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Human Capital Differentiates Success From Failure

Vijay Pandey, Group President – HR, Amalgam Steel Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata shares his insights on the dynamics of HR function in a rapidly changing technological era, espouses how HR can influence the workforce in enhancing productivity, and accentuates the role of HR in overall growth of any organisation. Here is a candid interview.

1. What trends are shaping the HR function in a pandemic-hit world?

HR function has witnessed sea changes during pandemic. From the mode of recruitment to working culture, HR is already on a new trajectory. Flexi-work, technological enablement & digital L&D led to the business transformation and organisations had to adapt to a wide range of working arrangements aligned with the “New Normal”. Homes became offices; ZOOM, Google Meet & Microsoft Teams became the de facto place of collaboration and meetings.

2. How have technologies impacted the HR function? Will AI replace human intelligence in HR?

HR’s time is now. We are in the Golden Age of the HR profession. Technology and automation are freeing HR leaders from more administrative and process-related work, powering the CPO’s role to guide the organization in designing and implementing the talent strategies and work options needed to fuel future business growth. As technology and innovation in the workplace accelerate, this role becomes increasingly critical; going forward, the power and strength of an organization’s human capital will be what differentiates success from failure.

I don’t think AI would replace human intelligence, but it would empower Humans with business intelligence to enhance their analytics. You can create dashboards with Power BI or Tableau, but the greatest difference is in the way you experience insights through analysis. The end goal of your analysis is not a dashboard—it’s a better understanding of your data, for which you would need Human Intelligence. A chatbot will never be able to give personal feeling of a friend, philosopher, and a guide unlike an HR.

3. What’s the outlook of Indian steel industry and how does HR influence the employee productivity in this industry?

The growth in the Indian steel sector has been driven by domestic availability of raw materials such as iron ore and cost-effective labour. Consequently, the steel sector has been a major contributor to India’s manufacturing output.

Huge scope for growth is offered by India’s comparatively low per capita steel consumption and the expected rise in consumption due to increased infrastructure construction and the thriving automobile and railways sectors. India’s current steel producing capacity of is ~140 mtpa and the figure is anticipated to rise to 300 mtpa by 2030-31.

HR plays a pivotal role in building performance culture in a manufacturing company. The focus on People and People Processes leads to transformation of business. Robust HR systems and practices instils performance driven culture, which sets the tone for behaviours and norms that leads an organization to achieve superior results. A company exhibiting such a culture routinely achieves better financial and non-financial results – such as customer satisfaction, employee retention, competitiveness, and innovation – than those of its peers over a long period of time.

4. Do you see any threat for HR function from the outsourcing of non-core functions of an organisation to the third parties?

Not at all, outsourcing of non-core activity will transform HR into business strategist role and a business leader. Moreover, it will transform the Role of transactional HR to strategic HR who is aligned with the business. This would enable them to drive the business outcomes.

5. Tell us some of your moments of triumph as a leader in HR.

Triumphs are not important in a journey. The experience you garner sets milestones that the next generation of leadership emulate. That’s what as an HR honcho I am doing.

Brief Bio Vijay Pandey has done graduation & post-graduation in Social Science from Banaras Hindu University – BHU. Later he went for Advance General Management Program from ISB Hyderabad and Kellogg School of Management, Chicago. He has received many awards & accolades including BEST HR Award 2017 by ISTD Kolkata Chapter, 101 TOP HR MINDS (India) by ET & World HRD Congress, and BEST CHRO Award 2021 by The Economic Times & HRD India.

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