A whole new paradigm is emerging for the HR leaders. Their role is moving beyond the realm of the traditional HR department responsible for maintaining the work force and managing the hiring, appraisals, payroll and rewards & benefits processes. The contemporary HR leaders are expected to also become business partners and act strategic.
Though the D in HRD always stood for development, it was more conspicuous by its absence in practice across organizations. The role of HRD remained restricted to the transactional aspects. In an era of fast change, organizations need newer talents to be developed, nurtured and retained. The need is for empowered individuals, not just complying employees. And HR leaders should rise to fulfill this need.
D in HRD has assumed newer dimensions, that of (performance) drive, (people and organization) development and (process) digitization. A simultaneous focus on all the three aspects is a must for HR to cope successfully with the emerging organizational needs.
Let’s understand each of these three Ds.
In the contemporary organizations, HR is expected to appreciate its role in driving business. They have traditionally been following what the business strategy demands. They should also ask themselves how can they play a bigger role in defining the strategy. Well, that may sound bold, but I have seen many instances where the quality of business leadership available determines which goals to pursue more vigorously and which one to postpone till the right talent is found and nurtured. In short it determines the course of the organization over time.
This can be done not just by getting people in quantity but also in quality and by nurturing them to contribute meaningfully to the business outcomes. The need is to be able to measure economic value added by each individual and provide her the right context to be able to do so. The HR leadership needs to be aware of the risk of not hiring and that of wrong hiring.
This is the strategic side of HR leadership. HR leaders must ask themselves, how close are they to the strategy formation and how well do they understand its implications for their function?
Continuing with the theme of driving business, the HR leaders need to develop people as well as the organization. Seeing the organization as a socio-technical system with stated goals, they need to intervene appropriately to keep processes, structures and practices aligned and functional. Over time the alignment between strategy, structures and practices is lost and organizations need to continuously regain that alignment. The lack of alignment leads to pursuing goals sub-optimally. HR can play a big role in identifying the sources of such alignment and influence the top management to put efforts to remove them.
This is the change side of HR leadership and HR leaders must assess how are they aligned towards change and what actions are they undertaking to initiate change in their respective organization? At what level are they talking of change, at the functional levels or at the strategic levels? Do they have the organization development and change competencies?
A lot can be done in regards to drive and develop agenda if the underlying HR processes are streamlined and this can be done by digitizing (automating and integrating) them. This is the traditional domain of HR, where technology can be used to bring in efficiency and effectiveness in the underlying processes. Use of information and communications technology can create a base of standardized, automated, integrated and well orchestrated processes, thus allowing for information based decision making and a suitable base for the first two Ds to be catered to appropriately.
This is the transactional side of HR leadership and HR leaders must assess how much leverage of technology are they doing to play their role efficiently and effectively? How tech- savvy are they?
HR leader’s role in the contemporary organizations is complex and multi-faceted. Attending to all the diverse aspects of the role is a must for role effectiveness and an impact on the organization’s success.