Collaboration between HR Professionals and SMEs is a road to organizational success

(a) Tips for a budding L&D/HR professional?

As Head HR, I feel that if a policy has some decent involvement of the employee, its acceptance is easier than the seniors making a policy and pushing it down, meaning, the framework of engaging with the client on policies etc., makes it easier for acceptance of the policies. 

We follow a Buddy engagement model where each new employee has an existing employee engaged with him/her to make them comfortable in the company. 

On the Process front, we engage with the employees by making them carry out a research on new processes that would make them more productive with higher quality output. 

To sum-up, we engage with employees on multi-fronts and on continuous basis which help they grow their knowledge and personality. 

(b) Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

I have extended my role beyond traditional HR role of hiring and managing human resources through their lifecycle in the Company and partnered with business to understand their needs through continuous interaction and planning. As a result, instead of business coming up to us and sharing their requirement, we reached out to business to understand their plans and prepare in advance accordingly to support their initiatives.  One of the major achievements was steep reduction in attrition ratio which was a clear indicator that we were able to make our Company as employees’ choice of workplace.

Another achievement was to build a platform for regular and periodical interaction of employees with top management; this helped us in aligning management’s vision with the workforce at the frontend. 

I always believe in “The democratic process of policy making” wherein all the HODs/functional heads are encouraged to contribute & evolve these processes/ policies / practices. These are then presented to the management for feedback. This process helps the employees to understand the holistic view and thus sharpens their skills/ personality leading to higher satisfaction and prolonged stay with us. 

Majority of the employees in SMEs are young and it’s a known fact that an SME can grow only if employees are skilled up. Towards achieving this, I ensured SMEs to not only execute training programs on a regular basis but also exceeded the SMEs standard. 

These training programs are targeted at skill upgradation and personality development. Not just that also ensured is that the skills learnt are immediately put into practice. 

One of the most significant achievements in SME’s is to be able to deliver more output with less people. And for SME this is significant as then it can use the monies saved(less recruitments) for its core business and thus grow faster. 

(c) How can an HR/L&D contribute strategically to the organization?

The Vision of our Human Resources Department was to be a catalyst; we aspire to be the model for excellence and leadership in human resourcesemphasizing strategic and progressive human resource practices, high quality service, efficiency, employee growth and enrichment, and community.

The vision achievement is targeted through 3 main initiatives: –

  • Employee issues (develop talent and skills in the business, develop staff education and create a great working environment)
  • Establishing relevant HR metrics for the business units to report people management progress and issues; and
  • Ensuring the HR delivery model is appropriate to deliver required service at Competitive cost/FTE numbers.

(d) One HR/L&D practice that has always worked for you as an HR.

After recruiting the best people, you need to ensure that they remain the frontrunners in the field. This has become even more relevant today as the rate at which technology is developing is growing exponentially. In addition to formal learning, on-the-job learning also plays an important role. The next generation of workers is actively looking for development opportunities and sees these as a way to grow in their profession. Not offering these opportunities is related to higher levels of employee turnover.

(e) Do you think robots can replace HR/L&D professionals in the coming decade?

Artificial intelligence has streamlined many human resource processes but I feel there is very little chance of this occupation being replaced by robots/AI entirely as robots/AI excels at tasks that rely on data processing and pattern recognition. Robots can work more efficiently & faster than human beings can, but the “Human” aspect of HR should not be neglected. HR directors know their employees and their organization in ways AI software doesn’t especially with respect to aligning employees with company culture.

(f) How do you create a buy-in for training at workplace?

Make sure that the reasons for the training are laid out clearly and communicated effectively.

  • Be transparent about the “Why”: Without knowing why you’re starting a new training initiative, employees have no reason to be on board with the approach you present. Make sure that the reasons for the training are laid out clearly and communicated effectively.
  • Explain the process and the reasons behind it: When the employees know exactly what the training entails, they’re more likely to jump in enthusiastically. After all, achieving buy-in requires that participants know what is that they’re buying into
  • Seek Feedback: The most important step in achieving training buy-in is to seek feedback from participants. Understanding their needs and preferences is crucial to developing the best plan of action and is all but impossible unless you have a deep understanding of what they go through every day.
  • Schedule periodic meetings: Make sure to schedule periodic meetings before and after training sessions where you ask specific questions about the effectiveness of the training. Do learners feel engaged and interested in the content? Come prepared with a list of questions, and leave room for them to speak their minds.

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