Vineeta Kukreti, Human Resources Director – Fiserv
HR can help organisations prepare for the future of work. It plays a vital role in the success of any business transformation as it co-leads change through technological innovation, talent strategy, market play, and demographic nuances and acts as catalysts in shaping the talent evolution internally to excel in an ever-moving ecosystem.
Transformation…Disruption…Reinvention…The HR community needs to reconceptualize itself and pause the subtle refinement of concepts that served the present and past. Misalignment to what may be the need for tomorrow will lead HR to become irrelevant and order taker. The writing is on the wall – A need to revolutionise HR.
Today technology adoption is quicker than ever. The at-scale shift to remote working has tested the now dominant technologies. This has brought artificial intelligence, robotics, digitisation, and automation to the forefront to cater to the evolved needs of the workforce and support dynamic antifragile operating models adopted by successful organisations.
Co-leading Business Transformation
Many organisations are going through business model transformations. The objective of any business transformation is to bump up productivity and effectiveness of people by building capability, right-sizing capacity, fostering a connection between purpose and business outcome, and enhancing client and employee engagement. Any successful business transformation involves talent strategy transformation embedded in it.
HR plays a vital role in the success of any business transformation as it co-leads change through technological innovation, talent strategy, market play, and demographic nuances and acts as catalysts in shaping the talent evolution internally to excel in an ever-moving ecosystem. Successful organisations leading through transformation more often have HR disrupting itself to lead the change to be fit-for-purpose. These evolutionary HR teams partner with the business to build models, processes, capabilities to co-lead business transformation. However, some HR teams lack the vision, and get lost in the middle and are disrupted by becoming order takers. Without HR’s ability to view the big picture that transcends across the value chain, HR will be disrupted as it will become an extra pair of hands to execute rather than a strategic change catalyst. HR needs to reimagine the future state and redesign aspects of organisational design and talent strategy, workplace culture, and operations powered by digital.
“HR plays a vital role in the success of any business transformation as it co-leads change through technological innovation, talent strategy, market play, and demographic nuances and acts as catalysts in shaping the talent evolution internally to excel in an ever-moving ecosystem.”
Accelerated change in technological advancement in the neo-normal environment we live in impacts our world of work and how we operate. The classic workforce models of in-sourcing are showing signs of retreat and contingent gig workers are surfacing as a flexible option. With the unprecedented times testing our ability to work remotely and gaining relative productivity, it is no longer imperative to go to a physical office and be tied to a location. Gig workers are free to offer different capabilities to different organisations in multiple companies, with the flexibility of timing and quality of projects. Roles are increasingly becoming classified as work, resources into capabilities, and skills. Leaders are now focusing on allocating work effectively over managing people. HR plays a key role in the change journey.
Reimagine the Future and Redesign HR
HR organisational design is imperative to its strategic positions and seamless operations to match the needed speed and agility to adapt to the changing ecosystem. Many organisations have moved away from a traditional HR hierarchy and shifted towards a hub-and-spoke model based on business direction, specialisation, and market nuances. This facilitates agility, innovation, and quicker adaptation to constant change. With HR disrupting itself, business HR leaders will lead organisational strategy, structure, and talent consulting. A central change management team is established to execute planned strategies, aligned to key work streams and executed through sophisticated project management for maximum effectiveness. Employee communication plays a pivotal role to ensure change plans are measurable, clear, and communicated well through an effective medium. The talent team works through rigorous workforce planning and capability gaps to decipher sourcing strategies of build/buy/deploy/automate. People analytics work through demographics, sentiment/ pulse, and establish predictive trends for key decisions based on data-driven insights. Rewards team design incentives to align to expected behaviours and actions that align to strategy. All this operates under governance with a continuous feedback loop built-in.
Pillars of HR Transformation
1) Talent – Emerging business trends will need to shape and align the talent capability goals to that of business strategic goals. It will be crucial to tap into liquid talent sources – ‘Gig’ – where a highly specialised workforce can be engaged for shorter time duration and attracted through dedicated career sites. While long-term talent retention will contribute towards organisation differentiation.
2) Culture Aligned to Purpose – HR plays a pivotal role in curating a target culture, communicating this internally and externally, and attracting talent that would thrive in it. In a nutshell, legacy ways of operating in a workplace need to evolve and cultural change starts with a shift in mindset. Business goals and purpose lead to broad principles of operations that in turn help identify the behaviours that will lead to the preferred business outcome. With an increase in business complexity, organisations are embracing permissive cultures that empower. Coupled with agile principles as a mindset shift, more and more companies are adopting big room planning and innovation. Collaboration, leading through influence, ability to deal with ambiguity, creativity and innovation, risk-taking, growth mindset, commercial acumen, and personal agility are the traits that are increasingly valued.
“HR plays a pivotal role in curating a target culture, communicating this internally and externally, and attracting talent that would thrive in it. In a nutshell, legacy ways of operating in a workplace need to evolve and cultural change starts with a shift in mindset.”
3) Leadership – Inclusive leaders who demonstrate agility and have past hands-on experience of transformation are best preferred to lead the way. Past failures are now signs of agility and aptitude to learn. Resilience and grit are attributes that are highly sought. Experimenting with new approaches through different phases of transformation, facilitating transparency, and being authentic are seen as skills that are a must-have in leaders to lead the way. Building a coaching culture and key decisions based on data-driven insights are amongst other attributes that make a leader beyond great.
4) Social Enterprise – The perceived success of organisations is no longer assessed through financial performance alone. Organisational repute and standing have transcended to relationships with customers, community, and employees. The world is more connected than ever before and Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor activity speaks volumes of the organisation’s culture. Organisations are compelled to now create a target presence on social media to attract external and retain internal talent.
5) Digital – Forces of change like digital disruption, change in consumer behavior, socio-political movements, employee awareness, and heightened focus on diversity have created a pivotal impact on many organisational setups. Right from using technology to remove unconscious bias from hiring to hyper-personalised HR offerings, the world has embraced digital, AI, and Machine learning. The HR model needs to facilitate agility and operating with the speed of trust before leveraging the speed of digital.
6) Agile – Adopt agile principles in HR to build iteratively and incrementally. Companies are empowering employees to adapt to new ways of working. Innovation and disruption are not new as companies set up HR innovation labs.
7) Operations – Establishing the right people practices is critical for any business transformation. Workforce intelligence analytics helps curate change based on data-driven insights.
8) Workplace – Aesthetics of the workplace, external branding, realigned benefits and incentives, culture as a battle for talent soars as employee experience is as critical as customer experience.
Any successful HR transformation will result in getting employees future-ready, establishing and leveraging efficient processes and agile structures, working with technology as a core partner, and ensuring business success.