“HR to be the sounding board of CEOs to create a capable organisation,” Rajorshi Ganguli

Many Indian pharma giants expanding through mergers, the challenge for the HRs will be managing global talent which is culturally diverse, Rajorshi Ganguli, president & global HR head, Alkem laboratories on HRKatha 2019 Forecast.



More power to HR in 2019

HR will increasingly find a strategic and pivotal place in the organisation. CEOs will look forward to HR being their sounding board and a trusted partner in creating a strong and capable organisation with the desired talent at the right place. They will also expect HR to create pathways to improve productivity and agility; to build a conducive culture and workplace, where employees feel energised and connected; create a work environment where people feel the desire to sculpt their careers leading to creating a good employer brand.

“HR innovation labs will focus more on studying the new generation’s habits and improving employee experience”

HR will also become more important as organisations invest in creating a pipeline of future leaders, who will be able to deal with ambiguity; be more tech savvy; will fit the organisation’s culture and take it to the next level. Hence, HR will be looked upon as a key contributor, talent builder and change architect.

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The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

The biggest challenge for HR in pharma will continue to hinge around the twin pillars of talent and capability. The pharma sector will require leadership talent in both general management, commercial function and core areas of research science, manufacturing technology, quality and regulatory processes and intellectual property. The long-term success of an organisation will be determined by how innovative an organisation is and how deeply the same is embedded as a capability in its talent. HR can strengthen the same by creating a robust R&D capability, recruiting talent with an innovative bent of mind and creating processes that incentivise this capability in the long run.

The second biggest challenge for pharma will be managing the millennial workforce with their immense knowledge and tech savviness alongside their expectation of fast growth and immense flexibility. The above creates a bigger challenge for the pharma industry as it is highly regulated by nature, while attracting and retaining millennials requires a flexible and open culture. HR will have to advise organisations to modify outdated policies and adopt more flexible approaches to attract and retain talent.

Most Indian pharma giants are expanding their business in the global market through mergers, acquisitions and organic growth. This expansion brings forth another challenge of attracting, managing, engaging and retaining the global talent, which is culturally very diverse. While it is necessary to maintain the business model and culture of the parent organisation, it is equally important to develop inclusive HR strategies to ensure performance at the global level.

“Learning will no longer be one size fits all”

HR’s role in maintaining profit margins in an environment of price control and increasing employee cost

HR will have to address the issue of workforce productivity. Being a generics industry, one such way is to build a powerful front line of executives and managers who are the preliminary source of effective sales. This can be done by hiring and retaining the right talent and imparting relevant and latest sales training that enhances their efficiency and long-term capability. In manufacturing, R&D and support services also HR can contribute in introducing and measuring people cost and their contribution.

HR will have to play an effective role in advising management in creating a right organisation design, to enable faster decision making and cut down bureaucracies and eliminate redundant roles or create a efficient workforce mix with lesser cost. They will also have to bring in an effective pay mix for different grades and incentive plans, which leads to value creation.

HR should partner effectively with business to use the power of people analytics to highlight lost opportunities and ineffective use of resources leading to bottom-line impact.

HR can also contribute to the profit by curbing the attrition rate and saving the cost on hiring and re-hiring which not only increases the HR spend but also numerous man hours and efforts. The best way to do this is to motivate and engage the workforce through non-monetary means. Studies have shown that employees value recognition much more than material rewards.

New technologies will change learning in 2019

We are living in an age of rapid transformation in the way we learn. Automation and AI are replacing traditional learning. I feel the new technology is already bringing about change in learning and in 2019 it will further evolve:

Learning on the go: In an increasingly dynamic and digital world, all learners are demanding access to learning anytime, anywhere and at their pace. While classroom learning will exist, mobile learning will gain more prominence along with aspects, such as bite-sized content and much more.

Customised learning: Learning will no longer be one size fits all. New technology will ensure that learning caters to the individual learning needs and styles of employees. They can choose their own courses and approaches, i.e. online, mobile, apps, gamification.

Innovative ways to engage the millennials: Technology will also help to engage the millennials by creating learning approaches that fit learning styles of millennials and leverage highly interactive and agile technologies, for instance, social and virtual learning platforms, such as virtual learning sites, mobile learning and gamification. The millennial workforce will want to experience learning in a way that is fun and engaging.

Investing in HR innovation labs – more data & insights

The pace of change is extraordinary. The definition of talent has undergone a complete revamp. The jobs, roles and challenges of tomorrow are unknown to us today. How can organisations be future ready? How can they attract, engage and motivate the right talent? What are the implications for HR?

HR innovation labs can help organisations and the HR fraternity answer questions, such as the above, through a group of highly intellectual thinkers, who come together to extrapolate and predict the future of HR, and the upcoming trends that pertain to specific industries. These innovation labs are also relevant for HR consulting companies, that help organisations make their people practices future ready. HR innovation labs will also focus more on understanding new-generation habits and creating processes for better employee experience and bringing in design thinking to people practices.

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