'all things people' founder Anish Singh, talks to abp live about how social connections and relationships are essential for both well-being and productivity.
ATP, All Things People, ATP Reflect, ATP Elevate, People Science, Voice Of Employees, Continuous Listening, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, Proactive action planning, 3Cs of Culture Capability and Commitment
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‘all things people’ founder Anish Singh, talks to abp live about how social connections and relationships are essential for both well-being and productivity.

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Veteran industry stakeholders Anish Singh, Shashank Shekhar, and Kshitij Jain have joined hands to launch ‘All Things People’ (ATP), their HR Tech venture. Their venture, ATP, leverages the best in people science and technology to reimagine talent practices, facilitating organisational transformation.

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In the preliminary stages of launching our HR tech company, we engaged in insightful conversations with approximately 100 CXOs across the globe (CEOs, CHROs, CTOs, CMOs, L&D Leads, Talent Acquisitions Leads etc). Their collective sentiment underscored the profound evolution of HR, emphasizing its newfound significance. Over these conversations, CEOs & CHROs consistently expressed how their roles had transitioned beyond traditional administrative functions, evolving into strategic leadership positions crucial for organizational success. They illuminated the pivotal shift towards holistic talent management, employee experience, and strategic workforce planning. Notably, technology emerged as a central theme, with CHROs recognizing its transformative potential in reshaping HR functions. These dialogues provided valuable insights into the changing dynamics of the HR landscape and underscored the increasing importance of CHROs as architects of organizational success in the contemporary business landscape.

In the dynamic landscape of the modern workplace, Human Resources (HR) is undergoing a profound transformation, largely driven by advancements in technology. Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), recognizing the potential of technology, are strategically leveraging it to reshape traditional HR functions. In this article, we delve into how technology is revolutionizing HR and explore the innovative approaches savvy CHROs are adopting to stay ahead of the curve.

  • The Evolution of HR Technology: Now, the journey of HR technology is fast evolving to sophisticated platforms that enable data-driven decision-making. Cloud-based HR solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and data analytics have become integral components of the HR tech ecosystem. These technologies not only streamline administrative tasks but also empower HR professionals to make strategic contributions to organizational success.
  • The Power of Automation: One of the game-changing aspects of technology in HR is automation. Routine and time-consuming tasks, such as resume screening, interview scheduling, and onboarding processes, are being automated. This not only accelerates the recruitment process but also allows HR teams to focus on more strategic and value-added activities.

“Automation liberates HR professionals from mundane tasks, enabling them to focus on the human side of Human Resources.”

  • Data-Driven Decision-Making: The abundance of data in the digital age presents an opportunity for HR to make informed decisions. Advanced analytics tools enable CHROs to gain insights into workforce trends, employee engagement, and performance metrics. Data-driven decision-making enhances HR’s strategic role by aligning talent management with organizational objectives.

“Data is the new oil, and in HR, it fuels the engine of strategic decision-making.”

AI and Machine Learning in Recruitment: CHROs are increasingly turning to AI and ML to revolutionize the recruitment process. These technologies analyze patterns in resumes, predict candidate success, and even conduct initial interviews. By leveraging AI, CHROs ensure a more efficient and unbiased hiring process.

“AI in recruitment isn’t about replacing humans; it’s about enhancing our ability to make better decisions.”

Enhancing Employee Experience:

  • Technology is revolutionizing the HR function, empowering organizations to actively listen to the voices of their employees. Innovative tools and platforms enable real-time feedback, fostering a dynamic and responsive workplace culture. Embracing these technological advancements enhances employee engagement, satisfaction, and ultimately contributes to the success of the organization.
  • Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall employee experience. Employee self-service portals, mobile apps, and chatbots provide instant access to information, facilitating better communication and engagement. This, in turn, contributes to increased employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Strategic Alignment: Aligning HR technology initiatives with the overall business strategy to ensure that technological investments contribute to organizational goals.
  • Change Leadership: Leading the cultural shift toward a technology-enabled workplace, fostering a mindset of continuous adaptation and learning.
  • Investing in Talent: Identifying and developing a tech-savvy HR team equipped to leverage and maximize the benefits of new technologies.

“A positive employee experience is a key driver of organizational success, and technology is the enabler.”

Remote Work and Digital Collaboration: The rise of remote work has accelerated the adoption of digital collaboration tools. HR tech platforms facilitate seamless communication, project management, and collaboration among remote teams. CHROs are leading the charge in implementing technologies that support the evolving nature of work.

“The digital workplace isn’t a trend; it’s the future of work. CHROs are architects of this transformation.”

Learning and Development in the Digital Era: Continuous learning is essential in today’s fast-paced business environment. CHROs are leveraging technology to provide personalized learning experiences through e-learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and AI-driven training recommendations.

“In the digital era, the most successful organizations are those that prioritize continuous learning and development.”

Cybersecurity and Employee Data Protection: With the increased reliance on technology comes the responsibility to ensure the security of employee data. Savvy CHROs are investing in robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive information, earning the trust of employees and reinforcing the organization’s commitment to data privacy.

“Protecting employee data is not just a compliance requirement; it’s a critical aspect of building trust in the digital workplace.”

The Role of CHROs in Driving Technological Transformation: Savvy CHROs recognize that embracing technology is not merely an option; it is a strategic imperative. They play a pivotal role in driving technological transformation within HR and across the organization. Here are key strategies employed by forward-thinking CHROs:

Collaboration with IT: Establishing a strong partnership with the IT department to ensure seamless integration and cybersecurity in HR tech implementations.

  • User-Centric Design: Prioritizing user experience in the selection and design of HR tech solutions to enhance adoption and engagement among employees.

“CHROs are the architects of change, and technology is the blueprint for the future of HR.”

