Technology is and has always been an enabler
People who believe that the company empowers them to be successful are more likely to stay with that company
What according to you are the key trends and challenges in talent management today?
First, talent management was about creating processes and automating. Then it moved to taking those processes and technologies and integrating them to get value. When we talk about the evolution of talent management, I personally think of it in the context of a capability maturity model. My belief is that the way to get more is to shift from a process-centric approach to a more people-centric approach. We have to stop creating transactions around people and start creating engagement, empowering them to do their jobs and be successful. People who believe that the company empowers them to be successful are more likely to stay with that company. The organization also reaps all the other benefits that one gets from an employee becoming a greater asset. The question ultimately is of leveraging the technology to support the vision.
How do you see the evolution of talent management globally?
The world is becoming very flat and organizations today are being forced to go global in order to survive. That is having huge implications on the talent landscape within an organization. The challenge for the HR is solving the cultural implication that comes from hiring people from different countries, different cultures and managing the mix.
Earlier, HR was only doing performance reviews, creating development and hiring people separately. It is critical that employees see the connection between why they are hired and are in a certain role. I think the trend really should be around connecting the processes of hiring, goals, recognition and rewards. One of the ways to do that is by creating a unified experience around the end user. Whether it is about technology or processes, the employee needs to believe two things. One, the company believes that they are connected and two, the company is investing in that connection.
So how important is technology in this journey of unifying?
It is critical. A company needs to start talking about what they believe in and then putting that into action. Technology is and has always been an enabler. Technology is easily able to automate a process like a performance review. If one is able to automate the process and within the same process show the employee that because of their performance or skill gap, there are development items being recommended for them, that shows a unified view of the technology. Another example is social collaboration. People across the world are using social platforms. Social component should be deployed within an organization in the context of talent management. We know that social deployed in isolation tends to fail but social introduced within the context of something has a high likelihood of success. With this social collaboration, if a manager is entrusted with a project, he should be enabled to connect and find the right people for the team and finish the project.
What trends do you see in the adoption of SaaS solutions? How do you think it will work for India?
SaaS is a global trend. Regardless of the country, everybody is talking about Cloud. Technology is challenging organizations to think differently, not only about the vision they want for their people but the type of technology they employ. Personal use of technology has increased and the workspace has to keep pace with it. If there is a huge gap in between, the employee will not be as engaged. When we talk of India, it is a technology savvy culture and has no problem in developing, buying and consuming technology. I think the opportunity really is in leveraging the trends in the Western countries around this technology unification. The beauty of it is that companies do not have to do this all at once. The critical success factor is switching the mind-set from a pure technology view to a platform view. It means having all processes supported by a unified platform that will allow companies to have a path to unified talent management, which is a lot easier than having just automated processes and integrating them behind the scenes.
How do you think HR will keep up with this fast changing technology?
There is something new every day and I think it is an unfair expectation to hold HR accountable for keeping up with technology trends. I think the HR’s accountability is to empower the employee to do their job. This also depends on where one is in the world and what the HR thinks of themselves within that organization. Some parts of the world, the role of an HR is still very transactional. The challenge for HR in India, which is lagging behind a little in HR practices, is to be aware of the global trends and to challenge their mind-sets with the technology if possible. For doing this, being technologically savvy is important, being a technologist is not. The important thing to know is how processes need to be implemented within the technology. I think choosing the technology in partnership with the CIO is where most of the benefit will come to HR. If the HR can paint the vision and get technology to solve the vision; they will realise that they do not have to get there in one day. The company can be on this journey once they start solving the problem.
What has been your key learning in the past years of being at Cornerstone?
Having worked in different roles, I have spent my entire career helping companies improve. I have worked on resolving problems by reorganizing companies, changing processes and implementing new technologies. All through these years, the intent has always been to bring about a change for a better outcome.
My primary learning over the years has been that an organization is all about its people. This leads to a direct correlation between the employee and the company’s success. Having people who are non-performing, non-productive or unengaged, has a very negative impact on an organizational culture. It will present a real challenge as it is the people who drive the company’s culture. If we do not have the right culture in an organization, we might not find ourselves as a right employer brand or with the outcomes that we are looking for.
Having worked with Cornerstone, I feel very fortunate about the way we are thinking of solving these problems in a new way. It is not just about a performance review or taking a training course once a year anymore. It is about connecting people and allowing them to collaborate and grow. So, the biggest learning in my professional and personal space is that people are the most important part of life.