Nibha Shakya is an experienced HR Professional, Certified Career Coach, and NLP Coach Practitioner with a blend of experience and exposure in Human Resource Management, NLP techniques, career coaching, and counseling. She is the Senior Talent Manager at Grepsr, a software company that provides a web scraping and data acquisition platform. She has also been involved in several reputed organizations and has great expertise in HR for more than a decade.
1. You have been engaged in multiple organizations in the HR sector for more than a decade. What changes in the HR realm in recent years do you feel are good enough in the dynamic work environment?
Regarding the changes, there used to be no automated systems, and there used to be tons of manual work. People belonging to HR had to be involved more in these manual works. Over the decade, there has been the usage of HRIS, HR software which has formalized the operational and administrative works in the organizations. Now, HR can devote more time to the people.
And Covid also brought tremendous changes in the HR field. The HR department used to be more focused on salary, personnel management, and appraisal but now, there has been a shift in the wellness of the employees, performance management, and all. The focus has been more inclined towards investment in well-being, learning, and development along with the regular HR functions. Now the organizations are more gilded towards productivity enhancement along with the happiness of employees.
2. Due to the emergence of the new landscapes such as WFH due to COVID and skills transformations, HR must be prepared enough for such shifts and surprises as the year progresses. How can the companies strategize for such shifts in advance without compromising the overall employees' productivity and growth?
We do need to have contingency plans. Nobody knew about the sudden outbreak of Covid. And nobody is aware of the consequences tomorrow. We cannot forecast future events. Employees’ layoff and company dissolution are the worst parts of any organization. HR is also part of the system. HR should be inclined and aligned with the finance and business of any organization.
There should be contingency plans and from the financial perspective, there should be the introduction of Reserve Funds in critical situations which can be used at times like Covid. The business may be viewed with a single mindset but it should be operated in creative and different ways for scaling up regarding the pros and cons. It should be mandatory about the presence of HR in round table discussions amidst the strategic table just like the Board of Directors, top management, and more which most organizations exclude. The table has turned and the positive changes may be seen where HR is given authority to participate in such discussions. And the authority should be inclusive of HR in contingency management too.
3. Apart from handsome perks and pays, employees' expectations have far reached the interactions and fulfilling employee experiences. How can the HR department maintain such a balance for upgrading their productivity and potential?
Talking about the trend, employee wellness, performance management, learning, and development enhance engagement. These domains and functions didn’t fall under HR in the past and the same applies to most organizations but most of the people in HR on top management are much more inclined toward employee experience as employee experience is one of the major parts of any organization. If employees are happy then only customers will be happy. In the end, the topic may conclude with the money that comes inside the purse. But not everyone is satisfied with the salary and benefits. Job security, learning, and growth are also very important.
Also, the benefits include the extended family of the organization including the parents, and siblings of the employees. Because if the families are also considered in the organization including their wellness, he/she can work in a peaceful state of mind. An employee may need flexibility in work to maintain a work-life balance. Work-life balance is very important which includes the importance of wellness. The wellness may include the emotional, physical, mental, and even spiritual wellness of the employees. They need to be taken care of in such horizons.
Engagement must include Rewards and recognitions, good surprises, wellness, and performance management. Performance management is not only about appraisals that are done once a year which has been outdated lately. Monthly feedback sessions should be conducted for improvements, calculating the expectations and the results, the reasons and all. In summarized form, one-on-one sessions time and again help in the overall experiences of the employees which fall under the responsibility of the supervisors too.
4. What's your say on addressing the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives in any organization? How can they help in making positive changes in the workplace behavior and culture?
The concept of DEI is a burning topic in every organization. Diversity comes not only in the form of gender, and religion but also in the form of thoughts and feelings. And the organizations are giving a lot of importance to such factors. For example, women empowerment, equity, equal pay, and equal employment opportunities. And these factors are involved in the recruitment processes, including different horizons rather than a single one. When these factors are further included in the policies, processes, and organizational practices, we can overlook the positive changes and benefits in the organization too.
