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"All you need is Fire in the Belly" Here's How Today HRs is playing the role of a business partner

By Dr. Gaurav Buch

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The Human Resource department is the driving force behind all the processes related to personnel including training and development, hiring and compensation. Simply put, the role of the HR department includes everything needed to ensure the competency, satisfaction, and productivity of the employees. As the organisation gets bigger the human resource department also takes up broader and more conceptual roles.

Globally, as a large part of the economy has come to depend on service-based occupations, the importance and the role of Human Resource have also evolved. Now, Human Resource professionals work directly with the top management of the organisation and contribute significantly to strategic decisions. While their primary role remains the same, a host of responsibilities that help in devising strategies to allow optimising the productivity of the employees have been added in their job descriptions. What follows is a detailed outlook on the different ways in which the change across the key trades of the world has brought in a significant difference in the Human Resource industry.

Human Resources is Continuous Research:

Research on "Manpower exit policy in the Indian corporate sector: with special reference to Gujarat" has proved some interesting facts. For example, if somebody leaves an organisation—if you can catch the right kind of feedback, half of your problem will get solved. But, if proper trustworthiness does not exist between the organisation and employee, and if they don't get the right feedback, it creates a lot of issues. The research involved the study of these issues and solutions.

Significant Changes in the HR Practice?

It must be understood that today's generation is very sharp and intelligent. Earlier people would remain with one job until they retired, but today's generation is not so. Today if anyone tells that he has worked for 20 years with one organisation, he/she will be considered as dumb and it will show that they have not been well-accepted in the other organisation—they are not getting any opportunity and that's why they are not growing. Today's generation is fast-paced, but unfortunately, it has its own negative aspects. Organisations also understand that if they must succeed in the future, they must focus a lot on human resource management. How much automation or robotics may come, human resources will still play a significant role, and we must deal with it.

The Role of HR is Moving Away From a Generalist Role to a More Specialist Role?

Mature organisations are moving the generalist role of HR to a more strategic function, taking it to the board level. And if you check, these kinds of organisations are on a fast-paced success path. It proves that HR is playing a vital role in organisational growth. Today HRs is playing the role of a business partner.

Revolutionise the Education in the Country:

The Central government plan is to homogenize the entire school, college, university-level curriculum. Instead of every state following different curriculum, why not have one curriculum taught across the country. If talent comes naturally to a person, why not groom that person for what he is good at and interested in—this way we will not waste talent due to the wrong choice.

The threat of AI Taking Over Much of HR Work in Future, Will HR Remain the Same or Will it Shrink to a Smaller Role?

HR is dealing with the psychological process of human aspects at an individual level, team level and mass level. If a thousand people are working in an organisation, each one of them is different in their thinking. AI will take over e mundane day-to-day work of HR, but the core process of dealing with humans will have to be handled by HR.

Demography of the Workforce Becoming More Homogenized:

Well, it can be taken as a good sign, especially for the One India movement. We must identify ourselves as an Indian first, and the rest comes afterwards. Yes, today, organisations are dealing with a more cross-cultural mix of the workforce than before. And common observation is that today's generation is not interested in dividing India with regional differences or get into such issues. No one has time; everyone wants to grow and succeed in their life. It is also essential that organisations give a transparent and unbiased platform for everyone to grow.

Digital HR Skills - Organisation's Demand:

It is not that today's generation is lacking in digital capabilities—in fact, they are more eager to learn and are fast learners. They are living in a time where they must deal with technology every moment. Digital skills must become a necessary part of any training programme.

Dealing with the Millennials:

There are both pros and cons in dealing with them. The good about them is they are very prompt and responsive, but they lack in-depth as far as knowledge is concerned. Everyone wants to grow and earn money very fast, but this has its shortfalls and drawbacks. This does not result in having job satisfaction.

HR's Responsibilities - To Groom Future Leaders:

Unless they are not ownership oriented, one cannot give them a dedicated and responsible role. If there is always a probability that they would leave the organisation anytime, how can they be groomed for leadership roles? For leadership roles, you need not only ownership quality, but also qualities like Honesty, Good Ethics & Commitment, Empathetic, and so on. Employees are required to map under an eight-pillar skill matrix. For example, for every position, you will need these eight skills. If the person lacks in any of the eight powers, we give them training. If the person has the right attitude, we groom him/her for leadership, but they should show commitment and ownership quality.

Generation Gap – A Challenge to HR:

If you can put together the experience of the older employees with the energy of the new employees, it will benefit the organisation. As an HR, one can't differentiate between the two. To bring an understanding between both, HR has to persuade them to give up their egos and start learning from each other. At the same time, organisations must give people time to become accustomed to new ideas or change.

Technology is Redefining Business:

Technology has become part of our life at every turn, so we and mainly the new generation is already accustomed to digitalisation in some way. When the same people join the corporate world, it becomes effortless for them to get savvy with any new technology. Very soon, data analytics, big data or IoT, will become a generic part of the university curriculum.

Is HR - less About Human Resource Management and More of Human-robot Management?

It won't be wrong to take it as a misapprehension—technology will in no way bring down the human resource requirement in the processes. The nature of jobs may change, and that will demand new skills. Research shows that the workforce required will not decrease; the kind of skills needed will vary. Soon, the requirement of intellectual people will increase. Machines are going to take over more mundane works, leaving mental and knowledge-oriented work to human beings. So, educational institutions need to get oriented to new curriculum and training processes.

Academia should not only be commercially oriented and give priority to the monetization of the education system. It should not lack in developing the right infrastructure and quality faculty. We need to bridge the industry-academia gap—institutions need to calibrate to what the industry needs. The education is either not in pace with the industry, or they differ in their approach. For example, why are some of the institutions still teaching, Cobol and old computer languages, when it is no longer in use. If there is no industry representation in your academic committee, how will you understand the gap and how will you bridge it.

Dr. Gaurav Buch

CHRO & Group Head - HR, Admin & CSR, Rasna Group

Dr. Gaurav believes that to succeed in HR field, you have to continue learning and researching, to turn HR into a decision science. In his two-decade-long career journey, Dr. Buch has experience of working across sectors like manufacturing to energy, to petroleum, FMCG and in different dynamics. Dr. Buch shares his experience on human resource management, expectations from the millennials and HR parameters. 

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