We are thrilled to announce that we had a great experience organising SynCHROny, the annual HR conclave organised by the COLLOQUIUM committee of the XOL batch of XLRI, on April 15th, 2023. The event brought together experts from leading industries to share insights on the rapidly-evolving HR landscape and the impressive theme “High Tech, High People.” The synCHROny the HR symposium started with the celebration of the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony in the presence of dignitaries, which included Father Donald D’Silva, Academic Dean of XLRI, Dr Sanjay Patro, and Program Director of XOL-HRM, Dr Srimannarayan. Father D’Silva has expressed his confidence in the first batch of XOL for organising the event. Dr Patro has shared his views on the workforce of New India, the dynamics of artificial intelligence, and the way forward. Finally, Dr Srimannaramayan explained the theme of SynCHROny with his kind words.
The event featured several sessions, including “Data Intelligence: Key to HR’s Strategic Potential” by Mr Amit Sachdev, CPO Tata Business, followed by a panel “Workplace 2.0: The New Normal” by Mr Honeydeep Singh, Sr Director - HR at Pando, Mr Yogesh Kr Sharma, Global Leader TA- EB, Mr Debjit Bhattarcharya, Head HR - Digital Transformation for Pine Labs, and Mr Tilak Das, Vice President- HR- Reliance Trends. Additionally, the second half of the day started with the session “Compensation: Unravelling the Mystique”, conducted by Mr Abhijat Mitra, CHRO Tejas Network, followed by a panel “Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Belongingness (DEIB): Moving Beyond Normal”, was conducted by Maj (Dr) Deepti Tiwari, CHRO HCG Global Enterprise, Mr Shantanu Dhar, CHRO Hindustan Power, Mr Nitin Nahata, CHRO Gameskraft, and Mr Shantanu Das, CHRO Amway. These sessions provided valuable insights for attendees and were highly relevant to today’s workplace.
Mr Amit Sachdeva, the first chief speaker, highlighted various trends and challenges in the HR domain. The change was emphasised as an important factor, such as resetting both contacts and minds when changing phones. The increasing budget for compensation, benefits, and technology indicates that companies are willing to invest in their employees and infrastructure to drive growth and productivity. However, the challenge lies in how and why to use the data available in the HR domain. Academia plays a significant role in answering these questions, and HR professionals must look beyond Maslow’s theory of needs, as basic needs are already being met. Five major career paths were highlighted: recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, compensation, retention, and separation. Data science capabilities include hiring scorecards, talent supply maps, skill pipelines, competency assessment analytics, ROI on learning, job rotation, fixed and variable CTCS, and succession prediction and engagement NPS. Investment in HR tools has increased significantly due to the availability of data. Data- driven decisions can help companies better understand their employees and improve their performance. Using analytics in the HR domain can also help address several challenges, such as performance reviews and shortlisting students for placements. Today, HR professionals must embrace analytics to drive organisational growth and productivity. Data availability can help answer critical questions about the workforce. Analytics can provide insights that can lead to better decision-making. The HR domain is changing, and adapting to the latest technology and trends is necessary to understand employees better and build succession predictions. His insights aptly and very effectively have influenced the students on the topic “Data Intelligence: Key to HR’s Strategic Potential”.
Our first-panel discussion was regarding “Workplace 2.0”. This panel was moderated by Dr. Rahul K. Shukla. Dr Shukla is the Chair of the General Management Area at XLRI Jamshedpur, and his research interests include Gender Communication, Organizational Communication, Computer-mediated Communication, Stylistics, and Discourse Analysis. He has also conducted numerous corporate training programs on topics such as Leadership Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Influence and Persuasion, Critical and Analytical Thinking, and Rational Decision-Making.
Mr Honeydeep Singh Sabharwal addresses the upcoming decade as one of the great decades for India, where HR will act as the most significant enabler when aligned strategically with the business point of view. With his insights into the Startup space, he believes that Gen Z no more needs to be managed and instead should be mentored, with a complementary Idea that generations should be excluded from a defining factor for the workforce in the workplace. Workplace 2.0, when taken into work-life balance parameters, is helping employees to interweave life and work with an opportunity to define the balance themselves. Extending his views on Artificial Intelligence, he emphasised elevating the skills. He concluded that AI is not a threat but a boon when aligned with skills in demand.
