The business of managing people has come a long way – From Welfare Officers in 1890s, Labor Managers in 1910s, Personnel Managers in 1940s and HR Management in the 1980s. Since the late 1990s, the term “Strategic HR” has been used to describe the role that HR should play in accelerating and enabling business goals. At Converge 2016, Animesh Kumar, Head – HR, Brand and Foundation at IDFC Bank highlighted the evolution of HR practices in the recent years and spoke about the approach of the bank towards talent transformation.
In recent years, the job of an HR professional has been compounded by an increase in non-traditional career paths, increased appetite for risk and diverse skill-set. Added to this is the ever present scrutiny of companies through employer review sites and social media. From an organization standpoint, there is a complete shift in the day to day work enabled primarily by technology - recruiters are no longer aggregators of people, they have to re-orient themselves to build the employer brand. L&D professionals need to identify ways to give opportunities to the employee to make their own learning choices. And the focus on performance management has moved away from the bell curve model to regular feedback and engagement.
The focus is on attracting prospective employees through the company’s employer branding strategy and leveraging technology to identify a talent pool. The bank uses machine learning aided contextual search to crawl and curate relevant candidate profiles from the web. This ensures that there is reduced sourcing cost and effort.
And the focus of the employer branding strategy is to leverage build a digital employer brand on social media channels in order to continuously engage potential candidates. Recently, the company ran a successful campaign online asking potential candidates to apply to IDFC in 140 characters on Twitter.
Given that learning is a self-directed activity, the focus has been on enabling self-learning through interactive and augmented reality. Gamified learning modules with a combination of internally developed and externally aggregated learning content ensure that engagement is at the center of learning. There is already a high-quality content already available in the market today. It is, therefore, important to curate content based on the current needs of the organization today instead of spending time on creating content.
Another important feature that was taken into account is to allow autonomy to the employee. This means employees can craft their own career path and learning journey using the skills to job mapping that the organization identifies.
The emphasis is on reducing administrative work and enhancing the quality of performance dialogue. The role of HR was to identify ways to enable managers to coach and have a meaningful performance conversation. The company focused on building a performance management system that is easy to use and can aggregate data from multiple sources.
Technology is a key enabler across all these processes. In an age where there is ubiquitous access through the mobile phone, the focus while assessing investment in new technology must be on the ease of use, integration capabilities, immediate feedback and the ability to quickly upgrade. In addition to technology, it is important to drive engagement. At IDFC, the emphasis is on the feedback quality through conversations with individual employees and through engagement in forums including social media and WhatsApp.