How ‘BYOD’ has redefined the work environment


Although organisations are welcoming new practices, such as BYOD ( bring your own device), there are also new challenges to be faced.

The post-lunch session at the SHRM Tech’15 held in Mumbai, turned out to be quite an interactive one with the eminent panel discussing the overall aspects of human resources in the new environment.

The panel consisted of Smriti Ahuja, HR head, Cognizant; Unmesh Pawar, global MD, talent acquisition, Accenture; Samiran Ghosh, Asia technology leader, Dun & Bradstreet and Nishith Saran, former jt president and group chief information officer, Adani Group. The session was moderated by Abhijit Bhaduri, chief learning officer, Wipro.

Abhijit Bhaduri

Bhaduri started the discussion with an interesting anecdote about how his dentist friend would make fun of him saying that HR as a function was mundane and offered very little change.

Bhaduri said that times have changed and so has HR as a function. Technology has been triggering this explosion, which is forcing organisations to change as well. He said he will try and find answers to what this change means for both the employer and the employee.

He first invited Smriti Ahuja to talk about this proliferation of technology and new practices.

Smriti Ahuja

Ahuja spoke about how the Sunday night was merging with Monday morning in the new environment. What she meant was that the workforce today, comprising youngsters is used to a different social environment during weekends. Therefore, as an HR team, the objective is to smoothen this transition and create a similar ecosystem at the workplace on Monday mornings and make them feel comfortable.

Unmesh Panwar

Pawar also concurred with Ahuja and reiterated that he was a great believer of work–life balance. He said that there should be seamless blending of the existing world with the world that is created.

Ghosh of Dun & Bradstreet commented that new practices, such as BYOD, were like a double-edged sword. While they offer certain benefits, they also pose a problem from the enterprise data point of view.

Samiran Ghosh

Ghosh said that though he would like to encourage the BYOD practice, it is not something controllable, which is why the technology department is not quite comfortable.

Sharan also voiced a similar view on this subject. He said that segregating the personal and corporate data is quite a problematic affair. In case the device is lost, and the organisation decides to wipe out the entire data to prevent data theft, the employee would also lose his/her valuable personal data. He said that he had come across such incidents in his professional life.

Nishith Sharan

Sharan added that corporates have to abide the legal framework and obligations, and unfortunately, HR has to face the flak. He further commented that though technology allowed compartmentalisation of personal and professional data, the exercise involves huge expenditure.

Ghosh advocated that there needs a policy regarding BYOD where employees sign up for a programme to understand their liability as well.

Pawar commented that technology has transformed HR from being a reactor to an anticipator. Today, HR works along with the marketing and technology team, side by side, to preempt possibilities. And all this could be done by analysing data with the help of technology.

Sharan then spoke about how organisations need to be careful while accessing the personal data of employees. For instance, employees should not be able to snoop on the health data of employees.

Bhaduri concluded the session saying that changes due to technology are inevitable so the need is to find the best way to deal with it.


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