Published : Saturday, 22 August, 2015 12:48 PM

“Emerging Challenges for HR : VUCA Perspectives,” the theme of 2nd HR Summit and International Conference 20115 of IIM Raipur encompasses the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity associated with challenges faced in today’s business environment. The objective of the summit is to act as a mode of information exchange between industry and academia with respect to challenges of diversity at work place, dealing with changes in business environment, use of HR analytics and competency management.

IIM Raipur - HR Summit

The summit was inaugurated by lighting of lamps accompanied by Saraswati Vandana by students of IIM Raipur. The key note address was delivered by Shri Anupam Anand who stated that “Complexities are multi-layered and requires out of box thinking to dwell into reality and address uncertainty by unconventional techniques.”

IIM Raipur - HR Summit

The Chief Guest of the Summit Shri Narendra Kothari, CMD, NMDC Limited urged the young managers of IIM Raipur to proactively learn about practical aspects from the lives of one’s professors and try to excel by improving upon it. Mr. Ganatantra Ojha, visiting professor to IIM Raipur and Former Director (Personnel) SAIL shared some of his insights on the ability to understand the context of a situation, recognizing and seizing the opportunities. The welcome addressby Professor B.S. Sahay, Director IIM Raipur was initiated with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi,”Be the change, you wish to see.” He further added that “analysing VUCA perspectives providesa leader with new ways and approaches to winning opportunities.”

IIM Raipur - HR Summit

The topic of the first panel discussion “Leveraging Diversity” was introduced by Mr. Prashant Srivastava, President (Group HR and People Excellence), Reliance ADA Group. He initiated the topic on “how a mix of traits, gender, race, religion and culture in the workforce contributes to the success of an organisation” and later the panellist explained diversity from their own experiences. Mr. Murali Padmanabhan described diversity with the help of an example on how American Universities prefer students with value and generational diversity and the effect of diverse workforce on effective solutions to problems.

A different perspective was presented by Mr. Shantanu Das, VP-HR at Emami Ltd, proposed enhancing gender diversity and unity for creative problem solving. Mr. KumaarPriyaranjan, Head, Human Capital at Hikal, explained diversity with reference to electoral diversity and how the development of a State is dependent upon non-discrimination against diverse groups of people. To introduce the audience with various facets of diversity at workplace, Ms. Kavitha Kulkarni, VP and Head HR at Infosys, categorised diversity on the basis of gender, race, culture, religion and orientation. The views of Mr. Ranji Abraham, Director HR at Delphi Automotive India were, “Diversity breaks the inertia in the company and creates a good environment for business. Identifying and grooming diverse groups results in achieving far better results.”

The discussion also saw participation from Mr. Muthiah. Mr. Muthiah, Senior VP-HR at Carborundum Universal Limited, Murugappa Group. This was followed by an interactive session with the audience comprising students of IIM Raipur and visiting delegates. The questions ranged from the reason behind focus on gender diversity to issues of maintaining quality of workforce and fair evaluation of employees.

The second panel discussion was on the topic of “Leadership in the VUCA world.” The moderator Mr. Dayanand Allapur, VP & Head of HR at Capgemini Business Services, India, introduced the members and substantiated the meaning of VUCA with a personal example of uncertainties he faced while catching a flight. He stressed importance of VUCA in uncertainties and complexities faced in businesses, organisations at national and international levels.

The discussion was initiated with an innovative way to engage the audience through a video presentation by panellist Ms. Nivedita Nanda, Head People Office, Future Retail Ltd. she stressed upon “how relevant is the term VUCA with the context of the retail market. She indicated towards the volatility in the consumer market due to the rise of e-commerce.” The discussion was taken forward by Mr. Sriram S.R., Head, Human Capital. Mr. Sunil Ranjan, Group Head HR, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Apolllo Tyres, talked about the skill sets that one requires to survive in the present world. Talking about economic crises in the early 1990s, he highlighted the phenomenon of frequent economic downturns in recent times.  While we would hear of an economic crisis once in 7-8 years then, now every 2-3 years, we hear about an economic crisis.

Ms Renu Bohara, Director HR, Schenker India, started her speech asking the audience to name some leaders who dealt with VUCA situations well. Her views about dealing with VUCA times was the ability to think out of the box i.e. beyond what one could see or do. And all this could be done through effective communication; no matter in what form has to fulfil the purpose. Mr. Murali Padmanabhan, VP, L&D Virtusaquoted, “The new workforce has to be innovative as they will be facing the problems not imagined today. Mindful courage and calculated risk would define the leaders of tomorrow and learning agilityis whatthe leaders of tomorrow should focus on”.The floor was then open to the audience for questions which ranged from importance of specialization in a given field to the ability to anticipate change in an organization. The experts enlightened the visiting delegates and students with the answers on how to act on changes.

Further presenters from different institutions like IIT Kharagpur, NIMS etc presented their research papers which included topics like Social Capital and Job Performance: the moderating role of HR practises; Diverse Workforce: the new challenge for the organization to Employee engagement in the new business Horizon.

Summit Co-convenors, Prof. Atri Sengupta, Prof. Umesh Bamel and Prof. Pankaj Singh expressed their gratitude towards the esteemed speakers and encouraged the presenters by sharing valuable insights. Thus, the day 1 of the 2nd HR Summit was concluded with an enriching and knowledgeable experience for everyone.

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