Come 30th August 2013, the students of IIM Raipur PGP batch 2013-15 were to attend the HR Confluence ’13. Despite there being a lot of hype surrounding the kind of reputed professionals participating in the panel discussions of the confluence, the true nature of what we were about to witness was yet to be revealed. It is a common sight in IIMs, the premier B-schools of India, to see people donning suits and lots of grey hair sitting on the dais and addressing students. However, as soon as the discussion began, it was apparent to us that this was no ordinary event.
Dignitaries from various areas of the corporate sector arrived to the city of Raipur to participate in discussing various aspects of 'Strategic Recruiting and Employee Branding'. The era has changed drastically, the quintessential workplace has changed, the needs have changed and so have the recruiters. Recruiting is one important function of HR and with these changing times, it has become more and more strategically aligned with the entire organisation. In words of one of the speakers, “HR is too serious to be left to the HR guys.”
One of the most difficult tasks in any academic discussion is to ask simple, grassroot yet pertinent questions. This task was amply addressed in the confluence, taken care of by the able faculty of IIM Raipur as moderators. As discussions progressed, the issues started coming out of the mist and clarity emerged as to some possible precautions and solutions. The result, a form of enlightenment for the students.
One very important thing which appealed to me was that if you keep the designations in perspective, the people on the other side of the dais still were able to connect both to the topic and to the students at a very basal level. The kind of comments that were made, the kind of arguments that were put forward, were of course pertinent, but they also appealed to the raw intellect of the students in a very natural fashion. This contributed very much to the non-commercial success of the event.
One of the speakers, Mr. Shwetabh Jha, mentioned, “HR as a function has always had an identity crisis. This is changing now.” The change that the aforementioned speaker spoke about, has been very apparent for quite some time now. The only dearth was that of recognising it and acting upon it. This confluence and all events of such kinds go a long way in contemplating upon the said change. Another interesting thing about HR as a functional specialisation is that it seems very generic on the outside; non-HR aspiring professionals are often of the opinion that HR is something which needn’t be learnt or studied, it is something which comes very intrinsically. Whether this is good or bad, that is a story for some other time. But the fact remains that this confluence, in a not-so-subtle manner, showcased the importance of HR as a discipline and the complex nature of the kind of problems and issues that HR professionals face one they are in the industry.
Suffice to say that the HR Confluence ’13 organised by Indian Institute of Management Raipur was an enriching experience, both in terms of knowledge and exposure.
Contributed by : Jayesh Surisetti, PGP 2013 -15. He can be reached at email@example.com