Transformation In HR

Priyanka Mohanty, Vice-President-Global Corporate HR, Startek believes that with increasing competition and choices available with consumer, traditional and routine HR role will no longer suffice


What is your guiding principle as far as HR practices is concerned?

An agglomeration of globalisation, agility, speed of execution, innovation, collaboration, talent, and resilience is what sums up the demands of today’s business. Hence, the guiding principle against this set yardstick of performance should not be only restricted to traditional HR with a focus on administrative routines and operational excellence. There is definitely a cardinal need for transformation or metamorphosis in HR to sustain competitive business advantage. This is more so now, with customers having ever-increasing choices, with technology changing the rules of game in respect to products and services, with changing demographics in the workforce, and with myriad information where business leaders understand that competitiveness requires leaders to create new organisational capabilities to match strategic intent. And these cognizant organisational capabilities become the deliverables for HR for transfiguring traditional administrative roles to ones generating strategic value and linking each area of HR to business.

What are the areas of corporate HR practices that need to change?

The unquestionable need of the hour is “transformation” in order to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it is progressing to a digital enterprise, or a shift to skills from experience, or the exponential focus on employee experience or development of new generation tools, HR leaders need to leverage these trends, enable employees to be creators rather than just consumers and coalesce as integrative partners in their organisation’s journey.

The metrics of success need to be redefined and focused on transforming the business. For example, in Talent Acquisition, making a shift from only measuring number of hires to measuring the reduction in cost per hire over the last few years or percentage automation to reduce hiring time so that business is not affected; in Talent Management, making a shift from only capturing the employee engagement score to understanding how this score leads to betterment of Net Promoter Scores. Similarly, in Governance and Compliance, making a shift from only tracking the disciplinary cases to making sure that those are reduced to ensure decreased organisational liability.

Every aspect of the new paradigm should serve the need for constructive and genuine connection, while synchronously advancing business goals.

What have been some of the initiatives evolved by you and your team that have made a big difference in the organisation? What challenges did you face while implementing these initiatives?

With a focus on enhancing people experience across all touch points, there is a strong focus on learning and development, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and internal career path for employees providing enormous growth opportunities to move across roles, laterally as well as vertically.

The challenges majorly centered around mindset change, creating and working through a consensus approach and creating a pool of change agents. A three-pronged approach was adopted to eradicate those challenges and that was ‘Awareness’ (need appreciation & messaging), ‘Transition’ (Sensitisation training, implementation of initiatives and change champions) and ‘Sustenance’ (creating new organisation structure, policy & framework). We were able to smoothly overcome these challenges by creating enablers around it in terms of leadership commitment, formal policy framework, enhanced employee communication and awareness, and periodic assessment and refinement.

Every aspect of the new paradigm should serve the need for constructive and genuine connection, while synchronously advancing business goals.

How can HR practices ingrain genuine empathy and concern for employee wellbeing and their career progression? Does remote work as a dampener or enabler in this regard?

It is all about making our people feel safe and letting them know that employers are open to listening whenever they voice out their apprehensions, fears or concerns and then move ahead and render an amicable solution. At the crux of all business transformation, there are people, and it is imperative for organisations to keep in mind the experience they offer to employees both in terms of empathy and well-being. Organisations and leaders will need to be empathetic, allow autonomy, provide flexibility, and have exceptional listening skills coupled with resilience. It is time to transgress beyond listening – leaders

will need to explicitly metamorphose insights into action with the focus of improving business outcomes and employee experience.

It is important to nutriment and nurture our people, hence, appreciating and rewarding employees who excel becomes very critical. Calling out employees who have made significant contributions, shown extra effort, and gone the extra mile can provide a real boost to morale and encourage healthy competition, thus enabling their career progression. Remote work definitely is an enabler in this aspect as we are manoeuvring the complexities of this ‘New Normal’ together. And if the business requires a hybrid environment, then create a value proposition and make sure we know how it will be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged.

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