In Conversation with Anil Kumar Misra on HR Tech Strategies

The focus is now on prioritizing the absolute non-negotiable things and spending cautiously after analysis of the cost-benefit in detail.

In an exclusive conversation with SightsIn Plus, Anil Kumar Misra, Chief Human Resources Officer, MagicBricks. He shares his thoughts on HR Tech strategies.

Anil is one of the great leaders who inspires and motivates young HR professionals through his achievements in short tenure, currently, he is leading the people function by working closely with the CEO and leadership team of Magicbricks to identify strategic talent issues and drive the people initiatives in alignment with organization goals.

Anil brings in over two decades of experience in human resources across various brands like Fidelity National Financial, Tesco, Patni Computers, East India Hotels apart from others. He’s played multiple specialist/generalist roles within HR across sectors, in both fortune 500 Global MNCs as well as Indian corporates.

Anil Misra is Berhampur University Topper and was awarded Gold Medal in Masters of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. And he also ranked Topper of Delhi University position in Doctor of Philosophy – Performance Management.

Q- Who are the leaders of the future in Human Resources?

Given the pace at which business is evolving, HR change is inevitable. Leaders have to evolve both in attitude and approach of handling the ever-expanding business. The environment today requires leaders who have a forward-looking outlook and can be a part of and contribute to strategic business decisions. As I see-  

  • Across HR verticals there is a need to transition from the traditional operational work towards tactical value-adding interventions that can help steer the business objectives
  • HR Leaders need to develop familiarity with the latest technologies in this digital era and have deep insights into data and analytics.
  • Alignment with the requirement of a multi-generational workforce and engaging the employee population beyond the regular is an immediate need for our leaders.
  • A deeper understanding of the employee skills, their strengths and development areas and linking the same to business goals and larger organisation goal is required to align HR actions accordingly.
  • Employees are the first and most important customers of an organisation and it is increasingly important to connect with them to support the larger people agenda.
  • The leaders of tomorrow are expected to be highly agile and embrace technological and digital changes, to take human capability to the next level.

Q- What is the impact of new-age technologies on HR?

Given the traditional process-oriented HR environment, technological changes have been a significant driving force to shift gears in the workplace. Technology has an impact on all verticals of the business, and HR is catching up soon.

Technology definitely has maximized the productivity of the HR team, when used with ease. Across various HR touchpoints, technology has made life easy. The scope of innovation further makes it exciting to use the latest technology, as the outcome can always be customized to our requirements.

Today the outreach of organizations through social media makes it possible to access the most remote candidates for an employment opportunity. Online recruitment tools make it so convenient for both candidates and recruitment teams to maintain a database of all candidate data, job postings across the globe, etc. At Magicbricks, we conduct an online assessment test for our candidates for cultural fitment. It is with the help of technology, that data analysis has become so easy and scientific, all at the click of a button.

Web-based learning is gaining prevalence over traditional classroom training. Talent management is yet another very critical aspect to HR, and technology enhancements have redefined these strategic processes.

From onboarding to offboarding, technology has significantly reduced the need for constant human interface and provides a significant amount of analytics which equips us for strategic business discussions. These interfaces help maximize the benefits of HR interventions.

Q- 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020. How do you boost digital adoption in Human Resources?

Chatbots have been a great invention in our time. These AI-enabled softwares are a great way to interact with employees, gather the pulse, understand moods and all of this at the convenience of the employee themselves! Chatbots assist in making almost human connections with employees who are spread across geographies and functions. Chatbots help understand employees, beyond work and AI can help draw insights that further help in addressing concerns, increasing engagement and further identify early signs of attrition.

Digital disruption has paved the way for newer technologies to penetrate into the HR space. Technology adaption can help free HR from the routine mundane tasks and can make more time for strategic planning. Decision making has moved from assumption and belief-based system to being completely data and information-driven. The future is data, and it is here already.

Q- How do you address employee engagement with the help of HR Technology?

Technology helps address many people issues, which are otherwise largely dependent on human intervention.

  • Simplified automation in processes across various employee touchpoints has eased the work for both HR and the employee. In areas such as Recruitment, Performance and Talent Management have significantly improved our efficiency.
  • Increased transparency in conducting performance management and performance evaluations helps build the trust of employees in the organisation and its philosophy.
  • Cross function collaboration has increased with the usage of technology and cloud-based platforms while reducing person-based dependencies.
  • It becomes so easy to reward and recognize employees on the go R&R platforms provide for immediate unbiased acknowledgment of the works done by fellow colleagues.

Q- Tell us a few best HR Practices of your organization?

At Magicbricks, we use chatbots which enable us to gather regular real-time feedback from our employees on critical areas that impact the business. The chatbot connects with employees at a frequency of 3m, 6m, 12m, and 24m to understand their mood and engagement levels in the organisation. Inputs drawn are further utilized to improve our levels.

Our recruitment process has been automated and is completely system driven. This ensures there is utmost adherence to timelines and approval process. Also, hiring managers are required to provide feedback for every selected or rejected candidate. This makes the hiring process more transparent and enables the talent acquisition team to close the loop with all candidates, enabling us to create a better candidate experience.

As part of the Talent Management practices, an online 360° feedback survey is run for all our people leaders. The survey feedback is shared with the concerned individual and forms a part of their Annual Development plan.

We also run a biannual employee engagement survey, “Voice of Employee”. The survey is completely confidential and anonymous and attempts to cover all aspects of work at MB. The insights drawn from the survey have helped us improve our practices and address employee concerns more efficiently.

Different Strokes” is the monthly employee engagement activity run in all our major office locations. Through this initiative, we ensure to provide all employees with a relaxing time at work, away from work! Various activities that are organized under this initiative are Zumba, Monday music therapy, rock music bands, laughter shows, children’s fest, desk yoga to name a few. 

Q- What are the top 5 emerging digital transformation trends in HR for 2020?

21st century is all about new technological inventions. In the field of HR, some of the welcome changes are –

  • AI-based smart employee interaction platforms like chatbots, mood-o-meters.
  • Data-driven decisions and findings.
  • Gamification is a new way of educating employees especially the millennial workforce. 
  • Digital methodologies like online webinars, eBooks make learning on the go possible.
  • Information access at a click is an important aspect, which helps keep pace with the ever-changing and fast-moving environment.

Q- Any concluding remarks?

Technology is a great boon to the HR fraternity. It is time we begin to leverage the offerings to our benefit and further strengthen this function.

Thank you, Anil!


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