HR- The Game Changers

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While sipping coffee with a bunch of Management trainees recently, I was totally engrossed in an interesting discussion with them brewing over how to expand our marketing channels and expand business. I was amazed at how these young minds were full of ideas and also had a zeal to bring these ideas to reality. They were certainly different from the other generations of workforce that i have seen at corporate till now.

Here comes the brand new generation of workers in corporate- Millennials. They are young, ambitious and vivacious. With growing millennial population in the corporate, another trend which is booming in parallel is that of Gig economy.

A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short term engagements. The trend towards a gig economy has begun which will shape the future of every industry.

With today’s changing business scenario, organizations are undergoing a wave of disruption. As we move towards Industrial Revolution-IV wherein AI, robotics and Machine Learning have become a vital part to do business as usual, gone are the days of traditional Job Descriptions and job roles. The popular concept of work as a traditional 9-to-5 job with a single employer is diminishing frequently. Today’s organizations are no longer defined by fixed workplaces or by a set of homogenous employees. Organizations are becoming boundary-less and often, location agnostic, less bureaucratic and with flatter hierarchies. We call them as ‘Agile Organizations’. Going ahead, such organizations of the future will function as platforms connecting diverse, distributed, and multi-talented individuals who will come together to create value.

Furthermore, new technologies are enabling workplace innovations such as remote working, co-working spaces and teleconferencing. Organizations are likely to have an even smaller pool of core full-time employees for fixed functions, backed up by colleagues in other countries, external consultants and contractors for specific projects. A study by Mckinsey Global in Oct’16 reveals that the mix of independent workers are diverse in terms of age, income levels, educational attainment and gender. The study also states that 1 in every 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to become primary independent workers.

Organizations are now creating a healthy matrix of core employees and flexi staff to cater to their business needs, technology disruptions happening rapidly and to survive in the VUCA world. Millennials along with gig workers are redefining working norms within the industry and making the organizations re-look at their talent management strategies.

In this ever changing and ambiguous environment, it is important for the workforce to realise the need to constantly reinvent themselves and keep them abreast with the trends. Traditional HR strategies being used in the organization will no longer work for the new set of workforce. It is time for the HR think-tank to relook at their strategies and evaluate how HR can partner with business more effectively in changing times.

HR fraternity will now have to re-strategize on how to effectively hire, develop, place and retain individuals and leaders to fulfil business expectations in the volatile environment where everything changes in months rather than years! What HR leaders thus need to ponder upon is to create an Agile Talent Management Model which will entail the following:

  • Fluid Job Descriptions
    • As traditional job roles become obsolete, we need to continually develop evolving job descriptions and hiring standards that reflect the continually changing work scenario and cater to the needs of diverse workforce.
  • Agile Employees
    • Hiring for skill takes precedence over hiring for just knowledge and vast experience.
    • Focus on hiring an “Empathetic Manager” rather than just a task manager.
    • Hire those who can easily adapt to unforeseen and unpredicted situations.
  • More Contingent Labour and Flexi staffing
    • Use of contingent labour will increase manifolds to meet sudden upturns, downturns and new skill needs.
  • Agile Processes
    • Employees these days want flexible work stations and work amenities like more open spaces, relaxed working environments suiting to young needs and flexi conditions to work.
  • Robust Capability Building Program
    • Impart need based training to prepare employees for future and add value to business.
    • Introduce high volume of scenario training and simulations.
    • Skill up employees on new technologies.
  • Leadership Capability Building
    • Leadership Training on how to lead a team with new mix of employees.
    • Employee sensitivity training to ensure a cohesive and collaborative team.
    • Following the 70:20:10 principle, lay greater emphasis on giving Exposure to leaders.
  • Focus on Innovation
    • Focus more on building a team of Innovators, Game Changers and pioneers who are essential for success in VUCA environment.
  • Crafting of new People centric roles
    • As organizations face more disruptions, we will see a spurt in newer job roles like- Coaching & counselling roles, Change Evangelists, OD Intervention agents.
  • Lattice and lateral career movements
    • Be flexible enough to proactively speed up the movement of employees internally to where they can have a greater impact.
  • Retention of Hi-Po Employees
    • Hi-Po to be kept engaged as they will act as flag bearers of the organization during moments of change and disruptions.
    • Devise a specialized development plan for Hi-Po by providing them what they are looking for in life and career.
    • Invest in their learning through a blend of classroom, online and majorly on-the-job to retain key talent during turbulent times.

New Role of HR to cater to newer demands

Human Resources function would have to don a new cap and showcase their new Avatar to the organization as not only Change Agents, but also Change Communicators and Change Absorbers. HR should thus proactively work as Culture & Productivity Evangelists with the organization. Companies today must grapple with managing multiple generations of workforce and wider diversity. More and more workforce is going remote and working on highly specialized technology devices. The new role of HR will be to manage this interplay of culture, technology and resources to ensure business productivity.


Author-Mridul Srivastava has over 12 years’ professional experience in Human Resources. Currently he is Head- HR at Hero FineCorp. Prior to this he has worked in companies like Religare and DLF Home Developers. Mridul has been accountable for strategic alliance with key business stakeholders for increasing the productivity through implementation of best people practices in sync with business strategies.  He has been instrumental with multiple portfolios like Corporate HR, Regional HR, Business HR and Generalist HR & Talent Management & Development.

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