Unleashing the Power of Tech Innovation in HR

In conversation with Charulatha, Correspondent, Siliconindia Magazine. Anjali shares her views on the innovations that excite today's HR Industry Leaders. In the conversation, she also discussed about how technology will enable HR leadership to make a high-value strategic contribution.

Could you please explain why and how technology innovation might have a significant impact on the human resources department of an organization. By concentrating on human resources, what advantages may individuals expect for the strategic objectives?
Whether you like it or lump it, technology is here to stay! Like any other field, it has permeated the realm of HR, bringing with it a myriad of innovative tools and solutions to the table. In our Organization, technology is ingrained in our DNA. It started with streamlining business processes through platforms like Salesforce and SAP, but it has seeped into every aspect of our operations. We are harnessing the power of technology to create smart factories, employing data analytics for Digital Twinning, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Our central R&D team is developing AI-based solutions to proactively detect potential threats in the fiber network using advanced sensing applications. We have even embraced technology in our HR practices to eliminate bias and promote fairness.

For instance, leveraging technology in our job evaluation process allows us to take a scientific and unbiased approach to leveling roles across our businesses, functions, and geographies based on their complexity. This ensures that our policies and benefits are implemented in a fair and consistent manner aligned with grade levels. Moreover, for roles requiring specialized skills and next-gen tech capabilities, we can create pay structures that are equitable and competitive, enabling us to attract top-notch talent. In our company, a digital corporate culture reigns supreme. It empowers our employees to continuously adapt, learn, and develop innovative solutions. We embrace change and challenge the status quo, all fueled by the digital mindset that runs through our veins.

Social learning platforms, discussion forums, and virtual collaboration tools create an environment where employees can exchange ideas and learn from each other, fostering a culture of continuous learning.

How will technology enable HR leadership to make a highvalue strategic contribution, in your opinion?
We are surfing the wave of technological innovation. I see a future where use of HR technology will grow by leaps and bounds, harnessing the power of automation, AI/ML applications, personalization, virtual and remote work solutions, employee well-being, analytics, ethical practices, and seamless integration. As these advancements unfold, they have the potential to revolutionize HR processes, enhance employee experiences, and drive remarkable outcomes for organizations. It would be truly amazing to witness technology seamlessly intertwined, with data flowing effortlessly between various HR systems and applications. This holistic view of employee data would elevate data accuracy, consistency, and accessibility to new heights.

Ultimately, we are the architects of HR strategies that not only withstand the winds of change but also propel the organization towards continued growth and success

We are implementing an AI chatbot based listening tool for pulse check, mood tracking, real time engagement etc. We are also leveraging Gamification elements and mechanics, to create a fun and engaging environment and use it for rewards and recognitions. We will have points, badges and leader boards for different challenges. These challenges can be related to work tasks, skill development, and so on and can offer rewards or recognition to employees who successfully complete them. Overall, by harnessing data-driven insights, automating administrative tasks, fostering communication and collaboration, and implementing innovative talent strategies, HR can lead the charge in driving organizational success. This, in turn, enhances the overall employee experience and creates a high-performance culture that fuels growth and achievement.

Could you please give us an outline of what are the innovations that excite today's HR Industry Leaders?
I'm particularly excited about the fusion of technology and L&D. It has opened up a world of learning opportunities, breaking barriers of time and place. With online platforms, LMS, and virtual classrooms, learning has become flexible and convenient. Personalized learning experiences are in the spotlight, thanks to adaptive algorithms, data analytics, and AI-powered tools. In our organization, technology acts as a catalyst for learning and growth. Social learning platforms, discussion forums, and virtual collaboration tools create an environment where employees can exchange ideas and learn from each other, fostering a culture of continuous learning. Employees can access bite-sized training modules on their smartphones or tablets, making the most of their free time. We track and analyze employee learning data to optimize training efforts, measuring impact and identifying skill gaps. Partnering with Udemy enables accelerated upskilling on digital technologies. With technology as our ally, we're shaping a future where growth knows no bounds, and knowledge is the ultimate currency.

