HR Adviser & Trainer
Impact of Liberalization and Globalization on Human Resource function is huge and transformation has happened quickly in our country. HR domain is growing in-depth as well in length & breadth. Thus new experiments are taking place in progressive organizations which has given rise for ample opportunity to broaden the HR domain. We are seeing the most dynamic, tough & critical situations all over the world and thus HR has occupied pivotal role in all types of organizations whether it is in Manufacturing, Engineering, Mining, Automobile, Education, Retail, Banking and Financial services, IT, ITES, Bio Technology, Service Industry like Health, Transport and Tourism and even in NGOs. Today’s HR function is totally aligned to achieve organizational goals. In this journey, the HR function has faced several tough challenges which are resulting to offer quick and efficient HR services to employees; work with Business Leaders to achieve organizational goals and so on so forth.
With the influence of Global HR Practices, HR Function has taken new path and given raise to Specialized HR functions within the ambit of HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT. It is the right time for HR Professionals / Practitioners, Researchers and Academia to focus on the several and well defined specialist HR functions and which have become prominent in the new set of organizations. This emergence can be compared with medical field where MBBS and LMP doctors who were treating all type of patients and there were no specialist health care services at all. Today, we see several types of specialists in medical field like General Physician, Pediatrician, Surgeon, Orthopedic, Cardiologist, Gastroenterologist, Neurologist, Nephrologists, Plastic surgeon, ENT specialist, Psychiatric, Gynecologist, Endocrinologist, Rheumatologist, Dermatologist, Oncologist, Several dentist specialists, Pulmonologist and many more such special fields are emerging too. Similarly, HR function has moving towards several specialist roles and which is helping very much to increase the career opportunities to the younger generations who wish to choose HR domain.
HR FUNCTION IS MOVING TOWARDS SPECIALIST POSITIONS
In traditional organizations, we find the generalist HR role, which is the Jack of all trades. In such organizations, the generalist HR functionary is the first point of contact for Employees and Managers for all HR related issues. A Human Resources Generalist is a key person of an organization. He/ She is responsible for the day-to-day Management of HR operations, Industrial relations, Welfare, Labour law compliance, Evolve the HR & Administrative policies, procedures and implement all the policies & procedures laid down by the Top Management.
Now days, HR function is influenced by diverse Business Models, Local and International work culture, size, and sector specific processes, procedures and policies of organizations. New Business models have felt the greater need of HR specialists. HR specialist functionary work with role specific competencies in a specific HR discipline/s. The scope of such specialist function depends on Characteristics of HR Departments of a particular Business Model and challenges faced by them. Few of the challenges have become complex particularly in those organizations which are operating across Globe in a diverse organizational culture. Few tough Challenges to HR function are scouting the right candidates’ right in time, inducting them, to meet the aspirations of those young and talented professionals, more importantly to retain them for a longer period. Automation of HR function like Pay Roll Processing and Compensation Management are the earliest specialist HR functions. Acquisition of Talent and Talent Management has occupied the hub among several other specialized HR Functions. Learning & Development is the most important specialist function which is focusing on to train, re-train, up-skill and re-skill the employees on changing technologies. Under several such compulsions, HR function has reinvented its wheel in the new Business Models. The early reinvention of wheel was introduction of HRD concept by Prof T.V. Rao. Few organizations divided HR function a long ago in to two: a) HR as Maintenance Function and b) Human Resources Development to focus on People development. However, it took quite long years to penetrate in to all organizations in the country.
The New Business Models, MNCs operating in the country, advancement in IT Technology & Telecom sectors have thrown open many challenges to HR. Thus, the new Business Models / Organizations did not wait for a formal HR research or for a slow evolution in HR Function. As and when the new challenges are confronted by them and to meet such specific demands, HR function is pushed to take a new path with varied specialist HR functions. The adoption of new technologies has accelerated the growth of specialist HR functions. HR Specialist Functions are highlighted as under:
Advent of WhatsApp, Skype, Social media, etc have given raise to communicate fast, provide services speedily and accurately. HR Professionals with right competencies in new HR specialist functions are coping very well. New age Organizations are increasingly adopting AI in HR and Learning & Development functions. AI is adopted in recruitment processes; it helps in scanning resumes and to conduct technical tests on-line, interviews and in facilitating to remove many repetitive works. Automation in HR has a major impact in HR Administration & routine HR Procedural aspects. Training method has already moved away from classroom to anytime to anywhere model.
Today’s HR professionals have abundance of opportunities. Initially the challenge is to get a right job in a progressive organization. On getting a job, they cannot sit happily and look for growth automatically. This era is driven by innovation, start ups and emergence of new business models. Younger generation will have to be steady and run fast to catch up new technologies and new ideas. They should enhance knowledge, upgrade their skills on a continuous basis, have positive attitude and adopt good values both in personal and professional life. ( ASK + V = Attitude, Skills, Knowledge and Values.)
Majority of the Institutes are running very generic HR modules in both MSW and MBA courses. There are few HR papers and in which several chapters are included with in the main HR modules. Exclusive specialist HR papers are absent and thus students are unable to study in-depth. Students are not getting the feel or insight on majority of the specialist HR functions. The Universities and Management Educational Institutes operating in tier 2 and 3 cities or in remote places are totally deprived of getting exposed to Specialist HR functions as they do not get a chance to have practical exposure in good organizations. Few, HR Professional bodies are trying to bridge the gap through training programme and workshops. However, the reach is slow and not sufficient. Need is either to revamp the syllabus of MSW, MBA and other allied courses and introduce more number of in-depth HR Specialist papers. Introduce variety of Internship programmes to study exclusively HR specialist functions. Frequently conduct "Experiential Learning Labs” exclusively on the new age technology and relevant specialist HR modules. Lastly, students should undertake self study (Go beyond syllabus), interact with senior HR Professionals and have right mentors to understand and assimilate gamut of new business models and varied HR roles. Basically, the students have to develop suitable competencies’ and become employable as the opportunities are huge for right candidates.
Organizations are ready to induct HR specialists with clear responsibilities, but onus falls on the HR professionals to deliver results and gain the trust. They do get high recognition and rewards too. In a pre defined career path, HR specialists can choose 2-4 specialist areas and become HR subject matter experts. Both Generalist and Specialist HR functionaries cannot shun away from new technology and developing new competencies for the sustainable growth. Lastly, one who wants to climb the top position like Vice President or Head - HR should have wider experience in all the HR specialist functions.
Article developed by: Bhima Rao, HR Adviser & Trainer.
*This article is based on author’s 40 years of experience in Industry and held leadership roles in Human Resources & Training domains.
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