Article (February-2018)


HR must be a field player

Dr. Syed Arifullah

Designation : -   Group Head-HR

Organization : -  GRT Group, Chennai


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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?
BM: Do you think HR transformation is important in this technological age? If yes, why?
SA: Yes. It is important. Many HR management functions are becoming systems controlled. HR has already undergone its transformation from administrative controlled to the development phenomenon. It is time to think more about becoming strategic business partner and aligning HR to business. Every HR person must check whether their day to day functions are related to a strategic business partner or not. The HR leader should focus on how strong influential the HR department is in the organization. They should shed off those routine activities to machine and take in hands those activities which a machine cannot do. The HR leader must see bigger picture of their function and work as one of the major growth engines for the organisation. HR must use metrics and analytics to measure the impact of their initiatives and practice. HR professionals must choose value added roles. There must be periodical meetings between HR Head and operational head to ensure that the strategic business alignment is as perfect as planned.
The Human Resources management is no longer a supportive function but a promotive function. Unless the mind set is not changed in this direction, machine will occupy their jobs and HR will be reduced to secondary status. In fast changing world only primary functionalities get their due respect and remain to get it. HR professionals must change their mindset from active working to proactive working and from talking about innovations to driving innovations. The operational leader must also change their mind sets and welcome the HR professionals involvement in their day to day business challenges and strategic planning without limiting them to do just a mere frame work of operational leaders initiatives. The HR peoples should be allowed to work as part of their all business initiatives. Only then, I believe the organization can prosper faster and succeed in all odd events.
BM: What were some of the biggest lessons you learned in 2017 to take HR transformation to the next level? 
SA: When I was interviewing for senior HR level professionals, I was shocked to see the level of knowledge these senior HR persons possessed. From most of the candidates I met, I can say almost 98% speak much about meeting their targets, routine training modules, statutory requirements, payroll etc... But when asked about productivity, efficiencies, change management, business challenges regarding sales, products, futuristic, designs and customer needs etc... It all looks aliens to them. I felt that they feel it all not belongs to them but the functions of other specialized departments. HR is the function of all specialized departments. Unless HR understands well about the business they involve, it is simply not possible to deliver and give the results the company expects. From this I learned that HR with business in mind is still not a common practice scenario, which we all want but we need to walk the talk at least from now onwards. However, what is important in this current scenario is, we must immediately train the HR professionals towards this direction about business and how much it is important as HR to know our business and what would be the difference in business environment if link every decision of HR with business. From training employees on personality development type of programs to core business development program may change the individual thoughts to think in that manner. So mindset has to be changed gradually in HR professionals to come out of the comfort zone and start functioning as business oriented HR, by involving themselves in knowing from the depth of the field.