Don’t Blame Technology, Blame Yourself: C P Gurnani, MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra

‘All management functions can be outsourced to digital platforms’


HR is not doing what it is meant to do and HR will be dead by 2020, according to Vineet Nayar, former CEO, HCL Technologies and the author of the seminal book ‘Employee First, Customers Later’. “HR is doing appraisals and sackings when it needs to understand and shape the minds for disruption,” he said at the 15th National Human Resource Management Summit today.

C P Gurnani, Managing Director and CEO, Tech Mahindra, told the audience at the summit that it was not the industry that was disrupting employment but the people themselves. “If you are not relevant anymore, don’t blame technology, blame yourself,” he said. He pointed out that nearly every new technology, such as mobility, cloud and Internet-of-Things have been around for decades and now people are finding ways to apply those in new ways to create new products and business models. He argued that the concerns about technology eating up jobs are exaggerated and said that every new technology has opened up new business opportunities and created more jobs.

Nandita Gurjar, former Global Head, HR and Member, Executive Council of Infosys, argued that technology will allow outsourcing of HR and other management functions to digital platforms. She said that the new workforce consisting of the Millennials and the Generation-Z do not want to see the face of an HR person; instead they want to interface only with machines. She added that the new generation of employees want to structure their salaries themselves using platforms and they want short contracts with the option of working for multiple organizations at the same time. “The typical employee contract has to go, as not many organizations will be able to use a data scientist for only 25% of the working hours,” she said.

T V Mohandas Pai, President, AIMA and Chairperson, Manipal Global Education Services said that new technologies were disrupting the familiar industry structures and work methods in every sector. He gave the example of new technologies allowing new type of energy, products, services and new ways of manufacturing and services. “In 2030, it will be a different world,” he said.

Listing the ways to respond to disruption, Gurjar said that making the people central to business strategy was the most important thing to do. Applying the innovations of other sectors and learning from iconoclastic ways of start-up were also critical to making an organization agile.

Regarding designing an organization for disruption, Nayar said that unless one created disaffection with the status quo and created a compelling vision of the future to galvanize the people, one would get nowhere. He cited the managed political change in the US as an example of such disruptive strategy.

KPMG India’s Deputy CEO, Akhil Bansal told the summit that while it was difficult to visualize what the organization would need to be in 3-5 years, one had to make the organization nimble enough to change quickly whenever disruption hits. Strategy design consultant, Sonia Manchanda said that the concept of organization was a rigid one yet the organizations could disrupt themselves by opening up the fringes for experimentation.

Amway India’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Shantanu Das said that the traditional model of full-time employee will cease to exist as work could be done anywhere, anytime. Hetal Sonpal, COO, Wizgo Technologies pointed out that many companies had started creating video tutorials for the field workers and making those available on mobilephones instead of calling them to the headquarter for induction or training. ‘If you have to prepare for the future, you are already too late,” he said.

Bansal drew attention to the issue of reskilling the old workforce when even the high-end jobs could be automated. When it is easier to get a new workforce that is already tech savvy, utilizing the existing employees will be a challenge, he said.

The day-long summit included focused sessions on engaging the millennials and the Z-ers and also dealing with the legacy workforce while shaking up the organization.

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digital platform HR Industry Disrupting employment


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