Vijay Sethi, CIO, CHRO and Head- CSR for Hero Moto Corp shares how he is retooling HR with next- gen technologies
How can a CIO extend his sphere of influence beyond the IT function? Perhaps that’s a question you should ask Vijay Sethi. As the CIO, CHRO and Head- CSR for Hero Moto Corp, the world’s largest manufacturer of two –wheelers, Sethi is gear- switching at a fast pace. His past experience spanning over two decades lends weight to his vision in this multi-faceted role.
“As challenging as handling IT and HR is, if you start working long term goals into your game plan, you will be able to establish the digital ethos of the organization,” he asserts.
In his role as the CHRO of Hero Moto Corp, he is retooling HR with next gen technology to ensure that it is more attuned to strategic business objectives of a digital enterprise. To start with, he gauged what makes the employees tick. This led him to digitize paper based system, embed data-led processes and tap into value added forms of information. With these panoply of employee friendly initiative has been able to address the pent up needs of a growing gaggle of millennial workforce- and how!
In an exclusive interview with CIO Dialogues, Vijay Sethi, CIO, CHRO and Head- CSR for Hero Moto Corp shares how he is reimagining HR to be digitally advanced, data led, responsive and intuitive.
Digital transformation is all about people, processes and culture change. How does having a single executive responsible for the combined role of IT and HR help an organization fast track digital transformation? How does it facilitate the creation of IT solutions and platforms that have a finger firmly on the pulse of the people?
HR function in any company sets the cultural tone of the organization. HR is at the intersection of innovation, performance, and transformation. And IT is the technology powerhouse enabling digital transformation. So from that perspective it helps if one person is handling HR and IT functions in an organization. It becomes that much easier to affect and execute the change in the cultural and technological aspects.
Today, the technologically adept employees esp. the millennial workforce would like to get a user experience from HR which is much more digital enabled rather than a paper led, manual based process. So when an IT leader heads HR it is easy to facilitate these changes and implement these solutions. Having a single executive at the helm of these two functions, also ensures that IT and HR have a unified vision for the company.
How are your leveraging technology for the digital evolution of HR from being a mere personnel function to becoming a strategic custodian of organizational culture and digital ethos?
As the culture custodian, HR also needs to be the architect of digital transformation in an enterprise. Ensuring a digital mind-set and giving employees digital process, platforms and interfaces lays the foundation of a smart and intelligent enterprise thereby fuelling relentless digital innovation
For us digitalization is a key part of our HR strategy. Changing manual and paper driven operational HR processes to automated and data and analytics driven engagements was the starting point of the digital evolution of HR at Hero Moto Corp.
At Hero Moto Corp, our goal is to use automation and digital, data-led processes for employee engagement throughout the five stages of employee lifecycle starting from the point of assessment of a prospective candidate to recruitment, onboarding, development/ grooming/ reskilling, retention all the way to offboarding.
HR is now powered by IT driven and IT enabled processes to guide the digital evolution and thereof the transformation of the company.
HR transformation started with ensuring that HR in itself gets completely digitized and has a digital mind-set. We have tried to make all HR processes paperless and with least possible manual intervention. The systems are digitally enabled and employees can execute lot of HR activities and processes in a self-service mode. This is being done not just for current employees but also prospective employees and ex-employees. We are kind of reengineering and digitizing the entire landscape in HR.
We first analysed what are the interface points of employees with HR and then we decided that we will digitize the entire chain of processes. We are striving to incorporate digital into every aspect of our HR operations so that HR is more responsive, more flexible and more productive. Objective is that most of the interactions with current employees, prospective employees and ex-employees should be digitally enabled. There are a lot of dashboards and even SLAs are maintained on a digital platform.
There are workforce related apps, systems, workflows that are in a self-service mode. Employees can generate their own documents that can be digitally signed by the authority in the organization.
What are the methodologies you have adopted at Hero Moto Corp to make HR more responsive, transparent and tuned into the millennial workforce?
The other big ask of me is to make HR data driven and analytics savvy. Data from HR Information systems and performance management system is a reservoir of all employee related data. We are trying to reimagine HR to be more digital, intuitive and speedy.
We are using analytics to assess the skills available in the workforce and using capability and competency analytics along with performance analytics for talent management for grooming talent and succession planning. I feel that analytics can play a key role in areas like recruitment, performance management, and learning & development and that’s where our focus also is.
Can you please reflect on the evolution of HR in the digital era and where you see it going in the age of AI empowered workforce. Has AI hit a tipping point in terms of its relevance to HR?
HR as a function will continue to evolve owing to the constant transformation in technology. With the increasing adoption of AI and ML in the workplace, the scope of the HR domain will expand in the digital era.
By imbedding analytics and AI into HR processes, we will be able to contribute out inputs and insights an on high-level business decision making, leadership and vision.
We are also on lookout for newer technologies in HR – we are exploring usage of BOTs to further automate some processes. We are also exploring technologies like AI for example in recruitment process there can be biases on the basis of gender, alma mater, region etc in a manual screening process. This is where artificial intelligence can play a key role.
AI can also provide insightful inputs on performance management, appraisals, employee interaction, and employee stickiness with the organization AI driven decision makes will help judge the longevity of the tenure of employees. Currently, we are using AI in some operational areas in the organization and our teams are ready to explore usage of AI in other areas.
As I see, going forward digital is going to play even a bigger role in all aspects of the organization. The boundaries between HR, IT and many other functions will get blurred and all the organizations will tend to become digital organizations. Here it is not just technology but also a digital mind-set and digital culture of the organization that will ensure success of the organisations – and having the same person lead HR and IT will help.