Experts Column

HR Function Becoming Smarter, So Should HRs

Holding over 15 years of HR Management, people management and administration experience, Shilpi specializes in Talent Acquisition and Training.

In conversation with WE Team, Shilpi shares about the new HR trends, technologies and the new normal for an HR.

1. How will the HR function transform with work from home becoming a new normal?

Traditional HR is now being replaced with a holistic approach using advanced technologies and being human centric as well. HR professionals today are faced with challenges of redefining strategies on leadership, talent, diversity while evaluating their operational effectiveness. Apart from the traditional HR functions that are required to be done, HR has become an integral part for the employees in the times of work from home. It has become important for HR to be the front-line firefighters because they are the ones who need to ensure the mental and the physical well-being of the employees. It has also become important for them to take initiatives with regard to the same. HR also has to be the one to deliver salary-cut or job loss news to the employees.

HR has become an important part of Business Continuity projects. It has to become more tech-friendly since talent acquisition, training and development, employee engagement, all have to be done virtually by innovative new ways to engage employees. Policies have to be redefined as well with respect to the new normal of work from home and giving employees enough freedom to balance work and life. COVID brought out issues of remote connectivity and bandwidth along with the fact that managers now need to learn how to manage performance and delivery while keeping an employee motivated and is relying on HR as a function to provide support and learn new ways of working. Hence, I think it is important for the HR function to transform with the work from home becoming a new normal and ensure that things work smoothly.

2. Talent acquisition and training will transpire and technology will deeply be integrated in the function. What is your take on this and how do you see the move towards becoming more tech-friendly?

I think that technology becoming a part of talent acquisition and training will make it more personalized and customized. For example, a person requiring training in technology, would receive the same as per his level of understanding and expertise on the subject at hand. Yes, it would take more efforts on the hand of the Reporting Managers, HR or the Learning and Development Manager or the Recruiting Manager, but this would ensure that the employees are getting the required training and the vacancies are filled quickly. Technology is a part and parcel of life now, so HR function is bare becoming smarter with it as well.

3. AI, ML, data analytics and robotics are taking over every industry. What is the case with the HR industry?

HR is also getting evolved by upskilling themselves using latest technology across AI, ML, data analytics and robotics and it is helping getting more information basis which decision making is faster. But Human Resources has the word Human right in its name and even though we make use of technology, it can never replace the human touch and feel. Technology is smart but the person handling the technology needs to be smarter to understand what can and cannot be done with technology. For example, with data analytics, one can derive various data points like retention rate but it depends upon the HR to make sense of the data and to think of the way ahead as to how to improve the retention rate. There is a lot of scope for man and machine to work hand-in-hand and deliver better results. Technology will become an important part of HR in decision making as long as it is used effectively and efficiently.

4. How would you define the future of HR function in the coming years? Do you see any role change/addition?

HR is evolving and it will continue to evolve as well. From being just an administrative role in the past, companies have realized its contribution towards strategy and growth. HR leaders across the globe are harnessing the resources and insights to redefine obsolete models, and implement technologies such as analytics, digital labor and AI. The role of HR will definitely change to include technology. There will be dual focus on customers who are kings and employees who are probably king makers as happy employees lead to happy customers. HR is going to be a bridge between human and digital. Since a lot of work is being done by AI, ML, and bots, HR’s role has become much more critical in understanding how and when to use technology. HR has to be agile, understand how the company succeeds, stay focused on the people, be ready to understand the next Generation getting added into the workforce, and create innovative reward strategy for the employees. So, all in all, HR’s role has expanded in to much more than the traditional HR functions and it will continue to evolve with time.