Excerpts from a virtual interview
By Dinesh Weerakkody
Celebrated HR Guru Prof. Dave Ulrich who has helped shape modern HR in this interview emphasizes the fact that leaders must learn to harness uncertainty to be able to help countries and organizations to prosper in the unknowable new normal.Prof. Ulrich has consulted and done research with over half of the Fortune 200 companies and worked in over 80 countries.
Dave, It’s a long time since I’ve seen and spoken to you. What has changed since we last met?
Much has changed and until January 2020 the world was moving along and then in January the corona crisis hit and the entire world went through dramatic change overnight.
The global pandemic has heightened HR’s relevance to business. In this context, what should HR be doing to help people and organizations deliver increased value and what are the new practices that will emerge post crisis?
Let me lay out HR’s value creation with three very simple insights. No. 1, we have to create and capture value for others. The goal of HR is to create value for our employees, for our organizations, for our customers, for our investors and for our communities. So HR’s number one issue is to continue to create value both inside and outside the firm. No. 2, to create value to all stakeholders, HR must deliver great people, organizations, and leadership. No. 3, HR has to continue to reinvent itself, through digital HR, through technology, through analytics. In brief, HR’s agenda is to create value outside into all stakeholders, through talent, organization and leadership and by transforming HR .
What has been the impact of the pandemic on HR skills and competencies? What new skills will HR professionals need to develop post pandemic?
We have studied HR competencies for 30 years, through 7 rounds of research and we are now starting the 8th round. As we look ahead, we envision five HR competencies that we think will have an impact. No 1- is information asymmetry, or learning how to source information in this new world even when working virtually. . Number 2- is being able to separate signal and noise. In this world there is a lot of noise, as evidenced with a lot of activity, emails, ideas, and books. How do we sift important signals that matter from this noise, particularly around emotional wellbeing. Therefore the challenges are ;No. 1 information asymmetry. No. 2 separating noise from signal and No. 3. beginning to build integrated solutions, it’s not isolated staffing, training & compensation initiatives, HR needs to integrate these specialists activities into integrated solutions. . No; 4 is social responsibility and Citizenship. HR now needs to be much more aware of and connected to social responsibility.. No; 5 is guidance. HR should access information that offers guidances. It’s not enough to just describe an organization practices- like culture. We should be specific about the “right” culture, given the situation. Those are the 5 skills we are studying and we want to find out how they deliver value to stakeholders. Information asymmetry, separating noise from signal, managing social responsibility and corporate citizenship , integrated solutions and then organisation guidance.
What has technology really done to empower engagement in this crisis?
Technology, like almost everything else, offers good news and bad news. The good news is that technology enables digital information that supports good decision making. The bad news is that technology can be used to distance people form each other. We have seen 4 phases of digital affecting HR. The first phase of digital HR, is efficiency. So technology allows us to be more efficient to do learning or staffing or compensation efficiently. The second phase is innovation. Josh Berson who is the expert in this area said there are 2,700 new digital HR apps, some of which are good and some are silly. The next (3rd) phase of HR digital that is coming is information guidance. How do we use digital to tell us more of what we do? It’s no longer enough to do a best practice. We have to do a practice that creates an impact on key results. Then, the fourth phase, is experience or connection which is where I think HR needs to focus in this pandemic. Technology should enable us, one- to be more efficient, two- to innovate, three for information management and four to have a better experience and that’s where I think we are heading with technology.
Moving on, today what would HR look like in the new economy?
When people tell you that they know the new normal. My advice to you is turn around and run. I don’t know what the new normal is? I think we live in a world full of uncertainty and our job in HR is to harness that uncertainty. Our message should be; don’t be threatened by the uncertainty, but to discover the opportunity in it.Out of the uncertainty that comes from this crisis will emerge a whole new way to behave and do things. These new behaviors must focus on creating value for all stakeholders. Number two, HR will have to add greater value to the people, organization and leadership. Number three, HR will have to reinvent HR, through transforming the HR department, offering integrated HR solutions, and upgrading HR professionals. HR leaders unlike ever before are expected to help their people and organizations navigate this crisis.
What will the new world of work look like post covid?
I think we’re going to see a new ecosystem where and how we work; I think we used to worry about where we work. When I get up in the morning, I go to work, I’m at work and I go home from work. I think that’s gone, or less likely. For example – I could be in my condominium, my office, my car, a coffee shop, or a hotel. No matter where we work we have to be connected through our shared values, and the boundaries of work are not physical, the boundaries of work are the values we share that create value for our customer. So the boundaries of work are shifting from ‘place’ to ‘values’. This means that no matter where one works there are expectations that shape the boundaries of work. These expectations are about the value created for the customer.
What type of skills will disappear in the next two or three years?
I don’t think skills simply disappear, they build on each other. For example, the skill of connection is going to evolve. It is not going to be connection face to face, I think it’s going to be virtually. How do you and I connect even though we’re 12 hours apart? Your night time, my morning even though we’re in different places, but I can still begin to feel that connection, so the reskilling is building on the past. That is, we still set KPIs and goals, but virtually. We communicate, we communicate virtually. Therefore we will build on the skills that we’ve learned in the past.
What are the three things that HR can do to deliver value to a CEO in this crisis?
Take care of your people. Help them feel emotionally cared for by showing empathy. Caring for them can create a great organization that serves customers. Talent, organization and leadership can all of which serve customers. For example, many have said our people are our most important asset, and I think it needs to evolve to our people are our customers’ most important asset. Do our people do what our customers want? Our culture is the identity of our firm in the marketplace. Our leaders must have the competencies that create value for our customers. Everything we do in HR, talent, organization and leadership should create value in the marketplace.
