It is a smart world. Look around and we see smart phones (maybe you are reading this on one), smart cars, smart grids and even smart cities. There is something substantive to this smartness – it is not just another marketing adjective. What lends them their  “smartness” ?  To be precise Three characteristics –Exponential improvement in efficiency, personalization and  inclusiveness powered  by simplicity.

Lets examine these three characteristics a little bit more.

  • Exponential Improvement in efficiency – what we are getting from this smartness  is better value for money, better output for lesser input, savings in time and effort and , better resource utilization
  • Personalization– combined with technologies such as Big Data, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, enables smart systems to understand individual preferences and help us make choices as per our needs and desires. They also offer tremendous flexibility to tailor products and services as per our choice.
  • Inclusiveness powered by simplicity – this is the most interesting of the 3. Smart products and systems are conceived to make it easy for (more and more) people to use them. Today people with even elementary education are using smart phones to great effect. That the simplicity is made possible due to the ability to handle high level of complexity at the backend does not matter to the user.

The smart world is more efficient, personalized and inclusive.

This is a great opportunity for Human Resource functions and processes   to get smart . We at “It’s your Skills” believe  there are three areas where HR can make a huge  impact by  getting  smart.

Skills Database AD

Smart capability building

Three significant  developments over the last decade have thrown a significant challenge Complexity of skills in the workplace – need for diverse skills , new skills emerging at a fast pace , rapidly changing demographic profiles

A plethora of places to source from – job boards, social media, forums, external vendors, internal referrals

Multiple engagement models – full time employment, part time employment, contractual employment, outsourced assignment…

Smart HR would balance and judiciously use the different opportunities available to deliver skills that are needed JIT. It would question classical models. It would ask a Hiring Manager – do you need a full time person for this job? Don’t you think you can hire a few hours of time from another employee in another corner of the organization? It would look for skills in not so conventional sources. The other day there was a newspaper report that Flipkart has partnered with  the famously efficient dabbawalas for delivery in Mumbai.

Smart employee engagement and development

Diversity in employees’ aspiration is increasing. Different employees seek different career paths (or actually the next move, when long term thinking is difficult). Different employees want to learn different things. Different employees learn differently.

Smart HR will have to “personalize” its engagement and development systems, processes and activities. Smart HR will have to appreciate the differences in profiles of different employees and create mechanisms to fulfill these different needs.

Technology, analytics, collaborative systems or platforms and other such developments can play an important role to enable HR deliver smart personalized  engagement and development models.

Smart Skills Management

Today’s business are required to be non linear (not doing what they were doing yesterday), innovative (creating new products or services) and agile (having to change or adapt fast). This is as much true for a 200 year multi billion dollar global corporation as it is for a start up working in a small nice area with no line of sight of revenue.

At it’s core the organization’s value is derived from the skills of all it’s employees and it’s  ability to  synergize these skills and  deliver unique products and services.

For the organization to deliver and create value   HR will have to get smart in managing skills at both individual and organizational levels.

Employee Skills Management AD

Transforming from HR to Smart HR

Questions will need to be asked and answered by HR.

Do we have the right skills that are required for these changes currently happening and likely to in the future?

Which skills are going to play a critical role and what is the company’s inventory of these skills?

Are we under utilizing some skills in some pockets and if yes what should we do about them?

Smart HR will appreciate that skills management is not the same as people management though they are related. It will take steps to put systems that will enable managing information, analytics and decision support in managing skills.

The need is clear – HR needs to get smart.

The excitement is evident  – This  is an opportunity for HR to do things differently and do different things.

These ideas here are food for thought. Share yours.  Let’s get smart!

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Ramu heads up the It’s Your Skills team and enjoys being completely hands on with day-to-day operations. An engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology at BHU in Varanasi and with an MBA in HR from XLRI in Jamshedpur, his key objectives are conceptualizing and developing ideas for solutions, driving product development and business strategy. A creative and strategic thinker, Ramu has a rich and distinguished career with almost a quarter of century spent in senior management positions in the IT, FMCG and HR sectors.