Round & Around: The year that went by


Adil Malia captures the year that went by and classifies how the world of HR changed in 2017.

A few stray thoughts, a few general observations and a few points of views on the year that went by. This piece imitates the style of my communications guru, Behram Contractor – Busy Bee, who used to write a popular media column in his unique style called ‘Round And About’)

Like the way, the sheer pace at which 2017 passed by and 2018 is right at our doorstep, ‘time’ does not appear to have any exit or entry barriers, and the government, through its proposed amendments in labour laws is very keen for companies to emulate that ‘easy entry – fast closure’ option well.

Like the way, suddenly it is fashionable for everyone who is not even ‘authentically intelligent’ to be heard on public platforms speaking on artificial intelligence (AI), design thinking, block-chains, big- data analytics, bot-chats, bit-coins, crypto-currency, nano-moment virtual learning and instructional designing. Engage them a little deeper to explain these concepts, and they scamper!

Like the way, every business magazine in the country has ventured into event management and each one declares ‘The 100 Best’ annually, in each profession… your absence on these lists should cause you a severe identity crisis and should lead you to serious ‘recognition deficiency syndrome’.

Like the way, ‘distressed jeans’ are no longer really about poverty but more about a statement of social narrative… like-wise addressing seminars on diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not really about any authentic change in the inclusive beliefs and D&I philosophies of the companies.

Like the way, the conferences and events industry has to be innovative to create demand and so their business development teams do a De Bono on picking up creative themes to attract audiences for their seminars, and then the corporate mice follow the marketing Pied Piper.

Like the way, the year 2017 was about D&I, digital success, block-chain, wellness, meaningfulness and happiness, 2016 was similarly about NLP, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) times and about obituary to the ‘Bell-Curve’! Each year is about something that catches attention for the events industry and though the times don’t change, the themes regularly do and each time only the events industry laughs its way to the banks.

Like the way, the nation actually wants to know who declares these popular themes for the year or do the event marketers identify creative themes and make them so popular that the universe of HR managers, thereafter, pursues them mindlessly even without establishing the need.

Like the way, everybody with a smart phone is a member of at least 20 WhatsApp groups exchanging near about the same jokes, gyan, doodles and professional messages, all within a span of three to five days. Even the e-cakes and e-bouquets are the same… I dread my birthday now, for I have to sit and reply to a zillion messages with thanks…

Like the way, I know that some professional friends have now become big social media brands without creating even a scratch of original content. The social-media universe continues to move ahead with mindless forwards and emoticons. But that too is fine, considering we live in times of ‘aggregators’ where Uber doesn’t have to own a taxi, Air BnB – a hotel or bitcoins – an exchange.

Like the way, downsizing in industry continues and more and more people seem to be losing jobs. Where are the ‘acchey din’ that were promised, but which appear to have given us a clear by-pass. Instead, unions have made slow but steady inroads into these technology hubs and the grey-haired IR managers have started rehashing their labour law workshops for the IT industry.

Like the way, it seems ‘relic investors’ knocked out ‘digital champions’ in this round 1 and that the mystery over why Mistry was waved a Tata has now been consigned to oblivion. Somewhere not on far shores, a professional ‘Sikka’ lost but to save grace a ‘Chillar’ won, and at both times the academics rose to the occasion and bombarded LinkedIn blogs and posts with ‘Lessons from Sikka – What not to do’ and ‘Lessons from Chillar – How to do’!

Like the way, I think some of our managers have become masters of crazy ‘selfies’. You need to know how to make that special pout when you meet a colleague accidentally at an airport. Don’t be too surprised to find one of these days the enquiry officer, the complainant, the charge-sheeted employee and the presenting officer posing for a ‘smiley’ with that pout and posting it on FB with the caption, ‘appearing at the Domestic Enquiry in the POSHA case’.

Like the way, I would certainly not like it.

(The author is a senior HR leader and now CEO, The Firm.)

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