Why organisations need to hire boundary spanners

Systematic boundary spanning is essential for organisations to stay relevant and stand up to competition

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Shifts in the corporate work culture and implementation of latest AI tools across various functions, are just some of the factors that have brought about changes in the overall workforce and related processes of late. These changes have forced the corporate culture to go way beyond the preset boundaries. This is where the role of boundary spanners — who can spot the necessary changes in the market as well as internally within the organisation, to boost productivity — comes into play. Hiring them for their ability to identify the latest trends has become extremely important in order for organisations to survive and sustain in the competitive market.

People who can quickly embrace changes can be good boundary spanners. Having such people on board can help a company stay at par with, if not ahead of, the immediate competitors.

Dileepan Moorkanat, manager, global technology and learning solutions, HP

Who are boundary spanners?

Boundary spanners are a set of people who can interact with the external clients, consumers and all such people who can help give the picture of the latest trends in the market. This trend can be both in terms of technical development and in terms of the shifting market graph. Casting light on this, senior HR professional, Vivek Tripathi, says, “Companies need to see the shifts in every area that is covered. Adopting the latest trend with the changing trend is highly important for growth. It is not just about internal operations, but also the changing market trend and consumer behaviour for that matter. During the pandemic, companies in the retail industry realised they had to undergo a massive shift to the e-commerce platforms. Consumers, who were otherwise regular at stores, started preferring the e-commerce platforms for purchasing items. So, clearly, had this change not been adopted, the retail industry may have suffered a huge setback.”

He further adds, “The younger generation is better at identifying changes, as they are quicker in terms of adopting new trends. People with more curiosity can be good boundary spanners.” According to him, the process of spanning the boundaries should be more systematic and data oriented.

The role of analytics itself is to spot trends. In case of large-scale companies, the role of analytics is so important that even those who are not from the analytics team need to span the boundaries.

Shantanu Banerjee, CHRO, Bajaj Allianz

Boundary spanning: Invidual vs organisational level

However, not all the companies have a different set of people dedicated to boundary spanning. While some companies may hire either an external or an internal analytics team to get their hands on data, others may not necessarily follow this process systematically. “There, CXOs themselves may act as boundary spanners,” elaborates Shantanu Banerjee, CHRO, Bajaj Allianz.

Talking about the importance of boundary spanning, Banerjee further adds, “The role of analytics itself is to spot trends. In case of large-scale companies, the role of analytics is so important that even those who are not from the analytics team need to span the boundaries. The process has evolved over the years with the implementation of various technologies. But no matter which process is adopted, spanning the boundaries is important to improve the business.”

The times demand boundary spanners in every sector and in every industry. Gone are the days of dedicated and specialised functions. The rapid changes require boundary spanners across all the levels within a company. This responsibility lies no more with only the analytics team or leaders, but also with every employee in the company. If not for the business needs, at least for self-upgradation and development, one has to be a boundary spanner. At an individual level, Dileepan Moorkanat, manager, global technology and learning solutions, HP, says, “The need to hire boundary spanners is determined by the external market and technological changes. The need to mark changes in every area that the company covers is highly necessary. The need to hire boundary spanners is not new. People who can quickly embrace changes can be good boundary spanners. Having such people on board can help a company stay at par with, if not ahead of, the immediate competitors. It also allows improvisation of the services and products bein
g sold by companies along with making necessary internal changes.”

The younger generation is better at identifying changes, as they are quicker in terms of adopting new trends. People with more curiosity can be good boundary spanners.

Vivek Tripathi, senior HR professional

Boundary spanning has always been important for organisations. The need hasn’t changed at all. Our HR experts’ statements clearly explain that boundary spanning is an essential function that every company should undertake systematically and regularly, to cope with every change and sustain in any situation. Companies should hire boundary spanners across all levels because spotting the right change at the right time is critical for the development of both the company and the individual, which will eventually lead to improving the overall productivity.

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