The number of female candidates is increasing in the IT companies like ours which has brought tremendous changes in the thought processes affecting the overall productivity of the organization positively. And if different thoughts are included along with the inputs with policies, then only great changes are possible.
5. Are Nepalese organizations ready to adopt the "Gig Economy Concept"? What consequences can it bring to the HR sector?
In the context of Nepal, the Gig Economy is already there. There are already part-time workers, and freelancers working here in Nepal. For example, the riders of Pathao are part-time workers who work according to their time availability. Similarly, most organizations have brought that flexibility within the organization based on the nature of work and organizations.
In the context of HR, there are challenges and opportunities too. So, HR can categorize the positions and conduct forecasting of such opportunities for part-time workers and freelancers. The discussions can move ahead in terms of such inclusion if they result in the betterment of the product or the services. So, we cannot neglect the part of the Gig economy.
6. In this digital era, HR professionals must develop digital proficiency to be more tech-savvy. What HR techs do you prefer for managing the talents and operations in the organizations?
No one can imagine an organization without HR software. Just imagine an organization with 50+ employees with no HR software and everything dependent upon single documentation is outdated but the trend of automation has surpassed the documentation processes manually regarding attendance, etc. There are many national and international HR software providers. We can discover the right software for us depending on organizational requirements.
People are adopting the new systems that are making HR life easier along with the enhancement of HR productivity. Before HR had to invest in papers but now they can dedicate their investment to people. It’s very time-consuming if every work is done manually. And the HR efforts and initiatives can’t be taken properly so to make the efforts human-centric, the usage of such software is a must.
7. How can a better understanding of "Data Literacy" help in the effective implementation of people analytics findings in the organization for HR professionals?
When an employee starts the journey in the organization and till his/her departure, data is everywhere in that cycle. If such data is interpreted and analyzed, then forecasting becomes much easier to showcase the trend. That trend analysis aids in conducting the activities and taking up the initiatives.
For example, we have to make an HR Budget and every year, we analyze the accuracy of the investment, the functions where major investments are done, the portion of financial returns, the duration of the utilization of the fund, etc which are measured with the help of trend analysis.
The performance of employees is also measured in KPIs which becomes easier for the proper analysis and these tasks are to be performed with the help of Data Literacy only. With the understanding of data, different metrics can be created and with the analysis of such metrics, new initiatives can be taken properly with the forecasting procedures that reduce the occurrence of accidents too. Hence, data literacy is very important.
8. As the HRM field is changing faster than ever, how can HR initiate to remain at the forefront of the upcoming business challenges and transformations?
If a company is coming up with a new strategy or a product, Resource Planning is a must along with the need analysis of skill set, education, and other inputs. For this, HR must be seated within the territory of top management. When HR knows the business, the initiatives and the activities get aligned as there is the synchronization of the heads to heads.
But if there is no involvement of HR, there would be no circulation of complete information and ownership. HR works as the inner clerk for the communication but with incomplete information, there would be haphazard activities. If there is no participation of HR in decision-making, the activities can’t be implemented at the forefront properly. In any kind of initiation, HR must be at the front and HR needs to have answers. As HR handles hand-on-hand challenges, does need analysis for training its people, initiating counseling, facilitation, and many more.
9. Many youths seem interested in working in the HR function in recent years. What message do you want to convey to them as an experienced HR Professional and Coach?
I have seen many young graduates who are interested in entering the HR career but it depends upon the interest, capabilities, and skills of the person. Firstly, please keep the proper mindset that you can contribute to the organization and excel in the work. You should need to be aware that HR is my platform. You need to know about the skills, diversity, and environment of your HR career. Multitasking and business understanding should be a must who can give several inputs in the organization.
If you want to work in the HR field, start doing internships that help you to get hands-on skills. You can explore whether HR is your right career or platform or not. Enroll in the training, internships, and traineeship programs. Today is the Era of HR. Interact with different HR professionals. Talk with them. Follow them on LinkedIn, professional networks, and more.
As a coach, I want to suggest that, to enter into any career options, first identify your strengths. There is a great scope in HR and the career ladder is also strong. If you are a people person and your knowledge, and skills match your interest only, please do join.