Cloud Exalts CHRO's Obligations: An In-Depth Discovery for the New Role

Joseph Cabral, CHRO, Partners Healthcare

Joseph Cabral, CHRO, Partners Healthcare

The job, which used to be inundated with so much of paperwork, compliance rules, and reports, has gone digital now. The roles and responsibilities for Chief HR Officers (CHROs) of today’s global businesses have changed significantly in past decade as they have more on their plates than ever before. Alongside recruitment, hire, train, and retention of a productive workforce, now, it is more about understands a business, strongly partnering with CEO and forecast future of the business with proper planning and advice.

Technological Competency in the Role

The technology has certainly evolved and helped the HR role transforming itself. However, it’s not the ‘technology’ but the ‘People’ who create and bring value to an organization. For e.g., in the banking industry (which has multiple consumer channels), if a consumer wants to take a picture of a cheque and deposit it digitally from anywhere, the HR needs to deploy an effective strategy to meet the requirement of the new world. So, with the goal of identifying the most significant challenges and being a strategic business partner, the role for HR has evolved substantially. Technical skills are fine but, first and foremost thing for them is to understand the business acumen.

“No matter what job you have, you’re interfacing with some level of technology.” Today, there is increasingly growing trend for mobiles and cloud connectivity, and it is largely affecting the HR management system, HR service delivery systems. From an HR’s perspective—while moving onto the cloud—the business is looking for workforce productivity, anticipating big changes, and plan to scale, according to the sales for example. As such, CEOs have started to see the relevance and importance of CHRO and the role have been elevated within organizations across multiple industries.

Cloud in Business

Just as insights from data have changed faces of many businesses, scaling to the cloud will certainly give greater accessibility in HR analytics and link workforce utilization to strategic and financial goals. However, transition to cloud may not be easy if not planned carefully keeping the consumers flexibility in mind—a bad process, system or a software product displeases the users. It is imperative, and simultaneously critical for the CHRO to develop innovative ways to apply technology to select, assemble, evaluate, guide and alter teams as needed.

Change Management

There are probably 100s and 1000s of books on Change Management but it all boils down to focusing on being deliberate about the change, followed by basic principles. Change doesn’t happen just because you hope it happens, you have to facilitate it. The book “Execution” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan says “Be strategic as you want but if you can’t execute you’re dead in the water.” The deliberation for change can be understood more articulately if we have answers to few questions like, what is the methodology? How do get employees excited about change? How to become sustainable by training, educating, and communicating?

"No matter what job you have, you’re interfacing with some level of technology"

Adhering to ‘Change’ also depends upon the culture of an organization, type of customers for respective organization, different linguistic aspect according to geographical location, etc. Where millennial just Google the information, make whatever changes they want online but the baby boomers probably still want to make that phone call because they might not be as comfortable with the latest technologies.

Challenges and a Pinch of Advice

After the advent of cloud, many organizations working on their legacy system and grew their own infrastructure, had to scrap their multi-billion dollar empire to shift on SaaS platform or oracle cloud world to support customers in much greater number, faster and easier. In HR, people usually practice the machine gun approach; analytics and IoT will power them with the laser approach i.e. one shot. Think of the nanotechnology in healthcare industry for e.g.—tiny little microchips, medical robots, flying drones—it’s amazing around the technology in the evolution. The HR’s job is to make sure that the organization has enough and comprehensive workforce that can come in and be able to work with latest technology around them.

From HR’s perspective, technology at Partners will continue to evolve and BI, from data scientists’ perspective, will be focusing more on human capital and capabilities to drive success. We have remained highly competitive by not being complacent.

At last, in my opinion, the most important trade for CHROs in today’s world is to have the courage to lead, to challenge, and to change; it’s more of the mindset. Try to understand the market, stay correct; it will set you apart from the competition.

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