Mythili Sarathy of Reliance Industries Limited believes that retaining and attracting key talent is the biggest threat to organizations sustainable competitive advantage as well as driving bottom line.
I believe joining HR was a calling/destiny – an unexpected pit stop turned out to be the dawn of intriguing career journey. My HR journey started as I was given the choice to join the Talent Management vertical of Reliance Industries Limited Jamnagar if I had to continue my career post marriage. As a professional and as a human being I intend to always balance my career as well as personal life. I had the option to continue as the business development manager with a long distance family relationship or to join HR function in Reliance at Jamnagar along with my spouse.
HR as a function has always piqued my interest because no matter how much functionally or technically competent one can be, the art of managing Human Resource makes one self a better manager and an impeccable leader. But my interest and respect towards the function grew exponentially in these 5 years of gaining experience in HR. I realized I am better off as a HR professional than becoming a leader in line function. The outcomes that I delivered, the learnings that I accumulated, the energy that I absorbed and radiated, and the satisfaction with which I returned home was only because of doing what I was doing every day. Given a choice, I would still take the same decision to join HR but would have done it from the start of my career.
Points of differentiation
My USP (Unique Selling Point) & POD: business acumen, client empathy, analytical mind set (financial and non-financial) and technology expertise. With the business management degree from IIM, Bangalore, couple of years of experience in telecom R&D & coding development and a year of experience working as business development manager for niche product and services on cloud computing & CRMs, I was able to develop a strategic mind set in understanding business and how HR can contribute effectively with the changing business needs & deliverables amidst of highly volatile HR ecosystem given the latest IT developments.
The competency that I have accrued over years through my education & prior experience helps me manage my clients/stake holders better, strategize / plan HR actions basis business priorities, attach business value to my HR deliverable, enable business leaders to understand and appreciate how we as HR function contribute to bottom line through our deliverables.
Biggest Talent Priority to solve
Organization’s attempt to manage (retain and attract) talent in an ecosystem of increasing attrition vs highly volatile talent market is a key HR challenge that even the biggest organizations are trying to solve today. With the increasing requirement for competent resources, decreased supply of skilled talent and decreasing employee loyalty year on year – retaining and attracting key talent is the biggest threat to organizations’ sustainable competitive advantage as well as driving bottom line.
The advent of technology in HR space and globalization has opened the talent market across borders to benchmark jobs, organizations, employee experience, career growth and as a result providing plethora of options to employees thereby empowering job seekers against the employers. Talent poaching is a necessary strategy and threat that every organization is confronting today. The scenario is going to worsen in the days to come with the changing job definitions across industries & managing millennials and their expectation throws another set of challenge unless the organization is going to innovate on their way of hiring/managing talent and in turn the deliverables from their talent.
The one thing I will retain in HR
HR as the strategic business partner – a one stop solution to all human resources needs of the organization. From the basic element of HR organogram, a HR Business partner to the most strategic HR leadership role, the CHRO of the organization is expected to partner with line function and leaders to manage their HR goals and support appropriately to achieve the business deliverables through hiring & managing talent, create talent and leadership pipeline, coach leaders for better performance, innovate to optimize talent delivery etc. Irrespective of changing HR ecosystem the basis necessity for our existence should not be compromised and hence providing the right focus to retain the dimension of HR being the strategic business partner to line and leadership is of primordial importance.
The one thing I will change in HR
The attitude of HR to only manage policies & processes and represent management decision pertaining to employees: ~70% of the HR professional works as business partners/business facing HR roles providing basic HR services and representing leadership decision on ELCM related processes. Strategic partnership with line starts from the middle management or senior management of HR organization. As a result, the bottom of pyramid remains always in want of competent resources while looked from the eyes of HR leaders.
With the advent of cloud computing, IT infrastructure in HR domain and many organizations moving to integrated platforms to manage employee ELCM and HR strategies, the definition of jobs in HR as a function would evolve. Hence we as HR professional / HR as a function have to be proactive in equipping ourselves with necessary competencies to manage this inevitable change and start looking at our responsibility beyond just managing processes and policies.
Vision for HR's future growth
My vision for HR’s future growth is to be proactive in sensing, planning and mitigating the possible change that HR as a function should undergo to manage the evolution that business/organization would embrace in future. This would certainly enable us to catch up with the business evolution on time and cater to the changing HR expectation by the line function on time. Our next wave of evolution is the technology wave where businesses have already started evolving w.r.t cloud computing, mobile technologies, search engines and big data analysis & management. It is already high time for us as HR professionals to create working models to support the change. It calls for creating competent resources in the field of HR analytics and platforms, predictive analysis in talent space, using augmented and virtual reality for better employee experience as well as leverage technology for tailor-made employee service delivery through mass customization.
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