In Conversation with Pradyumna Pandey, Chief Human Resource Officer, Mother Dairy On Agile HR
Pradyumna is an HR professional with over 30 years of experience in Human Resource Management. A keen strategist with a flair for designing and implementing innovative HR strategies and OD interventions to suit the needs of the organization.
As Chief Human Resource Officer for Mother Dairy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), responsible for providing strategic leadership by articulating Human Resource needs and plans, organizational capability building, people development, performance management, employee communication, policy development, legal compliances, and industrial relations, with a focus upon nurturing, shaping and sustaining the overall cultural strategy for the company.
Earlier worked with ACC Ltd, Holcim, Shriram Froup, JK Tyre, and Torrent Pharma. Recognized as ETHRWorld 50 Thought Leaders of 2022.
Q- How do you see the role of CHROs as an organization’s Future of Work expert?
In today’s world, the role of a CHRO is constantly expanding. HR leaders or CHROs need to constantly re-examine and identify various aspects within an organization and also vouch for emerging trends. Be its workforce planning, skills, or new and emerging technologies, the resetting or evolving work environment should be carefully monitored, and one should be ready to prepare and cultivate their organization for the future.
CHROs of organizations need to continuously interact with their teams on the future roles and competencies required, the future of workplaces, and organizational policies. Though it is really difficult to predict the future, however, taking a stock of what’s going around and seeking inputs and participation down the line can help one effectively cruise through the most dynamic landscapes.
Q- How is Agile used in HR? And what are agile development methodologies?
Agile or agility is not restricted to any particular area or technology anymore. It has found its way into various areas and functions. In HR, agility is determined basis the ability to elevate to a certain level where the demands of a rapidly evolving work environment are met.
The HR leaders or HR teams of an organization need to be able to adapt to the changes and challenges regarding business requirements and updates, workplace disruption, and employee expectations and respond in a quick and effective manner. Agility in HR ensures managing changing variables.
Imbibing agility at the workplace, especially with the HR ambit, would largely revolve around keeping a track of the ever-evolving outside environment. The inclusion of technology and having an independent work culture cannot be ruled out in today’s time. We as HR leaders or teams should be able to nurture a culture wherein employee mistakes are accepted as part of employees’ efforts at work.
Innovation and creativity happen but during the course, mistakes are bound to happen. Letting the employees make mistakes, capture their aspirations, and let them drive innovation is a critical aspect of making a better workplace environment. We should also look at empowering managers rather than only relying on the company’s policies.
Managers are the direct point of contact for employees, they should be able to together create a more collaborative approach. It is always better to opt for individuals and interactions over processes and tools to create a more agile environment in the workforce.
Q- What role should technology play in the new, agile HR organization?
In order to develop an agile environment, the HR function needs to embrace technological tools. Technologies can assist in employee engagement as well as having a collaborative environment.
Today, there are various tools and online systems available in the marketplace for effective employee engagement. It not only helps in collaboration but can also provide a means to take continuous feedback from the employees. It also assists in engaging onsite or hybrid employees.
The inclusion of technology can address various areas of HR functions such as appraisals, learning and development, and even recruitment. For instance, an AI tool can generate advice for HR starting with employee profiles, which include prior and current roles, expected career trajectory, etc.
Similarly, various tools are available in the marketplace that helps in creating special training simulations around a series of persona, illustrating varied behaviours.
In addition, cloud-based technological solutions have made it easier to adapt to app-based modules. Needless to say that technological intervention helps in giving clarity and maintaining employee-related data, providing hands-on access and deeper knowledge.
Q- CHROs are focusing on Workplace flexibility, How Technology can help with this?
Workplace flexibility has indeed become the new talk of town. In a flexible workplace, employees should not only control their place of work but should also know the when and how. Even re-designing is considered under flexibility, but true flexibility is achieved when one is able to drive quality and productivity.
It should be seen as more than just a perk being offered to employees. Technology undoubtedly helps in flexibility. A simple example is the Human Resource Management System or an HRMS portal.
The portal indicates personal stats like leaves applied and balance, attendance and attendance correction, KRAs and appraisal-related documentation, expense claims, investment declaration, access to payslips, etc., thereby giving employees access to everything they need to know and avoid any hassle of approaching the concerned teams frequently.
Likewise, there’s a tool that helps in easing the accounts and finance-related processes. Instead of going from table to table to seek approvals for a particular payment or raise a bill, one can easily navigate the process through a dedicated workflow, pre-designed in the tool.
In short, the inclusion of technology as a process not only helps in offering flexibility but also provides automation in day-to-day activities.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
Agility in its true meaning is the ability to move quickly and easily. We, as HR professionals, deal with the most superior yet complex beings wherein nothing is concrete or guaranteed.
We should be ready for the most unprecedented happenings. Accordingly, we should look at incorporating the desired technological tools and policies catering to different sets of employees and situations.
Thank You, Pradyumna!