People Matters Magazine January 2022: Workplace 2022

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VOL XIiI / ISSUE 1 / January 2022

BIG INTERVIEW Obed Louissaint

SVP, Transformation and Culture, IBM

C OV E R S TO COVRY ER STORY DAVE WILLIAMS DAVE WILLIAMS Human Resources, Human Resources, Employee engagementJaguar Land Jaguar INTERVIEW Rover Land Rover

Jamie Kuhnhausen VP, People & Operations, CommerceIQ

Kavita Viswanath General Manager, JFrog

FFrroom m tth h e E d i t o r ’’ss DDeesskk 2

Building a better workplace in 2022


his January, businesses have commenced the year's journey in a somewhat better position than before. Even though the pandemic continues to inject volatility into the world of work, business leaders and people leaders have a strong grasp of today's environment and are adapting rapidly to new contingencies, including the Omicron variant. The positive transformations of the last two years have made a great difference to the resilience of many organisations. Digital | January 2022

acceleration created a technological base that enabled remote, flexible, and hybrid models of work and collaboration to an unprecedented extent, and those models in turn continue to drive the evolution of organisational culture. At the same time, the focus on health and safety awakened organisations around the world to the importance of employee well-being, and more importantly equipped them with the tools to realise that priority. In 2022, these trends and transformations can only continue. Successful, forward-thinking organisations have had two years to thoroughly explore the possibilities and lay the foundations for the next step. Many are already well ahead in realising the strategies they shaped from the lessons of the crisis. Now, we see business strategies taking an ever more people-centric focus in response to the demands of the environment. Many of today's pressures come from both within and without simultaneously, ranging

from the double impact of the 'Great Resignation' and the inflation accompanying the economic recovery, to expectations in the areas of sustainability and ethics, to talent shortages and the demand for employee growth and development. Well-being has become a bottom-line priority as both a cost centre and a support system. The January 2022 issue of our magazine turns a spotlight on various macro and micro trends that we believe will embody the year's changes. We hear from global leaders including Schneider Electric CHRO Charise Le, VMware's Chief People Officer Betsy Sutter, Greif CHRO Bala Sathyanarayanan, former Microsoft India Chairman Ravi Venkatesan, and others. In our Big Interview for this issue, Obed Louissaint, Senior Vice President of Transformation and Culture at IBM, talks about tackling talent shortages by overhauling entire mindsets; he explains why certain aspects of a company's culture need to be prioritised and others

course available); Wellbeing: the Road to Resilience (21 February to 25 March); Design Thinking & Agile for HR Teams (28 February to 1 April); Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work (7 March to 8 April). You can reach out to for more information and to enroll. People Matters BeNext has shown us all, over the past year, how interconnected community and learning are. Now that we have extended our virtual learning programmes to leaders in Spanish-speaking countries, we anticipate even greater levels of diversity, inclusion, and community development upon the platform. As always, we welcome your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories. Happy Reading!


I guess I needed a bold reminder that it is already 2022! But since the future still seems dark, make it black.

From the Editor’s Desk

deprecated if talent strategies are to work as intended. We also bring you a lineup of feature stories on the top trends that we predict for the future of work, from skilling to benefits to changes in recruitment and hiring, and much more. We have many exciting events coming up in the next month. Stay tuned for our Workforce Productivity Conference on 1 February 2022, the place where we redefine the alignment of productivity with the bottom line. It will be followed by the APAC edition of our L&D Conference on 24 February, and then by our Futurist Forum, the Masterclass on architecting the future of work. The Futurist Forum comes in three regional editions: the India edition will happen on 8 March; the ANZ edition on 9 March; and the SEA edition on 10 March. People Matters BeNext, our cohort-based certification programme, launches four new courses in the coming months. The HR Business Partner in the New World of Work (7 February to 11 March, Spanish-language

Done :)!

Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief follow

M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez > January 2022 |



January 2022 volu m e x I ii issue 1

36 cover story



The future of work: Top trends for 2022

People Matters Editorial Team

Empowerment and trust is the way forward

Charise Le, CHRO of Schneider Electric


We need to evolve our work practices and work culture

Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer of VMware


Hiring and recruitment trends to look out for in 2022 Mamta Sharma

Managerial skills in 2022


51 Y Shekar, Management research scholar (Ph.D.) from University of Mysore


This year, let's look forward to building upon the positive trends and changes that we see now and in the future. WHAT'S YOUR 2022 ASPIRATION?


Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor & New Product Content Strategist (Global)

Mastufa Ahmed

Marta Martinez

Editor & New Product Content Strategist Senior Editor

Rachel Ranosa Features Writer

Mint Kang


Jerry Moses

Senior Manager - Research & Content Strategist - APAC

Anushree Sharma

Manager - design, photography, and production

Shweta Modgil

Senior Manager - Research and Content Strategy - APAC

The Age of AI Calls for Honing Your ‘Meta Skills’

Ravi Venkatesan, Former chairman of Microsoft India, founder of GAME, UNICEF’s Special Representative for Young People and Innovation and author of “What the Heck Do I Do with My Life? How To Flourish in Our Turbulent Times”


Optimising employee well-being in 2022 Pravin Prakash, Chief People Officer, BYJU’S


What if you can’t fire anyone?

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Chair professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and M. Muneer, MD of CustomerLab and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute

Digital Head

Prakash Shahi Design & Production

Shinto Kallattu

Senior Manager - Global Sales & Partnerships

Assistant Manager - Content - APAC

Saloni Gulati +91 (124) 4148102

Assistant Manager - Content Projects & APAC Community Lead


Drishti Pant

Neelanjana Mazumdar

Content Manager and Lead - D&I

Bhavna Sarin

Senior Associates - Content

Sudeshna Mitra Asmaani Kumar

| January 2022

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Note to the readers The views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of People Matters. Although all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, neither the editors nor the publisher can take

This issue of People matters contains 81 pages including cover


big interview

It’s time to embrace the skills-based model of talent pipeline Obed Louissaint, SVP, Transformation and Culture, IBM By Mastufa Ahmed



Addressing the tech industry's skills gap in 2022 Kavita Viswanath, General

Manager of JFrog By Sudeshna Mitra

18 D i g i t a l t r a n s f o r m a t io n

People, Processes, Tools: 3 truths about seamless collaboration in today’s digital world

By Yew Hwee Ng, Digital Media Managing Director - Asia, Adobe 22 T a le n t A n a l y t i c s


"We are not just HR: we are businessmen and women"

By Gabriela Paz y Miño 25 E m p lo y ee e n g a g e m e n t

Leadership and employee enablement in 2022

Jamie Kuhnhausen, VP, People & Operations, CommerceIQ By Asmaani Kumar 28 H R S t r a t e g y

Global Capability Centres – The mind of the future-ready enterprise

By Serge DeVos, Global Director, GCC Operations – AB InBev GCC

64 H R S t r a t e g y

Workplace trends to watch out for in 2022

By Rajul Mathur, Consulting Leader India – Talent and Rewards, WTW

66 B e n e f i t s & Re w a r ds

Getting the returns from your employee benefits strategy

By Mint Kang 70 The r o a d less t r a velled



From the Editor’s Desk


Letters of the month


Quick Reads


Rapid Fire


Knowledge + Networking



Big Data – bigger performance– biggest delight

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) Featured In this issue Bala V Sathyanarayanan Betsy Sutter Charise Le

Jamie Kuhnhausen Kavita Viswanath Obed Louissaint

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Gabriela Paz y Miño Jeffrey Pfeffer Lee Quane M Muneer Mamta Sharma Pravin Prakash

Rajul Mathur Ravi Venkatesan Serge DeVos Visty Banaji Y Shekar Yew Hwee Ng

January 2022 |


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Letters of the month

What did we learn from 2021? It is clear that the focus on growth, well-being and relationships in the virtual era will be critical to sustainability. As crucial as remote working is to safety, the long-term consequences indeed are given due acknowledgement. In fact, the consequences have already been surfacing in the past month. The Great Resignation, rings a bell? No, it isn’t remote working that caused it. But the failure on the part of managers and leaders to focus on the workplace element of nurturing, enabling growth and fostering a healthy ecosystem for all. Employees have always left a firm, attrition has always been a challenge. But what went so wrong that attrition transformed into the Great Resignation? Think, ask, listen, analyse, act. Listen to what employees really need beyond looking for quick fixes. A superficial mold will not hold the leaking tap. - Arun Srivastava

December 2021 issue

EX trends to keep an eye on in 2022

EX indeed will dominate, and getting creative with talent will be core to upping the EX strategy. A focus on the whole person will be essential as organisations rethink how to craft enviable experiences for their workforce. As the world of work evolves, flexibility is establishing itself to be a non-negotiable element of worklife. It is no longer a benefit for employees, but a must-have for employers to be able to attract and retain talent. - Nidhi Agrawal

What we want most from HR in 2022: The business leaders speak

Championing employee voices is the clear winner. The global workforce has been relentlessly punching in endless hours of work while striving to meet personal commitments that demand their time. Well-being is out of question, and burnout continues to tire employees across the globe. The time for tokenistic initiatives and conversations is gone. While business leaders seek HR leaders to be their listening ears, how much of what gets communicated will actually fuel change? Being the employee and management link has been at the very core of the HR function. But how committed are leaders to deliver on what employees truly need in today’s climate remains to be seen. - Dina Nath


| January 2022

Interact with People Matters

Challenge assumptions before reinventing organisations

- BHavana Singh

Focus on your people’s needs, and they will respond by meeting yours

The crisis goes on with no end in sight. The swiftness with which employers adapted remote work, the ability to adapt a mindset of care has been the complete opposite. For many, it remains more talk, and then there is the tick in the box. Leaders have been very vocal on the importance of supporting employees through these times, yet the message gets lost as it goes down the hierarchical chain. The hope is from those walking the talk and demonstrating care in action, with a commitment to cascade the message along the chain of command. - aNINDITA bANERJEE

How the Great Resignation can become the Great Recruitment

Quite an interesting take on the great resignation. Several reports have surfaced in recent weeks calling for organisations to rethink what the great resignation truly means. Is it only a gushing wave of exits, or does it carry with it an opportunity to embrace the talent perhaps knocking at your door. And how are you as an organisation welcoming this talent? It’s important here to note that the experience needs to be weaved into everyday interactions at work, beyond the initial employer branding pitch. - abraham Benno

Diversity delivers dividends

Indeed, edudiversity and neurodiveristy are three important focus areas for diversity. When we talk of innovation and performance, especially team performance, these two types of diversity are fundamental to ensure success. However, wouldn’t these be catered to if we infact eliminate bias on several fronts and focus on access to opportunity, consciously hire individuals from diverse backgrounds? We need to highlight the significant economic and business opportunity in diversity to accelerate change, and such diversity will go on to deliver on the neurodiversity that organisations today seek. - Baljeet Bansi

EY GDS Careers @EY_GDSCareers “The pandemic has accelerated the adoption to usher in the #FutureofWork by redefining the work, worker, workplace, and ways of working,” says Sreekanth Arimanithaya #EYGDS Global Talent and Enablement Services Leader in an article for @PeopleMatters2. Birlasoft @birlasoft Industry Story | Read Now: Find out what experts have to say about the #FutureofWorkplaces in the #pandemic driven industry in this special industry story by @PeopleMatters2 featuring @kulskks. #workplaceofthefuture #futureofwork #workforceofthefuture Mercer UK @UKMercer The evolution of the workplace will combine #technology and service capabilities, all while putting people first. Get a glimpse into the workplace of the #future in @PeopleMatters2. #FutureofWork #wellbeing

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So true about digital disruption. As essential as it is to drive innovation, it is equally capable of disrupting the social infrastructure. Companies are being cognisant of the impact of technology on workplace culture and are consciously identifying tools to deepen engagement. The shift to hybrid calls for reinventing organisations, identifying what to change, what to improve and what to introduce.

People Matters values your feedback. Write to us with your suggestions and ideas at

Skillsoft APAC @SkillsoftAPAC "If there’s one thing to take away from Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills & Salary Report, it’s that the IT skills gap is real, and it’s growing." - @RosieCairnes, Vice President, @Skillsoft APAC for @ PeopleMatters2. TeamViewer @TeamViewer The shift from physical workspaces to virtual ones has taught organizations to adapt fast, prepare for adversity, and find innovative solutions @ PeopleMatters2 #FutureOfWork Trianz @trianz Sujit Sahoo, Vice President, Human Capital at @trianz, highlights the top moving trends of 2021 to watch out for as we flip the calendar to 2022. Read more - @PeopleMatters2 follow

M > @PeopleMatters2


January 2022 |


HR Technology

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UK-based Learning Pool to acquire adaptive compliance technology firm True Office Learning


UK-based learning solutions provider Learning Pool (LP) is all set to acquire the US-based adaptive compliance technol-

ogy firm True Office Learning (TOL). According to the official communique, this acquisition is a step towards executing LP’s expansion plans across the US market. This deal will enable LP to leverage the ready market of TOL with some of the Fortune 100 clients namely Pfizer, Mondelez and Cargill. Together, both the companies look forward to offering innovative solutions to businesses, helping them proactively manage risk and drive better business outcomes.

HR Technology

Australia-based HR tech startup Revelian rebrands as Criteria Revelian, an Australiabased company in the field of emotional intelligence and game-based assessments, announced that it has rebranded as Criteria. Back in February 2020, Criteria, a SaaS talent success platform with headquarters in Los Angeles, California had acquired Revelian. In 2020, Criteria also acquired Australian-based Alcami Interactive. Since 2020, Criteria has more than doubled its number of employees (175 globally, including 65 APACbased), gained over 1,000 new clients, and has opened a new Australia-based headquarters (Level 18, 333 Ann Street, Brisbane) that will house its 45 Brisbane employees.

| January 2022


Microsoft releases Work Trend Index for frontline workers

Microsoft released a Special Report on Work Trend Index for Frontline Workers detailing the data on frontline workers during the pandemic. The survey was conducted on 9,600 frontline employees and managers in eight industries across five continents. At 2 billion, they make up 80% of the global workforce with 88% of organizations employing frontline workers. The data aims to highlight the challenges businesses across the world are facing and find out how technology can help ease the burden on these essential workers.

HR Technology

IT staffing services company Motion Recruitment Partners acquires its competitor MATRIX

IT staffing services platform Motion Recruitment Partners (MRP) has announced the acquisition of its competitor MATRIX Resources. This acquisition aims at bolstering the portfolio of both companies across the North American market. Following the closure of the deal, MATRIX’s workforce will join MRP. As of now, MRP operates across 16 sales markets with 500+ delivery resources and 70+ highly specialised recruitment teams. With this acquisition, MRP, will add six more markets with 200+ delivery resources, Agile & DevSecOps Consulting, and Telecom specialised managed services to its portfolio. According to the official communique, in 2022, MRP and MATRIX will unify their businesses by integrating each other's resources, client base and unique offerings; all while maintaining key existing leadership and operational structures.


LinkedIn reveals Australia’s most sought after jobs The LinkedIn Report aids Australians in the job hunt by revealing the top 15 roles that are steadily growing in demand. What’s an interesting trend is the surge of high paying jobs which is notably an outcome of

the pandemic which has accelerated digitalisation and work from home policies. Employers are now looking for individuals to fill in jobs that pay between $50,000 and $240,000 a year - and a degree might not be required.

Employee Experience

Zomato offers job, monetary help to the deceased delivery executive's family

Apple Inc joins row to mandate vaccination proof

Tech giant Apple Inc will now require all its retail and corporate employees to produce proof of their COVID-19 booster shot. According to reports, the notice is supposed to take effect from January 24 onwards. Initially, the company had asked the employees to return to the office floors by February 1, 2022. However, citing the mounting Omicron cases and the variant’s speed of infecting people rapidly, the company announced in December that it will postpone the reopening of its offices beyond the mentioned date.

Employee Management

US SC rules out mandatory vaccination & testing for employers with more than 100 workers

The US Supreme Court (SC) ruled out the emergency temporary standard laid down by Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure worker safety amid the spike in COVID-19 cases. The standard required businesses with more than 100 employees to get their workers either vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask. Stating that the mandate would cover more than 84 million workers, the SC found the decision to be an encroachment into the lives and health of a vast number of individuals.

Morgan Stanley to award over 20% bonus to its top performers

Morgan Stanley will be raising its annual bonus for topperforming staff by more than 20%, revealed sources. This comes in light of how bankers in equity underwriting and M&A advisory businesses are expected to receive some of the highest increases due to the strong performances of those divisions over the past year. Staff within M&A and equity capital market (ECM) divisions are anticipating bonuses up at least 15% on the previous year and, in some cases, up 20% or more. However, other businesses whose performance was less stellar are likely to see flat or singledigit increases in their bonus pool. Sales and trading operations at Bank of America could see a rise of more than 30% in bonuses on average. January 2022 |

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Employee Management

Compensation & Benefits

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Days after Zomato’s food delivery executive passed away in a road accident, the company announced offering a job to a family member along with monetary support of Rs 10 lakh. This definitely sets a milestone example for the companies working with the gig workforce. Gig workers have recently been very vocal about their social securities and compensation and benefits.


newsmaker of the month

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Omicron and the prolonging of the pandemic



ver the last month, cases of COVID-19 shot up all across the world - once again. A new variant, Omicron was first reported by South Africa to the WHO on November 24, 2021. By the 26th of November, WHO declared Omicron as a variant of concern. Compared to the previous variants, early evidence suggests that the variant is more transmissible - with some studies suggesting a 3.6x higher transmission risk compared to the Delta variant and some others suggesting 5.4x higher risk. The Omicron induced wave of infections has already made new records. The United States reported a record-

| January 2022

breaking 1 million new cases in a single day and was averaging 700,000 cases a day by 10th January. This trend is reported across many countries - where there was a record weekly jump in cases. In the first week of January alone, 34 countries reported their highest number of weekly cases ever, and the total number of cases from the start of the pandemic has already crossed over 300 million. While early evidence from the UK, US and Africa show that the variant might cause less severe illness, several countries are taking steps to reduce infections. Lockdowns and quarantine requirements are back and many countries

are mandating “booster” shots for vulnerable populations. The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that the Omicron should not be categorized as mild, as it “is hospitalizing people and it is killing people…In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.” Many organisations that previously planned to resume normal operations are postponing their plans. Remote work and hybrid models of operations have resumed and businesses are scaling back on travel plans. A resurgence of infections has impacted Asia-Pacific tourism, it has disrupted global supply chains and has clouded the global economic outlook. In a commentary titled “Much to Learn About Omicron — Fast”, Moody’s Analytics asked, “Will policymakers in the region respond by accelerating vaccination programmes?” Countries including Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam have still vaccinated less than 65% of their populations (12 years of age and older). The impact of this wave remains to be seen.

