VUCA has been one of those words which have been constantly ringing inside our ears. A word that sounds very unique and funny but is a clear depiction of uncertainty ambiguity and volatileness. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic just paved way for this word to get used more frequently within organizations and along different verticals.
Today organizations and employees are faced with numerous situations that are beyond their control. Long term planning seems to be a myth that is now becoming almost insignificant. The need for our is clear short-term strategies and innovative ways in which businesses could tackle the “VUCA times”- which stands for volatility, uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. These testing times definitely test the capability of HR leaders in reacting to uncertainties. HR leaders should also be able to come up with a solid plan of action that would enable them to assist in the overall growth of businesses.
How should an HR act during uncertainty? What are the possible strategies he can put across to aid the organization? How could he ensure employee retention during a period of ambiguity? If we look carefully, we could see hundreds of questions out there like this. But like they, let us take baby steps in understanding some of the strategies that could be employed.
Clear understanding of various levels of the business
A HR should be knowing the business model inside out. A moment of doubt may arise in your mind. Is it really necessary? Well, it is! What would be the benefits arising out of the core understanding of the business? HR plays a crucial role in ensuring that the business strategies crafted by the business heads are in line with KPIs and goals expected from the team. This sync would ensure the delivery of optimum business results. HR would be able to question the business heads in case of a discrepancy in the alignment of individual goals to the overall organizational goal and strategies. The more familiar an HR is with the technicalities of the business; he would be well equipped to identify the right candidate for the role. A deep understanding of the business will also enable HRs to actively participate in performance management and talent acquisition discussions.
A New Dimension – HR as a Business Partner
Well, it is time to change the “Stereotype HR image” that we all had in our minds! Let us bid adieu to our perception of HR as someone who manages the payroll, attendance and recruitment. The business partnering model is seen as the driving force behind the evolution of the HR function. An HR is expected to change roles and contribute to resolving the various critical issues that loom around the organization instead of being a mere spectator. Wearing the new shoes of a business partner, HR must be able to devise strategies to retain the critical employees, reduce the TAT time in providing solutions to employees and take proactive decisions.
Multitasking as the New Normal
Ten years ago, if any mother saw a child was seen eating his food while talking on the phone, she would emit one of those scary looks from her unhappy face and scream “Do one thing at a time!” Well now in 2021, ironically, we are looking for those grown-up kids who can attend a meeting while drafting an email and having a cup of coffee. Multi-tasking has become a necessity. An HR should be capable to adapt to the changing environment and also become an expert in multi-tasking. He/she should also ensure that the talent is well versed to face any uncertainties. Training programs should be initiated to boost the capabilities of the workforce. Adequate emphasis should be given to continuous learning and constant up-gradation of your skillset. An HR should ensure that there is a smooth knowledge transfer at various levels of the job and should assist in developing personal development programs (PDPs) for individuals to deliver quality work. If proper training is given to the talent they would be well versed with the technologies and software and in turn, evolve as the new multitasker.
Innovate all the Way
To succeed in the VUCA world, you need to innovate all the way! The scope is indeed large when it comes to innovation and automation in areas such as performance management, hiring, background check and talent management. A lean HR structure would ensure that the decision making is faster resulting in better results
Cape of Change Agent
HR should wear the cape of a change agent and manage the expectations of people while driving the change agenda. Policies created should ensure that there is transparency, fairness and accurate metrics to measure performance. HR should find out innovative ways to celebrate the diversity within the teams and to reduce the initial frictions.
Well, some of the above-mentioned baby steps if taken and implemented carefully would help businesses in taking a big leap towards success. HR managers in the VUCA world should let go of the traditional leadership styles and bring forth an inclusive style of leadership. They should have long term as well as short term strategies handy to navigate through varying situations. However, a great vision and a collaborative approach would help the HRs of today find numerous opportunities to succeed in the VUCA world. Let the VUCA world be your Abra-Cadabra!