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HR honchos should speak the language of business

Uncertainty over global economy and changing business models worldwide due to technology innovation are forcing human resource (HR) managers to try and evolve strategies to stay relevant.

Anita Ramachandran, founder and chief executive officer of Cerebrus Consultants, while addressing the Le Vox Populi-HR Conclave 2013, organised by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration, stressed the need for HR executives to speak the language of business.

She said HR executives should move from being a strategic business partner to climb up the value chain and unify with business. “They should have good understanding of business, besides being able to speak the language of business. They should be able to analyse data and take decisions based on it,” she added.  Anita also quoted the Maruti Manesar violence and said that with the rise in “militant trade unionism”, industrial relations, which was losing its credibility post-liberalisation, was again going to play a significant role.

The issue was also highlighted by Vijaykumar Rangaraju, vice-president, HR, Polaris Financial Technology Ltd. Rangaraju, who is working on a book ‘Multiple Fragrances in the same room’, said that during the 1990s, the need for industrial relations professionals was coming down resulting in growth of HR professionals. He said liberalisation destroyed the need for labour unions and industrial relations management. Post-2008, after the global economic downturn, companies have been cutting jobs or laying off workers, which is resulting in discontent and rise in violence and protests in companies.

He also cited a telecom company in Chennai, which was embroiled in labour issues, and hit out at the failure of the personnel manager to handle the labour issues.

He stressed the need for values in HR so that the company could be profitable. Mark Trevor, senior consultant, People and Change Practice, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, said that values are an important part of the company and at the same time, it was also linked to the profits the company was making. Highlighting the transformation of human resources, he said currently, specialisation mattered less and what was more important was managing people.Marian Pias, head research function, MarketMaker4, highlighted the relevance of HR with the advent of social media. He highlighted the needs of younger generation, who preferred fun in workplace to be more productive.

He highlighted how firms were using social media sites to attract talent in the workplace.