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Pandemic prompting cos to reimagine workplace, culture and social capital: HR executives

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (PTI) The pandemic has completely changed the work culture, and organisations across the world are reimagining previously held concepts about teamwork, culture, and building social capital, according to HR leaders.

During a panel discussion organised by Microsoft on Tuesday, top executives from Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Wipro deliberated on what will be needed to build resilient workforces and workplaces in a post-pandemic environment.

'There is new learning every day. Technology has been the single most significant enabler of work during the pandemic and will have a defining role in the future of work. Flexible working arrangements have come to stay,' Wipro President and Chief Human Resources Officer Saurabh Govil said.

He noted that there is 'no one-size-fits-all' and that remote working and hybrid working have different nuances.

The success of these depends on how one makes it work, he said, adding it is important to ensure that 'the new working models do not impact the organisational culture'.

'Over the past year-and-a-half, we stepped up our investments in technology to ensure our human resources practices are quickly adapted to the requirements of the times. We have now deployed technology at every level, covering the entire work-life cycle, right from hiring to an employee's retirement, besides personalising services, thus lifting the employee experience significantly,” he said.

The discussion also centered around empowering employees to thrive in a hybrid environment, the balance between productivity and flexibility, and the role of culture in driving inclusion in the new environment.

The executives also agreed that technology is playing a key role in driving collaboration, inclusion, accessibility and engagement in a hybrid workspace.

'...we have learned the power of agility and collaboration. I see that kind of boundarylessness being all-pervasive. Getting that inclusive spirit going will be key to winning in the next decade,” Anuradha Razdan, Executive Director (HR) HUL and VP HR Unilever South Asia, said.

Microsoft shared its commitment to help organisations navigate hybrid work, making available the technology and tools required for seamless collaboration, inclusion and productivity across physical and digital worlds.

“We have to start thinking about how organisations will build social capital, knowledge capital and human capital in completely different ways because at the end of the day, people need to be at the centre of workplace experiences,' Microsoft India Head of Human Resources Ira Gupta said.

Today, work is not about productivity and output alone, but it's also about flexibility and collaboration, she added.

Gupta cited the insights from Microsoft Work Trend Index survey that found 74 per cent of respondents in India saying they want flexible remote work options, while at the same time, 73 per cent also wanted more in-person work or collaboration.

She added that inclusion is a very big part of its culture, and the company has been conscious about designing technology from the very inception to be more accessible and disability-friendly.

'We are also encouraging role modelling from managers and leaders where the biggest role of leadership is in framing a positive and optimistic narrative around change and the future...The pandemic has increasingly inspired us to start thinking about the advantages that hybrid work has provided but also made us more sensitive to the challenges,” she said. PTI SR ANU ANU

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