2020: What to learn – what to erase
Without any doubt, the biggest boon has been the ‘accelerated digital savviness’ of the general public. This was forced upon us due to limited mobility during the pandemic. People are now far more conversant with transacting online for most of their needs — from six-year olds using Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, Insta groups for their school curricula to 60-year olds joining online spiritual classes or ordering groceries via mobile and using apps to settle bills. Were it not for the pandemic, this level of knowledge would have taken us 5 to 10 more years to achieve. There has been absolutely, no resistance to change during this period. The survival instinct in humans kicked in quickly. This is what is referred to as ‘holding the bull by its horns’. I would want to erase the sense of insecurity and uncertainty that entered our minds when the pandemic started.
HR has shown great agility and business acumen
Human resource professionals or the HR function prepared itself to be an integral part of business in the last 10 years, as against the image of being a pure play support function. The HR Business Partners played a key role in running business projects related to productivity and engagement. During the pandemic, companies had to implement multiple changes including ‘work from home’ without compromising on productivity and sense of ownership. Human resource professionals came into the spotlight by successfully leading this most critical and difficult change to keep organisations above the waters and help them survive. They seamlessly coached the business leaders to maintain a high level of emotional quotient (EQ), while pushing for deliverables.
The speed and frequency of change have made the HR function adaptable to new situations, making it agile and resilient
HR also needs to be more resilient
Without doubt, HR is the most resilient function of all. Technically speaking, the HR function is an aggregator of many aspects of business, and hence, becomes accountable for staff-related decisions. Resilience is the core DNA for HR professionals, because they are the most susceptible to change. The speed and frequency of change have made the HR function adaptable to new situations, making it agile and resilient. The pandemic situation has made this core of HR much more visible, reinforcing the capability of the function.
Identifying right skill gaps or reskilling
The new mantra in an organisation now is ‘do more with less’. This statement encapsulates a whole lot of meaning, which will put organisations on a constant growth trajectory. There is an increased demand to learn new skills in order to play a larger role for better business impact. For instance, till recently, a black-belt professional was expected to streamline a customer-interfacing process using Six-Sigma methodology, but now the organisation expects the same professional to learn robotic process automation(RPA) and machine learning(ML) tools in addition to Six Sigma and Lean practice to make sure they create a larger impact on the customer experience. That summarises ‘Do more
Efficiency or flexibility — what will change the organisation design in 2021
Both go hand in hand. ‘Agile methodology’ is the term for an efficient and flexible developing process, which results in faster delivery of services with superior quality. Earlier, organisations worked hard to meet customer expectations. Now, in the new normal, organisations need to provide for needs, which the customer was unaware of.
For instance, earlier, when Apple Inc. stepped into the realm of mobile phones, customers were unaware of what they could do with the phones. When Apple launched the mobile, it opened up a whole lot of opportunities for the customers and new businesses. The new organisation design will explore unfamiliar or unexplored areas, for which efficiency and flexibility will be at the centre of strategies.
Will labour unrest shift the focus back to IR?
In fact, it will be other way round. The demand for knowledge and skills will grow multi-fold by the next decade. This will make organisations look for more talent, thus ensuring fair labour practices.