“Gig Economy and Contingent Workforce: HR and Workplace of the Future” at “Kshitij 2017”

“Kshitij 2017”, the National Level HR Summit organized by XIMAHR, the HR Association of Xavier University, was held by the Xavier School of Human Resource Management on Friday, 18th August, 2017. The event illuminated the need to address the growing phenomenon of Gig Economy, accompanied by the demands and challenges faced while working with a contingent workforce.

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The panel consisted of esteemed HR stalwarts, namely: Mr. Maharana Ray (GM HR – Bajaj Auto), Ms. Ankita Poddar (HR Business Partner – Amazon), and Ms. Swati Yadav (CHRO – HFCL). The moderator of the event was Prof. Sasmit Patra, Associate Professor, Xavier School of Human Resource Management, XUB.

The event kick started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp, and a welcome address by Prof. Snigdha Pattnaik, Dean, Xavier School of Human Resource Management, XUB.

The first speaker of this august gathering was Ms Swati Yadav. She introduced the concept of gig economy by taking specific examples of Uber & AirBnB. Stressing on the importance of transformational & evolutionary HR, she stressed on how professions which deal with the human touch in gig economy, viz. educators, innovators, researchers, etc. would play a key role; and their participation in the economy might increase by 20,000 times.  “The need of the hour would not be Employee Value Proposition, but Contingent Employee Value Proposition”, she prophesied. She finished her talk by touching on the challenge of security protocol & statutory compliances at workplaces dealing with contingent workforce.

The second speaker of the day was Ms. Ankita Poddar, who focused on the ‘Dark side of the Gig Economy’. Her major area of concern was lack of focus on the worker’s part due to multiple commitments, which might lead to loss in their mind space to bolster innovation. She also emphasised how the worker’s “Right to Fail” might be taken away by organisations, who would be looking for immediate and effective results. Finally, she spoke about the anxiety faced by the contingent workforce in the gig economy due to lack of job security. “While we have been stressing on reducing stress at work place, are we ready to introduce a new lifestyle disease?”, was a moot point raised by her.

The final speaker of the day was Mr. Maharana Ray, who said that the “gig” might be the new buzzword, however the concept existed in the Indian Workforce for over 50 years. His advice to the students was to focus on Strategic Differentiation, i.e. being a specialist and creating personal brand equity, Lean Operations, i.e. to look at things minutely and to focus on one’s strengths, being Performance Oriented and getting one’s basics rights, and to be Adaptive by creating one’s own future. “Innovate, Improve, Invent. Focussed, Fearless, Fun, Fail Fast, Learn Fast.”, were his wise words to the participants of the conclave.

The speeches were followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.

The second leg of the event was the award presentation of a pan-India Article Writing Competition on the same theme, which saw participation from some of India’s highly illustrious b-schools, including IIM Trichy, SCMHRD, and MDI. Mr. Abhishek Singh (IIM Trichy) was felicitated with the runner’s up certificate, while the winner’s award was presented to Ms. Swapnila Moharana and Mr. Manvendra Singh, from Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Professor Mousumi Padhi, Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar.