Yukti 2019: Indian Institute of Management Amritsar has successfully conducted the fourth edition of its annual HR Conclave, Yukti 2019 on Saturday. Yukti 2019 – the HR Conclave witnessed well-known HR experts from various industries across the country having perceptive discussions on different aspects of Human Resource. Yukti 2019, was one such platform where the industry experts came together, discussed the importance of this digital age and provided thoughtful and factual insights on various contemporary HR practices and potent possibilities. 

Yukti 2019

The theme of the first discussion was ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Employing Gig workforce in India’ and for the second discussion was ‘Accommodating Gen-Z in the modern workplace’.

The panelists in the first discussion included Mr. Bikram Nayak (Head-Human Resources, L&T NxT), Ms. Sonali Majumdar (Head HR, Safari Industries India Ltd.), Mr. Rajendra Mehta (Chief People Officer, DHFL), Mr. Prashant Srivastava (Founder & CEO, The Other 2 Thirds Consulting), Mr. Sameer Mathur (Director HR, Royal Bank of Scotland), Mr. Vivek Tripathi (CHRO, BIBA Apparels Private Limited) and Mr. Ram Dharmaraj (Head HR, Cognizant Technology Solutions).

The panelists in the second discussion included Ms. Yamini Krishnan (Director HR- South Asia, IQVIA), Dr. Yogesh Misra (Vice President, Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Ram Dharmaraj (Head HR, Cognizant Technology Solutions), Mr. Sandeep Tyagi (Director HR, Samsung Electronics), Mr. Sandeep Batra (SVP & Head HR, Vodafone Idea) and Mr. Dilip Sinha (Head-HR, Reliance Retail). 

Yukti 2019: Fourth Edition of Annual HR Conclave

The Conclave commenced with the lighting of the lamp of wisdom & knowledge. Prof. Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, Director- IIM Amritsar welcomed the esteemed panelists. Prof. Nagarajan was glad to host the first conclave as the first full-time Director of IIM Amritsar. He recalled how after passing out of XLRI Jamshedpur as an MBA graduate and entering the industry, he realized the difference between what he learnt in academia and what experience taught him. The challenges, innovations, and strategies are totally different. Prof. Nagarajan said that the nature of the workforce has changed drastically in both India and the USA. The industry is progressing at a furious pace and the challenges will be different in as less as five years. Prof. Nagarajan encouraged the students of IIM Amritsar to gauge and understand the perspective of the industry stalwarts.

Introducing the theme for discussion, IIM Amritsar students delivered a few presentations on the themes of the Conclave and briefly introduced the audience about the rise and prevalence of gig workforce in India and how Gen Z is being accommodated in the modern workplace. The first team of presenters comprising of Mr. Sambhav Jain and Mr. Rahul Sehgal of PGP05 informed the audience that gig economy has been expanding and making inroads through conventional organizational setups. The second team of presenters comprising of Mr. Rishabh Parakh and Mr. Mohit Dugar of PGP05 talked about how modern workplaces are updating their policies and practices to accommodate the incoming Gen Z employees.

Mr. Prashant Srivastava was the moderator of the first session. He began the discussion by posing a question before the students. He asked how many students would prefer to get a healthy salary in the beginning of each month and who are willing to become gig workers and sell their skills and work for new employers. He was visibly impressed by the response by the students who preferred to engage in gig economy. Mr. Prashant highlighted the challenges of gig economy and raised the question of self-actualization among the workers based on Maslow hierarchy of human needs. The challenge also lies in the differing mindsets of the employees and the employers. As corporates, their mindset is American while the employees have an Asian mindset. How we marry the two distinctly diagonal dimensions to land in a win-win situation is the crux of the discussion.

Mr. Rajendra Mehta began by demonstrating that the practices that originate in the USA, when introduced in India shall definitely thrive and become successful. The cities of Delhi and Mumbai have large base for gig workforce. The momentum will continue to build and propagate to the other large cities with population greater than 1 crore. Mr. Rajendra said that gig economy is typically the ‘uberisation’ of skills where spare talent can be utilized for cost optimization.

Mr. Bikram Naik said that the common thinking is to associate gig with delivery boys and drivers and this is how the gig economy actually originated. The underlying thought is to realize that the low skill range workers like cab drivers are working for technology-driven companies and are getting accustomed to the technology. This will definitely lead to sustainability of gig economy in the long run. Mr. Bikram emphasized that the gig workers are essentially ‘engaged’ and not ‘hired’ and this potentially adds to the win-win scenario. While recalling an ‘engagement’ opportunity offered to an air hostess, he realized that social security and loneliness are primary challenges faced by gig workforce.

