National HR-IR Conference 2016’ at XLRI

Infrastructure Sector Requires the Most Skillsets”

Experts Discuss about Challenges in India’s HR-IR Landscape at ‘National HR-IR Conference 2016’ at XLRI

 : XLRI- Xavier School of Management hosted the ‘National HR-IR Conference 2016’ on 3rd – 4th December, 2016. The theme of conference was “Dynamics of HR-IR: Realigning skills, systems and practices in the face of globalization”.


This is for the first time the SAPPHIRE (Students Association for Promotion of Personnel Management, Human Resources and Industrial Relations) – XLRI and FIRE@X (Forum for Indus-trial Relations at XLRI) jointly conducted the 2-days long joint conference on HR and IR at XLRI. Adopting a multi-stakeholder perspective, the conference brought together representatives from all spheres such as industry, trade unions, government, practitioners and consultants and academics to discuss and share perspectives on the leading and contemporary issues faced in industrial relations and human resource management.  Students from several B-Schools of the country also took part in the event.

In the Inaugural Session, Mr. Suresh Dutt Tripathi (VP-HR, Tata Steel Ltd.) gave the special address, Dr. Subesh Kumar Das (Director General, Administrative Training Institute, West Bengal) delivered the inaugural address and Mr. Vivek Patwardhan (Executive Coach and Eminent HR Consultant) gave the key-note speech.   Dr. Ashis K. Pani (Dean - Academics, XLRI) welcomed the dignitaries and all the delegates. The speakers described the significant changes that are taking place in people’s management, traced the evolution of ideas and practices over the decades and sought to put them in perspective.  The forces of globalization and de-globalization (growing protectionism and right wing ideas) as reflected in Brexit or Trump’s election are expected to shape the people’s management significantly in future.  Mr. Vivek Patwardhan through numerous examples brought out the growing bleak picture on the jobs front thanks to digitization. 

The first panel discussion for the day was held on the topic - ‘Changes in Technology and its effects on HR’. The panelists were Dr. Shio Kumar Singh (Chief of Capability Development, Tata Steel Ltd)Mr. Neeraj Sanan (CMO, Spire Technologies) and Mr. George Thomas (VP- Corporate HR and Administration, MSP Steel and Power Ltd.) and the session was chaired by Prof. Gloryson R.B. Chalil (Co-ordinator, OB Area, XLRI).  They discussed about the fallout of technological revolution and the concerns surrounding it. They also discussed about the technological evolution of HR from Workflow automation to Internet of Things, to Human-Machine Partnership. Mr. Neeraj Sanan elaborated on how the systems we put into in our organizations are all unintelligent, and how the need for intelligent systems is pressing, to recognize the gap between the demand-supply of workforce and efficiently tackle it. Dr. Shio Kumar Singh discussed the “Reverse-Mentoring’ programme that Tata Steel Ltd. has introduced wherein the youth of the organization train the older staff in the technological advancements that are happening today. This session brought out the scope for growing use and need for using technology to practice human resource management more efficiently. 


The second panel discussion on ‘Skill India: The Road ahead’ shed light on the government’s initiative on providing solutions across sectors, and how opportunistic the scheme seems to be. Chaired by Dr. Pranabesh Ray (Professor, HRM, XLRI Jamshedpur), the panel including speakers -  Mr. Indranil Aich (Director, Aich Group of Companies)Dr. Shio Kumar Singh (Chief of Capability Development, Tata Steel Ltd)Mr. Sanjay Singhvi (General Secretary, Trade Union Centre of India)Mr. Vinod Behari (CEO, Power Sector Skill Council) and Mr. Saurabh Prasad (Head- Human Resources in Commercial Vehicles India, Metalsa) discussed on how technology is basically a skill, and in the olden days when the technologies were not as ubiquitous as they are today, the personal skills of the human population drove the work. They also deliberated on sector wise requirements of skills and stressed that ‘Infrastructure sector requires the most skillsets’. Mr. Sanjay Singh questioned the paradigm of development which is based on profit model and reinforced by the current trends in labour law reforms on completely misplaced assumptions.  He called for a democratic process of decision making which would lead to inclusive growth.  

