Article (September-2021)


Technology adoption, Labour welfare & employee engagement will be in focus

Vishal Verma

Designation : -   HR Department

Organization : -  Alumnus Software Limited


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

VV Human resource management has been evolving since the time the concept of human resource management came into existence in 1980. Pandemic has always been a catalyst in increasing the pace at which the changes take place. With Covid pandemic, the way the business operates has also changed. Post Covid era has forced to recalibrate the human resource function to reconsider the labour management principles coupled with human resource development and adoption of the technology.

Covid period has forced executives to work from home leading to high adoption of the technology and changes in the human behaviour. The stress, work life balance etc which happens to be one of the concerned areas for employee welfare has modified. The way the scenario was handled because of physical interaction is losing its scope and while employees were at home for over one and a half year, their psychological requirements has also changed. Human Resource managers need to re-strategies the way they handle the employees. Similarly, Covid period led to job loss in almost all sector and at all levels which was the result of lockdowns and no productions specially in the manufacturing sector. But at the same time, it led to high demand in the manpower which was driven by technology. HR Function need to take all this into account.

Thus, the focus areas during the post covid period would be on technology adoption, labour welfare, and employee engagement. Also, the HR Managers need to get their employee ready for future as the future will be more technology driven. The role of HR Manager is expected to increase along with their changing role. We have to start to look at the elements of a culture care and we will see attributes like investing in employees and being supportive and flexible rising to the top.

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

VV The answer to this is both yes and no. When we talk about trust deficit it's more related to leadership. Leadership especially during the covid period has been put on challenges. On one hand it was the economic scenario driving the way leaders behave and on the other hand it was their inner voice and the way they have adopted since long.

Let's understand the reasons behind trust deficit. The major factor leading to trust deficit is egocentrism, communication gap, and lack of empathy. Egocentrism is when a leader believes in himself or make specific decisions that empower or benefits only a certain group of employees. This led to a trust deficit among other employees who are asset to the organisation.

During the covid period many organisations retrenched their employees while many employees has gone through salary cut. Some of the leaders of the organisation have been quite selective in taking such actions, leading to trust deficit among most of the employees. At the same time many leaders have shown exemplary leadership by looking at all the employees with one eye and strategically aligning the workforce. During covid scenario, when employee welfare and employee health has taken a centre stage, some organisations have kept themselves away from the employees to maintain so called professional relationship along with profit centric mindset leading to trust deficit while some or the organisations went way head of employee expectation to stand with the employees in the troubled time bridging the trust deficit.

The economic scenario has also led to the trust deficit, but in most of the cases, this has nothing to do with leadership. Many small organisations during the covid period were forced to take decision which they never were willing to. They were always people's leaders but as the scenario got beyond their control, they had to leave their employees or go ahead with salary cut. Some of them who were having no trust deficit in their leadership were able to communicate properly while some of them were not able to communicate properly leading to development of trust deficit.

Overall proper communication established with time since the inception of the organisation and the leaders with no egocentrism and high empathy the trust deficit will come down. Employees indicate that, when they feel the organisation cares, they have higher levels of trust and when they don't, they have more significant trust issues.

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

VV The HR managers have been working hard on the three Ps - Purpose, Passion and Purpose justifying their new definition of HRBP. The general belief about purpose of being an HR is managing the employee life cycle (i.e., recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, training, and firing employees) and administering employee benefits. But now the underline purpose of being an HR and managing employee life cycle is now linked with the business. HRs have now worked a lot on the why of the purpose and linked it to the business goal. HR now plays a significant role in developing positive business culture and improving employee engagement and productivity.

Purpose, the substrate from which your passions are created, is an important factor in your success of HR. With the revised and rephrased purpose of HR, the young HR professionals are now too excited about being an HR. Purpose is what allows us to exhibit perseverance or grit -- the willingness to move forward despite difficulties or setbacks, the determination to commit ourselves to a goal.

With Covid period the purpose of the HR function has also been revisited. There were many challenges put forward before the HR department and the most important aspect is there was no literature to refer and not experience with anyone. It was just the perseverance which helped the HR to help organisation sail through the troubled time.

To put things more into perspective, I would like to refer to an article of Alaina Love  who is CEO of Purpose Linked Consulting and co-author of "The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results", wherein she referring to book "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance," by Angela Duckworth, says that "When we are firmly operating within the zone of our purpose, the passions we express are the visible demonstration of our deepest beliefs about the role we are meant to play in the world."

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