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Legal Play In Human Resource Management: Sudhir Mishra

Delivering the Special Address at the BW Businessworld’s 5th HR Excellence Awards 2020, Sudhir Mishra, Founder and Managing Partner, Trust Legal, a leading law firm, talks about the challenges faced by the HR professionals in organizations and their roles as umpires and enforcers of HR best practices

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In one of the biggest gatherings of Chief Human Resources Officers under one roof, Sudhir Mishra delivered a special address at the 5th HR Excellence Awards held in the capital on March 5th 2020.

“HR comes to legal on a daily basis and as a lawyer who runs a law firm and a variety of issues come to us, I can share some of my insights that what are the new challenges which are coming to the smaller HR departments or the bigger HR departments which are very India specific, in my understanding very India specific,” said Mishra.

Speaking from his observations and anecdotes from his long career, Mishra then talked about the role, challenges and requirements of the modern HR professionals. He said: “In my 20 years career I have seen HR being a really respected and very well defined, nursing everybody kind of approach to a very demanding, very challenging and completely over expectation kind of role. That transformation I have seen from very close but in the last 5 years especially since the Supreme Court passed the judgement on the Bosch related legislation and all kinds of judgements which are women specific where people have gone to court and the entire #MeToo campaign and the repercussion which happened on the large organisations…I would say that HR has to deal more as an umpire, more as a crisis management cell apart from the routine work which they were doing like promotions, recruitment and terminations and career goals, all kinds of other things, but I think the most important part has become mostly in especially larger organisations is the crisis management with regard to women issues, predominantly which comes to law firms now.”

Mishra then talked about Gender diversity as a big challenge which has led to the re-positioning of HR professionals. “As a lawyer I have been watching very closely that how a routine function, or a routine celebration, or even a routine outing for the entire company changes and turns into a very challenging situation where you involve the legal teams and you involve others,” he said.

Delving into the topic of laws being misused he said, “I can’t give you specific details with regard to the companies but I can tell you that in India we are very good with using the laws for negative purposes. We are very good to use them. I have no bias against any laws which primarily an edge to women or an edge to any section of society because I know for sure that empowerment is very important but as a lawyer who has been into a very objective kind of situation I have seen the abuses more especially in the larger organisations. And we need to put the caution buttons because you don’t know where to draw the line. And the kind of marshaling which the HR has to do and the kind of expectation that is there from the HR is unimaginable.”

He concluded by saying,” The second set of problems which I see as a lawyer on a daily basis which the HR discusses with us is the secrecy and data privacy. I feel that the biggest challenge which the HR heads are finding is that when they recruit people they are invariably into industries where everything is digitized and most of the functions and most of the work which we are doing.”

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HR Excellence Awards 2020