Article (September-2021)


HR is not a within-a-wall profile anymore

Dr. Ankita Singh

Designation : -   Senior Vice President and Global Head - HR

Organization : -  CIGNEX Datamatics


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Do you think there will be need of recalibrating HR post covid? If yes, what would be the focus areas?

AS In my opinion, every individual, organisation, and function will need to recalibrate. The dots equating to the past, present, and future are too blurred to connect well. It will remain a daunting scenario for HR to define the solutions for the workforce and the organisation for obvious reasons. The Corona crises compelled organisations to make a massive shift in terms of way and place of work. Adaptation to technology was essentially the need of the situation, which much sooner got accepted as the necessity and future of work. HR, primarily, being an enabler and a partner focused on employee entire life cycle to define a win-win path for both employee and the organisation. Every aspect around us has changed; HR will need to reassess all their strategies, initiatives, and plan to meet the demands of today and the future. With recalibrate, HR will have to remain more flexible, nimble, and adaptable to the ongoing changes. In my opinion, the top six focus areas would be Employee wellbeing and safety, D&I, Tech-human interventions, personalized policies over the blanket and generic ones, human skills to be accepted and adopted by the workforce, and making the organisation future-ready with relevant skills. Covid-19 made everyone realize that it will always be people over the business. PEOPLE FIRST will remain as the priority for HR and recalibration will continue to happen as and when required to fit the need of changing NEW and NEXT normal.

Do you think that the employee trust deficit has come down to low? If yes, what factors have been instrumental in this shift?

AS For that matter, each one of us has seen that shift, and I would not hesitate to give all the credit to the fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. We have all become better human beings. Like overnight, we all accepted technology as the most significant enabler; we also realized that emotions, connect, care, empathy, and love is what people need more than anything else to survive the gravest. Realization, in my opinion, is an essential factor and driving force in this shift, followed by acceptance and fear. Everybody walked that extra mile to express, ask and support; everybody took a step back to give more space, be less judgmental, and accept things as is. The concern brought people together in a true sense where there was less follow-up concerning work and more on mental health and support that organisations can offer. This modest shift in our fundamental approach did all the magic. Humans can only handle human emotions; no technical advancement will ever reciprocate it like humans. Tech has become the enabler, but the shift is just because we all could convey our intent and emotions. We all trust each other more than ever; we all stand stronger together for decades to come.

How far HR has worked on three factors-Purpose, passion and perseverance to enhance its contribution to business?

AS I believe it took some time, but HR today is very different. HR is not confined to a definition anymore. The team is more prepared to take up a holistic role; it's not a within-a-wall profile anymore. The purpose is the start; Business purpose, people purpose, and the overall one; connecting them to define a common purpose is not an easy task, but HR today is doing that conscientiously. They know that they are not accountable for people alone but have a more extensive and meaningful role to play and that acceptance brings in passion. The urge to contribute and add value keeps HR passionately involved in defining and making things happen. Now, look at covid-19, not just the game's rules, but the entire game changed, leaving us with just one option- Change.

There is no perfect solution, strategy, policy, or approach; the scenario will keep changing, and we have witnessed some of it already. Look at the organisations today, they are not just surviving today but also getting future-ready, and that's what perseverance is. Teams will reach there anyhow, they will do it no matter whatever it takes, and they won't give up! Time has already tested and defined new HR- purposeful, passionate, and perseverant. The team is now more prepared, process & emotion-driven, and highly people-centric. They are enabling business by empowering people.

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