The rapidly transforming business landscape means that there are many confrontments in human resource management which will continue to evolve for the years to come. Due to the fluctuating economy of the country, they are a lot of local and global advancements and changes which are occurring rapidly, that is expected to affect human resource management in a wide range of issues.
The role of a Human Resource Manager is evolving with the change in competitive market environment and the realization that Human Resource Management must play a more strategic role in the success of any organization. In the changing business environment, it has now become the responsibility of a HR Manager to play the role of a strategic partner and change mentor within the organization. In order to succeed, Human Resource Management is expected to be a business driven function with a thorough understanding of the organization’s big picture and be able to influence key decisions and policies.
Some of the crucial challenges which could be visualized in the area of managing people are Talent Retention, Leadership Development, Succession Planning, Change Management, Organizational Transformation and Learning and Development. Keeping these challenges into consideration, it becomes very important for the drivers of Human Resource Management in any organization to promote and facilitate values, ethics, beliefs, and spirituality within their business group, especially in the management of workplace diversity.
It’s always important to see how a Human Resource manager can meet the challenges of workplace diversity, how to motivate employees through sharing and executing information system through proper planning, organizing, leading and controlling their men. The future success of any business entity would depend on the ability of its Human Resource Team to recruit, manage and retain a diverse pool of talent that could bring diverse perspectives, views and innovative ideas to their workplace. With a mixture of talents of diverse cultural backgrounds, gender, lifestyle and age, any organization can respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively, especially in the global arena. On the contrary, if the work environment in any organization does not support workplace diversity broadly, one may risk losing talents to their competitors.
As per a study conducted by Deloitte on The Emerging role of HR COO is to empower the HR Leadership teams to deliver more business value. The above study also showed the result that almost one quarter (24%) of the total hours worked by HR Professionals should be devoted to being a strategic business partner in the organization. Dr. Ulrich defines strategic business partner as a partner comprising of senior and line managers from the HR Department of the organization who should be responsible for the execution of the strategies framed, thereby helping to move the plans from conference room to the market place.
In the same survey which was carried out across Asia Pacific countries, the issues expected to pose a challenge in the upcoming 5 years would be staffing i.e. including international mobility of employees, as it was noted in other regions as well.
The concept of workforce diversity also holds true for most of the multinational companies, which have their operations not only in different countries, but also in different continents. These MNC’s are the companies which employ people from different countries with different cultural and ethical values. Hence, in such scenario the HR manager is expected to be more watchful and employ the approach of ‘Think Global, Act Local’ in most of the circumstances.
Also, one of the crucial challenge which stands in front of the HR Professionals is that with the inclusion of foreign talents in the team, the local professionals must be assured that the incoming foreign professionals are not a threat to their career advancements.
Role of a Human Resource Manager:
In order to effectively bring in the essence of Workplace diversity and make it a continuous practise or a habit, the HR Managers need to play the role of front liners and drive this phenomenon across organizations thereby touching each and every element in the organization.
1. Character of Leadership
There are few people who live in dream, while there are others who live in reality, but the beauty of human progress goes in the hands of those leaders who think of a dream and strive to make it real.
The workplace culture in any organization is reflected by its leadership. If you would see the sights in few organizations within the country, the first name which will strike your mind is Mr. Ramalingam Raju. A former Indian IT Industrialist who founded Satyam Computers in 1987 and was the Chairman of the company until January 7th, 2009, had to resign because of the loopholes in his leadership. Unfortunately, it was disclosed that this leader had systematically falsified the accounts of the giant outsourcing company.
On the other extreme, there have been leaders who have taken their organization to a new height. A Bharat Ratna who made a conglomerate grow, which takes the credit of providing the services and products to the world ranging from salt to software. Under his chairmanship, ‘M’ was replaced by ‘B’ (The Tata Group grew from 100 Million dollar company to 5 Billion dollar company). He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on July 26, 1988, when he left, Tata & Sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises which they either started or in which they had controlling interest. He was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata.
