VUCA and its Impact on Human Resource Function

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Introduction

The business environments nowadays are changing extremely fast due to either change in day to-day framework or due to the impact of Covid or political or economic changes in both domestic and global environment. Today organizations and their people are grappling to manage such situations which are beyond their control as they are characterized by VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity). VUCA is associated with rapid change in environments, the diverse employees, needs, and almost unpredictable customer expectations. And as an HR leader, how do you manage this new and volatile environment is a question. Also, what is the impact on Human Resource Function in a VUCA world & how do you propose a framework for HR leaders to navigate especially in this Pandemic era?

VUCA world poses a threat to modern companies to remain competitive in the rise of advanced technologies, shifted business models, lack of time to adapt to changes and necessity to update performance management systems. For e.g. No broker, 99 Acre impacted the real estate broker industry by innovating processes by making it online. Managing in the new volatility environment competitive advantage is more suitable for the VUCA world because it means that an organization succeeds in recruiting and maintaining human talents, has an effective environmental policy, and witnesses economic growth. HR managers needs to ensure employees are highly interested in promoting a company’s new heights through high-quality performance, proactivity, innovation, and flexibility.

Impact of VUCA Environment on HR Functions

VUCA environment induced by COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the following facets of HR Function on a broader landscape:

Compliance of Government instructions and mandates: Governments throughout the world-imposed lockdowns to contain the spread of the COVID-19 cases. HR Managers played a Vital role in adhering with Government Authorities to fulfil all compulsory requirements stipulated by the officials.

Adapting to remote work arrangements: Remote working came at its own price for HR Managers as they utilised the limited resources to make employees effectively work remotely.

Safety of employee and their families: Necessary measures must be taken to ensure the health of employees and their families. Medical insurance schemes to disseminating necessary information, HR Managers compromised their personal life and were ready with solution as soon as the problem arises. 

VUCA, volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. Concept with keywords, letters and icons. Colored flat vector illustration on white background.

 

Performance Management Activities: Remote working or operating with reduced workforce resulted a challenge of managing employee productivity in the VUCA environment. Many industries saw a sharp fall in employee productivity which further declined organization revenues.

Employee Engagement Activities: Lockdowns and remote work arrangements has had adverse effect on employee morale. According to McKinsey Employee Engagement Report, June 2020, 78% employees of surveyed employees showed that their organization has responded well to the crisis appropriately.

Now let us talk about the framework to solve these problems:

The HR managers would have to closely with the management to conceptualize and adapt to the culture that is necessary. The talent and tools will need to be consistent with the inconsistencies of the VUCA world. HR practices will have to be restructured to reflect the business mandates of flexibility and adaptability across borders.

Training and Development: there should be learning platforms, and not just traditional methods of learning for employees to cope up with the changing environment like coaching, peers coaching in the organization.

Flexible Policies: The policies set by HR should be flexible with the nature of the changing environment to achieve success.

Strategic Thinking: HR Managers should think strategically and take decisions accordingly.

Ambition: The manager should have the willingness to motivate and achieve higher responsibly and to grow in the organization, that would be helpful for the survival in the VUCA environment.

 Attitude: The attitude of the manager really plays a particularly significant role in the survival during the VUCA environment, and the duties being assigned to the manager should be fulfilled by him very judiciously, to achieve the tasks to be done.

 

 

Conclusion

In the end, Oprah Winfrey rightly said, Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Do not fight them. Just find a new way to stand. Similarly, it highlights the importance of HR in a VUCA world and based on the gaps identified in literature there was no consensus in the role of HR in the VUCA world, especially in a pandemic situation. The Human Resource function is operating in a VUCA landscape influenced by a pandemic outbreak and it is going to stay longer than we anticipated. However, the authors would like to bring to their notice that the VUCA environment demands that HR Managers avoid traditional and outdated styles of leadership in such a disruptive environment. A more inclusive style of leadership is required to counter the challenges of VUCA times. Developing the ability to grasp according to both short-term and long-term goals of a business will be the key to navigating the current environment. Strategies that are anchored in the long-term vision but also dynamically managing the short-term goals are necessary to maintain the relevancy of the Human Resource function. Seen from this greater perspective current VUCA world can be an opportunity for further advancement and greater collaboration, rather than a threat to be alleviat

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