Amidst this Ambiguity; Every Employee Expects Transparency From The Leadership: Head HR,

In an interaction with BW People, Parul Mathur, Head HR, speaks about HR being a real business partner amid the recent crisis, executing a people-centric approach and her source of inspiration.


It has been observed that HR played a crucial role in being a business partner in a real sense during this crisis hit time. What would you say about this?

Human resource function has always played a critical role in the successful implementation of various business strategies, however, with the dynamically changing workplace environment it has become an extension to the business itself. The current pandemic scenario has firmly established the fact that businesses cannot become successful basis strategies alone and require motivated employees to execute them effectively. Organizations have taken cognizance of this fact and depending heavily on human resource function to decode the changing employee expectations. HR is closely working with businesses to make it easier to understand the mindset shift towards getting a safe work environment and well being of their families. For the human resource function, the current uncertain period has come as an opportunity to clear the void between what people want and what old successful business strategies believe in.

What would be your major focus areas to work on in the post - COVID world to stay relevant and efficient?

We must understand that the world even after COVID is not going to be the same the way it was. Hence the age-old perceptions about most things around us have to go through a complete overhaul. The period has already given us a clear view of the processes that we couldn’t have thought to do away with ever under a normal scenario. The benefit of Work From Home scenario has nudged us to make almost everything quantifiable as most of us have started working in a project mode and in some cases as individual contributors as well. Working virtually is resulting in close monitoring and these practices which are gradually turning into habits will be hard to change even when we slowly move towards normalcy in the coming months.

People have showcased their true will and real abilities to keep the business afloat in these days. What is your view on driving the organization fully people-centric?

Even before the COVID crisis happened most organizations had started shifting gears to become people-centric. The pandemic period has only come as a reaffirmation to the fact that people centricity is the key to any successful business. The ones who will be able to sail through the crisis successfully will be the ones who are able to weave in people centricity to the core of their strategies. However, along with people centricity, the optimum utilization and adoption of the latest technology will also be equally critical to continue growing amidst the new normal world.

What is your take on maintaining a fine balance between Management's decisions and employee expectations? 

Human resource function forms the delicate bridge between the management and the employees while ensuring that there is a constant balance between the two. While business sustenance is high on management’s priority in the current times, the natural outcome expected is the cost rationalization. Contrary to the usual belief, a layoff is not the only possible step that can be taken in this regard. Initiatives such as band wise salary cuts, ensuring of state-wise minimum wages, delaying of bonuses, postponement of appraisal cycle, offering multiple job profiles and shifting some employees to consultant roles can also be some of the steps which can provide some support to the cost rationalization requirements while taking care of employee interest as well.

What would employees expect from leaders and CXO's in the new normal?

The most important thing that every employee expects from the leadership is transparency. Amidst the ambiguity that hangs around everything in the current scenario, it becomes even more critical. Employees are looking for answers to most basic questions about their job security, the possibility of salary cuts, office resumption plans, and clarity about changing business strategies. It is the time when leaders must take charge and comfort employees with regular updates and also ensure that they can maintain a healthy work-life balance as the lines between their professional and personal lives tend to converge during the current work from homework style. 

What are the values that are a must for professionals to exercise?

Three values that I abide by and would recommend each professional to follow would be -

· Agility to adapt to changing situations

· Having a continuous zeal to innovate

· Stay loyal and honest towards the organization and your work 7. Do you think empathy plays an important role?

Indeed!! All organizations that have managed to continue growing even under this never before seen crisis are a testimony to the fact that they are extremely empathetic towards their employees, who in turn have pushed their boundaries to give back to their respective organizations. It will not be wrong to say that the current times are the true test of a mature relationship between the organizations and the employees. The times that we are living in require every organization to take care of the emotional well-being of its employees as they are the key drivers of growth and will play a vital role in bringing back the momentum.

Who is your role model who keeps you inspired and motivated even in these tough times?

I am fortunate to be staying with my role models who are my family members. It’s phenomenal to see the way they have adapted to our new work style in which they see us wired in throughout the day. It leaves me speechless when I see my 12-year-old son managing his online studies all by himself and ensuring that he becomes a part of my workplace by following the etiquettes we all are expected to practice during this WFH scenario. We must understand that it is not just us who are trying to adapt to these new normal ways of working but even the kids, elderly and everybody else in our house that is supporting us to adapt to it. It is time we stop looking for role models outside when we have so many of them around us already.

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