Having worked across the industry over 35 years, from founding a software company (Lister Technologies), to heading HR for Deutsche Software Limited, incubating HCL TalentCare as Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Technologies as their Global Head of Talent Management, Ravishankar, with Unique blend of HR and Software technology knowledge, has been able to pave a path of positive change for the way HR works with pioneering efforts in space of corporate social networks to digitizing HR by using AI, BOTS Voice, gamifications and Analytics. Visiting Professor at the prestigious Indian School of Business, HR advisor, Ravishankar is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School in Information Technology holds a master’s degree in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from Xavier Labor Research Institute (XLRI) in India.
Every crisis brings some opportunities too. In your opinion, what’s that opportunity Business leaders across industries should look at?
A lot of things are going to change the way the world operates. We won’t be able to do a lot of interaction face-to-face over a period of time at least for next one half year, irrespective of the business, whether it’s a B2B business or a B2C. How do we stay connected with the customer and how to we do more business, needs to be thought through. If a business depends on one channel to service customer, they will have to look at multi-channels to do business, which includes a lot of digital technologies to get incorporated.
DIY will become the norm of doing business. How do we make our business DIY enabled so that customers can do business with us without any internal interference. Creating those business model will become the biggest challenge and opportunity for the leaders. DIY way of doing business will be the major opportunity across the world. Now coming to HR, the same concept will come in, how do we make employees do everything themselves, without any HR support. HR is more of a designer of processes and policies, everything else will be done by the line managers and employees.
A lot of the new digital technologies which are dominating the HR field, some of them are still fancy for a lot of people like robotic interviews, from onboarding the employees to even exiting the employee without doing anything face to face would become a process for the company. The HR has to redesign the entire HR process into digital HR processes, so the employees and managers can do themselves. If a manager wants to do an appraisal for any employee, the process enables them to do it without the interface of the HR and the HR operates in the back end to monitor the process.
The current situation is bound to leave a lasting impact on the economy of the world, in your opinion, What would be the Job landscape in the next one year?
There will be a huge impact on the job landscape.
Because a lot of businesses which are dependent on real activity based like the travel tourism, entertainment all those businesses will take much longer to come back to normal, be it malls or multiplex, theatres and a lot of businesses which involves people coming together in one place to do an activity will suffer and those employment will not resume so easily so fast. One third of the job market that exists today will vanish and a new job market will be emerged to do the same things in a different way, what would be a different way, that we don’t know. Job landscape is going to take a major hit and that is going to contract a lot of GDP’s across the world and this is going to create a huge amount of pain and unrest across the world.
There is one thing that can change this scenario to pessimism to optimism. It is treatment; a lot of people are talking about vaccine, it is a long-term process, though it will work but vaccinating seven billion people is not a joke. It took India 20 years to become polio free. But if we find the treatment that can reduce the mortality rate and people can recover, then the world will change, but that is another 6 to 9 months ball game.
Which industry sector/s do you think will be rethinking their complete hiring strategy the most why? If so, what would it like?
The service sector must rethink their entire hiring strategy. Most of the workforce atleast 2/3 specially in service sector, going forward will be working from home, there is no other choice for them, till they can find a cure, they have to relook at the entire hiring strategy like I mentioned in the beginning too, how do I do contactless hiring, contactless onboarding, how do I make an employee productive without visiting an office. Today I’m making them productive because there is a huge system of learning that happens when employees come to office, the boss guides them, training program happens and somebody teaches how to do the job or a senior is assigned to guide to get a project going, This entire cycle has to undergo change.
The service sector has to undergo a total change that means how do I do things without talking to anyone face to face.
The micro Learning Systems will come into picture that means you will learn how to do your job using again digital systems, there won’t be anyone visiting you and teach you how to do it. The entire strategy of making an employee productive needs to be reworked.
What would be the most critical business functions that will require strategic shift POST Covid 19?
The sales will be impacted how we manage employees. If we look at two dimensions of the new normal, first it will be employee related structures, processes, and second how to interact with the customer. Customer experience will undergo a huge change and employee experience in terms of a process will be another change. A lot of HR has to redesign. They need to upskill them to improve their technology capability to do new normal.
How do I sell to the customer and create a different experience, so customers can do everything himself and similarly redesign the process for employees to do everything themselves.
What will be the future of learning?
The future of the learning will be to Curate and share. There will be set of systems that operate in the backend, which will define a lot of things to do online, offline, mail, text analytics, social analytics tell you these are the things you need to improve these are the curated things that are given to you. In the same way, the employees will learn in the process share with their colleague.
What would be largest trends that will be seen post-COVID:
Here’s my list of top 5 biggest changing trends:
1.The boom of the gig economy.
2.Investments in building a strong remote / gig / virtual workforce.
3.Acceleration of digitization and technology adoption.
4.Higher investments in automation.
5.Diversification of supply chains.
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