HR drift in changing business landscape - Emerging HR Trends - Part II

In continuation to my previous post on emerging HR trends, In this post, I intend to touch upon on the drift in HR in the fast changing business landscape.

If we trace back the history of business environment, in the early years, trading patterns and markets were stable, technology was static, customers were passive, speed in getting to market was secondary, competition was limited to sectors and regions, and hierarchies were generally accepted in all walks of life.

Now the scenario has changed and most parts of world have been almost continually buffeted by change. Customers demand that businesses do it better, faster, cheaper; employees want to control more than the “Stop” button on the assembly line.

The twentieth century saw nations around the world become part of the global village, with trade barriers between them reduced or removed completely. Globalization of trade and economy have taken deep roots in India post liberalization. The holistic paradigm shift to a single global company has opened up new economic opportunities. The focus has shifted to knowledge industries. Management and nurturing of human resources have therefore become an important base with which to respond to the emerging environment. The knowledge workforce in particular has a vital role to play in the emergence of the digital economy.

It is imperative that we in HR understand the changed dynamics and evolve accordingly :

  • Use workforce skills and abilities in order to exploit environmental opportunities and neutralize ~threats.
  • Employ innovative reward plans that recognize employee contributions and grant enhancements.
  • Indulge in continuous quality improvement through Six Sigma and HR contributions like training, development, counseling, etc
  • Utilize people with distinctive capabilities to create unsurpassed competence in an area, e.g. Xerox in photocopiers, Nokia in mobiles, Telco in trucks etc.
  • Decentralize operations and rely on self-managed teams to deliver goods in difficult times e.g. Motorola is famous for short product development cycles. It has quickly commercialized ideas from its research labs.
  • Lay off workers in a smooth way explaining facts to unions, workers and other affected groups.

Change in role of HR leaders -HRM brings people and organizations together so that the goals of each other are met. The role of HR leader is shifting from that of a protector and screener to the role of a planner and change agent. Over the years, highly skilled and knowledge based jobs are increasing while low skilled jobs are decreasing. This calls for future skill mapping through proper HRM initiatives. Indian organizations are also witnessing a change in systems, management cultures and philosophy due to the global alignment of Indian organizations. There is a need for multi skill development and hence, the role of HRM is becoming all the more important.

Some of the recent trends that are being observed are as follows:

  • The recent quality management standards focus more on people centric organizations. Organizations now need to prepare themselves in order to address people centered issues with commitment from the top management. They also need to invest in employee capability building and at same time, leverage those competencies to create a win win.
  • Organizational models also refocus on people centric issues and call for redefining the future role of HR professionals.
  • To leapfrog ahead of competition in this world of uncertainty, organizations have introduced six- sigma practices. Six- sigma uses rigorous analytical tools with leadership from the top and develops a method for sustainable improvement. These practices improve organizational values and help in creating defect free product or services at minimum cost.
  • Human resource outsourcing is a new accession that makes a traditional HR department redundant in an organization. Exult, the international pioneer in HR BPO already roped in Bank of America, international players BP Amoco & over the years plan to spread their business to most of the Fortune 500 companies.
  • With the increase of global job mobility, recruiting competent people is also increasingly becoming difficult, especially in India. Therefore by creating an enabling culture, organizations are also required to work out a retention strategy for the existing skilled manpower.

Adaptability is the key - We all are aware that attracting, managing, nurturing talent and retaining people has emerged to be the single most critical issue due to enormous opportunities spun off by the market. The new avatar of talent is the knowledge professional -which is innovative, business savvy, quick on the uptake, has an instinctive ability to network, and possessing unbridled ambition. They are propelled by an urge to experiment, scan new avenues that can spur their creativity.

The knowledge professional will gravitate to an organization that is flexible, has strong values, robust performance ethics and provides challenging work on latest technology. This has led to companies proactively taking measures on three fronts. First, companies create an organizational ambiance where talent can bloom. Second, they put in place systems that help unleash their potential and Third, they build a reward and recognition mechanism that provides motivation to people to continually enhance their productivity.

In my next post, I shall touch upon B2E emerging trends.


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