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Why HR leaders are betting high on behavioural skills

Across the board, a clear position emerges among HR leaders: the old frameworks, policies and procedures will no longer work, going forward. Arriving at new frameworks for a post-COVID paradigm requires CHROs not only to invest afresh in employees but introspect and reorient themselves to the unfolding uncertainties of the future


By Avik Chanda & Shubhabrata Roy

In corporate circles, especially in India, the role of Human Resources leaders is sometimes viewed as being an administrative, almost supportive one. The implication is that in a business-as-usual scenario, the CHRO, unlike his peers in Marketing or Finance, isn’t often called for to lead from the front. Operating within a familiar lattice of policies and procedures, he has supposedly less arduous targets to fulfil, and consequently, suffers fewer sleepless nights through the year. But the global pandemic of COVID-19 has turned this narrative, debatable as it is, on its head. From companies that employ 50 professionals to behemoths deploying a thousand times that number, HR leaders have been put under an unprecedented and relentless level of strain. Companies have to move swiftly to a trajectory of economic viability, while keeping their workforce healthy and motivated. Amid the bleak economic outlook, wage-cuts and down-sizing, the present crisis also presents opportunities for revisiting the ways of working and engaging with employees, which may have outlived their purpose.

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