Diageo elevates Global Talent Director Louise Prashad to Chief Human Resource Officer Diageo has announced the elevation of Louise Prashad to the position of Chief Human Resources Officer, effective 1 January 2022. In her new role, Prashad will be tasked with expanding and headlining initiatives on learning and development, talent acquisition, inclusion and diversity, and business partnering with global functions, which she undertook as Global Talent Director.

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DoubleVerify names Rose Velez-Smith as EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer Data Analytics Platform DoubleVerify announced the appointment of Rose Velez-Smith as EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of the company. As CHRO, Velez-Smith will be tasked with all the aspects of the company’s human resources strategy and people functions globally, including talent management, leadership development, compensation & benefits, diversity, inclusion & belonging.

ManpowerGroup appoints Hardeep Singh as new President of Right Management India Fortune 500 workforce solutions giant ManpowerGroup announced the appointment of Hardeep Singh as President of Right Management India Operations.. At ManpowerGroup, Hardeep will lead the consulting business, replacing Prashant Pandey who has taken up a new role as President – Rotostat Services Private Ltd.

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Lendlease announces new Chief People Officer for Asia Australia-based property and infrastructure multinational Lendlease announced the appointment of Loh Chuan Hui (Chuan Loh) as Chief People Officer for its Asia operations. Loh was previously Head of Talent, Asia and Strategic Business Partner for Lendlease Digital. She has been with Lendlease since 2011 and has held a variety of roles within the Asia people and culture team.

Mercer Mettl appoints Amit Pal Singh as CTO Skill assessment and talent acquisition platform Mercer Mettl appointed Amit Pal Singh as its chief technology officer (CTO) to lead its technology and engineering functions. Singh will drive the organisation's technological vision to support its growth journey in the coming years. In his new role, Singh will be working closely with business, product, and operations to align technology with the organisation’s objectives.

DoorDash CEO Tony Xu joins Meta board of directors Tony Xu, the co-founder and CEO of online food-ordering platform DoorDash joined the board of directors of Meta, the Facebook’s parent company has announced. ‘Millions of local merchants use Meta’s tools to grow and run their businesses every month. I look forward to working with the board as the company enters the next stage of its journey,’ said Xu in a statement. Savitha Shivsankar joins Asian Paints as Global CHRO Mumbai-headquartered Asian Paints has appointed Savitha January 2022 |


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Shivsankar as its global Chief Human Resources Officer. Shivsankar, an alumna of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, has over 20 years of experience spanning various industries and diverse aspects of the HR function. She was earlier the talent head - organisational development and inclusion, at Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis.


JLL appoints Tanvi Choksi as HR Head for the Asia Pacific region Tanvi Choksi was appointed as the Head of Human Resources (HR) for JLL Asia Pacific region. In the role, she will join the Asia Pacific Executive Board. Choksi also joins the Global HR leadership team as the Asia Pacific representative. She succeeds Helen Snowball, who moves to a global HR role to lead the firm’s new People Solutions and Experience function.

Eminent rocket scientist S. Somanath appointed new ISRO chairman Indian aerospace engineer and eminent rocket scientist S. Somanath has been appointed as the new chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Somanath, who takes over as the tenth chairman of the Bengaluru-based premier space organisation, will succeed Kailasavadivoo Sivan who completes his extended tenure on Friday. Somnath was appointed by the Union government as the Secretary of the Department of Space and the Chairman of the Space Commission on Wednesday. His appointment is for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining the post, inclusive of an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in public interest, a Personnel Ministry order said.

Avendus Group appoints Anirban Banerjee as new Chief Human Resource Officer Avendus Group announced the appointment of its new Chief Human Resources Officer, Anirban Banerjee. Anirban’s career spans 17 years in the wealth management and FMCG industry. Prior to Avendus, he was at IIFL Wealth and Asset Management, where he served as Managing Partner and Head HR.

Emeritus appoints Ganesh S. as Global CHRO Emeritus announced that the company has elevated Ganesh S. as its Global Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO). In his new role, Ganesh S. will be responsible for all aspects of Emeritus’ employee and workplace operations, talent management, pay and benefits, global recruiting, while continuing to lead Emeritus’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on its workforce.

Robert Half appoints Trisha Plovie as Senior Vice President of future of work Business consulting firm Robert Half promoted Trisha Plovie to Senior Vice President, Future of Work. In this role, she will lead strategy for Robert Half's ability to provide flexible, hybrid and fully remote talent. Plovie began her career with Robert Half as a Practice Group Director in Troy, Michigan, and has since held various leadership roles, most recently serving as District President for talent solutions in Michigan.

Cornerstone OnDemand appoints Himanshu Palsule as Chief Executive Officer Cornerstone OnDemand named Himanshu Palsule as the new Chief Executive Officer effective 4 January 2022. He also joined the Board of Directors as a member. Palsule, who was previously President of Epicor Software, boasts a deep industry knowledge of shaping new markets and is expected to bring leadership at scale to Cornerstone.

| January 2022


TEN Questions


Bala V Sathyanarayanan

Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Greif, Inc. By Mastufa Ahmed & Asmaani Kumar



One next-gen technology that you’re excited about?

Your top priorities for 2022?

Employee experience, employee engagement, and improving DE&I efforts within every part of the world where we operate

The shift to cloud-based systems and driving global employee development by leveraging tech in the Metaverse!



Reasons corporations aren't reaping the dividends of DE&I?

Transforming HR in a way to impact delivering business outcomes. If your business is not succeeding consistently, what has your HR transformation achieved?


What mindset shifts do we need for hybrid work in 2022? Work/life integration as part of the value proposition; workplace productivity as being focused on outcomes; accommodating individual preferences


How is people management evolving in the new normal? Less rigid view of jobs and organisation structure, more focus on leveraging networks of teams, more focus on skills for agility and adaptability, adopting a human-centred mindset

Not solving for a cultural shift, and lack of leadership advocacy and authenticity

Learning to adopt a human-centred mindset in people management will only become more important

One important thing about your company?


Top 3 skills affecting the talent landscape?

Top lessons you have learned from this ongoing uncertainty? Infuse a 'whole person' approach into employee experience; strategically leverage technologies to support collaboration and inclusivity; help people feel better about their work and more connected to the company’s mission to drive retention

r a p i d - f i r e

What does successful HR transformation mean to you today?


Servant Leadership


Compassionate leadership, digital skills, agility


One message for talent leaders globally?

Be the leader who shapes business strategies that capitalise on the changing talent landscape! January 2022 |




It’s time to embrace the skills-based model of talent pipeline: IBM’s Obed Louissaint


We need to radically rethink the way we have been hiring - how we source talent and how we evaluate them, says Obed Louissaint, SVP, Transformation and Culture, IBM, in an interaction with People Matters By Mastufa Ahmed


rganisations, especially tech companies, are finding it hard to source employees with relevant skills, as the COVID-led disruption drags on. Tech titan IBM is going beyond conventional ways to tap into the unrepresented workforce to close employment gaps. Obed Louissaint, Senior Vice President, Transformation and Culture at IBM, shares how the skills-based model of talent pipeline can widen employers' access to diverse talents. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview. How do you manage a diverse portfolio of leading transformation and culture at a large company like IBM? | January 2022

It’s people and the culture of co-creation. Having people with the right skill sets is critical to help an organisation succeed. Individuals who work together and co-create forge better partnerships and, in turn, deliver better outcomes.

How do you see the current landscape of work with the new COVID variant upending our plans to return to the office? We all looked at the year 2021 with great anticipation but the ongoing pandemic has continued to unsettle the established order of business dynamics. Having said that, the year demonstrated the real meaning of being adaptable, agile and perse-

vering, for both employers and employees. Businesses even prior to the pandemic were required to manage change and make decisions more quickly than ever before. In the accelerated world of work, corporations across industries today are forced even more to adjust, become nimble and embrace change faster than ever. The uncertainties have intensified those needs in order to meet shifting customer and employee needs.

How has the tech industry looked at the opportunities and areas of growth amid this crisis? First, by shifting from credentials and degrees to skills. Second, by adapting


January 2022 |




models to broaden our talent pipeline.


So, a skills-based model of talent pipeline widens employers' access to talent pools while allowing them to build a more diverse workforce. But for decades, degree requirements have been the norm for jobs? The shift to the unconventional method of sourcing talent has been really intense lately. This is a winwin for both the company or hiring manager and the individual. We have to radically rethink the way we have been hiring; how we source talent and how we evaluate them. There are people, for instance, in their midtwenties who have close to 10 years of coding experience. Is our system agile enough to have these people in our talent pipeline? The way we to changing needs with an a lot of organisations have think about the experience agile mindset. It also led to revamped the process of is changing. We found that a shift from goals to measbuilding talent pipelines. To urable outcomes. When you close employment gaps, they people from under-reprelook at the larger technolshifted from credentials and sented communities don’t apply for jobs until they have ogy industry landscape, the degrees to skills to tap into competition for the limited the unrepresented workforce. six to seven of the 10 requirements. At IBM, 50% of jobs pool of technology workIn the US, for instance, only are open to anyone with the ers got fierce over the past a third of the population right skills. This skills-first 20 months. The scarcity of have a university degree. approach to hiring was a tech skills exploded with the So, focusing on university response to the global scarunprecedented level of adop- degrees necessarily means city of skilled tech workers. tion of technologies and you are narrowing the pipedigital innovations largely lines of individuals who can We are constantly re-evaluating what skills are necessary to enable remote work and compete for these jobs. At to appropriately fill open collaboration. With the IBM, we have been replicatpositions. nature of work and careers ing models from countries changing, organisations need like Switzerland, the UK and the right skill sets to meet Germany that have many How do we develop that long-standing apprenticeship agile mindset to look at nonspecific needs. As a result, | January 2022

What do we need to do differently in order to drive a culture of agility? Obed Louissaint, Senior Vice President, Transformation and Culture at IBM, talks about a better way of looking at job qualifications

equitable pathways to employment for all. - Review job requirements to ensure they focus on skills, and do not disqualify candidates based on unnecessary requirements. - Build belief by showcasing talent to the organisation, sharing their amazing stories, and showing off their results. - Success is tied to building wrap-around support. It takes focused onboarding activities for talent and your management team, but results pay off in innovation and inclusion.

You are responsible for reinventing people systems and culture to enable innovations. What’s your advice for fellow talent leaders on how to align people and culture to drive business success? It’s important to create a thriving culture of co-creation today. For workers to unleash their ingenuity, they need to have the right environment. Organisations should also be transparent with their employees and sharing data and the process of decision-making is super critical. This helps in increased employee engagement, stronger company culture, and more importantly, it helps build a sense of belonging for all employees. January 2022 |


There are people, for instance, in their mid-twenties who have close to 10 years of coding experience. Is our system agile enough to have these people in our talent pipeline?

Where do you see the hybrid model of work today? Is it falling apart, because employees are not ready to come back to work? The routine return to office plan is behind us. The mindset of workers is changing; people are interested in meaningful conversations and work check-ins. Having said that, I believe, the hybrid remote-work model which offers the best of both worlds is the future. Our offices across the world are open as conditions allow and people come when they need to co-create and collaborate.


traditional candidates that may represent a good fit for the organisation? We started on this journey a few years ago with a question – what do we need to do differently in order to drive a culture of agility? At IBM, we coined a new term called “new collar.” It’s a new type of job where having the right skills matters more than having a traditional degree. • Key takeaways from our journey include: - Change starts at the top. As leaders, it’s on us to change the tone we use and create more open and


Yew Hwee Ng

People, Processes, Tools: 3 truths about seamless collaboration in today’s digital world Businesses in Asia have been slower to digitalise than their counterparts in other parts of the world, and they risk losing customers and partners because of it. They need to take urgent action to remain competitive


Digital transformation

or business leaders in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, this is a doubly urgent time. Not only are they working amid an extended global pandemic, but — compared to peers in other parts of the world — many APAC businesses are behind in digital readiness. Their next steps in the coming year could define their coming decade.


Slower start, greater risk

APAC organisations have lagged behind their European and North

| January 2022

American counterparts in digitising workflow processes. For example, only 12 percent of APAC organisations have transitioned to fully digitised document workflows. On average, according to a 2020 Forrester paper, APAC business leaders say they risk losing 31 percent of their customers and 43 percent of their revenue because of “a lack of digital alternatives.” In assessing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on business, many APAC leaders had assumed that while distributed teams were here to stay, staff, customers, and suppliers would still sometimes interact face-to-face — meeting physically, inking paper contracts, and collaborating in person on a whiteboard. It now seems likely that even when the COVID-19 crisis passes, such real-world interactions could be far less common than before the pandemic. Organisations that fail to embrace digital processes across their organisations will be at a growing competitive disadvantage. So, it’s not surprising that business leaders all over the world — including,

recently, those in the APAC region — now rate ‘digitising workflows’ as being as crucial as ‘getting on the cloud’ used to be.

The acceleration has begun

Flexible team structures benefit your people and your business - Distributed, digitally

Forrester research indicates that APAC businesses risk losing 31 percent of their customers and 43 percent of their revenue because of “a lack of digital alternatives.” What now?

Digital transformation

APAC business leaders now appear to be accepting what the data has been showing for many years: adopting end-to-end digital processes fosters collaboration, improves employee productivity, raises customer satisfaction, and guarantees better document security. Forrester research commissioned by Adobe found that digitisation improved employee collaboration in 51 percent of APAC organisations. Forrester also reports that 60 percent of APAC decisionmakers consider document workflow automation as an important feature to support business continuity and agility, and 42 percent of them say the pandemic has caused their organisation to accelerate the adoption of e-signature capabilities. On average, APAC organisations plan to up their spend on digital document processes by 51 percent over the next 12 months. The tide is turning. APAC organisations must act urgently to establish the team agility, processes, and digital tools that will enable them to compete in our evolving world. Here are the three truths leaders should keep in mind as they strengthen their organisation’s capabilities:

connected teams are more than a solution to a short-term problem. As APAC faces uncertainty in the coming years, organisations that have embraced team agility as a mindset and a long-term operating model will be more resilient. They’ll also have an advantage in the ongoing talent wars. In the global 2021 Digital Trends study by Econsultancy and Adobe, managers reported that flexibility was a stronger motivating factor for their topperforming employees than compensation. “Companies will unconsciously sort themselves into two categories: rigid and flex-

ible,” the report notes — predicting that in the battle for the best digital and customer experience talent, “flexibility will win in a landslide.” The modern workforce must transform and adapt to employee preferences for collaboration and flexibility while minimising disruption for customers. In this new era of team creativity and digital-first customers, focusing on people is a foundational first step. Smart digital processes help you get more value from your technology - Once your teams January 2022 |


Digital transformation

apps to your toolkit. Take the time to thoughtfully design workflows that help your people work better together and unlock the full value of your tech investments.


Productivity, collaboration, and creativity don’t just happen automatically every time you add a new set of apps to your toolkit. Take the time to thoughtfully design your workflows are assembled and calibrated to this new working world, they need a set of strategically structured processes to realise your shared goals. With colleagues once a desk away now a city or country away, having these processes crisply embedded in the digital world is vital. Artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud and mobile technologies are reshaping the way we work — and changing how we create and manage the documentation that keeps business moving forward. These technologies can make people more productive and boost collaboration and creativity among dispersed teams. But that doesn’t just happen automatically every time you add a new set of | January 2022

Seamless collaboration tools help your teams better serve your customers - In a digital-first world where customers expect brands to provide them with timely, relevant experiences, you need tools that facilitate seamless collaboration. The right digital tools can make your internal teams more efficient, accelerate customer-facing business processes, and help your organisation deliver content and experiences that matter to your customers. Companies have gained results from an end-to-end digital experience — from content creation to secure electronic sign-offs — that can be seamlessly managed in the cloud and accessed from any device at any time. With the right combination of agile teams, thoughtfully designed processes, and digital tools, you’ll be able to keep your employees engaged, adapt to changing market conditions, and deliver a customer experience that sets you apart from the competition. As the vision for the new digital workplace takes shape, APAC leaders must be ready to truly drive digital transformation within their organisations. The landscape is rapidly shifting. Are your people, processes, and tools in place to position you for success? ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yew Hwee Ng, Digital Media Managing Director - Asia, Adobe

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"We are not just HR: we are businessmen and women"

T a l e n t An a l y t i c s

Fermín Díez is one of the leading global experts in Talent Analytics. His position is clear: as an HR professional you can continue to hide behind your "allergy" to numbers, but this may lead you to lose your place at the decision-making table


umbers rule and those who do not learn to speak in their language are left out of the discussion. This is the convincing argument that Fermín Díez, Deputy CEO & Group Director NCSS, puts forward when explaining why Talent Analytics is no longer an option but a requirement for HR professionals in the new work context. Yes: being empathetic, having charisma and capacity for dialogue, being prolific in anecdotes is all well and good. But these characteristics, which have generally been associated with the area of work that handles human talent, are no longer suffi-

Our salaries are paid by the business, by the shareholders, and we have to help them to be more productive, through people. How to attract, retain or motivate staff are not ends in themselves, but means to grow the business and profitability 22

| January 2022

cient. In fact, one of the barriers most often encountered by Fermín, who is an expert in talent analytics, has to do with attitude. "In my career I have seen many people in HR, who say: I am not good with numbers; I went into HR because I like people; if I had liked numbers I would have gone into accounting or finance. But the reality is that today's business demands us to be good with people and numbers." This requirement is directly related to the new positioning of HR professionals, especially after the crisis caused by the pandemic, which transformed everything: relationships, processes, places, culture and even the very concept of work. It's about aligning with the company's purpose. "We think we are HR people, but we are businessmen and women. And that's the first thing we have to be clear about. It's hard, but our salaries are paid by the business, by the shareholders, and we have to help them to be more productive, through people. How to attract, retain or motivate staff are not ends in themselves, but means to grow the business and profitability," says Fermín.

