HR needs to see itself spend lesstime on basic HR operations whichare transactional in nature, and moreon the realm of understanding andmanaging business priorities. This willmean that HR would have to deeplyunderstand business requirements withan eye on the future, and supply theright kind of people.
What in your view in driving HR transformation?
Most businesses today are in the services space and hence the dependency on people especially in developing, engaging and retaining them is becoming ever more important today than before. Business heads have realized that ‘people’ impacts their P&L in a major way and hence their own expectations from HR have undergone a change. HR needs to see itself spend less on basic HR operations which are transactional in nature, and more on the realm of understanding and managing business priorities. This will mean that HR would have to deeply understand business requirements with an eye towards the future and supply the right kind of people. HR must also facilitate the development of skills that will help the organization to remain ahead of competitors. Besides it will have to actively manage strong performance orientation, rewards and recognition.
Most companies have global expansion plans which require HR to be adept in managing mergers and acquisitions, cultural diversity, and streamline practices that boast of an international flavor.
What will transform HR – Is it the way companies approach HR strategy or the way they execute HR operations?
Both are important. Strategy will provide the direction and alignment to business goals and execution of the strategy effectively, efficiently and as per compliance will be instrumental in the success of the strategy.
Is HR spending time on the right activities? What are the models available for HR to stop doing what they are and switch to what should be doing?
HR is spending a lot of time on typical activities like hiring, on boarding, training on-the-job skills, document collection, background verifications, database management, payroll management, insurance and claims and other such activities which are essential but are at the bottom of the value chain. HR should be spending time on transformational activities like organizational capability enhancement, employee listening at all levels, driving a uniform organizational culture, leadership enhancement, creating community forums, improving visibility at educational institutes and benchmarking.
What is HR’s new role in this new context? How can HR justify its need if most activities can be outsourced? Is HR a vendor or a partner?
HR is a partner and will remain so. It is just that it will have to shift its time and focus to activities that exist in its portfolio even today but probably do not get as much mind and time share.
• Most HR activities cannot be outsourced because of various reasons:
• Strategic activities are few including driving values, culture, growing the leadership pipeline, succession planning etc.
• There are few activities best done by line managers for which HR must become a business partner and help business leaders in running HR.
• Activities such as performance management, disciplinary action management, retention etc are best done jointly by HR and business.
• Administrative activities such as payroll, benefits administration, background checks, database management etc are repeat activities which should be outsources to domain experts available in the market.
What are the new competencies required by HR? How ready is HR today for this new role?
Understanding the economic and regulatory environment along with the business and being able to relate the HR concepts to these realities will become a key competency required by all HR professionals. They will have to become proficient in looking outwards and inwards rather than the higher inward looking focus that they currently have.
HR will also need a deeper appreciation of cultures and understand the nuances of operating in different geographies. The whole people management piece will require an in-depth understanding of business realities and have a global spirit.