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Disruptive HR: How People Practices are Changing the Business Landscape Technological breakthroughs, demographic shifts, data and analytics are shaping the workforce. To manage these changes effectively requires HR to disrupt itself and reinvent its services

By Chandan Chattaraj

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For me, it comes back to a quote by musician Frank Zappa: "You can't have progress unless you deviate." In my career span of three decades, I have been witness to disruption many-a-times. It is only the speed and scale of disruptions that has gone up manifold in recent years and it will keep on increasing.

The present business scenario is turbulent and full of uncertainties. Technological breakthroughs, demographic shifts, data and analytics are shaping the workforce. To manage these changes effectively requires HR to disrupt itself and reinvent its services.

Some of the disruptive trends in HR that are revolutionising the world of business are:

HR Technology

We see lots of emerging trends with technology: Internet-of-Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, social media, and so forth. With the advent of technology, HR has been continually disrupted and so has the business. HR technologies have created dramatic innovation in hiring, paying, training, and governing organizations. This will continue with robotics and artificial intelligence replacing many of the traditional human tasks.

Emphasis on HR Analytics

Without linking analytics to business results, the statistics do not tell the right story. By focusing on the business, the concept of HR analytics has been disrupted. The implementation of HR analytics has increased by leaps and bounds to enhance workflow and business operations. HR analytics is being applied to various processes including recruitment, retention, learning and development, and performance monitoring. Advanced tools and analytical models are also being used to monitor employee whereabouts, communication patterns and employee engagement, whose data is used to improve user experience and increase the rate of efficient employee work hours.

Developing Learning and Training Modules

The scope for corporate learning has matured with the inclusion of learning management systems into business processes. The growing market for e-learning and webinars has emphasized the need to strengthen employee skills by engaging them in active learning sessions. These courses are being developed based on individual employee competencies and are designed to perform logically to recommend suitable actions in training. E-learning is establishing itself to be the main support in coping with the changing business demands.

Advanced Recruitment Models

Over the years, innovative methods have been shaping the way recruitment and talent acquisition is processed. Vendors offering recruitment management and HRM modules are developing advanced models that cater to the end-to-end process of hiring; from finding the right candidates to on boarding and background verifications, all are taken care of through easily accessible user portals. These advanced tools and models filter the right skills based on consolidated candidate data that are linked to online job portals and websites. They analyse the business needs and strategize hiring plans accordingly; that implement various interviewing processes, candidate assessments, employer branding, pre-screening tests and employee referrals.

Disruption is never ending. HR function needs to continually disrupt itself in order to stay relevant. There has been a lot of negative read about HR like 'it's time to blow HR', 'it's time to do away with the HR department'. Blow up and recreate yourself to sustain the credibility of the function. HR needs to be the centre of expertise consisting of team of professionals with deep technical expertise in specialist areas such as recruitment, reward and talent management. This would empower them to provide solutions to the organizational people challenges.

In a constantly changing world and a business environment marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity; technology will continue to play a growing role in HR's success. Already, it is helping HR to take a more holistic approach to simplifying workforce management; finding, developing and retaining the right talent; predicting workforce changes and issues; planning in alignment with company goals; and working strategically with senior executives.

The bottom line is that whether you are the leaders of your organisations or you are the HR practitioners; accept the fact that these disruptions are here to stay, it is important to become champions of this change within organisations, rather than followers.

Chandan Chattaraj

President–HR, India & Global, Uflex

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