Do you believe that AI and ML are among the most well liked HR technology innovations that could aid in employee support and workforce analytics? If yes, please explain.
HR technology is a revolution in motion, reshaping the HR landscape with each passing moment. AI and ML are true game changers in this field, automating tasks, improving decision-making, and providing valuable workforce insights. These innovations offer personalized support through AI-powered chatbots, advanced data analysis, and predictive modeling. By leveraging these technologies, organizations drive diversity, equity, and inclusion, reducing biases in recruitment and evaluation. Additionally, AI and ML enhance performance management and engagement by analyzing employee feedback and uncovering improvement opportunities. Embracing these technologies empowers HR to make data driven decisions and foster continuous improvement.

For instance, we are utilizing AI and ML in HR for our recruitment and talent acquisition processes. We have implemented AI-powered tools to streamline candidate screening and selection. These tools analyze resumes and job applications, identifying relevant qualifications and skills based on predefined criteria. By leveraging ML algorithms, we can quickly and accurately shortlist candidates who match the requirements of the role, saving time and resources. You see, HR tech is like a kaleidoscope with endless possibilities.

What are your thoughts on highly effective CHROs today who do more than only head the HR department?
In today's fast-paced business world, leaders don't just stick to the rulebook. They take the reign and steer the organization towards success. They wear multiple hats, serving as more than just figureheads. These leaders grasp the connection between talent and triumph, understanding that human capital is the lifeblood of any thriving business. Why only CHROS? All CXOs need to see the big picture and align their strategies with the company’s overall game plan. They should further the company culture, foster employee engagement and create an environment where people thrive. I believe that highly effective leaders are skilled communicators and collaborative wizards.

In HR leadership particularly, we know the power of numbers. We harness the potential of technology and data driven insights to make well informed decisions. We spot trends, forecast talent needs, and shape our workforce strategy with surgical precision. Armed with this knowledge, we tackle challenges head-on and seize golden opportunities related to talent acquisition, retention, development, and succession planning. For instance, we have designed programs like Act Up, Evolve and Accelerate to harness the potential of our talent and drive business impact through extensive training and opportunities to work on live strategic projects. By doing so, our people are able to make a tangible difference, bringing their ideas to life and generating outcomes that have a meaningful impact on our business.

How do you develop an HR strategy and adjust it when the company and operational environment change?
Developing an HR strategy that can adapt to changing company dynamics and operational environments requires us to think outside the box. We have our fingers on the pulse of the business, understanding its ins and outs, and being able to connect the dots between human capital and organizational success. It's not just about being heads of the HR department; we are strategic players who know how to roll with the punches and navigate the shifting tides.

"Think Business, Think People" encapsulates the essence of our holistic approach to business. When we rethink business, it becomes essential to consider the people aspect. In this reciprocal relationship, HR plays a pivotal role as an enabler, empowering behavior changes within the organization. It is through talented individuals that the magic happens, driving the outcomes and success of the business. Talent becomes the bridge that connects the aspirations, goals, and spirit of the organization. By recognizing the significance of both business and people, we cultivate an environment where synergy and achievement thrive. We understand that flexibility and adaptation are essential, embracing emerging trends and best practices to keep the strategy relevant and effective. Through open communication and alignment, we ensure everyone is on the same page, fostering a culture of transparency and engagement.

Anjali Byce, Chief Human Resource Officer
Anjali has extensive experience in organizational development, learning and development and industrial relations. Anjali has handled multiple functional excellence areas including strategic HR, industrial relations, and more. As STL grows exponentially, Anjali and her team are building an agile and culturally strong organization by running strong programs on talent, culture, values and diversity. Anjali has been awarded CHRO of the Year at BW Business world HR Excellence Awards 2020. She has also been named as one of the 100 most talented Global HR Leaders by CHRO Asia and currently cochairs The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) HR & IR Council in Pune. She has also worked at SKF, Tata Motors, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Cummins and Thermax. She has a Master’s in Human Resources from the Symbiosis Centre for Management and HRD, and in Applied Psychology from the University of Delhi.