The current pandemic has pushed functional experts to calibrate to the new reality to rethink, re-evaluate and strategize their human capital approach towards driving business sustainability and growth. As I reflect and imagine a reinvented HR Function, some facets come to the forefront.
1. Reskilling shifts from development to sustainable livelihood:
Currently, India’s formal skilling efforts stands at a mere 4.69% compared to world economies such as the US (52%), UK (68%), Japan (80%) and South Korea (96%). On-the-job reskilling needs a laser-like focus on upcoming skills like data science and analytics, digital marketing, robotics process automation amongst others. Through digitalization, the world has progressed from classroom curriculum to bite-size learning methods. This trend will further strengthen in the new normal, deepening agile learner behaviour towards acquiring skills that will make them future-ready.
2. Inclusion of diverse talent becomes part of a business continuity model:
With ‘Work from Anywhere’ becoming a norm, this has posed an opportunity to expand the talent pool, who could be based anywhere in the world and can be engaged through a variety of contract forms-full-time employment or gig economy. I envisage that there will be an uptake in utilizing gig talent which presents one of the biggest opportunities for India Inc. to leverage business continuity as well as to flexibly manage their operating cost needs. If worked effectively, it can be mutually beneficial to both the worker and the employer.
3. Performance Management System moves to Continuous Agile Development:
Workplaces bid goodbye to twice-a-year appraisals and bell curves to focus on employee careers and development. At SPN, we implemented Connect. Plan. Mentor our continuous performance philosophy, to accommodate development needs throughout the year through regular career conversations. This will enable organizations to change the course of their direction with speed and nimbleness.
4. Mental wellbeing becomes a necessity:
Employee wellbeing has gained prominence during the lockdown and will remain a focal point in the workplace of the future. HR has evolved from compliance to connectedness where the role of a Chief Human Resources Officer will evolve to be a Chief Happiness Officer, driven towards harnessing positivity and coaching employees to be balanced human beings.
5. Engagement gets a new meaning:
Office infrastructure has always been the backbone of the organization to keep the workforce engaged with its invisible ecosystem and soul. With our world shifting to working from anywhere, the new normal holds a picture wherein a large part of the workforce will see office spaces maybe 1-3 times a month. Thus, engagement gears would have to be recreated and virtual engagement would become the norm, involving ways to digitally engage and bring the workforce together along with their families.
6. Culture gets co-created:
Culture is the underlying bedrock that will ultimately determine the fate of thriving workplaces worldwide. Workplaces of the future must evolve to build, real experiences, and culture for a diverse dispersed workforce as they normally would before. But how does culture sustain and stand its ground in such a situation? Through top-down proactiveness of the leadership in fostering a sense of trust, pride, and care while comfortably embracing technology to virtually reach out to employees.
The transformational shift that businesses, and in turn HR, have undergone, will only continue to accelerate as technology, agility and inclusion come to the fore. Therefore, HR must proactively step up to weave an enabling culture into the organizational thread, in order to fortify great workplace cultures and tell stories beyond the ordinary.
This article is written by Ms. Manu Wadhwa, CHRO, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).