Article (February-2018)


Embrace new knowledge and skills

Rajesh Tripathi

Designation : -   Vice President & Head, Corporate HR

Organization : -  GHCL Limited, Noida


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BM: Do you think HR has been able to become a serious business partner in 2017 - something that was a buzz for several years now?
RT: No doubt, HR is gaining importance day-by-day. Business leaders have understood it well now that they cannot make their organisations sustainable until HR is given due importance. Money & Machine and people who used to flourish on these competencies are relegating to back. Year 2017 too has seen, HR getting good amount of traction in terms of its acceptance & relevance to business. It is visible to naked eyes that in most of the fast growing organisations today, HR has become a very serious business partner and has played a very significant role in achieving business results & making these organisations sustainable by growing their roots deeper. However, I still see a fight between erstwhile primary functions and HR; for they intend to lose importance they enjoyed in the past and therefore, their doing every bit to create hurdles to see that HR does not get a place in Board Rooms is inevitable. In my view, this is one of the many reasons; home grown - traditional business houses in the country are not able to change themselves to better and are struggling to compete with well HR oriented organisations today.
BM: Do you think HR transformation is important in this technological age? If yes, why?
RT: I am little hesitant in using the word transformation; as I see HR altogether a new subject which has come up in the recent past only. In my view, this is only function which will see many new facets of human behaviour with the unfold of brain mystery day by day. New behavioural study outcomes will help HR professional to acquire new skills themselves and to other people who interact with customers - the ultimate end of a business chain to make a business succefful or fail eventually. Science & technology today have made it easier to peep into the brain of human kinds and reveal many aspects of human brain and its functioning.
Society at large is inundated with technological advancements. Every human side including the way business is being conducted are going through a sea change. HR cannot keep standing by the side and not leveraging changes to its advantage. Having said this, we need to understand it very clearly that HR people have to acquire new knowledge & skills every day to remain relevant. My reason of saying this is that all other functions, namely Finance, Sales & Marketing, Production technology etc. are being forced either by laws of land or other compulsions to adopt new aspects of their functions, so is not the case with HR. And therefore, I see a challenge here as HR people are not very enthusiastic to learn new knowledge coming up daily in the field of human behaviour & anatomy.
Using Technology to HR activities should not be seen in isolation as if it is the only transformation and does require attention of HR professionals. More importantly is new knowledge and its entire winding with technology, perhaps is the need of the time.
BM: What were some of the biggest lessons you learned in 2017 to take HR transformation to the next level?
RT: There is much new learning in the year 2017. I being a passionate science student and that too of Human Science and Psychology, I grabbed newer aspects in these fields and their adoption to my professional life. 
One of them being conceptualising HR as Neuro - HR and making head way in conceiving some new initiatives which are unparalleled like On-the-Job - Soft Skills Training. This is something, I could only conceive because of my getting new insight about how new competencies could be acquired under the light of new brain related discoveries. Role of emotions in the development of personalities could be another one. I am using this aspect very vigorously in recruiting people. If we can drive people emotionally during interviews, I see it will help in knowing and selecting right people. Business leaders have understood beyond doubts that it is not 'Techno-Fit' but 'Culturo-Fit' people who can achieve business results. Information is just one-click away today and therefore; it is not information but drive to 'click' is becoming more important. This is my other learning last year.  Interestingly, I could acquire some knowledge in how customers make choices but still to integrate it with my professional doings.