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HR Continuum

Aristotle said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” and it is certainly true when it comes to organizations where people align themselves to grow together in the same direction to achieve that common goal of the organization. Thus, Human Resource Management is considered to be of strategic importance for organizations to create required synergy for organising parts into a whole structure for organizational growth. HRM is undergoing a lot of changes, as some of the factors such as advancement in globalisation and changing technologies are creating huge impact on the way HRM processes are being carried out. Indian organizations are also witnessing change in systems, management cultures and philosophy due to such factors. Role of HRM is becoming all the more important and the role of an HR manager is shifting from being of a protector and a screener to that of a Planner, Innovator and Change Agent.


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,

Enabling HR through Information Technology-HRIS as a driver for strategic objectives

Following luminaries participated for delivering lectures at HR Continuum 2015 on March 21st, 2015 at SJMSOM, IIT Bombay:


·  Dr. Arvind Agrawal, President, Corporate Development & HR, RPG Enterprise

·  Dr. Asit Mohapatra, Senior Vice President, Future Supply Chain Solutions Ltd.

·  Mr. Prasenjit Bhattacharya, CEO, Great Place to Work Institute, India

·  Mr. Alok Sheopurkar, Executive Vice President & Head-HR, HDFC

·  Mr. Srinivas Chunduru, President, HR & Strategy, Piramal Enterprises Ltd.

·  Mr. Srivathsan S, Head- HR, Times Television Network

·  Mr. Rohan Chopra, Principal & Head- Organization Effectiveness, Tata Strategic Management Group

·  Dr. Sujatha Sudheendra, Head- HR, Aditya Birla Finance Ltd. 

 Indicated below are the suggestive and non-restrictive subthemes for the seminars.

When reference is made to human resource information systems (HRIS) in today’s environment of high-tech wizardry, it is often thought of as a business tool that allows for standardization in the gathering of information about and for a company’s employees. Although this was the original purpose of HRIS, many additional uses are beginning to emerge. With rapidly changing technology and the working style of employees, organizations are constantly looking to harness the strategic and administrative advantages that HRIS has to offer. Some key areas on which HR in modern business is focusing on is data analytics and the use of social media.

One of the biggest benefit that the use of an HRIS system adds to a business is its ability to create reports and presentations. An HRIS system typically holds all information surrounding the firm’s human resources initiatives, including details regarding the group's hiring practices, such as a comprehensive listing of all job applicants, an up-to-date index of job openings and electronic copies of each employee’s on boarding paperwork. Integration with IT also enables HR to gauge a plethora of details related to the past performance of a potential recruit. Even the applicants get an interface to match their profile with the requirements of the firm.

Social media is also 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. Emergence of new technologies like Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) has changed the way businesses are done and hence disruptions in the space are bound to happen. All these have made HR more powerful than ever before. A self-service system allows for benefits to be efficiently administered with as little manpower as possible, saving an organization’s time and money. All said, along with the advantages of using HRIS, comes the challenge of managing this huge database to reap the maximum benefits that this sophisticated system can provide. Also the risks associated with handling the vast amount of information needs to be constantly assessed and controlled.

Indicated below are the suggestive and non-restrictive subthemes for the seminars.

Real time talent analytics and big data management

In this increasingly data driven world, business organizations are embracing talent analytics as never before. They are turning to big data for valuable insights about how to engage employees, and how to retain them. The advantage of real time talent analytics is that a prospective employee can be better identified and the work can be done in a more efficient way while ensuring the candidate is the best fit for the organization. This leads to a data driven recruitment policy. The tools offered by companies like Mercer, SAP, Oracle etc. can also be used to analyze performance of current employees.

Generally, the capacity and engagement for analytics and big data is affected by three key dimensions:

·         Silos

Silos are the structural and systems obstacles to timely and efficient access to data and the ability to use and share it. This is caused by a combination of structural barriers within both HR and the business which impede the sharing of data.

·         Skills and smarts

This includes the essential capability to define, analyze and model people analytics essential to a data-driven approach. This involves deciding whether to make or buy capability, what kinds of capability are required and how it is developed.

·         Suspicion and scepticism

These are the cultural and professional obstacles to integrating and embedding an analytical approach within HR. This includes the biases and beliefs around intuition and expertise within HR, and the feeling that data might reduce human beings to units of measurement. It’s also bound up with the skills and capability issue.

Big data is essential to HR and Learning & Development because it allows the conversations and connections which have tended to be in the realm of the immeasurable to be captured and leveraged. The shift toward "data-driven" decision-making is inevitable and HR function should put in place processes, systems, tools, and expertise to enable them to reach their strategic objectives through talent analytics and big data.

Gamifying business to drive employee engagement and performance

In the modern day corporates where long hours filled with stressful work is the norm, the importance of employee engagement cannot be stressed upon more. It is of paramount interest to the companies that they derive maximum efficiency from the employees to stay ahead in the race. Perhaps one of the most viable solution that technology can provide today to keep the employees interested and motivated is gamification.

