Technology is a skill and human-machine partnership will reshape future work: National HR-IR Conference 2016

Jamshedpur:  XLRI- Xavier School of Management hosted the ‘National HR-IR Conference 2016’ on 3rd – 4th December, 2016. The theme of conference was “Dynamics of HR-IR: Realigning skills, systems and practices in the face of globalization”. Three panel discussions on “Changes in Technology and its effects on HR”, “Skill India: The Road ahead”, and “Socio-political and economic implications of globalization of labor force” were highlights of the conference.

This is for the first time the SAPPHIRE (Students Association for Promotion of Personnel Management, Human Resources and Industrial Relations) – XLRI and FIRE@X (Forum for Indus-trial Relations at XLRI) jointly conducted the 2-days long joint conference on HR and IR at XLRI. Adopting a multi-stakeholder perspective, the conference brought together representatives from all spheres such as industry, trade unions, government, practitioners and consultants and academics to discuss and share perspectives on the leading and contemporary issues faced in industrial relations and human resource management.  Students from several B-Schools of the country also took part in the event.

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The first panel discussion for the day was held on the topic – ‘Changes in Technology and its effects on HR’. The panelists were Dr. Shio Kumar Singh (Chief of Capability Development, Tata Steel Ltd), Mr. Neeraj Sanan (CMO, Spire Technologies) and Mr. George Thomas (VP- Corporate HR and Administration, MSP Steel and Power Ltd.) and the session was chaired by Prof. Gloryson R.B. Chalil (Co-ordinator, OB Area, XLRI).  They discussed about the fallout of technological revolution and the concerns surrounding it. They also discussed about the technological evolution of HR from Workflow automation to Internet of Things, to Human-Machine Partnership. Mr. Neeraj Sanan elaborated on how the systems we put into in our organizations are all unintelligent, and how the need for intelligent systems is pressing, to recognize the gap between the demand-supply of workforce and efficiently tackle it.

Dr. Shio Kumar Singh discussed the “Reverse-Mentoring’ programme that Tata Steel Ltd. has introduced wherein the youth of the organization train the older staff in the technological advancements that are happening today. This session brought out the scope for growing use and need for using technology to practice human resource management more efficiently.

The second panel discussion on ‘Skill India: The Road ahead’ shed light on the government’s initiative on providing solutions across sectors, and how opportunistic the scheme seems to be. Chaired by Dr. Pranabesh Ray (Professor, HRM, XLRI Jamshedpur), the panel including speakers –  Mr. Indranil Aich (Director, Aich Group of Companies), Dr. Shio Kumar Singh (Chief of Capability Development, Tata Steel Ltd), Mr. Sanjay Singhvi (General Secretary, Trade Union Centre of India), Mr. Vinod Behari (CEO, Power Sector Skill Council) and Mr. Saurabh Prasad (Head- Human Resources in Commercial Vehicles India, Metalsa) discussed on how technology is basically a skill, and in the olden days when the technologies were not as ubiquitous as they are today, the personal skills of the human population drove the work.

The third panel discussion that was held on the second day of the event on ‘Socio-political and economic implications of globalization of labor force’ focused on challenges of Industrial Relations. The session chaired by Dr. Jerome Joseph (Chair Professor, Industrial Relations, XLRI) and other panelists Mr. Sumit Neogi (Head Business HR- Corporate Functions, Cipla Ltd.), Dr. Siddhartha Pandey (VP- Group HR, EMC Ltd.), Prof. E.M. Rao (Visiting Faculty, Industrial Relations Area, XLRI), Mr. Chandra Prakash Singh (State President, INTUC, Bihar), Mr. Vasanth Kumar N Hittanagi (Rtd Joint Commissioner, Ministry of Labor, Karnataka) discussed on the need to identify the problems, raise questions and most importantly seek answers to those critical questions pertaining to the various implications of globalization in the field of industrial relations.

While the practitioners from the management side sought to portray the innovations on people’s management, trade union leader and the retired government official reminded the prospective managers to see the pitfalls in the emerging paradigm of employment and in labour market governance.

The Panel discussion session was followed by the Paper Presentations on parallel tracks of HR and IR- ‘Emerging Metrics to track workforce effectiveness’ (HR) and ‘Rewriting the roles: Advancing Employment relations in work environment’ (IR).

An HR-IR survey was conducted by XLRI as a part of this conference, with more than 65 participating companies across 14 industries. The results and findings of this survey were presented at the event.

Final rounds of the mega quizzing leagues organized by student committees of XLRI -FIRE@X (and SAPPHIRE were also held on the day 2 of the conference. Trial By Fire is conducted by FIRE@X while Battle HR Royale was conducted by SAPPHIRE.

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