XLRI has been known as a pioneer in the field of Human Resources and Industrial Relations in India, since its inception in 1949. Continuing its legacy, the 10th National HR conference was organized by XLRI on the 20th-21st February 2021. The conference was hosted by the Students’ Association for Promotion of Personnel Management, Human Resources and Industrial Relations (SAPPHIRE). The annual event aimed to provide a platform for the stalwarts across industry and academia to discuss and debate on the various challenges in India’s HR landscape.
The theme for this year’s conference was: “Driving Agility in the Evolving Post-Covid World”. It revolved around the need for organisations to be dynamic, while remaining consistent with their strategic intent. Perspectives on how different organisations handled various aspects of business in post-covid times be it employer branding, people analytics or the impact to its internal and external stakeholders was explored. Tata Steel was the Title Sponsor while Canara Bank and Dare2Compete were the Associate sponsors for this conference that hosted series of enlightening panel discussions, leadership talks, workshops, paper presentations and competitions that witnessed the participation of students from across the premiere B-schools of the country.
The first panel discussion was on “Rethinking Employer Branding and Employee Experience in Dispersed Workplaces” which amalgamated the views of our panellists on the ways in which organisations have reinvented themselves with the changing circumstances to ensure employee engagement and well-being. The challenges posed, and the solutions made to the implementation of work-from-home, and whether it is a feasible long-term option to explore in the diverse industrial scenario across sectors. The discussions were steered by our distinguished speakers: Mr R. P. Srivastava (Director - PM & IR, Coal India), Ms Ira Gupta (Head HR, Microsoft India), Mr Rohit Thakur (CHRO, Paytm), Mr Prakash Singh (Chief- Capability Development, Tata Steel), Mr Amit Vaish (Director-HR, Barclays), Ms Daisy Chittilapilly (Managing Director of DTO, Cisco India).
The next panel discussion was on “People Analytics: The Power of Digital in Driving Organisational Competitiveness” which focused on empowering the organizations to be future-fit, with management information systems and technology to cater to the HR and business strategies. It outlined the perspectives of integrative mechanisms of data and people resources to explore possible interventions that ensure organisational effectiveness, capacity and capability. The esteemed panelists included: Ms Lakshmi C (MD, HR Lead, Accenture India), Mr Krish Shankar (Group Head HR, Infosys), Ms Prriti Narain (Market HR Leader, Google India), Mr Krishna R (Chief People Officer, Flipkart), Ms Anuranjita Kumar (Founder & CEO, WIT-ACE).
Apart from the panel discussions, we had leadership talks from the best of academia and industry, giving us a wholesome view of the agile practices that the pandemic has spearheaded across the globe. We had the pleasure of hosting Prof. Wayne Brockbank, Clinical Professor at the Ross Business School, Michigan on a session about the way forward for industries in the aftermath of Covid-19. We also had an insight about Hindustan Unilever’s agility driven practices during the pandemic from the EB-HR of HUL, Anuradha Razdan. Apart from this we had engaging and interactive workshops on “The Making of a Preferred Employer” by Sidharath Tuli, and on “The Growing Importance of HR Metrics in the Post-Covid World”, by Avijit Shastri.
In addition to this, were the paper presentations which will be considered for publication in XLRI’s esteemed journal, Management and Labour Studies (MLS), subject to rigorous scholarly view. There were innovative events looking at business from the HR lens during the concluding event of Battle HRoyale which dealt with designing an Employee Value Proposition. The competition titled HR Traithlon was based on three events, a spin-off case-study based on newspaper articles called CHROnicles, a public relations event called ProPR, and Employee Auction. With the winners being declared and the prizes over 1 lakhs awarded, this wrapped up a decade of the National HR conference that went virtual this year.