Careers

The HR function in a world of bits and bytes

Over the last decade, the human resources function has undergone a remarkable change, moving from a tactical to a strategic domain. Factors contributing to this shift in focus are: a hyper-competitive marketplace, transformation in organisational design and evolution of a new workforce. All of these are riding on the back of a digital revolution.

So, this question has to be asked: How should HR leaders shape the new digital world of work? Consider this: Technology in HR is currently a USD 54 billion industry. In India, “digitalisation” of HR is at a nascent stage and it contributes USD 600-700 million to this global industry.

Though India may be a late starter, there are signs that it will soon begin to take huge strides in this area.

According to a 2017 India Human Capital Trends survey report by Deloitte, 96 percent of companies believe they need to redesign their organisations to succeed in the digital age and look for strategic intelligence and leadership from human resources professionals to become a digitally-inclusive and people-centric organisation.

While seeking to create such organisations, the following elements have to be factored in.

Talent-related decisions

Talent management has to be become more strategic. Tactical functions such as on-boarding, pay-rolling and employee data management have to be assigned to smart technological solutions. Doing so will ensure enough time and mind space for HR leaders to work closely with other business units and help them make talent and business decisions using real-time data. It is high time we get this right: Technology will act as a valuable tool, but the ultimate decision makers will be people.

Brand-building efforts

Thanks to social media, now everyone knows what it is like to work in a particular company. This has led to a trend of employer branding. HR leaders have to empower employees with a strong employer brand, great company narrative and an inspiring work environment. Besides that, with the aid of technology which has opened up an overwhelming world of data, HR leaders have to formulate workforce strategies backed by data and insights. Therefore, today’s HR leader is truly a brand builder, an analyst, a communicator, a motivator and a collaborator.

Digital skill gaps

Several of the credible research studies indicate that employees are aware of digital disruption and the speed with which it is going to transform work. Today's workforce, consisting largely of millennials, does not fear change and is well aware of the benefits digital technology brings to their work, organisation and life at large. They are actively seeking digital skills.

Therefore, waste no time and channelise this positivity by formulating a clear digital vision that broadly begins by first accessing the digital skill gaps existing and then identifying the right channel of digital training — in-house or through a third-party specialist.

A measurement metric aimed at understanding how well this has been delivered to your employees has to be developed.

The journey from traditional to digital is not as complex as we imagine it to be. It does not demand a 360-degree transformation. It only requires us to take a ‘digital leap of faith’ and let progressive technological solutions show us a more clear, unbiased and true picture of a situation. What makes this journey a super interesting one is how compassionately HR leaders will spread this ‘digital’ wisdom to the workforce.

(Dr. Sandeep Gandhi is the Chief Human Resource Officer at Aircel)


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:09:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/the-hr-function-in-a-world-of-bits-and-bytes/article19474903.ece

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