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1 August, 2021 11:23:59 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 2 August, 2021 05:43:32 PM
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Our corporate future: Can we tame the untamed?

As HR professionals, we need to start asking questions like, “Will we be going back to our physical office again? If so, how frequently? What impact will a hybrid way of working have on how we communicate, connect and build our workplace community?
Madhubanti Kabir
Our corporate future: Can we tame the untamed?

“Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work
and sit at the gate of the temple
and take alms of those who work with joy.”

--- Kahlil Gibran

It was towards the end of the year 2000. I was completing my Masters from De Montfort University of Leicester in the UK. A career counseling lady came in towards the end of the business programme and spent a whole day with us. Today I forget her name, but remember her face vividly. She looked so poised, elegant and confident in her brown suite. She quoted this verse, which I have always treasured in my heart. This eventually has become my work mantra.
Last May 1st I completed 20 years of my corporate career. Like everyone’s it has also been filled with many ups and downs and has, no doubt, been a captivating journey! A journey that has shaped me, to a large extent, to be who I am today. A journey that has made me feel that looking back in hindsight into one’s career trajectory can be a worthy endeavour. It makes one take a deep dive, delve into one’s successes and failures, take the learning and contemplate with farsight. With that conviction in mind, I decided to put pen to paper and share a few of my takeaways.
For a very long time, by way of my functional responsibility I have sat on the side of the table where budding graduates are assessed on their “corporatibility”. Not an easy task, where you play the role of a judge, but try not to be judgmental! It is refreshing to see these bright young minds as they dash out to the corporate world, with all their energy and vigour, ready to grab the challenges of the new world. I look into their eyes and their excitement, self-doubt and uncertainty touch me deeply. Their untapped potential seems breathtaking!
As a recruiter and a mom of a 10 year old, making head way to grab a demanding IB Program, make me realise that the transition from campus to corporate is pivotal, perhaps the most decisive phase in shaping one’s career. It makes me feel the need to take this journey more seriously than ever by all concerned. Our future leaders need structured support during this transition to navigate into a precarious world and create their own mark! It makes me ask myself how relevant it is for these students to strive for very good academic scores (so many golden GPAs around!). Or is it more relevant for them to grow up as rounded human beings with strong academic, social and emotional characteristics. Does our academic curriculum need to be revisited to ensure a challenging and ever pragmatic education that would enable these future world citizens to be caring, respectful and deeply moral? Are competencies like stress management, diversity and innovation inculcated enough in their everyday assignments as opposed to cramming and getting good scores only? Is the curriculum unequivocally designed to create a manifestation of purely pragmatic but humane global leaders?
While it is important to be hard working, have good results and the right qualifications, those are not enough to achieve success in career on a continuous basis. The traits of self-branding, networking, effective communication, innovation and composure are the key competitive advantages in any career.
As the future grows to be more fiercely competitive and the notion of survival of the fittest sinks deep in, it’s important that we start asking ourselves these questions and who better than HR to connect with the academic institutes and work together for career development of our future corporate citizens?
On a separate note, everyone would agree that the pandemic has changed our way of life for good. It has scarred our personal, social and corporate lives! We don’t yet know if that scar will fade away, given the millions of families it has affected throughout the world. We don’t know how “normal” will be defined in the dictionary in future. Whatever the case may be, it is quite certain that humanity has (hopefully) learnt to be resolute, empathetic and united.
The two aspects of corporate world that will never go back to 2019, are the way we work and the way we do business. These two aspects will have to be reshaped… potentially forever.
As HR professionals, we need to start asking questions like, “Will we be going back to our physical office again? If so, how frequently? What impact will a hybrid way of working have on how we communicate, connect and build our workplace community? How will workplace culture be developed when employees are working remotely and there is minimal physical interaction? Will work from home be the great lever for females, who would more likely be encouraged to do so to ensure a better work life balance? Or would that work as a disadvantage as opposed to their counterparts who would share more physical space with their bosses?
As the future grows to be more fiercely digital, it’s important that we start asking ourselves these questions and who better than HR to put that platform in gear and revisit their HR policies? We might not have the answers to all these questions at the moment, but time will propel us towards that.
The dream picture of HR is to be in the hot seat with decision-making capacity. It is coveted that many employees would move from HR to business and other departments as C-suite executives. In order to do that, HR has to move from a no-seat to a key seat at the table. We, the HR practitioners of this country, have to act as credible strategic activists in order to achieve that dream picture.
Finally, we need to create a corporate world, agile with cross-cultural communication, diversity, gender equality and respect. We owe that to our posterity for them to be collectively happy, for them to live and let live!!

The writer is a HR professional.

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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