HR’s Role in New Era of Human Resources

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Technology is penetrating every sphere of our professional lives faster than ever before. With this context, the question that is in front of every professional is how this change will impact their function or role. How will the HR landscape change because of this influx of automation and artificial intelligence at workplace?

“My answer to this question would be: Back to basics. Yes, you heard it correct. Basic aim of HR function is to enable creation of a successful organization. This is possible only if HR understands business, people and their purpose in the organisation. People increasingly associate with organizations where their’s and organization’s purpose meet for a meaningful journey”

Gaining this insight is easier said than done. Employees with diverse backgrounds might have varied expectations and organisation needs to stay invested and alive to such expectations. Employees are increasingly demanding like ‘Consumers’ and expect an “enriched experience” from their workplace. Hence, solutions based on ‘average of all expectations’ is counterproductive. Tailor made or customized solutions to employee is the need of the hour.Having said that, hygiene activities such as providing flawless operational support, being a change agent and an eye level partnership with business will continue to be the role of HR.

It is imperative for HR (strategy partner) to translate organisation’s purpose and make it intuitive for everyone to relate to it. From pre-hiring to post exit, the interactions, policy and process creation, ably supported by relevant org structure should narrate how organisation is living and reaching its purpose. A reputed organisation which is synonymously known for ‘trust’ has ‘fairness’ as one of its purpose views all its actions through this filter. Employees, business partners, customers and beyond experience this daily. An employee can ask for a review of his/her performance rating. This organisation does go extra mile to set up a committee, hear stakeholders and change ratings if fairness wasn’t delivered. They would even do this retrospectively if required. Meaning, all attached benefits would also change. People in this organisation are committed and know that organisation would stand behind them. HR in such organisation have huge role to play as it brings tremendous amount of pressure to uphold ‘fairness’. AI or robot may not be able to replace HR role in such a scenario. 

HR should be one of the primary functions to anticipate change and act as change catalyst. HRs collaboration with leadership and assisting people to embrace change remains relevant. In one of a leading organisation, CEO invited the employees to have ‘Customer’ in their mind while making all small and big decisions. HR was in the forefront to spread this ‘Customer first’ culture It created avenues for people to voice their views and channelize this energy to truly become ‘customer first’ company. People had one lingo and the environment facilitated to view from customers eye. Sustained efforts are required to reap the benefits.

Moving forward, we need to embrace and leverage technology without losing sight of our primal role of being the “conscience keeper” of an organization.

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Raghu Chandrashekar is Senior Vice President and Head HR, Siemens Healthineers, India. He has worked extensively on building HR organisation, People & Leadership Development, Change Management, M&A, Employee Engagement, Compensation and Organisation effectiveness. Raghu brings more than 2 decades of rich experience in crafting and implementing a winning organisation. Prior to his current role, he was heading Leadership & Development function for Siemens India. Driving culture change and bringing organisation vision and values into day to day life is his core strength. HR was recognized as the best enabling function (2019) in his organisation.

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