Reinventing HR is the constant evaluation of a critical business function – in the beginning of the 20th century it was just administrative, post 1930s it was supervisory, while post 1945 it was more of a hiring champion and post 1950s HR took a very different shape and was named Human Resources Department. This was the time when the department took shape as recruitment, talent management and the complete spectrum. This is how former Gail CMS Dr U D Choubey and the current DG of SCOPE started his inaugural speech at the SCOPE HR Summit which started on February, 4. Post 2008, HR went for a paradigm shift considering new challenges like globalisation, managing speed of change, managing work diversity. Dr Choubey emphasised the diversity of work that affects not only the skills but also on attitude. Another challenge is the rate of attrition: retaining people is a key issue for all organisations and How can we aspire to create a sense of belonging to a company? Loyalty is about building skills, about access to opportunities – especially for Millennials. Retention is about capacity building and recognition. Compensation/package will be a hygiene and not sufficient. An important aspect is also how you will link this career development into succession planning, and then to the long term needs for the organisation. Investment in training and capacity building is the way forward for engagement and retention and it is also a long-term investment for the next level of leaders in the organisation. The biggest challenge is that employer should be transparent, responsible and accountable.
Dr. Veena Swarup, Director (HR), EIL & Summit Convener shared how these challenges in HR –the nerve centre of the organization- needs to manage the balance and sustain business performance and accommodating the needs of the new generation. Organizations need to build learning agility across functions and roles. The challenge is to build the effectiveness of the intersect of HR - strategy and technology. The HR function need to up its game to take the place at the business table.
R G Rajan, Chairman, SCOPE & CMD, RCF, shared how proactive HR management is required to sustain level of performance for business. Engagement is a challenge today and HR needs to play a critical role in this perspective. From data and records, HR needs to address complexity of the workforce, legal obligations and coordination of the goals of organizations and employees. HR is the service provider of both manager and employees and they are the owners of process and procedures for the company and also a partner for managers at the ground. He spoke how PSE environment is becoming competitive and how learning and development should pay a critical role in keeping that competitive edge. The challenge highlighted was the level of loyalty from employees as that makes capability building which is a long term approach to look at how to leverage social media, as technology makes the process of imparting skills and knowledge more agile. Finally, he addressed the need for more women leaders at PSE, from starting point of gender audit – SCF being the first PSE in India that has undergone a diversity audit. Linked to diversity is the importance of work-life balance for all employees that addresses the needs of employees and in turn affects productivity.
Author and Deputy Director ILO, Dr. Sher Verick shared the importance for ILO being partner with SCOPE at the HR Summit. Many of the terminology of HR is getting into ILO too, Dr. Verick shared. His address focused on how HR should evolve in complementing the business requirements as well and creating an ecosystem that provides sustainable success in the new world at work. He said, “Today we face uncertain economic times, in 2016 we still live in the economic environment from the 2009 recession, while India is a brighter spot, there is a lot of uncertainty. The labour market is a challenged by both quantity of jobs and quality of jobs. We are in the 4th Industrial revolution, from water and steam power, to electric power, to electronics and IT, the 4th is about expansion of artificial intelligence and robotics. These have massive implications in work creating around the world.” The employer-employee is more complex also in terms of social protection and rights. For example, how does an Uber driver access his employment protection? Dr. Verick concluded with practical insights on the importance of having better HR practices that will lead with better business success by the following three key areas: firstly, investment in skills development, formalizing training investment & fostering apprenticeships. Skills at not only at entry level but also about management and leaders, skilling should be across the board. Secondly, focus on gender diversity and inclusion. Clearly the business case has been proven, female labour participation in India is a major challenge and needs to be addressed by government and industry leaders equally. Attracting and retaining female talent and building a level playing field will be critical for HR to lead. Thirdly, the importance of Industry Relations and social dialogue which is critical for sustainable performance. “ILO’s role is to make sure we document and disseminate best practices and raise the level of IR across the board,” he said.
Dr. Phyllida Travis, Director, Dept. Of Health System Development, WHO Regional Office, South East Asia kicked off her address on the importance of reinventing HR in health, health workers themselves needs a revamp of skills and productivity, need for innovation in HR. Health spent is increasing around the world, HR’s role in managing that cost is also significant but not sufficient – requires many stakeholders to come together that can contribute to the same. In 2016, ILO will focus on health employment and how we can maximize the contribution to economic development. Regionally, health workforce development and change is a political commitment for the Asian region of a long term level of 10 years to support change in health workers in transformative educations and adaptive learning, second is rural retention that requires interventions and incentives to stay in rural areas, third one is on migration of health workers, that the country least equip that is producing talent but exporting it outside.
Ameising Luikham, Secretary, DPE spoke about HR with a story to relate. In India only 2.3% is skilled or trained, while in South Korea it is 90% and above. In northeast, were Secretary belongs, dependence of society is very high, you know all the skills because everybody participate – gardening, building a house, learns in informal system imbibed in us from children. Unfortunately, our children they don’t have that level of exposure, basic skills are not acquired, it is essential to remember that exposure is critical. Luikham shared how automation is bringing a lot of changes but still human skills are critical to run those machines. Expectations from government in investing in skilling from PSU is very high, he believes that while the investments are in good direction but yet should be higher. HR should invest in giving exposure and providing skills to raise the performance bar for PSEs. Additionally, there is a need to PSU to tighten up management practices and create a performance driving culture.
The Chief Guest at the Summit was K V Chowdary, CVC who concluded the inaugural by accepting that any organizations is as good as its people. HR is hence critical, they are chosen by HR, they are trained by HR, they are guided, placed, monitored, incentivized, motivated all driven by the HR function. The main key area for HR is to retain talent, people leave organizations for more reasons than money alone – it is a lot more than the paycheck. Culture plays a critical role that affects beyond work. Workplace affects the house and society at large. That organization’s environment goes beyond the workplace alone, culture affects society too. That is the level of impact that HR actually has in society. Similarly happens with ethics too. The philosophy of the organizations also impacts the values of individuals and how they live their lives. At commission level, KV Chowdary shared how vigilance is important for all organizations, and it is not a bad word. The commission aims to bring education and awareness about anti-corruption and the role that values, ethics and culture plays. HR has a critical role to play to prevent and influence the right behaviours. Additionally, the organizations is also investing in re-training themselves across different skills and creating a unique culture that holds all together by increasing interaction across people, more investment in training and perspective building. This is a journey of CVC of transformation, government services do not have the privilege to have an HR department, that way PSU have a great opportunity, as this is the role that HR can play in PSU Transformation. Impacting people, beyond the workplace, to a better citizen and ultimately a better society and better world.
The inaugural concluded with the winners of the Case Study Contest: Bharat Cooking Cold Limited for HR Transformation, BHEL for their Learning tree identification of training needs via a mobile app, HEC for their program to building effectiveness in union resolution.