“Employers will be forced to invest in monitoring tools to discipline remote workers,” Anil Gaur

Human resources should focus on areas where AI can be applied and strategies formulated eventually says Anil Gaur, CHRO, Akums Pharmaceuticals


A big change in 2022 

The most unique quality of humans is adaptability. We have learnt to adapt to the demand of the hour. By now, we have accommodated a new set of behavioural patterns and expectations. People will see changes in terms of working environment such as hybrid workplaces, artificial intelligenc(AI) supported jobs, a mixture of technical and soft skills specific hiring, compassionate leadership and productivity focused working and monitoring.

The companies that have witnessed no adverse effect on productivity with remote working will be interested to offer more flexibility to employees with the hybrid workplace model. This will benefit both employers and employees in terms of cost and energy saving. This flexibility will also allow employees to maintain work-life balance, especially by saving time in routine travel and minimising the stress and discomfort of traffic and pollution.

People who handled tedious jobs with routine and repetitive tasks will be supported by AI-efficient technologies. Employees will have more access to technology, which will help them improve their efficiency. Organisations will likely put more efforts into digital transformation. Employers will also invest in tools and technologies for monitoring employees’ functioning as they may not be able to enforce discipline on remote workers.

Technical skills based hiring has always been a priority for organisations but this approach has to now shift towards soft skills focused hiring. Employers are understanding the importance of emotional intelligence in building a resilient workforce, which can stay strong in the face of adversities. Organisations will work to develop compassionate leaders who can help their team members with better hand holding and insights on life-enhancing skills.

“A shift from technical skills based to soft skill based hiring is needed”

AI to change and impact HR post digital transformation

I predict the acceleration of digitisation and automation of systems, processes and manufacturing operations. I also believe that use of technology, digital platforms and innovation will generate more jobs, and businesses will expect a higher transition to job growth 2022 onwards.

It is worth mentioning here, that only 25-30 per cent of jobs can be performed in a more productive way remotely. Therefore, it is also important to consider that most of the digitisation and innovations will still have to be addressed through physical jobs.

Also, HR has a big and strategic role to play in digital transformation and providing businesses with solutions to address repetitive issues. By freeing up the personnel from having to handle more complex situations, HR can channelise efforts towards performing tasks that require focus on improvements and creativity.

Human resources should focus on areas where AI can be applied and strategies formulated eventually. Lastly, HR should look for ways to develop a digital culture and digital mindset, because ultimately, it is not the technology which increases productivity but the people who are going to use that technology.

Coaching or mentoring to become compassionate leaders

The pandemic has forced leadership to shift focus from ‘What’ an Organisation does to ‘how’ an organisation does’. I think leadership capabilities will continue to shift toward embracing empathy and demonstrating leadership in its full sense, and it will be more towards visionary, inspirational and motivational leadership where the high focus will be on people. The definition of ‘HR’ must change to ‘HHR’, that is, building ‘Heart to Heart Relationship’ with people. The success of leaders is not measured by the big tag and authority they hold, but by the number of people who rely on them and come to them for inspiration and motivation.

Thanks to the pandemic, people are still stressed and confused due to anxiety and social deprivations. At such a time, hand holding by leaders becomes essential. They need to develop a deep connection with employees. Leaders are required to carefully address the needs of the people they work with. An intentional change is required, to bring compassion as a value in totality. Leaders’ coaching should be designed in a way that can enable leaders to envision their role as a catalyst for boosting employees’ morale when they need it the most.

Function that will see highest salary increase in 2022

Jobs in the technology sector will see the highest salary increase in 2022. Other jobs in consumer products and pharmaceutical industry will also witness big increases. The main reason is that COVID has actually accelerated the use of technology and the digitalisation process across sectors, including automation and artificial intelligence.

These developments, along with the adoption of the WFH / hybrid work model have actually impacted the high salary projections in these areas. The manufacturing and retail sectors are witnessing rising demand, driven by the lowering of COVID restrictions and a positive outlook of order inflows.

Will internal mobility help in retention?

Internal mobility is the most important phenomenon. Over a period of time, it has been realised that the cost of replacements is very high. This includes the hiring cost as well as cost of loss of business opportunity and productivity, which is relatively high. When new employees replace the existing and productive employees, they take a longer time to deliver the expected output and performance. We cannot overlook the fact that when employees decide to quit, they tend to be less sincere while executing their job, which means there is loss of productivity months before the actual exit happens. Along with the joining expenses, these intangible expenses should also be taken into account. Internal hiring can be a very effective tool for preventing such departures.

After numerous assessments of exit reasons, we can realise that lack of career development within a company is one of the biggest reasons for exits. Employee attrition happens when leaders fail to recognise the talent, skills, loyalty and hard work of people. We must strategise to ensure that the professional development of people is given due importance so that people do not fly away under the influence of outside powers and external opportunities.

We need to identify and implement professional-development programmes and career paths, which encourage potential employees to stay and deliver their best.

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