HR needs strong support from the business leaders to create a new company where people practices that are aligned to the strategy of the company
What is driving HR transformation?
The leadership in companies is trying to find new ways to engage teams, especially global teams, to bring alignment with the vision and strategy of the company. An individual lives in a connected world and has diverse opportunities that he/she can align with. In such a scenario, HR must help the leadership in building a compelling story that can be communicated in a way that attracts and retains the right teams who are aligned with the organization’s vision. This pressure is driving the transformation of HR where HR is being asked to step up to the plate and help create a cohesive unit that is committed to the cause and will not get distracted by the clutter in the world they live in.
What will make HR transformation possible – is it the strategic or operational side of HR?
Clearly the answer lies in strategy followed by a strong operations platform. Strategy must be translated into actions to be taken by the leaders and managers of the company. It also needs to create a guidebook for the entire organization so that each employee knows exactly what is expected of her/him and what she/he can expect from their peers, teams and managers. Other operational aspects of HR are the need to be world class if not best-in-class. However, processes that reflect strategic intent have to be best-in-class.
What is HR spending time on today and what do you think HR should be spending time on? What are alternatives are available for HR to identify they must stop doing and they must start doing?
HR has started making the transition. Most companies have started moving towards building inventory of roles in the company, a good definition of those roles in terms of competencies required etc. However, the overall industry and ecosystem in which a company operates limits the speed at which one can implement new strategies. HR needs strong support from the business leaders to create a new company where people practices that are aligned to the strategy of the company. The focus is to start helping line managers understand how they can translate their strategies/goals/missions into day-to-day behaviors that shape their teams. The line managers are, currently, only using their functional competencies to manage their teams. They are not equipped with competencies that will allow them to work at the emotional level that helps them build teams and communities that are working for the vision/cause.
What is the new role of HR in this new context? If most activities are outsources, is HR’s existence that of a vendor or a partner?
I see HR becoming a coach to the leadership in the company. It’s aim is to help raise the individual performance in a team. In the Indian context, it is a societal change issue as we are influenced by what our society expects of us. HR needs to become the coach/counselor that allows a person to find way in this rapidly transforming society. There will be certain activities that can be outsourced (payroll comes to mind easily, recruitment based on the functional competency requirement would be another).
What are the new competencies required for HR? Is HR ready for this new role?
HR needs to have the ability to connect with business leaders and help them see how HR intervention can help them realize their strategy/vision. The senior leadership in HR seems to understand it more. The next challenge is to get the entire HR team to understand this shift that is taking place. Also, the business leaders need to provide the space and time for such interactions to take place. HR needs to identify the gaps business leaders’ competencies and show how HR can fill those gaps. HR must be assertive, confident and be willing to speak their mind when they are at the leadership table.