New Year Special: Questioning the age-old practices in HR: 2016


Traditional, copybook HR practices are fast outliving their relevance and some of the HR beliefs and practices need to be shunned this year.

To start with, I would like to share some of the initiatives that we tried out at MakeMyTrip (MMT) in the last two years. These have made us realise that traditional, copybook HR practices are fast outliving their relevance. These have also made me believe that some HR beliefs and practices need to be shunned this year. For instance, it is often said that HR is the power centre, close to the CEO, the process police, especially from a larger organisational context. All of these need a fresh look.

At MMT our ways of democratising policy formulation, the beta version of every guideline and strong communication forums such as ‘Rubaroo’ and ‘Creating magic at workplace’ got wide appreciation among team members. My current premise on HR trends is largely an outcome of this continuous learning and experience at MMT. I firmly believe that nuggets of wisdom from the past provide a great launch pad for contextual and futuristic initiatives in organisations.

If I may be a bit scandalous and try to stir the hornet’s nest, I would like to raise questions on some of the traditional practices and leave it to the readers to find their own answer.

How about moving away from traditional leave policies? Why not let people take leave whenever they want? Currently no organisation can boast of availment of 100 per cent live in a year by 100 percent employees. Can we pose more trust on the workforce and assume positive intent?

How about moving away from the hodgepodge of notice period versus notice pay issues at the time of exit? Why not let managers decide how many days they want to have the employee post resignation?

What about having learning advisors in the organisation and making learning as personal agenda of every team member and not one being driven by the L&D team? Provide advisors, counsellors and individual resources to people and let them own their development and link it with their growth.

It is high time that we do away with chasing for mandays and coverage of employees. We at MMT have been experimenting with some of the above. The results have been encouraging and hence we plan to implement some in the coming years.

I think with the hyperactive job market, plethora of hyperbole on start-ups and their escapades, diluted JE based salary bands, tired concepts of compa ratio, diminishing value of tenure (having short stints is not a taboo !), expanding professional networks and many more new developments, HR will have to be different in the coming years.

One of the most important trends would be to cut NVAs from the processes to enable speed and agility of execution. I think speed of business decisions and people movement would compel and warrant HR folks to relook at the work and process flows and remove ‘boxes’ and ‘diamonds’ to deliver with alacrity.

I also sense that the learning models will be relooked at, there will be insistence on looking at the learning and development models which can be deployed easily and used on the go without disturbing the work place rhythm.

At MMT, we are experimenting with an app based learning solution which has learning nuggets of 2 to 3 minutes videos uploaded by colleagues who are functional champions and SMEs. Moreover, I think there is traction for such unique offerings. The workforce seems to have a fair amount of people who are happy being individual contributors and want to create a mark in what they do. To cater to such people, equal focus on functional skills would be needed and here HR guys can’t escape responsibility of knowing the business better to handle such needs.

Yuvaraj Srivastava

Another practice which looks unavoidable is the HR’s ability to integrate entities and deploy organisational culture that retains essence of existing culture while deploying acquirer’s cultural nuances. This is tough one to manage, but interesting enough to challenge ones own ability. In the era of acquihiring, to quickly build on to the organisational competence, expertise to handle integration is going to be a unique skill set needed to lead the organisational agenda.

The advent of information and knowledge era joined at the hip with extremely confident and aware workforce also requires a driving decision-making process, which is well balanced in terms of democracy and dictum. Skills and proficiency to facilitate decision-making would require in depth understanding of people dynamics and power equation in the groups. Understanding the importance of ‘better done than perfect’ and ‘fail fast’ to regroup and leverage learnings would define success. This is more to do with the soft skills and org dynamics but definitely underlines the critical role to be played by the HR professionals in driving this philosophy in org context.

I believe, the year 2015 was an year of surprises and wake-up call for the professionals in every domain,. It challenged every function to relook at their ways of working and leading. With year 2015 in the backdrop, 2016 would offer opportunities for everyone to brace up, resurge and consolidate learnings and redefine every work place.

(The author is CHRO, Make My Trip).


  1. Surely HR needs to be more agile and flexible with thinking on its feet! Days of power center HR are gone, is the writing on the wall.

  2. Crisp write-up on the thinking of HR professionals during fast changing business environment & generational change at the workplace.

  3. An headsup article for not just all HRs but for organizations on what to expect from an HR .Eagerly looking forward to see and experience the dynamic HR which would truly add value to the Organization and all its stakeholders.

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