The important of Human Resources and the challenges of managing them is increasingly getting recognized across all organizations, even though sometime it may be recognized as a support function. Human capital is sometimes used synonymously with human resources, although human capital typically refers to a more narrow view (i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and thus can contribute to the growth and prosperity of an organization). Likewise, other terms sometimes used include “manpower”, “talent”, “labour”, or simply “people”.WorkForce 360 was a HR summit organized in Chennai on 19th February, 2015, for highlighting the issues and the best practices in human resource management.

This conference was organized by Randstad, which is a leading employment services provider with hundreds of client-dedicated locations nationwide to serve the staffing needs of different organizations across different industry verticals. Randstad is a Dutch multinational human resource consulting firm headquartered in Diemen, Netherlands. It is the world’s second-largest HR service provider and was founded in the Netherlands in 1960 by Frits Goldschmeding and has a presence in around 39 countries.As per 2013 data, the company has a turnover of €16.6 billion and employs around 28,000 professionals.

Workforce360 was an initiative taken up by Randstad which aims at providing the HR professionals, comprehensive insights on talent management, employee engagement, talent retention and capability development. It was created as an online and offline platform for thought leadership and sharing of best practices to enable the HR professionals with continuous and collaborative learning and practice oriented insights.

Workforce 360 in 2015 was the 11th event in line with the objective. As organizations gear up for the next era of growth after the economic slowdown, the HR function has evolved in this transformational phase. The HR practitioners have long been the drivers of change and cultural transformation within professional organizations and will continue to do so for a significant period of time. HR professionals are reincarnating themselves into a more strategic function. Given this backdrop WorkForce 360 focused on investigating how different should the HR teams function in 2015 as compared to the last few years? ​ What are some of the major HR trends & challenges to look out for? How will models of talent acquisition evolve over the years? Are the HR function in India equipped to move at the speed of organisations evolution?

The speakers for the event highlighted many interesting thoughts on the theme:

  1. V. Balachandar: Senior Vice President and Group HR and Process Excellence at Ashok Leyland, highlighted the focus on key imperatives like service focus towards internal stake-holders who are nowdays more knowledgeable, more vocal and more challenging. Subsequently, the socio-economical change in the society was highlighted and its implications for HR managers. Subsequently the demographics and geographic diversity in the work association was highlighted. Finally he highlighted how technology is changing the paradigms, modes of operations and way of engaging with the different stake-holders like the employees and customers. He also highlighted the importance of women in work-force and their acceptance in leadership positions.
  2. Sunitha Lal, Chief Human Resources Officer at Pvt. Ltd highlighted the importance of changing technology and mobile platforms which is transforming the business model. Focus on identifying, training and developing talent is predominant. There is a lot of focus on differentiation of the services offered by the organization and the difference of business heads who need both domain specific competency (for organized and unorganized sector) and also business acumen. Data management is also of prime importance in this emerging domain.
  3. Shashikanth Jayaraman, Head – Human Resources, TVS Automobile Solutions Ltd, the moderator of the panel, highlighted the diversity of the panel, highlighted the need of the start-up mentality to go hand-in-hand with the business and line functions. He highlighted the need of connecting people needs with business needs for growth and sustainability, within the evolving and diverse times.
  4. Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India & Sri Lanka, highlighted the three Es, Employee, Employer and Ecosystem, and how they need to coexist. The need of high fitment, high talent, and just-in-time availability within employers is increasing. Employees want to have fun, learn on the workplace and grow faster in their workplaces. So this involves a changing diversity and environment which managers need to manage. Technology was highlighted as being RED (Reach people, Engage people and Develop people). With the changing flexibility and changing loyalty within professional enterprises, the management between the top and bottom has flexibility, but the mid-level flexibility is needed more in India. He highlighted the need of the three As (Align with the Business, Adapt to Changes and Accelerate to meet goals) for the HRs.
  5. Gopal Singaraju, Chief Operating Officer at Royal Bank of Scotland highlighted how HR was never given credit to the success of ITS/ITeS in drastically reducing the employee turnover rate. He shared concern how HR never features in the annual report or balance sheet of knowledge organizations where knowledge is the key deliverable. Further he highlighted the need of publishable metrics and communicate the benefits of the professional contributions of the group. The average age of employees is decreasing to 25-28 years, which require the intervention of HR to bridge the gap with the senior executives, but due to over-investment into systems, the human connect is getting diluted which is affecting retention and development of employees.
  6. KabilanJayathungan, Director – HR & Safety at KONE Elevator India Private Limited, highlighted the increasing importance of employee feedback for enhancing employee-manager relationship and engagement. The 360 degree feedback is indeed a major data driven feedback but competency is a major challenge to analyze the data driven engagement objectively. Metrics need to be developed, accountability needs to be traced and people planning needs to be faster to get the credibility from the senior management from the line function. The focus on tangible RoI was highlighted in these era of changing times.

Indeed the HRs would have a lot to take away from the insights shared by the senior practitioners in the Industry. The thought processes guiding the evolution of this function is indeed insightful in shaping the organizations of tomorrow. If you are an aspiring HR professional, please join up their LinkedIn group to follow their discussions and communications.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].