You talked a lot about the organization guidance system (OGS). Tell us a little bit more about this and how can we make use of OGS?
We have found that organizations are spending about 1% of their annual revenue on people and organization initiatives in talent, leadership, capability, and HR, but they are not clear about how to optimize these investments to deliver results. The guidance system will provide answers to questions like: What talent, leadership, organization, and HR initiatives will have the most impact on employee, business, customer, investor, and community result? To answer this question, we can build on decades of research to guide people and organization initiatives that deliver results. Our work shows 5 outcomes -employee, business, customers, financial, and community and there are 36 initiatives, which equal 180 cells (5 outcomes * 36 intiatives). Business and HR leaders need to know which of these 180 cells they should invest in. Simply go to www.rb.ai and take the short survey for each pathway to get a free report on where to focus to deliver key results. This report offers invaluable guidance on where to priorities your people and organization initiatives.
Dave, finally what is your message to CEOs of Sri Lanka?
I’m going to give the same message to the CEOs that I would to all HR and other professionals; here’s my answer to CEOs in Sri Lanka and to others, the best year of your life is the next 12 months. The best is yet ahead. Sri Lanka has a history of resilience and success, of continually rebounding and coming back. My friends and CEOs, my friends in business, my friends in HR, the best is yet ahead, the next 12 months will be the best ever.
realme dares to leap into Sri Lankan youth market with cutting edge devices
realme, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, launched its products in Sri Lanka on the November 23. The virtual launch event took place with the participation of Chanux bro and realme Sri Lanka team where benchmark, trendsetting realme products were introduced to the Sri Lankan market.
The launch expands the reach of the fastest smartphone brand to reach 50 million product sales worldwide, to a brand new market with young users looking for the very best in technology and smart devices. Ranked among the Top 5 brands in over 13 markets globally in just two years of operation, realme is ranked seventh globally. Proclaiming it will ‘dare to leap’, realme identifies with young people who are willing to take a risk, and has launched four cutting edge products to the Sri Lanka market, set to exceed expectations.
realme 7 – sharper captures and cooler gaming with faster charges
realme 7 grabs the imagination of the youth with a 64MP Quad Camera with Sony IMX682 sensor for sharper captures, the World’s First MediaTek Helio G95 Gaming Processor for cool gaming and a 30W Dart Charge, taking just 26 mins to get 5000mAh battery 50% Charged. The sleek smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch 90Hz Ultra Smooth Display with a 16MP In-display Selfie Camera and Starry Mode.
The first smartphone to have passed TÜV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability, realme 7 is the first in segment smartphone with the Sony 64MP Quad Camera.
President to inaugurate CCC Sri Lanka Economic Summit
Sri Lanka’s foremost economic summit will be inaugurated by Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on December 1. The summit is themed “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People Centric Economic Revival”. The President will also deliver the inaugural address.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will launch the second phase of the summit on December 2 and participate in the VVIP session focused on “Empowering Take-off: Efficient Government and Progressive State Enterprises.”
The Inaugural session on December 1, commencing at 8.30am will feature addresses by keynote speaker Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India and Guest of Honour Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms. Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya – chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will deliver the welcome address.
The flagship summit will be held on a virtual format in compliance with health guidelines and will bring together key policymakers, business leaders as well as the input of top international thought leaders will come together to identify the steps in developing the pathway towards the accelerated and people centric revival of the country’s economy.
Participants may register for the entire two-day virtual summit, or pick the sessions of their choice, an opportunity offered for the first time. Registrations for the event are now open. For further information, please contact Niroshini on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0115588852; or Alikie on email@example.com or 0115588805. (CCC)
Central Bank’s policy rates decision to be driven by two options
by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Central Bank will be reviewing its monetary policy stance on November 26. In this context, First Capital Research has put forward strong arguments both for and against an interest rate cut, in its Pre-Policy Analysis.
Making their argument against further relaxation in monetary policy First Capital said, “As a response to the measures taken by the government, private sector credit has improved to Rs. 87.4Bn in September while market liquidity reached Rs. 140 bn by 13th Nov indicating that there is surplus liquidity in the system. Moreover, the unemployment rate, which was at 5.7% in the 1Q2020 has declined to 5.4% in the second quarter. These indicators suggest that economic activity has remained steady without much deterioration in the 2Q. Except the GDP growth numbers, where the 2Q2020 figures are yet to be seen, other indicators are signifying a recovery, inquiring the need of further policy easing at the upcoming review”.
“In response to previous monetary easing measures implemented by CBSL, to bring down costs of borrowing of businesses and households, both market deposit and lending rates adjusted notably so far during the year. AWPR declined to historic lows in recent weeks, while banks’ lending rates also witnessed a downward adjustment in line with CBSL’s expectations. We believe that considering the recovery in the private credit and historic low levels in AWPR, there is no vital requirement for CBSL to provide a rate cut and to further bring down the market lending rates drastically”.
Their arguments for further relaxation in monetary policy was: “A thrust for development is the need of the current government. We estimate that Sri Lanka’s GDP would see its steepest contraction in history of -5.8% in 2020 following the unexpected contraction in 1Q GDP growth of -1.6% while 2Q GDP figures are yet to be seen. However, the government’s key drive is the development oriented economic growth which was spelt out through the budget 2021 as well. Accordingly, the government plans to reach 6% and above GDP growth during the next 5 years commencing from 2021. As we believe, a development-oriented budget coupled with further low interest rate environment can support the government’s medium-term goals. Therefore, the need to accelerate the GDP growth can be considered as a major factor favouring further policy easing at the upcoming review.”
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