Ms. Sonali described how for existential purposes in the USA, people began selling their skills for short-term assignments and the trend has only increased since. Ms. Sonali asked the students to ponder that as a social fabric of the nation, are we ready for gig economy considering the security and kind of opportunities that are available. Huge psychological safety net that the corporate setup provides to permanent employees is definitely a challenge for gig economy. The kind of preparedness that corporate needs to have to recognize, understand and accept the new culture of gig workforce and to mete out justice to them is the question to be answered.

Mr. Vivek Tripathi discussed that how unlike a permanent setup, the gig workforce is rewarded for their time and the deliverables they are expected to produce. Mr. Vivek threw light on the various dimensions of gig economy. Some of the dimensions being degree and rarity of skills, your presence at a particular location and the individual’s capability of performing a task from any part of the world. He said that the advantages of gig economy are the control over timing, flexibility, and freedom from organizational policies which encourage the workforce to engage in areas of deep interest. The disadvantages are lack of predictability of income and lack of safety net.

Mr. Sameer Mathur recalled his experience with an intern and beautifully placed the requirements and time to be invested to become an industry leader. Mr. Sameer brought a traditional perspective to the table. He was in the support of fixed income, fixed mindset. If an individual wish for a healthy growth and the aspirations are that of becoming an industry leader then gig economy isn’t the way ahead. Expenses have shot up and lifestyles are continuously getting upgraded. To fulfill these needs one needs to have assurance of salaries on time and work bonuses. Moreover, peer coaching and mentoring from seniors is a luxury of permanent employees. Nevertheless, there is a need to fundamentally follow the gig economy and see how it pans out in the near future.

Mr. Sandeep Tyagi was the moderator for the second-panel discussion. He began the discussion by telling how Gen Z will bring transformation and how scenarios will develop when they enter the workplace. He said that 30% of Gen Z and 40% of GenY will eventually constitute 70% of the workforce in the next year. Most of the workforce would then constitute of people who were born after 1980. The arrival of Gen Z spells a huge paradigm shift for the corporate world. What is their attitude and what skills they bring to the table will be an opportunity and challenge for the industry.

Mr. Sandeep Batra discussed about the changes in the telecom industry and how it has transformed from being a general industry to a specialized industry. The fear of missing out has prompted the various organizations to keep pace with the technology. Regarding the Gen Z, Mr. Sandip said that they are born with the clarity of being in the digital world. Their alliances online and offline make them seamless. Gen Z does not appreciate or respect the hierarchy levels. The expectations of Gen Z are realistic and they want their promises delivered within a timeline.

Mr. Raj Dharmaraj discussed about the ways to engage and motivate Gen Z. One of the hallmarks of Gen Z is inclusion and diversity. They look out for employment brand and appreciate the culture of inclusion and diversity in an organization. Gen Z always looks out for larger meaning and purpose. Mr. Raj talked about the changes that need to be brought in the traditional model of HR policies. He talked about a shift from individual performance management to collective performance management. He also talked about constant feedback system as opposed to yearly feedback mechanism.

Ms. Yamini Krishnan talked about how the panelists began their careers from paper-based models and graduated to dial-up connections at home and eventually ease of accessibility to everything in today’s digital world. On behalf of her organization, Ms. Yamini said that companies have to set expectations and give clear career paths to Gen Z. In terms of opportunities, Gen Z is willing to put in extra hours but is wary of seeing themselves cut off in their personal lives at the same time.

Dr. Yogesh Misra modified the theme of the discussion and urged that as a recruiter he would discuss on “Embracing Gen Z in the modern workplace”. He emphasized on the two perspectives of larger societal changes and the organizational changes while addressing Gen Z. The impact of social media on the well being of Gen Z was also focused upon. Dr. Yogesh said that in today’s world a consumer prefers the convenience of purchase through e-commerce websites. Gen Z would also have a similar consumer-like behavior when they would enter the industry. Gen Z has resources to compare through Google and hence Professors and Bosses are expected to be original and authentic.

Mr. Dilip Sinha talked about how jobs are getting lost and some jobs are getting created due to rapid development. Everyone is investing in technology because of a change in business structure to sustain the competition. He emphasized on describing Gen Z as the backbone of development and technology. Mr. Dilip touched upon the three aspects of ecosystem, functional engagement and behavioral dynamics in an organization to accommodate Gen Z.

The students of IIM Amritsar showed great enthusiasm during both panel discussions. The discussions were made highly interactive through a healthy Q&A session between the panelists and students. The Conclave successfully concluded on a high note at 5:30 p.m. in the evening. 

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