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MEANINGFUL & IMPACTFUL RESULTS

Month: July 2017

Notes from Nasscom HR Summit 2017

I thought of sharing some of my consolidated notes from this year’s Nasscom HR Summit 2017 in Chennai (July 20-21, 2017).

“HR is not an agenda item. It is the agenda”. – Jeffrey Immelt, GE

LEADERSHIP

  • Next big leadership focus may be on leading differences and harnessing diversity.
  • Differentiated organization needs for “future fit”: 1. Adaptive Intelligence. 2. Culture fit – DNA (Very difficult to replicate organizational culture) and Curiosity Conversations (Really important to ask multiple “Why” questions and encourage them in your culture).
  • Leaders are brokers of hope. There is a thin line between hope and despair.

FUTURE DIGITAL WORLD

  • A key challenge today while thinking about change and future: In 2008, 73% of business ideas were Continuations. 12% were Novelties. Now, 71% of ideas are Novelites and 14% are Continuations.
  • A useful idea about the future needs to be ridiculous. What ridiculous idea are you entertaining about the future in your organization?
  • We will see more of Digitally Autonomous Organizations (DAO) – that involve very few to no management layers. That could be termed as technology enabled holocracy.
  • In a future digital world, there is a need to approach metrics differently. eg. Mahindra is moving from measuring number of cars sold to number of miles driven. There will also be a need to look at different business models that may challenge existing revenue and business models. Mahindra launched a separate tractor company called Trringo, that is similar to Uber for tractors (while maintaining their traditional tractor business).
  • The role of HR in a digital organization has to be more customer facing and focussed. e.g., AirBnB community interaction sessions are facilitated by HR.

WORK

  • We cannot ignore the social elements of disruption in our work environment. All sectors, especially government will have to rethink and implement a strong support umbrella for those losing jobs and effective re-skilling.
  • Approximately, 30% of India labour is on temporary or contract labor. Most of it seem to be not out of choice. A key question is how this will evolve in coming years, related impact on society and how our systems and support will need to evolve accordingly. Organizations will need to figure out more effective ways to manage a flexible talent pool. Government will again need to play a key role in thinking and establishing related public policies when the dynamics of employment relationships change.
  • The delivery of work in future will change significantly. Open business models are redefining value and leads to the emergence of new roles. Robotics and analytics will drive higher productivity. As a result, the employer employee relationship will also continue to evolve.

LEARNING

  • Continuous education aspect that involves learning beyond formal education throughout one’s career is growing in importance. There seems to be at least three key cycles of learning today in our lives – formal education years, the first few years at work and around mid career.
  • Companies need multiple learning interventions and re-skilling initiatives for the future. Some companies have trained employees on agile ways of working.
  • To enable behavioral change, it helps to do multiple small pilot projects.
  • Effective learning should be accessible Anytime, Anyway, Anywhere.

HR TECHNOLOGY

  • The focus of HR systems and tools is moving to “Interaction” from “Information”.
  • Majority of employee interaction on HR systems are moving to chat and voice. There will be no need for an employee to see the HR Management System.
  • Internal employee experiences need to mimic external customer experiences.
  • For technology to be effective, it must support story telling and connection.
  • YES Bank uses Facebook At Work for communication and collaboration. It seems to be working well for them.

HR PRACTICES

  • Citi sends all their graduates to NGOs and villages for one week, to get first hand experiences. HR folks spent 9 months taking on line responsibilities.
  • HR needs to think like the Marketing function and all solutions have to be simplified.
  • Career relationship managers or mentors will play an increasingly important role in organizations in future.
  • Google seems to have a Googler To Googler Guru Program Tool or Platform that connects experts in the organization to other employees, involving mentoring support.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT IN GE

Many folks still continue to refer to the GE bell curve distribution approach in performance management. GE no longer follows that approach. They have completely revamped their famous performance management system and removed the bell curve distribution approach. Some key elements of their new system include:

  • No annual goals, only priorities that are updated through the year.
  • No ratings. Focus is on “real-time” inputs for development and improvement. Feedback has been renamed to ‘Insights’ and anyone in the organization can share with the individual through a smart device application (This is based on neuroscience studies that the term feedback results in defensiveness that also blocks proper processing of feedback).
  • Related areas that still seem to require continued focus and work in this revamp are improving clarity for employees and communication around rewards distribution.

Hope these notes have provided at least couple of useful ideas.

Best wishes to you for the week ahead.

For HR professionals – Making Your Voice Heard

We recently saw in the press about an employee situation in a leading IT organization in India. HR was blamed by many. There will be many occasions in organizations that involve difficult situations to execute and the pressure seems high. One of the most common reasons cited in such situations is financial pressure.

Many times, a different contradicting view is not raised by HR because of the fear for their own jobs, to avoid conflict with the leaders who are more powerful, whose support is needed and to avoid personal issues. Business leaders play a key role in making their HR teams comfortable and confident for such discussions.

An important lesson for HR professional here is to clearly listen to oneself, think from multiple perspectives and highlight one’s point of view, when experience and conscience clearly tells something is amiss. You have to take responsibility for a decision that you are involved in and highlight concerns at the time of review. When a delicate situation goes out of control later, you will most probably see others pointing towards you, though you were not the only person in that room. Sometimes, these may involve ethical scenarios that can come back and haunt the organization in a major way (eg. recent harassment claims in a prominent U.S. organization). The situation may require you to take a clear stand that sometimes creates tension.

For any professional, it is also important to build your credibility by constantly interacting with all key leaders regarding your points of view. One needs to develop trust, skill, knowledge and credibility to initiate and influence such discussions.

Poor leadership is seen when business or organizational leaders hide behind HR teams for decisions made and don’t feel comfortable communicating themselves. The best business leaders take responsibility for leading their organizations, initiate discussions through leadership channels and actively partner with their HR teams. They form a great partnership to build an engaged culture and everyone wins in the process, especially the organization. As an HR professional, it is important to realize you are ultimately safeguarding the organization and key stakeholder interest when you bring different and sometimes contradicting perspectives to a complex discussion.

I once interacted with a headhunter team who were sourcing for a HR Head in a startup. They seemed to become upset and dismissive on being asked related questions and ended up responding quite unprofessionally. It made me wonder that if they could not tolerate detailed questions about the organization while searching for an HR leader, what sort of HR professional and team would be hired.

We see this aspect become increasingly relevant for organizations to acknowledge. Many times, issues and scenarios go out of control because of the “How”, not the “What”. In today’s world, where everyone has access to both channels and sources of information, the professional and balanced HR perspective internally or externally, becomes critical for every professional and organization to develop, succeed and thrive.

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