Successful HR Strategies for Today's Rapidly Changing Business Environment VUCA is an acronym which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity and represents the 'new normal' in the industry today

By Suresh BR

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The progressive integration of technology across all sectors has created large-scale disruption. As a result of this disruption, the industry today operates in a rapidly changing business environment known as the "VUCA' world. VUCA is an acronym which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity and represents the "new normal' in the industry today. One of the spaces most affected by this disruption has been the HR function. Due to disruptive changes, HR strategies have now entered a dynamic state as opposed to the stable strategies of the past. With adaptability being the key to success in this scenario, organizations are constantly reviewing strategies to allow them to make full use of the potential the VUCA world offers.

Leaders Define the Way Forward

Leading experts today state that due to the pace of the industry, the time required to create "leaders' has significantly reduced, by almost half in some cases. In such a scenario, the ability to deal with a high degree of uncertainty and to resolve challenges within short time frames have become essential qualities to be inculcated in all employees. The championing of critical thinking and business acumen that allows for short, medium and long-term planning has also become highly important. With the requirement for these qualities at an all-time high, organizations have been forced to restructure their internal hierarchies to allow for greater collaboration between employees and leaders. This helps prevent the "silo-ization" of work and fosters a sense of interconnectivity between all levels of management. A clear indication of the success of this endeavor is showcased by a 15% and 20% increase in job satisfaction among mid-level and junior employees respectively.

Talent Mobility and the Gig Economy

Another aspect of the VUCA world is the changing definition of HR strategies based on two main factors: economic volatility and talent mobility. Both these factors come together to define the balance an organization must maintain between hiring new talent and reskilling existing talent. Employees today are encouraged to showcase incisive business acumen that can help the organization excel as a whole. Leaders, hence, are now defined by their ability to match employees with the right opportunities to enable both personal and organizational growth. Talent mobility becomes important here as it enables employees to upskill themselves in their areas of interest. Additionally, it also prompts organizations to reskill their employees and manage functioning in scenarios where talent hiring is extremely challenging.

The VUCA world has also given rise to another option that offers organizations an alternative to traditional hiring: The Gig Economy. Here, employees are hired on a more talent-based requirement for shorter durations, allowing the organization to remain agile with fewer permanent resources. By practicing this manner of hiring, organizations become more diverse sites of employment with greater flexibility. This flexibility in work conditions also helps foster a sense of work-life balance among employees, with 5 in 10 employees attesting to this in a recent TimesJobs job satisfaction survey.


According to a World Economic Forum report, human capital has been identified as the most important capital to be leveraged today. The disruption caused by the era of the VUCA world has led to the blurring of workplace boundaries and that allows for greater talent mobility as well as management. With transparency of process management and a balanced focus on both soft and hard skills, HR departments across organizations must keep the altered industry scenario in mind for future functioning. The navigation of the contemporary scenario with optimal usage of available talent will ensure that organizations of all sizes can succeed in the VUCA world.

Suresh BR

Senior Vice President and Country Head - Human Resources, Bosch India

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