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Home / Industry / Human Resource /  Talent management needs to be flexible amid work-from-home, say experts

MUMBAI : With increasing work from home requirements (WFH) in the current environment, HR experts are of the opinion that talent management internally and across industries will need to be flexible to accommodate the new normal. During a discussion led by IT industry body Nasscom’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer Sangeet Gupta, top stakeholders said that organisations will also have to treat their employees with greater autonomy in the increasingly disconnected work environment.

One of the top concerns has been dealing with many traditional roles like supervisors and managers becoming irrelevant due to the nature of remote work. At the same time, the financial constraints faced by organisations as well the flexible work hours at hand has meant that organisations are increasingly considering gig workers and freelancers for non-permanent skill requirements. This is creating an ecosystem where instead of seeking extreme measures like rightsizing, employers are trying to find ways to utilise talent both internally and across industries.

“In the new normal, workplaces will be where people will come back to collaborate as opposed to just working individually and we will increasingly have to accept the workforce as a combination of full time and part-time professionals. Organisations will have to factor this evolution into their policies going forward," said Gupta.

Gupta added that while the sector has tided over any major furlough events during the pandemic, it has been possible due to companies also voluntarily assisting their employees in finding opportunities and such "talent sharing" will become an accepted practice.

Companies coming to terms with the changed scenario of work from home, till at least December 2020, also need to rethink employee benefits like compensation and leave policies now. Krish Shankar, Group Head- Human Resources at Infosys and President of National HRD Network, India, said that for now the legal liabilities are still in transition with the larger focus being on ensuring effective talent management and preventing work-related burnout.

“Employees have had a very tough time drawing work-life boundaries due to the pandemic. At the same time options like flexi-working were not feasible across many larger cities pre-covid but now we can effectively make provisions for a workforce that accommodates all levels of talent availability through business hours," said Shankar.

Many companies are also defining work from home hours, emailing hours and calling hours so employees get mental and emotional space. This is part of a larger switch towards ensuring employee wellness taking into consideration their numerous domestic commitments as well.

Shanthi Naresh, careers business leader, Mercer India said that the learnings from initial days of the pandemic have helped businesses realise that they have to focus on more than just goal oriented productivity. “ HR concepts of productivity measurement in terms of achieving business outcomes and logging stipulated amount of screen time will and already are increasingly making way for a holistic approach to collaborative teamwork and relevant upskilling efforts," said Naresh.

Abhijit Bhaduri, coach, author and talent management advisor added that HR policies are going beyond just virtual onboarding and exit processes to helping employees collaborate effectively going forward. “Because employers are giving the autonomy for employees to work beyond their normal work hours, it has become essential to find new ways to foster virtual social engagement which in turn will boost team work," said Bhaduri.

Individually, many companies across the IT sector have accommodated these provisions for gig workers, employee well-being and virtual engagement and experts believe that given the disconnected nature of work now, it is better for these calls to be taken at the industry level rather than at the policy level.

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