Technology with the human touch: the new norm for HR

What, according to you, will the Workforce of the Future look Like?

Workforce of Future, needs to be more interdisciplinary in its approach, as the traditional linear problem solving will not work. Most of the issues, they will be dealing with, shall be having multiple dimensions and it would need them to collaborate with all the stakeholders to come to a solution. They need to engage with the whole system to have effective solutions.

Future workforce shall need to have more influencing skills as traditional command and control will not work. Leadership will not be based on hierarchy but on the knowledge. Anyone in the team, who has the knowledge of that area, shall become the leader. Organizational structures shall become more fluid and growth shall be experience-based rather than band levels based. Respect shall be for Knowledge and not just Years of Experience.

When we look at the workplaces post-pandemic, what should be the new normal? What are top of the mind issues/priorities for key stakeholders – HR and employees?

Post pandemic, workplaces and workplace issues shall undergo significant changes. With Social Distancing and Workplace Infection Prevention taking center-stage, some key issues that will emerge are:

    • Workforce Planning for sudden uncertainties
    • Work from Home as becoming a more prevalent practice
    • Relooking at employees’ Benefits practices – Setting up of Home Office, Broadband, etc
    • Employee Communications esp. when the employees are under high mental stress due to pandemic and its repercussions on their jobs and compensation levels. Also, with remote and scattered workforce, communication becomes a key aspect
    • Employee Effectiveness and Productivity in remote and distributed working
    • Individual Effectiveness esp. when they need to balance their personal household chores and office work
    • Team Effectiveness in light of less social interaction
    • Manager Effectiveness in managing remote teams, understanding their emotional state and wellbeing, and knowing how are they feeling
    • Regular Performance Touchpoints
    • Employee Health & Wellbeing, which was earlier one aspect of organizational initiatives to becoming a key focus area
    • Office Environment for employee safety
    • Employee Relations’ Complexity in working from home. Applicability of labour laws during work from home

What has been your experience with digitization, AI & Robotics in HR? Is India ready for such a huge transformation?

Digitization, AI and Robotics have been making steady progress in HR in India. However, this pandemic and accelerated its adoption. There has been more acceptability to usage of technology in HR and al have seen the advantages of the same. Many times we have seen that one critical event accelerates the change and it’s adoption; COVID19 has done the same with technology in HR. We will see it grow even faster now onwards. However, I always believe that HR should never lose Human Touch under the cover of technology. Human beings are social animals and esp. in Asian cultures, we value and appreciate face to face interactions. So a successful HR team will be that which will adopt the technology but with Heart.

About the Respondent

Amit Sharma is Head-Human Resources, India and Member, Country Management Team, Volvo Group. In a career spanning 20 years, he has worked with top of the line organizations like Philips, Johnson & Johnson, Indian Oil and Ballarpur Industries. With focus on Business HR, he specializes across Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Organizational Development, Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition and Employee Relations.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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