Article: Run HR as a business: Dr. Santrupt Misra

Strategic HR

Run HR as a business: Dr. Santrupt Misra

In Dr. Santrupt Misra’s opinion, the time has come to run HR as we run any business.
Run HR as a business: Dr. Santrupt Misra

Dr. Santrupt Misra, Director, Global HR & CEO, Carbon Black Business at Aditya Birla Group, opened the Aditya Birla Group Global HR Summit with a view on the future.

“In everything we do, keep focusing on tomorrow.”

In his speech, he elaborated on how tomorrow can be perplexing, and how the only facet we can control as leaders is how we approach it. One can be “tentative”. That is, hide away from tomorrow as it goes past us. One can be “skeptical”, that is “dreary” and walk towards tomorrow as slowly as we can, hoping that way that tomorrow will come slowly towards us. Lastly, one can be “enthusiastic” that is “child-like” where no matter how fast or slow tomorrow is coming towards us, we will move forward to meet tomorrow and make it our own.

In the journey of transformation and change, the third approach towards tomorrow is the approach of empowerment, control, and ownership. That is the starting point of the journey of seizing tomorrow.

The ‘Business of HR’

In Dr. Misra’s opinion, the time has come to “run our HR as we run any business. Like every other business.” Dr. Misra stated, “A group of leaders has choices: what is our strategy, what are the key initiatives, what kind of investment do we make in the future?”

And like every other business, HR must be similarly answerable to its shareholders and customers, with a focus on their prosperity being central to everything. In today’s context, answering these questions with an enthusiastic eye on the future is critical, as the choices we make today, will have a tremendous impact on our impact tomorrow.

Six ways HR can be more impactful 

In order to seize these opportunities, Dr. Misra invites leaders into thinking very differently about the functioning of HR.

  • Be more data-oriented. “Where is the data,” Dr. Misra asked. “What’s working, what isn’t, in what areas can we improve?" 
  • Always develop a hypothesis. “Every HR leader must develop a hypothesis and learn to seek out ways to test it.”
  • Focus on improving staffing. “Speed, speed and speed,” Dr. Misra emphasized. “Fill positions as they are coming up and improve the quality of next-hires.”
  • Anticipate technology. “Where, how, what kind,” Dr. Misra asked. He also suggested that HR leaders must prepare their organizations ahead of time and “provide opportunities to actively practice whatever employees have learned.”
  • Move training programs from activities to outcomes. “Training has become an activity in itself. We need to focus on what is the [actual] outcome and impact of what we are learning.”
  • Improve organizational effectiveness. Have ways to assess the impact and outcomes of HR initiatives. 

Dr. Misra concluded that “HR has to think radically different if it wants to move to the future.”

“Feel proud to be [an HR professional]. And set your own standards.”

Excerpts from Dr. Santrupt Misra's opening session at the Aditya Birla Group Global HR Summit held in Singapore in May 2019. Meet Dr. Santrupt Misra at People Matters TechHR on 1st & 2nd August 2019 in Gurgaon. Register now.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #TechHRIN

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