“Millennials and GenZ will have low tolerance for the one size fits all approach” Amit Das

The days of ‘dashboards’ will give way to ‘insight boards’, which will be diagnostic and predictive in nature, Amit Das, CHRO, Bennett Coleman & Company for HR 2020 Forecast

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Technology, data, employee experience: What’s high on agenda

One of our key focus areas for the year is ‘Leverage technology to drive employee experience and productivity’. It is very clear to us, as an organisation, that technology, data and employee experience go hand in hand, and are not treated as independent action areas. As an innovative market leader for creating value for our consumers and customers, we have aligned our HR strategy accordingly to drive agility and productivity as key drivers of organisational performance. Hence, the right technology backed by the right data set will ultimately create that differentiating experience for our employees, which is important to engage and retain talent.

We are selectively and consciously leveraging technology in the areas of employee lifecycle and query management, effective learning experience, performance management and talent management. We are also taking measures to enhance new employees’ joining and onboarding experiences, besides sourcing and shortlisting profiles for hiring. We are continuously evaluating all our processes in line with our company values and EVP, and enhancing employee experience through data-enabled technology will be one of our key priorities.

The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

Our industry is at an interesting stage of massive transformation, and accordingly, there are multiple challenges being faced. One of the challenges is to transform our employees from being unique skill holders to being integrated skill holders in this era of multimedia journalism. The speed of change is rapid. Hence, we are investing in this transformation through skill building in order to be future ready. Another challenge is to retain our key talent during a time when there are opportunities for similar skills across industry, and the war for talent has become quite intense. As an organisation, we have always been trying to stay relevant with our approaches towards ‘Total Rewards’. We have been fairly successful in retaining and engaging our talent through a progressive ‘Total Rewards’ approach. The other challenge is to attract the right talent for our critical roles in view of the varied opportunity available for the people with right skill sets. However, we have always believed in leveraging our EVP (employee value proposition) for attracting talent, and this has proved to be our key lever in positioning ourselves as an employer of choice.

Role of analyst in HR

We have been constantly hearing about agility as a key requirement for organisations to compete and thrive in this VUCA world. Hence, during these times of disruption – caused primarily by digital invasion – it is imperative to take the right decisions backed by analytics. There is no doubt in my mind that the role of analyst in HR will continuously evolve and get bigger and bigger in the future. The shift will be required to be made in the way we collect, organise, analyse and use our data.

The days of ‘dashboards’ will give way to ‘insight boards’, which will be diagnostic and predictive in nature. More importantly, the success of such analytics-driven decision making will largely depend on the quality and correctness of data. This is where the analyst will play an important role in guiding the HR organisation in identifying the meaningful data sets from huge volumes of data and information available. The analyst will also help to effectively use technology to access the relevant data sets for varied objectives. The expectation and requirements from an HR analyst will continuously change, based on business imperative. Hence, the role holder has to possess strong foresight and a creative mind to be ready to respond within tight timelines. I don’t think it will be wrong to say that the HR analyst will be the lifeline for HR in the future, in the area of effective people-centric decision making.

Robotic process automation – HR to play a decisive role

In view of the rapid changes expected in the role of HR in the future, which will be important to shape and drive the talent strategy of the organisation, managing the cultural and structural transformation process involving multigenerational workforce will be the primary focus area of HR professionals. In view of the same, rule- and SOP-driven processes of HR will have to be RPA-driven in the future. Such processes will include screening and shortlisting of CVs, offer letter processing, onboarding process, online induction, attendance and payroll processing, employee data management and analytics to name a few. This will not only release bandwidth for the HR team to focus on the more strategic initiatives, but will also improve the efficiency and accuracy of the above processes, improve employee satisfaction and reduce cost over time. It is important to note here that deploying RPA is a change-management process and requires meticulous planning and preparation to ensure organisational readiness. The employees and the managers need to appreciate the benefits of such a change process and be an equal partner in the journey.

GENZ a catalyst to change

A lot has been spoken and written about the impact of Millennials and GenZ on the workplace and rightly so. I have always maintained that generational gaps at the workplace existed earlier also, ever since we set foot in the workplace, but there was hardly any noise. So, why now? The only reason is that the Millennials and Gen Z have a much higher degree of awareness and have more access to information compared to the earlier days, thanks to the Internet and technology. With such heightened awareness levels, the new-age workforce will expect more privileges, adaptability, flexibility and fairness at the workplace. The days of hierarchy-driven communication are fading away, and structures are getting flatter creating the way for more and more collaboration, diversity, inclusion and openness at the workplace. Hence, one of HRs primary job will be to anchor this culture transformation process and strengthen the mutual acceptance amongst leaders, managers and employees.

The leaders and managers have to make the new generation feel welcome through three key approaches— by ‘listen with empathy to understand what their drivers are’, ‘encouraging diversity’ and ‘promoting a performance-driven organisation through continuous and progressive feedback, providing development opportunities and nurturing their career’. Thereby, it is incumbent on HR to prepare and equip the leaders and people managers with the right tools and techniques that will help manager the performance and careers of these generations.

Last but not the least, HR has to be much more proactive in terms of customisation and personalisation of various initiatives and processes, in the areas of rewards, engagement, learning and career management. This is because, the millennials and GenZ will have low tolerance for the ‘one size fits all’ approach. They will be more attracted to an environment which will promote more flexibility and acceptance of individual preferences.

(This article was first published in HRKatha print edition)

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