Continuum 2014‎ > ‎

HR Continuum

Successful companies are those that consider their human capital as their most important asset. Facts and figures are the quantitative elements of successful management, yet the qualitative, i.e. the cognitive aspects, are those that actually make or break an organization. HRM is the core of any organization; they have the responsibility of selecting a right person, at the right place for the right job.  HRM is concerned with management of people from recruitment to retirement. HRM functions as the link between the organization and the employees, HR managers are engaged in recruiting people, training them, performance appraisals, motivating employees as well as workplace communication, workplace safety, and much more. HR manager makes sure all managers fully understanding the organization’s documented Business Plan and ensuring the alignment of management thinking, simply the process of ensuring that all managers are working and driving the organization in the same direction. HRM is very crucial for the whole function of an organization because it assists the organization to create loyal employees, who are ready to offer their best.

The Human Resources Continuum aims to cover the latest trends in Human Resource management by inviting eminent speakers from industry and academia. Every seminar focuses on issues and challenges faced by HR functions, and aims at drawing insights from the knowledge and experience of the speakers. The HR Continuum was attended by delegates from different organizations, our faculty, our distinguished alumni and students from various Business Schools.

One-day event provides one of the best learning experiences for the students. It provides a platform for these inquisitive minds to get face to face with industry stalwarts. An enlightening session by an eminent speaker is generally followed by a round of mutual interaction between the speaker and the students. This helps the students get a holistic picture of the industry trends.


 This year’s HR Continuum was based on the theme,

“Transformational Role of an HR in Modern Business”

Following luminaries participated for delivering lectures at HR Continuum 2014 on March 23rd, 2014 at SJMSOM, IIT Bombay:


Mr. Anubhab Goel, Founding Member & Business Head, PeopleStrong HR Services

Mr. Kishore Poduri, Senior Vice president, Head-HR, DBS Bank(India)

Dr. Ajitabh Ambastha, Head Learning & Development, TATA Capital

Dr. R. Krishna Murthy, Director, Industrial Relations Institute of India

Mr. Sanjeev Dixit, Chief People Officer, Allied Blenders and Distillers

Mr. Amit Sawant, Deputy General Manager, Corporate HR ACG Worldwide

Dr. Sumita Datta, Independent Consultant and Professor at SP Jain IMR

Mr. Irfan Abdulla, Director, Talent Solutions, LinkedIn India


The HR function has been the key to just about every kind of change there is. Most global organizations recognize the value-chain proposition that HR brings to the business. An Organization, whether it is big, small, and public or private now wants strategic thinkers, people who understand fast pacing change and respond in an efficient manner.  With rapidly changing technology, organizations are looking for strategic ideas and discussions more focused on how important a strategic HR function is, and the ideal candidate would be one who doesn’t necessarily do “HR for HR” but instead “HR for Business”. There are many key areas on which HR in modern business is focusing on, like analytics, use of social media etc.

The last decade or so has been crucial in the evolution of HR from a transactional to a strategic partnership focus. Basically it is the evolution from transactional and administrative role to Strategic and Consultative role which is popularly attributed to be HR Analytics. Technology being the backbone of business process provides excellent opportunities to innovate and excel. Besides the traditional technologies, social media is emerging as a powerful tool for talent management, administration and employee engagement. Apart from making use of big data and technologies, there is also a need to create a right culture to motivate people for innovation, most successful corporate innovation strategies are the ones that predominantly focus on people and human capital issue. Thus the HR is not only focusing on the conventional role he has been doing. The roles are getting expanded. There is the need to use available information, to look for new ideas, to implement those ideas in the process of recruitment to retirement and to keep exploring new methodologies to make the entire process efficient.

Indicated below were the subthemes for the seminar:

Evolution from transactional and administrative role to Strategic and Consultative role - HR Analytics

We have entered into an era of Big Data. We are busy finding patterns in everything and everywhere. Whatever data is present with the organizations is getting thoroughly scrutinized. HR functions have traditionally been something of a transactional and administrative role. However, in coming days we may well see HR roles utilizing data to drive decisions.

The introduction of HR analytics means the organizations would now look to measure tangible returns of HR activities. HR analytics is bound to break the silos of an organization. Once the organizations start measuring the value of HR policies, it would become inevitable for the HR to get into a consultative role with finance department and different stakeholders. The new HR Managers that come into the organizations would need to understand the business of the organization more than ever. An HR will not just be a people’s manager. He will become the strategic advisor for the organization.

Thus, the HR function, with the application of HR analytics, is slowly but gradually going to witness lot of new insights and analysis. It promises to equip managers with better information and hence lead to better decision making.

Use of Social media

Social media are the services provided by the internet that helps us interact with others and create content and share that content through online communities.  Social media is slowly creeping into every field of business. It has revolutionized the field of marketing and it has made its advent in HRM. 2012 was considered to be the year for workforce innovation with many companies experimenting with use of social media to market and brand their organizations. In 2013, companies took one step ahead and we can say it is the year of Social HR, with organizations incorporating social technologies into the way they hire, train and engage employees.

