Sonali Roy Chowdhury, Head of Human Resources for the Indian operations of Procter and Gamble
Sonali joined the Organization in 1998 after a post-graduate Diploma in Personnel Management/Industrial Relations from XLRI Jamshedpur. She has diverse experiences across P&G operations in India, Singapore Vietnam, and the MEA region along with expertise in Organization Design and Development, Talent Supply and Development, Leadership Development, Employee Relations, Business Partnership, Executive Coaching and Managing Acquisitions. She has a special interest in Talent Management and Leadership Development and enjoys keeping abreast with developments in this area through networks and publications. Sonali resides in Mumbai with her family, and actively pursues her passion for travel, sports (badminton) among other interests.
Sonali believes that technology is a means to an end and not the end itself and organizations these days willingly accept this fact. In comparison to running businesses 5 to 7 years ago, technology now has taken the front seat and has become an integrated part of the day to day running of the business instead of being an add on. She shares an example from her organization where they have managed to digitize numerous backend systems which were initially handled by line managers. This raises the key concern of reduced human intervention as systems do not talk to each other and keeping employees in the center instead of technology becomes a critical task. It is hence not a seamless and intuitive experience from the organizational point of view. Additionally, technology is still not a “must have” as it will be in the next decade or so as companies would want to focus on productivity and real time feedback which will be quicker if they are technically maneuvered . Thus the key focus will be designing and staying upbeat with the changing technology to train employees to use it more diligently.
Sonali stresses on the need to build “Digital capability” of line managers and business heads in order for them to have a Digital mindset as we notice today that technology is still an ad hoc assistance rather than an actual tool for new experiences to run the business.
Jobs in the future:
- According to Sonali, the Indian job market today showcases a glimpse of the future scene. We are still at the base of a potential pyramid of innovation and breakthroughs. Therefore, from an industrial standpoint, we can see engagement of a great deal of innovation, predictability and artificial intelligence in day to day jobs.
- Intuitive instead of cumbersome backend processes via digital means in HR processes. Functions like talent buy azithromycin uk online acquisitions and compensation will most likely be digitalized.
- Integration of 2 paradoxes in marketing and manufacturing industries – Usage of both offline and digital means to reach out to consumers
Thus, even though we consider technology as an eminent part of business processes in the future with cheaper and efficient means to reach out to buyers, we still cannot consider complete business dependency on it. Indian consumers still value offline means of interacting with organizations which gives organizations an opportunity to deliver value in terms of cost, price and experiences.
Skillset of leaders in the future:
- Learning agility to accommodate the evolving work environment especially considering the changes in the past 5 to 10 years. There is shorter turnaround time to change business models as organizations need to accommodate the changes in a few weeks or months instead of years.
- Futuristic modelling analytic and predictive analysis versus referring to the past analytics to make hypothesis for the future.
- Increased digital awareness about workplaces in the future which will be designed to accommodate the workforce which depends largely on social media
- Ability to reach out to people in a more efficient manner through digitization and being agile
Suggested changes in the management curriculum
- Being aware of what is going on from a behavioural point of view in the organization. This includes being well connected via social media.
- The ability to simplify things using technology because today a lot of processes are cumbersome and assisting line managers through development of their knowledge about technology, tools and gadgets beyond their domain expertise.
HR and their role towards managing Diversity
According to Sonali, India is still not very diverse in terms of acquiring talent as hiring is done from the same arenas. If systems are designed in a rigid manner then organizations tend to hire the same kind of people who possess those skills and hence preclude any form of diversity in the organization. Therefore, HR should work with leadership and stakeholders to make sure the issues are identified in initial stages and there is a paradigm shift in their mind set to understand the impact of diversity. Finally, there is a need of learning agility in HR to shift their focus from doing things traditionally and not partnering with new technology to push the boundaries.At P&G, HR is working with technology giants in the analytic space to design phases and including artificial intelligence for workspace.
Thus in the evolving work environment, organizations need to partner with people who are open to piloting new things without striving for perfection.