More power to HR in 2019
We are living in an ‘Age of People’ where value is created by cutting-edge talent, in fast- changing times dominated by innovative experiences. And what’s more, all this is happening in a context that is digitally analytical and intuitively predictive. Organisations will have to be cognitively alert and people sharp. Talent in such markets tends to be very high premium and a gilt-edged resource. Given this situation and context, success will have to be through more power to HR. But HR here is not to be misunderstood as meaning ‘the HR’! The definition here is broad based and refers to business managers, who will have to take more and direct responsibility for their people in the enterprise.
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The real HR will stand up
Talent is comparatively a very crucial ‘low cost-high contribution’ resource in the value creation journey of enterprise. Unfortunately, this ‘talent’ resource comes with three peculiarities. One, it is emotional and needs sensitive handling. Second, it comes with multiple choices and therefore, needs meaningful and authentic engagement to hold on and retain in a Company.
And third, it is constantly in search of a meaningful identity and a meaningful role in the larger journey of the enterprise. To that extent, talent requires to be constantly connected with the business strategy. As talent will be a ‘mother-source’ of all value, if real HR does not stand up and help the business managers to take charge, it will never be able to meaningfully engage or strategically connect talent to the business strategy. If that happens, God save that company! Money will be spent by such a company to hire talent resources, but the talent so hired will not even make any meaningful contribution to enterprise value.
“We are living in a new world of experiences and engagement. You cannot reach acutely steep new destinations on ‘tuk-tuks’,”
It is most critical for the companies, therefore, to hire an effective HR professional who understands business, nurtures ‘talent’ and has the instinctive wisdom and capacity to connect the two. If corporates hire transactional HR business partners, they will need serious HR coaching or they will continue to create value through talent. We seriously are living in times where professionals need to ‘think fast – think slow’!
Investing in HR innovation labs – more data & insights
Everyone understands that if data is not converted into insights and ultimately, if insights are not converted into knowledge, then such an exercise is merely clinical and is shorn of practical application. Such a situation will lead to analysis paralysis and will be a waste of time, resources and energy. We are living in a new world of experiences and engagement. You cannot reach acutely steep new destinations on ‘tuk-tuks’. Innovative labs are thus very critical in their success narrative. But for that, the analysed data has to be converted into insights and insights thereafter into sustained knowledge, so that it can then be positively used for critical decision making.
“Future leaders will be expected to make decisions anchored on behavioural economics, build employee connections, ensure employee engagement and constantly work on a connected and supportive eco system”
Managing diverse workforce
Unfortunately, we limit our understanding of diversity to gender, complexion, religion, sexual orientation, and so on. This I would like to refer to as ‘surface-level brand diversity’. And we indulge in such surface diversity for two reasons — one, it is obvious and therefore, does not require a deep search for acquisition, and second, it helps manage social and employer-branding pressures.
However, this does not go a long way in creating value and to sustain it requires mandates, reservations, protection, and so on. The real diversity that creates value for the enterprise is intrinsic diversity, which is not obvious on the face of it. I refer to it as ‘Authentic intrinsic diversity’. It includes diverse exposures, diverse sectoral experiences, diverse views, diverse instincts, diverse competencies. Such diversity adds to the value-creation journey by offering a rich, robust and wide range of propositions. As this adds real value, it subsequently becomes very attractive to the company. No reservations, mandates or protections are required for such diversity.
However, it is like a journey. An enterprise begins with ‘surface-level brand diversity’ but must aspire to reach its desired level of ‘authentic intrinsic diversity’ in a planned and time-bound way.
“HR not to be misunderstood as meaning ‘the HR’! The definition refers to business managers, who will have to take more and direct responsibility for their people in the enterprise”
Developing new skill-sets for the future workforce
In a digital world, which will be predominated by humanoids, robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, algorithms, machine learning, predictive analytics, and so on, we should be focussing much more on mindsets rather than skill-sets. Future leaders will be expected to make decisions anchored on behavioural economics, build employee connections, ensure employee engagement and constantly work on a connected and supportive eco system. Each enterprise will have to systematically plan all mind-sets and skill-sets that will help future value creators be prepared and ready.
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