Simple steps to being more analytical

More than thirty years of experience in HR, fulfilling academic and corporate functions and as

a consultant for multinationals such as Deloitte, Towers Watson, PepsiCo, Freescale Semiconductor, make Fermín Díez an undisputed authority on the subject. From a permanent curiosity and systematic research, this expert has developed a method of being more analytical. He summarises the essential points: "You have to start by understanding the business problem. What does the business want, not what HR thinks or wants. It may be that they want more sales per salesperson or more productivity in manufacturing or higher profitability per employee or higher training output. They are not usually thinking that they want less employee turnover or a better organisational climate. Their objectives are profit, revenue, performance, productivity and, sometimes, customer satisfaction. So, the question is: How do we, from HR, help the business to generate what it wants to generate?” “Before going into data, we have to start with a hypothesis; we have January 2022 |

T a l e n t An a l y t i c s

The good news is that much of the data is easily available to HR people. Figures on hiring, promotions, productivity, absenteeism, expenses, retention or turnover are key information for designing personnel strategies. "How do you convert those people who are allergic or afraid of numbers? You don't have to be so terrified or pessimistic. With a little bit of technology, numbers and finance, it can be done. If you really want HR to be a strategic business partner, then you need to persuade with data," he says. Fermín, who is based in Singapore but has worked in more than 40 countries on all continents, summarises three reasons why it is urgent to break down these barriers and add the use of Talent Analytics to the toolbox. 1) The demands of senior management on the HR function, which has increased especially since the pandemic. "It has been understood that management is essential not only to face crises, but also what is coming in the future". 2) When you are at the table with all the managers, everyone (except HR) talks in numbers. Do we want to be part of that group that makes decisions in the business and assume a priority role? We need to be able to talk in numbers. 3) Employees are more demanding and ask for a higher level of service from HR.


T a l e n t An a l y t i c s 24

Do we want to be part of that group that makes decisions in the business and assume a priority role? We need to be able to talk in numbers to sit down and think about what might be happening; look methodically at what the possibilities are, how we are going to do it. You have to understand finance and accounting, to know what income is, revenue, profit, return on investment. I am not talking about studying statistics, but about having certain key knowledge". The analysis, says Fermín, should result in an insight. A revelation that makes us say: Eureka, but above all that confirms our hypothesis (and if it doesn't, that gives us new information that allows us to design the right strategy in relation to human talent and teams). An example: "Many people believe that paying sales people more compensation produces more sales. It may | January 2022

be that the analysis shows you that the amount of that compensation has nothing to do with results, although it does influence whether the employee has a bonus or not. That's an insight," says the expert, citing the case of an actual consultancy he did for a bank in Australia. A third moment is "Storytelling". "You have to tell the story backwards and forwards, but not with a 24-sheet presentation, because no one will pay attention to you the second time around. At the board meeting or to the Board of Directors, you simply have to tell them: you asked me this question and this is the answer. A presentation of a maximum of six slides to explain the analysis is enough." And one more very important thing: you have to come back. "Six months or a year later, go back and check that what we said happened. Ideally it should have been so, then we will gain credibility". Only with this type of arguments - which are objectively demonstrable - will HR professionals take the step to the next level: that of successful strategies that achieve real impact. "We have to get used to not being moved by opinions alone. There will always be one manager who tells you one thing and another who tells you the opposite on an issue. That's one position, but when you prove something with numbers, that's the end of the discussion. Numbers rule.” Fermin Diez is the Keynote Speaker for BeNext's English and Spanish programme of Talent Analytics ( esp). He is a lecturer, teacher and awardwinning author of several books.

Leadership and employee enablement in 2022

Employee engagement

'How do we as employers become excellent at enabling our employees to succeed?' That's a critical question raised by Jamie Kuhnhausen, VP, People & Operations, CommerceIQ, in a conversation with People Matters By Asmaani Kumar


he year 2022 offers us a number of opportunities to reimagine the employee landscape. In devising new strategies for your business transformation, people strategy will

continue to be a key ingredient as organisations offer continuous opportunities for their employees' growth and development. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Jamie Kuhnhausen,VP, People &

Operations, CommerceIQ, touches upon the importance of innovative leadership this new year, how automation can play a pivotal role in creating equitable access to relevant information and the importance of January 2022 |


Employee engagement

employee enablement at all levels of the employee lifecycle. Jamie is an experienced people leader whose background spans e-commerce, professional services, technology, and medical device industries. Prior to joining CommerceIQ, Jamie held similar roles at Slalom, Solavei, Dye Management Group, Spacelabs Healthcare, and most recently as Senior Director, People & Culture, at Ideoclick. Jamie comes from a diverse background, having led large teams at global publicly traded companies, and establishing early HR infrastructure for several hyper growth start-ups.

As we slowly inch towards a post-pandemic world, what are some of the trends and challenges that will continue to impact the HR domain in the coming year?

Companies will have to create new innovative ways to connect with and onboard employees as organisations embrace remote and hybrid work arrangements. This will need to go beyond how to get better at Zoom and work via video conferencing. As employers, we will need to find ways to better enable our employees so location is not a factor. We need to rethink how we engage and prepare employees to be successful.

ity to find and access information more critical than it was when you could easily ask the person in the desk next to yours. At the pace that employees are switching jobs, companies have an opportunity to retain good employees by making sure they have access to everything they need to be successful. For new employees, the information they need to become immersed in your business must be made accessible.

With 'The Great Resignation' being one of the chief concerns in the talent hunt, what would be some of the priorities for organisations in the year 2022? In the absence of hallway walk-by's, companies have an opportunity to leverage new technologies to keep employees connected. Working remotely makes the abil-

What are some of the best practices in sustaining your organisational culture? In this new work environment where so much is happening remotely and via video conference, the challenge for leaders is how to "show up" in a way that clearly reflects the behaviours supportive of your company's values. Leader-

At the pace that employees are switching jobs, companies have an opportunity to retain good employees by making sure they have access to everything they need to be successful 26

| January 2022

ship doesn't have the same natural opportunities they may have had before, if they spent 8+ hours in an office interacting with teams. Leaders need to be intentional about finding opportunities to engage with their employees that would allow them to reflect aspects of their values back to the team in ways that are genuine and frequent. This can be through AllHands meetings, leadership roundtable meetings, casual gatherings, and the like.

As an HR leader, what are some of your top priorities for 2022?

How do we as employers become excellent at enabling our employees to succeed? It's a heavy task at the beginning of the employee lifecycle, but it carries throughout their time with the company and should be addressed that way Employee Enablement – we have an opportunity to reimagine onboarding. How do we as employers become excellent at enabling our employees to succeed? It's a heavy task at the beginning of the employee lifecycle, but it carries throughout their time with the company and should be addressed that way. As a company, at CommerceIQ, we are developing an Employee Enablement program that addresses the learning, development, and resource needs of employees at every stage of their growth with our company.

Finally, what are some lessons from the past year that you would like to share with fellow HR leaders, as they re-invent their organisations and start a new chapter in their business and people strategy? Use your data. Business is moving faster, and we have new complexities with changing ways of working and employees moving jobs in such high numbers. There is no better way to get clarity around priorities or to gain support for programs or funding than by vetting and validating ideas with your data. January 2022 |

Employee engagement

With HR transformation driven by data and people analytics, what is the role of digital tools in organisational growth? With remote work becoming so prevalent, giving employees access to data and information digitally – which they otherwise would have asked someone for in an office – will be a requirement. We are already seeing AI being used to help serve up this information. In the near future, we'll be able to use an app to ask: "When is our next pay day?" or "How many PTO hours have I accumulated?" Or say: "Register me for the next Excel training class". As employers, we have an opportunity to make it easier for our employees to do good work and remove administrative burden.


Serge DeVos

Global Capability Centres – The mind of the future-ready enterprise The idea of putting back-end functions together in a single global capability centre started out as a way to reduce costs and improve productivity. But now it’s become a way to enhance other, more sophisticated forms of competitive advantage



S t r a t e g y

he Global Capability Centre (GCC) landscape has evolved significantly in the last decade, making the country home to 1,300+ GCCs and employing over 1.3 million talented individuals. According to a joint report by Deloitte and NASSCOM, these centres contribute towards 1% of India’s GDP. They also facilitate revenues to potentially scale up to $60–$85 billion by 2022 from its $33.80 billion figure in 2019–20.


| January 2022

In the last decade, GCCs have evolved from back-office operations into value-added, businesscritical operations that drive global functions. Where they previously concerned themselves with overseeing support functions’ operations and IT support, now many GCCs have matured into owning these processes for parent organisations, running their R&D centres, driving product innovation and building e-commerce capabilities. A study by Deloitte summarises this transition – GCCs have matured along two axes, bringing in more business-critical scope of services and taking more end-to-end ownership of these services. Expansion and growth are critical in this space. The winning combination of a clear, wellexecuted strategy and a thriving ecosystem in India offers the right support towards this expansion and accelerating transformation. GCCs should focus on enabling purpose-driven growth by building a meaningful network in the industry, developing programmes that summarise

to the availability of young tech talent, India also boasts of a BPO and GCC ecosystem with over 20 years of experience in several domains like Finance and IT. This is another pool of domain experts that can drive business results. To fully transform the GCC workforce, a balance of external recruitment alongside upskilling the current workforce is fundamental. Given the diverse nature of the functions that capability centres support, being industry agnostic plays a huge role in attracting the right talent. Evaluating talent based on subject matter expertise and building a diverse and inclusive workforce sets the stage for success. Lastly, GCCs can flourish by leading the innovation and transformation agenda. Being at the forefront of this shift means evolvJanuary 2022 |

S t r a t e g y

What does it take to enable success in the global capability centre space? Culture, talent, and transformation are the starting points


learnings and best practices, and forming an internal pool of Business Service leaders and experts. Here are my thoughts on enabling success in the GCC space: Firstly, work towards building a culture of ownership to drive operational excellence and automation. Fostering this culture of ownership is a true competitive advantage to GCCs in today’s time. To begin this process of transforming from a back office operation to a leading GCC is to drive that change in mindset. From supporting the client in the Zone to owning a result for the Zone. The aim should be to inspire all your employees to take personal ownership of their operational results. Start empowering your teams to automate their jobs and reposition their careers to more value-added, strategic roles. This encourages employees to take charge and ownership of their careers. Another focus area would be to hire and build talent of the future. Focus recruitment efforts on top tech and management campuses across India. Injecting fresh talent has the potential to transform your organisation ground-up as this talent works with new technologies that help automate transactional roles, garner insights from data and bring a unique perspective into the organisation. India is uniquely positioned for such a holistic transformation with a talent pool of millions of new graduates annually that are skilled in technology, operations, data and analytics. Next



S t r a t e g y

ing from the traditional scope of a GCC to a centre for innovation and digital transformation. GCCs should always be on the lookout to establish new capabilities, leverage AI / ML, empower start-ups to infuse technology into the organization and introduce meaningful employee initiatives – all of which have the potential to deliver several million dollars of bottomline savings per year. India and Bengaluru have proved to be the best platform for building innovative capabilities at

In the post-pandemic world we live in, it is predicted that GCCs will become even more strategic to an organisation’s headquarters or even play the role of a second headquarter. They will be expected to drive growth and value across companies’ value chains with impetus on innovation scale. The thriving start-up ecosystem, leading data science community and tight-knit group of GCC leaders are fundamental in creating an enabling GCC ecosystem. Bengaluru boasts a well-connected and collaborative ecosystem that facilitates thought leadership and exchange of best practices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GCCs in India showed resilience and commitment towards their employees – it was heartening to see how GCCs supported their employees by providing medical support. This has earned the


| January 2022

GCCs the unparalleled loyalty of employees who have gone out of their way to support their employers. As a result, the GCC market has seen a rapid and persistent growth both in existing and new GCCs, banking on that resilience and strengthened reputation. Today, in the post-pandemic world we live in, it is predicted that GCCs will become even more strategic to an organisation’s headquarters or even play the role of a second headquarter. They will be expected to drive growth and value across companies’ value chains with impetus on innovation. As companies’ customer front ends are digitising, their back offices will also need to adapt to the changing trends by making way for a hybrid, flexible work model. GCCs will need to manage this challenge while simultaneously finding ways to attract top talent in a new hybrid world. I look forward to the next frontier. How can the collective expertise of GCCs the world over be scaled? What if 1,300+ GCCs across India could collaborate in creating a robust ecosystem, delivering similar business value for their parent concerns and further elevating the maturity of the sector as a whole? I am excited by that dream and I am sure that thousands of talented people in India will be too. The GCC market seems like the place to be in the next couple of years! ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Serge DeVos is Global Director, GCC Operations – AB InBev GCC

Addressing the tech industry's skills gap in 2022 Looking forward to 2022, Kavita Viswanath, General Manager of JFrog shared some of the distinct skills that tech employers are looking out for By Sudeshna Mitra

S k i lls


hile ‘innovation’ knows no boundary in the world of technology, the skills gap is something that employers often find challenging to handle. With every passing day, new technology comes to the market calling for newer skills. Amid such a rapidly moving environment, how do the leaders strike the right chord to balance

between problem-solving experience and latest skills? Is the education system equipped enough to create that balance? Kavita Viswanath, General Manager of JFrog, noted some loopholes in the education system that often hold students back while trying to solve real business problems.

Looking back at the sudden but major digital transformation, did you

feel the need for immediate skilling of your employees in order to cater to the increasing demand for your products in the market? Yes, absolutely. I think the massive shift that we have seen with digital transformation was led by COVID-19 to a great extent. There are tons of businesses, including our customers who have no option but to go digital which in turn increased the demand for such engineers January 2022 |


S k i lls

There will be a skills gap in the market, no matter what, because newer technologies continue to emerge all the time. So how aware are you of the gap and how are you making yourself ready to address it? who could enable transformation for a lot of these businesses. So yes, we see a huge gap that exists both in our employee set as well as in the market when it comes to hiring in terms of skill sets needed to fulfill this demand.


Pertaining to the demand for employees with the latest skills ets, what has been the situation for hiring freshers over the last year? I think hiring graduates, especially freshers, is a challenge for mid to larger companies as most of them come with theoretical experience and less of practical | January 2022

knowledge. Freshly graduated candidates are not expected to know much about the real time skill sets. So, I think the market is tough for them, especially when it comes to SaaS or product companies. But once they understand the demand for these skill sets in the market, they may have an ocean of opportunities. All they need to do is upgrade themselves with these skill sets and have a few live project experiences. The ones who have two years of experience are the best hires as they already have some of these skills and are also trainable.

Do you think that the education system could undergo some modifications which could help companies meet their skills needs? Absolutely. The education system builds your fundamentals and problem-solving capabilities. But to start contributing to your job from day one, you need to have the right skills that make you successful in business, and that's the gap that we need to fill through the education system. Besides internships in their final year, every student should be exposed to industry projects from year one onwards, because this exposure can only improve their knowledge over time. So, I think instead of waiting for the last mile, industry projects, exposure, understanding a bit of problemsolving skills, etc., needs to be incorporated right from year one so that our students are not left behind and they are able to catch up with pretty much everything by the time they're out of university. We often hear leaders saying that there is a skill gap between the Gen Z and the senior employees especially when it comes to the technical skills or the digital skills. Is the situation the same for the tech industry? Yes. I would say that the there will be a skills gap in the market no matter what,

because newer technologies continue to emerge all the time. But I think the important point is how aware you are of this gap? And also, how do you make yourself ready to address this gap? We need to identify the gap in a timely manner and address it with the right training. The impact will be immediately seen on productivity.

something that is already in the system.

In 2022, which trend is going to have a high impact on decision making in the tech industry? I think that in 2022 data science is taking off in a really big way. And therefore, everyone should try and pick up a data science skill to see if that's something that aligns with the rest of their capabilities. Looking at our roadmap I can say that data science is an important lever or an input. In fact, businesses can start leveraging some of the intelligence on it. The other thing is cloud computing. Though it has been around for a long time, over the past two years cloud

native technologies have picked up in a big way and are going to prevail over the next couple of years as well. The third thing in the list is IoT. IoT related technologies for devices as well as at the software level have really created buzz. But what's changed about IoT is the demand in the market. Almost every software company in the market is building a product that has to be IoT ready. And soon, we're all going to be surrounded by devices that will start interacting and talking to each other. So that's the world that we need to prepare ourselves to be in.

