I was at the recent panel discussion and sharing on ‘how to disruption-proof’ your workforce: 7 Mindset Shifts’ – shared by Sunil Puri organised by SHRI and CDC. Here’s a summary of the mindset shifts he mentioned are necessary to survive in a VUCA world. Adapt these mindsets and you will be prepared for change that is imminent.
1.Digitize – from Tech shy to Tech savvy
Organisations need to move from Tech-Shy to Tech Savvy. For example, start using social media as a means to attract talent. Developing brand awareness on Social Media to attract the top talent millennials. According to www.cio-asia.com, Millennials are most likely to quit a job over technology; 42% stated they would leave a company due to substandard technology.
Another way to be tech savvy is to start integrating technologies that futuristic in nature. For example, implementing virtual reality technology at the workplace. He encouraged organizations to do research and see how technology can help and what it can do for you.
This means to embrace technology a little bit more. You can start opening networks. Have more conversations with vendors. Interact with peers. Understand what’s working for them and implement in areas where possible.
2. Analytics – from Weatherman to Mixologist
Sunil also mentioned that Organisations need to move from becoming a weatherman to being a Mixologist. Currently, most people are positioned as a weatherman. They have all the relevant data needed to inform. What they need do is to take it a step further and build a story around the data.
For example, it’s not enough to have customer data. It’s important to analyse it and make sense of it. Form a story around the data – just like how a Mixologist knows which bottles to pick, knows what to add, in different proportions, to form the unique drink. This is important today as the pipes of data will increase many-fold 10 years from now. Information has to evolve into insights.
3. Holistic Experience – from Rule book Junkie to Chief Experience Officers
HR is typically seen as a position where they are playing by the rulebook. He mentioned the importance to change from a process champion, who is tech-shy, rule-book driven and operates in HR silos to transform into a Chief Employee Experience Officer. Someone who is digitally savvy, intersects multiple functions, is futurist and user experience centric.
Anything that has a process will be automated and digitized. Build your rules around the employee and make the journey seamless from the day they join to the day they leave.
4. Delegation – from Juggler to Ace Archer
The current role of the HR is to manage a multitude of tasks. Just like a juggler, we’re balancing everything. In fact, people only notice how much we do when we drop the balls. The way forward for organisations is to allow HR to accept new responsibilities. Give them the authority to make initiatives successful. Figure out ways where HR can do more. Can payroll be placed under finance? Can HR be more than a cheerleader when it comes to an initiative around Diversity?
In Asia especially, there is a thin line between administration and HR. For instance, why should HR plan the company picnic? HR may be taking up too many activities where there are no takers, or where HR has somewhat responsibility but little authority to make any tangible difference. Asian HR Leaders need to work on their ability to influence, especially the courage to challenge in the ‘right’ manner.
A key question to ask is if the tasks HR takes up has any measurable, direct impact and will your CFO understand the value of the initiatives.
5. Awareness – from Ostrich to an Eagle POV
With the VUCA world we live in, where newer business models are emerging, newer technologies are emerging, taking an inside-out view is not likely to help.
HR needs to look at what’s happening in different organisations, countries, and regions. Instead of having a long tenure in one company/industry/country, they need to look at an Outside-In approach of Multi Country/Multi-Industry experience.
The key question to ask after observing what’s outside is “How can I adapt it to make it work in my company?” It is important to think through what is the world looking like on the outside, and create awareness around what the external world is doing, and understanding the gap between your organisation and the world outside.
The best way to go about that is to build open networks and diversify experiences. Different roles, different markets, different sectors, leading different agendas will open your eyes to what’s out there. Get an eagle eye view on things.
6. Collaborate – from Dog Trainer to Show Jumper
HR leaders are typically not appreciated because in Asia, they tend to ‘live by the rule book’. According to business leaders, when they approach HR with an unconventional talent request, they are often shown the rule book and their request is turned down.
HR is known to be the bearers of bad news – always telling people ‘cannot do this’ and ‘cannot do that’. If it is good news, CEO delivers it but if it is bad news, often HR becomes the bad news bearer – the bad cop.
Sunil mentioned that HR needs to play an equal partner role with businesses as they try and unravel the future to take the organisations forward. HR business partners will need to graduate from advisors or ‘order takers’ to critical resources who could execute strategy projects and help shape the business.
For example, look out for what competitors are doing on the talent front, understand economic changes and design/tweak your talent strategy accordingly.
Become a partner who grows the business rather than a rule enforcer
7. Attitude to Change – from Helper to Doctor
The key difference is in being proactive. Annual responsibilities, rolling out employee satisfaction surveys, salary benchmarking exercises, compliance, training recruiting and talent interventions will not be enough. leaders of the future will have to play a proactive role in the enterprise. For example, owning critical initiatives such as internal consultant, leadership developer, change agent and even part business leader role in some cases.
They need to be in the ‘inner core’ of the CEO, advising him on anything related to people. HR needs to be the Consigliery (right-hand man) of the CEO. They need to take on strategic execution responsibilities. HR needs to have a role in advising leadership on talent issues and executing strategic priorities.
There you have it – 7 shifts that need to happen to be disruption proof. I guess the first change we need to make is really with the Mindset about disruption. Instead of avoiding it, make disruption an essential. A norm. Disrupt the way you think and operate. When leaders can constantly create a culture of disruption that is rewarded, innovation flourishes. Create a culture where failure is not final. This will empower your teams to think bigger no matter the challenge.