Srinath Gururajarao has diverse experience in Human Resources & Strategic and Execution Leadership. He has won several awards and recognition like “Top 50 Organisations with Great People Managers” by Great Managers Institute 2019 and Forbes to “Top 100 HR Technology Minds”&”Best Employer 2018” by World HRD Congress.
Q. HR Tools have been of great help for the organisation especially during this pandemic. So do you think they will evolve a lot over time?
A. Technology has always been an aid in a way business performs, in terms of optimising efficiency and enabling largescale transformation. Digitisation tools have been a great help throughout. Right from the early 1900s to now, from big servers to small convertible documents, everything has changed significantly over the years.
COVID pandemic has just accelerated the transformation albeit forcefully so. It has now force-fit technology into a necessity. So from a digital application standpoint, there is more acceptability and susceptibility.
In an Indian context, the movement of the digital world, what was once limited to physical infrastructure in a constrained space has now moved into individual homes. Considering each home is a workspace now, digital tools would enable higher participation of the workforce and multiply as a bridge significantly in the coming days. The workplace boundaries have clearly collapsed and I don’t think anytime sooner that will come back in any form or shape in a major way, or as we have known it. Workspace 2.0 has had a leap to 4.0 and necessitates higher understanding, change and aligned performance and this is possible only in a better-digitized way of work. There will be blended work; probably 20-30 per cent of the work would still be carried out in a centralised office.
People now have additional capacities to do multiple things than they used to do earlier because the travel times have really been taken out. The non-commute scenario has added to the individual’s efficiency gains in terms of creating meaningful and balanced work. With the transformation of digitisation itself, I think more skills will come into play in terms of the ability to do, learn and augment skills. Every person digitally should be able to bring in a “backpack of skills” to be able to compete, grow and conduct meaningful work hereon.
Q. How important is People Analytics for the organisation?
A. Analytics over a period had its meaningful share of decision making and decision supporting systems. I think with more fragmentation (extended across geography) of workspace, analytics would aid us in more ways to conduct business better and enable in qualitative transformation. Why I say that is because the decision today comes with the rider of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). Aspects of thinking which means critical thinking and analytical thinking in terms of solving the known problems need a deeper set of digitised data tools, for us to go and make those decisions which have an impact across the board. No one can rely on gut feeling on saying about how does something affects the external environment, without actual data sets. For early and predictable decisions, data sets can help in a more qualitative manner, decisions are more robust and transparent. A Turbulent world would rely heavily on data insights for qualitative and quantitative decision making.
Q. You have received a lot of awards and have even published books related to HR tools. How did you manage to achieve all these accomplishments?
A. Over two decades, I was blessed to have great mentors to guide and coach me in terms of how the overall view has to be taken, not just restricted to the operational aspects of HR. A manager with a heart as well as ensuring that we are connecting to the individual with tools acting as a powerful bridge. I always believe in the philosophy of more smiles per hour at work.
A leader should enable people to fulfil their aspirations by carrying a smile, being happy and be better at their work. So the ultimate goal is when an individual aspires for something and you enable that to be able to work within the organisation, you tend to kind of take people along with you. I think with that as a philosophy and with great mentors, we were able to chart that coast.
Personally, I was always and still am fascinated by technology. Right from the early stages of my career, technology has been the backbone in terms of how HR services have been conducted and empowered on a scale. My first few patents were in HR technology consisting of new products and services for the organisation that I worked. I think awards and recognition are good to have, that brings in the responsibility of leaders to be able to create an opportunity and do more with further motivation and higher vigour.
Q. What is your advice to future HR leaders?
A. Future HR leader needs to wear our hearts on our sleeves, decisions need to pass through the lens of morality, be ethical and more transparent. Conduct of a leader and decisions attains considerable significance in an elevated state of a crisis. Future leaders need to create a better humane experience individually and across the board. A future leader understands and sets the appropriate pace with a collaborative approach and technology at the core. An HR Leader aligns with Talent and enables performance through strength of people practices with an underline of the latest decisions support systems. Every decision needs to serve a larger purpose and an individual meaning to work being conducted and that surely shall usher in an era of conducive co-existence and completeness to our work and well being.