As a leader, what would be your suggestion for all the tech employees across the world, which may help them in 2022? If you're in the technology world, and take your career seriously, you need to be two steps ahead of where technology is right now. You need to map your skills gap and address it. The technology universe is vast and you will easily get lost if you don't identify your niche or your spot there. So, I would say: 1. Look at yourself, 2. Look at your strengths, 3. Understand and know where you want to be and then build a path towards it by either breaching your skill sets or making the right rules. January 2022 |

S k i lls

How important is it for you to strike a balance between the experienced employees and freshers who come up with the latest technical or digital skills already in hand? I will not compare the two because the gap that exists for experienced folks is very different. The background is different and the skills could be more recent because of the changing deck and the new tech stack that we might be using. But the freshers come with only basic experience and a limited understanding of the technology or tool sets that we use. So, these are two different issues and I would address it in two different ways. I would rather use fresh graduates or those with less years of experience on products where I can let them leverage their problem-solving capabilities. Not everything is about coding or using the new languages. A lot of it is about problem solving and working on

If you're in the technology world and take your career seriously, you need to be two steps ahead of where technology is right now. The technology universe is vast and you will easily get lost if you don't identify your niche or your spot there



| January 2022

This year, let's look forward to building upon the positive trends and changes that we see now and in the future. WHAT'S YOUR 2022 ASPIRATION?


January 2022 |


down into regulatory direction. Ethics and responsibility come close after, as organisations seek to hold themselves to ever higher standards of corporate behaviour and, indeed, expectations and scrutiny also mount externally. Fair, inclusive, and empathetic treatment of employees is a major highlight, in tandem with the importance of employee well-being that came to the forefront at the height of the pandemic; the last two years have shown that those organisations that succeed in times of crisis are the ones that truly care for their people, their communities, and their stakeholders. And inextricably intertwined with these advancements is the great technological and hybrid shift that the pandemic brought on: digital acceleration that has opened up new possibilities, and the global acceptance of flexible work that now drives change in everything from organisational policies, to national labour market strategies, to the very definition of the workplace. In our January cover story, we look ahead at some of the most pressing macro and micro trends that will shape the world of work in the coming year, and what opportunities organisations can focus upon as they determine the direction of their people strategies.


conomies are reopening, travel has resumed, and the job market has begun to recover. 2022 may not be a year of growth in terms of numbers per se, but it looks set to be a year of acceleration as organisations run with the trends that emerged over the course of the pandemic. Business strategies are increasingly employee-centric as the talent shortage continues to drive home just how critical people are to any kind of success. Recruitment is ever more innovative and inclusive – not just in terms of technologies, but in organisations' growing willingness to tap on those segments of the workforce that they might previously have overlooked. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives continue to intensify, with organisations offering internal mobility as an alternative to the growth and development employees might otherwise seek elsewhere. Retention strategies are more sophisticated than ever, with the employee value proposition now expected to encompass multiple aspects of the organisation right down to its image among frontliners. Sustainability is an ever more pressing strategic direction for businesses, driven by overarching global concerns around climate change and international agreements that trickle



The future of work: Top trends for 2022

What emerging trends will define work, the workplace, and the workforce in 2022? We bring you our forecast for the coming months By People Matters Editorial Team


s the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, companies need to keep a close eye on the progression of trends that will define 'work' in 2022. Here's a look at the key trends we suspect will shape the year:

The rise of the long-term hybrid work model

Remote work has evolved from a limited benefit to the norm, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. One global study by the Capgemini Research Institute found that three-quarters of organisations across the US, 36

| January 2022

Europe and Asia expect 30% or more of their employees to be working remotely, and over a quarter expect over 70% of staff to work remotely. At the same time, the fluid workplace is emerging as the norm for the future. A fluid workplace places little importance on location or geography, and employers will explore various work models to stay competitive. Randstad research indicates that new work models like gig work, hybrid work, and part-time work are in the exploratory stage, with hybrid emerging as the most

likely model of the future. Hybrid has already become popular – and productive – and we believe it will become a permanent feature for organisations that realise that a flexible work culture will enhance employee productivity, satisfaction, and work-life balance. In many cases, the hybrid work model, driven by secure and agile technology, has proven to be effective for both companies and their employees. It's therefore not surprising that organisations across all industries, sectors, and geographies have incor-

porated hybrid into their long-term work design as a way of future-proofing themselves, with the focus on employee-centric implementation.

Labour shortages and steady wage growth


Culture transformations – aligning individual and community values One suspected factor in the 'Great Resignation' is a growing desire among employees to find purpose in their jobs. Alongside this expectation, there has been an increased interest in the quality of organisations' corporate citizenship – whether they are doing their part for community and society, whether they are attuned and responsive to broader social movements, whether they are being responsible in their operations. Internally, employee expectations have also given rise to other shifts in organisational culture. Some of the more prominent trends are an increased focus on wellbeing and health, rethinking innovation at work, and identifying ways of continuously learning. Even where these were not initially a front-of-mind considera-


The war for talent isn't easing off. Last November, a survey by US-based The Conference Board forecast a 3.9% jump in wage costs for US firms in 2022, compared to a 3% rise predicted in April. Shortly after that, US Labor Department statistics showed a record number of people quitting their jobs. S&P Global also forecast that it will ‘likely remain tough’ to find workers in 2022, and those workers will cost businesses more. What this amounts to is a very high chance that wages across all levels of the organisation will increase over

2022, driven primarily by labour shortages – not just in the US, but in every country that's seeing symptoms of the 'Great Resignation'. It may become a make-or-break factor in employee retention, especially for new hires. Inflation may have a mixed effect here; on the one hand, it could make the wage growth more palatable to employers, but on the other hand it could result in wage compression, making the increased salary no more attractive to employees than the original. Companies in the Asia Pacific are ahead of the curve here, though. ECA International’s Annual Salary Report puts the predicted average increase after inflation at 1.9% in the APAC region, more than twice the forecast for the average global real salary increase (0.9%).

The rise of hybrid; labour shortages; wage growth; ongoing dependence on the gig economy; and more. We identify the trends that we believe will shape 2022 January 2022 |


tion, they are now becoming central to business operations. That said, cultural transformation does not happen overnight, and what started with the pandemic may take years to achieve, depending on the organisation's level of maturity and where it is on its journey.



HR – setting trends and fueling organisation-wide change


COVID-19 made reality what had previously been abstract: the idea of HR getting a seat at the table and HR being a business leader. 2020 and 2021 became the year of the CHRO, as businesses realised the importance of people; HR professionals suddenly became involved elbow-deep in the business; and HR leaders have been kept busy reimagining workforce and employee planning, performance and experience strategies. In 2022, this trend can only continue. The HR function will increasingly influence other apparently unrelated aspects of the business. Some high-level areas where we already see HR professionals taking the lead are: • Introducing and implementing new practices that benefit both business and people • Challenging the status quo around the concept of work | January 2022

What will define 'work' in 2022? As we enter the third year of the pandemic, here are some of the major changes that will continue into the foreseeable future • Bringing the important matters of people and community to the forefront • Creating balance between business and employees’ priorities • Social responsibility and embedding sustainability

The rise of AI, and integrated talent and work management solutions

In 2021, we saw AI in action primarily in the area of recruitment, playing a dominant role in the borderless talent hunt. AI's importance will only scale up over the coming months, as organisations broaden their search for talent in the quest to bridge skill gaps and keep pace with the changing environment. At the same time, integrated technology systems have more than proven their worth in the shift to remote work and management. Performance appraisals, employee benefits, learn-

ing, recruitment, and other time and resource-consuming jobs have been not only streamlined, but made virtual-friendly. Come 2022, we can expect to see organisations further sprucing up their technology landscape to improve their workforce management strategies – be it in terms of onboarding, attendance, payroll or even employee experience.

Renewed focus on business sustainability and cybersecurity

The pandemic underscored the value of business continuity plans (BCPs) as businesses that had prepared contingency plans were much quicker to adapt and recover. Over 2020, we saw organisations with BCPs hurrying to update their continuity plans, and organisations without BCPs rushing – belatedly – to get plans in place. Now, with resilience recognised as a major priority, business sustainability will continue to be a significant, if understated, trend in the year to come. In 2021, cybersecurity has also emerged as a critical subset of resilience, especially in the remote working world. The number and frequency of cyberattacks soared over the last two years as attackers took advantage of digitalisation and the remote working trend. Today, cybersecurity is one of the most coveted

Increased dependency on contingent workers

January 2022 |


tising, saw greater acceptance from organisations, big and small, across the globe. Employers have recognised the need for a thoughtful and compassionate outlook towards both work and the workforce, making way for newer ways of working that foster a sense of well-being and inclusion for one and all. Interestingly, the physical distance forced by the pandemic fueled a monumental shift in mindset, one that today acknowledges and embraces the need for social well-being and inclusion. While several policies and practices have been introduced to address concerns in the two segments, how employers enable a shift from mere lip service and documented policies to an everyday reality for each and everyone will be core to sustainable well-being and inclusion.


skill sets in many industries and will continue to be an area of focus - and concern for knowledgeable organisations in 2022 and beyond. Meeting well-being needs and ensuring talent diversity/inclusivity While the virtual world maintains the physical distance among colleagues, the past year has witnessed a greater demand for narrowing the emotional gaps in understanding and experience at the workplace. While COVID-19 saw employers come forward and support the physical health of the workforce with helplines and resources, it also put the spotlight on emotional needs, the absence of which could paralyse workplace culture. The focus on mental health and efforts to provide access to medical help, beyond conversations on destigma-

Over the last two years, the gig economy has grown significantly, driven partly by the mass layoffs in 2020. Now, with those layoffs having resulted in manpower shortages, companies are inclining more towards the gig economy. With the talent pool constrained by border restrictions across different countries, organisations around the world are even more likely to leverage this pool of foreign manpower to meet their talent needs in the coming year. The gig workforce is already in high demand among developed economies and developing economies are also moving to greater reliance on it. For instance, a report by ASSOCHAM – an Indian non-governmental trade association and advocacy group – India’s gig sector is likely to grow to US$455 billion at a CAGR of 17 per cent by 2024. Employers shouldn't take this as a cue to exploit perceived cheap labour, though. Gig workers around the globe have agitated for better labour protection for the last few years – and in many countries they have gotten it, as governments crack down on perceived abuses. Just as with the fulltime workforce, employers need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of contingent workers.


Empowerment and trust is the way forward:



Schneider Electric's Charise Le


In a workplace dramatically changed by the pandemic, trust becomes key to empowering employees: giving them autonomy over business decisions, career choices, and how they manage their own work. Charise Le, CHRO of Schneider Electric, tells People Matters how her company is advancing a strategy of trust and employee empowerment By Mint Kang


mphasise the employees: that's a distinct characteristic of the post-pandemic future, one underscored by the noticeably better performance of companies that focused on workforce well-being over the last two years. One critical bridge between the employee-first strategy and high performance is empowerment: the idea that employees are trusted to make decisions for the benefit of the business and stakeholders alike. People Matters asked Charise Le, Chief Human Resources Officer of global energy and automation firm | January 2022

Schneider Electric, about SE's employee empowerment strategy and how she sees the employer-employee relationship evolving in 2022 and beyond. Charise has been with Schneider Electric since 2007, leading HR teams across various segments of the business. In 2020 she was appointed CHRO, taking on the responsibility of building a progressive and engaging people strategy that could sustain through the pandemic and beyond. Here's what she shared.

Schneider Electric has been working on employee

empowerment for quite a few years now. Could you share a bit of the background behind this philosophy? Our leadership and culture transformation was launched in 2017 with a focus on high performance and empowerment and we’ve made visible progress in this while delivering results. Trust is instilled both culturally and behaviourally and starts at the top. In all our communications with employees, our top leaders reinforce trust and empathy. We drive certain behaviours from both our employees and our managers which is supported by our guide-

are you working towards for the coming year? As we move towards a post-pandemic era, the nature of work, the workplace and the relationships between companies, customers and employees have dramatically changed. First, we need to strengthen trust through a meaningful purpose, ethics, fairness, health and safety (both physical and psychological), well-being, and employee experience. Second, we must acceler-


Going forward into 2022, what are the plans for SE's employee empowerment strategy? What outcomes

We empower our employees and leaders to make decisions that benefit the local community and customers. It not only helps attract and retain the best talents from around the world but creates the most diverse leadership teams with a true multi-market knowledge and culture


lines and culture. We also have a clear employee value proposition that focuses on empowerment of our people, an inclusive and equitable company, and meaningful, purposeful work. A key element of empowerment is our multi-hub model which splits our headquarters across four hubs: France for Europe, Hong Kong for Asia, Boston for North America and most recently India. We empower our employees and leaders to make decisions that benefit the local community and customers. It not only helps attract and retain the best talents from around the world but creates the most diverse leadership teams with a true multi-market knowledge and culture. By empowering our employees we’re also enabling much quicker decision making. At the same time, this encourages much more creativity to unleash the potential of talent to lead to better accountability, engagement and performance overall. This is all backed up by digital acceleration and the need for more innovation – by using technology more, we’re able to empower and enable leaders and employees to take ownership.

ate the transformation of our culture, leadership and new ways of working. We believe these new ways of working – with a focus on digital, our multi-hub approach, hybrid work and well-being – are here to stay. One of the ways we are empowering our employees to own their careers and make choices based on their skills and development needs is through Open Talent Market (OTM). OTM is an AI-driven platform that matches internal talent January 2022 |




to opportunities (projects, jobs and mentors) across the organisation at speed. To date, over 68% of our global workforce have registered, with over 20,000 full time positions created. We know our employees have bold ideas and we empower them to pitch our investment teams and executives on their ideas through the Dare to Disrupt Challenge. In our recently completed challenge we had 2,500 employees participate

We need to strengthen trust through a meaningful purpose, ethics, fairness, health and safety, well-being, and employee experience...we must accelerate the transformation of our culture, leadership and new ways of working and form 242 teams from 44 countries. Three teams will receive funding to start their own businesses outside Schneider Electric with the support of our Incubation team and two teams will be moving forward to develop their ideas internally.


these expectations continuing to shift and evolve in 2022? Yes, hybrid working, with a more balanced approach between working from the office and home, will continue, with flexibility now an expectation for employees. Our employees all lead their own unique lives, so the role of our leaders becomes even more critical. Where the state of normal is always in flux, they must lead with both

2021 saw a lot of changes to employee expectations around how businesses treat them, to the point where the Great Resignation is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Do you see | January 2022

‘high touch’ and ‘high tech’ and build human connections in a digital world. Leaders need to drive more disruption and acceleration while ensuring a human connection through strong coaching, caring and collaboration across their teams. It will require them to abandon some behaviours and reset and renew others. Expectations will continue to shift as we continue to adapt and implement more digital technology as people become more resilient to

change, both internally and in the market. One way to encourage this is the upskilling and reskilling of employees, specifically in digital, and we aim to have more than 90% of our employees upskilled by 2025.

Of the changes businesses are making in response to employee expectations, which do you consider the most effective? There are two that stand out. Firstly, the requirements of our leaders. They are not necessarily new, but must be accelerated and intensified, specially to support hybrid and digital ways of working with customers and teams. The connection between leadership and our culture and new ways of working is paramount and we need to clarify and amplify this and to reinforce a collective accountability for leaders. Secondly, and linked to the above, it’s the way we embrace agile, flexible and smart ways of working for our people—to support higher performance, greater inclusion, well-being and stronger resiliency. Our new way of working reinforces our Employer Value Proposition and reputation as a great company for great people and our multi-hub/ multi-local model acts as an enabler with decentralised locations and decision making.

From a Rewards and Benefits standpoint, we need to provide more holistic and flexible choices to our employees. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to employees. It’s more crucial than ever that we deliver the best employee experience

What might empowerment look like further down the road, as employers and employees come to a middle ground? For us at Schneider Electric, we use the Agile methodology for a more effective trade-off between speed and efficiency. As an example, in our largest business – Energy Management – we have embarked on a journey to deploy Agile in the R&D area. We aim to unleash entrepreneurship through empowered and autonomous squads which in turn will further strengthen our ability to embark customers at the heart of innovation. Innovation has always been at the heart of our DNA and we want to continue evolving. We believe that by using Agile we can empower adaptability and visibility – to keep that evolution going. Finally, over the last two years people have re-evaluated their needs relating to their work and personal


How are you ensuring that this approach will stick, going forward? As with many things in both personal and professional lives, it’s sometimes easy to slip back into doing what you have always done. The pandemic has reinforced the importance of our multi-hub approach and the impact of local empowerment. We now have much more regional talent in regional leadership positions, and this helps ensure we don’t revert back to a ‘one size fits all approach’ where key decision-making

does not allow for the needs of local markets.


