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HR-bots and baby day-care centers: How today's Enterprises are balancing their HCM initiatives

 

At times, your organization's HR team may have to plan extreme human capital management (HCM) initiatives that can leave you perplexed about where it's all heading. Well! These initiatives are a result of the sky high expectations from chief human resources officer (CHRO) and HR teams in an organization.

Recently, an Indian IT services firm created around 22 bots to perform HR functions using artificial intelligence (AI). These bots are being integrated with the existing HR software platform that the company sells, thus bringing a high-end 'robotic experience' i.e. without the intervention of humans, to the otherwise mundane HR transactions.

On the other side, large tech companies are now providing on-campus, toddler daycare services, in an effort to improve their employee-friendliness and bring a 'human touch' to employee relations.

These two anecdotes best summarize the extreme HCM initiatives ('face-less' to 'humane') that typical HR functions have been undergoing in recent times.

Given their offbeat nature, it is interesting to analyze the various factors influencing the planning and execution of such human capital management (HCM) initiatives. To be more methodical about this analysis, we will categorize these factors as 'behavioral,' 'ecological,' and 'positional.'

Behavioral factors

As the name suggests, behavioral factors revolve around the 'perceived behavior' of your HR teams, and the associated HCM initiatives which determine how employees perceive the HR teams in an organization.

Recent HCM initiatives introduced by various enterprises across the globe point to the following patterns:

  • Big shift in the mind-set towards employee engagement / satisfaction

As mentioned above, the introduction of toddler daycare, on-campus, is an excellent example of this shift. Alongside, Tech companies like Microsoft, Infosys, etc. have already announced that they are 'removing the traditional bell curve for employee performance' appraisals. In fact, several companies today also take pride in announcing themselves to be 'flat' or 'no-hierarchy' organizations. Introduction of more work-from-home opportunities and informal dress codes are some other moves made by them, considering 'employee satisfaction' as a key parameter in designing HCM initiatives or policies.

  • Need for increased communication

Enterprises today have realized the undeniable need of employee communication. Therefore, each enterprise is creating layered HR teams to address employee concerns. This could encompass initiatives like location-specific HR teams, business group-specific HR teams, creating 'grievance cells' to handle employee issues, and introducing 'employee buddy' programs to handle the onboarding of new employees.

  • Ensuring cross-cultural diversity and a strong gender-mix

One of the largest shifts visible today is in an organization's efforts to introduce gender diversity in their enterprise. Similarly, global organizations carry a huge onus of ensuring improved cross-cultural diversity in their teams. Enterprises with high diversity are good examples to emulate, as they are seen to have more 'open' and 'fair' HR policies; which is, again, a positive behavior from the HR team that employees would look forward to.

  • Process simplification / standardization

While business complexity is increasing with every passing day, enterprises are hard at work, trying to simplify their processes as much as possible. HR is one good function within an enterprise, wherein process simplification or standardization, elimination of multiple approvals, and going paperless for almost all processes is fast becoming a standard practice.

Ecological factors

These factors are driven more by the outside environment or the 'ecosystem'. Although some considerations here are optional, most are crucial and mandatory, and to a large extent, define the HCM initiatives taken by various enterprises.

  • Technology trends

These include various tech-practices trending across the HCM ecosystem; such as, the rapid adoption of HCM cloud, increased use of HR analytics, and preparing for HR operations using machine learning.

  • Regulatory compliance

Strict adherence to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, diversity rules, paid leaves of absence (LOA) standards, labor policies, minimum wages, etc. are governed by regulations or the law of the land. There is an increasing trend among global organizations to conduct HCM initiatives aimed at streamlining such regulatory compliance across various geographies of operations.

  • Data security / Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Enterprises today face enhanced scrutiny of their data management, data access, and PII data protection practices. This is forcing HCM teams to design and implement several governing, policing, and grievance redressal mechanisms around various data privacy or intellectual property laws.

Positional factors

These HCM initiatives are designed to provide a positional advantage to an enterprise. They act as external or internal branding for the enterprise and are closely monitored by the organization's high-level executives.

  • Articulate the business value of HR

Enterprises are mandating their HR teams to demonstrate the business value of HR to the organization. In other words, most HCM initiatives today are driven by business value / key performance indicators (KPI) and focus on aligning HR to the organization's strategies.

  • Create a 'brand image' - like 'Best Employer'

Most enterprise want their HR teams to bring in new, market-leading, and employee-focused practices that culminate in achieving the coveted 'Best Employer' award. Recently, a private bank in India created an employee journey based 'Employee Experience' HR initiative, which was kind of a radical approach to handling HR transactions.

  • HR as a partner in innovation across the company

Enterprises today want their HR teams to propel a culture of innovation across the organization and be true partners in their modernization journey. This is driving HR teams to create newer policies / frameworks to nurture and propagate innovation within the teams. Recent HCM initiatives include redefining jobs / positions / AORs (Areas of Responsibility) to allow employees to manage their career working on multiple items beyond the regular work. It is just like allowing them to manage their careers as a portfolio. HCM initiatives are being designed specially to identify and incentivize an employees' contributions of novel or innovative ideas, above and beyond their regular, expected tasks / activities.  

  • HR as a strong propellant for an enterprise's value system

Today, most enterprises use their HR teams as representatives to communicate the company's value system. HCM initiatives primarily designed in the form of workshops, emails, sessions, campaigns, etc., using various gamification techniques, are meant to improve the awareness of the organizational value system within the employee population.

  • Continuous competency building

This is an age-old expectation from HR teams but receives very high visibility in today's age of 'talent wars' - in which an enterprise has to participate. HCM initiatives are now designed to empower the organization's workforce in skill-areas that are crucial to giving an organization the much-required 'competitive edge'.

To summarize, the changing needs of organizations to engage better with the  millennial employees and digital workforce -- employees who use smart-devices and are active on social networks --are mandating them to change their HR processes and applications in line with the future's needs.

This has made chief human resources officers (CHROs) and HR teams of organizations take proactive actions in addressing the expectations from various corners. The factors discussed above - behavioral, ecological and positional - influence most of the HR initiatives being planned and executed by these teams.

Be it HR-bots or toddler daycare centers --it is all for a good cause!

Comments

The onset of internet has made opportunities abound for skilled employees, making Human Capital the most sought after resource. HR is increasingly becoming a key stakeholder in strategic differentiation through these comprehensive set of initiatives and will soon be a front runner in defining competitive landscapes, as eventually, people will be the company's biggest competitive advantage.

Very Nice and informative article.

a good read... Thanks for sharing

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