Is Future of HR "No HR"? by Manoj Kumar

Manoj is a senior management consulting professional and a thought-leader in the workforce analytics space. His contribution to HR by application of Analytics earned him the recognition of one of the top 40 HR Leaders Under 40 in India and, also recognized as one of the Workforce Analytics influencer worldwide by the industry peers. 

He has led global engagements in the area of people strategy, operational excellence, HR transformation & digitization, Business Intelligence, and built high-performing analytics teams for Fortune 500 companies like HSBC, Fidelity Investments & GE. 

He is currently heading HR Analytics for Global Businesses and Global HR Analytics Centre of Excellence at HSBC. 

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The workplace is converging, and so are future skill and talent requirements. Today, the auto industry is hiring more electrical and 3D printing engineers than hardcore manufacturing or mechanical engineers. Google is strengthening hardware capabilities further – recently paying $1.1B to acquire 2,000 HTC engineers. Irrespective of the industry and size, Business Intelligence and cloud skills are becoming a norm. It’s a new world with new rules. What does this agile business environment mean for Human Resources? 

  • The digital workplace will be productive with the congruence of HR, IT, Finance, and Real-estate, to deliver the experience that intelligent offices are expected to provide in the future. Workplace as a service is the reality and will become the norm soon.
  • Robotics Process Automation is taking over the mundane tasks, while analytics will get embedded in the operations, streamed directly to the handheld devices of senior leaders, and that too in the integrated and at the enterprise level. Likes of Alexa in the corporates will be the “creative destruction” in making HR contact centres a capability of yesterday. 
  • Talent acquisition efforts will go hyper-local especially to attract passive talent - a fusion of art, science, and technology. Employer brand built on leadership, purpose, and employee well-being, will be the critical factors that future employees will consider before taking the plunge. The disruption is so-fast that Talent-barter system will take the front-seat to meet the company business needs and employee's work purposefulness. This dynamics will force to relax the labour laws further. 
  • Learning & development will take the front seat to keep the workforce future ready. A conventional Learning & Development function will not be able to match the speed of the change in the industry. Hence, a new stream of training organisation will evolve as Learning-As-A-Service, bringing cutting-edge channels like VR/AR which will take precedence over traditional training channels. 
  • Talent attracts talent hence employee engagement through Purpose of the work will become one the critical drivers for Talent acquisition and retention. However, business leaders will be the champions of employee wellbeing and employer brand than HR. 

It's evident from the above that HR is disrupted and will not exist for the purpose it does today. HR has to find a new avatar - an enabler to CEO's business objectives and a workforce consultant to the organisation – be it a digital workplace, employer brand, talent attraction, development, and retention. The industry will witness a birth of a “new” function having DNA like “People First where Leaders will lead from behind,” agile to the core, technology-led, and business outcome focused.

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