As the world comes to a standstill to fight the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak, businesses big and small are either shutting shop or working at minimal capacity. Some however, are leading the fight from the front – doctors, nurses, emergency healthcare workers. Among these frontrunners are also those who ensure that everyday necessities like groceries and medicines are accessible so that others can stay and home and practice social distancing. These companies, and their workforce, who ensure last mile connectivity even in lockdown conditions — they are the warriors of the pandemic.
In the wake of this pandemic, as companies are entering a hitherto unknown mode of working, and traversing newer territories such as remote working, the role of the CHRO has never been more important. From ensuring a smooth transition to working from beyond a physical office, to keeping employees working in isolation motivated, ensuring the well-being and health of the entire workforce becomes a priority. Especially when it comes to the essential services, be it working with other C-suite executives to ensure business continuity, or streamlining workforce functioning to adapt to the evolving needs of the hour, the CHRO is at the front and center of the pandemic response. Companies across industries have had to make the shift to working from home, almost overnight, which has required the combined efforts of both the IT and the people management function. A transition of this magnitude requires not only technological support for an entire workforce to be able to go about business as usual from multiple remote locations, but also intensive planning in terms of how to manage entire teams remotely, and ensure the mental and emotional well-being of employees who are making the rapid shift.
Further, the whole endeavor of taking the company through a transition of this scale brings forth questions with regard to the overall mode of functioning of the organization as a whole. Can working remotely during a crisis enable companies to make this a regular practice, given that employees demonstrate a strong ability to maintain effectiveness and productivity even under the new circumstances? Can more business processes migrate to an entirely online system, making operations more efficient as a whole? What does the future of work and workforce management entail?
The second Forbes India CHRO Dialogues, a virtual conference, will seek to engage CHROs of essential services businesses to understand how they are navigating the current scenario in terms of streamlining people functions to adapt to the "new normal", as well as how they are planning ahead to meet the emerging demands being placed upon their business in these times of need.
The digital era is here. Companies that adapt and transform stand a chance to survive, and those that believe they don’t need to change, may perish within the decade. To modernise through digitisation, then, is the need of the hour. Companies are spending millions of dollars on this transformation. Every CEO has a strategy to remain relevant in the ever-evolving landscape of new technologies. But amid all strategies and investments, it's imperative to remember that the most important part of this complex puzzle is 'the people'. All vision and mission will remain unfulfilled if the people—the employees—are not brought on board of the transformation journey.
Opportunities & challenges
This means the CHRO may be one of the most important C-suite executives at a company—quietly ensuring that the right people are hired for the right job, to drive the company’s agenda forward. Digital transformation is usually seen from the perspective of the CEO, CIO, CTO, and CFO. But CHROs have the most crucial task of finding talent for a job that probably didn’t exist a few years ago, and for tasks that may even be created in the future—using a mix of old-school and new technologies. It will delve into the opportunities and challenges the new scenario poses, and how CHROs and the entire HR department have its job reimagined. Who is the 21st century CHRO and what does it take to be successful and ensure the right talent is brought on board?
In the digital world, many companies are doing exciting things to stay ahead of the competition and be cutting-edge. Retention of good talent is an uphill and crucial task. Startups have now become more attractive to the talent pool, especially millennials and Gen Z, for several reasons. Millennials and Gen Z are also the demographic that redefined how companies need to think about their employees. For the first time, companies had to work on remaining relevant to their employees, just as much as employees had to about staying important to the company.
Forbes India CHRO Dialogues will bring together top CHROs and talent acquisition executives to discuss how they are tackling the crucial task of finding the right talent for their companies.