We trust and empower people to work smartly, manage a hybrid work model and their unique life and work. Employees should be held accountable for the work they do, not the hours they work. Teams will also need to adopt new and smarter ways of working to maintain and improve productivity, innovation and collaboration so we support our people to work seamlessly and effectively no matter where they are.

lives, and employees’ perception when it comes to “total rewards” has also changed. In addition to compensation, employees are talking about flexibility, worklife balance, the option for remote work, and room to focus on personal and family responsibilities. Organisations must ensure that we can support all of these from a technological standpoint. As an enabler for these needs, technology has an important role to play in the new scheme of things. Flexibility, for example, can only be brought about with the use of technology, and programmes and solutions given by employers must be flexibly designed. Rewards and recognition need to be re-designed to cater to the elements of choice and scalability to a much larger level. From a Rewards and Benefits standpoint, we need to provide more holistic and flexible choices to our employees. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to employees. It’s more crucial than ever that we deliver the best employee experience. Providing the element of choice in our mental well-being programmes, financial wellbeing programmes, career choices and benefits will help empower employees to make the right decisions and choose what makes sense to them and fits their unique life. January 2022 |




We need to evolve our work practices and work culture: VMware's Betsy Sutter Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer of VMware, spent two decades with the company designing a culture that builds upon a great in-person experience. Now the last two years have created a powerful impetus to evolve that culture, she tells People Matters By Mint Kang



etsy Sutter, the Chief People Officer of cloud computing company VMware, is optimistic about 2022. She and the leadership team at VMware spent 2021 working very hard to support the company's 31,000 employees around the world, paying attention to their needs and expectations, and trying to match company policy to the changes going on around them. | January 2022

Sutter joined VMware in January 2001, and built the company's HR function almost from scratch. Over the last two decades, she grew VMware's HR team into a global organisation that's been responsible for creating, maintaining, and growing a strong organisational culture, which she believes is the single greatest advantage in making a company sustainable. She has overseen dozens of VMware's acquisitions and led the integration of the acquired teams into the company's culture. Now, with the pandemic having

drastically changed work experience, the evolution of that culture has become one of her top priorities. Here's what she told us about what she sees in the coming year and how she plans to move ahead.

Now that 2022's finally underway, what's your summary of the year we've just left? What do you see on the road ahead? Over the past year, I think we did a solid job paying attention to and working hard to support our people. We wanted to really enable them to contribute while

Distributed work is here to stay so we need to develop work practices and norms that harness the positive attributes and circumvent the negatives

anything related to wellness. I also worry that distributed work is shrinking networks and creating deeper silos and we need to intentionally bring our senior leadership team together to drive connection and innovation. We are re-thinking our On the topic of expectawork practices, our cultural tions, boundaries between tenants along with science work and life have diminand art of how to manage ished at a tremendous rate. people in this new era. What pros and cons do you With all that, we’ve seen see? Many of us really appreci- tremendous benefits from ate a better work/life balance our distributed work envithat hybrid work affords us. ronment. It has levelled the I’ll personally never go back playing field and given all to working in the office fullour team members an equal time. On the other hand, opportunity to contribute people can feel a sense of regardless of where they isolation and Zoom fatigue, sit in the world – and it’s and data suggests that we’re removed barriers that some working longer hours, so I people have experienced worry about burnout. We’re working in an in-person intentionally giving our workplace. We’re also better team additional days off able to find diverse talent to recharge and providing outside of our hub locations. reimbursement for almost Distributed work is here to stay so we need to develop work practices and norms that harness the positive attributes and circumvent the negatives. needs of our existing workforce head on, whether that’s through offering workplace choice and flexibility, fostering well-being, or supporting their career development and mobility inside the company.


navigating enormous challenges in their personal lives. For many people, COVID-19 created an opportunity to reassess priorities and think deeply about what they want from their careers, which has led to the infamous 'Great Resignation.' At the same time, younger people are entering the job market with different expectations around how and where they want to work. This means that companies that want to position themselves for success now and in the future should be taking this time to look inward and figure out how they can show up and be there for employees in new and better ways. We’re spending a lot of time thinking about not only how we can attract more of the best and most diverse talent into the organisation, but also how we support the

As leaders script the story of 2022, what's the underlying driving factor? What most needs to be prioritised and/or changed? Hybrid workforces and work are the next great disruptor. We are living it. The workforce is not going back to the pre-pandemic ways of working, so we need to evolve our work pracJanuary 2022 |



tices to meet employees where they are. I am thinking a lot about work culture too. I’ve spent 20 years at VMware designing a culture that was anchored to an in-person experience. Now, a significant portion of our workforce has been added since the pandemic that hasn’t been part of the prepandemic VMware culture. We need to continue establishing a strong culture that is inclusive of all communities to drive collaboration and innovation and foster a sense of belonging. Engaging the workforce is also top of mind for me. Post-pandemic, employees are looking for more than a job. They want renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. And while we’re attracting new innovators to the company, we’re adjusting our norms and processes to give everyone room to take risks, make mistakes, adjust

| January 2022

and keep moving forward. Underlying all of this is our continued investment in diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI is being woven into the way we do business, but we have opportunities to do more, including harnessing the momentum of the change agents across the company, enabling our manager population to drive ownership and accountability, and continuing to support our Power of Difference affinity groups.

Where do you see the greatest uncertainties in the coming year? The shifting nature of the pandemic is an ongoing challenge for everyone. We recently announced that we will be opening all VMware offices globally by February 1, unless there are specific country or local guidelines prohibiting a re-opening. Working from a formal

company office will remain 100% voluntary for the foreseeable future, but the option will be there for those who want it. Choice and flexibility are here to stay for us. We’re going to rely increasingly on our “regional communities” to create strong inclusive cultural ties and to re-invent and nurture the collaboration that has broken down a bit during the pandemic. Like many companies in the tech industry, VMware is going through a transformation, and we need everyone to be in the boat and rowing toward the same goal.

What's your own level of optimism for the months ahead? What are you looking forward to? I’m optimistic and even excited about the future. The pandemic has been a once in a generation event that rattled our foundation, exposed flaws in our systems, and forced us to look at almost everything in new ways. It was a painful time and we’ve suffered a collective trauma, but I think humans are resilient and we’ll see a period of growth once the worst is behind us. We’re extremely fortunate in the tech industry to have gone through this without too much disruption and I think it created new opportunities for us to explore and then enjoy in the coming years.

Hiring and recruitment trends to look out for in 2022

The use of AI and data analytics to get the right talent is set to rise, even as employers look to boost their diversity & inclusion profile and strengthen EVP by offering perks that go beyond pay cheques alone By Mamta Sharma


Specificity to be a key theme in hiring

January 2022 |


The key theme for hiring in 2022 will be specificity, that is, hiring for specific roles, focusing on the right profile, and this will be done through the use of assessment tools, AI, and data analytics, says Siddhartha Gupta, CEO of online talent assessment company Mercer|Mettl. “Recruiters will prioritise the ‘who to hire’ rather than ‘what to hire’. 2022 will be the year of data-driven recruitment,” he says. In the past, the problem when it comes to hiring has always been that there is no synchronisation when it comes to aligning. Companies used to end up hiring ‘jack of all, master of none’ profiles. In addition, there were cases when a person was hired for a particular position, but ended up doing something else, and then got evaluated from a competency framework that was not applicable to their profile in the first place. “In 2022, one needs to be specific in their approach. The ‘generalist’ hiring approach won’t work. Hence, basis AI, big-data-driven assessment tools... one needs to figure out ‘who’ or ‘what is that right profile’ that is


t the end of every year, recruitment teams worldwide plan their strategies for the next 12 months, addressing key areas like resolving issues with their hiring processes, revisiting language in their job descriptions, re-evaluating their talent management, reconsidering what a ‘qualified’ candidate looks like, and reassessing where and how they source top talent. To address critical skills gaps, recruitment professionals need to stay on top of the hiring trends. The more willing they are to rethink traditional approaches and understand the current trends, the better placed they will be to take challenges head on, recruit the best talent, and stay competitive in 2022. People Matters gathered insights from industry leaders on the recruitment and hiring trends that

job seekers may find helpful and companies and hiring managers should look out for this year.



missing. Once that is done, based on data, you create a specific profile with absolute clarity on what is the mission of the role, what is the outcome expected, the competencies required, the assumed interests and needs for that role. And then you create a competency framework that is aligned with the ‘profile’. In a nutshell, it’s about mapping the entire journey of a role. Furthermore, this will also become essential to deal with attrition. You don’t want to end up in a hire-fire cycle as it is cost and time expensive,” says Gupta.

Need for a fresh look at employee value proposition

As people become more selective about their work priorities, needs, and conditions, the employer value proposition must change accordingly. Raunak Bhandari, Regional Program Manager, Organisational Development – APAC – at Google, says that focus areas for companies would include updating brand research and outreach so companies can adapt policies, benefits, and messaging to the current market and prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in talent attraction and retention, since the pandemic disproportionately affects labour outcomes for minoritised groups. | January 2022

The big question for 2022 is which DEI strategies adopted in 2021 (if any) will be most successful in increasing representation in big tech? Numerical ‘goaling’ would not be enough, says Bhandari about trends that should be taken into consideration. "Many companies without goals (Netflix) show strong DEI growth due to other institutional commitments. Flexible working arrangements will likely allow for increased hiring of minoritised groups. Tying executive pay to DEI performance has been adopted by Apple and other large non-tech companies (e.g., McDonald’s). This policy shows the most promise for making all leaders responsible for improving their organisation’s DEI,” he adds.

Need for tech innovation in recruitment

Bhandari says tech innovation for process improvements within recruiting remains one of the key themes that companies need to invest in. Whether it is tools for candidate management or AI-based sourcing platforms, companies need to harness technology to make smarter hiring decisions.

Skills-based hiring

Going forward, employers won't hire candidates based on just their resumes and experience from the talent acquisition perspective. Instead, they will focus on relevant experience in the domain the employees are supposed to be working on with the new employer. “If candidates are up for showcasing their skills on live case study/program-

ming assignments, the recruitment process will be swift, as well as rewarding. It is also easier to coordinate, as the interviewees work remotely, in non-office hours, available with their personal coding environments,” says Piyush Raj Akhouri, Co-founder & Business Head, Bridgen Tech, a boutique staffing services provider with presence in West Europe, North America, and South-East Asia.

positions,” says Harshvendra Soin, Global Chief People Officer & Head – Marketing, Tech Mahindra. The digital-first business model has acted as a survival kit for enterprises during the pandemic. With organisations leveraging new-age technologies to address business challenges, hiring experts expect to see an increased demand for STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathe-

matics) educated and futureready employees who are adept in digital skills and new-age technologies.

Hybrid staffing in project teams

Another significant shift in the hiring trends that industry experts foresee is hybrid staffing in project teams. So far, companies used to outsource resources only when the skill-set needed was basic and required for a shorter duration specific to a project. “With everyone open to getting onboarded remotely, employers are now looking for subject-matter experts, who can onboard

The ‘Great Resignation’ has resulted in employees having the upper hand in the employee-employer relationship for a change. Demand for talent is high while supply is limited at a time when businesses are looking to resume their operations full-scale. As a result, employees have more leverage when it comes to negotiating for salary and benefits. They have no qualms about leaving a job without having one in hand, as seen in “the great resignation era”. Although, says Gupta of Mercer|Mettl, this trend is temporary and will even out. “As a result, recruiters will need a rethink in their strategy to attract top talent. Therefore, we will see organisations focusing on developing bolder, meaningful ‘Employee Value ProposiJanuary 2022 |


“At Tech Mahindra, we continue to focus on skillbased hiring, across emerging technologies including 5G, XDS, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Cyber Security. Additionally, hiring across all levels, especially at ‘the bottom of the pyramid’, to increase the tech quotient of the firm and keep our talent pool brimming with newage technologies, has diversified our talent pool, and opened new doors of innovative thinking for us. In the year 2020-21, we had 25.5% of women in STEM-related

Employees to have greater say in salary negotiations C OVER

In 2022, employers must be specific in their hiring approach. They need to figure out ‘who’ or ‘what is that right profile’ that is missing and deliberately target such candidates. The generalist approach will no longer work

quickly, start delivery on the project without much external supervision or help, finish the task and move on to the next assignment. With the changing dynamics of the IT industry, remote working, freelancing, and temporary staffing will only grow in the coming years, which will benefit skilled and adaptable resources with better pay, challenging opportunities, and work-life balance,” says Akhouri.


at an organisational level to be done on the basis of their feedback. The aim is to have complete transparency and accountability at all levels with employee well-being at the forefront,” he adds.



Candidates expect location flexibility

Attractive financial packages are no longer enough to lure employees amid the 'Great Resignation'. But what should companies focus on, then? tions’ such as transparent diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, implementing a listening culture based on employee feedback, etc,” he adds.

Attractive financial packages won’t be enough


The pandemic has reinforced the adage that ‘health is wealth’. Therefore, Gupta says that an attractive pay package, while necessary, isn’t enough for an employee to choose or stick to an organisation. Besides a good financial package, employees are now looking at "freedom", meaning growth and culture, he notes. Physical and mental health has become paramount for employees. | January 2022

For this, they now want a certain level of freedom and flexibility in terms of how, where, and when they work in order to achieve a better work-life balance. Also, workplaces aren’t just workplaces anymore. For some, they provide meaning to their lives, a purpose of sorts. “In addition, the quality of relationships with fellow colleagues and the senior leadership plays a key in defining an ‘employee experience’ along with mentorship,” says Gupta. Employees also want clarity in terms of career growth. They want to see a clear path with regard to their role and an opportunity to expand their skillsets. “Besides that, employees want decision-making

There is evidence that a lack of hybrid, flexible working may lead to attrition. Companies need to be well-positioned to engage these candidates seeking hybrid and/or remote work options. Google’s Bhandari says the focus for companies will be on fostering collaboration and inclusion across employees in the office and those working remotely. “2022 will see a continued transition to new ways of working across industries and the future of work will need to evolve beyond a ‘one size fits all' approach. The future of work will be about offering people a healthy balance between the flexibility they need and the in-person connection time that is vital to their development, to building strong teams, nurturing creativity, and to the success of client relationships. The safety and wellbeing of people, their continuous learning and development will remain key talent priorities for organisations,” says Lakshmi C, Managing Director and Lead for Human Resources, Accenture India.

Managerial skills in 2022

2022 will be another year of digitalisation, deeply affecting managerial roles. What skills do budding and growing managers need to stay relevant through this year and beond? By Y Shekar


• Problem Solving capability, • People Management Skills, • Effective Communication and • Creative Thinking ability. Here’s a low down on them.

Problem Solving:

Dismiss this skill at your own peril! Thinking I am already a problem-solver is just the beginning…. a long distance to traverse lies ahead!

VUCA, in the business context, has been already stressed upon. However, at most entry-to-mid levels of management, work is still very structured and their outcomes are predictable. Therefore, many management skills are still oriented towards problem solving in ‘known areas’ and management style is one of ‘directing’ – telling the team what to do, when, how, why, etc. It is also understood that ‘the manager’ has sufficient knowledge and experience to deal with all situations and therefore the challenging part of the role is to ‘manage’ the tasks and get the expected outcome. Roles therefore demanded familiarity with the problem and their known approaches to solving them, which were considered as ‘expertise’. The problem solving skills managers had to demonstrate was in identifying the best available skill/solution that can be deployed in a given situation. Now organisations are January 2022 |


gating it to the traditional IT folks, will not be a safe option. Business knowledge (domain) along with technology awareness (digital skill) will become a manager’s core capability, like use of analytics – marketing analytics, financial analytics, HR analytics, supply chain analytics, etc. will become essential skills. In the context of digitalisation, four skills/capabilities that managers must have are elicited below.


t is that time of the year when new resolutions have to be made and new plans for accomplishing them. Welcome 2022 – hopefully it will be different from its immediately preceding two years! The question for budding and growing managers is, what skills will help one stay relevant in 2022 and beyond? Does one need to reskill, upskill or change the track completely – move from an established organisation to a start-up? Will acquiring skills in fintech pay higher dividends to one’s talent? Let’s explore – let’s gaze into the crystal ball and see what it has to offer for career development at the management level. 2022 will see a stronger adoption of digitalisation, and knowledge of technology will become core to all managerial roles. Business strategies, operational efficiencies and people management will leverage the power of technology and therefore, not knowing about relevant technologies or dele-



getting flatter and the hierarchy doesn’t clearly differentiate between levels. As an entity competing in the global context, the VUCA phenomenon shows up at the entry level of management itself. Operations are becoming agile and flexible on account of new competitors who are redefining the rules of the game. Hence, being faster, responsive, reactive and proactive are essential skillsets at the operating level. How quickly can the workforce adapt to the new environment is the people challenge to the leaders; what should be the strategic response to new competition is the directional challenge to the organisation; how much of tolerance should be there for trials and tests is a challenge to the culture. Are only business leaders responsible to deal with such scenarios to find solutions? No! Solving such problems need a collaborative approach and collective contribution will positively impact the sustenance of the business. The change businesses are expected to contend with in future is a combination of speed and scale. Speed requires quick responses that operating managers need to do more, while scale requires foresight and guts, which senior management needs to deal with more. However, it is the combination of the two factors that | January 2022

will compel the interlocking of managerial levels to work together. This is why organisation structures are getting lean so that top, middle and entry level managers blend their roles to keep the organisation relevant. Frequent changes in strategies and operational methods will be necessitated on account of the uncertainties in the environment. Managers therefore, besides being aware of tools and techniques to solve the ‘known’ problems, will need an attitude and fortitude to deal with ‘new’ challenges too, which may not yield predictable outcomes.

