Mohit Kumar, Joint President – HR at Hindalco (Aditya Birla Group), philosophically explains his Big Bang theory – the big bang out is the explosion of technology while the big bang within is the renewed interest in the immense possibilities
Q. Please tell us something about yourself
I see myself as a lifelong learner. There is so much to experience. One lifetime seems a little too short. That’s why I believe in deep friendships whereby one can exchange perspectives and multiply one’s experiences.
I believe in striving towards maximum good of the maximum numbers. That’s my understanding of being selfish. The Self here is all inclusive. I see membership/citizenship of a corporate, professional community, social community, academic body, coming together of like-minded people in multiple ways as an opportunity to add value to self and the larger world around.
Q. How important is deep domain expertise for HR professionals?
I often ask young HR professionals if they would go to a doctor who is not keeping himself updated with the latest in medicine or surgery. HR professionals are organizations’ doctors. So the next question is – Why would organization leaders come to HR professionals who are not keeping themselves updated with the latest in their profession?
I think the answer lies in the questions above.
Q. What’s been your success mantra?
Honesty and transparency. I have added purposefulness and resilience to it learning from my experiences.
Q. How can HR help create world class organizations in today’s context of evolving world of jobs?
HR is one profession that keeps in touch with the individual and collective aspirations within the organization and also outside. There are organizations that are bringing in the future by experimenting with the best and next practices. There are academic and professional bodies thinking about what really is world class today and tomorrow. There are individual thought leaders reflecting on the world class organizations of today and tomorrow. It is the HR profession that is in a unique position of being in touch with all this thought/aspiration and the resourcefulness to make it come alive.
You might also be interested to read: ‘HR Is Expected To Make Visible And Tangible Changes In Organizational Performance’ – Anil Misra, CHRO of Magicbricks
Q. In context of the future of work, what new roles do you see emerging in the HR function?
Humans come together in an organization to have more purpose, meaning and happiness than what they can individually create for themselves and others. HR professionals capable of decoding the purpose, meaning and happiness will be in demand. Making this come alive through building an enabling culture, will be much needed. Organizations now and tomorrow won’t necessarily operate within the strict boundaries. On the other hand, it is going to be a seamless collaboration with different kinds of talent beyond boundaries anywhere. The HR professionals with the mindset of leveraging the best from everywhere, will be much in demand. The boundaryless world comes together through technology.
HR professionals who can make the understanding and leveraging of digital world very easy, would be much needed. The new seamless world puts a lot of demand on individual capacity to handle the multiple triggers anywhere anytime as the work and personal space boundaries get increasingly blurred. HR professionals able to contribute to mindfulness, personal capacity development, leadership development to handle the various possibilities within and in the world outside, will increasingly take the center-stage. These roles will evolve or get fine-tuned as the needs keep evolving.
Q. How should HR professionals prepare themselves to remain relevant?
It’s an era of lifelong learning. It’s an era of lifelong unlearning. It’s an era of learning from everywhere in an eclectic way. It’s an era of learning from various fields like psychology, anthropology, philosophy, political science, law, physics, quantum physics, computer science and the digital world, logic and decision making and so on. HR is a wonderful profession that can seamlessly learn from all the fields and enrich the profession dynamically. Quality HR professionals will remain relevant by continuous and seamless learning and unlearning.
Q. What’s your view on the mega global trends in HR?
Thought leadership on HR is sitting as much outside the structured organizations as it is sitting within the structured organizations. HR will be more and more seen as a mindset being practiced by the leaders and managers. HR professionals within the organization will work more as resource pool to continuously improve the HR mindset and capability.
The mega global HR trends are catering to two simultaneous big bangs. Big bang outside and big bang within. Big bang out is the explosion of technology, quantum computing, the digital world, the world of connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and so on. The big bang within is the renewed interest in the immense possibilities within – mindfulness, happiness, purpose, meaning, NLP, theory U, research into the whole world of consciousness subconscious,unconscious and super conscious) . Both the big bangs are complementary to each other. “Big Bang in” helps in effectively and consciously leveraging the “big bang out” and “big bang out” – takes the possibilities of “big bang in” to all at a photonic speed.
It has implications on organization design, the way we understand Talent, the way we understand development, the way we understand strategy and the way we deliver the strategy. Overall, it is complex yet very interesting and HR is in a unique position to simplify this VUCA towards leveraging it effectively at a scale.
Q. How important is talent management in today’s brick & mortar organizations?
Talent is the only differentiator now with other resources becoming almost a parity. Do the organizations have the talent to visualize the future and make it happen? Do the organizations have the talent to make sense of rapidly emerging and rapidly changing trends? Do we have the talent to communicate it dynamically across the organization and create the alignment dynamically? Do we have the talent that is technically sound, learning agile and awesome in terms of collaboration, presence, people and culture ownership?
Answers to these questions decide the survivors and thrivers in the VUCA world.
Q. How should leaders be developed?
Immersive experience in various roles to bridge the gaps is seen as of now. Seamless collaboration and interaction with the world outside to proactively shape and develop the competence is needed for tomorrow. Developing mindset of learning agility and humility-a sense of continuous curiosity and creativity. Building personal capacity to handle the demands and triggers in a centered way. Creating a culture where leaders can rapidly leverage their strengths and work openly, collaboratively and supportively on de-railers.
It is a combination of personal effort, development support and wonderful culture.
Q. How can professionals remain employable till the age of retirement in today’s VUCA world?
Retirement is also a concept of the era gone-by. Some people are formally retiring now in 20s and 30s and some people are working meaningfully way beyond 60s–the so called retirement age.
It is about being in touch with personal motivators, finding out where it adds value to the world, finding out what the world will pay for and figuring out the personal unique value proposition and career, open to change as new possibilities emerge.
About Mohit Kumar
Mohit Kumar is the Joint President – HR (HO, Centres of Excellence- Learning and Talent) at Hindalco (Aditya Birla Group). He is a Human Capital strategist with 24 years experience in different facets of Human Resource Management in strongly HR oriented organizations like Hindalco Industries Ltd & Idea Cellular Ltd (Aditya Birla Group), Hewlett Packard, ITC INFOTECH INDIA Ltd (ITC group), SRF Ltd, DSS Mobile Communications Ltd and BCH (Eaton Corporation).
Having worked in different parts of the country and with business and HR teams from over 12 countries, Mohit is cross culturally adept. He is actively involved in leadership coaching and development, internal development assessment centers, talent and capability pipeline, sensitivity development and various other quality HR interventions towards creating a learning and winning organization.