The changes in the workplace are happening at a faster pace than we ever envisaged & HR has found itself to be at the centre of all this. In order to understand what is happening and how it is affecting the HR function, let's examine some of the recent trends.
- Employers are becoming much more aware about the benefits of an empowered employee. "Succession Planning", "Building a talent pipeline" and running LDPs are areas where HR professionals are expected to deliver.
- The employers are also becoming aware of the benefits of de-centralisation of the responsibilities and authorities. Though this has its own repercussions, but from HR perspective, while filling vacancies, they need to hire people who are self directed and have organisational as well as technical competencies.
- The entry of more women/Ex-pats in the work place has not only impacted the face of the organisation, it has also affected what kind of trainings and benefits to offer. Better maternity benefits has have capability to attract more and more women. Similarly the "opportunity to work from home", "re-hire", "Flexi Time" and so on and so forth has become hot topics. Point is, how do you become &/or remain an "Employer of Choice".
- With increasingly tight control on costs, employers are getting into the mode of hiring more and more of temps and contract employees. Integrating these new breeds in the white collared category has its own set of challenges.
- The employees are becoming more mobile. With better infrastructure, more and more of the middle/senior level employees are willing to relocate and maintain a separate home, away from their families. Moreover, employees are also keen to undertake projects that involve relocation to a different country/location. So how does HR deal with this - what kind of policies to be made?
- Loyalty to the employer is increasingly becoming less important as compared to their ability to give their 100% while in the job. Simultaneously, employers are also less perturbed while laying off or closing an operation.
- Team orientation is a must now, as more and more employees are required to become part of CFTs (Cross Functional Teams) instead of working in silos or in their own functions. HR therefore needs to have special focus on bringing this competency on the front burner.
- There is a larger focus on understanding what the end customer requires. DILO or "Day in Life Of" is a new acronym that was formed to make employees understand the real requirement of a customer by stepping into his/her shoes and living a day in his/her life to understand the concerns and thus manoeuvring the service/product you offer to suit his/her requirements. How does HR help the organisations to effectively practice this?
- There is a sea change in the way data is being managed and disseminated. The ability to deal with data is a super must. With increasing use of Apps, it is now impossible to have a HR person, who is not tech - savvy or who is not data - savvy.
- Since more and more of companies are spreading their wings in different locations, most of the times having a smaller presence to increase their profitability - the HR function is expected to provide a one stop solution instead of having specialists for all HR domain functions. As such a HR expert who is a generalist has a better marketability as compared to a specialist. Surely he can quickly shift from project to project and location to location and deal with variety of nuances.
We in HR fraternity perhaps need to unlearn & learn very quickly as there may not be another warning bell. But was there a warning bell earlier? We may ask. Perhaps yes. Was the bell loud enough? Perhaps yes. Did I miss that? Perhaps yes - as it also depends upon our ability to pay attention, listen and then decode the message.
So those of us who have been able to get the message by understanding the organisational dynamics and are flexible enough to adapt to the changing requirements, can be benefitted & can definitely rise in their careers. For others, the options are very fast running out.