In Conversation with Dr. Tanaya Mishra Global CHRO, Essar Projects on HR Challenges in 2021
Dr. Tanaya Mishra is currently the global CHRO with Essar Projects. Prior to this, she worked as Managing Director HR, APAC with Accenture. She has the unique and diverse experience of having worked across industries ranging from Manufacturing, Retail, Insurance, IT/ITES. She has been the Head of HR for ACC Ltd. Shoppers Stop, SBI Life, and was the Sr. Vice President – Group HR for JSW. She is a Ph.D. in Manpower Planning and has a post-graduate degree in Human Resources with a degree in Law. She was selected to be part of the prestigious CSC Commonwealth Leaders and invited to Oxford and Buckingham Palace.
Q- What are the key challenges that you’re facing as CHRO and what would be your key priorities in 2021?
The challenges Post COVID are ensuring that employees are engaged and happy. Most employees are facing mental, financial, and personal challenges.
To address Mental Wellness, ensure that employees get assurance that the organization cares. Have introduced a number of innovative solutions involving families in fun activities and distressing workshops from external experts.
Personal Challenges have been primarily the loss of loved ones due to COVID and dealing with it personally.
Financial Challenges will primarily be due to nonpayment of Incentives and no increments. We, fortunately, have had no rationalization or pay cuts.
The key priorities for 2021 will be to ensure:
- Agility and adaptability to change and being prepared for the VUCA world
- Scaling up and multiskilling
- Focus on technology, AI, BOTS
Q- How are you keeping your employees engaged and motivated in the current scenario?
Communication is key for keeping employees motivated and engaged. This means seamless communication across. This also means communication from top to bottom, peer to peer, stories of employees and what they are doing, their challenges, bottom-up communication, activities that engage all employees to say that they belong to the organization. Forming WhatsApp groups for immediate remedy and communication.
We have used innovative methods like Essar Radio which has the DJ speaking to Leadership with clear messages to employees. There is also a fun element thrown in with songs. Remote learning through apps, mental wellness sessions, DIY series, Celebrities Speaking to families. Digital mode of communication speaking of the organization’s culture
Q- What are the major tech innovations that we can expect to see in HR in 2021 and the coming years?
More and more organizations are using Bots in HR. This is to ensure a timely response that is standard and accurate. Especially for large organizations which is one to many. AI is being used to ensure seamless execution with less manpower.
People Analytics is also being used across to understand trending gaps and help plug in the gaps. With remote working becoming a reality a lot of apps are being developed which have a good interface design, easy to navigate with fun elements to bring in the team aspect and promote the culture of the organization, A lot of Digital and tech is also being used across HR systems and processes to upgrade the quality and experience at the same time outplace mundane jobs.
Q- How do you see performance review challenges in 2021 when employees are working remotely?
Due to COVID as almost all companies were forced to work remotely. Performance management has always been on a tool and companies use a variant of many that are available in the market like SAP, Success Factors, Darwinbox for PMS. So using the system to work and key in performance parameters will not be a challenge at all
What aspects will be challenges are:
- How to create objective measurements?
- How to review goals and track them to their completion?
- How to monitor OKRs/KPIs and to ensure that they flow from the Annual Business Plan and have relevance to the overall profitability and purpose of the Company?
- Giving feedback will be a challenge for both good and not so good
- If there are liquid workforce projects which means collaboration between inter and intra functional/vertical teams it will be difficult to deliver as well as monitor
Q- 2020 has been a tough year, how do you see hiring outlook and salary hikes trends for 2021?
Hiring in 2020 was really slow especially for senior level positions but Companies have continued hiring throughout the COVID period. Casing point being the report by Native which captures HR movement during COVID which runs into over 15 pages.
Hiring has slowly picked up in 2021. With the boom in the economy and with the budgets just being announced as well as the vaccines being out hiring will surely pick up.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
COVID has taught some serious lessons that we should remember always which is “Change is the only way” and we have no choice but to adapt quickly. Unlearning and learning new skills is also the new normal. So let’s learn to work smarter!
Thank You, Tanaya!