‘Professionals Dealing With People Need To Be World Citizens’

Dayanand Allapur, Global Head of Human Resources – Cognizant Digital Operations, firmly believes that ‘one-size fits all’ approach will not work in changing times of today     

Q. Please tell us something about yourself. What have been the key highlights in your career?

After graduating from TISS Mumbai, I have been an HR professional from the start of my career since 1990. I have had great opportunities to live and work in different places.

I have seen my corporate journey change the landscape dramatically from a manual paper work on the factory floors to today’s rapid transformation to a savvy app based tech driven workplace.  The past three decades have seen enormous shift in workplace culture, the way work gets done, the way traditional roles have either disappeared or have evolved into a modern digital interaction.

Q. Any awards/achievements that you would want to share with us?

My greatest reward has been the learning opportunities I was offered every time I moved across different geographies. I have lived in 16 different cities in my life across 4 continents. This excludes the countless miles travelled as part of work. Every opportunity is a great learning in human interpersonal dynamics, cultural nuances, and a journey in the way work gets done.

Q. How can HR help create world-class organizations in today’s context of evolving world of jobs?

I have had wonderful opportunities of working with colleagues from several countries: Latin America, China, the Philippines, UK, France, USA and many more…it is a great feeling to experience how each one works, their value systems, their commitment to excellence and their ability to adapt to rapidly changing times. So increasingly we will see the world becoming a cultural melting pot.

Therefore, our cultural, linguistic or racial orientations and individual belief need to transform into a more accepting, adapting, appreciative liberal outlook of the world.

You might also be interested to read: ‘Jobs Would Also Require A More Mobile Workforce To Fill The Skill Gaps’ – Dev Deepika, HR Head, First Data India

Q. With  regard to the future of work, what new roles do you see emerging in the HR function? How should HR professionals prepare themselves to remain relevant?

It is obvious that digital will be the future. Flexi work hours, freelancing workforce, offices without addresses, Uber-isation of workplace, work done from anywhere, by anybody at any time will make the future of workplace very exciting. We will need free thinking, constraint-free idea sharing leaders to deliver in this new world.

Things like, traditional employee handbook, workplace grievances in an output driven world won’t have much of relevance. People may use their personal leave as a timeshare concept as is evident in a few countries…so the professionals dealing with people need to be world citizens, with global outlook and be open to new experiences. There is no formula, there are no recipes of past success to fall back on, this will need people embrace change and be ready to transform rather than follow the ‘one-size fits all approach’ of yesterday.

Q. What’s your view on the mega global trends in HR?

The workforce will increasingly be made up of millennials due to global demographic shift. The traditional hierarchies will be replaced by expertise and skills …this makes the workplace very dynamic and nebulous in nature…so the skills needed to manage such a work construct are not in our realm of experience right now, but will evolve at lightning speed. Those who adapt, adopt and change may see greater success.

The tectonic shift in workplace demographics with rapidly aging workforce in some leading economies may dramatically alter the global mobility programs. Immigration rules will favor those who may provide talent and skills…it would be a big business negotiating lever.

Q. Today, we see people everywhere but employability remains elusive, why?

This is not a new problem, it has always been this way since the time of IT industry evolution days…the lack of harmony and synergies between what the academic institutions impart as knowledge and what the corporates expect as delivery from their talent base are at loggerheads in most cases. The industry spends significant money, time and effort to upskill, reskill and make them work ready…it could be 6 months to one year before the fresh graduate becomes a totally productive professional. So a greater collaboration between academia and industry is still a crying need.

Q. What’s your success mantra?

Embrace change. Don’t waste energy in resisting change. Be open to experience new culture. Change is the only constant in life and so embrace change to enjoy what one does.

About Dayanand Allapur (Daya)

Dayanand Allapur (Daya) is the Global Head of Human Resources & L&D for Cognizant Digital Operations based out of Bangalore, India. Daya holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Daya has diverse industry experience with companies such as Capgemini, Tesco, Patni Americas Inc., iGate Global Solutions and Citicorp among others. A seasoned HR leader for nearly 30 years, he has diverse experience in dealing with talent matters spanning over 25 countries. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities such as cross-country motor biking, cycling, hiking, trekking, camping and organic farming. He is also actively involved with not-for-profit organizations and community service organizations through Rotary Club.

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