Global Series – November 2021

Knowing the People Business with Aakanksha Lath

Today, Human Resources (HR) is consistently ranking high on the lists of best career options. The U.S. News & World Report ranks the role of HR specialist at #17 on their list of Best Business Jobs and as one of the 100 Best Jobs overall for 2020. Recently, as a part of the Global Series on career development, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) organised a webinar on ‘HR -The People Business’ by Ms. Aakanksha Lath, Associate Director, Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP)-Technology at MakeMyTrip. An MBA in HR from SIBM, Ms. Lath has over eleven years of experience in HR. The webinar focused on the role of HR today, the HR functions in an organisation and the various career options in the field of HR. 

The session started with Ms. Lath delving into the purpose of business and the significant role of HR facilitating the employees to perform and contribute towards profits, supporting customer satisfaction and creating shareholder value. Facts related to the employee mindset, performance issues, work processes, organisational strategies with relevant examples in the current business scenario were highlighted to provide varied perspectives on the HR functionalities in the organisation. One such fact was on employee engagement. She shared a study that shows that if 72% or more of employees are actively engaged, then the potential of the shared value of the organisation rises by 50% thus clearly showcasing the importance of employee engagement and handholding the HR department renders in goal-setting, training, benefits, recruitment, skill development, talent, so and so forth. 

Further, the students were oriented with the evolution of HR from the Indian perspective starting from 1912 where the shift of focus from the welfare of farmers point of view to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in today’s world was explained. This information aided the students in learning the primitive/traditional HR functionalities such as eight-hour work shifts, maternity leave, Industrial Dispute Acts, the establishment of XLRI, etc. A glance at the history of HR functions was an eye-opener for the students to understand why and what makes today’s scenario a shift of the functionality of HR from primitive to shared services and involvement in strategic planning functionalities. 

Another aspect that got emphasized in the session was that today HR is considered as PEOPLE BUSINESS – Of the people, for the people and by the people. Today HR needs to amalgamate the organisation’s needs and the employees’ needs and bring out a strategy that works as a win-win situation. 

Ms. Lath touched upon a wide range of HR roles showing how HR is the game-changer in the organisation and has to be vigilant and alert to the external environment and that HR is not just into hiring and firing but are actively involved in business, strategizing, planning and has a seat at the CXO table. 

Considering today’s people and performance-related challenges, she mentioned that HR has become the change agent in any organisation. At this juncture, she highlighted the various skills required by HR such as working with data, technology and tools, training, possessing adequate communication skills, ability to influence, emotional intelligence, etc. She stated that the blend of psychology and HR is key in understanding peoples’ traits and group dynamics that are essential for organisational growth and development. She emphasized that an organisational psychologist plays a key role in the HR department not only in motivating and training the employees but also in change management.

The Q&A session highlighted the key takeaways felt from the session, that is, the changing role of HR in the era of digitalisation and technology, the role of emotional intelligence, understanding of business dynamics and business from an HR perspective, the essential skills that the students need to possess to be an effective HR of any organisation.