Over time, while businesses have been seeing transformational changes, HR has seen only incremental changes. In the old economy, elimination of error was of prime importance and therefore HR was tuned to that. Today businesses demand much more. Collaboration, Planning & Innovation is the need of the hour. These are what will help cultivate an environment that harnesses intelligence, creativity and interpersonal skills of employees.
But the real question is HR well placed to remain relevant in the above scenario? We believe that for new Age Organizations, HR would have to make some fundamental shifts. In order to get the discussion going three important aspects that we can look at primarily for this are as below:
HR that is highly networked: Connected with various functions across the organization, today HR is a decision-maker or facilitator in every part of the organization.
HR that is Of the People – By the People – For the People: HR shares & understands the larger goal of the organization and facilitates the fulfilment of that.
HR that Learns, Unlearns & Relearns – HR is a strategic function where “data” & “analytics” drive decisions and not our “perception” & “intuition”
Highly Networked: HR cannot function in isolation. And that is why the boundaries between HR, Marketing, and IT are getting blurred each day. Analytics and IT data scientists are working closely with HR to indicate what factors in an organization works for employees and what are those invisible elements that adversely affect employees. Trust Sphere is a great example of a tool where deductions on team dynamics can be solved based on flow of emails & frequency – an example of HR collaborating with Information Technology.
It is imperative that HR and Marketing also work together. Only then can we ensure that the meaning & benefit behind every initiative reaches the employees in the best possible manner. For example at Ramco, we have a great cafeteria called Thank God It’s Monday. The simple experience of having lunch in the office cafeteria on Fridays has become exciting by introducing the concept of Friday theme lunches. Employees look forward to what is in store at TGIM every Friday. Thus the HR takes care of the need so the employees and Marketing does the branding part of it!
Of the People – By the People – For the People: Engage the employees to decide what is good for them and seek their help to implement it. Shared ownership is always better than HR deciding what is good for employees. That is why a lot of employee initiatives at Ramco are owned and run by the employees themselves. A recent example was when in a senior level interaction one of our regional sales head felt that the table manners of her team may need some improvement then she took the initiative and formed a cross functional team of customer facing organization and today they decide the learning initiative, it’s frequency, and participation. Our Learning Team (HR) will do the leg work and give their inputs but some of these exclusive L & D interventions are all nurtured and run by the employees who are in the thick of action and can bridge the gap between the need and the fulfillment. It has resulted into better participation of our employees and improved employee satisfaction
Learn – Unlearn – Relearn
Another important area that is garnering a lot of importance is the application of science in HR. Advance brain imaging, data-gathering methods, and behavioral science experiments have produced powerful insights into the conditions that help us work more effectively. But the question is how much are they being put into practice?
Let’s have a look at some examples from around the world where insights have proved fruitful.
Gender: is it Important for future success in a role?
Trends of Star Performers moving from one company to another show that Female Stars fare much better compared to Male Stars in a new set up. A large Investment Banking Firm used this information to their advantage by employing Female Stars from the competition to work for them. They were able to move their ranking from being one of the bottom 20 analyst firms to the top in 2 years.
Industry: Normalization has helped but is this principle universal today?
There is a need to move from a 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional approach. Should we add industry as a third dimension? Top Performers in new age industry adds 300 times more the value than an average performer and hence the connect between performance and pay will change disproportionally depending on Industry.
Office Design: Even the office design in terms of colour used / height of the building/ sound transmitted all have an impact on people. In Rice University participants in rooms with taller ceilings were significantly better at finding connections between seemingly unrelated objects than those in rooms where the ceiling was slightly lower. People exposed to red colour were much better at tasks that require accuracy and attention to detail. They were also much worse at tasks involving free association and big picture thinking.
Hence, if we consider some of the above data points then HR has to work closely with IT, Marketing, and other line functions to really get connected to people and to take & execute people friendly initiatives to charge the entire environment. Additionally, great work place can be created by applying science and logic as well apart from Intuition about people, places and preferences to ensure that our decisions yield superlative outcome like the Investment Banking Organization, which moved from 20th position to 1st position in 2 years flat.