Digital HR

Traditional learning and e-learning: mix but don’t shake

Natalia Garshina - Director of Organisational Development and HR, Consultant on Organisational Development of Rusconsult

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what do you like most about your job? 

I work as the Director of organizational Development and HR in the consulting company Group of companies “Rusconsult”, in Russia. In addition, I work as an organizational development consultant with various business organizations. Most of all in my work, I like to observe the results of positive changes in the organization. 

Organizational development tools help businesses to change in accordance with customer expectations, market requirements, and competitors’ actions. 

The process of developing an organization is similar to growing flowers. Firstly, you prepare soil and then you plant a sprout, water it, fertilize and take care of it. Later a wonderful flower blooms from the sprout. Afterwards you face new challenges – to preserve, to protect from external influences, to create conditions for the continuation of flowering and planting new sprouts. I think that most of all in my work I prefer an opportunity to influence business creating such positive changes. 

Tell us about a memorable work experience that you had, what did you learn from it?   

I appreciate all my acquired experience. I try to see opportunities for learning and development in every life and professional situation. Fortunately, working in consulting gives many opportunities to gain new experience. 

The most important lesson I learned from my professional experience in consulting is that there are no two identical organizations, there are no two identical leaders, and there are no universal formulas and magic recipes for all diseases of business. Every business is unique; all people are so different that no typology or theoretical concept can answer all the questions. 

I realized how important is to reflect on your previous experience. The world is changing so fast. What worked fine yesterday is no longer relevant today. Moreover, before offering a particular solution to a business, it is necessary carefully evaluate the external and internal context. 

Which are the main trends that shape the HRM industry nowadays? 

A world-famous HR-specialist, Dave Ulrich, said in one of his speeches: “HR is not about personnel. The task of HR is to help your organization become successful.” 

Dave Ulrich explained that if an organization does not have a successful client experience, then all the best HR practices are useless. Initially, the company must succeed in the market. HR can help to achieve this! So I absolutely agree with this. 

Today, the boundaries between professional spheres are blurring. A modern HR manager needs to understand all the business processes of an organization in order to offer solutions that are useful for a particular business, and not just fashionable or popular. An HR specialist needs a broader view of business, knowledge of management and marketing. 

Digital transformation of business, gig economy, VUCA world lead to the fact that the business models of organizations are changing. Organizations are becoming open systems. Permanent and temporary employees, freelancers, contractors, etc. can work on joint projects. Thus, HR specialists need to integrate all participants into a single value chain for customers. 

In addition, some traditional HR functions are also changing. Artificial intelligence is being introduced to solve not only routine tasks. Already today, there are robots capable of conducting job interviews. The economic benefits of the introduction of artificial intelligence in mass recruitment will be very attractive for business as soon as such developments become available. This is also a trend affecting the HR industry. The competitive battle of HR specialists with artificial intelligence in the labor market is no longer a fantasy. This is a very serious challenge for HR specialists. It is necessary now to learn how to do things that artificial intelligence will not be able to do. 

In your opinion, how can HR professionals improvise, adapt and innovate in an ever-changing world? 

This is a very relevant question. In my opinion, many HR specialists like to innovate and improvise. Nevertheless, unfortunately, not all the proposed ideas are economically sound and timely. That is why not all innovations take root. This is partly because HR management tasks cannot be solved in isolation from the management system as a whole. An HR specialist should help business leaders make their organization successful in the long term. To do this, you need to learn how to find the root problems of the business and start changes with them. 

In addition, it is necessary to keep the focus on the long-term perspective, on trends in the economy and social life, to take a proactive position. 

For example, when a business has grown and faced with the problem of unmanageability, it is necessary to restore order, optimize business processes, and implement a business management system. All HR innovations implemented should be aimed at this. 

If the business has gained extra weight, lost dynamics and sensitivity to market signals, it is necessary to introduce mechanisms for the active development of the organization, to help the organization become lively, customer-oriented and proactive. 

If the business suffers losses, then it is necessary to coolly, like a surgeon, cut off all unnecessary, inefficient, interfering with further development. Then after optimization, evaluate the situation again and implement those initiatives that will help the organization become successful. 

As you can see, at each stage of business development, an HR specialist has different tasks. However, it is always necessary to keep the focus on the goals of initiatives and the long-term business perspective. 

What in your opinion is the best tool to motivate your employees?  

I do not believe in universal motivation tools. The organization employs people with different motivational profiles. At the European Digital Week 2020 conference, I made a presentation on motivational types and talked about how important is to take into account the individual characteristics of employees. It is very important to determine the motivational profile of an employee and build interaction with him based on this. 

In our company, we try to find out the motivational preferences of an employee when applying for a job. Then, throughout the employee journey map, we regularly discuss personal and professional goals with each employee and try to provide opportunities for their implementation. 

In your opinion, what qualities make someone an excellent leader?  

In my opinion, a leader is a person who is voluntarily followed by his followers. The profile of a successful leader depends on a number of factors: the market situation, the economic state of the business, employees, business features, etc. The leader’s profile should correspond to all these factors. At different stages of business development, different leadership qualities are needed. 

Nevertheless, I would single out several qualities without which leadership is impossible. The ability to take responsibility, the ability to self-development and self-improvement, and the ability to see further than the people following the leader. 

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