“Unions will not pose threat when workforce and business goals are aligned,” Richard Lobo

Technology will see a lot of advancement in the coming years, HRs need to strike a balance between technology and humans. Richard Lobo, EVP & head HR, Infosys for HRKatha 2019 Forecast

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More power to HR in 2019

2019 and beyond will see challenges and disruptions to business models across industries, primarily caused by digitisation. To meet this, talent will become very important. Having the right talent to re-invent, re-purpose and deliver value will make the role of HR that much more important in 2019. HR will become the key driver for any company’s strategy because the focus of companies will shift to investing in people; to rescaling and redesigning the employee-value proposition to meet competitive challenges.

HR will also have to work towards retaining talent because there will be a high demand for people whose skills are relevant and updated with time. People as a differentiator will become more and more relevant. That means, HR as a function and its actions will become highly important to business.

“2019 and beyond will see challenges and disruptions to business models across industries, primarily caused by digitisation”

The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

The biggest challenge for HR in my sector as well as any other, will be getting the organisation ready for change.

The following are the three broad trends that will cause disruption and compel organisations to be future ready.

 – Rapid changes in use of technology

 – Geo-political environment across the world

 – Change in the way people view their roles in companies.

All these three will lead to a change in the way work is enabled and delivered. HR will have to do a lot of work to create an adaptive and fast-moving organisation that is agile and responds quickly to opportunities and challenges.

Download the HRKatha 2019 Forecast – powered by Sodexo to read what the top 30 HR leaders predict for the new year

Unionisation of employees a challenge for IT companies

My view on unionisation is that it is not necessarily disruptive. It just happens that the history associated with the term has negative connotations and gives an idea that it may not be great. If the focus of the company is to run its business ethically and safeguard the interest of all the stakeholders, then it’s the right direction. Companies need to engage and communicate with their workforce throughout, and explain the rationale and reasons for business decisions. It’s not command and control, but collaboration and sharing of ideas that will shape companies tomorrow.

“HR will become the key driver for any company’s strategy because the focus of companies will shift to investing in people; to rescaling and redesigning the employee-value proposition to meet competitive challenges”

Both the employees as well as the company are aware that only working towards the common interest of the customer brings value. As long as the workforce is aligned with the larger goal of the company, and is treated fairly, unions or collective bargaining will not pose a threat to companies.

Adopting technology and analytics to HR function

This is a very important area, and we are seeing benefits from early adaptation in our company. There are two aspects to how technology is making an impact. One, technology is definitely getting better and it is delivering power to improved decision making. This includes use of analytics, artificial intelligence and data processing. It empowers the HR and business leaders to make better decisions. Technology also helps the workforce to collaborate and work better. It bridges the gap between distances and time zones, and allows virtual teams to deliver better outcomes. Overall, data helps make better business decisions, improves communication (internal and external), encourages collaboration and reduces costs.

Technology will allow HR to be more human

The flip side of using technology in the HR function is, that when you see results from technology and use it for decision making, you forget that there is a human behind the numbers. There is always the danger of letting technology overtake the capacity of human beings. HR needs to maintain a delicate balance between the human beings and technology, and I see greater understanding of this need among HR folk. While dealing with people, it’s important that you always remember the ‘human’ part of HR and use technology to augment human capability. While you can do better with the use of technology, you should never forget that finally companies are about people, emotions and individuals doing great things together.

HRKatha 2019 Forecast is powered by Sodexo

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