The new-age expectations from a new-age HR

The world of business is rapidly changing with concomitant changes happening in the ways business models are created and operated, customer expectations and ecosystem in which companies function. The jargon that has come to capture these rapid changes is that we live in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) and that drives home the point that people management cannot remain the same and needs to address the new expectations of the VUCA world and beyond.

HR leaders of yesteryears were constantly told that they needed to be more business-driven and be true partners in the business. While a large majority of the HR fraternity was navigating through this change of being more relevant to the businesses they served, the change in the business scenario made it critical that they saw their own roles beyond just being trustworthy business partners. Today, the key drivers that dictate the success of organizations in the new world are speed and agility, continuous innovation, flat and effective organization structures, and collaboration beyond the organization’s boundaries. And while the traditional HR processes that have relied heavily on compliance and standards will now need to change, it is crucial to see them through a different lens and HR leaders will need to drive the change effort. HR leadership will now need to think of lean structures that will drive speed and change the organization’s mindset from that of control to one that drives results through influence. Although the approaches to drive such changes in organizations will not be an easy task, the changes have to be driven by the urgency in the context of a rapidly changing world. 

Successful organizations of tomorrow will be the ones that identify the business, economic and socio-political, and demographic trends early on and prepare themselves for the same while focusing on continuous improvement since customer expectations will always be moving up. To build organizational ethos and continuous innovation, HR will play a key role in institutionalizing innovation across all levels of an organization, and although the approaches currently practiced need radical rethinking, HR should drive such thought processes and be the catalysts for the new changes. 

It is imperative for HR leaders to amplify the message on the changes required to thrive in a VUCA world 

The expectations from HR leaders are varied and there is a new set of challenges that HR leaders need to address. However, the positive aspect of changes is that unlike earlier times when HR was more a support and a control function, business leaders are now increasingly recognizing the impact that a future-ready HR function can make. And consequently, business leaders are making efforts to get the right profiles to play these roles. The importance of HR leadership and the impact, which it can make on the organization, is fully understood by many Boards but while it is understood, the clarity on how to drive the change in organizations is still not clear. Hence, it is imperative for HR leaders to amplify the message on the changes required to thrive in a VUCA world and prepare the organization proactively.