What does VUCA World mean? The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a 365-degree rotation in the landscape of all Business Organizations. Our current environment of accelerated change according to the US Army War College is characterised as V-Volatile, U-Uncertain, C-Complexity and A-Ambiguity (VUCA). Volatile conditions in the HR business refers to the turbulence and the speed with which an employee is expected to be trained and developed in accordance to the market requirement and be more flexible, innovative, imaginative and creative in performing its work and duties. Uncertainty occurs when we fail to predict futuristic issues and events. This is more of an objective characteristic of an environment and affects the engagement of employees at their work, making it difficult for them to achieve company goals. At times it also has a positive impact as it makes the employee more alert and quicker in action. Complexities take place when there are multiple streams of activities happening at a same time. Here all the factors are interconnected which makes it difficult to analyse the environment. But if the employees are able to do a deep analysis, then rational conclusion can be obtained. Ambiguity in VUCA World can be described as the indistinctness of reality, miscommunication and the mixed meanings of conditions which lead to lack of clarity and awareness about the changing situations having adverse effects on positive outcomes. However, if we take a head-on approach, it helps in improving the morale and overall thinking direction of the employees.
Changing dynamics of HR world
We can make use of “The Rapid Innovation Model” to deal with the VUCA World and its replications by accelerating and providing a platform to our employees wherein they can innovatively generate bold ideas, elegant design experiences and initialization of new traditions. Taking in consideration today’s unpredictable scenario, VUCA in today’s time can be stated as The New Normal. So, as HR professionals it is our utmost duty to Change the Dynamics of the HR World. Re-aligning the internal organizational processes is very important to carry out the functions and overall business effectively. There are unpredictable events happening in day-to-day life outside and inside an organization which can leave back positive or negative impacts on an employee which replicates in one’s performance and thus affecting the work. With the competitive and continuous market change, employees are facing mental and physical health issues, anxiety, isolation and insomniac problems and also difficulties in adjusting safety protocols which is making them frustrated and disinterested in their work and also losing their energy and patience.
So, as HR’s we should start focusing on the requirements of our employees for a fundamental and revolutionary change and create a convincing vision which helps them to inculcate a driving force to achieve their goals for the organization and as well as focus and work towards their own development. Opportunities and encouragement should be given to challengers within an organization to create disruptive services and products that can replace existing ones. Leaders in VUCA World can achieve the congruence needed to sustain success by making advancements in people skills, processes, technology, structure and culture. As an HR we must give better understanding, clarity and clear vision and agile our guiding principles to counteract the threats of VUCA and turn them to our advantage.
Our primary goal as an HR of the VUCA World should be training our employees to branch each type of situation with its own causes and resolutions and deal with one at a time to mitigate its effects. “The book – Leaders Make the Future” written by Bob Johansen in 2009 has proposed a conceptual model in which he has given the alternatives to tackle VUCA.
According to him:
- Volatility to be dealt by Vision: As HR’s we can design a clear vision and long-term goals and train our employees to be future ready and adaptive to new changes and learnings from the beginning itself. We can give them a free hand to set flexible goals, deal with unfamiliar situations and navigate to all possible solutions.
- Uncertainty to be met with Understanding: Employees should understand that more investment in analysing and interpreting various business models and industry affairs would help them anticipate all the possible future threats and build solutions. Also increase client interactions to understand market needs.
- Complexity to be reacted by Clarity: Clarity in thoughts and clear communication plays a vital role in solving any kind of complex situations which are complicated for a single person to handle. Building a strong team which works fast and effectively can help tackle unpredictable environment with ease.
- Ambiguity to be fought with Agility: An agile employee with the qualities of adaptability and flexibility is a boon to any organization. In unexpected situations they have an ability to calculate risk and handle the situation tactfully. They respond rapidly to market changes internally and externally.
As HR professionals we can take VUCA as a challenge to improve, change and evolve our leadership and management skills. We can use this opportunity to groom our employees more effectively in Implementing future projects with threat considerations. Making Decisions after a deep dive into situations and its outcomes. Designing Creative and Innovative workflow processes having flexibility with business and market change. Developing Active Culture can help in encouraging employee engagement and expedite the results of common organizational goals.