How do you see the evolution of HR from Administration to personnel management to Human Resources to now People’s Department?
That’s aptly put. The HR has been through a metamorphosis of sorts, something that it’s still undergoing. And most of it has happened roughly in the last decade. So, we’ve all witnessed it from up close and been a part of it too.
See, organizations have realized the value of being focused on services & technology differentiated products. Strategies are being rehashed to cater to an audience that organizations are painstakingly defining. And, since they’re putting their money where their mouth is, the HR is needed to not just manage the administrative part but act in alignment with the objectives of the organization. In other words, there’s almost nothing that the management does, which the HR isn’t privy to.
Of course, the HR has to offer a tailor-made environment to nurture, grow & retain the talent. Today, everyone knows that the success of an organization lies with its people. It’s the people who innovate and ideate. If someone writes a top notch code for you and it helps the management achieve something, then why shouldn’t that person be made to feel special? It’s about celebrating your employees. That’s what a people’s department is all about.
I see this as convergence of a kind where HR is working in unison with all the other management functions. It’s a very exciting time to be in the HR.
Over the past few years, PMS, L&D, Talent Management and HR Automation have seen tremendous shifts. Have the HR Operations/Data & Payroll Management/Industrial Relations kind of roles become less attractive for HR professionals?
Automation of processes has given way to newer roles for the HR. From carrying out mundane, operational tasks that have limited impact in creating organizational edge, HR is playing a strategic role in the success of the organization. PMS, L&D, Talent Management, all these roles that are now considered to be CXO roles or the roles that directly impact the organization’s competitiveness (because of the importance they carry) fall in the sphere of HR today.
So, more than the attraction, the requirement of HR Operations/Data & Payroll Management/Industrial Relations people is set to shrink, at least in mid-large enterprises.
Besides, it only makes sense to outsource certain roles to partners or internal departments that are better outfitted to manage them, like finance can manage payrolls way more efficiently than HR. Having said that, the proficiency of HR professionals in operations, data or management can’t be undermined too. They must be well-versed with their conventional functions, but should be fully equipped to lend a hand in strategic initiatives.
With the Big Data becoming Big in HR, how does the role of HR look like in the next decade?
Big Data and analytics are contributing heavily to the growth of HR. With it, companies are able to mine data, have better interpretation of the talent available and how to engage them, take strategic decisions and create niche programs and initiatives that can resonate with specific sets of people, et. al. When data is driving the decisions almost everywhere, why should HR be excluded?
Again, it doesn’t imply that HR will get totally dependent on Big Data. There’d be times when data would point to something that won’t be in line with your conventional or experiential wisdom. That’s where the analytical prowess and people skills of HR will come in. Everything cannot be left to numbers, you see. It’s the humans who have to make sense of it.
In the next decade I think as the HR evolves and builds further capability, Big Data’s role will expand. I’m of the opinion that more and more people from the technology background will get in the HR function. Conversely, the old school of thought that HR is one of the easiest of the management functions will find no place in this new order.
How do you think the balance of HR generalists and specialists in an organization will pan out in the future?
Over the last few years we’ve seen that many roles have got created, many have got outdated in organizations. So, I think that’s going to continue. The space is still quite dynamic, which means, you’d require a fine balance of both the generalists and the specialist.
Specialist will definitely lead the pack by focusing on niche areas that require depth and expertise. They’ll look at the competition, adopt different strategies to take decisions based on the needs of the people and what the organization wants to achieve.
HR generalists would be required by the organizations for direct engagement with members primarily Business Partnering and Strategic roles. All in all, there’s a good potential of growth for both these roles. Both are important. However, to be a tad more specific, I’d say that demand of specialists will undoubtedly grow faster and that’s going to be global trend.