Emphasis on enhancing employee engagement, competence enhancement, building strong teams and employee communication will increase
To ensure that the organization remains sustainable and continues to grow, HR will have to be very nimble-footed, compassionate and always stay ahead of the learning curve
What in your view is driving the transformation of HR?
In today’s context, the ecosystem under which business operates is continuously changing. Geography is history, people’s needs, wants and desires are changing at the speed of thought. Traditional competencies are being replaced with new set of competencies. New generation communication tools have replaced the traditional modes. This has led to a new set of business challenges in a free, open and transparent world unheard of before.
Ultimately, business is all about managing people - their expectations, perceptions and performance in achieving the common goal of the organization, and that is where HR’s role to enable the organization to deal with this change effectively comes in. To me, channelizing and synergizing in this changing scenario which is driving the transformation of HR is a real challenge.
What will transform HR? Is it the way companies approach HR strategy or the way they carry out HR operations?
To be honest, both are essential though the degree may vary from one case to another or from one situation to another. The way companies execute HR operations is bound to change more rapidly. Many more routine and transactional tasks will be outsourced. Emphasis on enhancing employee engagement, competence enhancement, building strong teams and employee communication will increase. Besides, HR will be constantly challenged to ensure that the right attitude with requisite competencies and skill sets are always available within the organization. HR will also have to ensure that there is a succession plan ready for each critical competency and skill-set to meet exigencies arising out of attrition.
On the strategy side, HR will need to constantly strive to ensure that the organization’s culture and value system are strengthened to deliver the organization’s strategy. In today’s times where people change (hop) jobs so often, the organization is always in a churn and this could be very damaging. If businesses must survive and thrive, consistent delivery on stakeholder’s expectations would be mandatory coupled with high degree of predictability. The manner in which an organization delivers on stakeholder’s expectations defines the organization’s culture and value system.
What is HR’s new role in the new context and what is the reason for HR’s existence if most activities can be outsourced?
HR is certainly the most critical partner in delivering value. Today HR is spending time on the following fronts:
1. Developing a compelling vision and value proposition for their organization
2. Ensuring adequate and requisite talent is constantly available in the business (talent acquisition, person-to-role fitment and competence development)
3. Aligning the focus and efforts of their people in achieving the organization’s vision (enhancing employee engagement and performance through various structured initiatives)
4. Transactional activities
Of these, transactional activities can and will certainly get outsourced and HR should cease spending its time and internal resources on such activities. This is a threshold but needs to be delivered flawlessly in any case. Instead, HR should be investing substantial time and resources on the first three points and most importantly, constantly look at ensuring sustainability and competitiveness of business.
Any business has multiple stakeholders. Each business has two types of relations with each of these stakeholders - transactional and non-transactional. As the business grows and the organization flourishes, the expectations of these stakeholders changes. Anticipating the changes in expectations from these stakeholders and ensuring that the organization/ business is ready to deliver on those expectations in time will define the sustainability and competitiveness of the business. HR plays a vital role in ensuring the organization is prepared to meet these expectations today as well as ready to address the same in future.
Anticipating societal and cultural changes is essential. The way social media has changed the manner in which people communicate, plays a vital role in shaping the image of an organization is an apt example of such changes taking place in the society. It is vital that the organization learns to deal with such changes and has a method in place to manage such events.
Therefore HR plays a vital role in ensuring that the organization is future-ready, not just in terms of regular day-to-day business, but also for all emerging social, cultural and other trends that may emerge in the future.
What are the new competencies required by HR? Is HR for this new role?
To ensure that the organization remains sustainable and continues to grow, HR will have to be very nimble-footed, compassionate and always stay ahead of the learning curve. HR professionals need to not only stay abreast of the functional aspects, tools and systems but must also have a good understanding of the business and its value chain.