“HR Tech : Let’s not put the cart before the horse,” Amit Das

Talking about the biggest challenge in the media sector, sensibly using HR technology to our use and the changing environment of workplaces due to #MeToo campaign. Amit Das director-HR & CHRO, Bennett Coleman & Co., Times of India Group in conversation on 'HRKatha 2019 Forecast.'



More Power to HR in 2019

In my view, if HR is prepared to partner with the business leaders to achieve their strategic objectives through effective and aligned people strategy, power will just follow. The year 2019 and thereafter will see stronger war for the ‘right talent’, and HR will be expected to play that crucial role of attracting the right talent through a stronger compelling EVP, retaining the key talent through an attractive total rewards framework and engaging the people through progressive and relevant policies and processes. Besides, HR has a pivotal role to play in driving productivity and a culture of innovation, since these will differentiate the winners from the laggards in the highly competitive market. Hence, it goes without saying that HR will be an important player in the years to come in shaping the future of any organisation. The coming years will be full of opportunity for HR primarily in the following areas:

Workplace rules: Try different workplace rules, given the fact that we have a multi-generation workforce, and all of them have unique engagement drivers.

Common values: Customise policies under a common set of principles and values.

Need-based interventions: Go for learning and development interventions for the individual depending on each person’s need. This will require a bouquet of options including micro learning, e-learning, special projects, onthe- job learning, customised classroom coaching and mentoring. Growth culture: Differentiate performance and reward, and propel the career of top talent.

Innovation and technology: Manage change through innovative practices by smartly leveraging technology.

The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

Our industry is facing multiple challenges today and one of them is to transform our employees from being unique skill holders into being ‘integrated skill’ holders in this era of multimedia journalism. This is being addressed through focussed training, continued exposure to multimedia platforms, revisiting the job descriptions and productivity norms. Besides this, the process of attracting and evaluating talent for the future has been redesigned so that we have people who can adapt to the future requirements of the industry with the right skills, attitude and learning agility. Besides this, we are continuously reviewing our policies and processes so that they stay relevant at all times and compliment the EVP for attracting and retaining talent in our industry.

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#MeToo – Safeguard leaders or the employees: role of HR

The recent #MeToo campaign has pushed all organisations to think and act fast to create and sustain a harassment-free workplace and the role of HR now is not limited to being a ‘guardian’ of the workplace culture but also that of a ‘trusted champion’ of the organisation’s reputation and goodwill, including all stakeholders. It is not about the leaders or employees but about involving leaders and employees to create a harassment-free work environment together. The role of HR will include the following:

Continuous training, awareness sessions and communication through multiple platforms has to be the new normal. Clarity on the subject is of paramount importance. Hence, the message has to be reinforced through various means, including online modules, emailers, sessions with experts, and so on.

Educating both leaders and employees to report every incident is extremely important. Enhancing the channels of reporting for ease of reporting, will enable the process.

Speedy redressal of every reported case through enquiry and necessary action is a must.

Educating and empowering the POSH committee/internal committees will be an important focus area. Equipping the members of the committee to discharge their roles effectively will be of primary importance.

The POSH policy is required to be kept relevant and updated at all times, which then must be communicated within the organisation through various mediums.

The right HR technology

We should stop chasing every new HR technology invention. Instead, we should focus on leveraging technology to enhance the sharpness and consistency in our objective fulfilment aligned with achievement of overall purpose. We must continue to use technology for what we need instead of starting with technology. We must leverage technology for both productivity improvement through process and workflow re-engineering, as well as to enhance our employee experience at every lifecycle touchpoint. Notwithstanding the above, there is a huge opportunity to positively impact the employee lifecycle through the right selection of chatbots and mobileenabled employee-connect platforms. All transactional activities impacting employees require automation, which in turn, should be able to drive speed, correctness and accuracy, uniform employee experience and potential to scale up and replicate across all geographies. The alignment between the need and the right choice of technology will definitely enhance productivity and is the need of the hour.

“Our industry is facing multiple challenges today and one of them is to transform our employees from being unique skill holders into being ‘integrated skill’ holders in this era of multimedia journalism.”

Investing in HR innovation labs – more data & insights

This follows from my earlier response that all investments should be made to achieve the business objectives and augment performance within the organisation. All I mean to say is let us not put the cart before the horse. We need to be sure of the requirement in our respective organisations and identify the areas wherein data insights and results of innovation labs, and so on, will enable business leaders to take effective decisions pertaining to their people. This, in turn, will nurture the quality of employee life cycle, enable proactive and progressive decision making and provide HR the right levers to shape talent for the future.

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