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With vigour, more than ever
Ranjan Das (Director – HR, Henkel Adhesive technologies India PVT. LTD.) admits that today’s generation is more technology driven and most people want instant results
Issue Date - 01/07/2012
Q. What is your take on creating the future workplace?
A. The future workplace will be more self driven. Organisations would need to create their own markets; how innovative or different they are from the rest will define their existence in future. Simultaneously, giving an impetus to the organisation and people in it will also become important. Do not compare yourself with the pace of the market; catching up with the market is not a scenario any more. Companies have to double their pace and for doing that they need to be innovative in their approach and bring in new products. The future workplace will be more innovative and more customer-centric.

Q. Considering today’s trends, how different will be the aspirations of the future workforce?
A. It is difficult to say because if we take today’s generation, we see that it is more technology driven. There is an instance when we went to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) and chose four students from there. But two of them said that they were not ready to travel as they could stay connected through their PCs and telecon.

Today’s generation wants to see instant results. There is impatience and rush for achieving more in a considerably short period. The more the use of technology, the more restless a generation becomes. I think meeting the aspirations of employees is going to be a difficult task for every manager.

Q. How do you think should HR stay connected with employees in the future office?
A. HR needs to evolve itself because virtual office is gaining ground and we see that happening in our organisation which is more into manufacturing and sales. It depends upon us to devise ways and means to get connected and using technology should not be an option but a natural need. HR needs to be creative in how to stay connected because there are more and more people coming and questioning their managers why they cannot work from home.

Every individual has got his targets, and as long as he is meeting his targets and is not required to face the customer, it should be fine to let him work from home. They need to set targets and lay stress on being responsible. Organisations have to let go of the notion that work can only be done from office and should focus on connecting with their employees.

Q. How will the employee-employer relationship undergo a change?
A. In the times to come, the employer-employee relationship has to be more inclusive and symbiotic; organisations cannot take employees for granted. The way talent is approached and managed will undergo a paradigm shift. Though there is dearth of people across the world, there is shortage of efficient employees. If this continues, the aspects that will decide employees’ stay with the organisation would be how to deal with them or how will the specific tailor-made solution, that finds meaning in the employees’ lives and careers, look like. The lever through which an employer is connected to its employees will be defined by the employee relation functions of the organisations.

Q. How have the work styles of employees evolved over the last few years?
A. People have become more professional over the years, but in terms of outlook and conduct. Seriousness has certainly increased about work and their aim in life. People have aspirations and they want to live them. They are ambitious, serious and are ready to move an extra mile to achieve what they want.

Q. How can academia help organisations meet their requirements?
A. Academia and industries have to collaborate and most of them are already doing that. What is being planned has to be relevant with the industry requirements which can only come through collaboration. Academia should not be teaching theories of 1950s, as they are of no relevance in today’s world. The teachings should be in relation with what is going on across the world. And industries have to keep institutes informed about what is required.

Q. How will the CEO’s expectations evolve over time?
A. They have already evolved, one needs to justify the existence in the organisation by adding value to it. If your existence is justified by doing administrative work like payroll and filling returns, they can be outsourced. How can HR add value to business, how innovative HR solutions can be brought on the table, how can the performance bar be raised would justify the existence and nothing else.

Q. What will be your advice to the firms preparing for tomorrow?
A. Organisations need to evolve; if they are anchored at a particular era, they need to go with the flow. They have to be flexible to meet the challenges of the business and the workforce. They need to be inclusive and cannot restrict themselves to certain gender or race. Many companies have started hiring people who had taken a break and this is a fine example. This inclusive culture will play a key role in the talent demand in future. Most organisations today have a mindset of not hiring people aged above 40. They want younger people. Moving forward, the age profile in all countries, except India or may be China, will be near 50. The future challenge will be to define and find the talent required. Though basic features of leadership would remain the same, its applications will be more focused towards enabling others to perform better.
Shishir Parasher           

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