personal lives. Employees use seamless technology in their personal lives, whether that’s ordering groceries using an app, or making bank transactions at the click of a button. They are demanding the same ease and convenience in workplace interactions- more digital-savvier and intelligent interactions that will help them grow. For example, the flexibility of working from home, mobile working are becoming commonplace employee expectations. 

Organizations that want to deliver a great employee experience must build the right infrastructure, technology, systems, workflows etc.  It is important for the HR team to design the right people interventions and support systems so that people can understand the change and grow with the change. 

Leading the transformation on the people front

HR professionals should foster a culture where people are not constrained by the shackles of structure and ways of working but instead focus on freedom and opportunities to innovate.

This means that organizations need to look at “talent” differently.

The role of the CHRO has moved away from just navigating people challenges to navigating technology disruptions and changing business models. Here are some of the questions that organizations are asking:

  • What is the sync between the talent organizations currently have, and what is actually required for growth?

  • Do we have the organizational agility to move quickly as an organization to handle the changes?

  • Do we have the right culture to support and enable the right talent?

  • Are we futuristic? Can we innovate? 

  • How do we work within the compliance requirements and yet grow?

The increasing expectations are around being futuristic and sustainable. Aligning the workforce with the overall organizational purpose, and building a future-ready company that can survive disruptions and overcome existing and future constraints. 

How can CHROs Enable a Transformation? 

  • Envision future-ready processes: To manage change, HR leaders must build the right processes in place. An optimum process set up today may become irrelevant when a new business model emerges. Agile and flexible processes are a must, and the ability to change quickly must be inbuilt into the HR outlook.

  • Create a culture where people are comfortable with change: Employees are constantly facing change. HR leaders must continuously cultivate and communicate an encouraging environment of trust.  Having an awareness of the impact of change and the potential of individuals to change is critical.

    Interventions to drive mindset change, attitude change, and work-style change are necessary. 

  • Breed meaning and passion: Making work meaningful is another imperative. HR leaders must paint a picture of the future today and help figure out how to be relevant as an organization, for employees to be proud to be associated with the company. 

  • Collaborate and communicate: By providing the right collaboration and communication tools, CHROs must create a conducive environment where people make the most of people processes. 

  • Drive HR effectiveness: Building HR capability, by optimally building or buying HR process skills is a must. HR leaders must look for the right accreditations, competency-based interviewing and other skills and processes within HR to ensure that the change is mindful and thoughtful. 

  • Drive strategy and innovation: The CHRO must work closely with the business to build a future-ready organization. Right from building teams and tools with specific agendas/ issues for each business or function, to getting all these into a single, usable platform. It is important to build a critical mass of employees who will make the change happen on the ground. 

Employee involvement is central to orienting them to managing change confidently. This way, the augmented workforce will no longer feel burdened by technology transformations. They would imbibe it and grow with it. Positioning technology and transformation as a competitive advantage can be thought of as the single biggest success factor for HR leaders.

(This article is curated based on a webcast on the same topic.)

Topics: #Lets Talk Talent, Technology, Life @ Work

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