HR has come a long way, starting as the Pay & Ration department, then becoming Personnel, and finally evolving into Talent Management. It has been quite a journey!
However, when it comes to discussing their contribution to the business, they face an enduring challenge of lacking recognition for their efforts and not being fully integrated into decision-making processes. Conversely, CEOs often have their own set of expectations from HR, which, unfortunately, remain largely unmet.
Such disconnect between how HR's value is perceived and the expectations placed upon them create obstacles in their progress and hampers their capacity to make substantial contributions to the business. To break free from this vicious cycle and secure a rightful seat at the table, HR must embark on a journey of self-reflection, believes Vineet Mangal, the Managing and Co-Founder of Beewise Consulting.
Over the years, we have made HR a complex function that is extremely difficult to decode in most organisations. “The worst part is that the young workforce joining the HR function today is more disoriented than ever. This poses a systemic failure risk as capable and competent professionals may distance themselves from joining the HR function in the years to come,” stated Mr Mangal and shared the concept of 3Cs of HR to tackle the crisis:
The 3Cs of HR:
In order to revitalise the HR profession and bring it in line with the demands of the contemporary corporate landscape, Co-Founder of Beewise Consulting presented a new and highly focused approach: the 3Cs of HR. This framework, which he developed through his experience in addressing intricate challenges, garnered outstanding feedback from CEOs and business leaders for its simplicity and efficacy.
So, let's delve into the detailed version of the 3Cs and explore the excitement it offers.
1st C: Capacity building
The first and foremost function of HR is to contribute towards building capacity for the organisation in the quickest possible time. The biggest request from the business to the HR team is to ensure that they enable them by swiftly mobilising the right number of people to run the business as soon as possible. “This is a fair request, as speed and agility are two critical competencies for any organisation to survive in this competitive world. This request remains valid whether it's a small setup with 100 employees or a large corporation like TCS or IBM, employing half a million employees. Only the size and dynamics of building this capacity change; the core aspect remains the same,” explained Vineet Mangal.
Unfortunately, this role of HR is looked down upon by HR professionals themselves. Many HR professionals consider it the 'non-fancy' function of HR to work for. They show reluctance to work in the Recruitment function because it involves high pace, number-driven tasks, and reminds them of sales, which they find less attractive.
“The brutal fact is that unless HR professionals begin their careers or work in roles that involve building capacity for organisations, they will struggle to understand the intricacies of the business. Consequently, they may never fully grasp the essence of the Real HR role. In my opinion, this function serves as the best grooming ground for any HR professional, akin to military training for their profession. The sooner one embraces this demanding experience, the quicker they can become a 'seasoned' HR professional who gains recognition within the organisation,” he added.
2nd C: Capability building
Now, more than ever, HR is a critical function that requires urgent attention. The shelf life of skills is shortening, making it essential to continuously ensure that your company possesses a pool of capable talent. Hence, “HR must invest time in comprehending the Build - Borrow - Buy model of talent to grasp and cultivate this competence,” emphasised Mr Mangal.
This understanding cannot be attained by HR professionals sitting in the back office. They must be out in the field, dedicating their efforts and sweat to conducting field visits and understanding the real skills necessary to provide a competitive edge to the business. If HR can demonstrate the ability to develop a capable and 'future-ready' workforce that sets the company apart from its competitors, “the CEO will be highly impressed and confident in their capabilities,” he said.
Traditional talent assessments must give way to a forward-thinking approach that anticipates skill needs, fosters reskilling, and gracefully phases out outdated capabilities. “We are currently witnessing the convergence of natural intelligence with artificial intelligence through technologies like Machine Learning, ChatGPT, etc, which adds complexity to skill requirements. As a result, all HR functions must establish their learning academy led by competent talent management professionals who focus not only on addressing today's needs but also on preparing for the future requirements,” advised the co-founder of Beewise Consulting.
3rd C: Culture building
Culture building is an area where HR needs to take the lead, but unfortunately, it remains overlooked and underserviced. While HR often refers to themselves as custodians of culture, they should be more than just that, they should be enablers. Without effectively managing and building the right culture, both 'Capacity' and 'Capability' become of little importance. To be effective in their role, HR professionals must understand the social fabric of the organisation, going beyond superficial engagement efforts.
“Culture requires collaboration and courage. HR leaders must demonstrate this clearly when dealing with other business leaders. It is no longer a mere transaction where a few events here and there will shape the engagement culture. I am a big fan of Jim Rohn, and in his books "Good To Great" and "Built to Last," he discussed culture at length. In fact, culture is something that impacts all aspects of the employee life cycle. Just because it is intangible and takes time to develop doesn't mean HR professionals should not prioritize it,” Mr Mangal told People Matters.
“The unfortunate part is that HR today often feels that it is the CEO's responsibility to set the culture, and they see themselves merely as implementers. In reality, the CHRO of any company should have most of their discussions with the CEO and business leaders to shape and maintain a culture that sets their organisation apart,” he further added.
Conclusion: Evolving for HR success
The Co-founder of Beewise Consulting emphasised that HR's effectiveness can be enhanced by prioritising big-ticket agendas. The main focus should be on the 3Cs - Capacity - Capability – Culture, which serve as overarching pillars. Functions like recruitment, HR operations, talent management, and payroll are subsets of these pillars and should be intelligently integrated.
In HR, we should not wait for Charles Darwin (or our CEO) to remind us of the truth: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.