In conversation with Ritesh Rana, VP-HR, Britannia Industries, we understand his thoughts and take on the future of work given his experience in handling a diverse portfolio for over 8 years at Britannia. He began his career at Britannia in 1997 after completing his degree at XLRI Jamshedpur.

With stints at Intel, GE & Max New York for five years (from 2005 to 2012), he rejoined Britannia in the year 2012. He returned to Britannia as the Head HR-BP and is currently the VP – HR.

Under his visionary leadership the Human Resources division at Britannia has taken several progressive strides towards partnering with the Business in a strategic manner resulting in transforming the culture over a short period of time.

Workplace of the future:

According to Ritesh, 15 years down the line, the workforce will be rapidly increase dependence on technology and we will work in an absolute virtual work space. Additionally, the workplace will be an AMPLIFIED version of today’s Challenges as well as opportunities. There will be a significant increase in awareness of health and stress related matters which will lead to a flexible workplace. Increased virtual environment will collapse traditional structures and will create a virtual social space. Employment laws and workplace code and rules will experience a change as well.

Organizations will also ramp up ability to manage data, Analytics will rule and hence the decision science and the so called “management committees “will also undergo a dramatic shift.

Jobs in 2030:

India has been in the forefront of service industry but there is a growing demand from the manufacturing side. With the new technology in place, Ritesh has the following notions about jobs in 2030:

  • India will experience reverse migration soon, as the labor market in the west and developed nations becomes stretched.
  • ·Services will continue to grow in IT/ITES, but a dramatic growth will be seen in Retail, Health sector and Manufacturing as all of these sectors will call for new skill sets and ability to deal with the challenges of rapid growth. Examples of this change already being observed include “corporatization” of hospitals in last 10 years, home grown “digital and virtual “market place in last 5 years  and the most advanced- space- aero-nuclear technology  collaborations India has entered in the past few years.
  • Cost of technology will become cheaper than cost of labor leading to large scale automation / robotization in the manufacturing industry. This will lead to fewer jobs with emphasis on specialist roles rather than general management / man management roles.

Skill of the Workforce in future:

For career development of the workforce of the future, following will be the skill-requirement in most jobs:

  • Increased specialization, higher technological and generalist skills will need to be reinforced in order to manage in a virtual environment .Subject matter expertise will be far more valued over generalist skills.
  • Labor force will have to be up-skilled, and be trained to manage in a technology enabled environment. Outsourcing will be encouraged for repetitive and low skills work. Hence, demonstration of higher discipline and work ethics will be the need of the hour.
  • The volume of current labor force will start shifting towards value delivery.
  • Unconventional employment opportunities will include project based and task based projects.

Management in the future:

As we move towards a Virtual workplace, management must possess the ability to manage remotely. Following are key pointers to manage people in the future:

  • Decision making and discussion orientated processes will be more data driven and will shift towards “analytics or insights”. Hence, managers will need to make the transition to be comfortable with it.
  • Since conversations will reduce significantly,  managers will need to be exceptionally good at people skills
  • Managing non-conventional forms of employment will require new sets of supervision skills.
  • New and innovative ways of Employee care and welfare will have to be drafted as homes and offices will become seamless.

Competencies of Leaders in the future:

 The workforce of the future will be more diverse whether it is related to age, disability, gender, cultures etc. With the workplace of the future in mind, the role of leaders will increase in terms of managing this diversity within their teams.

According to Ritesh, leaders and the entire corporate system should gear up for four generations at work with a significantly higher women participation, increased Ethnic and Differently abled groups within teams. Following are certain suggestions for the leaders of the future:

  • Set the work place and make it conducive to all the different groups in terms of infrastructural development.
  • Create enabling processes, policies and rules, to embrace all
  • Demonstrate the ability to deal with the “differences”. This could potentially be challenging as the leaders of today are used to stereotypical forms of management. It will be the tough for them to respect the uniqueness and support and drive their development. If they don’t manage this efficiently, someone else with better abilities will manage the talent better. Hence, in the future the war for talent will be impossibly acute.

Management of Diversity within the organization: An HR perspective in 2030:

 Ritesh denotes that HR will need to pre determine the rules of employment. Following are certain suggestions:

  • Since Non-conventional employment will rule, there will be a lot more senior people available (post retirement) who are “able-to” work vs “have-to” work.  The traditional full time jobs may give way to contractual, consultant, expertise based job. This will need different HR Management policies (Hiring ,retention and performance management)
  • Policies and work rules will change to accommodate the different work force. Multi-generational workforce will need newer age thinking and management skills.
  • Creation of  systems to be able to lead a carefully orchestrated “Virtual and Just in time” employment practices .These work groups will be unique in their specializations not just limited to the diversity aspect
  • Virtual workplaces will also put pressure on collapsing traditional structures and to a social or interactive work space. HR needs to visualize trends and start the process of gradual change early on for a competitive edge.
  • High skills will be required and premium- generalists will bear the brunt of downsizing.

Ritesh’s gainful insights have given us a sneak peek into the future of work. We thank him for sharing his views from an FMCG perspective.