It’s a pleasure to be part of this wonderful HR fraternity led by National HRD Network. Since it’s my very first interaction with the group, I thought I would start off by sharing a bit about myself and a few of my reflections on some other issues. I see this blog as a new two-way communication platform on the internet and I hope that this forum would help us share ideas and suggestions. I request your wholehearted participation to ensure that we can communicate meaningfully.
About Me: I currently head the HR function at Bharti Airtel Ltd. I started my career with Eicher Tractors in 1984 as Unit Personnel Officer and thereafter have held various roles in Hindustan Lever Ltd and Unilever, spanning the diverse areas of HR and Organization development. After spending 20 years with Levers, I joined Airtel. I have over 22 years of professional experience in enterprise level roles, change management, performance management, people alignment and driving the HR transformation agenda to deliver strategic value for the business.
I start off our journey of sharing ideas by seeking your thoughts on what do we need to do as HR professionals to make a lasting impact on our business performance? With increasing competition, the key differentiators for any organization are its people & capabilities. Therefore, our focus needs to be on ensuring that the best people continue to be with us and perceive our companies as ‘employers of choice’.. Hence, this is the time when we have to seriously re-evaluate the HR role and bring in cultural changes.
Which brings us to the next question-Are there any areas that we could work on to build a culture conducive to delivering high performance? One of the areas that has been recognized as a catalyst to this is ensuring a healthy work life balance for our employees. This topic wasn’t as important in the past as it is today because, in the past, people often were able to attend primarily to one major role in their life (eg, working, housework, etc.), rather than to several (eg, to a career, being a parent, pursuing hobbies, etc), such as today.
The importance of ensuring a good work life balance and adjusting patterns to help combine our work with other aspects of life can not be overstated. According to a study done by Gallup Inc, 76% of employees in a managerial positions want more time with their families & friends; 50% claim to be too exhausted mentally and physically to do anything but work and sleep; 30% said that their life is out of control and 20% said that they are too stressed to enjoy life at all.
As HR professionals, we understand that work has evolved from a matter of necessity/survival to also a source of personal satisfaction. Also, to me work life balance is not just about the amount of time you spend working vs. not-working or office vs. home. It is about Achievement and Enjoyment for each one of us. These two characteristics are the different side of the same coin. To lead a happy life, we need both these key ingredients in our lives.
Hence, how can we as leaders assist our employees to strike this balance- In order to be driven to give their all to their organizations?
With increased access to improved technology, options such as telecommuting have been instrumental in enabling increased work life balance for organizations. Organizations of today are also opening up to providing increased flexibility (in terms of work schedules) to employees- Which also helps them balance their lives. However, the success of any such initiatives lies in the willingness of the people managers to drive it as a personal agenda. Translating this intellectual awareness into day-to-day practice involves enabling your teams to prioritize their work and striking a balance. This would not only make them many times more productive, but would also provide them the time that they need to lead a ‘whole’ life.
Once again, this is a two way platform and should help us share our ideas and thoughts, so do contribute openly.