The world of work is experiencing one of its most challenging times in history as disruptive situations and technologies are redefining what the future of work would look like. Terms like a 4-day working week, hybrid mode, and others are becoming common. Artificial Intelligence powered technologies are bringing automation in the most unexpected sectors. In such times of turbulent change, business leaders and workers alike wonder about what success and stability will look like in the future and whether they will be able to cope.
Getting ahead of the trends in the future of work is Anish Singh, Head of HR – Australia & New Zealand at Unilever. Anish is an HR leader who works with business leaders in establishing the Human Resource function as an intangible asset while also leading the future of work programs at Unilever for the future worker.
Anish wears a Business & HR hat together. He brings a unique set of competencies as an HR Leader, creating an institutionalized mechanism for driving business performance, galvanizing work on growth agenda, leading several transformation projects, energizing employee engagement, and mentoring/developing leaders across functions. He loves to work with business leaders to create the future.
In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, Anish Singh paints a picture of what the future of work will be like.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Briefly describe your professional journey up until now. What challenges did you face along the way?
My purpose is “Play & Paint Together a Masterpiece.” I take pride in establishing the Human Resource function as a competitive advantage and love to engage with business leaders to create the future. In my career over the years, I have had the privilege of working with CPG, the Financial Sector & industrial sectors in various roles. These roles range from Global to Regional, Country Lead role, setting up new businesses, leading large-scale Growth Transformation programs/Strategy, Change Management Programs, Organisation Design, Expertise roles in People Development/Employer Branding, Recruitment, Performance Management, Sales HRBP, Industrial Relations, and advisory board responsibilities.
What significant impact have you brought to the HR industry?
In recent years, I have played a key role in transforming business for profitable growth, demonstrated the largest & longest successful implementation of 4 day working week, been recognized as the employer of choice by Australian Financial Review, and did leading work in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion resulting in Unilever to be recognized as an employer of choice for the last five years in a row.
Tell us about Unilever and its foundation pillar.
Unilever plc is a British multinational consumer goods company with headquarters in London, England. Its products are available in around 190 countries. Unilever’s largest brands include Dove, Sunsilk, Knorr, Lux, Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Rexona/Degree, Axe/Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s, Omo/Persil, Wall’s ice creams, Hellmann’s, and Magnum. Unilever is organized into three main divisions: Foods and Refreshments, Home Care, and Beauty & Personal Care.
How does Unilever promote workforce flexibility, and what is your role in it?
Unilever has always been working to suit the need of employees, and flexibility is our currency. Under Future of Work cornerstones, we promote doing experiments for the future of working (e.g., 4-day working week), future of worker (U work), future of workplace (hybrid), and future skills (future fit plan). These reflect the different development routes that each of our employees may be on at any point in time. They recognize that many people will be working differently. But wherever somebody is, we will help them to be ready for today and their future working life.
What is your take on technology’s importance, and how are you leveraging it?
Technology is vital to accuracy in today’s fast-paced world, and to our business in every part, it’s absolutely important. Our take is to be advancing and keep ahead in the game of HR through technology.
What will be the next significant change in the human resource industry, and how are you preparing for it?
The world of work of tomorrow is going to be very different. HR will move from “process-thinking” to “experience thinking.” The “blended workforce” will grow exponentially. Many experiments will start with the future of work and inside the HR function: virtualize, externalize, unbundle jobs, start networking, live the gig economy by example, partner up with multiple providers, crowdsource.
What are your goals in the upcoming future?
Our goal is our vision is to help make an awesome organization impacting people, profit, and the planet.
What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring business leaders?
Listen deeply, co-create, build design thinking, and be agile. Be ready; technology will disrupt and help you, so being ahead of the curve will help.