Yasmeen Shaikh, Senior Director, HR India at NextGen Healthcare

“Scope for automation extends to all parts of HR – right from hiring till separation. But in the end, it is about the human touch and that will stay” – Yasmeen Shaikh, Senior Director, Human Resources India at NextGen Healthcare and Member of the Board

In an interview with SCIKEY, Yasmeen Shaikh speaks about the future of Talent Hiring the future of Jobs that evolve, Yasmeen also shared her experiences incidents which influenced her way for HR Function how leaders should handle the crisis with ease during this uncertain time of COVID –19.


There’s an increasing need of stronger alignment communication between HR and the business. Why do you think it is becoming increasingly important? How can the alignment with the business improve?

The success of any organization is a reflection of how well the teams are working together, its vision, its employees, its culture and all the collaboration of working towards that goal of the organization. HR’s role is pivotal as it forms the nucleus of any organization. Today HR and business need each other and are complimentary teams. I can say that HR has a seat at the table to discuss the business strategy as a ‘business enabler’. The trust business has on HR is key to being successful. Business looks at HR for advice on people and impact of a business strategy and HR has to provide that value of giving insights which can help business make decisions. Culture is a reflection of the values of the organization and HR plays a key role in calling those behaviours which influence those values along with business. The partnership between business and HR and alignment cannot be emphasized more especially if you take today’s Covid situation as an example. With the changing globally environment, increased communication or over communication between HR and business is key to keep employees safe and also ensure business runs. Decisions get made every day with the evolving situation and we can get through this only if we are aligned and work as one team, which I am glad we are doing today.


What is your take on the future of Talent Hiring now that HR technologies such as AI, ML and big data are making inroads how would be the future of Jobs will evolve considering changing business core and transforming traditional jobs? What association you would like to establish between both for better business outcomes?

The future in today’s situation with the pandemic looks unpredictable but we have started seeing the hit in the economy. Given the impact on business and being practical, companies will see a slowdown on hiring but


In the healthcare sector for example, we see an impact where patients no longer visit clinics or hospitals unless there is a dire need. Online doctor consultation is on the rise like Telehealth for example which Nextgen offers.


With your deep experience in Talent Planning and Deployment, what are the key pillars while planning to build the future workforce?

The key pillars that are going to set us or any organization apart, according to me are more focused on the individual that’s what the industry can offer. With the Gig economy, we see a world of change in the way we would operate. However, key pillars for building the future workforce would depend a lot on the workforce itself while the company also needs to provide the platform for letting them learn:


  1. Willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies


  1. Being fungible – it means not being limited to just one technology but flexible to move around


  1. Platforms for honing these skills – training opportunities, certifications, on the job training


What are the critical leadership skills you are seeing during this uncertain time of COVID – 19 in NextGen?

During these testing and unpredictable time, managers and leaders have led the way forward, they speak for their people and stand up for them. For eg: we moved to a work from home mode as a safest measure for our employees a week before the lockdown got announced. Our leaders and teams together worked in making it a seamless transition and continue to deliver work outcomes that I am so proud of. It taught everyone how to first accept, emotionally align oneself to the situation.

It taught everyone to appreciate and be thankful for what we have and to continue business as usual in the ‘new normal’. It has taught leaders to handle crisis with ease, not give up, take care of team, be a highly empathetic leader and walk the talk. For eg: just taking breaks while working from home, letting kids, pets come in while calls are on. It has certainly built a lot of resilience and strengthened the can do attitude and most importantly coming together as a team. We are in this together and together we win.


What incidents, experiences, people, have most influenced the way you view and practice HR function and why?

I see my experience as great achievements and learnings. Each failure has given me an opportunity to reflect and make a better person of myself. My roots come from a well-educated, progressive family where from my grandparents and parents I have learnt to pursue my dreams, to stand up for what is right, work hard, be independent, be selfless, always be there and never give up on people. I was a sportsperson where my family has always encouraged and inspired me tons to continue to play even today. Sports has taught me so much more on accepting failures and never give up. From my kids I have learnt that there are many creative ways of approaching a problem and they certainly have taught me how to listen and be patient. My business leaders, managers, teams have helped me become a better HR professional. I have worked with some of the finest people and some difficult people who were insecure about themselves, I learnt from them how not to treat others. Close friends have always been encouraging and your listening boards backing you up along with your family. One of the biggest learning for me is to let go and move forward and not to be a perfectionist. I believe in better and love the words my CEO said about


What is the new role of HR you see because of COVID crisis? What are the key learnings for the HR leaders/professionals can take from COVID times?

I don’t think there is a ‘new role’ for HR but perhaps the ‘new normal’ where the work environment has changed for all of us. HR continues to be the business enabler enduring we are leading the way for our employees keeping their safety and interests in mind. It is being available for everyone during this crisis. We become more innovative in coming up with different ways of engaging with people in partnership with our managers and leaders. We need to reach out more to people and bring in empathy in everything we do. We need to help employees transition to the ‘new normal’ and continue to tell it is okay and this too shall pass. Given the lockdown, we are also mindful of the families and introduced ‘virtual challenges’ to bring in family perspectives and tell people its ok to be ok. More importantly, we continue to walk the talk.


What are the HR functions that are being automated or can be automated? What are the new functional areas you think HR leaders will be taking over or expected to lead/manage?

In my opinion the scope for automation extends to all parts of HR – right from hiring till separation. End of it, it is about the human touch and that will stay. Given that HR leaders are closely aligned with business and have a seat at the board, I see them taking on business roles too including site leadership roles and perhaps sales too.



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