Mr Yogesh Kr Sharma, in the first-panel discussion on “Workplace 2.0”, highlighted the talent acquisition perspective concerning Workplace 2.0. He also focused on how the talent pool has been affected by covid and the challenges. One of the significant challenges highlighted is the need for the right infrastructure. Mr Yogesh shared his experience and perspectives on Gen Z and how managers must change as we no longer live for one job. He shared his insights on setting expectations for the targeted talent. He also shared his views and believed we can manage/maintain the culture and engage in virtual mode. Efficiencies have been high in remote working and how the times are changing and focus on how outcomes are redefined. Mr Yogesh also emphasised that AI is making us more human, helps us to do things we want, and if we have empathy skills, we will sustain ourselves for a longer time. The virtual mode has made us more global, and organisational expectations to create a work-life balance have increased.
During the first panel discussion on “Workplace 2.0: The New Normal,” Mr Tilak Das shared valuable insights representing Reliance Retail, one of the largest fashion businesses encompassing various roles such as brand, buyers, planners, and technical designers. Mr Das discussed how their organisation managed COVID-19 by implementing application-based attendance and health monitoring systems. He further emphasised the importance of utilising Gen Z talent through reverse mentoring, which poses a challenge for managers to effectively engage with the new generation that is accustomed to multitasking. Mr Das also mentioned how innovation hackathons help their organisation generate ideas that add value and align with their organisational values. Monthly virtual town halls facilitate interactive communication during the pandemic. Regarding skills and competencies required for Workplace 2.0, Mr Das highlighted the significance of adopting service leadership, data analytics, digitalisation, and adaptability skills.
Concluding the first Pannel discussion of SynCHROny HR Conclave on “Workplace 2.0: the new normal” with Mr Debjit. Mr Debjit Bhattacharya Spoke about: “How it is a great time to be an HR and How Tech is Changing the workplace Ecosystem.” He spoke about the Leadership role in the hybrid workplace; he believes leadership in the era of digitalisation is about making digital transformation seamless and easy to adopt, along with developing an ecosystem within the organisation. He also touched upon GenZ in Workplace 2.0. What challenges are the managers facing today? Through trust and communication, they can bring them on the same page and improve the company culture internally. Talking about the skills needed in Workplace 2.0 - One needs to have Decision-making skills as one of the key skills after AI has done its work and then connecting the cross function Dots to make an ethical and purposeful impact in the workplace. Gamifying employee engagement and onboarding process, knowing very well that the younger generation is being hired, this gamifies and brings solutions that can improve employees’ experience. This can be leveraged either internally or using third-party solutions. Last, he mentioned how Tech and AI can be used to your best advantage.
Overall, the panel discussion provided valuable insights into the changing workplace ecosystem and the need for HR professionals to adapt and stay updated on the latest trends and technologies to succeed. Under Dr. Shukla's guidance, our first panel on "Workplace 2.0: the new normal" was a great success, and we would like to express our gratitude for his contribution to the event, and all the speakers for coming to the campus to share their experiences and insights in person with all the students of the XOL batch of XLRI.
The second half of the day started with the session “Compensation: Unravelling the Mystique”, conducted by Mr Abhijat Mitra, CHRO Tejas Network, a part of the Tata Group and is responsible for all aspects of HR. We connected with Mr Abhijat Mitra virtually, and he shared insights on “Compensation: Unravelling the Mystique”. He shared the various critical aspects of “compensation”. Mr Mitra made us aware of the mystics of CTC (cost to company). He pointed out CTC has no definition, as the components of fixed pay, variable pay, benefits, equity etc., within CTC differ for different organisations. Mr Mitra talked about the various vehicles of compensation: Fixed pay (pays monthly bills), variable pay (rewards performance), benefits(care & well-being), and equity (wealth creation). He made us understand the pay distribution patterns across contexts and roles. For example, startups have a high proportion of equity, target variable pay increases with seniority levels etc. Finally, Mr. Abhijat took us through the concept of pay analysis. He concluded how technology has made pay analysis much easier. Helping to do “What-if” analysis, taking the manager’s input, and compensation communication are some of the processes made much easier with integrating technology.
