Amplifying HR with New Age Cognitive Technology

50% of Fortune 500 companies in 2006 aren’t in the list anymore, making way for companies that has embraced the digital movement. The benefit of adoption is so great that the Late Majority and Laggards see themselves out of business. We see that the new companies in the list such as Amazon, Facebook have embraced Digital cognitive technology in managing their HR, which has enabled the team to be highly impactful on business. Click to read more:



Hanuman – the physical form of our mind

Hanuman is believed to represent mind of a man and since we have heard many stories about Hanuman in our childhood, we could extrapolate from the stories how our mind works.

  • Hanuman could expand and contract at will. We could extrapolate it to understand that mind is capable to expanding and contracting in any given situation. We could look at things in a narrow minded manner or broad minded manner. While things may look obvious one way, the other way is always possible.
  • Hanuman was the greatest devotee of Ram. We could extrapolate it – mind should be a strong follower and not a leader.
  • Hanuman had a curse that his powers will be forgotten by him and only upon reminding him and praising his powers will Hanuman be able to use the powers. Mind too needs reminder that it is powerful – praise is its fuel.

Now that you get the drift – happy learning about your mind 🙂


Uberization – The next frontier of innovation in HR

Uberization is a metaphor for phenomena where mobile technologies are leveraged to connect a buyer and a seller by creating a digital marketplace for services; eliminating the traditional middlemen, who could be playing the role of an aggregator or capital provider or logistics/infrastructure provider etc.

HR has been playing the role of representing talent to business and business to talent. In doing so, they also play several of the administrative roles that ensure compliance as per agreements and policies. However this role of playing the middlemen between business and talent will eventually shrink and HR will need to reinvent itself for the new role it needs to play in an and being threatened by Uberization of HR.

Talent Acquisition: Responsibility of staffing a company always resided with the HR. However Uberization is changing the story by connecting talent to business directly and turning HR only into only ‘paper shifters’, a role that is rather outsourced. Its not just LinkedIn; but I was involved in brainstorming of an Uberized tool targeting staffing companies where business can directly connect with talent and finish contracting directly – short circuiting HR and the staffing company both!

Talent Administration: Payroll and workforce administration are heavy weights in Talent Admin. Both these functions are experiencing heavy automation resulting in reduction of HR and Uberization is only making the pace faster! Mobile GPS based attendance and wearable devices are latest in attendance tracking for mines and infrastructure that is making the process more seamless and automatic thereby connecting the Business with Talent short-circuiting HR. Mobile based ESS\MSS and Natural Language processing based helpdesk are connecting Information to Talent directly reducing administration tasks in HR

Talent Development: Learning has already seen glimpses of Uberization where Talent is directly connecting with content. MOOCs, Social platforms and corporate wiki are leading the way reducing learning organization to only compliance certification department. Performance management has been down away with in most companies for more continuous feedback; short-circuiting HR.

Now that the trends are clearly showing that Uberization taking over the role of the middlemen, what will HR do? They don’t need to represent talent with Business because business is directly connected with Talent. The answer lies in the question – HR needs to be Business. It could mean further thinning of HR but that is with every function in the company as Uberization pushes the productivity frontier. You may question, so who would represent Talent? Balance of power has switched considerably in favour of Talent and will continue to do so. Thus Talent will present itself!

Moving to digital currency – a necessary Transformative shift

Today I went to a Barber shop and asked him if he would take money digitally –  Paytm, Credit card, Debit card, Net banking instant pay… by any digital means?

For this the owner said if you want all those facilities then go to a ‘HI-FI’ parlour… not here. I am a simple man with a small shop!

I said what’s small about this place? You have capacity of 5 seats, 600 sqft of space, AC, TV, you are a rich man yourself… this is hi-fi by any standards.

He said we have always been accepting only cash why change now?

To that I asked, Do you have mobile phone? he said yes, do you have Facebook account? He said yes… then I asked him was he born with these? No right! These came now and we have adopted them. Mobile wallets have come now and we can adopt them too!

The guy left furious… and the staff there said not to piss the guy anymore … he had’t paid the staff salaries for some time now… and is very pissed with Modi for the action.

I think it’s time we move to digital payments. Hard cash has to be killed because it’s not an efficient way. Of course it need not be a Knee-jerk reaction. We could do it in steps.

