“If you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old,” said management guru Peter Drucker. In today’s context where businesses are changing rapidly, the core of the business – the people function also needs to change. Managing rapid growth, finding the right leadership and building an employer brand that differentiates a company from their competition are the major challenges that CEOs face and need their HR teams to step up and take charge. Thus, the NASSCOM HR Summit 2013 was aptly focused around Workforce Innovation: New Way of Working vs. Old Way of Thinking.
A confluence of 650 plus delegates, 65 speakers and 30 plus sessions, the summit aimed at exploring the ways in which the HR function will shape up in the future. Presented here are the significant factors that emerged in order to make HR relevant:
Building future HR leaders
In order to build sustainable organisations, we need to revisit the ways in which leaders are chosen. They should not be chosen for their organisational performance, but for their inclination to nurture internal leaders, willingness to foster a culture of trust and total transparency, ability to challenge the status quo and facilitate continuous development. Along with it, an entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge of the market they are in and strategic thinking are critical to the success of future leaders.
Cross-functional movement of HR professionals
As businesses evolve, HR is no longer a support function and needs to develop an understanding of the way the business operates in order to be effective. Moving across functions will help HR managers develop a well-rounded perspective and appreciate the way business works, which in turn will make them better at their work.
Need to get the ‘H’ back in HR
Workplaces spread across geographies, people working in different time zones has led to HR getting increasingly process oriented and focused on metrics and numbers instead of the core i.e. people and their aspirations. HR professionals need to question themselves and push back when business makes decisions that are not beneficial to people in the long run. Also, HR needs to be the eyes and ears of management and the voice of people and not be mechanistic and ritual.
HR needs to listen to employees and involve them in decisions that affect them. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach but it is more about adapting management styles as per culture for HR to be effective.
Designing effective learning spaces
The new age mantra for learning is “www” which we focus on whenever, wherever and whoever. While it is essential for the learning function to understand the business, competencies required for the running the business and learning styles of the individuals, we need to acknowledge that learning is a continuous process and cannot be confined to classrooms and needs to be administered through various mediums that are more interactive and engaging.
Social Media: A tool to engage employees
Social media is one of the most ‘evolving topics’ of today. Organisations need to devise ways to leverage social media to its advantage as it can give insights about people, change the way we hire, interact and engage with our workforce. Though it is an effective tool to tap into the minds of young audience, there is a perceived loss of control.
Nurturing innovation in organisations
Innovation starts with hiring the best innovative minds, providing them with the right environment and culture. That includes simplified processes, encouraging risks, developing a tolerance for failure and innovation. Besides these, the performance appraisal process needs to take into account the “How” part of the process along with the actual results and care needs to be taken to arrive at a fine balance between innovation and process.
In order to achieve these goals, the business community needs to undergo a complete transformation that requires a complete shift in the mindset, willingness to challenge the status quo and calls for a strong bias for action. It is for time to tell if the HR function can indeed step up to these expectations and deliver.