Now, more than ever, it is time for HR professionals to change with their constantly evolving surroundings. For any organization, the biggest challenge today is to create an inspired workplace which enables people to work smartly and more productively. Earlier, HR could still afford to take the back seat. But, with the talk of taking shots at the CEO office and being on the Board at par with the CFO or the COO, the modern-age HR professional has to not just connect with his peer group, but also inspire his people and help them grow.
“It is believed that the role of HR will change manifold in the next five years than it has in the past 30. This means the industry will need to be in a constant learning mode to remain effective. HR and business leaders will need to be motivated, engaged, and knowledgeable to create the workplaces that enable organizations to thrive,” said Achal Khanna, CEO, SHRM India.
She was speaking at the third Annual HR Conference and Exposition 2014 of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that concluded on September 25th and 26th. The two-day conference and exposition held at The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon, witnessed the presence of over 650+ delegates, including middle and senior level HR professionals, corporate leaders and over 60 acclaimed Thought Leaders from all over the world. We present to you some of the key highlights of the conference:
Building a service-focused culture is a necessity
One of the key speakers at the Conference was Ron Kaufman, Founder, UP Your Service and NY Times Bestselling Author, columnist and management consultant. A lively bundle of energy, Kaufman had the audience in high spirits as he made them go through certain motions while describing the importance of service and how to make that a sustainable competitive advantage. “Organizations that attract good people as employees and as customers are the need of the hour. We need organizations with cultures that uplift employees, motivate them and inspire them to take good care of other people. We also need leaders who understand how to keep service at the top of the mind every day,” he said. At a time when employees have a lot of choices at hand, only those companies which have a powerful service culture can attract and retain the best talent. Companies need to action those steps that can create value. Using the example of a pizza delivery boy, Kaufman said the customer is more likely to tip the delivery man if he leaves a good impression with his service. Instead of asking “What’s in it for me ask what can I do for you?”
Can women do it all?
As the role of women evolves in the workplace, will it be possible for her to juggle all her roles? According to Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of Sheroes, “While there are 12+ million educated urban women, only 17 per cent of them are there in corporate jobs. Worse still, only 5 per cent make it to the CXO level. An average woman takes two to three career breaks or changes and everything that revolves around work, home and society impacts women at work.” Revealing even more startling statistics, Chahal revealed that India ranked 113 on the global gender equality index and even more alarmingly at least 48 per cent of women dropout of their work mid-career. About 62 per cent of women earn the same salary as their male counterparts. There is a need for feminization of work.
Don’t outsource thinking
That was the fundamental line of thinking as five panelists – Manoj Biswas, Head-HR, Accenture; Heidi Byerly, VP, Asia Pacific Operations, Technology Division, SHRM; Arun Dhaka, Country Sales Director, Cornerstone OnDemand; Ashis Sen, Deputy General Manager, Capability Building, HPCL; and Vikram Bector, Chief Talent Officer, Reliance Industries Limited – talked about ‘Transforming the future of work in a technology world’. Asking people not to outsource thinking, Ashis Sen of HPCL said, “Technology is popular because it meets our objectives. Hence, older people will also learn. Technology will ultimately lead to intimacy, inclusion and influence. Don’t measure the end, but the variables that it is going to impact.” Sen told the audience that HR language is often double-pronged and this is the mindset that needs to change. “Learn from feed forward instead of feed backward.”
HR should stop playing the victim
The CEOs vs CHROs debate on ‘Is HR truly becoming a business partner?’ at the SHRM Conference threw up some interesting pointers for both sides. The debate chaired by Aquil Busrai, CEO, Aquil Busrai Consulting, saw the presence of Anuranjita Kumar, Managing Director & CHRO Citibank, Judhajit Das, CHRO, ICICI Prudential, Sarthank Ray Chaudhuri, CHRO, Whirlpool, Animesh Kumar, Group Head HR & Corporate Services, IDFC, on the CHRO panel. The members of the CEO panel were Rajeev Dubey, President (Group HR) & Member of the Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hanumant Talwar, VP & Country Manager – India and China with Convergys, Pavan Vaish, Global Chief Operating Officer & Member of the Board UnitedLex Corporation, Sanjay Modi, MD, Monster.com (India/Middle East/Southeast Asia/Hong Kong), Craig Preston, MD, IDG.
The CEOs maintained that if HR continues to play victim mode, they will not do well. On the other hand, the CHROs were of the view that HR underplays what it does as it is seen as a support function. Good organizations are built on long-term values and HR drives that. P/L changes every year, culture doesn’t. Sarthak Ray Chaudhuri of Whirlpool was of the view that CEOs should learn the extended language of business and the business language should be more holistic and inclusive. Judhajit Das of ICICI Prudential said that companies need to move away from wanting HR to have domain and functional skills and become more leadership oriented. However, Hanumant Talwar asked the CHRO panel “Why can’t HR be the conscience keeper of the CEO?” To which, the CHRO panel rebutted saying the CEO’s lack of ability to take people decisions is irritating. Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer, Wipro, summed it up perfectly when he said that when CEOs tell HR to learn “the language of business”, why it includes everything except people issues.
Winners of the SHRM HR Awards 2014
Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion - Aegis Limited
Excellence in Community Impact - Hewlett Packard India Sales Private Limited
Excellence in Developing Leaders of Tomorrow - Citigroup India
Excellence in Social Media People Campaignn- OSSCube Solutions Limited
Excellence in HR Analytics - Genpact India
Employer with Best Employee Health & Wellness Initiative - Procter & Gamble India