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HR must serve as navigator and anchor in these uncertain times for media

By Amit Das

Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (The Times Group)

Mumbai, India


This pandemic has undoubtedly tested everyone’s patience — both organisations and individuals. Having been exposed to varied emotions, insecurities, challenges, and opportunities professionally and personally, I firmly believe this phase has allowed us to discover certain aspects of our agility and adaptability that were probably not as visible before.

Most of us are emerging stronger and smarter. That said, let me also say the road of this change hasn’t been easy and won’t be so as we move forward.

But what does this mean for the human resources function?

Humanity has leaned into empathy during the pandemic. Human resources should continue to capitalise on this feeling of hope.
Humanity has leaned into empathy during the pandemic. Human resources should continue to capitalise on this feeling of hope.

Every shadow, no matter how deep, is threatened by sunlight

As an HR community, we need to find the source of sunlight and utilise this situation from the lens of a navigator as well as an anchor.

As a navigator, we must guide the organisation in overcoming the turbulence by driving the transformation agenda, which will prepare the organisation to develop anti-fragility and ensure long-term sustainability.

As an anchor, we must lead the people agenda by ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, continuing to connect and engage with employees, building futuristic capabilities, preparing employees for new ways of working, and, most importantly, strengthening the employer brand to continue its attracting and retaining the right talent.

Choice, chance, change

When we listen to the conversation between Arjun and Krishna at the battlefield of Kurukshetra, that is perhaps the turning point in Vyasa’s epic of Mahabharata. Arjuna is asked to make a choice and be part of the change, but, more importantly, to believe in himself and take a chance.

When you evaluate the situation, you realise that it was a clear call of action and clarity of thought articulated by Krishna. Arjuna’s moment of crisis, his confusion, total surrender, and eventual ability to define his path speaks volumes of what each one of us needs to do today.

In our professional arena, as we are engulfed with confusion, we need to clear our perspective, make informed choices, and, more importantly, be part of the change that we wish to change. Remember, every choice we make today will have a far-reaching future impact.

Make choices reflecting our hopes and not our fears

The pandemic brought people closer together. What strongly emerged is empathy toward everyone and in everything we do. Those times we demonstrated empathy toward others and our resultant actions during this crisis have been the epitome of everyone’s hopes, derailing their fears, and, most importantly, going beyond the usual measures to make a difference to everyone’s lives.

The choices we make, whether personal or professional, must reflect hope beyond hope.

Keep our focus

I read that Martina Navratilova was once asked how she maintained her focus, physique, and sharp game even at the age of 43. She gave a humble reply and said, “The ball doesn’t know how old I am.”

That’s precisely what each one of us needs to keep in mind. Remember our mind is boundless, and it is up to us how we initiate conversations, navigate our thoughts through unchartered area, and declutter our lives.

As a HR thought leader with three decades of experience, I think the barometer of our performance may be defined by others but it is up to us how we control the intricacies of our internal dialogue.

Remember, you either control your mind or it controls you. In her book The Secret, author Rhonda Byrne shares how she embarked on her own journey of discovering herself. In fact, she explains how our mind and thoughts govern our lives and instill the knowledge to create an interesting, immersive, and joyful existence.

It is important that, when life throws challenges at you, you ask your mind “Why not?” instead of “Why?”

About Amit Das

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