“RPA will transform an HR professional into a virtual cultural architect” Amit Malik

I believe in the concept of ‘management by walking’, which is especially important for the HR profession, Amit Malik, chief people, operations & customer service officer, Aviva Life Insurance India for HR 2020 Forecast

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

Technology and data are enablers for a better employee experience. Hence, they will go hand in hand. Organisations and leaders who adapt digital technologies faster and learn how to use data meaningfully, will be able to craft enhanced employee experiences. In essence, it is about what the generational workforce expects and what value they perceive in HR products. For HR leaders, to successfully deliver in 2020, they have to ponder upon the following:

l Specific technologies, that will bring a cutting edge to delivering employee experience.

l Learning how to best decode the story data because, data is nothing on its own. The ‘Magic’ lies in understanding the story and ensuring it is shared.

l HR leaders need to have courage and conviction when seeking investments in technology, and not shy away from taking on metrics to ensure RoI and performance.

The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

HR will have to step up its role from having a seat on the table to preparing the organisation for future capabilities. HR leaders need to understand that every job is digital and if there is no digital then that job must cease to exist.

The function will have to evolve from being reactionary to playing a more proactive role by:
1) Feeling the pulse of the fast changing preferences of the organisations’ customers/clients as that will reflect in expectations of delivery from employees.
2) Envisioning how the business ecosystem will transform in the future. Keeping a close eye on the strategy of the organisation’s biggest competitors, because in this uncertain and ambiguous world, the competition comes from unexpected sectors and companies. Small tech piranhas have the capability to beat the traditional big sharks.

A good hold on the aforementioned points will help HR professionals solve the biggest challenge of predicting the must have future capabilities, subsequently helping equip their teams with these capabilities. Some other HR challenges that the insurance sector will continue to grapple with are:

India has few educational institutions catering to insurance-specific curriculum and there is almost a perennial shortage of talent with existing core insurance skills, such as underwriting, reinsurance and claims management. Young managerial talent often does not look at insurance as a career option.

Insurance is not an easy product to sell. To be able to get such qualified resources at the frontline sales level is a challenge. A lot of gaps exist when it comes to understanding insurance and other financial products, communication skills and awareness about industry trends. Skilling them adequately to perform well in their job will always be an area of focus.

As the focus on digital, data analytics, and newer technologies, such as IoT and blockchain increases, attracting talent for associated roles will become a key focus area/challenge.

Robotic process automation – HR to play a decisive role
RPA takes away the pressure of routine, repetitive tasks from the HR function. These tasks which have historically eaten up into a majority of an HR professional’s time are now being done at the click of the button.

The freed up time will help us focus on more complex, cognitive skill-based tasks. Evolving from a personnel manager role to that of an HR administrator, and now to a business partner, the HR function has come a long way. It is technologies, such as RPA that will now catapult it to the next stage. My vision is that it will enable the HR professional to play a role of a chief culture custodian or a virtual cultural architect (if you keep the gig economy in mind).

It will also enable HR professionals to re-establish the human touch. The HR function was typically not supposed to hide behind a computer screen, but unfortunately that’s what it has become. I hope more and more HR professionals go and speak to employees in their span, understand their aspirations, assess their developmental needs, help them visualise their growth path, and support their mental well-being by enabling them to reach out to HR for any problems. I believe in the concept of ‘management by walking’, which is especially important for the HR profession.

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