The Future of HR

Seminar @ XIME Bangalore

By | Ramesh Ranjan | Adjunct Professor HR | Xavier Institute of Mangement & Entrepreneurship (XIME), Bangalore

We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, relate & engage with each other. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything we have experienced before.

Many businesses are facing uncertainty and inertia. Uncertainty in this era,  is today’s new normal. As the world of business and work evolves, the HR organization will need to evolve and rethink, adapt & shape itself to meet the changing demands of the stakeholders.

There appears to be a noticeable gap between those HR leaders confidently riding the wave of change engulfing businesses and those trailing behind. CEOs & CXO’s are casting an eye on the ‘people agenda’ — until now the unchallenged turf of the HR professionals.

HR needs to take on the mantle of leading this change and help business to understand what makes people engaged, what cultures drive the most productive workplaces and what equations enable a true merging of human capability with technology.

Dr Marshall Goldsmith, Worlds Top Management Thinker has said that “what got you here, will not take you there”.

HR is undergoing change. Not just small-scale change, but a fundamental seismic shift. A change that will see traditional HR falling behind and be replaced by a new set of skilled HR enabled by Technology, Social Media, Freelancers, Digital Labour which will alter the way we attract, hire, train, reward, retain & exit the workforce of the future and seen as adding value to Business.

Well has HR Arrived and is ready to take on the challenges of the future, Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship (XIME) Bangalore, organised a Seminar on “Future of HR” on 7th September 2019 at XIME Campus.

A galaxy of HR Leaders shared their views on this.

Professor J Philip, Chairman XIME

A veteran HR & Business Leader has seen different shades of HR in his career spanning over 60 years both in Industry and in B Schools. He cautioned that “dark clouds are gathering” over the horizon. Many of traditional HR work will be replaced by Technology. He felt that HR ceased to be the Employee Champion and are aggressively toeing the business line and enquired with the distinguished HR leaders, whether we will see large scale layoffs in view of Technology taking over many of the traditional HR Activities/Jobs. He said while the traditional blue collar unionism is on the decline, will a white collar / knowledge worker union emerge.

Ayaskant Sarangi, Senior Vice President HR, WIPRO Ltd

He was emphatic that the HR Function will continue and said the main focus of future HR Leaders will be on Employee Advocacy & Building & Sustaining a Culture that will be enable the Organisation & its people be competitive. He said that with such rapid changes & uncertainty, there will be Social Implications of the HR Policies/Strategies and HR must be sensitive to these implications and take into consideration the Eco System in which they operate. He said while Process Excellence was a strategic advantage in the past, in future it will have to be Process Agility. How quickly a company to adapt itself to the changing market dynamics, technology & the eco system will be the key for survival. He said that its about time, that HR Leaders re-invent themselves and start upskilling to cope up with the pace of change.

Srikanth Karra, CHRO Mphasis

He said that there was a traditional view that HR is a Strategic Business Partner but now he emphasised that HR is Business and Drives Business. In this regard he said that HR will have to focus on supporting Business thro 3 Cs

  • Building Capacity
  • Building Organisational (People) Capabilities (Skills & Competencies)
  • Building a Organisation Culture that will enable organisations to be agile, resilient and competitive

HR will have to rethink on how do you deliver solutions & services in the new age modern world. How are Organisations organised. Hierarchy will give way to flatter organisations. GIG workforce will form a large part of the future workforce. Newer models like Spotify (Tribes) will evolve. The current form of Performance Management is outdated and a Learnability DNA will be the new norm.

Divya Jha, Director HR Johnson Controls

She too reaffirmed that HR is part of the Business and allayed any fears on the role of HR in the future. She added a 4th C ie, Change. We all know by now that Change is the onlything Constant.

Not only will HR function and its Leaders have to undergo Change, they must also help drive Change in the Organisation. Towards this end HR will have to build an environment in the Organisation that will help manage Change.

Dr Pallab Bandyopadhyay, Founder HR Plus

He said he has a slightly different view. He felt that it is Talent that drives Business. He said that the millennials will play in a big part in the future of Business and will be the Talent to watch for. Hence HR Leaders will have to understand how to hire, develop, motivate & retain Talent that will drive business.

He shared about a McKinsey study on ‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies, where in Millennials

Source : McKinsey

He also said the future employees will move from Aspiration to seeking Attainment. He was also confident that the future generation of workforce especially the millennial’s will not be fighting over Rights but will be willing to take on challenging Responsibilities. He said while todays youth are embracing change like ever before, they still value traditional beliefs, culture and faith. He talked about students wear sacred threads on their wrists, wear rings, pray before writing exams etc. He said while Technology is seen to be driving change externally, Mythology is actually driving change from within.

Dr R Sridhar, Director XIME, Bangalore

He said that in this VUCA world , the greater share of risk is passed on to the Employees. He said we are in a age of Finalisation and there is a Pro-Market focus. Organisations and its employees will now have to cope up with wider Social interests as every action has wider social ramifications.

He said that in the age of Entrepreneurship, HR will have to work towards liberating Individual Entrepreneurship and help every employee to harness their entrepreneurial spirit. He felt that CEOs view HR as Administrative and reactive and HR needs to work to change this perception. He said that Speed is the New Currency.

He said that “Future of HR is Secure if HR is Agile”

S Naga Siddharth, CHRO Vedantu

He said that over the years Values have changed and said that HR must empathise with the current generation. The newer younger generation has no Scarcity of Choice and is plagued with Plentyness of Choice. There fore he sees a shift in their thinking and behaviours. He said that Family is no more the primary Anchor for support to the newer generation and it’s the Social Anchor that provides the emotional support to them.

He felt that HR should work towards building a work culture that promotes Democratization at the work place. He said that HR must Stop Curing and Start Caring. He felt that HR Professionals must develop Deep Expertise in what ever they do, master Human Interactions and work towards Experience Creation.

Ramesh Ranjan, Adjunct Professor, XIME Bangalore

The  fears of the Future of HR was not restricted to HR Leaders alone, some of the Students too were worried and also inquisitive to know whether it makes sense to pursue a Career in HR.

It is said that an Optimist is one who sees and Opportunity in every Calamity and a Pessimist is one who sees a Threat in every Opportunity. Its upto us to remain an Optimist or a Pessimist.

As long as Organisations are made up of People, the Human Resources Management Function will remain to stay. But who will be responsible for it, in what form and how will it be delivered – is anybodys guess?

As Peter Drucker has said “ The Best way to predict the Future is to Create it”


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