“Merit will drive DE&I strategy else it will be just cosmetic,” Rajorshi Ganguli

The pandemic has demonstrated that work can be done in various work settings, shares Rajorshi Ganguli, president & global HR head, Alkem Laboratories

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A big change in 2022

In 2022 and beyond, the workforce would like to experience greater flexibility and exercise their choice when it comes to picking jobs, organisations and the pace at which they would like to steer their career. Organisations will need to align more with this reality rather than expect the workforce to accept what they have to offer. Simple as it may sound, organisations will take time to adapt to this. The implication of this would be to create the right ecosystem in the organisation, to not only attract talent but retain them. In addition, there is a lot of discussion around hybrid and gig work, which will gain prominence and enable new types of roles, careers and workspace settings. However, this will only be limited to certain industries and kinds of work.

HR splitting into three in 2022: operations, strategy and career pathing

I don’t see HR splitting into three or four, but it will need to juggle multiple expectations to create effectiveness. The HR function always had a strategic and operational role to play in the success of any organisation. Further, the HR had to also drive change management and play an administrative role, which can broadly be clubbed into the strategic and operational dimensions, respectively. Within these two, I would say the following areas will be more pronounced in times to come and not just 2022:

a) Managing human-centred technology to enable an engaging workplace

b) Creating a bouquet of employee experiences to make the multigenerational cohort adjust well and focus on the needs of Gen Z

c) Making health and wellness a prominent focus area for HR.

“Tall organisational hierarchy will be outdated soon”

The implication of the above will be to create a huge mind shift amongst the management, senior leadership and even the HR team, so as to balance these additional expectations and not just relegate themselves to the classical role of yesteryears.

Change in leadership development programmes in 2022

Not just leaders, but all sections of employees need to stay relevant in today’s context. The future looks equally volatile and complex. Maximum development happens on the job itself, when people take the plunge and continue to handle roles with increasing uncertainty and complexity. It is also important to look for an opportunity to attend leadership programmes that can round them up further. A bespoke leadership development programme that addresses the specific goals of learners will be effective. Broad brush programmes may not be fully relevant anymore.

Effective leadership programmes will be those that offer a mix of exposure and interaction tailored as per the learning needs, in the current context, leadershipdevelopment programmes should equip a person to build a portfolio of skills to handle a variety of uncharted roles as opposed to the very rigid ladder-type career path.

“I don’t see HR splitting into three or four, but it will need to juggle multiple expectations to create effectiveness”

Organisational hierarchy threatened in a hybrid workplace

The pandemic has demonstrated that work can be done in various work settings. It is important to be focussed on the outcome and not the physical setting of the job. While an organisational hierarchy will be necessary to ensure work flow, a regimented and tall organisational hierarchy will soon become outdated. A tall hierarchy that slows down decision making or doesn’t facilitate upward communication in the right spirit will be detrimental to the success of the organisation. Fewer layers and a large manageable span will be normal as we embrace more technology and empower people to self-drive their work.

Broader strategy to boost DE&I in 2022

Focus on diversity equity and inclusion will continue in 2022 and even beyond. Diversity and inclusion can’t be just confined to gender related issues. Rather, they have to embrace various forms to make the workplace productive and creative. The DE&I agenda can’t be just a tick-in-the-box nor a percentagefulfilling drive to meet mandated agenda, which unfortunately it has become in several instances. Merit has to drive the DE&I strategy, else it will just be seen as a cosmetic agenda. Diversity of thoughts, culture, languages, educational background and many other aspects will truly make a workplace vibrant.
We will also see a mix of conservative and gig workers working side by side in the same organisation for a similar role. However, all this will need different thinking and acceptability in the minds of people, who are driving the organisation.

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