‘Responsibility For Creating The Right Behaviors And Values Squarely Sits With HR’

Muniinder K Anand, Managing Director, India & South Asia, Center for Creative Leadership, is of the opinion that HR has several critical levers to drive a future-fluent culture

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

I am a strong believer in the philosophy of Man Proposes, God Disposes. I studied commerce, accounting due to my interest in finance in my formative years with the ambition of making a career out it, but life had a different plan for me, and I found my calling and career both in consulting. I started my career in audit with PwC basis my qualifications and in 2 years moved to management consulting and then there was no looking back as I learned and navigated my way through Hewitt (now AON), Schneider Electric, Mercer, KPMG to now at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Q. What has been your success mantra?

My mantra for success is never saying no to any work because I believe everything one does adds to one’s knowledge and experience. In my first work assignment at PwC back in 1996, one of the actives included punching and filing documents. I can still say with pride that I can punch and file papers as well as if not better than most. Another thing that has served me well has been work ethic. By work ethics, I mean hard work, tenacity and resiliency no matter the situation and circumstances and always doing the right thing for the business/organization that you work for.

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

I view the Human Resources function as the glue that holds the organization together. HR is the one function that focuses on the human aspect of the business and is the custodian of the entire employee life cycle. HR has a key role to play in the days to come where talent or the human capital of the organization takes the center stage in determining the extent of success of businesses.

You might also be interested to read: ‘Millennials Will Constantly Challenge An Organization’s Belief System’ – Sudheesh Venkatesh, Chief People Officer, Azim Premji Foundation

Q. In the context of the future of work, what new roles do you see emerging in the HR function?

As the nature of HR and of work itself changes, so will the skills. HR professionals need to do your job. Thus, the future roles HR could play would include:

  • Employee experience specialist
  • Head of candidate experience
  • HR data scientist/chief technology officer
  • Head of talent-acquisition technology selection
  • Performance coach
  • Organizational psychologist

Q. How should HR professionals prepare themselves to remain relevant?

HR professionals must start adapting to the new reality now of changing work environment and dynamics and work on enhancing skills in areas that are key to future success in the profession.

  • Embrace Technology and Analytics off
  • Understand How the Business Works
  • Stay Focused on People
  • Be Ready for the New Workforce
  • Market a Modern Benefits Package

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

When we talk about global trends, I look at Architecting Future-Fluent Culture: Critical Role of Human Resources research study jointly published by Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI). The research study says that due to uncertainty in businesses due to disruptions caused by innovation, volatile financial markets, hyper competitiveness, technology shifts, unstable geo-politics, and an evolving regulatory framework, only a small cross-section of leaders are confident about their organization’s future-readiness.

The number one reason for lack of future-readiness is the absence of the “right” organization culture with must-have values to be future-ready. Leaders are unanimous in their view that “right” organization culture can help provide a compelling competitive advantage to organizations. While cultural transformation is a joint responsibility of the leadership team, HR often emerges as the flag bearer of the exercise. To be successful, HR needs to play four critical roles and deliver on associated responsibilities. These are:

Advisor – Play a trusted partner and subject-matter expert to the leadership team and help craft the cultural transformation journey.

Facilitator – Institutionalize cultural changes via effective communication, modifying talent management processes and organization design, and equipping stakeholders with appropriate tools.

Guardian – Ensure consistency of values and demonstrated behaviors in the organization, reporting dissonance if any, and supporting leaders to align to the new culture.

Auditor – Identify appropriate metrics, measure the impact of culture change initiatives, and report to the leadership team to course-correct.

In order to play the four roles effectively, HR must-have solid credibility and trust within the organization. It may also need to develop appropriate capabilities in their portfolio.

Q. How does learning and development contribute to tangible outputs in the corporates?

Learning & Development teams of the organization are entrusted with the ever-important task of ensuring that the organization not only have the skill-sets needed today but also for the future. Thus the future readiness of the organization is something that falls in the purview of the L&D team and thus HR. simply put L&D is the fuel that drives the organization in the desired direction, leading the way to organization outcomes and getting people ready for their future roles.

Q. Can effectiveness of coaching as a tool be measured? If yes, how?

Research on the subject is rare because of the sensitive and confidential nature of the coaching experience; however, research in space has indicated a positive impact on four areas such as

  • Improved teamwork 
  • Quality of consulting 
  • Retention 
  • Team member satisfaction 

The organization that has been successful in capturing the effectiveness have typically focused on capturing key metrics related to competencies that directly affect business performance.

Q. How can professionals remain employable until superannuation in today’s VUCA world?

As per the CCL research on the critical role of HR called Architecting Future Fluent Culture, CHROs have stated that as the frontline function for any people-related agenda, responsibility for creating the right behaviors and values squarely sits with HR.  Once the leadership team defines the desired culture and plans alignment of key practices to shape that desired culture, HR needs to lead the culture curation journey. HR is a subject matter expert in this case; it has the knowledge and skills it can use to advise the senior leadership team as they define the culture. HR must also proactively manage culture in the enterprise.

HR is very well suited to play a lead role in the journey. HR often has the best sense of the pulse of employee perceptions about the company culture, about leadership quality, and the fairness quotient in the organization. In most organizations with even moderately mature people practices, HR has access to longitudinal data about employee engagement, confidence and trust, etc. In addition, HR has the expertise to assess how well leaders model desired values and behaviors in the enterprise. Finally, HR has several very critical levers that it can selectively deploy to drive attributes, mindsets, skills, and capabilities required to drive a future-fluent culture. These include compensation, recruitment, competency frameworks, performance management tools, training and coaching, and organizational design. The experience, skills, and maturity of the HR leader, however, play a key role in deciding what levers to use, sequencing of the lever deployment, and how hard to “press” the lever to get the desired result. For instance, if the organization is looking to create a high-performance culture, it may need to deploy the compensation level more than the others do.

About Muniinder K Anand
Muniinder K Anand is the managing director, India & SA, Center for Creative Leadership. He is certified in Leadership Styles Inventory, Caliper Profile and Strategic Selling Skills – Miller Heiman. Prior to joining CCL, Muniinder has worked with KPMG India, Mercer and Hewitt Associates. Muniinder is a Commerce (Honors) Graduate from Delhi University and is an Associate Member of The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. He has held the office of Joint Secretary, Delhi & NCR Chapter for National Human Resource Development Network from 2014 to 2016. He was also a Council Member of the Young Mind’s Council at NHRDN in 2015.

Leave A Reply