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Building a digitally responsive workforce

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-05-2017 Isha Trivedi

Digital is now an enterprise-wide phenomenon and different functions within organizations are aligning themselves with the broader digital vision of the top management. The role of the human resource (HR) function, in this context, is assuming greater significance in preparing the workforce to meet the challenges of a digital world. The panel on Building a digitally responsive workforce comprised Ashutosh Telang, chief HR officer at Marico Ltd; Mahalakshmi R., head of HR at Mondelez India Foods Pvt. Ltd (formerly, Cadbury India); Rajkamal Vempati, head of HR at Axis Bank Ltd; Vishalli Dongrie, partner and head (people and change services) at KPMG India; and Stephan Amling, senior vice-president at SAP SuccessFactors Asia. The discussion was moderated by Sanjay Gupta, national writer (technology) at Mint. Edited excerpts:

Telang: Technologies such as digital, artificial intelligence, robotics and augmented realty have created an entirely different environment that is giving us a lot of opportunity in terms of increasing our productivity as well as enhancing decision-making.

Mahalakshmi: Digital is really making businesses rethink what constitutes “work”, who are “employees” and what “engagement” really means at different touchpoints. Secondly, the entire life cycle of an employee is being redefined. Therefore, how we acquire talent, how we attract talent, how we think about learning and careers is all undergoing a change.

Vempati: What digital has done essentially is that it has brought to the fore the idea of being customer-oriented. Also, there is a lot of skilling requirement. As skills keep getting disruptive each day, we continue to embrace new changes in the organization. An important change recently is the growth in the availability of multiple online training courses.

Dongrie: As a consultant, the work we do and the clients’ needs are completely changing. Today, we do a lot of predictive and prescriptive modelling for companies. We are also doing change management for a client because they are doing robotic cognitive implementation in some parts of their organization.

Amling: We need to align both our people and HR strategy with our organization and company strategy. For us, company strategy typically means becoming a cloud company. We are developing software but it is cloud software—how it is being developed, how it is being served, and how it is being delivered to customers is completely and fundamentally different.

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