The Changing Marketplace

Flashback – When I was a student, I always had this fascination to join “The Corporate World” and when someone used to ask me the reason I used to say – “I would get to meet and interact with new people every day”. People used to smile and call it a straight from the heart response.

My seniors used to tell me that except for the HR folks, people are generally open to conversations. I promised myself that I would not carry any perception, rather build my own experience.

In my initial few jobs, HR round generally used to be the 1st point of interaction between me and my prospective employer. They would explain things about the company / my role with a lot of energy, zeal and most importantly a passionate smile. They made me feel how important it is to love your job.

My 1st company was way too small for anything related to the HR but the 2nd and 3rd were big enough. The observer in me loved the diversity of situations and people in the corporate world. The HR function surely looked like a marketplace to me. A marketplace which wore a rather deserted look with generally two types of shops – The high ended / brand conscious and the second seemed like a clock tower. The irony with this kind of a set up was two fold

  • You could not go to the high ended outlets. In common parlance, meeting and talking to HR folks was a luxury as they remained confined to their Ivory offices and the leadership team only.
  • You can sit outside a clock tower, see a few people passing by but striking a conversation looked a distant dream. When you are tired of sitting you walk back home.

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people and not strategies – Lawrence Bossidy”

Fast forward – Over a career spanning 2 decades, I have seen the entire spectrum of business undergo a change. The reason could be any – technology, competitors, demographics, customer preferences etc. More than anything else, I have seen a paradigm shift in the HR marketplace.

It is a more vibrant place now buzzing with activity all day through – more shops & more products (which means they look into more areas), attract customers to showcase centricity and deliver delight (employees are good friendly customers), antagonism has been taken over by partnership (we are a team), cohesive environment (all are employees and need to work towards a common goal), monotony has been replaced by creativity, reactive actions have been taken over by proactive behaviour, agility is the new normal and conversations are never ending.

I see co-collaboration, ideation and even execution by the two most important assets of any company – Human Resources and Employees. HR folks have been given a new designation by delivery teams. They call them Human Resource Business Partners (HRBP). You would rarely see anything without the HRBP –

  • Pictures, selfies and videos of business teams
  • Meetings & discussions
  • Strategy formulation

The new age HR marketplace is an outcome of a perseverant evolutionary process, which is one of the most important ingredients for building a HPT (High Performing Team). Successful and happy employees take companies to newer heights and milestones.

“To Win the Marketplace you must first win the workplace” – Doug Conant

10 key shifts that encompass today’s HR marketplace are –

  • From an Ivory League of HR professionals to becoming Human Resource Business Partners (HRBP)
  • From being coordinators to being enablers
  • From being available at fixed time slots to meet employees, to being seen sitting with employees
  • From being custodians of the workforce to becoming guardians of employees
  • From Sympathy to Empathy
  • From being policy makers to co-creators
  • From givers of Homework to doers of classwork together
  • From Dependence to Interdependence
  • From Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory to a correlation with Gregor’s Theory X & Y
  • From You & Us to We

I am thinking even the Dinosaurs could have survived if and only if they adapted…..