The third panel discussion that was held on the second day of the event on ‘Socio-political and economic implications of globalization of labor force’ focused on challenges of Industrial Relations. The session chaired by Dr. Jerome Joseph (Chair Professor, Industrial Relations, XLRI) and other panelists Mr. Sumit Neogi (Head Business HR- Corporate Functions, Cipla Ltd.)Dr. Siddhartha Pandey (VP- Group HR, EMC Ltd.)Prof. E.M. Rao (Visiting Faculty, Industrial Relations Area, XLRI)Mr. Chandra Prakash Singh (State President, INTUC, Bihar)Mr. Vasanth Kumar N Hittanagi (Rtd Joint Commissioner, Ministry of Labor, Karnataka) discussed on the need to identify the problems, raise questions and most importantly seek answers to those critical questions pertaining to the various implications of globalization in the field of industrial relations.   While the practitioners from the management side sought to portray the innovations on people’s management, trade union leader and the retired government official reminded the prospective managers to see the pitfalls in the emerging paradigm of “employment” and in labour market governance.

The Panel discussion session was followed by the Paper Presentations on parallel tracks of HR and IR- ‘Emerging Metrics to track workforce effectiveness’ (HR) and ‘Rewriting the roles: Advancing Employment relations in work environment’ (IR)

An HR-IR survey was conducted by XLRI as a part of this conference, with more than 65 participating companies across 14 industries. The results and findings of this survey were presented at the event. 

The valedictory session was graced by Prof. E.M. Rao (Visiting Faculty, Industrial Relations Area, XLRI) and Mr. Anindya Shee (Global Head, Organization Development, Cipla Ltd.).  Mr. Anindya Shee spoke about the changing HR-IR scenario in the wake of globalization plaguing the country.  

Final rounds of the mega quizzing leagues organized by student committees of XLRI -FIRE@X (and SAPPHIRE were also held on the day 2 of the conference. Trial By Fire is conducted by FIRE@X while Battle HR Royale was conducted by SAPPHIRE. 

About FIRE@X: The Forum for Industrial Relations at XLRI - FIRE@X is the committee for promotion of industrial relations at XLRI. It was founded as a discussion fo-rum in 1996, which served as a platform for the dissemination of ideas and learning in the field of industrial relations, thus advancing and satisfying the needs of students. Overtime, it took shape and has organized itself into the formal society that it is today.

FIRE@X is the hub of all IR related activities in XLRI campus. It serves as a platform for sharing ideas and dis-cussing key aspects of Employee Re-lations/ Industrial Relations. It helps the students foray into the dynamic world of industrial disputes, resolu-tions, collective bargaining and agreements. FIRE@X organizes ac-claimed events throughout the aca-demic year, such as industry inter-face, live projects/case studies, intra college events, e-newsletter.

About SAPPHIRE: Providing a strong thrust to the domain of human re-sources and industrial relations knowledge at XLRI is SAPPHIRE, the Students’ Association for the Promotion of Personnel Management, Human Resources and Industrial Relations at XLRI.

SAPPHIRE'S Mission: To en-able development of world class, well-rounded HR Professionals who are capable of delivering and creating value in the emerging business environment and make meaningful contributions to the field of Human Resources.

One of the oldest committees on campus, SAPPHIRE over the years, has acted as an interface between the industry and the academia and pro-vided a forum for discussion and debate on the prevalent HR concepts and best practices. Since its inception in 1989, SAPPHIRE has organized a consortium of events, which have served as platforms for debating and discussing state-of-the-art HR and Industrial Relations practices.

About XLRI: XLRI-Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur is a premier, private management institute in India founded in 1949 by Fr Quinn Enright, S.J. in the ‘steel city’ of Jamshedpur ( Over the last six decades, the institute has grown into a top-ranking business management school of international repute with a wide portfolio of management programs and research publications. Its alumni are spread around the globe and have demonstrated responsible business leadership in their organizations. XLRI continually strives to contribute its mite to the professional growth and management of numerous organizations and institutions across industry sectors. XLRI has been awarded two prestigious International Accreditations, viz., AACSB - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and AMBA - Association of MBAs. XLRI has also earned the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) accreditation.

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