Article: Digitalizing HR: Building the right communication flow


Digitalizing HR: Building the right communication flow

A round table discussion on what goes into designing the best internal communication strategies for organizations, as the world goes digital
Digitalizing HR: Building the right communication flow

As the global business environment is changing at the speed of digital today, what should HR be doing to keep pace with business? Additionally, how can organizations today define an internal communication plan which is amenable with the latest technologies and trends? To address all such questions and more, People Matters in association with MISB Bocconi organized a round table discussion, which was facilitated by Prof. Paola Bielli (Professor of Information Systems, SDA Bocconi) with a keynote session by Suchitra Rajendra (Vice President - HR, India region at PepsiCo). Below is a snapshot of the key pointers to reflect upon, which emerged from the discourse. 

Suchitra Rajendra shared some best practices that are being implemented at PepsiCo to (a) reach out to external talent and get them engaged with Pepsi, boosting employer branding in the process, and (b) manage internal employee communication effectively.  

She mentioned how the organization uses a variety of campaigns like ‘Crash the Course’, ‘Change the Game’ and ‘Welcome Fest’ to engage external prospective talent. In order to apprise the students of what lies ahead and to capture their excitement as they are fresh into the management campus then, PepsiCo organizes a ‘Welcome Fest’ wherein using technology, the company connects over 3000 students from 15 campuses to their CEO, who talks to them live. They also host a case study competition called ‘Change the Game’ challenge which is organized digitally and hinges on the social media engagement derived from the peer reviews of young millennials. Another interesting initiative undertaken by the company which strongly boosts their EVP (Employee Value Proposition) is YCom, which is a forum of millennials elected by their own members, and runs as a parallel board to the executive committee. This gives us a voice to the young millennial workforce of the organization – which comprises 65 percent of the overall workforce - in executive-level decisions. 

Prof. Paola Bielli chose to conduct the discussion in the context of Cirque du Soleil, and how the talent challenges of the Canadian entertainment company are managed. Everyone agreed that talent management for such organizations, which are comprised of extremely creative individuals, is a unique challenge and involves a very different approach from the ones traditionally followed. As the conversation went on, the distinguished HR professionals uncovered and dissected various aspects of the talent management process that would be happening in Cirque du Soleil, right from hiring the individuals to keeping them motivated to perform.   

The discussion veered towards an intriguing trade-off between reinventing and fostering creativity in the organizational processes, or imbuing a sense of structure to those processes.

Paola reckoned that it has to be a combination of both, creativity and structure (or standardization) for organizations to be able to scale up when the time is right.

She also said that speed, and ability to adapt to change would be critical in managing this trade-off. 

Another key element which came up, was the importance of HR’s fruitful and continuous collaboration with the IT (information technology) department in ensuring that applications and solutions designed are people-centric. In fact, the HR and IT teams need to work hand-in-hand from the ideation phase itself, and continue liaising till the time of executing the communication of the technical application/solution. 

Finally, the group discussed that changing organizational cultures, and the mushrooming of innovation units within would be critical business drivers for propelling HR in the future. Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT), social analytics and wearable technology would be some of the key technology drivers that will shape the future change in the HR landscape.   

(The following excerpts are from the round table discussion titled “Digital HR: How to Build the right communication flow” organized by People Matters in association with MISB Bocconi at Gurgaon)

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Topics: Technology, Strategic HR

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