Think Business To Bring More Power To The HR Roles

Technically, the HR puts the leadership, the board, the employees and the entire HR department to ensure smooth working of the organisations


Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

In this time the HRs of today face a lot of challenges in terms of scenarios like business scams or be it accountability for leadership or handling organisational crises when even the CEOs are asked to resign on the basis of their code of conduct and interpersonal behaviour with the employees. 

The panel 'Coming of age for today's Most Prominent People Managers' threw light on the key challenges HRs of today face and what takes them to bring in the right balance in the organisation. Ms.Saswati Sinha, Head-Human Resources-Cheil India, and Ms.Ruhie Pande CHRO, Godrej Properties, brought interesting insights in a conversation with Ms.Noor Fatima Warsia, Group Editor-Marketing & Advertising, BW Businessworld.

Be it the governance mechanism, cultural sensitization, the HRs have to do a lot of sense-making what is really happening in an organisation.

Ruhie Pande shared, "Yes, there are multiple layers of governance along with the regulatory environment and government mandates, that are eventually making it tougher for the HRs.The growing social media platforms have made it so easy for the employees to go out and express their opinions in a public space and obviously that also makes the mandate of HR very tough."

"HRs need to have enough connections with the employees and the leaders both and have to keep their ears and eyes open, in order to create enough mechanisms to prevent anything from going wrong. They have to give a window to employees, vendors and everyone in the organisation where they can share any grievances," added Pande.

Technically, the HR puts the leadership, the board, the employees and the entire HR department to ensure smooth working of the organisations.

Saswati Sinha said, "The HRs role has always been to walk the talk, uphold value systems for the integrity of the organisation. What is happening now is that the breach is becoming more visible, since various mediums are reporting it. HRs have always been the upholders and the role has not actually changed, it's just that we have to act  faster."

These problems have existed forever and that's why we are facing what we are facing. If we look at the statistics of the last 2 years there were nearly 55 CEO, COO level existed in the corporate and media industries for the breach of the code of conduct in India. So, wasn't that a failure of HR departments in those companies?

Sinha added, "Well to address specific problems, its the time now, that we as HRs need to sit and ask ourselves that what do we want to become, we want to remain supportive to the organisations or have a higher say being among the decision making authorities."

"For example in my organisation in Samsung group, HR does not report to the CEO as I report to expats, and hence I can take independent decisions, as I am not influenced by the CEO. So, with the employees who have been pulled out of their jobs because of their unethical conduct is because they have been in the jobs, where no one has questioned them because the custodians or HR are themselves reporting to them. We as HRs need to be very oppressive in terms of our positioning and that cannot come if we ask for it. There is a huge change we need to bring to ourselves first."

The HR is preparing to get the real power back, how is that evolving?

"I completely agree to Saswati. One needs to start identifying which sector specialization and skills you want to pursue and start early, as you don't need to wait till the time you retire. Second, it will be very good for HRs to get exposure and getting into corporate communications. I feel being an HR and wearing a Business hat gives you a very different perspective. The third is to get a professional mentor and truly understand what the kind of value you are expected to add to the organisation."

"HRs today is at a very comfortable position and they want a say in taking strategic decisions, and for that, they need to understand numbers, industry, and people. So, HRs need to upgrade themselves on numbers, data, balance sheets, risks if they want to be a partner in an entrepreneur role with your CEOs, the need is to start thinking business."

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