Reimagining The Portfolio

Reimagining The Portfolio

HR should be able to capture and conceptualise both the macroeconomic narrative and the sectoral narrative. And from platform-oriented thinking, the narrative becomes the raw material for all human development practices.


The answer to the quintessential question of whether is HR a function, a Team or Department is that it is probably all that and more. Therefore, the role of HR beyond a function needs to be explored. One of the expected, yet unmandated imperative is to graduate HR from a function to a platform. HR should be able to capture and conceptualise both the macro-economic narrative and the sectoral narrative. In the context of platform-oriented thinking, the narrative becomes the raw material for all human development practices.


The three interconnected parameters of verbalising the narrative that encompasses a vital portfolio of an HR leader have been cited below:-


Elevation of HR from functionary to facilitator


The future of the HR function will include more strategy, and the role of an HR specialist will change from that of a functionary to a facilitator. In this, an individual should focus more on bringing in ‘expertise diversity’ - expertise and insight diversity from unconnected sectors for a cross-section of roles where technologies are not involved. For instance, in the event of recruitment, an imaginative talent acquisition specialist will look at attribute convergence rather than evaluating the functional competencies. One of the key performance indicators will be to fill 5-10% of the available roles from a cross-section of industries. Jet Airways carrying out their Golden Handshake programme and a special recruitment drive by Taj Hotels to induct some of Jet Airways’ customer care executives is a truly inspirational example. Even though the industries were different, they were able to get a plug and play resource to act as a real-time customer service agent 


The major challenge when it comes to recruiting someone from the same industry or sector is that many of them would already be victims of sectoral and functional bias, and would not be able to change embedded thought structures. In such a case, it has become imperative to start identifying people from a cross-section of industries so as to mobilise and use the diversity candidates to push the envelope of creative change and a radically enriched visualisation lens. These individuals will be recognised as our Change Ambassadors in the organisation. 


In a nutshell, if you summarise the roles:- 


◆ A Functionary looks at task completion, while a facilitator person looks at the task conceptualisation 

◆ A Functionary looks at the content, a facilitator looks at the element of creativity 

◆ A Functionary looks at the output, a facilitator looks at the aspiration 


Problem-oriented thinking to purpose-oriented thinking 


As HR professionals, we cannot remain insulated from the fact of where we truly stand. We are the true custodians of connecting, communicating, and caring for diverse cultures, considering four generations are working under a single umbrella. During this journey, it is pertinent that we become a proactive problem finder than a reactive problem solver in true spirit and intent. We should gauge and convert the immediate problems into fundamental and fundamental to foundational problems. In a platform-oriented thinking, an HR has to wear the cap of a data scientist to really understand the root cause (Family, Social, Cultural) of certain behavioural changes in people.


The manifest culture and invocation of higher purpose are potent agencies of selfinitiated personal transformation. According to me, an HR should work towards creating a higher purpose dimension in the organisation. They should act as guardians of culture and create a sense of higher purpose, both being crucial agents of human change. Identification and initiation of higher purposes in life to the mental and emotional vocabulary of people should be one of the responsibilities of a HR specialist. Research has shown that purpose-driven professionals prove to be an extremely valuable talent - 30% are more likely to be high performers and almost 50% are likely to be promoters in their company.


In a purpose-driven organisation, an employee will be able to accept all the disappointments, setbacks, challenges, and ambiguities faced by him. This is owing to the improved maturity level to cognise the indispensability of constraints and failures in the process of a larger goal. It gives an employee a social image and profile of being affiliated to the institution that values human, social, and planetary wellbeing. It evokes the most constructive form of pride of affiliation.


Value and purpose-driven institutions equalise and normalise the incalculable human heterogeneities around the basic premise of shared values, which greatly reflects in its approach to the most sensitive touch points like fairness, retrenchment, ethical choices, governance paradigms. Many organisations are talking about fairness, but are we really fair to the last mile? 


Marrying the will, work, and worth 


Will emerges as the resolve of the senior leadership to give meaning, creativity, a sense of direction, and larger gratification to the role holder. This would emerge in the dimension of work as the right blend of autonomy and accountability. The causal effect is the deeper and higher sense of self-worth, wherein an individual literally knows and feels the exact touch point of value created by him in the value proposition of a company.


Execution has always been a buzzword around HR, but the call of the time is to graduate into imaginative HR, where interconnected stakeholders and shared values are not fashionable statements, but factual endorsements. The ancient yet timeless wisdom bears an eloquent testimony to this very powerful question that we should ask ourselves - does my decision pass the test of propriety and institutional morality? Data aids in justification, but integrity and propriety legitimise it from recruitment to retrenchment. Purpose-driven HR is their guide and gospel that answers this question.




B. Ganesh is Head-HR Operations, Global R&D Centre, Apollo Tyres Ltd. He comes with an experience of 16 years and has handled multiple roles in Human Resources stemming from Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Employee Relations and Strategic HR Leadership. Ganesh is a Gold medallist in Human Resource Management from MG University.


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