A dynamic Human Resources leader who has a strong purpose of making a positive impact on people and the quality of their lives, Harini comes with a Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Mumbai University & a Master’s in Business Administration (Human Resources) from ICFAI. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1994 with distinction from S.I.E.S College of Science, affiliated to Mumbai University. Of her 2
decades of experience, over 8 years have been in Transformational Leadership roles in multi-national organisations. During her career journey, Harini has demonstrated her expertise in all areas of Human Resources across geographies including India, the Middle East (GCC countries), Europe and APAC countries. Completed over 3500 + hours of mentoring and over 250 hours of Leadership coaching.
Agile management is now a vast global phenomenon. Can you tell us how is it transforming the world of work? Also, how can organisations apply agile principles to the HR function, especially when it comes to employee feedback?
Undoubtedly ‘Agile’ is the future of work. Although it was introduced and became popular in the IT / ITES segment, its philosophy revolves around the core philosophy of putting people at the centre of everything. When we say ‘people’ it involves employees, customers, clients and even beyond. I am a strong advocate of ‘Agile HR’ for the very reason that it drives empathy and a solution-driven approach in HR functioning. One of the 4 pillars of the Agile Manifesto talks about responding to change over following a plan. Isn’t this expected of HR professionals when they are required to address people-related matters? When the pulse of the people is predicted and proactive solutions are implemented, HR can call itself truly agile.
I am a strong advocate of ‘Agile HR’ for the very reason that it drives empathy and a solution-driven approach in HR functioning.
Furthermore, how can HR professionals manage volatility and enhance adaptability, and strengthen the organisation by applying Agile methodologies to their talent-management processes?
I have a simple and practical 3 point agenda for HR professionals –
1. Stop playing ‘cop’. Emerge out as employee champions by articulating meaningful guidelines rather than rigid rules.
2. The balance between your Head & Heart in decision making. You can’t sway completely to any one side. That will cost you your credibility in the eyes of both the people and the business leaders.
3. Focus your energies on the output than on the tasks. This will take you towards managing and developing talent. Time spent on tasks alone could be a slow poison for HR.
The balance between your Head & Heart in decision making. You can’t sway completely to any one side. That will cost you your credibility in the eyes of both the people and the business leaders.
The employment landscape has been dramatically reshaped by rapid advances in technology in the last few years. In your opinion, is technology displacing jobs? Or they are just being replaced?
This is like ‘The Sky is falling’ anecdote. A hen panicked that the sky was falling and started to run around spreading the panic. The sly fox turned this to his advantage and hunted many panicking birds! In the process, no one looked at how to survive through the situation until the message reached the rooster. Technological advances are meant to make our jobs more meaningful so that we can focus on what we are meant to do. Yes, if HR folks prefer to behave like robots, they may well be replaced by bots! Whether we want to be like the dumb hen or the wise rooster, the choice is ours!
You have been interacting and training young minds at prominent Universities and B-Schools. Do you think universities are preparing students for future careers? In your opinion, how can higher education prepare students for jobs that do not even exist yet?
I am immensely pleased to see the changes in Universities & B-Schools. Students are exposed to a lot more of the corporate world and a lot earlier too. Students are also taught to be more self-managed and this results in better decision making. But the catch here is – are corporates ready to absorb students who have learnt to be Agile? Aren’t
we still looking at them as ‘freshers’ and tag them as ‘Millenials’ and insist that “they need to unlearn”? I am a firm believer that education is a medium to open young minds and broaden their vision and enhance their quest for success. All it requires is a little will from academia and industry to join hands and work towards this goal rather than restricting interactions to internships & placements.
Skilling for the future is not so much about learning specific skills that are related to a particular job. It has transcended to a space beyond that where new-age skills look more generic namely building your personal brand, becoming digitally fluent, creating your tribe, fortifying resilience and thriving in complexity.
Technological advancements are constantly changing the fundamental nature of work. Can you explain how future jobs will help create “super jobs?” How will these “super jobs” open up opportunities for mobility, advancement and the rapid adoption of new skills desperately needed today?
The job scenario has been constantly evolving and I am sure it will continue so. If you look back at the kind of jobs that our grandparents and our parents did and how ‘career’ has started to replace ‘job’ in our parlance, the transformation is phenomenal. Skilling for the future is not so much about learning specific skills that are related to a particular job. It has transcended to a space beyond that where new-age skills look more generic namely building your personal brand, becoming digitally fluent, creating your tribe, fortifying resilience and thriving in complexity. Anyone who has the grit to develop these skills is a success story.
According to you, how advances in digitalisation, artificial intelligence, automation, and bots can help in creating growth opportunities and generating new insights? How much do you think technology will change HR over the next five years?
I welcome AI, ML, and the likes with open arms to the world of HR. I would love to see the future workspaces buzzing with an activity where technology rules. The HR curriculum needs a thorough revamp with a meaningful mix of psychology and technology. Technology is certainly a boon for quick predictions to articulate business strategies more precisely and much faster. For the HR scenario to change, one can only wait, wish and watch. Isn’t it confession time for us HR folks that we are probably the resistors of change?