  • Most shops that we see run their business in black. We need to give them a dignified path to get to mainstream. Like Gandhi said ‘Paap se gruna karo; paapi se nahi’ we cannot penalise the sinners; the crusade is against the sin and not sinners.
  • Digital in rural areas will take more time – we need to subsidise and create better reach. This is painful and long drawn process but its possible! Mobile payments can be pushed to rural areas. We need a leader and a ministry dedicated for it.
  • Labour payments is a big chunk of cash payments. Jan-dhan has been successful but not sufficient. The barber I met today didn’t have an account! We need an overhaul of labour laws and get most labour into organised sector.
  • People don’t solve problems. They crib. A strong change management is required to move the country.
  • People who are found guilty need to be told how govt. is going to deal with them. There should not be any ifs and buts. Financial offence is not criminal offence. We need to deal with financial crime in ways its constitutional.

Country has cancer and it will be painful to get rid of it. Black money is building more black money. Ability to play a business in black is a competitive advantage and govt. has to ensure this advantage is not given to players. It’s fuelling many bad things like money for vote, terrorism, bad infrastructure. It’s killing the country. Country has to go through hard times to get cured.

It’s not like cancer patients did some sin – but they have to still go through it all. Similarly most poor people don’t have enough money to be eligible to pay tax and there is no chance for them to have black money – yes its unaccounted but even if one accounts for the same there won’t be any money that is taxable. But they will have to go through the pain of standing in queue for money. Banks have capacity optimised for regular transactions and in situations like this banks will not be able to provide service that easily. They too have limited resources. But they are doing their best.

One last argument, which didn’t take place but is usually discussed is that… I shall pay tax but the govt. is misusing the money. Agreed, govt. is not using the money prudently and there is corruption. But things have to move from worst to bad. We need to take that battle too. We need to hold Govt. more accountable too. Not paying tax is not the way because if everyone did that, we won’t have defence and we won’t have anything. India is a nation where the culture is to think about dharma and our dharma is to pay tax. Our dharma is also to hold the govt. accountable and efficient and effective.

The frog that fell into a well

Have you heard of the phrase ‘frog in the well’? It denotes nature of mind which ignores the big picture and focuses and just a minute aspect at any given time. The Frog essentially starts to think that the well is the world and starts to work under this constraint. As such there is no problem with this concept other than the fact that the frog is putting unnecessary and untrue constraint on itself. It seriously limits the possibilities of what it could achieve.

With that context I would like to talk about a frog that knew the world; which wondered the the earth and on a fateful day fell into a deep well! It quickly figured out the constraints of living in the well and its depleting memory meant that it slowly forgot the world. While a faint memory of the world still existed; stiff constraints of surviving in the deep well meant that the frog is fully focused on day to day survival… slowly but surely the world was just the well for the frog.

I was watching a movie where the hero was sent to London for education, where he gets educated in finest school and just as he earns his degree, his parents call him back to the village. Once settled, he realizes how trivial the problems of the village are. He had seen the world and could clearly see how he could be part of a bigger play. But given the constraints, falls in the well, and continues living in the village. He is so engrossed with solving problems of the village that eventually, the village becomes his world. The trivial issues of the village consumes him completely making him the frog that falls in the well.

If a frog is destined to live in a well; what can it do?

In the east, many including the Buddhists believe that detachment is the way to go. They realized that one typically moves from one well to another – a losing game eventually! so appreciating this fact, living a detached life was seen as one way to create necessary condition to live liberated.

Once Brahma falls into the same “frog in the well” mentality and starts to feel that he is the most powerful in the universe. When told that Krishna, a small boy in Vrindavan, is the supreme lord; Brahma flies straight to test Krishna. There Krishna is seen playing with his friends in a beautiful garden and the agitated Brahma abducts all friends of Krishna and takes them all to Brahma-lok, the adobe of Brahma. Seeing this, Krishna takes forms of all his friends and goes back to each houses – not letter anyone in the village know what happened. Seeing the smart way Krishna manages the situation, Brahma realizes his mistake and comes to Krishna flying in his swan. While reaching Vrindavan, Brahma sees millions of other Brahmas flying into Vrindavan to see Krishna. It was now that Brahma realizes that there are many Brahmas in the world and that he is just one creator among many – a typical “Frog in the well” attitude had taken over Brahma blinding him completely. From the story, I find that the ancient Hindu texts favor a storytelling method of reminding people that they are in a well and there is world outside.

I believe introspection is the starting point – to understand how we sometimes behave like a frog in the well and to believe that there is a world outside to conquer.