The second half of the day concluded with a fantastic panel discussion on “Diversity Inclusion, Equity and Belongingness” by four speakers this session was moderated by Prof Jatinder Jha —-.
Mr. Nitin Nahata, focused on how inclusivity has been in the workplace for quite a while. He also highlighted how diversity and inclusivity have never been an option; instead, it has been a mandate. He focused on how his organisation has established and emphasised the challenges of Diversity and Inclusion. He provided insights on some new points, such as reverse mentoring and the health-related policy that can make a huge difference. At last, he also emphasised that culture in an organisation is defined by the value system, focusing on not changing the matrix but purpose.
Mr Shantanu Dhar, in the panel discussion on DEIB, highlighted how diversity in India is very natural by citing an example from his previous organisation where employees were from different states working coherently with each other. On the human resource management challenges towards inclusiveness, Mr Shantanu Dhar opined that although the companies practice diversity policy, challenges remain. He explained how, in the manufacturing industry where plants located in remote areas do not attract female candidates; however, he explained that it can be handled by providing exemplary housing, security, and facilities(clubs, swimming pool and vehicle) and also providing them with the facility that they can travel back home during the weekend. Such practices can play a part in attracting female talents in the manufacturing sector; however, it remains still a challenge for hiring managers. Also, he believes that diversity and inclusiveness are business need as it brings different skills and competencies to the organisation, which can match perfectly with the defined strategic roles and abilities.
In the session on DEIB, Dr Deepti Tiwari highlighted the widespread definition of diversity, which includes culture, age, class, and gender. She emphasised the difference between equality and equity, stating that equality provides the same treatment to all, while equity considers individual needs. Maj (Dr) Tiwari also emphasised the importance of inclusion and belongingness in every sector. She emphasised the need to look for leaders from minority groups to promote equality and inclusiveness within the community. She questioned whether people genuinely feel like they are part of their organisations. She stressed that inclusion and belongingness are keywords in any organisation. She also discussed the impact of Covid on hiring practices and the need to evaluate the effectiveness of women starting work after getting married. Maj (Dr) Tiwari addressed the role of HRM practices in creating an inclusive environment and highlighted the need for 50% diversity in the workplace, including female participation rates. She also pointed out that culture is present everywhere in our lives. She questioned how often we feel excluded or excluded from others personally or professionally based on differences. She emphasised the importance of creating a sense of belongingness in organisations and connecting with employees on a human level. She urged leaders to relate to their experiences and give employees the importance they deserve. She also highlighted the need to create roles for differently abled individuals and provide them with the appropriate infrastructure beyond limiting opportunities to desk jobs.
Mr. Shantanu Das’s speech during the panel discussion emphasised the importance of Diversity, Equality, Inclusion & Belongingness (DEIB) for companies and highlighted Amway’s efforts to create a diverse and inclusive environment. He specifically pointed out the linkage between equity and financials, where companies must understand that diversity and inclusion efforts positively impact their financial success. He commended Amway’s written policy in India that promotes gender diversity and the company’s influential networks, AWP and AYP, which reinforce leadership structures and drive team growth by selling beauty products. Mr. Das also emphasised Amway’s commitment to a learning culture and how DEI efforts positively impact the organisation. He noted that while equity may not be distributed equally, it serves as a cultural peace for people. Amway’s exceptional diversity and equality initiatives are setting a commendable standard for other organisations to follow. Mr. Das’s address showcased Amway’s progressive approach to DEI and its meaningful impact on the company’s culture and success.
We were honoured to have the opportunity to organise SynCHROny and learn valuable insights from fellow professionals and learners. The event was a great opportunity to network and connect with other experts in the field. We were impressed with the calibre of attendees and speakers. SynCHROny provides a platform for the entire community of management students, both online and offline, to learn and develop themselves in the world of technology and consulting. SynCHROny has set a benchmark for online management education. We look forward to future events like this, which provide valuable opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and insights in the HR landscape. The grand event was concluded with a Vote of Thanks by the COLLOQUIUM committee of the XOL batch of XLRI, bringing the conclave to a delightful close.