Rendezvous with Prof. T. V. Rao on the future of HR in 2022

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Rendezvous with Prof. T. V. Rao on the future HR in 2022
CHRO should realize that the meaning of work is also changing. Work from home or work from anywhere is going to be the more likely norm and CHRO cannot be insensitive to conditions under which people work from home.

Dr. T. V. Rao is the Chairman of T V Rao Learning Systems Pvt. Ltd. With over 42 years of extensive work in the field of HRD, Dr. T V Rao is considered as one of the “Fathers of HRD in India”. Dr. Rao and Dr. Udai Pareek introduced the concept of Human Resources Development in India by starting the first HRD Department in L&T.

He served as a Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad from 1973 to 1994. He has been a Visiting or Adjunct Professor from 1994 till 2014 and subsequently on its Board till 2019. Also, Founder President of NHRDN.

Q- How do you see the changing role of the CHROs in current times?

It is People’s world post-pandemic. Human beings are the focus of attention for all. Organizations, countries, politicians, bureaucrats, CEOs, CXOs, everyone is now in the service of people: ensure safety and good health and skill base to make productive contributions.

CHRO’s role has become more critical and significant than before. As people (customers) are the focus of business and business activities are done by people (employees), and owners and shareholders are people who facilitate productivity, the categories of service for CHRO have increased from employees to other stakeholders.

CHRO should now serve employees and be an employee champion, serve employers or owners who create conditions for good employment, livelihoods, and profits; the customers who use services; and investors who look for returns. HR policies also must focus on individuals, families, and communities where they live as all of them impact the safety and wellness of and through it productivity of employees. They propel work commitment.

CHRO should realize that the meaning of work is also changing. Work from home or work from anywhere is going to be the more likely norm and CHRO cannot be insensitive to conditions under which people work from home. There is so much diversity in home conditions for those in early stages of career living in hostels and PG accommodation to those who live in joint families with parents, in-laws, children, and different neighborhoods with varying health conditions and other requirements.

CHRO must learn about the factors affecting employee value addition and take actions to constantly maintain performance and motivation.  The role has moved from administration to constantly being in touch with people and understand and appreciate the factors affecting their contributions.

The CHRO should also think ahead of their CEOs and CXOs and even take up activities that influence them.

Q- What leadership skills do HR leaders need for a hybrid workplace?

HR leaders need the following skills to effectively lead the workforce in a hybrid work model.

  • Flexibility in formulating and implementing new policies and practices all the time.
  • Respect for people irrespective of their differences in age, gender, caste, religion, geographies, qualifications etc.
  • Qualities like empathy, and human sensitivity, including understanding, listening, and appreciating individual differences, diversity, and ensuring different needs of different people are understood and met.
  • Creative thinking and Creative problem-solving.
  • Technological savvy (ability to use all new technologies and train others to use the same including online learning, skill development, AI, HR analytics, etc.) and ability to generate and use information
  • Continuous learning and promotion of such learning.

Q- What organizations should do to develop great future HR leaders?

Give them flexibility. Respect talent. Make HR the job of everyone. Promote self-learning. Focus on developing everyone as a leader than recognizing a few as leaders. Encourage initiative and risk. Help people to share their points of view.

Use new initiatives and projects as a means of building leadership talent. Strongly recommend the use of 360 Degree Feedback, Assessment and Development Centers, flexibility in work format (work from home or anywhere). All this will throw up more leadership talent. Promote more self-learning.

OCTAPACE (openness, Collaboration, Trustworthiness, Authenticity, Proactivity, Autonomy, Confrontation of issues, and Experimentation) culture will go a long way in exploring talent and developing many leaders among employees.

Q- How is present shaping HR’s future?

Present shaping future: Last 2 years laid ground for the future. The meaning of work has changed. More respect for those who work at home (homemakers or home managers) who are the main sources of support and enablers of those who work in organizations. The dignity of labor is well established. There is no menial work and low category.

All work is respectable. Health is the concern of all. More respect for women. A lot of hidden potential is coming out from unexpected corners establishing that everyone is born talented. We only must create opportunities for self-expression.

The present is giving birth to future innovations, startups, new compensation systems, new meaning of performance, more negotiability, and above all the supremacy of skills and competencies. This is creating a new world. A year from now we will be in a new world. Today is the real VUCA world.

Year after year, we will be a little more wiser and exercise more choices. Relationships will get redefined. Hopefully, some of the old traditions where we valued elders differently with more respect will be back and at the same time more freedom, empowerment respect for youth. They are the makers of the new world.

Q- What should HR focus on in 2022?

To make every person take charge of his/her own HRD – to identify, nurture and develop their own by experimentation, self-discovery, and application. Create settings by working closely with CEOs and CXOs to enable, empower, experiment and value add to the place of work.

Create an appreciation in every employee, their families, customers, and stakeholder of corporations that each one of them is his/her own HRD or development manager.

No one can develop them without their interest and actively seeking and managing learning. HR departments are only facilitators for building their skills and using them appropriately.

People should use HRD systems and processes and initiatives as tools for self-managed growth. They should use HRD and not fight HRD and HR staff. Even employee unions should be helped to become facilitators of HRD and skill development.

Self-reflection and self-renewal are important priorities for HR staff. Human is not merely a resource but unlimited source and resource. Human beings are filled with possibilities, and they can make things happen.

Failures are a part of life, and they should help people to try out new things. Use technology for human development and not merely for control but to help them express themselves. 

Promote Openness, Collaboration, Trustworthiness, authenticity, autonomy, proactivity, experimentation, sense of purpose, and continuous learning as values and culture in the workplace

Help people to use multiple sources of learning from each other and from various jobs, projects, events, and experiences.

Q- Any concluding remarks?

The role of HR now changes to work with individuals, teams and build them to take charge of their own commitment.

The HR leaders have wonderful opportunities as the world has become human-focused. Build yourself, think bigger than the CEO. Don’t lose this opportunity to lift yourself up and take human existence to a new level. HRD’s task is to facilitate every human being to discover own talent and use it for good purpose

Thank you, Dr. T.V. Rao!

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