HR: The New Architect On The Block!

HR: The New Architect On The Block!

HR is no longer seated at the back seat of a Ferrari or as a passenger in a Lamborghini. It is in a position to assume control on the driver's seat.


Human Resources professionals, in this new world of work with disruptions galore, find themselves as the new architect on the block - determined to reset, reinvent and restructure the future of work and organisations across the globe. The idiom ‘the new kid on the block’ is more than apt for the situation in which HR is in today. Similarly, the HR fraternity has the privilege to operate at their influential best and showcase their greatest value-add on the business table. HR is no longer seated at the back seat of a Ferrari or as a passenger in a Lamborghini. It is in a position to assume control on the driver’s seat. HR is in that sweet spot to determine which lever to apply and when, the speed of travel and the turns to be taken to get to the desired destination. It is a new world of work driven by the new architect on the block – The Human Resources!


Below mentioned are the core foundations that shall define HR’s pillars of success.


Re-defining the Skills of Leadership


The extended phase of work from home has further blurred the lines between work and personal life, and it has all but merged. As a result, we observe an increased burnout, physical fatigue, anxiety, emotional


and mental well-being, insomnia and even fear. In these times of uncertainty, the need to zoom in on the softer aspects of leadership skills is evident. HR must facilitate developing abilities cantered around: -


♦ Emotional Intelligence:


Working with an inside out approach. Leadership teams must be equipped to understand and manage their own emotions first and then learn to make themselves aware of the emotions of their team members


♦ Shifting from empathy to compassion:


Investing in distilling values of compassion wherein leaders, besides viewing things from the other person’s point of view (empathy) are driven by compassion, and feel encouraged to support and take meaningful actions to help employees overcome their challenges


♦ Being mindful of our reactions


Uplifting or destroying the employees’ morale depends on how leaders react to different situations. In a virtual environment, leaders need to be more patient, be flexible, understanding and operate on a higher trust level


♦ Being mindful of our reactions:


Uplifting or destroying the employees’ morale depends on how leaders react to different situations. In a virtual environment, leaders need to be more patient, be flexible, understanding and operate on a higher trust level



♦ The Coach Hat:


Leaders must operate with a coach’s hat to act more from providing guidance and direction, while giving liberty to employees to work how they want to


An Influential Change Leader


HR has always been a torchbearer of change. The impact of the current pandemic has only multiplied the need for change across businesses.


Change today, however, needs to be managed with speed and agility. A statement by Justine Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, a couple of years ago, is remarkably astonishing, “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again


In this context, we observe the following changes growing with accelerated momentum: -


♦  Businesses are transitioning to a digital mode of functioning like never before


♦ Organisations are looking inward to rethink and redesign their HR policies, processes and practices


♦ Employee wellness and wellbeing has emerged at its strongest ever


♦ Leadership units of organisations are upskilling themselves on aspects of soft skills


♦ The Gig economy is converting into a substantial reality


To combat such a change tsunami, business leaders are leaning to Human Resources to play the leading role. They are proactively reaching out to HR to make it all happen and happen seamlessly


Create a Listening Culture


The prime value of a listening culture is that it fosters an environment of trust amongst employees and management alike. When organisations focus on listening skills, it allows for a higher level of collaboration and team synergy and employees and leaders become more open to embrace everyone’s point of view. The Listening culture must flow from the top as employees who are listened to will always be encouraged to listen to others. Few pointers to consider in this direction are:


♦ Inculcate the value of listen to understand and not to respond


♦ Ask and encourage employee feedback. As Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google had said, ‘We run this company on questions, not answers


♦ Encourage and reward those who challenge your ideas, question the status quo and debate your thoughts


♦ Include employees in your decision-making – be more democratic in your approach


The most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen. A listening culture is all about supporting and being supportive. HR is the strongest contender to build that strong support system.


Technology Journey from Adaption to Addiction


HR needs to strongly message the mindset to befriend technology as a significant enabler and fuel for the organisation’s success. Collaboration with the IT team is essential to understand how organisations can shift focus from adoption to addiction. We love platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp because we find ourselves addicted to these tools. However, addiction is impossible until the technology you adopt creates a particular user experience. To achieve that objective, one must consider the following elements:


♦ HR must ask the critical question - what experience will this tool create for employees? Is it to drive engagement or strengthen a process? If one fails to get an answer to this, technology addiction will not happen, and even adoption would be a struggle


♦ The second critical element is to ensure that technology tools are not operating in siloes, but are well-integrated with other key platforms to provide a wholistic user experience


♦ The third dimension is to facilitate organisations to build an adaptive mindset towards technology as a ‘must have’ and not a ‘good to have’ component


♦ The fourth essential for HR is to look towards the recruitment strategy. HR needs to make conscious efforts to hire a greater percentage of talent that are naturally tech-savvy


A Rich Experience for The Distributed Workforce


As we progressively move towards a distributed workforce, HR needs to go all guns blazing to reimagine and redesign the experience for this new workforce model. It is critical to focus on the different dynamics which when combined will establish the framework and create an employee experience par excellence.


♦ Re-working on HR policies that reflect a progressive mindset approach


♦ Turning to the power of digitalisation as a wherever, whenever and however model


♦ Focusing on Employees Psychological safety and facilitate a risk-friendly environment


♦ Building a Robust Employee Wellness and Well-being Framework


♦ Investing in blending elements of unique cultures from across the globe


♦ Creating a communication system that is based on an asynchronous model. Employees should feel connected real-time regardless of their location


♦ Considering to keep virtual meetings to the minimum. Overloading employees with meetings only take them away from work in order to talk about doing work


♦ Letting employees to handle their own priorities on their own timeline. It only strengthens productivity


Investing Heavily on Future Proofing


Through the influx of new cuttingedge technology and newly defined work models, we are already witnessing a reduction in the shelf life of skills. At the same time, competencies are ever-evolving. The World Economic Forum also states that in the near future we will have 133 million new roles created. HR must actively devote time for an ongoing skilling and re-skilling agenda under the L&D umbrella.


Talent must find themselves equipped to function smoothly and adapt to the new demands quickly. It is important to consider the below-mentioned factors: -


♦ The digital world will shift focus on skills such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, adaptability and agility. Keywords like patience, compassion, listening, kindness, etc. will gain more prominence


♦ Facilitate a learning culture with an approach to being committed for lifelong learning. L&D must be designed in a way that is accessible and engaging


♦ Be alert to evaluate the additional skills, trainings and certifications needed keeping in mind the competency required to fill in the future as individuals grow in their role and career path


In the recent years, we have observed many professionals/experts advocating the doom of HR. Statements such as ‘the perish of HR or becoming obsolete’ have been very vocal. It was said that Technology, Automation and robotics will eventually lead to the death of HR. However, they have been proven otherwise beyond any doubt. HR will continue to thrive and evolve to remain ahead of the curve. HR’s global success in efficiently managing the pandemic strongly validates this perspective. It is only wise to put your weight behind this new architect on the block, and it is certain that the world of work, as has been always known and experienced, will never be the same again!


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Kenneth W Wheeler is Director of Talent & Culture at True Fit Corporation. Prior to this, he was associated with LogiNext as VP Human Resources (L&D). He comes with 16 plus years of rich learning experience spread across industries. Awarded as 101 Top HR Minds (India) 2019 and a certified NLP coach, Kenneth is a well-rounded expert in Envisioning, Strategizing and Leading a robust gamut of HR and L&D framework, contributing to both MNC (Wipro) and the Start-up ecosystem (Ola, LogiNext).


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