Noida, India - Dec 23rd, 2020 - In an exclusive interaction with Economic Times, Mr. Shyam Verma expresses his thoughts on the impact of the pandemic, the changing role of HR, hiring outlook, key priories and trends for 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty among businesses. It is due to the lockdown and its impact during the subsequent months.
A major concern of employees today is related to job stability, as many of them have witnessed job losses, pay cuts and salary delays, among others. Quite evidently, human resources are the backbone of any organisation and post Covid-19, the significance of the HR department has become even more crucial.
Companies, across sectors, are outlining new strategies to serve their employees during and post Covid-19. As we experience this shift, industry leaders propound technology will play the utmost role in the smooth transition towards the new normal.
According to Shyam Verma, CHRO, JK Tech, Covid-19 has adversely affected the economy with uncertain market conditions. “The pandemic has also made everyone learn how digital channels can be used to support business continuity through the crisis and beyond. Our responsibilities as an organisation have gone beyond the necessary functions, keeping people physically protected and managing stress that comes from the pressure to perform during a crisis.” he said.
Highlighting the importance of ensuring the well-being of employees, he said, “During these tough times, it is the responsibility of every organisation to take care of the well-being of its workforce. We have been fortunate enough to tackle the situation and safeguard our workforce from this devastating crisis.”
On performance appraisal, he mentioned that “since the face-to-face discussion is not recommended now, hence we leverage digital ways for the discussions regarding performance appraisal. While evaluating, we consider parameters like the performance of the employees, based on the quality of work, roles and responsibilities and other soft skills.”
For the HR heads of companies across sectors, hiring will indeed be a challenge for the upcoming months, given the fact that the pandemic has entirely changed the pattern of working. Verma said, “Our focus is to build a strong and agile team and we are working towards it. Also, we have recently embarked on hiring focused towards niche technologies and trends that would pick up in the next 6-8 months.”
As the pandemic has brought renewed focus on the working culture of employees, the role of HR has become more indispensable than ever. Verma stressed that “the role of HR is being redefined from hiring, recruitment and appraisals to new working models, performance-centric compensation as well as managing employer branding while playing a decisive role in the long-term survival of a business.”
Furthermore, he said that a major challenge faced in these times by HR professionals is helping employees in striking a perfect work-life balance and getting them adapted to a completely revolutionized workplace.
As the remote work concept is here to stay, Verma pointed out that HR professionals have to work as an enabler, keeping employees engaged, safe, and productive. “It is imperative to keep employees motivated and enthused to achieve this future together. It’s time that we focus on a broader aspect to be more agile, creative, tech-driven and people-centric in our approach to moving towards organisational success,” he said.
Today, technology is at the core of companies. The pressure is more when it comes to IT organisations. Verma asserted, “We have organised onboarding, Thank You Awards, and training sessions as virtual events this year. We conduct various yoga, fitness and mindfulness e-sessions frequently to guide our employees in maintaining a healthy and positive lifestyle during the quarantine.”
Moreover, “We believe in leisure while working from home, therefore, we engage our employees with knowledge sessions and creative fun activities which help us build a deeper connection with our employees. Quarterly employee-leadership meetups are another important aspect that we follow to maintain transparency and openness between the employer and the employees,” he said.
With the nature of working revamped in 2020, the year 2021 will make it essential for employers and HR heads to look for newer trends in terms of technology and working dynamics.
According to Verma, there will be four most sought after trends for the next year — the ‘Work from Anywhere’ culture; the integration of ‘Artificial Intelligence with HR’ which can be a key enabler of better employee experience and in making better decisions for functions such as talent management, recruitment, payroll and reporting; the ‘Upskilling and Reskilling of Employees’ for enhancing their digital capabilities and empowering their adaptability and resilience; and ‘Continuous Learning and Development’ where every individual need to develop an attitude to learn upcoming technologies and stay abreast of market challenges.
Talking about his key priorities for 2021, Verma said, “Mental and physical health of the employees has been the topmost priority of our company and it will continue to be in 2021 as well.”
He further said, “It is important to focus on the core competencies that will help us position ourselves as leaders in specific domains and markets. Thus, to excel in our aim and execute the business transformation, we plan to build a strong team and empower every employee to govern our business journey."
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