• Barnett Waddingham
    Barnett Waddingham
  • 5 minutes with… Dipa Mistry Kandola

    Dipa Mistry Kandola, Head of Flexible Benefits Service at Lane Clark & Peacock LLP, discusses the challenges facing the HR sector, trends, opportunities, equal pay and sexual harassment…

    Tell us about your company, products and services.  

    The options and solutions available to you when you’re planning benefits strategy are almost innumerable. At LCP, we help our clients focus on what really matters and achieve genuine, measurable results. We help companies get better results with:

    Employee engagement and communications

    Health and well-being

    Flexible benefits

    Managing change projects

    Ongoing governance

    Innovative technology led solutions

    What have been the biggest challenges the HR industry has faced over the past 12 months?

    With yet more changes coming HR’s way over the last 12 months, employers have been trying to ensure they meet regulation driven areas as opposed to more strategic big picture and employee engagement focused areas, such as:

    Updating benefits and salary sacrifice arrangements following various Budget announcements and subsequent changes to the Finance Act

    Getting ready for re-enrolment in April 2018, both from a budgeting and communication perspective.

    Getting ready for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While this is not exclusively an issue for HR, there is a major role to play in ensuring GDPR compliance – for example ensuring any employee data policies and procedures are compliant and third party providers (employee benefits, technology, recruiters) understand any new policy and procedures within the organisation.

    And what have been the biggest opportunities?

    Equal pay and sexual harassment stories have been dominating the headlines in recent months. It’s had a knock on effect and HR leaders and executives have been talking even more regularly about culture and diversity, and some shifts in the right direction are already underway, including how organisations can engage better with a diverse population.

    What’s clear is that creating an ethical work culture requires companywide input–it can’t just come from the top. This year, businesses that have these issues at the top of their agendas may look to their HR teams to find ways to have conversations with all of their employees more meaningfully and more often.

    What is the biggest priority for the HR industry in 2018?

    Using more technology. We continue to see vast advances in HR technology, from time and attendance systems and benefits administration to recruiting and performance management programs.  HR execs are keen to automate the day-to-day processes, thereby having the opportunity to focus output more on organisational strategic directions. The rise of technology will also make more meaningful analytics available across all strands of HR from reward and benefits to recruitment / retention trends.

    What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?

    The wheels of automation have already set in motion for 2017, this will continue into 2018.

    Across all industries I think there will be a move from real time research to right time research. Finding those insights in the moment of tension or delight will become even more important and technology, such as wearable and social media, will allow us to understand emotions at the most important moments of employee’s decision making process.

    AI has been big talk for the last year, however the reality is that not many can offer organisations viable/affordable solution. I think this year we’ll see a scramble for people to develop these skills, which all the tech start-ups want too, creating a great deal of competition for the best and the brightest.

    What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year? 

    Any app or wearable online tool which has the capability to personalise itself to the user, with an element of gamification (eg tracking steps and then rewarding) as well as the capability of pulling information from multiple sources (eg banking, savings, loans and pensions). All of this combined presents valuable insight and information in a simple way to the end user. Any tech in the market that can do this will come out as top dog in 2018!

    In 2020 we’ll all be talking about…?

    The above and how employers/HR can better engaging with their employees by presenting information which resonates with individuals now.

    You go to the bar at the London HR Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

    G&T.  The gin has to Tanqueray and the tonic has to be Fever Tree

    What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

    Working with a varied client base and getting to know their organisational political and social/structural order. That said it amazes me how different companies – at the route of it all – have the same challenges. No matter how big or small or cash rich / poor or sector, many struggle to keep engagement and ‘touch points’ with their people relevant and timely.

    And what’s the most challenging?

    The most difficult aspects of consulting and project management is lack of time to cope with resistance from various stakeholders involved. Often we’re helping HR leaders develop and present new ideas, which in turn are likely to lead to change. Often projects do not factor in enough time to bring all stakeholders on board as, no matter how willing, some will still struggle to adapt to and embrace change. By allowing enough time to bring everyone on board can sometimes reshape the project – but often for the better.

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

    Never follow fashion trends, they may not always suit you. I think this applies in business and advice we give to clients too. There are lots of things out there at the moment and it’s often hard for HR to figure out what’s right for them. Always go with what suits your people.

    Peaky Blinders or The Crown?

    Peaky Blinders

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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