JM Sampath, Serial Entrepreneur

“The single-most exciting opportunity and challenge is managing people without seeing them.” JM Sampath, Serial Entrepreneur

  1. Now since the emerge of COVID, HR has become one of the core to the strategic decisions, In your view what are those strategic moves that Businesses design and execute that capitalize on HR’s capabilities more often.

The first thing that will happen in post-COVID scenario is that wherever possible, people will work from home. The business saves on rentals, workspace, transport, and a few others, reducing their cost by 10%-12%. The challenge for HR is to motivate and manage employees working from home, distributing tasks in a way that they remain engaged during office hours. Some people talked about having 50% of their employees work from home the other 50% at office, but how do we determine who will work from home who will be at office. This will be an important decision for the leadership to ensure that the right set of people get the freedom to work from home. Employees enjoy some privileges when they come to work, for example, cafeteria, subsidized lunch. What is the incentive for someone to work from home? Will they be given additional allowance to work from home? HR will have to gear up to answer these types of questions.


What is going to be my development strategy for those who work from home? Am I going to create an opportunity for them to come to the workplace for training or train them while they sit at home? There may not be a definitive answer for such questions. These are some challenges of the future working environment. HR will have to think from multiple angles not just from the financial aspect.


  1. In your view, what has been that single most difficult challenge for the business leaders to crack in this situation?

Optimizing is going to be the most critical challenge. Optimizing from productivity, business, and talent management perspectives. How do we optimize the new scenario? People have never worked in this situation. It’s very new for all of us. The HR business leaders will have to come up with new ideas to connect the team working remotely, follow up with them, and ensure productivity. There is no standard answer to this, and it depend on the industry and the nature of tasks. Working from home might be exciting in the initial months. It might be cool to say ‘I have a video call or a video meeting with my manager/team.’ After a while, monotony will set in. People will develop an aversion to these virtual meetings, and this could even become a reason for attrition. People may say ‘I’m sick of working from home. I want a job that requires me to go to office.’ People may start looking for options.


  1. Since the company aiming for leaner teams much more than before, nurturing existing talent Talent Management has although more important, can you suggest what could be “The NEW Talent Management Model”?

Digital learning has seen a spike in recent times. However, we will have to create a hybrid model that combines focused digital learning and physical classroom learning to connect people socially and create a context for learning. In the current situation, managers do not get to see their teams but only their output. How are we going to measure the manager’s ability to lead and the team’s ability to collaborate? There will be some challenges identifying the right talent. Certain tasks cannot be accomplished via virtual meetings. They require face-to-face interaction where you need to meet up brainstorm. Talent management needs to addressed differently. Maybe, someone was good at getting things done with physical supervision, but now ‘digital’ and ‘remote’ have emerged as core capability that everybody should have. That’s a common denominator. The challenge for HR will be to figure out a way to identify the future resource person. Will it be someone popular on social media or someone who can genuinely add value to their people? If the companies are interested in talent management, they will have to create multiple forums find a mechanism to provide the objective see if the purpose is understood.


  1. What do you think is the most significant emerging opportunity/challenge for HR professionals?


That means HR professionals must be scientific in their approach. In fact, HR managers can do complete talent management on their laptop if they have the right employee data. For example, by comparing the individual and team profiles, they can analyze which employee fits best into which team. Earlier, the HR had to discuss with the manager and then manually talk to each internal or external candidate to ensure attitude and cultural fit.

We have gone too far, and we have not seen enough results from People Analytics. Data science becomes very powerful when you have a huge amount of data. If you do not have much data, then you will have to combine People Analytics and Behavioral Science, which is the core of any HR person. The HR needs to learn how to manage behavioral analytics and people analytics together to better understand and engage people. Next, feedback is going to become much more important than ever before. You will need a 360 feedback of a person to see how people around this person see him/her. The HR needs to enhance their ability to make effective critical decisions. The HR needs to keep the data valid, to recognize people change bring that change in the data align the person where there is any requirement. HR should learn how to use the views of multiple people and create a science around it and use it.

The line managers should value the HR for their opinions and the rationality behind the opinions. For this, the HR professionals will have to work on learning some new skills that will help them decipher human behavior align it with business needs and productivity. Pre-COVID many things were not documented but post-COVID everything will be documented. In the late 80’s, personal management was moved to human resource development.


Many aspects that defined HR over the last 3 decades are bound to change. We must adapt quickly by learning to remotely onboard, engage develop motivate employees build a culture for the organization.


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