Technology Disruption in HR – An Interview with Navin Patel

Mr. Navin Patel (Head Talent Acquisition, Brillio), who has more than 10 years of experience in the field of HR, shared his valuable insights on the topic ‘Technology
Disruption in HR-TA domain and the expectation from Millennials’, as a part of the 2-day HR Conclave held at IIM Indore. He stressed on how advancements in HR technology would result in the domain transforming itself and the consequential Navin Patel
need for disruptions. Mr. Patel mentioned that with the inclusion of millennials in the workforce, companies would have to deviate from their traditional reward structures and adapt their policies to increase engagement with this new workforce. He concluded with several pointers to aspiring job applicants and emphasized on developing technical skills as a point of differentiation. He maintained that despite the advent of artificial intelligence and software driven HR practices, there would always be a need for human driven intelligence.

Meghna – Is HR becoming more objective as a domain, with the coming up of new technologies like AI?

Navin – Yes, it is becoming more objective with time and that is the need in today’s environment where we have extensive amount of data available. For example, take satisfaction score of an employee. Using the inputs from the employees, the HR team can know the extent of engagement of the employees and their emotional state in work environment. Various tools are being employed by companies, for anonymous feedback in order to get a true picture of employee sentiments and remove any negative emotions that employees might be facing.

Meghna – Are we moving away from the traditional roles of HR, involving fields of study like sociology and psychology?

Navin – There are a lot of technologies that are already employing psychology into them. For example, these technologies make use of gamification tool which on a superficial level is fun but at the back end, it analyses the responses on various metrics and generates deep insights into the personality of the employee. All these insights, provided to the HR by these innovative tools, help the HR executive to make better decisions for the employees, such as deciding on the roles to assign to any particular person.

Shoumik – Is implementing the new analytical tools, a luxury reserved for the bigger firms?

Navin – In India, there is a traditional way of doing things where firms try to cut on the budget allocated to HR. The firms need to be educated about the benefits, about the return on investment, that investment in HR tools can provide. Also, a message needs to be passed on about how these tools can help in acquisition of better talent and can also reduce the amount of workforce needed for the HR department. Regarding the tools, the best ones are surely expensive but there are also inexpensive ones that a firm can employ to begin with. Also, if a firm is relatively new and needs a smaller pool of talent, the analytics tools won’t be of much help but if it’s a relatively bigger firm low on budget, it can start with a free pilot program and then make the investment decision.

Shoumik – What advice would you give to the current 1st year students of MBA, in today’s ever-changing business environment?

Navin – My advice would be to try and stay relevant, try to interact more with people in the industry, looking at ways the industries are changing and getting a hang of the practical aspects of the theory learnt in classrooms. This is especially relevant because unlike earlier times, nowadays, firms want to recruit people who can instantly add value, so one must try to understand and adapt to the new technologies, in addition to building his/her profile, and invest in self-branding.

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