Abraham Joseph, Vice President Human Resources (Global People Function) at Aequs, endeavours to get the pulse of human capital’s reaction to organizational initiatives. As a stalwart in Human Resources with over 20 years of rich experience in shaping high performing cultures, his practical approach keeps him attuned to the requirements of the organisation. With a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources & Personnel Management from XLRI as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the Apeejay School of Marketing, Abraham possesses deep domain knowledge and understanding of industry trends. He has worked with teams spread across US,France, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania and India while holding leadership positions in various high profile organisations like Flextronics, Tata AIG, Sify, and Murugappa Group prior to Aequs. He has also had Sales & Marketing stints with companies like Premier Auto Electric and Berger Paints India Limited.
The emerging social contract between employers and employees requires organisations to disrupt the status quo, expand their focus to leverage upon the rising opportunities and move beyond the mindset of “one size fits all” approach. Agile and forward-looking organisations gear themselves for future challenges by creating a work culture which is driven by improved employee engagement, trust, and loyalty.
Organisations have evolved and come a long way from the prototypical industrial era to a point where the employment relationship is on the rise. Organisations have progressed from viewing people from a production orientation to one where people are recognized as valued assets. Organisations believe in the concept of human capital management and are sincerely devoting time and money in reorienting their human capital.
Garry Dessler’s fundamentals of human resource management book have defined employee relations as following – “Employee relations are the activities that involve in establishing and maintaining a positive employee-employer relationship that contributes to increased productivity and efficiency, motivation, morale, discipline, and in maintaining a positive and cohesive work environment”.
The paradigm shift in the employer-employee landscape could be attributed to technology, globalization, and the changing nature of the workforce.
Below are a few factors which are impacting the employer-employee relationships in the technology-driven era.
Employee Value Proposition
With the changing landscape of business and the overall economic scenario, the organisations are evaluating for ways to sustain in today’s complex, challenging and chaotic technology-driven world. Competitive organisations give due importance to employees and work towards carving out a meaningful employee experience and journey, encompassing the complete employee lifecycle. Futuristic organisations create an Employee Value Proposition that is meaningful, futuristic and delivers a powerful message on the purpose of existence of the employer-employee relationship.
In 2018, at Aequs we embarked into the journey of carving out a compelling employee value proposition. After deliberations with the employees and the leadership team, looking at the past, current, and future, the employee value proposition was chalked out centered around four pillars:
- An engaging employee experience where employees can add value and contribute towards building the growth trajectory of the organization
- A work culture that is built around the cornerstones of Learn, Share and Grow
- A strong and unwavering focus on Reward and Recognition
- Unrelenting focus on the three core values of Aequs – Trust, Transparency, and Respect
Positive Social Media Messaging and its Impact on Employer-Employee Relationship
Social Media has played a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of employer-employee relationships. In an environment where relationships are never forgotten, social media connects individuals and organisations beyond a finite period. Organisations are stepping into an age where the employer-employee relationship is brewing along with the technological advancements. As a result of this continuing relationship, trends like boomeranging is gaining popularity as employees chose to re-associate with their previous organisations based on choice, not as a circumstance. The advantages that a boomerang brings to an organisation are impeccable– learning and experience, prior acclimatization with the organisation culture and the insider ability to move through the organisational hierarchy.
Employers on the other hand also view separating employees as brand ambassadors, hiring references, and future employees. The relationship with attriting employees is not seen as an end rather it’s viewed as a frontier for new beginnings. Organisations have started investing in re-hiring the top/critical talent after a period. The rise of technology has made it possible to keep in touch with past employees through various medium and forums.
Role of Human Resources as “Partners for Growth”
The past century has seen a philosophical shift in human capital trends. Organisations aiming to strive through the competition by staying current and relevant need to re-think their people practices. At times, the typical ebb and flow of the business models require organisations to rethink of their workforce strategies and employ reduction tactics to remain cost-competitive. The viability of the brand is determined by how organisations navigate through the waves of difficulty and do not embitter surviving while remaining as a desirable destination for many individuals. Today’s employees have evolving expectations about career paths and guidance on how to achieve their personal ambitions. There is a significant need to invest in employees for upskilling and cross-skilling/training to enable them for meaningful career conversations. Organisations need to come out of the thinking process of providing lifetime employment with gold plated benefits to short term, meaningful career progression for the employees. As technology disrupts business models, employers need to think beyond the obvious. Building and nurturing a workforce for future requires organisations to look at their current model, anticipate and analyze market trends for future and design programs that will cater to their unique talent needs.
The People Function Teams in organisations need to revisit their policies and strategies and devise those which would be flexible, nibble and in tune with needs to the current market trends. Another aspect that organisations need to revisit, and re-draw is the governance structure which would aid the creation of strong company culture.
Organisations need to emerge from the whole mindset of treating employees as a “headcount” to considering them as partners for growth, business partnering with the human resources function is extremely crucial in building a strong company culture.
Continuous Change is the new mantra. Employees are no longer looking for long term association with one organisation. Learning, Opportunities, Careers, and Growth are the key drivers for people looking for a change. More and more employees are looking for the flexibility to pivot between their careers and professional growth. The emerging trends in the employer-employee relationship need to be considered in totality and the organisations need to reinvent their people practices. While the organisations need to align their people practices along with the overarching organisational goals, the need of the hour demands the people practices being futuristic and creative. All this is happening right now. Employee Relationship is taking the lead as the way we describe the entire employee lifecycle journey into, through and out of the companies.