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Is HR Ready for the Changing Times?


What does HR do? This is a question which employees ask and most likely never get a proper answer. Employees come into a company, meet HR through the recruitment process, get their contract sorted and then might never speak to them again, unless a dispute happens or they leave the company and need an exit interview. In other words, most of the employees, once join the company, may not interact with HR for the majority of their time at a company.

It’s Evolving Role?

HR plays a key role in holding a company together starting from recruitment to employee welfare to company culture – all of which are defining factors for growth and success. But, what’s really interesting to know about HR is how it’s changing with the times?

In a competitive market environment of today, to make the business successful people strategy and practices needs to be reviewed and aligned with the business Goal. Given the equal accessibility, availability & affordability of all other resources, it’s the human resource which provides the organization required cutting edge to succeed in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) environment of today. But to know whether HR is playing its due role we need to look at the Organization focus, mainly in terms of its stakeholders needs:

  • Increase in market share
  • Increase in PAT
  • Producing quality product at a competitive price
  • Best customer service
  • Improve in Quality of work life
  • Meeting all standards of Corporate Governance & Compliances
  • Improved responsiveness & concern for the society

We need highly motivated &passionate people at the organization to meet the above needs of the organization. In other words, we want people to bring their HAND…HEAD…and HEART to the work place. Further, they should feel enthusiastic and happy to work at the Organization. And this can happen only if we improve the quality of work life and take care of people’s major concerns at work place.

HR plays the three major roles in any organization namely transactional, transformational, and transitional. The challenges faced by HR managers in India are evolving with the ever-transforming scenario in corporate India. Let’s look at the few areas of focus for HR in the changing times:

Areas of Focus

HR need to focus more on the following in the coming future:

Globalization: With globalization ruing the roost, affecting all sorts of business, HR Managersneed to relook at their people management practices. The culture of the local place has to be kept in mind before devising/Implementing any new practice for the employee there. Aligning with Business: HR professional need to understand the business for developing a right people’s strategy for the business. By aligning HR initiatives and strategy with business Goal, he will be playing a crucial role in impacting the business outcome.

Developing leadership skills: As the global economic and industrial scenario is very uncertain and challenging, HR is required to develop right skill to face the challenges and bring success to the organization. Because obsolete technology is dangerous, but obsolete human resources id disastrous.

Facilitating Innovation:To stay competitive the business needs to come out with innovative processes, Products etc. And HR has to create an environment which facilitates and helps people to become more innovative in their approach.

Work ethics: With slumps in the global economy employee morale and loyalty at work place are being tested in day to day functioning of the business. Hence, it’s important to re- instill cultural values, loyalty and infuse qualities like empathy, charity, austerity, team spirits, ethics and bonding at the work place.

Attracting & Retaining Talent: With talent scarcity looming large at the market place, it is a growing Challenge for the HR not only to Attract but also to Retain Talent at work place. Some organizations are offering both financial and non-financial benefits, others are also hiring housewives and retired experienced professionals to bridge the talent gap. However,choosing right model for the Industry is most important and HR plays an important role in deciding this.

Best Vs Next Practices: In the changed scenario of today, looking out for best Practices to be competitive at market place may not work for long as others too are following. So organizations need to keep the future in mind &start implementing the next Practices. So HR, while hiring the talent should keep it in mind about not only the present position but also the suitability of the individual for the future need.

What More?

The 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report showcases a profound shift facing business leaders worldwide. And this shift reflects the growing importance of social capital in shaping an organization’s purpose, guiding its relationships with stakeholders and influencing its ultimate success or failure. One of the most important human capital trend that needs to be watched and act upon is, Artificial Intelligence, and how HR shouldcapitalize on it. Talent acquisition through chatbots, engagement of employees through CRM, ensuring flexibility through virtual workplaces, real-time performance tracking to reduce the bias in the process, etc., are a few of the examples of HR work that could be executed through AI. According to the 2017 Harvey Nash Human Resources Survey, about 15% of HR leaders said AI and automation are already impacting their workforce plans and another 40% expect them to be a factor in the next five years.


In today’s time,the role of HR in generating business value is of paramount importance because of aspects like global workforce, malleable organizational boundaries, cost pressure, availability for 24/7 response and customer expectation.HR need to show initiative and implement strategies that align with the business and are visible to the employees. This might require to get feedback on what would make the office a better place to work or what incentive scheme would help motivate employees.

In other words, there has to be a paradigm shift, given the current & evolving scenario in the business context, in HR’s approach from crisis driven to forecast driven. Business leaders and HR leaders have to come on the same platform and more united their goals, objectives, plans, capabilities, the tighter will be the bond between them. Peter Drucker, is credited with coining the phrase, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Hence, measuring the outcome of the HR initiatives linking them to business Goal will help HR in becoming a key player in the business success.

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