Leading Change In The Future Of HR: Skills and Competencies for Success in 2030

The HR people need to go back to the subject and cultivate their own domain knowledge and explore more in this space. There are no collaborations between professionals and academicians.


The very last of the panel discussions at the BW People HR Excellence Summit And Awards 2023, was chaired by Talees Rizvi and saw the sharing of ideas between Arijit Sengupta, Director, HR, Bacardi Ltd., Dr Anshul Giel, CHRO, Tynor Orthotics Pvt. Ltd. and Rajneesh Vashisht, Global People Business Partner- GBS, Ericsson India Global Services.

Arijit began by talking about the legacy of the 162-year-old company he represents which is Cuban in Original. When the Cuban Revolution came the family had to flee Cuba. In the future of HR, the business will continue to evolve but the company and the HR function will continue to be resilient and continue to represent the experience which every employee will be a part of.

Dr. Anshul Goel spoke about the aspirations of the company, Tylor which has three main verticals- healthcare, lifestyle, and sports while Rajneesh spoke about the role of HR in a technology company.

Arijit began the discussion by mentioning how the world and businesses will keep on evolving in the future. According to him, the dynamics will be different every year, especially in the post-COVID world. HR personnel will now be business enablers in their role as business partners. He also spoke about how Generation Alpha will be the one who will join the workforce in 2030 and that they will be the most tech-savvy generation.

He mentioned how HR leaders forget the basics of HR- human connections and experience is of paramount importance according to him. Human connection will be very important even in the future and the   HR leaders will be coaches in the organizations. The human skill sets will continue to be there and this will make the role dynamic according to Arijit.

Rajneesh pointed out how COVID had made people aware of remote work culture. According to him, the COVID- 19 made organizations aware that people from the hinterland sacrifice so many things and come to the urban spaces in not-so-healthy conditions. They know people can go back and work remotely. It is antithetical to the narratives that HRs have rendered to the employees for years. The iterations have been spiking up and with every passing year, it is increasing. There has been 35-40 per cent attrition even in people-centric organizations like his own. The next generation, according to Rajneesh, does not believe in the idea of loyalty with their rising aspirations. All the strategies of HR have failed in retaining people thus.

Since people are leaving in 1 or 2 years, the quantum of contribution to the company in terms of turnaround is not there. Rajneesh believes that it is a reflection of fickle-mindedness. The work itself is not changing as fast as they are changing jobs. Rajneesh says that HR leaders need to develop a counter-narrative to avoid such departures. The question he puts forth is how long the company shall pump in more money. The only kind of engagements are parties or cultural events and these do not compensate for the human interactions. So there is a huge challenge ahead.

Dr. Anshul said that the organizations are overburdening the HRs with too much digitization. It is better to stick to the basics of HR. His idea is to connect and socialize with people and employees. He personally feels this would work even a decade later.

Dr. Anshul mentioned that people are going boundaryless. People moved back to their places. The HRs need to devise a way to engage with people sitting far away from the base station and to bring them back into the network. The third part of this deliberation was the new generation and gig workers. The Science or skill needs to develop in HRs, the policies which were there in HR till a decade back needed to be revamped and such was done when COVID started. 

Following this, Rizvi asked about the evolution of the HRs of the future to which the panellists had the following observations:

Arijit mentioned that the basic premise of partnering with the business for growth and profitability while getting into newer territories will not change. According to him, agility and flexibility is the key which even worked during the COVID. Health and wellness is another important aspect which was not given that kind of attention before. Automation and AI are critical and for HR the tech-skilling is important. He believes that the HRs must know the business of the partner day in and out.

Arijit also said that the function skillset is basic and a lot of them can be automated. Recruitment and training can be automated. The third aspect is how to build a “ culture of collaboration”. The HR function needs to play a leading role here. In our company, we keep saying that we cannot compete with our competitors, but we can be a culture-led company and we can lead the business better in this way. "In our company, we call our employees Primos, which is a Spanish word for Cousin. We continue to have the family culture in the organization". 

A question for Rajneesh pertained to how organizations can make the HRs align with digitization and automation. He also asked what could be the possible way to mentor people whom the HRs never met.

In Rajneesh’s view, organizations are the reflections of the society around us. In India, where the society is hierarchical in nature, the companies have also remained hierarchical. The top bosses ordered and the people below followed their orders. The incoming of the multinationals led to the force-feeding of the Western culture on us because their society functions differently from ours. The idea of empowerment has lost its shelf life and an organization needs to move ahead of that. The societal barriers are gradually breaking. Association with the organization happens when you are part of the decision-making. There are certain organizations which are experimenting with the removal of these hierarchies. The decision there happens with debates. But the process in implementing this is slow. People cannot be expected to do things as ordered. In society, people know what to get done. The organizational structures need to change. Whichever organization can do it faster will take off faster according to Rajneesh.

Dr. Anshul answered the above-mentioned question and spoke from his experience in leading people in a technology company. He said,” Adopt technology to solve a particular problem. Identify the problem and then look at the technology to solve the problem.” Going forward, boundaryless working is going to prevail, so it is important to understand the local flavour of the culture of the person, his background and other aspects of the person you are working with. Let us keep the human element of HR alive and let us keep the technology as only a partner. 

Arijit mentioned how during the COVID, the water cooler conversations were being missed by the employees. His company also blocked time for employees to have coffee together. After 4-5 months, there was a huge digital fatigue and people hated the time locking. Initially, people liked it, but later they hated such exchanges. Every company will have different culture pillars according to him.

Rajneesh ended the Panel discussion by answering a question from the audience where he acknowledged that HR has projected themselves as service-oriented people in an organization. To be successful, many people play along and do not challenge the ideas of the people they report to. The HRs do not understand much about behavioural sciences. The HR people need to go back to the subject and cultivate their own domain knowledge and explore more in this space. There are no collaborations between professionals and academicians. HR should balance out and they must stop themselves from talking only in business language.

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