07 Sep 2018

It’s a beautiful bright day at work and I walk to my desk and open my laptop. There are people, there is business, there is finance, there is my boss and then there is psychology. I pause for a moment and muse over the diversity and the variety of things that I see in my inbox and also wonder if any other profession is as blessed.

Welcome to the world of HR!

WHY WE EXIST –

Ironically also the question we are asked the most! Going beyond the usual definition, simplified it as follows –

  • Anchor change management initiatives to the last order of the workforce

  • Interact and engage the workforce and add to their ecstasy

  • Take stock of the agonies of both business and people and drive people focused initiatives

So evidently, our work is a mixture of both ecstasy and agonies, and here goes a detailed peek into each of these!

A] THE ECSTASY

I will talk about this first, as this is what is predominant in my mind when it comes to my profession. I have chosen the following facets to strengthen my view of ecstasy –

  1. Diversified” Interactions

Probably the chunk of our work. Interacting with various stakeholders – the ambitious business, the demanding employees, the excited employees, the morose employees, the teams that think we do nothing and so on!

The variety in each interaction is such that it not only challenges our negotiation skills, but also demands a business understanding from the context of every stakeholder.

Words take a very special significance, especially if it is coming from an HR! What we talk becomes an exemplification of culture and what we convey becomes sacrosanct. While this is a great deal of responsibility, it also teaches and builds towards becoming a great leader, since, a great leader is someone whose words create an impact

Diverse groups of workforce, cultures and nature of work, interact with us and there is a lot to learn from each and not to forget an absolute ecstasy to make varied connections at work!

  1. The Influencers

This is my most favorite reason to be an HR professional. They say that to be an influencer, one needs to be a great leader. The beauty of this profession is that it allows you to be an influencer, by just being yourself and not necessarily a leader!

According to a survey published in Eremedia.com, in 20 years, from 1982 to 2002, almost 80% of the market value of the firms came from its intangible assets. This number has multiplied since then until 2015. People management and their engagement, hence will be the key drivers for the value of the intangible assets of a firm, which in turn adds to the competitive advantage.

It is thus, profound to have an opportunity to create a positive impact on the people aka human resources who are the crux of any strategy that adds to a competitive advantage. Be it from the time you welcome the rookies into the organization or helping an employee navigate through the best possible health insurance plan available, you have ample opportunities to have a profound impact This gives us that illuminous opportunity of solving complex issues and create a positive impact on the workforce of an organization.

  1. Amorphous [ Exciting] Challenges

We as Human resources, are the pivots of driving any change management strategies the company aspires to. Being the closest to the employees, gives us the advantage of having the best sense of the pulse of the organization. This gives us the exciting challenge to forefront any change management initiatives and also be a key contributor in the strategies driving them.

As per a research survey conducted by CEB, the top 3 areas for driving change management are culture change [ 78%], restructuring [ 69%] and market expansion [ 61%]. If you observe, the top two areas are the ones that are tightly knit with HR. Moreover, 73% of the CEO’s expect HR to implement change faster than they did 3 years ago. With the huge onus of driving initiatives that impact the core of any organization culture and its futuristic strategies, HR is again blessed to have given the opportunity to lead these challenges.

B] THE AGONY

According to a Deloitte Study in 2014 of executives in firms with 10k+ employees, it was found that nearly 48% of the respondents rated their HR departments as “not ready” to revamp themselves. What was more alarming as per the survey was that less than 8% of the HR leaders were confident of their team’s skills and abilities!

One part of the agony here, is the lack of empathy towards the function that exemplifies empathy itself. The quantification of the efforts in HR arena is not only amorphous, but also unconventional.

The second aspect, which is more of an opportunity to transform than agony. It is related to the cognitive technologies that have come to fore.

With the advent of cognitive technologies like AI, Blockchain, Virtual reality, open cloud etc., companies have been quick and aggressive over their incorporation in business and as essential skills for their workforce. However, their inclusion into HR functions has been very slow and almost negligent.

Unilever uses predictive analytics to arrive at the first level of screening in their recruitment, while IBM Watson is in efforts of constructing a model for companies to detect attrition by the use of AI. While there is a little activity around this in some companies, it is yet to familiarize and adopt cognitive technologies in HR functions.

Technologies like Blockchain, today, can be easily used to replace the background verification process, which in most firms is under the umbrella of HR.

Thus, HR would have to revamp itself in order to upskill the workforce. The upskilling at any organization, needs to be conceptualized and practiced in the HR itself and only then can it be percolated downstream to the workforce.

Taking a peek into each of the ecstasy and agonies, it is evident, that the job of being an HR is an interesting package! For all those who get to be an HR and get to do it as a part of their work, trust me, you are lucky! Cheers to you who is reading this and exemplifies it and also to others in the fraternity.

Comment (1)

  1. Deepti

    Well written Achala. Bravo!

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