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Head of HR-APJC at Tata Communications
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) partner since 2014

A highly dynamic, digitally savvy and lean HR team run the extensive human resource operations for the region, constantly looking into new efficiency and agility solutions to enhance the quality of work in the office. “Our HR leadership team meets fortnightly to present newest technological trends that affect HR.”. These meetings are part of generating ideas for HR implementation. “Middle managers play an important role in building skills and engaging people, but are bogged with a lot of extra administrative work. We can free up their time if we can explore using scheduling assistants to take up the work”. This HR team will soon be implementing HR chat bots to serve their employees.

An organisational psychologist by training, Nohrinyl recognises the tension (and sometimes resistance) in digitisation versus retaining the human touch. True HR transformation, however, is not just in hardware but in mindsets. Nohrinyl elaborates, “Culture is a big thing in digital transformation, because what determines success and failure is culture. Culture is a conglomeration of people’s ways of the working, thinking and mindset – if that does not change then it cannot translate into the business impact too.” The HR function plays the role of catalysing business goals, by facilitating, supporting and coaching the people and the leadership in that journey. “It’s both exciting daunting exhausting exasperating but it’s all part of it”, smiles Nohrinyl.

Ultimately, the right mix of aptitude and attitude matters. “We want all this hardware – reskilling, the importance of leadership. We also want the software – learning agility, passion, energy, embracing change. these are all important.” This also translates into the way the company hires, says Nohrinyl, “It is actually 50-50. When we see 50% fit in terms of competency, the rest that should be considered should be the software. Software actually determines a lot of success. When we select talent, these are the things we want to see and develop in them.”.

The company is adaptive, and are now exploring to engage more freelancers despite the challenges to do so in their highly regulated and secured industry. “Skills is different from degree – you may have skills but no degree, but a degree is a very generic qualification that many companies subscribe to.”, comments Nohrinyl, “But we have moved to expanding the definition and hiring polytechnic students for their technical skills and their specific domains of knowledge. There is going to be a lot of emergence of a lot of technical jobs, because of the skills required by the company. This is actually more niche hiring.”.

Nohrinyl believes that there is further opportunity for manpower supply – if we can start employing with younger people at an earlier age. “Youth need to be exposed to the working environment early. We don’t have to wait for them to reach college to provide exposure to work and topics like STEM. Until hiring system changes, even if there is interest from a young person to work for us, we still need to wait for 6 to 8 years before we can hire them. This is how we can truly tap on the young minds – ones that have lots of ideas, fresh concepts and innovation.”.