To make a workplace digital you first have to make its workforce and culture digitally agile
When we talk about the strategy, the first aspect that comes to picture is recruitment infrastructure and employer branding, compensation design and administration, and course data analytics.
In my current role at Stanford Health, I had an opportunity and privilege to build a new employer brand which was enabled by technology to a large extent. We successfully established the brand and as well managed a very high volume of recruitment for the opening of our new hospital efficiently which was enabled by an all-encompassing recruitment suite which we integrated with our core HRIS system. Besides that, there was candidate outreach that was enabled by social media and digital campaigns, a recruiting CRM, and marketing platform, and above all, our ability to track and observe our returns on those investments. The technology was just like a foundation to be able to establish that employer brand and that infrastructure. Now for compensational technology solutions that I have leveraged, they include both analysis and design tools such as survey management, market pricing, and the compensation administration tools for goal-based incentive programs and process facilitation.
The third area that I mentioned was data analytics; we recently launched a manager dashboard pilot. I see that continually progressing towards more integrated solutions could give us a holistic insight into our workforce trends and issues.
Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership approach?
Being into Indian classical music as a vocalist, I relate closely to rhythm and harmony, and my leadership approach is also affected and influenced by these two principals. Leadership has to be about consistency and flow, and when you bring together a diverse group of talent that’s working towards a common goal, it’s my job as a leader to create a rhythm and continually gage my team’s harmony. So when new initiatives come my way and the rhythm changes I should be able to access and manage how my team is responding to the new rhythm and then do the needful to get everybody in the sink again.
Personality wise I seem inclusive and transparent. Being inclusive helps me welcoming a partnership-oriented environment with both my immediate, expanded and cross-functional teams that I work with. Transparency is one of thing that’s most valued and appreciated by my team, and I get that as regular feedback. These characteristics have been very rewarding for me as a leader in how my team connects with me.
How do you see the evolution of the HR Technology arena a few years from now with regard to some of its potential disruptions and transformations?
HR technology is continually evolving to create enhanced employee and customer experiences. This would include creating a seamless experience for employees, employers, and business clients. There would also be a rise in consulting companies systems integrating with their clients’ cloud-based technology. In the pursuit of providing more transparency into the business and its financial performance, cloud-based HR systems integrating with multiple business functions such as supply chain, finance, and HR could be seen in the future. Now, specific to enabling HR strategies, I think talent is one of the key elements that’s going to continue to transform talent acquisition, learning, and data analytics. So, everything that’s coming into the recruitment area with AI, and AR/VR is going to continue the transformation.
How critical do you think it is for an HR professional to be technology savvy and how can it be achieved?
In the current times, knowledge and use of technology are indispensable as our daily operations are mostly enabled by it. Even people working in organizations that are not advanced with technology; in their personal lives, they are living with technology on a regular basis. I firmly believe that whether or not you directly work in HR it is important to know about HR technologies and they should be a part of every HR professional development and carrier plan. There are a lot of entry-level folks who have still not figured out where they want to go and how they want to progress and this is an area that is so promising now. They could enroll in courses and certification programs that provide a knowledge base in HR technology, talk to colleagues who have been there and understand from their experiences. In a nutshell, I would say go embrace and learn it, and it will set you apart.
What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field?
From a competency perspective, the human resource function has already come a long way and has shifted from merely being service-oriented, to being considered as a strategic function in most industries. The technology which started with the intent of automating the paper-based processes is now taking the shape of totally facilitating people’s strategies.
However, it’s important for an HR professional to understand how they are being considered, i.e., as process enablers or as strategic partners as it depends to a large extent on us how they partner with the organization. So for any aspiring professional who wishes to grow and be known as a strategic thinker and partner, it’s vital to understand an organization’s business strategy, the industry landscape, and then align it to the workforce trends and the realities of the organization at the end.