Resilient HR — The New Organisational Frontline
Companies that turn challenges into opportunities for growth stand out. To do this, they are deploying the latest technology on the frontlines of the battle – their human relations (HR) practice. Because through collaboration between people, enabled by technology, they have continued to operate effectively and efficiently, even as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world. Leaders have woken up to the fact that talent—managing it, nurturing it and rewarding it—ensures the business is never derailed.
A resilient HR is an essential component of the modern enterprise. Today HR must face the challenges of a dynamic workplace, a shifting technology landscape, focus on diversity and inclusion, be mindful of local regulations and manage a multi-generational workforce with new aspirations and values. It must also balance full timers with part timers, contractors and gig workers while ensuring constant enterprise-wide upskilling.
From an employee perspective, a key concern is continued employment and financial stability. A reactive and unprepared HR can be unsettling to them. The traditional, centrally-controlled HR model can no longer be relied upon in this environment. It must be replaced with one where local HR departments are agile, pro-active, sensitive to regional concerns – but have the support of a central team. This is a ‘Resilient HR model’ that quickly recognises local priorities and responds at speed to employee and client needs.
Studies at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggest that organisations with sophisticated HR technology are resilient and outperform those without technologies like cognitive automation, RPA, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and bots. These provide the HR function with an edge to be more collaborative, cross-functional and agile. These tools are transforming, talent acquisition solutions, time and attendance platforms, payroll processes and so on. In turn, this is positioning HR to play a more strategic role in business.
Which are the top areas that need prioritisation to build a resilient HR function? Our experience shows there are three elements that lead to success:
- Employee experience is important in a digital world: Every employee is unique. Respecting this fosters a high-performing culture. With AI, HR can individualise the employee lifecycle, aligning it with their uniqueness. Other ways to improve experience include using RPA to rapidly scan applicants, deploying chatbots to talk to applicants, accurately assessing fitment with games and quizzes, conducting virtual interviews and leveraging digital onboarding.
- Employee well-being and skill-development: Enhancing the mental and financial wellbeing of employees develops a competitive advantage. A quick way to deliver solutions around mental health is to use technology such as the company intranet, apps, bots and fitness trackers to support health goals. Skill-development is equally critical. Digital solutions that ensure learning on-the-go, simulated testing and 100% virtual training ensure that the workforce can confidently take on future challenges.
- Use analytics to track workforce and engagement related data: Predictive analytics and data mining can discover relationships between policies, procedures, practices and organisational outcomes that were not always self-evident. Common uses of data mining techniques include questions related to manpower planning, predicting turnover, validating tests and monitoring HR practices. HR dashboards are also becoming popular, allowing managers to examine information in detail and predict problems or even identify employee strengths.
The prevalent trend is to deploy global platforms that provide a unified and consistent HR experience. Such systems are amplified with new age point solutions to accelerate their processing abilities. Today, CHROs have the tools they need to thrive. They must make the right choices for their organisations so they deliver the highest ROI from an organisation’s most treasured asset—it’s people.
Written by Jasjit Singh Kang, Vice President, Global HRO, BPaaS and Business Financial Services, iCORE, Wipro Limited.