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Implications of VUCA on HR Functions

By R.Uma Maheswari
EPHRM Batch 09
VUCA concept was first introduced by the U.S. military after the end of the Cold War to
describe the conditions of a world ever more difficult to predict and rely on, shaped by
Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (Shambach 2004).
Since its first appearance, the term was subsequently adopted by the business world to
describe the rapidly changing business environment, marked by globalisation of markets,
rebalancing of the global economy, technological advances, changing demographic
trends, new customer needs and disruption of existing business models.
What are the implications of VUCA on HR Functions ? In this VUCA world how does HR
need to prepare : -

1. HR should have the ability to adapt for future business strategy. HR strategy
should begin from business perspective and should be aligned with the needs of
the entire company, not just the HR function.

2. HR should embrace technology like never before. It will simplify (Complexity)


people-related tasks for managers and employees.

3. Technology has already transformed HR and the application of data analytics has
fostered profound changes. Predictive Analytics and Data driven decision making
will help HR to be prepared to deal with Uncertainties and Ambiguity.

4. Attracting good Talent and Retaining Talent is one of the biggest concern for HR.
Money is not the only motivator. With the rise of multi skilled workforce who no
longer works only for money HR should develop out-of-the-box talent solutions.
(Providing stakes in the company, positional empowerment, challenging projects,
learning, work-life balance, growth needs, and engagement etc)

5. Hiring process should also focus on Emotional Quotient and Social Quotient so
that the workforce is ready to accept change readily.
6. Training and development must focus on preparing employees to identify and
handle unexpected problems. Situational and simulation training can help prepare
an employee to handle a completely new situation. With repetition, employees
can eventually develop skills and their own processes for handling unexpected
volatile and complex situations that are full of uncertainty and ambiguity.

HR needs to recognize the need to change. In a VUCA world, it is crucial that HR


leaders plan for the different future scenarios, respond swiftly to drive business
success and enable enterprise vision.