People Management Skills:

HR is dead! Long Live People Management!! Even though technologies are making inroads into business activities, the managerial focus shall still

remain on people management. Technology is essential for business, but people are its purpose – employees, suppliers and customers, together. And hence, people management is not the sole responsibility of one function. This responsibility is getting democratised and is becoming a necessary condition for being a successful manager. ‘People’ is a complex subject. And this complexity is only getting enhanced on account of the changes in the environment: • General awareness and knowledge levels of today’s workforce joining the corporate world is much higher than what it was a decade ago, and has been steadily increasing on account of easy access to information. • Work is getting more intellectual and less physical and hence, job skills

ers have to become more sensitive towards different employees' environments. The Gen Z and Alpha may have already triggered the need for a change in people management practices with their attitude, approach and desires. The globalised workforce, and hybrid work environment, add to the complexities making people management skill a basic and essential requirement at all levels of management. The real skills that every manager must possess are very generic. Good business managers are expected to be empathetic and good listeners. Some traits of successful people managers are: • While they remain firm on their objectives, they are also friendly with the teams; • They are target oriented but show tolerance towards results achieved;


the diversity in skills, capabilities, thinking and feeling that makes an organisation a great place to work and the reason for its suppliers and customers to stay engaged with it. The pandemic provided organisations an opportunity to express their sensitivity towards people and also make the subtle transition from process to people centric practices. Sustaining that and making it the norm for the future will be an essential managerial task. As is often said, people leave an organisation because of a ‘bad manager’. It is now the manager’s task to ensure that processes, culture and environment allow employees to work at different paces and give them balance in their personal and professional lives. In the context of hybrid work, manag-


cannot be differentiated on gender basis. • Jobs are getting mobile – jobs travel to the best resource that can do it – the workforce is therefore getting global, bringing in global prejudices, perceptions, privileges and practices. Managers no longer have a team that comprises people with homogeneous skillsets. Every individual is unique and there’s an expectation that every employee be treated at an individual level. Great-place-to-work organisations take cognisance of individual’s aspirations, feelings and desires. This is not restricted to the best performers or those in the fast-lane of growth. Business situations themselves are such that it becomes difficult to predict who will emerge as the next champion performer. It is

In 2022, business operations, stakeholder expectations, and business challenges will all shift. Leaders and managers will have to develop the right toolkits to defend and drive ahead January 2022 |



effort is recognised and outcome is accepted. • They compete fiercely to make work place appear like a war-zone, they also show warmth and offer peace-time; • They are passionate about their work yet unbiased and compassionate with people; • They demonstrate leadership qualities but also express genuine human frailties – express their vulnerabilities, acknowledge their lack of knowledge on a subject, etc.


It pays to keep quiet


As a skill, it remains as one of the most essential leadership skills that managers must have. The ability to make people understand, act in accordance and provide them with necessary support to keep them motivated, is effective commu| January 2022

nication. Often, communication is associated with high ability to speak and write. However, non-verbal and simple communication is even more relevant in today’s context where people are separated physically but connected virtually. Effective communication starts with listening – the ability to listen to others before giving a response or providing an answer is part of a cultured behaviour. In the digital world, where everything gets recorded and can be replayed in future, managers and leaders need to be wary about what they are communicating in written and spoken forms. In a diverse work force, which may not be familiar with colloquial lingo or emotions, it is even more important for having utmost clarity and simplicity in communication. As online interac-

tions become more prevalent, managers have the additional responsibility to communicate in a more empathetic manner – acknowledging the challenges of the team member, being truly helpful and supportive. Team members aren’t satisfied by policies and bulletin board information. They expect one-on-one clarification or communication for their problems or needs. An important aspect of interpersonal communication is to receive more than to give – managers and leaders need to act as coaches who enable their wards to arrive at a decision themselves rather than lead to them to a pre-conceived point of view. Managers have to recognise that employees themselves are intelligent, talented and resourceful, yet they need some support, motivation and guidance, which is not tantamount to solving their problems. Hence, rather than being ‘directing’ managers, managers need to be buddies or friends, who are willing to travel along and discover through the journey. The aspect of developing trust in the leadership team lies with the managers. Putting that onus onto systems and procedures will make managers less competent. In order to win employees’ trust, managers must be able to explore within the

to instil trust within the team through unambiguous communication, creative ideas won’t get an opportunity to express themselves, which, in a changing environment, will be a huge deterrent. While the manager can lead the team by focusing on results, s/ he also needs to be supportive of any of the possible outcomes that the efforts may lead to. Without the safety net of trust, employees won’t have the urge to respond to the manager’s call. Effective communication comprising verbal and non-verbal, is an essential skill for leading teams that

takes but give me results’. This approach will not be effective going forward. Teams will neither see it as a challenge nor as a motivation to excel when the manager is uninvolved in the proceedings. The workforce will respond to unusual situations only when the manager provides the team with a safety net and communicates with them at an emotional level. Unless the manager is able

embrace diversity of skills, backgrounds and beliefs. Being aware of the challenges of communication is the first part, finding ways of overcoming them and interacting with people at an individual level is where successful managers will thrive.

Creative Thinking:

New solutions for new age problems! ‘You will only get what you

January 2022 |


Problem solving, people management skills, communication, and creative thinking: why are these so important for managers in 2022, and how can they best be acquired?

got if you continue doing what you did’ – this is quite an apt adage for exhorting managers to think out of the box. n the near future, the business problems that managers will be solving will be those that either don’t have a known solution, and therefore, something has to be created or discovered, or, a solution is possible by combining knowledge and experience from other departments and functions or adapting practices from other industry verticals. This calls for two kinds of skills – knowledge through experience and creative thinking. Knowledge which can be honed, is a slow process and needs a wide variety of experiences to back it. Creative thinking on the other hand, is a process of approaching a solution for a given problem. While the skill refers to ‘creative’, there’s a method to the thinking, which provides the framework to define the problem and approach the solution from multiple perspectives. Of course, focused views will always yield a better result, but will not be exhaustive in its coverage or impact. The creative thinking ability will allow managers to understand the pros and cons of various options in an interlinked manner to choose one which appears most impactful.


system what is good for the employee rather than refer to the process and say that ‘system makes me do …’. Once employees start trusting their manager, team bonds become very strong which is an essential ingredient in great team performances especially during trying times. This is what VUCA is about – the goal posts may keep changing but the team needs to continue performing. One of the strongly advocated management philosophies is ‘fail fast, learn and move on’. But when the environment changes fast, the manager’s standard response is ‘do what it



Consider this example: can an extraordinary raise in compensation reduce attrition? Yes, but it can also drain the company financially. Hence, can the attrition problem be tackled as a combination of raise in compensation, sense of belonging, autonomy at workplace, recognition, strong safety net, etc.? In the globalised context, the problems and even their solutions are globalised and therefore creative thinking becomes essential. Creative thinking is open to criticism – since it tends to move towards an optimised or a compromised option although with the intent of serving a larger goal, defects and limitations in the solution will be there. It will never offer a ‘perfect’ solution, but over time, the solution can be refined to make it more acceptable | January 2022

and complete. The approach can also be a trial and error method, which will require stakeholders to be optimistic and confident about the possible outcomes. This is where implicit faith in the leadership team helps in finding solutions quickly. Creative thinking thrives when the culture is protective and less critical towards failures. There are new choices to be made and even the options may not be clear. In contrast, why should companies give up their existing practices, processes and systems, which are well-oiled and reliable? The answer lies in the nature of the problem the organisation chooses to address. If the problem is from the past, the current team and systems may be adequately equipped and skilled to respond. However, if the

preparation is for the future – the problem is anticipated or awaited, then managers must develop a strong creative thinking atmosphere for the organisation to survive and thrive. In 2022, which may be referred to as the beginning of the post-pandemicperiod, is going to witness novelties – business operations will become more automated and digitalised, governing bodies will seek higher transparency in the network of operations, while the general public will demand greater accountability from the stake holders in protecting and preserving the environment. Business challenges will shift from seeking competitive advantage to compliance and preserving ecosystems. Leaders and managers will have to develop the right toolkits to defend and drive ahead. The crystal ball indicates that managers need to reskill themselves on tools, technologies and industry domains besides developing their thinking capabilities and their attitude towards dealing with people and uncertainty in the environment. This is the mantra for survival in 2022! ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Y Shekar is a Management research scholar (Ph.D.) from University of Mysore. He is an executive coach and co-founder of a start-up.

The Age of AI Calls for Honing Your ‘Meta Skills’ The world will change more in this century. However, this time, the change is driven not by an asteroid, but by us By Ravi Venkatesan



he cover of my recently-released book ‘What The Heck Do I Do With My Life?’ has a picture of a dinosaur on it. This T-Rex is a metaphor for what Charles Darwin once famously said: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.’ Sixty-five million years ago, when an asteroid struck the earth, it unleashed such an extraordinary amount of change in such a short period of time, that seventyfive per cent of all living things were unable to adapt and became extinct, including dinosaurs. However, some creatures were able to adapt to the new conditions - the new normal - and they flourished. Amongst these were our ancestors, the early mammals. Such periods of extreme change pose what is called an ‘adaptation challenge’ for us. And they result in Darwinian binary outcomes: those who can adapt, flourish; those who cannot, perish. We are living through a period of similar intense change right now.

The world will change more in this century. However, this time, the change is driven not by an asteroid, but by us. There are so many forces at play: technology, climate change or rather the backlash of all our unsustainable behaviour, extreme inequality, polarisation, loss of trust... I could go on, but essentially, all this is combining to create an extremely turbulent world… a volatile, uncer-

tain, complex and ambiguous or VUCA world. We saw this very vividly during the COVID-19 pandemic – where, those who were able to adapt, flourished; those who couldn’t, suffered.

The 21st Century: Future of Work and Skills

With this deep emphasis on the need for us to adapt to our rapidly-changing times, allow me to share a few tools and strategies that may be January 2022 |



useful to flourish in times like this. My focus here is not just only on the individual level, but also for larger organisations and HR leaders like you. One aspect is that companies need to have more innovative and flexible work arrangements. I agree with the writer Charles Handy who predicts that there will be broadly three categories of workers in the future: i) the creatives: software architects, content creators, people who design and make new products/services; ii) caregivers: who are essentially different types of front-line workers; and iii) a small number of ‘custodians’ who manage work, processes and infrastructure of organisations that will not disappear but need a few people to run them. Organisations will have a small permanent core of

such ‘custodians’, but more and more people will be selfemployed and offer their skill, talent or expertise in a variety of flexible contractual arrangements. We have seen this play out with rising levels of subcontracting and outsourcing, greater use of consultants and gig workers. Remote and hybrid work is here to stay and will likely accelerate these trends. In the US, we have a phenomenon called ‘The Great Resignation’, as people re-evaluate their priorities, choose to explore alternative careers or working options, or simply take advantage of a skills shortage. In India, we’ve been seeing very high levels of attrition, particularly amongst those with hot skills. This may not be short -term, but the ‘new normal’, and a sea-change from how we’ve thought about organi-

sations, hierarchies, jobs and careers. To cater to this paradigm shift, companies will need a workforce that has very different characteristics. We will need a workforce that is adaptable, resilient, agile and capable of learning new skills. Paradoxically, even as levels of automation are rising, interaction between people is becoming more important, rather than less important. Work today is increasingly collaborative, multidisciplinary and focused on solving complex problems in creative ways. So, we need people who are good at working with people i.e., have what are called 21st century skills: communication, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving and so on. I am a firm believer that while not everyone will become an entrepreneur, to succeed in this century, every

These skills cannot be learned online. They can only be learned by “crucible experiences” - where you voluntarily or perforce take on a big challenge that is completely beyond your comfort zone 58

| January 2022

In the 21st Century, leadership is not about a title like president/vice president/general manager, etc. It is not about power and authority. It is more of a verb an act

Catalysing ‘crucible experiences’ Now, here’s the thing. None of these meta skills that I’ve talked about until now - growth mindset, entrepreneurship, learning agility, 21st Century skills or leadership - can be taught in a classroom. They cannot be learned online. They can only be learned by experience, by what I call “crucible experiences” - where you voluntarily or perforce take on a big challenge that is completely beyond your

comfort zone, and, in the process of making a success of it, you develop and hone your own meta skills. This is how organisations can develop the ‘workforce of the future’, where the entire senior management can get involved in mentoring the projects and the talent to stretch, learn and collaborate to achieve ‘impossible’ goals. Thus, by being massively more intentional and focused about systematically putting people through these sort of crucible experiences, the output, based on what I’ve seen from my own experience, will be not just business breakthroughs, but an entire pipeline of leaders of the future.


president/general manager, etc. It is not about power and authority. It is more of a verb - an act. We need more people to be able to see problems or opportunities and inspire others to come together to solve them and to do this by influence rather than authority and without someone asking them to. It’s about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.


person will need an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’, which means they should be able to see and seize opportunities, be resourceful, tenacious and good at solving problems. This is the work that my organisation Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) does. With our partners, we are running the largest entrepreneurship programs in the world, with over a million kids from grades 9-12 in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and soon four more states, showing that entrepreneurship is not something you are born with – it is a mindset and skill that can be learned experientially. Developing an entrepreneurial skill will drive tremendous outcomes in terms of self-confidence, agency, learning outcomes and overall life success. We also need many more leaders. In the 21st Century, leadership is not about a title like president/vice


Ravi Venkatesan is the former chairman of Microsoft India, founder of GAME, UNICEF’s Special Representative for Young People and Innovation and author of “What the Heck Do I Do with My Life? How To Flourish in Our Turbulent Times”. January 2022 |


Optimising employee wellbeing in 2022

The new reality of work is one in which companies need to make sure employees are supported, empowered, and heard. This year, well-being must become a pillar of business operations By Pravin Prakash




n the last 20 months, the way we work has been evolving - going from a completely remote scenario to now gradually moving to a hybrid format. As we step into 2022, the pandemic continues to be a learning curve for businesses as they navigate new challenges and solutions. The impact of this evolving work dynamic has driven a renewed focus towards employee well-being for businesses everywhere. Healthy and happy employees not only have a better quality of life and increased

work productivity, they are also more likely to positively contribute to society. Even as lines between work and life continue to blur, the case for prioritising mental, emotional, and physical wellness in the workplace has never been stronger. From a business perspective, it’s not about productivity alone. Organisations that adopt mental wellness initiatives also increase employee loyalty, innovation, and ownership. As we approach a new work reality – one that is finding the right balance

The pandemic presented companies with the opportunity to genuinely invest in employee well-being and have a framework in place that reacts to their concerns. It’s time for employee-centric policies to become a fundamental component of how businesses operate in the long run 60

| January 2022

between physical and remote working – organisations must look for more in-depth and tangible ways to understand what employees require in order to feel supported, more empowered and heard.

Empathetic leadership must take centre-stage

The relevance of holistic mental well-being has been widely recognised globally, putting the spotlight on empathetic leadership. Empathy is no longer a "feelgood" aspect, but a strategic necessity. It is a key driver of employee outcomes such as innovation, engagement, and inclusiveness, particularly during times of crisis. Studies suggest that over 76% of employees who reported their managers to be empathetic felt more engaged, innovative and motivated at work. The focus of the 'new work' paradigm should be on purpose,

fulfillment, and employee well-being. As leaders, creating a healthy communication channel for employees not only results in increased levels of passion and motivation across teams, but is also a vital component of a thriving work environment.

Evolving needs, evolving solutions

Putting people and wellness first

People management is a skill, leadership is the mastery of many more. As leaders and people managers, one of the prime responsibilities we shoulder is encouraging employees to take enough time off or breaks to recharge and avoid burnout. At BYJU'S, our top priority is to build a culture of holistic well-being. This means going beyond physical health and taking into account other factors— emotional, mental and social well being. Apart from Initiatives like BYJU’S Let’s

Talk, an employee wellness programme that provides access to 24x7 one-on-one online counselling, we also have regular check-ins and virtual meetups where employees can connect with each other, fostering a culture of trust, support, and flexibility. While the pandemic has completely upended the way businesses operate, it has given companies the opportunity to genuinely invest in employee well being and have a framework in place that reacts to their concerns. It is imperative that leaders lay the foundations for employee-centric policies to become a fundamental component of how businesses operate in the long run.


have a far-reaching impact. Learning to work flexibly as a team without bureaucratic or departmental boundaries, as well as breaking down silos will further enhance healthy communication and collaboration at a time when it is needed the most.


While mental wellness has always been a critical aspect of human resource functions, the pandemic’s influence on employee wellness requires more agile, and innovative responses from organisations today. Working nimbly, receiving feedback with an open mind, and course-correcting positively can have a far reaching impact in ensuring a lasting employee experience that prioritizes wellbeing. By offering benefits like free online therapy or counselling sessions or training executives on compassionate leadership, businesses can further nurture employee well-being and promote workplace resilience. A large number of empirical studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. Taking proactive steps towards building a culture of wellbeing that enables transparent communication, empowers employees to speak up, and creates a culture of holistic well-being can


Pravin Prakash is Chief People Officer, BYJU’S January 2022 |


What if you can’t fire anyone? The ability to fire people is a cheap and easy solution; and it actually disincentivises employers from doing the hard work necessary to truly manage and develop talent

not a sign of incompetence, but possibly an organisational mistake. One ten-year Prior to the pandemic, Gallup study of 2,600 executives reported that the quit rate is found that of those who were at an all-time high: 67% of fired, 91% found a job as employees are disengaged at good or better than the one work; and more than half say they lost, and 78% eventuthey are actively looking for ally rose to become CEO. The a new job. Second, HR lacks idea that the solution to poor a commitment to evidenceperformance is termination based people management produces numerous unpro(evaluating a decision or ductive approaches to managpolicy with evidence such as ing people. data and peer-reviewed scienResearch has consistently tific research to ensure the shown the benefits of adoptdesired result is achieved). ing a growth mindset over The HR practices that an evaluating one. An evalremain in use, notwithstanduating mindset implies that ing the evidence against if a salesperson is not meetthem like the forced curve ing his/her target, the diagperformance evaluations, nosis is that person can’t sell stem from one root cause: – is not a natural – and should the ability to fire employbe either fired or moved into ees even if the laws are not a different job. A growth in favour. Because of this, mindset, on the other hand, workplaces are prone to use implies that if a salesperson counterproductive manageis currently not effective, that ment approaches that evaluindividual might benefit from ate rather than invest in and training in sales techniques develop employees. and coaching from mentors on what they are doing. A Adopting a growth mindset growth mindset implies that Each year a substantial not only should individuals number of employees lose play to their strengths but their jobs everywhere. also that many people, with The last two years accelerthe right information, develated this trend because of opment, and mindfulness, can the pandemic. And there is in fact develop new strengths. evidence that being fired is Implementing a growth

By Jeffrey Pfeffer & M Muneer





oes ease of doing business hinge on, among other things, at-will employment policies? Did India modify its strong labour laws that protect employee interest for improving its ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report? Thankfully, the bank has paused the reporting for now on allegations of data manipulation, and to refresh the methodology. The only country in the world practising at-will employment is the USA, where anyone can be fired without a reason – and the number of cases suing for wrongful termination is also the highest there. While the rest of the world has labour laws that are supposed to safeguard societal interests, employers there find ways to fire people at-will, either by building a case or by creating hostile environment forcing them to quit at their will. The authors Buckingham and Goodall of the book, Nine Lies About Work, brought home some painful facts about people management. First, the state of people management remains poor.

| January 2022

mindset is difficult and requires more than just espousing it. There’s a great deal of effort required to develop talent through hard work, coaching and learning. If people are readily replaced, the temptation to fire them and find someone else can be overwhelming. If employers would think of firing as a last resort or consider the evidence on the effectiveness and importance of mindsets and if labour policy makes it more difficult and costly to remove people, employers

HR managers might still want to provide developmental information, but it almost certainly would take a very different form. The conversation would focus on how the employee could improve and what the employer and employee could jointly do to develop that individual’s competencies, not the person’s “grade.” And instead of being performed annually or every six months, developmental conversations would occur all the time.

Nine Lies calls high potential programmes that separate employees into strata “apartheid”. If the focus was less on evaluation and more on development, every company would have more “high potentials” because companies would be committed to keeping – and developing – everyone.

Does firing even work?

Consider this logic. Unless the company is downsizing, every person fired needs to be replaced. Unless the company has somehow improved its selection process, or done


would be more likely to actually embrace a growth mindset and work more diligently to develop everyone to their full potential. Performance reviews, which many managers hate giving and few employees like receiving, may be the most detrimental HR practice when it comes to developing a growth mindset. Evaluations presumably identify who needs to go on “performance improvement plans,” and are used to rank people against each other. If firing people weren’t at the forefront of these reviews,


When the child misbehaves or doesn’t live up to their potential, great parents provide love, attention, guidance and motivation, and work hard to ensure the best possible outcome for the kid. Wouldn’t it be nice if companies did the same to employees?

something to become a more attractive place to work, the organisation will just return to the same labour pool from which it drew the now-fired individual, with the same “deal,” and draw again. What are the odds it will do better? That is why companies that fire people – and those that downsize – tend to do it again and again, because these actions don’t solve anything. Here's a useful analogy. Almost no parents have ever “fired” their child. When the child misbehaves or doesn’t live up to their potential, great parents provide love, attention, guidance and motivation, and work hard to ensure the best possible outcome for the kid. Wouldn’t it be nice if companies did the same to employees? Instead of disposing of people, give them second, third, maybe even fourth chances. Invest in them. Provide them the social support necessary for physical and mental health, and the opportunity to do better. We live in a world of untapped human potential as the enduring pandemic has shown. Fulfilling people’s promise requires a commitment to their development that the opportunity to simply get rid of them renders unlikely. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pfeffer is chair professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Muneer is MD of CustomerLab and Co-Founder of the non-profit Medici Institute. Twitter @MuneerMuh January 2022 |


Rajul Mathur

Workplace trends to watch out for in 2022 Growth expectations, flexible work, technology, management competencies, the need to encompass DE&I and well-being – how can organisations address these in 2022?


S t r a t e g y



rganisations have faced unprecedented changes in the last 3 years. 2020 was about sustenance enabling work from home and employee well-being and engagement. Gradual economic recovery in 2021 brought the focus back on growth while simultaneously adapting to a dynamic and flexible working environment. The start of 2022 has brought in a feeling of déjà vu as Omicron made its presence felt in India. There are six ‘people pressure points’ that organisations are currently having to deal with: • Growth expectation as we navigate from one wave to another • Flexible working – how to get this right, both in policy and practice • Technology and data strategy – adding new value creating delivery models • Leadership / Manager competencies – making managers capable to effectively manage in the new reality | January 2022

• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – being inclusive across all forms of diversity • Managing employee wellbeing and engagement Add to this the challenge that the Great Resignation has brought in as most organisations are seeing a significantly higher attrition level. This is putting a huge cost pressure on organisations wherein the talent demand and supply equation has clearly moved in favour of the employees.

What do we expect organisations to do in 2022?

Organisations are focusing on 3 key strategic areas to address these people pressure points: 1. Optimising work and job design: We expect organisations to stably adopt flexible work strategy and expedite automation initiatives to redesign jobs and tasks. Workplace flexibility is a reality! In the last 2 years there has been greater acceptability of the hybrid work model. New technolog-

The Great Resignation has brought a significantly higher attrition level to most organisations and putting on huge cost pressure as a result. What is the next step for employers?

S t r a t e g y

cies (like leave, benefits, promotion, succession planning etc.). Where majority employees are using flextime, employers don’t intend to change this arrangement anytime soon. Where return to work is essential, companies are looking to improve parental support / return-towork programmes. In addition to this, companies are already working on revamping their recruitment, promotion, and succession planning processes. Having said that, with the evolving workplace and workforce, individual employee base pay increases in current roles will be affected. Market competitiveness, criticality of the role and ratings in most current year-end performance reviews are the key factors affecting individual employee base pay increases currently, however, over the next three years, possession of skills will triumph ratings.

Organisations are committed to enhancing their physical / emotional well-being programmes to provide the future security necessary to support employees in a more agile and flexible workplace. 3. Managing employee growth and careers: Organisations are looking to focus on making changes in the way careers are defined. Organisations have realised that it is going to be critical to create a human-centric, holistic, and purpose-driven employee experience with a goal of cultivating employees’ growth with more flexibility in career options. Lateral career progression frameworks are becoming prevalent with equal emphasis on individual contributors as well as people managers by building a talent ecosystem encompassing alternative work models.


ical infrastructure is being put in place. Companies have also considered investing in monitoring software to measure productivity and performance in this flexible work arrangement. Also, erstwhile work modes are being revisited and redesigned using automation, AI, and digitalisation. As business and work strategy evolves, the ability of organisations to identify new sources of talent and imbibe new skills required to get work done are expected to gain more importance. 2. Being innovative with pay and benefits: Organisations are likely to come up with innovative, skill based, differentiated and at times ad-hoc reward solutions to manage the challenge as presented by the Great Resignations and the new way of working. With the new workplace and job design in place, concerns of pay parity is natural. More than ever, it is important for employers to define their total rewards philosophy and gather a good understanding of what each employee segment seeks from their Total Rewards offering. Total Rewards comprise of hard salary (like guaranteed cash, incentives, bonuses, equity etc.); people processes and programmes (like health and well-being, flexi work, learning and development, career, performance management etc.); and HR poli-

In conclusion

The top 3 priorities for HR going forward would be to build new strategies around work and rewards, to build a talent ecosystem encompassing alternative work models and to create a humancentric, holistic, and purposedriven employee experience. This would require organisations to focus on providing the leadership and HR teams with the required competencies and support to deliver on these priorities. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rajul Mathur is Consulting Leader India – Talent and Rewards, WTW January 2022 |


Be ne fits & Re w ards

Getting the returns from your employee benefits strategy How do you ensure that your carefully structured benefits strategy is getting a utilisation rate that makes sense for the company? Here are a few points to consider


By Mint Kang

ompanies are going to spend more on benefits this year. Part of the reason is rising medical costs: data from big analysts Aon and Willis Towers Watson warns that the pandemic has so significantly changed the demand and delivery patterns of medical services, cost trends are going to outstrip inflation throughout 2022. Then there's the continued


| January 2022

emphasis on health, safety, and employee well-being, which has seen employers around the globe making major strategic changes to their benefits approach – including developing more customised benefits strategies, investing more heavily in flexibility, and even overhauling workplace culture to make it more focused on wellbeing. With this increased spend, the level of usage naturally comes under scrutiny. Before COVID-19, studies indicated that employee benefits often went under-utilised, usually because of insufficient awareness and understanding.

And because many HR teams did not implement a way to measure takeup rates, this trend was largely ignored. However, the digital tools and platforms popularised in the last two years have made it significantly easier to track usage, and the focus on well-being has provided incentive to do so.

What makes a benefit more likely to be used?

The takeup rate of any given benefit is determined by how well it is integrated into workplace culture. What are the key factors that make it more likely to be utilised?

Be ne fits & Re w a rds

On the surface, certain types of benefits have recently seen greater takeup rates. For example, telehealth services and mental or emotional wellness resources have seen very high usage over the last year, based on data from the corporate wellness industry which has recorded a spike in demand for these offerings. Similarly, statistics from the recruitment industry show that flexibility-related benefits are also in great demand, to the point where these have frequently become make-or-break points in employment negotiations. Delving deeper, though, the takeup rate of any given benefit is less about its type and more about how well it is integrated into workplace culture. Some key factors are:

in such communications in order to emphasise how seriously the company was taking it. For example, Regan Taikitsadaporn, Chief Human Resources Officer of Marriott International for the Asia Pacific, told People Matters that Marriott used a concentrated awareness campaign to drive usage of the company's internal well-being challenge, 'TakeCare Level 30', and mental well-being tools sourced externally. “We promoted both resources regularly through different channels, from word-of-mouth to executives leading by example,” he said. “Our leaders cultivated open lines of communication and encouraged teams to make the most of wellbeing resources.”

The use of the benefit is normalised

People are more likely to use a

Communication and awareness resource if they see that others is high around them are able to take it The overall usage of benefits has gone up during the pandemic, primarily because companies introduced new resources and communicated them more aggressively – particularly around mental well-being as leaders and HR teams realised the urgency of dealing with employee stress. Often, top leadership became involved

up. Leaders and managers can start the ball rolling, either by utilising the benefit themselves or openly communicating how they intend to do so, and they also have to create an environment where employees can do the same. This may often involve building a culture of transparency and reassurance. January 2022 |


Be ne fits & Re w ards

Yvonne Teo, Vice President HR, APAC at ADP, pointed out that communications and transparent processes play a huge role in making employees feel more secure about using their benefits, even routine ones like taking leave. “Trust goes a long way in ensuring that employees utilise their benefits,” she said. “They need to feel secure in the knowledge that

it is perfectly fine for them to take breaks when they need to. Open communication and a collaborative culture that fosters teamwork will give employees the confidence to use their benefits.”

The benefit is provided in a way that makes it convenient to use

Just as digital tools see a higher takeup rate if they are easy to adopt, employees are more likely to utilise benefits that fit well around their work. Solutions to this include the refinement of technology and content, such as on-demand well-being resources 68

| January 2022

delivered to employees' mobile phones, or adjustments to work schedules to provide employees with time specifically for benefits. James Lee, Managing Director of Group Human Capital at Great Eastern, gave People Matters an example of wellness programmes clashing with work – possibly one of the most common reasons for skipping such resources – and how the programmes can be adjusted to accommodate people. “We realised that last minute work demands are a possible reason for some to be unable to participate in our Life programmes (a voluntary company-wide programme covering financial, mental, physical, and social wellbeing),” he said. “This is most commonly seen for webinars. Hence, we always strive to keep these sessions succinct and in some instances, recorded for on-demand viewing anytime, anywhere.”

Some key actions for employers to take Besides adjusting communication and delivery strategies around individual benefits, companies need to ensure that their overall workplace culture supports not just the idea and implementation, but the desired outcome of benefits in general – that being healthy and happy employees who are performing well and willing to stay with the company. One good place to start is by training people managers in

lenges more effectively during turbulent times. “Our programmes are planned based on our associates’ needs, where we actively conduct focus group studies and check in with our associates to mine for insights,” he said. “This has helped us achieve better takeup rate on our programmes, while allowing our associates to share feedback for us to co-create effective programs such as wellness and stress management, financial planning, and etc.”

Get leaders to participate, keep your benefits updated, and create a feedback loop that includes taking action – these are some things that will help ensure your employee benefits strategy bears fruit Finally, the feedback loop is possibly the most important step. Although the outcome of benefits can be difficult to quantify, companies still need to make that effort to learn from their employees what works and what doesn't. Then they need to turn that feedback into change – whether adjustment of existing benefits or introduction of new ones – and monitor the effectiveness of that change, just as the effectiveness of a new product strategy might be monitored by sourcing customer feedback. After all, in the post-pandemic workplace, the returns on benefits strategies are not that far off from the returns on business strategies. January 2022 |

Be ne fits & Re w a rds

creating a supportive environment, whether by being flexible around benefits, or cultivating an open and transparent team culture, or simply taking the lead to participate in wellness programmes themselves. ADP's Yvonne Teo cited the example of educational workshops, a popular way of raising health and wellness awareness: if leaders and managers join, she said, employees will be more likely to believe in the health and wellness mission. “It’s crucial for company leaders to attend these training sessions alongside employees, and to share how they plan to apply what they’ve learned in their own working life. Hearing this from their leaders can provide reassurance, and will help employees to understand that they do not need to compromise their health to get ahead at work,” she said. Another important step is to keep benefits programmes up to date with employee needs. This can extend beyond the resources provided – sometimes timing and delivery has to be customised as well, as in the example from Great Eastern. Marriott International's Regan Taikitsadaporn gave a few examples of how programmes might evolve to remain relevant at any given point in time: early in the pandemic, for instance, the team introduced mental health webinars to help employees manage their mental well-being. Now that mental well-being is less of a concern but economic recovery is underway, they launched a course to help managers handle chal-


Visty Banaji

Big Data – bigger performance– biggest delight Technology allows us to recommend the right mix of work, development and compensation choices for each individual employee. How can we use this micro-targeting to raise people’s performance and happiness?

The road less travelled



n the dashboard of every HR professional there should be at least three dials. The largest one should indicate the results achieved by HR for the people of the organisation. Then there should be a measure of the creativity and path-breaking programmes used for getting those outcomes. The third dial should show how far fast-progressing information technology has been harnessed by HR so that the innovations are realized in the service of the results. What is it that impedes the average HR department form substantially improving its dashboard readings? We can safely assume readers of this column are (or, at least, should be) committed to raising Aggregate Long-term People Happiness (ALPH).i But how? Grandiose goals always carry the sobering fear that there is no practical way to attain them. In the case of the first dial, when the aggregate is | January 2022

made up of both Socrates’ and pigs,ii the possibility of figuring out what will maximise utility for each individual and then actually delivering it seems to be well beyond HR (Human Reckoning). Perhaps there is no other glamour-domain than innovation that HR not only talks about but stakes a claim to own within the corporate landscape. While we cannot own Big Data so exclusively, we are not behind any other function in describing it as

the next big opportunity. The small inconvenient fact, which keeps the second and third dials low, is that HR is rarely seen as particularly innovative by employees and the little it uses Big Data is imitative of other functions rather than original. HR, of course, is not the only late adopter in the behavioural sciences. "The capacity to collect and analyze massive amounts of data has transformed such fields as biology and physics. But the emergence of a data-

Taming the Genie to Tell Me What I Need

Data analytics and individually targeted communication caught public attention when it was used to influence the outcome of critical elections.iv That doesn’t

‘The capacity to collect and analyze massive amounts of data has transformed such fields as biology and physics. But the emergence of a data-driven 'computational social science' has been much slower.’ Social scientists have begun to catch up fast. HR practitioners need to do the same mean, however, that responsible wizards can’t put the genie back in the bottle and channel it to work its magic only for the benefit of people. Several of the technologies most beneficial to mankind emerged from the desire to gain an edge in situations of competition and conflict.v Data analytics directed towards understanding and satisfying people could prove no less useful. How could we enlist the big data Goliath in the

service of ALPH and better people performance? Very simply put, we need to extract individual personality and preference markers from the waves of data swirling around us and use those to construct work and benefit choices that will prove to be the most satisfying in each case. All of us leave digital footprints when we access the internet depending on the searches we make, the websites we visit, the profiles we create, the comments we share January 2022 |

The road less travelled

driven 'computational social science' has been much slower."iii Social scientists have begun to catch up fast. HR practitioners need to do the same. This column seeks to nudge the needles on each of our three dashboard dials. To maximize the ALPH bang for the resource buck we need to tailor our opportunity and benefit delivery to each person’s personality and preferences. For the first time, data analytic tools have made it possible to permit substantive, individualized need choices with a virtually unlimited flexibility palette. We have to realize, though, that we shall no longer remain in the realm of the anodyne technologies that we have been used to but are on the verge of acquiring lethally abusable capabilities. Hence the checks governing them must be an integral part of their deployment. We shall examine the use of big data to determine individual inclinations, the infinitely flexible choices employees can exercise and the safeguards that must accompany this radical programme.


