How would you collaborate with a distributed workforce while ensuring the cultural assimilation of remote employees? What would be your response to the ever-increasing time to close positions? How will you personalize rewards and socialize recognition of employees in real time? Many such pressing questions have been keeping human resources on edge. Considering HR transforming at warp speed, let us discover what solutions India Inc leaders at the 'SAP HR connect' conference offered for diverse HR challenges.
Parag Paranjpe, CHRO, RJ Corp emphasizes that "unless we have enabled technologies, it is just not viable to drive the scale of expansion, be in tandem with the growth, with your people practices in alignment. Without a digital backbone and technology platforms, we cannot reach out to every employee in the organization." Gen-Z employees are more tech-savvy and see merit in translating their real-world technology experiences into their workplaces for superior performance. Furthermore, technology is a gateway for communication to travel in real-time while ensuring transparency and transcending hierarchy for a superlative employee experience.
Rajiv Sibal, President of India Business, Lupin, said, "in recent times, technology has become an enabler for everything, making it critical to embrace it to drive business outcomes and to increase productivity." While big data environments provide valuable insights to make more informed and strategic decisions, robotic process automation skilfully handles repetitive or physically demanding tasks.
Implementing Technology and Data Protection
Implementing technology begins with creating an infrastructure of technology. Vinay Pai, CEO & MD of Tata Projects, provided insight into the digitization process to obtain absolute value from digitization. "In the first stage, eliminate the superfluous elements of the processes; in the second stage, simplify the remaining parts of the processes, and finally digitize the simplified sections of the process," he said. However, the technology implementation process comes with specific challenges in the basket. The expanding use of technology churns out massive amounts of data, necessitating its organization and protection. Fragmented data is the major challenge that people are facing today. "As against the legacy of keeping the data in-house, it is more favorable to keep the data on the cloud," said Anil Nimbargi, Group CTO & Sr. VP IT, Welspun Group. Data privacy and protection are critical tasks that depend heavily on configuring the data on the cloud.
The analogy given by Ahmad Maredia, HXM Cloud Architect, APJ (SAP), spells the difference between privacy and protection and points out that data protection shall not be mistaken for data privacy. Maredia said, "A person sitting inside a transparent glass cabin can have shelter and protection from the weather, small animals, and birds but cannot have privacy." Privacy by design is a critical requirement for safe data management. Privacy requirement is not for trade. Every solution provider must ensure end-to-end protection and respect the user's needs.
Technology To Overcome Skill-Shortage and Reduce Hiring Time
Technology is swiftly filling the gap between the job market and the available skilled workforce, which was not the case a few years ago. Nitin Dave, the CEO of Quess Staffing Solutions, narrated a heart-warming anecdote, "about fifteen years ago, while my son and I were cycling down a village near our forest resort in Sariska National Park, we were invited by a farmer's family to their home. The father introduced me to his postgraduate son, who, for the past many years, had been working on their family farms with a heavy heart while fighting a strong desire and ambition to work in the private sector. Being educated and brought up in a remote rural area, he and his social circle did not have the means or the right knowledge to approach the job market." Technology can play a vital role in transcending human limitations by its outreach to areas with a skilled workforce that humans find difficult to access. Furthermore, adopting new tech digital platforms also facilitate the upskilling and reskilling of existing talent, eventually alleviating some of the pressure associated with ongoing labor shortages.
Several factors affect the time taken to close a position, such as the availability of HR or hiring managers to administer tests to a candidate, outreach to a competitive job market, lengthy process of social hiring, etc. AI technology not only cuts human bias, but a fast-wrapped interview process also improves candidates' experience. Venu Nair, MD & CEO of Shoppers Stop, said, "an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based screening platform equipped to test and evaluate functional and behavioral competencies followed by a video interview has rescued us from the traditional arduous recruitment process."
Technology As The Enabler For Meaningful Outcomes
Is technology overhyped and the answer to every HR needs? Sibal answered the pertinent question, "Today, technology has become an enabler for everything, and it has become critical to embrace technology to drive business outcomes and to increase productivity." HR business operations are constantly changing and evolving, from ethical AI to metaverse platforms for corporate learning. To keep up with the demands of a more complex environment, corporate leaders must strategically select the proper tech trends and keep up with them.
From streamlining operations and managing projects to optimizing delivery and enhancing user experiences, numerous new technologies can be implemented to support businesses achieve their objectives. Describing Lupin's digital transformation journey, Sibal informed, "we at Lupin have accelerated the pace of leveraging the technology to enhance our stakeholders' engagement, attract talent, engage people, and for people development in a meaningful manner." He added, "Phigital is the new word for the Pharma sector going digital." "We constructed a legal platform for customers to answer all their legal, medical queries; designed a chatbot named Anya to answer all the queries related to five therapy areas in five different languages." "We also developed a Netflix-like platform called 'Sciflix,' with scientific content to cater to our doctors." From AI and digital tech to IoT, the post-covid era is dedicated to the widespread adoption of technology revolutionizing not only the workplaces but our lives too. The constraining boundaries are now blurring, broadening the scope of technology for all, irrespective of the nature of the business or the sector in which companies operate. "Earlier sectors like healthcare and banking involving strict governance were not amenable to digitization." Now, BOTS are employed virtually almost everywhere," said Pooja Mehendale, senior VP of human resources at GeBBS Healthcare Solutions.
Technology has penetrated and made its way deep into the roots of our lives and businesses, making it essential for us to pave the way to let the tech tree grow organically.