The concept of people goes beyond human resources – it must serve the interest of individuals who are helping in building the business
G. Ravindran shares the philosophy of bringing people and therefore, the HR function, at the center of business through the ‘First, People 2012’ unconference
Why ‘First, People’? What is the thought process behind it?
The thought process begins with the fundamental question of ‘what is business there for?’ Is it there for the society or is the society there for business. The significant shift that we want to make is that the person who works in the industry is much more than a resource. The concept of people goes beyond human resources – it must serve the interest of people who are helping in building the business and therefore, serving the society.
The second thought is that in the industry today, there is only lip service that people are the most valuable resource. While businesses actually look at people merely as a input resource to deliver a valuable product or service. The focus is to put people in front of everything else. And for that to happen, there is need for a significant shift in our mindset that ensures that we put people at the front in everything that we do. One of the inevitable aspect of the future is that HR has to step into the mould of knowing people best. It is this philosophy that drove us to try to move this mindset – that while commerce and economics in business make absolute sense, businesses exist to serve the people.
Please share a few highlights of this un-conference
The first thing is that this is about the future. The future workforce is young, technology-driven and looks beyond job. The emerging workforce is aware that work is just one aspect of life, and there are other things to life. Therefore, ‘First, People’ will bring in touch points which are not necessarily focused only on work.
Secondly, best practices enable scale, while next practice enables innovation. Therefore, the next important focus is on doing things differently, which is reflected in the innovative mix in the agenda.
The third aspect, is to look at holistic learning which is beyond workplace learning. There are other spaces in life from where learning can happen, be it sport, music, or any other related field.
How will Curt Coffman help charter the required change?
Curt pioneered the concept of ‘break all the rules’. We are subscribing to this philosophy because when you look at an unpredictable future and try to find solutions, an over reliance on time tested path and rules will not help us reach where we want to reach. Curt introduces aspects of how to bring a fresh approach to the way we look at things.
Given the philosophy that people are central to everything, organizations are willing to put people first. There is a need for HR to celebrate this new position in business. The future will need HR to celebrate and come out as the leading function to make businesses meaningful and sustainable. Thus, there is a need to celebrate the people function and there must be enjoyment and engagement – and therefore, Goa.