Kasturi Cotha, Head HR – Bengaluru and HRBP

“The whole focus has been on the safety and wellbeing of the colleagues” – Kasturi Cotha, Head HR – Bengaluru & HRBP – Product & Technology Global, Taylor & Francis Group

In an exclusive interaction with Ms Kasturi Cotha, Head HR – Bengaluru, shared her thoughts on how crisis management been practiced in your Taylor Francis group, what could be the key learnings for the HR leaders/professionals from such extra-ordinary times.

 

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

The beginning of the new decade comes with a VUCA situation that the whole World is currently dealing with. The situation is evolving every day, Human Resources will function as custodians of upkeeping the Culture Value system of the Organizations and Employee Well-being will receive a major focus.

Indeed, this is a situation that Business and Wellness both must go hand in hand. One size may not fit all – each organization may have to find its best fit and evolve with strategies in very agile and swift manner. Discover the new normal.

Policies must be more equipped to meet the changing trends, perhaps swift updates and nimble modifications will be deemed as basic requirement. Reinforcing team dynamics will gain greater momentum. Driving a collaborative and participative workforce management will be the goal that HR teams / leaders have to tremendously work towards.

 

How has crisis management been practiced in your Taylor Francis group? Does the company had a crisis preparedness plan ready? If so, what were the key focus areas in the business continuity plan?

Situation such as this, is so critical to be addressed on priority. This of course is the by-product of matured and enabling leadership. We have been one of the early movers to address the global health crisis with several impactful business measures. The whole essence has been on the safety and wellbeing of the colleagues. What has been highly appreciated is the quick, timely and transparent measures that has been implemented.

Embracing remote working and enabling the business units to leverage the technology infrastructure has made it quite possible to meet the preparedness in managing this crisis which is most required.

Beyond, when one witness the empathetic leadership and kinship, managing such a crisis becomes more doable.

 

The current situation is bound to leave a lasting impact on the economy of the world, In your opinion What would be the impact on the jobs post-COVID 19?

There is great amount of speculations and discussion that economic forums are holding. There is increase volume of churning that the whole economy is bound to go through. It is certain to have some short-term influence in few of the sectors which could be potential losers and some sectors will get an opportunity to see its potential highs during this time. How long and far is the impact, is something that we need to wait and watch.

In all fair consideration, Technology advancements will see its new heights. Gearing up to the higher advancement is no more luxury but a basic necessity. This indeed will widen the gap in the right fitment of Skills and Jobs which is already prevailing. It could perhaps throw us to an extreme situation to accept the reality and work on the realistic measures than remaining in a demanding situation.

The talent landscape will go through a great change, mostly in my understanding it will be in the way of working.

“The deliverables must be packaged well with larger amount of commitment and deeper level of understanding of the job / work.”

Being Resilient and reshaping oneself is a paramount need. The fact that Organizations will now start strengthening the ability to work remotely which means one can look to attract the best talent wherever it may be, organizations will be less geographically dependent on talent, truly Global working culture that will strengthen.

 

Everyone is talking about upskilling/reskilling oneself considering the future difficult times due to COVID19. In your opinion, How should HR leaders upskill themselves to become future-ready more aligned with the business?

There is a very interesting diagram that is now floating all around in social media – on who do I choose to be during COVID19

 

This is a fantastic pictorial representation on how one has to manage and come out of this situation. We need to use this situation more like a metamorphosis for all of us to transform from being caterpillars to Butterflies.

 

Share some HR best practices at Taylor Francis group that you think has helped you deliver manage workforce expectations at this uncertain times. Any new HR processes you will continue to execute even post COVID.

The primary focus and pivotal measure will remain on staying in connect with colleagues / teams. There are several initiatives that are planned and executed revolving this measure, it could be equipping colleagues to embrace the change in the way of working to preparing them for an empathetic acceptance of business measures. Great amount of flexibility is offered for working alongside with prioritising family commitments.

 

Larger focus on continuing to hold Employee engagement as priority is being devised. I’m sure we will have many folds and programs stitched into this agenda. Also, we have witnessed in the past, greater acceptance in any program / initiative is when there is an inclusive approach.“Situation such as this pandemic crisis, is strengthening our belief system”

and we will continue to invest more time and energy in driving Colleague-inclusive initiatives.

The world is witnessing the opportunity to define the New Normal, I’m certain that we will continue to discover this space and derive / design people interventions aligning the business priorities.

 

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