HR People Magazine

– Pai Gamde

  • Chief Talent Officer, Coronation Group — Talent

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, organizations are constantly seeking ways to gain a competitive edge. While strategies, products, and technology play crucial roles, there is one often overlooked element that has emerged as the centrepiece for organizational growth and sustainability – Human Resources. As a Chief Talent Officer (CTO), my journey in HR has been a testament to the transformative power of HR as a strategic imperative for businesses. In this article, I will share my insights to highlight why HR is a central role in every organization’s success and should be given due priority in tangible ways, not just paying lip service to it. 

HR, the Heart of an Organization: 

HR is the compass that guides any organisation through the terrain of talent, culture, performance and growth. It’s the bridge between any organisation’s aspirations and achievements, the custodian of a company’s most valuable investors—its people. In every hire, every policy, every strategy, and every interaction, HR shapes the DNA of an organisation, ensuring it thrives and evolves in sync with its purpose.  It is the beginning of a business and the end of a business. Imagine your organisation as a human body. The heart is the HR function, pumping lifeblood into every aspect of the business. 


In my role as a CTO, I have witnessed first hand how HR can align its strategies with the broader business goals, integrate them and become mainstream. But to become mainstream, HR professionals must become strategic thinkers who demonstrate ability to solve business problems and drive input that contributes directly to the bottom line. 


Unlocking the Potential of People Through The HR Function: 

In an age where technology can often seem like the answer to everything, it’s crucial to remember that the true potential of any organisation lies in its people. According to David Ulrich, “Great HR leaders understand that HR is not about HR. HR is about creating value for the business.” 


As a CTO, I have seen the transformative impact of investing in HR as a function and talent management across the entire HR value chain. Employees are not just workers; they are the lifeblood of your organisation– the real investors (their intellect, creativity and time) if you will. Nurturing them, providing opportunities for growth, and creating a culture that values their contributions can lead to increased engagement, productivity, and performance and results for your organisation.  


In the wake of the pandemic, the HR function has had to pivot to reimagine the ogranisation of the future, which includes, according Mckinsey & Company, emerging models that are creative, adaptable, and antifragile. They further noted that “Labor” will become “talent.” Hierarchies will become networks of teams. Competitors will become ecosystem collaborators. And companies will become more human: inspiring, collaborative, and bent on creating an employee experience that is meaningful and enjoyable. HR’s ability to own and be a part of this evolution will enable the function to become the driving force behind innovation and sustained growth. 

Becoming Chief People Officers: 

Every leader, regardless of their role, should adopt the mindset of a Chief People Officer (CPO). Every leader is a HR practitioner in their respective teams and must be able to lead their people to organizational success. 


In my journey as a CTO, I have learned that fostering a culture of sustained growth starts not just from the top but with every leader within each team. Leaders within each team must prioritize their people, and own the Chief People Officer responsibility in their teams, recognizing that success is a collective effort and starts with me the direct line leader. 


As HR practitioners, we must also champion this shift in mindset, reminding our colleagues that their role goes beyond managing tasks; it encompasses nurturing and inspiring the workforce. By adopting this approach, we empower every leader to become a Chief People Officer, strengthening the organization’s core. 

A Call to Action: 

My experiences as a Chief Talent Officer have shown me that HR is not just a department but the heartbeat of an organization. To thrive in today’s business landscape, organizations must recognise HR as a strategic imperative, align HR strategies with business goals, invest in overall talent management efforts to unlock the potential of their workforce and encourage every leader to embrace the role of Chief People Officer, fostering a culture that values and empowers employees. 


In the words of David Ulrich, “HR is the architect of work. HR professionals build and sustain the work architecture that enables organizations to deliver value.” It’s time for organizations to recognize the critical role of HR and invest in its growth and development. 


HR must continue to be given the attention it deserves. It’s not just about policies and paperwork; it’s about people and their potential. By making HR a strategic imperative and empowering every leader to become a Chief People Officer, organizations can position themselves for sustained growth and success. Remember, the heart of your organisationis HR – nurture it, and watch your organisation thrive.

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