Organizations across industries are turning to gamification to crack the employee engagement code. Gamification is certainly here for quite some time now. Social networking companies like Facebook have used this technology to engage their customers using social media and mobile technologies to deliver contests, challenges and rewards. Now, however, enterprises are beginning to uncover the value that games can add to the organization in driving business performance by motivating employees. Gamification is much more than leader boards and badges and involves more than creating games with entertainment value. It means incorporating game elements into existing processes to boost productivity, improve skills and drive performance. As a result, it helps increase employee engagement.

The significant preference of the young employees for daily feedback in today’s world poses a significant challenge for managers. Gamified enterprise software can provide a portion of the feedback required to keep these employees engaged. This gamified system also allows managers to track and reinforce critical behaviors and provide the personal recognition that employees also crave.

Several researches in the field of HR claims that after a set of basic needs are met, cash rewards cease to motivate the employees. Especially so, when the very job seems to be too exacting. In such a case, gamification provides one of the most cost-effective solutions to keep the employees engaged. Thus, we can see that gamification can be an effective HR tool to not only promote employee engagement but also increase performance and reduce absenteeism.



Increasing importance of social media in HR

With 80% of the companies either using or planning to use social media as a medium for recruitment, it has become quite evident how social media can create a platform for greater organizational success. Social media has become a very powerful tool in increasing the internal and external effectiveness of any organization. When strategy and governance are integrated with social media tools, they can positively impact any organization. An organization that thoughtfully embraces social media can realize opportunities in many areas.

  Talent acquisition has been the most obvious area of opportunity within many companies. Done well, this can include accelerating the entire recruiting process from posting openings to sourcing candidates, reviewing CVs, making an offer and on boarding. There is obviously a link here with lean administration, efficient recruitment process and value for money; making it clear that HR is increasingly interested in the ROI considerations of using social media as a recruitment platform. Put simply, that means measuring sales conversions and targeting traffic. Yet another core ROI feature includes identifying, creating and measuring prospect engagement.

Social learning is not new; in fact, we have always learned from one another in the workplace. Only now that social media has revolutionized how we communicate in our personal lives, organizations are bringing “social” inside the enterprise and adopting tools such as Yammer, Adobe Connect and Google Hangouts to make it far easier to find experts, collaborate with peers and learn both from and with colleagues.

  It is obvious that Human Resources utilize these in recruitment, but maximizing the use of the social media platforms to harness the creation of internal knowledge sharing and social capital is the bigger picture.




Role of HR in knowledge management and open innovation

It is widely recognized that knowledge management (KM) can provide an organization with the capability to understand customers' needs, effectively extract new ideas from suppliers and customers alike, and turn them into innovative products and services. Human resource management (HRM) plays an equally important role in building and sharing the right set of employee competencies that help organizations to successfully compete. In many organizations, HR executives and KM experts have found that developing an IT infrastructure that allows the free exchange of employee experience and expertise has increased the company's competitiveness. Many companies are now aware that timely capturing their employees’ collective knowledge is the only way to preserve their investments in human capital. As a result, some of them have invested to develop a corporate culture of sharing knowledge and experience, capable of convincing employees to share their expertise. 

However, how to enable synergy between KM and HRM to foster open innovation is still a relatively new issue. Innovation is largely dependent on creative individuals working in an environment that spans multiple organizations and includes, beyond regular employees, consultants and suppliers. Knowledge-supported HR can play a key role in attracting and keeping the most innovative people and partners, creating a culture that supports open innovation.


Revolutionizing Learning & Development with the help of IT

In the current world, where organizations and departments try to be more flexible, modern technologies have influences over organizational procedures and structures. On the other hand, decisions about organizational structure may cause formation and limitation of technology.  While traditional formal classroom training has not been done away with entirely and still play a key role in the learning process, a strong and contemporary L&D relies heavily on internet-based learning options and technology such as webinars, learning management systems, online presentations and courses, instructional videos, social media forums, performance support aids, and more. In the coming future, computed and progressed information technology would have great influences on organizational procedures through knowledge management.

Changes in technology, especially information technology, generate knowledge at a tremendous speed. Technology has empowered both trainers and employees to utilize more information than ever before, on any device, from any location and at any point of time. The knowledge transfer process is more transparent and there is, to a degree, a less of a learning hierarchy factor that used to be prevalent in the trainer-learner relationship. It offers many opportunities for Learning & Development, such as game-based learning and simulations to develop more complex skills and by connecting people to facilitate informal learning through conversations. Technology also fundamentally changes how organizations operate and how work is performed, both of which ultimately necessitate a response from L&D. For example, it is envisaged that the Internet of Things, big data and advanced analytics will eventually automate many forms of knowledge work that we perform today. It is also imperative that L&D is context-savvy as this helps develop understanding of the general attitudes, expectations and needs of learners.


Panel Discussion

  The event also had a panel discussion on the topic:

Ensuring diversity and inclusion at workplace- What role can IT play?

We live in an age where corporates have come to a consensus that diversity is an essential cog in their path to success and are incorporating a number of measures to ensure it. However, with diversity comes the problem of inclusion. It’s not uncommon, especially in a secular country like India, to see the concept of equality give way to things like regionalism in workplace. In such a scenario, can HR professionals leverage on the technology to aid them in their struggle to ensure inclusion in its true sense? This discussion would give valuable insights as to how IT can contribute in solving this conundrum that seems to be an impediment to the smooth functioning of an organisation.