     I.               Talent Management

Talent acquisition is one of the key areas within many companies to adopt the social media opportunity. Not only should the applicants know how social media benefits them; HR executives heading talent management should also know how to use social media to their advantage at their convenience. Many companies find appropriate applicants by scanning social networks and focusing on certain candidates, a survey data show 80% of the companies use social media for recruiting and 95% of them use LinkedIn. This kind of talent acquisition has numerous advantages like time reduction in hiring, faster response from applicants, posting of jobs, reduction in cost of hiring etc. There are plenty of opportunities ahead in the field of talent management by the use of social media and companies are trying everyday to make efficient use of it.


  II.               Administration

This aspect brings employee centric HR operations, where in employees need not be there at the same location whatever the organizational hierarchy is. The social networking sites act as a platform where employees can discuss about their experience with the organization. The regular feedback from the employees makes it possible for the HR managers to discuss and mutually sort out many employee related issues. A report shows 84% of the global fortune 100 companies use at least one platform for social media. The social networking sites majorly help the HR managers to manage the functions inside their organization, and also they act as a platform to interact with their counterparts across the world. The HR managers can actively take part in such discussions to share their knowledge and experience in their field of expertise. Hence social media is becoming exponentially popular in the field of HR.

III.               Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is about making sure that the employees are aligned with the mission and values of the organization. A study report shows that proper employee engagement makes the organization perform 2.6 times better than others. After the introduction of social media, employees feel they are more of an integral part rather than just another employee. This happens through an open line of communication where in they get to know easily whether their voices have been heard or not. Every company prefers a blog that contains what the organization’s leadership is doing and in turn it motivates the employees to work towards a common goal. Social intranet also helps to increase employee satisfaction through a common media where employee recognition and rewards are announced, it contributes more than the monetary value. Thus HR managers are considering social media as an excellent platform for employee engagement and driving organizational success to a great extent.

Driver for Organizational Innovation

Innovation is not just about developing new products or new technology, it’s beyond all these and it requires collaboration to achieve success by coming together of many fields in the organization. Innovation is a collaborative process, where people in many areas contribute to the creation and implementation of new ideas. As said by many great businessmen, “Innovation is trying to figure out a way to do something better than it’s ever been done before”. It is a vital parameter for competitive advantage and long term success. Whenever there is a word of innovation there is a tendency of people to think of innovation in R & D and products, but if there is no right culture to motivate people for innovation, then there evolves a gap. HR plays an important role to bridge this gap by his practices. HR leaders build and strengthen the unique collection of organizational capabilities and competencies that certainly give an organization its competitive advantage. This is essentially developing a distinct mix of resources, values and processes that makes it challenging for rivals to tally what organization does. HR is in a better position to drive for and express the needs and culture of the organization at all the levels like hiring, new employee on-boarding, policies and programs, performance management, succession planning, etc. Three major aspects to foster innovation are hiring for innovation, creating culture for innovation and training and rewarding for innovation. In the present highly competitive world innovation holds the key for long term success and hence HR can have huge opportunities ahead.


Enabler of Corporate Social Responsibility

For an organization Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a creative opportunity to fundamentally strengthen their businesses while contributing to society at the same time. Now CSR has become mandatory for the firms to spend at least 2% of their profits, and this brings greater inclusiveness as well. CSR basically came into existence with an idea of how organizations can contribute to the well-being of the society. With this idea Human Resource Management (HRM) of the firm needs to achieve business, environmental and social goals. It is a process of collaborative work to bring a change in the society we are living in.

Thus, HRM plays a vital role in achieving the employee coordination; this is mainly because CSR is an activity which should be driven by the employees of the firm only and it needs great employee support and commitment necessary for the implementation of the CSR policies and practices.Therefore, it is very important to measure and evaluate effectiveness of CSR so that the time and effort of the employees involved would not go in vain.

Diversity in workforce

When we hear about diversity in the workforce, the first thought generally hints towards race and gender diversity. However, we must think more broadly than just the gender and race. Today, the HR has a wider role than just maintaining the gender and race diversity. Diversity is also about harnessing the talents and perspectives of different employees. People have different styles of working. People have different styles of learning. This diverse style needs to be effectively tapped and managed for our business advantage in an increasingly multicultural market. Commitment to diversity in response to changing labour market can lead to sustained cultural change and long term success. Diversity is about inclusivity. It is about utilizing the talent of every individual in the organization to gain a competitive human resource advantage.


Panel Discussion

  The event also had a panel discussion on the topic:

Are students from elite business schools delivering the results in the corporate world as expected?

Every firm in the world expects remarkable results from the employees they hire from elite business schools. However, many a times senior business officials have expressed that students don’t meet the industry expectations. On the flip side academia feels there is a gap between industries' expectations and academic institutions' pedagogy and training. Thus, students take longer gestation period to get accustomed to corporate work culture and start delivering. This discussion would give valuable insights to students for bridging the gap and discuss upon various hand holding measures possible.


Shishir Jain,
2 Apr 2014, 21:14