The Workforce of The Future- My Insights and Action Plan


In September 2017, I attended my first NHRD meet. The topic was Creating the workforce of the Future

The following three speakers shared their views :  

M.R. Srinivas Prasad ( CEO- Philips Innovation Campus) , Ponmanivannan GB ( Head TSIC, L&T Technology Services) and Krishnan KS ( Chief Learning Officer, Mindtree) The discussion was moderated by Anand Bhaskar ( Founder and CEO, Planet Ganges)

Below are my insights from the meet. Rather than giving an 80,000 feet view and talking about Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, RPA let me focus on what is Digital, how it is impacting ‘MY Life, TODAY’ and from there extrapolate how do I plan to prioritize my learnings and skill development.

1) Companies are moving away from Product to Service/Solutions. I am loyal to Bata and Hush puppies as my footwear brand but I was blown away by Nike’s Nikeid campaign. They allow customers to design their own shoes, customise it, select their own color, pattern etc and deliver in 3-5 weeks. All these are thanks to the heightened connectedness with all stakeholders, complex design models, and software. They are no longer selling ‘a product’. Their aim is to give ‘footwear solutions’ where people can design their own footwear. It’s not easy to provide any level of customization or solution. Companies need to design their procurement to internal processes keeping these individual solutions in mind. Thus a solution mindset is a key skill. What are the major priorities and end goals of our customers? How do they feel using these? How can our solutions impact that? All these questions and answering them becomes important for all employees

2) As a corollary to above change is this new trend – There are no ‘Episodic’ products/solutions. Companies now want to cater to their ‘Customers’ across their needs. Mr. Srinivas Prasad in his presentation gave an excellent example of how Phillips is moving from a consumer electronics company to a Healthcare Services provider. It wants to help in better life style management, in preventive tests, in precise diagnosis of disease, than in accurate treatment and later better care at home. In this entire process, a patient and it’s family are at the core or in the center. All these are possible due to IoT, a huge amount of data being collected from the patient, growing predictive research on how early diagnosis, better lifestyle or a type of treatment has an impact on patient life on later stages etc.

Thus the patient is at the core of the innovation and solution designs that companies want to do. It is no longer about solving ‘a problem’. This makes Design thinking mindset an important skill to master.

I plan to develop this skill by getting into engaging conversations with my stakeholders. Understanding them better will help me provide better solutions to them. Taking part in such industry wide discussions is an important step in knowing my HR stakeholders. I have also taken up the following course from Udemy on Ideation and Product Design. I will write about learnings from it in coming weeks. 

3) ‘T’ shaped professional to ‘pi’ shaped professionals. Domain knowledge and expertise is a must. If you have interdisciplinary domain expertise, nothing like it. The age of general skills, project management, Resource management is gone. Apart from automation, the information gap is reducing thus coordination solves no problems. To really help our customers we need to have expertise in at least two domains and have a few general skills ( like two legs in symbol pi and it’s horizontal line )

For me, Human Resources was a conscious choice. I enjoy the interplay of HR processes, latest technology and how to create better employee experience, help them change, learn and adapt for future and of course meet business needs. Thus I plan to keep on investing in my HR domain expertise. Personal finance is something that I have picked on the way. I manage my savings to taxes all on my own. Bootstrapping runs in my blood, owing to be a Gujju! I have learned value investing and stock trading. I have managed to keep my lifestyle inflation in check and I hope it will provide me the desired flexibility and risk appetite to pursue breakout opportunity when they arise. I intend to fuel this domain of Personal Finance as my another area of expertise. 

So those were the three key insights I want to focus on 1) Design mindset to understand my key stakeholder better 2) Domain expertise to give concrete solutions and 3) Solution mindset to cater to their end needs.

What do you think am I going on the right track? Do share your views and feedback in comments.


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