2020: What to learn – what to erase
The biggest boon in 2020 was the discovery — by employees and employers — of the fact that physicality is not essential to deliver performance. Virtual is the new way of working, and gradually, we will turn towards hybrid working models including WFH and remote working. While the concept has been in existence for a few decades now, the realisation of it being workable has come now. Another important realisation is the respect for health and wellness. I see more and more organisations now incorporating this in their HR strategy and it is a welcome change.
The anxiety, depression and isolation caused by COVID are things that one will never like to see repeated. The shift in lifestyle from working in office and meeting people to being at home and staying isolated took its toll on the mental and emotional health of people. One would not like to go through this ever again.
Resilience and humility are two virtues that are valued far more than ever
HR has shown great agility and business acumen
I see different stages of evolution here. Some organisations expect HR to play a very important role as business enablers, culture builders, performance drivers, change agents and people solution providers, while others still have HR doing only transactions around payroll, hiring and employee engagement. The shift of HR from an enabler to business function will take time and am glad that the journey has already begun.
Analytical and data-driven work approach, shift away from transactional jobs by leveraging digitisation, ability to analyse market and predict future talent trends, setting up high-impact talent development and talent-management programmes to facilitate business growth and taking accountability, not only of execution but owning business impact of HR initiatives are the aspects that will help HR move faster towards being seen as a business function.
The role itself is gradually changing every year, so it is important to carry a learner’s mindset throughout the career journey
2021 – changing organisational design
This year will be all about re-aligning ourselves with the reality of the ‘after COVID’ period. Resilience and humility are two virtues that are valued far more than ever before now. Digital will take a significant leap as we all have learnt that virtual is the new real. Physicality is not necessary, and it is all in the mind. We continued to be as effective in virtual workplaces, sometimes even more than physical workplaces. Realigning processes and programmes to have digital as a preferred mode of doing things, is the most important change that we see today.
One does not feel afraid while moving out without a wallet or some cash today, as even the local grocer is expecting digital payment. This effectively means that in-person meetings will shift to virtual — something that has been in transition for the last few quarters. This means, one can save time and use it to be more effective and deliver better. Productivity per person will rise. As we do this, organisation designs and role content will need a revisit.
Growth or decline of HRBPs in India
Human resource business partners (HRBPs) are the face of HR. They are the ones who partner with functions to deliver on the HR objectives. They act as a crucial link between business functions and HR centres of excellence. As we move further, I see the role of HRBP becoming even more important. With hybrid working models taking centre stage, employee advocacy, employee engagement and transforming delivery modes of HR design initiatives into virtual, all are important elements where HRBP has a very important role to play.
Identifying right skill gaps or reskilling
The biggest challenge in reskilling is the lack of realisation by the employees that they need to change. They tend to believe that by performing the role well for one year they gain mastery in that role and need not invest in learning any more. Breaking this mental barrier is the biggest challenge. The fact that the role itself is gradually changing every year is important to realise so that one carries the learner’s mindset throughout one’s career journey.