Dr. Naveen Malhotra
Group President HR
Sintex Industries Ltd
Organisations struggle to maintain levels of innovation and agility when facing the demands of larger workforces, increased competition, declining budgets, increased regulation and/or marketplace disruption. Old ways of doing things may no longer work and new approaches will need to be trialled and evaluated, requiring a cohesive, conscious and organisation-wide shift in thinking. From senior leaders, to frontline customer interactions, and from product/service to support roles – each must be aligned and committed to the goals of the organisation.
So what role do HR Function plays in this journey – how has that role changed – and how will it continue to change in the future?
There are an incredible number of pressures on today’s organizations. To name a few: environmental pressures such as increasing globalization, rapid technological change, and tougher competition; organizational changes such as new organizational alliances, new structures and hierarchies, new ways of assigning work, and a very high rate of change; changes in the workforce, including employees’ priorities, capabilities, and demographic characteristics.
Within these pressured organizations, there is a need for the human resource function to play a critical role in helping organizations navigate through these transitions. In order to play this role, however, HR function will have to increase its real and perceived value. The main stake holders of an organization are Investors, Customers, Vendors, Employee, Government and Society. We all know that the success of the Organization comes with the satisfaction of its stakeholders. In the competitive market environment to make the business successful People Strategy and practices needs to be reviewed and aligned with the business Goal.
Dave Ulrich provides a clear path to the next generation of HR with Human Resource Champions: The Next agenda for Adding Value and Delivering Results (1997). He describes a multi-faceted approach to delivering HR services that meets the needs of both employees and employers, and positions HR as a significant contributor to organizational success. Ulrich presents his approach in terms of deliverables, or outcomes, for which HR should be responsible: strategy execution, administrative efficiency, employee contribution, and capacity for change. In the course of delivering in these four areas, he describes four corresponding roles for HR to play within a business:
a) As a strategic partner working to align HR and business strategy,
b) As an administrative expert working to improve organizational processes and deliver basic HR services,
c) As an employee champion, listening and responding to employees’ needs, and
d) As a change agent managing change processes to increase the effectiveness of the organization.
One of unique things about Ulrich’s approach is that it is includes all of the ways that HR can deliver value to an organization, rather than shifting focus from one area to another.
Making the shift to a new HR role will raise unique issues for every HR that attempts it, but there are some common steps and activities that will increase the likelihood of success. Some of these steps and activities are:
• Strong HR leadership. As with any major change effort, a strong leader can develop a clear vision, motivate others to share that vision, and help them work toward achieving it. In order to change the role of HR in an organization, the HR leader will need to work both within the HR and with the organizational leaders to reshape everyone’s expectations of what HR can and will deliver. The success of the change will depend upon HR’s ability to meet the real needs of the organization and the credibility it develops.
• Acute future orientation. One of the ways that HR can provide value is to understand how changing environmental, organizational, and workforce factors will likely influence the business, anticipate the associated HR needs, and be prepared to deliver appropriate solutions to meet those needs. By maintaining a focus on workplace trends, for instance, HR can prepare to evaluate the impact that particular changes are likely to have on an organization’s people and processes, and be prepared to work with the business leaders to decide how to respond-being ahead of the curve, not behind it. For example, one movement that is likely to have significant impact on the way people are hired, managed, and valued is that of intellectual capital. A “new role” HR department is one that has learned about intellectual capital and its implications, evaluated the impact on current practice, and developed ideas and recommendations for changing HR practice and other business processes.
• Flexibility and creativity. An HRM that would be successful in the future is likely be one that is responsive to the changing needs of its organization. Responsiveness in the changing world of work will require being flexible-as the organizations change, so will their needs and priorities. In addition, traditional activities and processes may not be sufficient to meet the unique needs of the future-HR leaders will likely rely on creativity of their groups to achieve effective results. Increasing globalization of the market will create a need for both flexibility and creativity as businesses try to succeed in new locations, with a new workforce, and with new customers.
• Delivering value. Although this is not a new challenge for HR, it remains a critical one. HR is still perceived by many within today’s organizations as simply a non-revenue generating function. It is important to make apparent the value provided by working with the management team to hire the right people, manage them well, pay them appropriately, and build a working environment is very vital for the success.
Too often, human resource management transform themselves in a strategic vacuum, responding to the business’ day-to-day operating needs without a clear view of the big picture. To be effective, HR needs to align its improvement efforts with the company’s business strategy. This requires an HR transformation strategy that is realistic and executable – with accurate plans, schedules, resource requirements and estimated benefits that the company can rely on. Great human resource strategies are developed within the context of this process.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Dave Ulrich. (1997), Human Resource Champions: The Next agenda for adding value and delivering results, Bawany, S. (2008), Strategic HRM: Aligning HR to Business Strategy,