20 Aug 2017 17:53 IST

XSHRM hosts talks on gig economy and contingent workforce

Kshitij, Xavier University Bhubaneswar’s annual HR summit, was an illuminating experience for students

Kshitij 2017, the national HR summit organised by XIMAHR, the HR association of Xavier University Bhubaneswar (XUB), was held by the Xavier School of Human Resource Management (XSHRM) on August 18. 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.

The panel consisted of HR stalwarts such as Maharana Ray (GM HR – Bajaj Auto), Ankita Poddar (HR Business Partner – Amazon) and Swati Yadav (CHRO – HFCL). The moderator was Sasmit Patra, Associate Professor, XSHRM, XUB.

The event kicked off with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp and a welcome address by Snigdha Pattnaik, Dean, XSHRM, XUB.

The first speaker was Swati Yadav, who introduced the concept of gig economy by taking the specific examples of Uber and Airbnb. Stressing on the importance of transformational and evolutionary HR, she talked about how professions that deal with the human touch in gig economy, viz educators, innovators, researchers, and more, 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 said. She added that there is a challenge of security protocol and statutory compliances at workplaces dealing with contingent workforce.

The second speaker was Ankita Poddar, who focused on the dark side of the gig economy. Her major area of concern was the 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 will 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 the work place, are we ready to introduce a new lifestyle disease?,” was a point she raised.

The final speaker was Maharana Ray, who said that “gig” might be the new buzzword, however the concept has existed in the Indian workforce for over 50 years. His advice to the students was to focus on strategic differentiation, ie being a specialist and creating personal brand equity; lean operations, ie 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.

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 b-schools such as IIM Trichy, SCMHRD, and MDI. Abhishek Singh (IIM Trichy) was felicitated with the runner’s up certificate, while the winner’s award was presented to Swapnila Moharana and Manvendra Singh from XSHRM, XUB.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Professor Mousumi Padhi, XSHRM, XUB.

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