Navigating a New Era

Navigating a New Era

Manoj K Sharma, Co-Chair of the ASSOCHAM National Council on IR, Policies, and Reform, and Head of HR at Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd., speaks with Human Capital about the WorkVision 2021 virtual conference and how the HR function will continue to evolve in the post-pandemic future of work.

The global pandemic has compelled organisations to put a “re-” into everything: to reset, reassess, reimagine, redefine, and reboot how they work and run their businesses. HR leaders are smack dab in the middle of all this. In your view, what changes did the pandemic bring to HR’s role?


Unprecedented situations call for unprecedented changes in the organisation. HR is driving the centrality of such unparalleled disruptions, and there is a 180-degree shift in HR roles during this time. People play a major role when you have to put “re-” in the organisation.


From a mere business partner role, HR has come to the forefront to lead major processes that are the lifeline of the business. The compelling market environment and shift in market demands have forced organisations to re-conceptualise their operating models, stay relevant and agile enough to steer recoveries, and simultaneously make rapid changes in the product lines/services to meet/create the demands per market gaps. HR is not only sensitising leaders but entire hierarchies to quickly align their goals/KPIs to such market requirements.


Business metrics and their weightages play major roles in creating a differentiated performance culture and competitive advantage. Swift technological changes have provided user-friendly employee experiences, raising efficiency and productivity. AI & machine learning-based prompts help to learn about the changing behaviour of employees and customers. Re-examining employee benefit policies with a special focus on employee wellbeing has become a priority for organisations to survive and thrive.


It is unlikely for organisations to breathe a huge sigh of relief and for things to return to stability in the new normal or the new status quo. Today, change is the status quo. How can organisations build their change capability and be more resilient and dynamic in a world of continuous transformation?


The decreasing per capita consumption is worrisome and a threat to the economic downfall of major sectors like tourism, hospitality, airlines, entertainment, construction. The worst-hit is the MSME sector, impacted due to the non-availability of skilled labour and migrant labour for non-core jobs.


Skilling, up-skilling and re-skilling are the keys to be leveraged. Lots of skill sets are becoming obsolete due to the nature of industry and market demands. HR has to play a critical role in creating a resilient culture to cope with the changing business needs and reimagining talent management processes to re-map people competencies.


You are the chairperson of the ASSOCHAM WorkVision 2021 virtual conference, which will be held between 29th to 31st July. What can people expect from attending this event?


ASSOCHAM WorkVision 2021 will be a grand event with the confluence of CEOs/CHROs, CXOs, and other eminent speakers from diverse sectors. This event will open the landscape of the future to meet customer and talent needs in the entire ecosystem. Think tanks from the industry will deliberate on the emerging gig talent economy and the art of scaling up businesses and balancing shareholder returns and long-term growth. There is going to be intense competition among talent; organisations will be careful in choosing talent from the market. This will pose challenges to job aspirants as well. Experts will explore the importance of assessments to hire the right talent.


There will be an excellent mix of service providers talking about leveraging technology in HR and industrial case studies backed by innovative solutions for hybrid workplaces. The zing of the session will be for aspiring women, who will learn from the life stories of eminent and successful women entrepreneurs.


The last day is dedicated to experts from AON who will give an opportunity to the HR fraternity, especially Gen-Y and Z, to learn HR analytics, the impact of the labour code on wages and the implications of the shifting regulatory landscape in executive compensation.



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