In both of the examples listed above if you would have noticed, it was the vision of the leader which made the difference. Whether it was Mr. Raju or Mr. Tata, it was their character which spoke about them. The above two anecdotes clearly demonstrates that a leader has the power and the capability to bring about the change which the organization wishes to experience or see. It’s also the leadership style which can help the organization to develop on the emerging core competencies and at the same time overcome key strategic challenges.
2. Creating a flexible Workplace
A diverse workplace is a still a long distant goal for many organizations and to achieve this goal, the organizations need to take a big step by creating a fair share of flexibility at the workplace. Flexibility at workplace would allow the diverse workgroups to co-exist. Several experts from the industry claim that the dedication and commitment from the employee and the level of his engagement at the workplace increases significantly if they observe and perceive that their organization genuinely cares for them and is transparent. Flexibility at workplace is one such tool which communicates care and transparency.
Until 2011, India’s best score in terms of employee satisfaction in the area of transparency stood at 77%, while this year the same number broke all records and climbed to 82%. Though the number in case of satisfaction has climbed to 82% but still there is a gap of 18% which needs to be explored.
Hence for creating an atmosphere which actually supports and recognizes the efforts of a team which comprises of people with disability, LGBTs, women talent and people from different generation, it becomes equally important for the HR professionals to ensure that in their office or workplace there is an environment which allows these diverse mindsets of people to come together, work together and live together effectively towards the outcome of the business.
3. Strategically handling the talents
The companies have now started to realize the important of diverse workforce. As companies start expanding their operations globally either physically or virtually, it becomes a strategic need for them to hire, recruit and employ people with diverse talents, as it helps the organizations to understand various forte of market in which they target.
It was 1980’s, when the country with the largest population in the world – China had decided to expand it trade beyond its boundaries and it started looking out to global market. The idea was to export their products globally. To achieve this, the best of the Chinese companies hired a number of Singaporeans, as 75% of Singaporeans of Chinese descent. This was done because the Chinese realized that the marketing professionals which Singapore nourished had the basic understanding of the Chinese market. Also, because of Singapore’s open economic policies, these professionals from Singapore also had an attitude towards the western market and the ability to speak English Language.
With the evolution of this trend in the market, any HR manager should try to strategically handle the diverse talent. He / She must show agreement to the fact that a diverse workforce can urge the organization to scale new heights, by cracking new potential market and attaining organizational goals, in order to tie together the full potential of diversity at the work place.
Any corporate which considers workplace diversity as an organizational asset and not as a liability, helps them to positively take it in its march some of the last positive facets of work force diversity.
4. Be the leader in talks
As an HR manager, the professional needs to ensure that promote, endorse and encourage a diverse workforce by making diversity evident at each and every hierarchy of the organization. If this is missing, the employees of the organization would tend to develop a notion that they is no future or career path of the employee in the organization. This may lead to high attrition. Hence it becomes equally important for the HR line managers to respect the issues related to diversity and promote transparent, apparent, clear and positive responses to these concerns.
There should be a promise to all the different categories of people working in a workplace by the HR professionals that the concerns or issues raised by the employees in the field of workforce diversity would be resolved in ethical, responsible and just manner. An encouragement of this sort would imbibe the feeling inside the employee that he is free to raise the issue and at the same time, it also sends a signal to the employee that all these concerns would be addressed. This employee would now concentrate and dedicate himself more for his assigned roles and responsibilities.
Therefore, the opportunities to grow in this area of HR function and leadership are huge as there are a number of sectors untouched, which needs to be explored. The people from these sectors could be brought into the mainstream to bring in the culture of workforce diversity when these people would actively participate, contribute and deliver.
Hence, the study shows that the role of organizational leader becomes very important to drive workforce diversity in the organization and this must run parallel to the changing dynamics in the corporate world. Most of the successful organizations are the one’s which are more adaptable, resilient, flexible, change makers and customer focussed. And for the organizations to be successful, the entire HR fraternity of the organization should become skilled in managing, supervising and controlling the human resources proper planning and strategic decision making. Also it becomes more significant for the leaders to have knowledge and regular updates of the emerging trends to train and develop the employees.