'Building a preferred work-place is important'

Talent is the backbone in todays competitive world; Right fit for the right role is just the first step

'Building a preferred work-place is important'

Most competitive organisations are focusing on new technologies, new markets and higher end work. The paradigm has shifted from quantity to quality, resulting in newer challenges and therefore opportunities for HR to play a completely different role than what they have been doing till date.  

Talent is the backbone in today’s competitive world. Difficult to attract and a bigger challenge to retain! Many competing strategies are getting equal importance in developing skills and competencies and it becomes imperative for organisations to focus on building a workplace that enhances productivity and stickiness through increased morale and motivation. Progressive organisations are deploying various practices that help’s in developing the workforce’s capabilities in line with the organisation’s objectives.

There has to be a three-tier approach on looking at this – (i) Anticipating the change in the type of work, (ii) the composition of the workforce and the (iii) resultant upheavals that leads to specific requirements in the evolving workplace.

For organisations to be relevant and move up the value chain the focus has moved to chasing high end and domain rich work resulting in a changing landscape evolving by the day.  Apart from increasing efficiency of delivery, innovation has become the key to take business to the next level. Clients today, in addition to outcomes, also look at transformation that would help them add value and improve margins also expect service providers to make them look good in front of their customers.

This has led to many changes in the way work is defined and structured. There is an increased requirement of skills in both generalist and specialist domains. People management is as important as domain expertise.  Organisations need to ensure that there is a clear linkage between business objectives with the skills & competencies and ensure the right person is positioned to deliver them.

Many organisations have invested heavily on developing them and have introduced mature frameworks to define a suitable career architecture for employees to stay/feel committed.  A huge amount of investments need to be made in areas related to capability building. The argument of build vs buy seems extremely relevant in an environment where there is a mismatch between talent supply and demand.

While leveraging on external programs, more and more organisations are creating internal training curriculum, to build capability in domains and verticals they operate in which in turn enables them to have a ready internal talent pipeline specific to their needs.

There is an increasing trend to partner with education institutions for both pre hiring and post hiring capability building. Simultaneously, it is also important to dovetail capability building with the psyche and aspirations of the employee. We need to take cognizance of the generational differences and how that maps to driving behaviours at workplace.  

Right fit for the right role is just the first step; the other important elements of talent management include understanding the talent landscape, their needs and their career aspirations and implementing talent strategies to suit the same.

For instance, a Gen X employee may be more inclined towards aligning his aspirations to the larger objective of the organisation, a Gen Y employee may be more inclined towards innovation and entrepreneurship. It becomes imperative for organisations to understand what motivates employees of different generations and develop suitable strategies.

An HR professional must look at other finer aspects of building the required culture and work environment that accelerates learning & development in an organisation. Any high performing organisation must imbibe a culture of mentoring, coaching and even “reverse-mentoring” so that there is enough “catching-up” and networking among individual employees.

To put this in perspective, there is a need to understand as to how this will be perceived by an employee and what would be the benefits (s)he would get from the practices and policies institutionalised. While the content of HR has remained the same for quite some time, the context needs to be understood and the way of functioning and more importantly thinking needs to  evolve a lot faster.  

HR as a strategic partner is no longer a fresh theme; it is a norm in most high performing and forward looking organisations. It is time that HR evolves into its new role of being “future-proof” which should be the focus especially in both the sunrise industry like say the BPO industry or in the traditional brick and mortar industry where it would need to evolve and adapt much faster for the prospective employee to feel there is a future.

We must ensure that we develop strategies which are practical and forward looking  and seamlessly integrated with the changing context. At the same time, the employee must have clear visibility as to what is in it for him. Organisations have to clearly define as to what an employee looks for at a basic level, like the 5Cs- Connect, Communicate, Celebrate, Control and Comply.

There is a need to ensure that the employee feels the connect with the organisation through various floor initiatives, communicate the relevant information, celebrate achievements and success, clearly are in  control in the areas of safety and security and at the same time remain compliant with various regulatory and industry norms.

This however does not in anyway diminish the 3 fundamental Cs – Careers, Compensation and Care. The need to ensure that in the employee life cycle and career journey, there is a path leading to enrichment, enhancement and opportunities to learn and grow through many specific  initiatives and the touch points in the employee life cycle gives ample scope for meeting ones career aspirations.

In the organisation I represent, we have had many success stories of HR partnering with business, employees and other stakeholders. A solid framework and a career architecture has been put in place, which looks into the future and provides adequate scope to constantly evolve and be ahead of the curve and has enabled us to establish a workplace that positions us as the “Employer of Choice”.

(The writer is Head HR, Infosys BPO)

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