The road less travelled

and the 'likes' we click Every one of our cyber steps is grist to the big data mill and can be used to create a passable personality profile. 'Passable' is something of an understatement since "a user’s personality can be accurately predicted through the publicly available information on their Facebook profile."vii And that’s before we account for the bias and faking that go into the self-report personality inventory that is usually used for personality assessment.viii As Seth StephensDavidowitz puts in the title of his bestseller: Everybody Lies.ix Tracking internet use and analysing the language used on the cloud permits us to circumvent the myriad deceptions we use to veil our true selves. Best of all, the big data method will go on improving in accuracy – limited only by the

The 5G framework describes transactions between employees and the organisation. What the employee Gives to the company and, in return, what s/ he Gets from it, Growth, Guidance and Gifting 72

| January 2022

robustness of the personality models themselves. The additional information available (with agreement and safeguards) from e-communications and other traces created by employees within the corporation can enable us to be far more accurate in understanding their needs than simply accessing their nonwork social media presence would.

What’ll Make Me Happiest: Unlimited Choices

There is no doubt, then, that we can build extremely effortless, insignificantly intrusive (see next section) and adequately accurate personality profiles for employees. Where does that take us? Why could it revolutionise the way we manage people for their own and their organisations’ greatest benefit? To unravel the

possibilities, I find it useful to use the 5G framework for transactions between employees and the organisation. The first two Gs are what the employee Gives to the company and, in return, what s/he Gets from it. The other three Gs could be force-fitted into these two but I find it more useful to examine Growth, Guidance and Gifting separately. Space here will only permit me to give illustrative ways in which our big data-driven personality judgements can make important differences in the 5G. Your ingenuity can find many more solutions, better suited to your situations. The most basic things an employee Gives to the organisation are availability and time. During the period of presence, the skill and commitment s/he brings to bear determines the person’s

productivity and ALPH for that type, and could make far more informed decisions with such inputs. Everyone accepts that what people Get from the company extends far beyond monetary compensation. Not all of these are fungible or variable but quite a few are. For instance, differences in short-term versus long-term preferences could be allowed to manifest themselves in benefit and welfare choices within a Cost To Company (CTC) bucket. With the advent of Gig-

cation and, hence, the type of pedagogy and training varies in effectiveness depending on the personality of the recipient.x The choice along each career fork (functional fit, specialization versus being a generalist, highly interactional or inward-looking role, just to name a few) can also be greatly benefited by a knowledge of the personality profile of the employee facing the choice. Despite being a longtime votary of Situational Leadership as a means of provid-

The most basic things an employee Gives to the organisation are availability and time. During the period of presence, the skill and commitment s/he brings to bear determines the person’s value to the company supporting systems, we can also accommodate those who genuinely prefer part-time or part-year working and are willing to let the CTC drop accordingly. While not tradable against CTC, the team assignment, work allocation and longer-term career direction of individuals can all yield a larger proportion of hits and happiness if they are guided by personality insights. Growth and the Learning that precedes it is a major part of both Give and Get. The manner of communi-

ing the appropriate level of supervisory Guidance, I must admit to being less than satisfied about using maturity as the sole independent variable for making leadership style choices. How much richer our choice palette would be if, in addition to using the competence gap, we could guide supervisory style choices using all the colours of the person’s personality? Gifting is removed from the transactional nature of the Give-Get equation. It comes in many varieties, January 2022 |

The road less travelled

value to the company. We can expect both capabilities and engagement to improve if there is a better fit between temperament and task (as also the other ALPH accreting measures touched on in this section). But let’s just start with touch time at work. After the Covid crisis, both physical presence and time have become variable in a way no one could have imagined or permitted earlier. As we limp back to normalcy the buzzword is 'hybrid' – which is another way of saying, "We don’t know what to do, so we’ll just muddle along". We know there are personality types that flower in the isolation of their homes and are able to cocoon themselves from domestic disturbances. On the other hand, there are those who feed on and reciprocate the energy released by physical proximity. People also have varying Circadian rhythms (also traceable through their net activity) and preferences between shorter (or longer) workdays and shorter (or longer) workweeks. There is no question that on this (as well as all the other measures of flexibility we shall consider) the final agreement or veto depends on the employee. However, most employees, even if they have some inkling of their personality type, are unaware of the work pattern that would generate most


Medusa invaded our cyberspace.xii While those checks are adequate for organisations with conventional HR systems, we are now seeking to extract enriched information and, like all enrichment devices (whether investment banks or uranium centrifuges), this one too needs special safeguards. Fortunately, these are simple both in concept and implementation. The test is only to ensure they are not delayed

the call of obligation doesn’t make a gift valuable. Insight into employee make-up can enhance the warm glow elicited by a selfless gift into ALPH.

or circumvented. The first and most basic guard is the unpressured choice given to each employee to say 'no' to the personality information-yielding data analytic engines. This choice should be permanently available and accompanied, for people who exercise it after joining the data collection process initially, to have their information and identities wiped

The road less travelled

ranging from the citizenship behaviour of the employee to the servant leadership of the supervisor. However, simply because something is a gift doesn’t absolve the giver from trying to divine what the recipient desires. That, of course, is easier said than done, as evidenced by the tearful openings of Christmas day presents and the endless circulation of tea-sets given as wedding gifts. Simply being beyond

Untouched by Human Hands – Unseen by Human Eyes

Data privacy for employees has been a concern for this columnxi long before the equine offspring of 74

| January 2022

out and forgotten by the system, on demand. Being removed from the personality profiling processes, of course, wouldn’t deprive the individual of exercising the 5G super-cafeteria mentioned in the previous section. However, the personality-based prompts would be missing and the employee would be left to make the choices based on personal judgement, whim or what the person at the next work-station is doing. Votaries may point out that such a refusal would be akin to choosing medical treatment without undergoing any diagnostic tests. But that is the individual’s decision. To the extent the negative decision is informed by worry that the data gathering and analytics may be used by the organisation to snoop, the following two checks should be reassuring. Both the data gathering for personality projections as well as the 5G choice prompts would be automated. While the algorithms inside the black box would be intensively tested and periodically reviewed for continuing validity, the actual profile and suggestions would be visible to the individual alone. Once people are assured of the security of the information gathering and analysis and the helpful pointers it yields, they may well be

inclined to permit access to their non-work social media (e.g. Facebook) as well, in return for getting get a still better fit to their needs and aptitudes. Lastly, there will need to be an impermeable barrier separating the personality perceiving and 5G option

Breakthrough Engagement

There are several very good reasons why this is an opportune moment for making this investment in our way of managing people. For the first time, technology has reached a level of sophistication where we can

The first and most basic guard is the unpressured choice given to each employee to say 'no' to the personality information-yielding data analytic engines


Visty Banaji, HR’s business should be happiness raising, 24 September 2019, (https:// hrs-business-should-be-happiness-raising-23175). ii John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and Utilitarianism, Bantam Classics, 1993. iii David Lazer, Alex Pentland, Lada Adamic, Sinan Aral, Albert-László Barabási,Devon Brewer, Nicholas Christakis, Noshir Contractor, James Fowler, Myron Gutmann,Tony Jebara, Gary King, Michael Macy, Deb Roy and Marshall Van Alstyne, Computational Social Science, Science, 6 February 2009, Vol. 323, Issue 5915, 721-723. iv Christopher Wylie, Mindf*ck: Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Plot to Break the World, Profile Books, 2019. v Becky Little, 6 World War II Innovations That Changed Everyday Life, History Stories, 26 April 2020, (https://www.history. i

make non-intrusive personality projections, use them to guide an unprecedented and increasing array of 5G choices while fully protecting the privacy of the induvial. First movers should enjoy an engagement, retention and cost-efficiency advantage over sloweradopting competitors. Apart from technical feasibility, we have an opencom/news/world-war-ii-innovations). Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell and Thore Graepel, Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013. vii Jennifer Golbeck, Cristina Robles and Karen Turner, Predicting Personality with Social Media, CHI '11 on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2011. viii Wu Youyou, Michal Kosinski and David Stillwell, Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2015. ix Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, Harper Collins; 2017. vi

The road less travelled

prompting system from the performance and potential evaluation systems and from anyone associated with the latter. HR would, of course, be able to access information on an aggregate basis and it would prove a rich treasure trove for improving policies, recruitment choices and monitoring change management initiatives.

ness to considering many options of 5G (heretofore cast in stone) as 'choosable'. For instance, CEOs and line leaders have adjusted with great success to the new ways of working that Covid forced upon us and are quite willing to experiment further. How long this flexibility about work arrangements as radical as the ones that have already been effectively used will continue, is anyone’s guess. But memories can be short. The time to use big data for bigger performance and biggest delight is now. There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune… On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves Or lose our ventures.xiii

Visty Banaji is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)


Jacob B Hirsh, Sonia K Kang and Galen V Bodenhausen, Personalized Persuasion: Tailoring Persuasive Appeals to Recipients’ Personality Traits, Psychological Science, 23(6) 578-581, 2012. xi Visty Banaji, Brave new corporate world: On employee data protection and privacy, 17 April 2018, (https://www. xii Stephen Fry, Heroes: The myths of the Ancient Greek heroes retold, Michael Joseph, 2018. xiii William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act IV Scene 3.

January 2022 |


Past Month's events Design Thinking & Agile for HR Teams

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters BeNext 22 - 24 December 2021 Online This programme is for HR leaders committed to finding creative solutions to complex problems facing their teams, moving from a foundational understanding of Design Thinking and Agile methodologies to a whole new mindset of creativity, innovation and people-centred progress. We will uncover creative practices and seek solutions for complex HR problems through the prism of Design Thinking & Agile methodologies.

People Matters BeNext 06 December - 14 January 2021 Online Overcome obstacles facing workplace gender imbalance and speed up the realisation of your potential as a woman leader. This programme is designed for women leaders interested in accelerating their career growth within their organisation and learning critical skills for women heading a team.

Upcoming events Talent Analytics: Driving Organisational Impact People Matters BeNext 24 January - 25 February 2022 Online (English & Spanish available)

The future of HR lies in analytics. Gain solid knowledge and hands-on practical experience of analytical tools to help in making people decisions. This programme is for HR leaders eager to gain practical, hands-on approaches to talent analytics, connecting HR policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of HR management, statistics and basic managerial accounting is preferred, but not indispensable. 76

Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform

| January 2022

The HRBP in the New World of Work People Matters BeNext 04 February - 07 March 2022 Online Learn how the HR Business Partner can create greater impact and value with a people-based approach to leading the transition to the new world of work. This programme is for leaders and practitioners interested in how the HRBP drives cultural shifts that align with the changing needs of teams and organisations in the new world of work.

Workforce Productivity Conference 2022 People Matters 10 February 2022 Online People Matters Workforce Productivity Conference focuses on how to redefine productivity in a manner that aligns employee expectations with the overarching financial goals - the bottom line of an organisation.

Upcoming events Well-being: the Road to Resilience

Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work People Matters BeNext 07 March - 08 April 2022 Online This programme is for HR leaders and employers looking to reshape employee experience for their teams in the new hybrid working environment. Explore key considerations for designing an impactful, outstanding employee experience that aligns with our new hybrid reality.

People Matters 24 February 2022 Online This year, the annual People Matters Learning & Development Conference examines the tools and systems that organisations have in place to support the learning and development of their workforce. How do organisations, specifically HR and L&D leaders, balance business needs and development objectives?

Design Thinking & Agile for HR Teams People Matters BeNext 28 February - 01 April 2022 Online This programme is for HR leaders committed to finding creative solutions to complex problems facing their teams, moving from a foundational understanding of Design Thinking and Agile methodologies to a whole new mindset of creativity, innovation and people-centered progress.

Futurist Forum People Matters 08 March 2022 (India), 09 March 2022 (ANZ), 10 March 2022 (SEA) Online This invitation-only, closed door event brings top functional experts and CHROs from their respective regions together to find ways for larger business transformations and chart the path for the future of work and talent.

January 2022 |

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters BeNext 21 February - 25 March 2022 Online This programme is for all HR professionals, organisational leaders, and individuals who recognise the importance of actively investing in themselves and in a workplace where mental health, focus, resilience, stress-management and psychological safety are highly valued, and who want to explore and create opportunities to safeguard the well-being of their employees through the implementation of impactful initiatives.

L&D Conference APAC 2022



>> Lee Quane

Global Mobility Patterns in 2022: What Employers Must Look Out For

b lo g o s p he r e

Between Omicron, ongoing travel restrictions, and inflation around the world, employers have had to reconsider their talent mobility strategies for 2022



n 2021, many of us began the year with the hope that the COVID19 vaccines would bring us back to a certain level of normalcy. While the vaccine rollout did allow greater mobility than at the peak of the pandemic, travel restrictions remained erratic and unpredictable as countries fought to mitigate the spread of new variants. Coupled with rising inflation, and

| January 2022

the added challenges in navigating the world of remote working, organisations have had to rethink their mobility strategies and policies for hiring and retaining talent. Moving into the new year, here are the top three predictions around employee mobility that we expect to encounter, and what employers should anticipate as the pandemic continues to unfold.

1. Enhancing mobility policies to retain expatriate talent will be a major challenge for companies

Companies are no longer able to command the same loyalty that they did prepandemic, and this has been exacerbated in remote and hybrid environments. Working outside of the office has also made it easier for employees to explore new job opportunities. In places like Hong Kong and Singapore, the prolonged impact of COVID19 may lead to a higher turnover rate among expatriates, including those who aren’t necessarily hired on assignment conditions in those locations. Places like Dubai, which have fewer COVID-19 restrictions, are thus emerging as enticing destinations against Singapore for expatriate talent. According to our 2021 Global Mobility and COVID-

educational prospects of their children, have ultimately affected their decision to go abroad. As companies evaluate their strategies for retaining expatriate talent, we are seeing an increased focus on employee wellbeing, and a shift to a more empathetic and holistic approach to the management of the mobile workforce. The conversation is also moving well beyond the merits of home vs. hostbased salary approaches, into the tailoring of packages around the individual, making the whole experience more personal and thus enhancing engagement levels.

2. Business travel will remain erratic and unpredictable Business travel will continue to be very stopstart. While countries are starting to open up, COVID19 is by no means beaten. Recent responses to the

Omicron variant show that countries will reimpose travel restrictions when spikes occur, as seen from the temporary suspension of Singapore's Vaccinated Travel Lanes back in December. In particular, China’s pursuit of zeroCOVID policy and closed borders will have a significant impact on any recovery in global employee mobility, as it is the most common destination for international assignments and a major destination for international business travel. Despite the fact that some countries are at the forefront of vaccination rates, others are not seeing fast enough uptake, which continues to hamper widespread re-opening. Furthermore, travelJanuary 2022 |

b lo g o sp he r e

19 Spot Survey, one out of two assignees who were repatriated at the start of the pandemic have not returned – one of the reasons being that they can perform well even while working remotely. At the same time, continued restrictions may make expatriates question their decisions to return abroad, especially if the labour market in their home countries is more competitive – offering enticing career opportunities that also allow them to stay with their families. Moreover, tighter border restrictions have made short-term assignments and those with regular commuting arrangements less viable. More companies are asking expatriates to take on longer-term assignments abroad and to bring their families with them. But for some assignees, concerns around the health and wellbeing of their family, and

Our recent policy survey shows a jump in companies expecting to see an increase in international remote work assignments, as some are using this approach as a contingency move to be put in place until employees are able to physically relocate


b lo g o s p he r e 80

The emergence and rise of new COVID-19 variants such as Omicron may continue to curtail the recovery in employee mobility in 2022. However, despite the pandemic, the world continues to move - albeit at a slower, disrupted pace

ling during the pandemic involves too many processes such as testing and quarantines, which makes international commuting for expatriates costly, time-consuming, and no longer practical. Even when employees do engage in business travel, hybrid work arrangements and imposed restrictions may also limit how readily available clients and the people they are travelling to see are on-site for meetings. As such, short-term assignment types are unlikely to recommence significantly in 2022, and those who do undertake business travel in 2022 may stay for a longer period to account for these changes. vantage. Certain industries such as manufacturing, oil 3. Remote work is not a oneand gas, and services may size-fits-all solution not be inherently suited for Our recent policy survey remote work as workers are shows a jump in companies often required to be physiexpecting to see an increase cally present at the location in international remote or the facility for testing or work assignments, as some to oversee operations. are using this approach as a Time difference is another contingency move to be put factor that may also limit in place until employees are remote workers’ ability to able to physically relocate. interact with colleagues or However, its effectiveness clients located in other far will remain limited accordapart time zones. ing to the extent to which Considering the above a person can perform their challenges, we may begin job efficiently in a remote to see companies sending setting. Many expatriates their employees to regional sent on assignment are there hub locations such as Singato conduct business develpore or Hong Kong. This opment and expansion, but would enable employees to this is very hard to do on leverage regional support a remote basis and being and resources, and manage unable to meet clients physi- multiple markets from a cally can put them at a disad- single location with little to | January 2022

no time difference with nonhub markets in the same region.

Looking ahead

The emergence and rise of new COVID-19 variants such as Omicron may continue to curtail the recovery in employee mobility in 2022. However, despite the pandemic, the world continues to move - albeit at a slower, disrupted pace. In the longer term, we expect to see trends such as the regionalisation of mobility and tailoring of relocation packages gain momentum in the post-pandemic world. But before we get there, mobility professionals will need to navigate the immediate challenge of balancing the need to retain expatriate employees and manage operational costs while juggling, among their many other responsibilities, immigration compliance, tax planning, administration, and retirement benefits arrangements - all of which have become more complex in many countries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this means that there will be plenty of challenges associated with cross-border mobility to keep employers on their toes in the years to come. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Quane, Regional Director - Asia, ECA International

RNI Details: Vol. XIII, Issue No. 1, R.N.I. No. HARENG/2010/33504. Published and Owned by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at 501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana. Editor: Esther Martinez Hernandez

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