Let me begin by stating the obvious. As we turn the calendar, the Indian economy and employment, continue to be a challenge. Hence, it is important for leaders to consistently engage and deliver the right message to employees - around the company’s key goals and strategies as a counter to this environment. This may mean tighter KRAs and streamlining of processes, without proposing any drastic changes in the organization’s core values and employee-centric policies. Needless to say, recruiting, retaining, rewarding and managing manpower is a dynamic process and it will continue to be a somewhat steep road ahead, in the New Year - but an exciting one, no doubt!
With global work patterns evolving, ‘change is the only constant’ that defines today’s talent landscape. For young professionals, flexibility, work-life balance, office environment are as vital as an attractive remuneration package and growth opportunities. The traditional ‘office’ is increasingly being replaced by remote working and collaborative ventures; smart technology is driving facilities management. For the HR team, there’s as much emphasis on financial security and professional growth of an employee as mental and emotional wellness.
The new-age workforce needs to be heard, and an open door policy – adopted by many organizations – will encourage them to share their thinking, thoughts and ideas.
Globalization is the new norm and, there is a dramatic shift in the way companies today engage with consumers externally and internally; and both require a strong technology backbone to boost productivity. If five years ago, e-commerce was the buzzword, today it is Artificial Intelligence (AI). There is tough competition over honing new skills in this digital economy. Adapting and steering through unpredictable technology advancement, training and upskilling are more important than ever, in order to remain employable. Simultaneously, we need to create a more diverse, inclusive and gentle workplace and world around us. So, for companies to leap into the next decade, while employees need adopt cutting edge technology and adapt to the fast moving environment - decreasing absenteeism and increasing productivity. Similarly, employers need to help them achieve this by ensuring work-life balance, physical and mental well-being.
Further, deep diving into how AI can transform an organization and the HR practice, specifically - companies can now deploy AI-powered solutions to streamline recruitment, onboarding, learning & development and performance management.
Additionally, AI can aide automate routine tasks, identify employees likely to exit, and we may soon see AI driven virtual assistants supporting communication and training programmes.
The past few years have seen social media emerge as a key tool, giving People & Culture teams a peek into the prospective employee’s mind. In 2020, Data Analytics may be used to understand employee churn, retention, performance & incentive programmes. Predictive Analytics can be used to strengthen objective appraisal and talent review systems along with recruitment & retention. This will lead to better HR practices and also eliminate bias in decision-making.
If attracting and nurturing talent is essential to build a successful organization and a happy workforce, then equity, fairness and collaboration must be its cornerstones. Gender sensitivity, equal pay and safety go a long way to build trust between the employer and the employee. HR being the architect of any business organization needs to regularly revisit its policies promoting equal opportunity. Increasing gender diversity with more number of women at managerial positions helps build a global leader.
Finally, I see HR’s role today as that of an advisor, both to the employer and employee. They are the bridge between both and play a pivotal role in the organization’s journey of growth and transformation. It is important for HR, as a function, to keep this in mind, after all, they’re not only building the reputation of the company but also managing its most precious resource. And they need to ‘handle with care!’