Does India have the bandwidth to deliver as many HR leaders who will have the required business and HR acumen?
The adventure to identify the top 25 HR leaders in India has witnessed an overwhelming excitement from the HR industry. As the journey to the top began from a list of 1,294 applicants, ‘Are You in The List’ is out to create the first ever 2.0 version in the selection process. The idea is obvious – if HR is to become a business contributor, does India have the bandwidth to deliver as many HR leaders who will have the required business and HR acumen that can go hand-in-hand? Of course, while the attempt to identify the top 25 may still be a small start to grand business demand – it has surely spurred conversations that are in the right direction.
While the process has been rigorous, the unique approach of ‘Are You In The List’ is adopting crowd-sourcing to gain intelligence from the industry itself in identifying the top competencies critical for the future HR leaders. The three roundtables that happened in Gurgaon, Bangalore and Mumbai, in the boardrooms of some of India’s leading companies epitomized the industry reckoning such an initiative as the need of the hour. The conversations at the Aircel Academy in Gurgaon or the boardrooms of MphasiS and Aditya Birla Group brought out the enthusiasm of the HR community at being part of this unique journey.
Amongst some of the key skills required by today’s HR leaders are deep domain knowledge, cognitive ability to execute, having a solution mindset, learning agility, and passion for results. Across the three cities, these competencies emerged as critical to help HR leaders in managing an organization in a flat and de-growth environment as well as to prepare themselves to manage the rapidity of change. The future HR leader should focus on the ‘theory of future’ that will demand a personality who has courage, character, resilience, and the ability to manage through ambiguity; as well as has the required technology acumen to be more effective in the ‘workforce of one’.
While the discussion steered towards new aspects entering the definition of work and the workplace, and how HR professionals have a need to imbibe aspects of agility and nimbleness in their approach, a lot was also said about the need for adequate focus on IR and labor laws. To quote a unanimous vote of HR leaders who represented these discussions, “HR will have to continue to focus on the basics of HR and be the advocate of its people and continue to remain the conscience of the organization.”
The three round-table discussions also reflected concerns of HR leaders who feel a void in the absence of any standard framework to identify quality HR professionals. Therefore, a caveat worth a mention here is: While we identify the top 25 HR future leaders, we must remember that there will be different standards of excellence that will be relevant in different business contexts, geographies and situations. Thus, there is perhaps also an equal need to develop a framework that can act as a standard for assessing future HR leaders.
‘Are You In the List’ is a People Matters initiative in partnership with DDI. To know more log onto www.areyouinthelist.com