The integration of technology into HR functions represents a paradigm shift in the way organizations manage their most valuable asset – their people. Savvy CHROs understand that technology is not just a tool but a catalyst for organizational success. By embracing automation, data analytics, AI, and fostering a tech-centric culture, CHROs position themselves and their organizations at the forefront of the digital revolution, ensuring they are not just keeping pace with change but leading the way into a future where HR is both human and high-tech.

Over the past 24 years, I have perhaps managed 60-80 direct reports, the vast majority of whom were manager of manager. Over the last 4-5 years, I have also had the fortune of managing large multi-layered organisations of 100+ individuals, where each individual direct could be responsible for the business deliverables, career progression (and effective general happiness) of over 50 people. In that context – one key inflection point, which can have significant business and organisational implications, is when a new leader comes in leading one of these verticals, particularly someone from outside the team or even the company.  

 

Each manager has a different style, different strengths and operating preferences. They have different approaches to business strategy, priorities and decision making. Each business has a different context, different historical strategy (often shaped by the outgoing leader) and a different prioritisation approach. Each team has a different culture and operational preferences, which have been conditioned by the outgoing leader and the business context in which they operate. Hence there’s a troika – of the business leader, the business itself and the organisation – that influences the key short and long term business & organisational outcomes, employee motivation and engagement. Each of these 3 shaped and influenced by the other 2, often over a period of time. Like 3 gears working together in tandem. Any disruption or change in any of these 3 has the risk of throwing the entire arrangement into disarray.

 

Don’t get me wrong – there are times when things have to be shaken up. The organisation may have over time got too fat and lenient – and may not be able to drive the appropriate business outcomes effectively. Or the business context may have changed – necessitating a change in approach. But a more common occurrence is the appointment of a new leader – from within or more often outside the team or even the company. As mentioned above – this new leader is very likely to have a different style, strength and operating preference than the outgoing leader. (This may even be a deliberate choice – a business will need different leadership styles and approaches at different stages of growth and maturity.) They will likely not be close to (or in some cases even aware of) the precise business and organisational contexts. And hence a change has the potential to be highly disruptive – both for the business and the organisation.  

 

While organisations have occasionally introduced interventions such as New Leader Assimilation to help settle new leaders in, these are generally sporadic and left to good intentions, and even if done well – are point in time and not ongoing. I have personally experienced the power of continuous listening in helping me and my leaders navigate through this critical phase. One example was the case of Aparna (name changed). When Aparna came to my team, not only did she have to adapt to a new team, but it was also a new business and the role required new functional expertise (she was going to manage a supply chain team as part of the organisation, when she had not worked with supply chain closely before). Our organisation used to have regular continuous listening surveys that helped me stay close to the pulse of the organisation, identify any emerging issues, and address them quickly.

 

Aparna came with strong scores on these surveys from her past team; and the team also had a history of strong survey results. However, soon after she started, I noticed a drop in score across various metrics – inputs that would indicate drops in employee engagement and commitment. I started being more aware and picked up a drop in energy – both office chatter and at team meetings & reviews. The listening survey asked several different questions on a regular basis, and studying the responses helped me understand the issue in more detail. Based on these questions, the underlying drivers seemed to include (a) new manager style (quieter, more focused on the outcomes); (b) a revised business strategy (more focus on profit), (c) Manager’s lack of experience of working with the supply chain; (d) coupled with the teething issues with any transition. Aparna & I reviewed the results and agreed an action plan to help address the situation. This included things she would do to adapt her style to what the team needed, clearer communication to the team on changes in business strategy, and a reassurance that she was there for them even though she may be less vocal than her predecessor. She also attended a workshop and adopted a supply chain-buddy to help accelerate her learning path in working with supply chain. We reviewed the feedback on a monthly basis, and surely enough the team input started improving as the specific actions took hold.

 

And within 2 months, the scores were higher than what they had been under the previous manager; and there was a noticeable difference in team moral & energy. In addition to her relationship with her team, the insights and discussions (and her overall humility through this all) helped her build strong relationships with her peers (particularly in the supply chain), as well as me, her manager.  

All in all – I found the continuous listening surveys to be a very strong tool to help me manage organisational (particularly senior leadership) transitions in the teams I managed. 

“COVID-19 has sped the adoption of digital technologies by several years which no CEO, CTO or consulting firm could do” – I have heard these sentiments being expressed and quoted in many external forums and internal discussions.

However, this race for technology supremacy and the advent of information explosion are having a tumultuous impact now in form of redundancy & job losses, hindering collaborations between economies & organizations and it’s threatening to slow down global climate change cooperations.

These conflicting views nudged me to reach out to my network and seek their perspectives on how HR leaders should guide their approaches and action on using technology as a strategic lever

I was intrigued by the interesting and counter intuitive thoughts and perspectives I received. Sharing the ones that stood out for me…

“Bet on the people behind the technology, and not only on the technology. Now days cutting age technology can become threshold very soon, so companies that build tech mindset will win over those who go and buy tech skills.”

“Technology becomes a superpower lever for success only when it is used as a combination force and not a competing force with talent.”

“Listen and observe well to filter out insight from noise and then build a use case for deploying technology by ascertaining business gains. Test, pilot, experiment, fail fast, learn & start small. “

“Customization is going down a rabbit hole. Imagine buying a Mercedes and then asking your existing car parts to be fitted into it”

“Technology & digital transformation is an iterative and meticulous process, filled with trials, tribulations & surprises. Most don’t reap the benefit because they treated it as a “one big event, hype or campaign”

Last and my favourite – “Your idea is not your identify, your execution is your identity. So be open to ideas, get a trusted partner and execute with passion and precision”

I would love to invite your perspective on this and make the Kaleidoscope richer with your thoughts and insights … click here to access this LinkedIn post and share your views

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