People Matters Magazine November 2022: The many different ways of rewarding the talents

Page 1


How many ways are there to reward people?

More than many of us would at first think. The concept of rewards is often split up among benefits, compensa tion, well-being, and other less tangible categories, which results in many nonmonetary rewards being viewed as entirely separate from financial compensation and often seen as lesser. But the pandemic showed us that in times of disruption, crisis, and uncer tainty, it is the non-financial rewards that make a differ ence to employee engage ment and loyalty, and drive the employer brand and employee value proposi tion of a company. In recognising this, forward-think

ing companies are simply extending the concept of total rewards which states that all forms of compensa tion, benefits, and so on, both monetary and non-monetary, should be considered as part of a single holistic package comprising the rewards that employees receive for their work.

This includes, of course, the flexibility benefit – something that was in the past granted very sparingly as a reward for reliable work, but is now a ubiquitous approach to work in general, and has even assumed the status of a non-negotiable benefit for a large number of workers around the world.

So, how can organisa tions make this adjustment to look more holistically at the way the rewards model is set up to gain the maxi mum engagement and reten tion from valuable talent? One simple approach is to place the same importance and priority upon benefits as upon salary. Following on that, thoughtful employers can make the mindset shift to broaden their view of

what those benefits are.

In this issue, we take second and third looks at aspects of rewards, reten tion, and well-being that go beyond compensation and into the intangibles that may not, on the surface, be considered benefits but that in fact comprise the rewards employers can offer. We hear from industry leaders and domain experts such as Serena Townsend, Chief People Officer of Silicon Labs; Jorgen Wengel, Direc tor of Global HR & Opera tions of Sennheiser Electronics; Sara Rahmani, Vice President of People Experi ence & DEI at Chronus; and more.

In this month's Big Inter view, we bring you a deepdiving conversation with Aadesh Goyal, Chief Human Resources Officer of Tata Communications, who discusses the challenges and solutions to driv ing employee engagement and supporting employees' well-being, professional and career development.

People Matters hosted two exciting conferences in

2 | nOVEMBER 2022
From the e ditor’s d esk From the e ditor’s d esk

November, starting with the first-time-ever launch of our EX Conference in Indonesia. Over 500+ leaders, speakers, and partners joined us in Jakarta on 3 November for a day of EXceptional conver sations re-EXamining the future of employee EXperi ence, networking, mutual sharing of insights, and advancing a people-centric corporate agenda.

Just a week later on 9 November, we hosted another 500+ attend ees in Gurgaon for our Total Rewards and Wellbeing Conference, bringing people and culture leaders and rewards professionals together to reframe how leadership teams can collaborate to can build a stronger and more meaning ful company culture with a solid basis of attraction, retention and engagement.

For the success of our events, we extend a big Thank You to all the lead ers who joined us, to our speakers, and especially to our wonderful partners, all of whom continue to make our conferences a success.

We look forward to hosting everyone again next year as we support our community to Become The Answer. In the meantime, we bring you two exciting new platforms for discussing and sharing insights and perspectives. Our Big Ques tions series invites leaders to put in their thoughts on the fresh trends and burn ing questions of today's world of work, from moon lighting to layoffs to micro management. And my own new podcast, People Matters Unplugged, brings candid conversations on people and work straight to your digi tal doorstep. Catch us on LinkedIn every month as we bring you more bold and innovative discussions. As always, we welcome your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories.

3 nOVEMBER 2022 |
Happy Reading!
Follow F > estermartinez > M > @Ester_Matters
santa rewards! love it. Yaye!
Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor in-ChiEf
From the e ditor’s d esk

maNager - desigN, photography, aNd produCtioN Marta Martinez

maNager - subsCriptioN Sumali Das Purkyastha published by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. owNed by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. published at: 501, 5th Floor, millennium plaza, tower a, sushant lok-1, sector-27, gurgaon122009, haryana, india. tel: +91 (0) 124-414 8101

4 | nOVEMBER 2022 C o N te N ts this issue oF PEOPlE maTTERS CoNtaiNs 74 pages iNCludiNg Cover
editor-iN-ChieF Esther Martinez Hernandez editor & New produCt CoNteNt strategist (global) Mastufa Ahmed
seNior editors Mint Kang Rachel Ranosa seNior maNager - researCh aNd CoNteNt strategy - apaC Jerry Moses seNior assoCiates - CoNteNt
Mitra | Asmaani Kumar
Salvi | Aastha Gupta
Srivastava assoCiate editor
Sharma digital head
& produCtioN
Kallattu seNior maNager - global sales aNd partNerships Saloni Gulati
NotE to tHE READERS the views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect
views of people matters. although all efforts
made to ensure the
of the content,
the editors
the publisher can
responsibility for consequences
from errors or
in the information
the publisher
contents nOVEMBER 2022 VO lu ME xI II I ssu E 11 Cover story 36 38 How to attract and retain top talent at tech companies May yang, Managing Director of Synechron 40 Does our pay for performance process deserve rewarding? Clinton WingrovE, Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd 44 Focus and follow up on your talent, give them opportunities to shine JorgEn WEngEl, Director of Global HR & Operations of Sennheiser Electronics 46 Employee well-being initiatives cannot be one-size-fits-all MEiyEa nEo, Senior Director, People Partner at Zendesk APAC 49 Wellness programmes are a combination of experiences and learning MadHulika vEdula, Director-HR of Providence India 52 On the role of employee policies amid moonlighting and quiet quitting trends Sara raHMani, Vice President of People Experience & DEI, Chronus 55 There’s no HR playbook, the role is broader and deeper now SErEna toWnSEnd, Chief People Officer of Silicon Labs
have been
in any manner
prior permission from
is prohibited.

Brian Elliott, Executive Leader of Future Forum and Senior VP, Slack

5 nOVEMBER 2022 | C o N te N ts Featured In thIs Issue AAdEsh GOyAl BRIAn EllIOtt JOhn ChERIAn JOhn KAllElIl JORGEn WEnGEl MAdhulIKA VEdulA MEIyEA nEO sARA RAhMAnI sEREnA tOWnsEnd VInAy PRAdhAn COntrIButOrs tO thIs Issue ARJun sEthI ClIntOn WInGROVE MAy yAnG dR M MunEER VIsty BAnAJI RAPId FIRE
need to move beyond worrying about how many days a week people are together, and look at schedule flexibility or when people work
22 #PM l n d In Managers can
or break a company’s morale, motivation,
26 #PM
29 #PM
Companies are finding ways to truly bring learning to life vinay
31 s t RA t EGIC h R Agility and adaptability demand better strategic analysis
REGulARs 02 From the Editor’s Desk 06 Letters of the month 08 Quick Reads 70 Knowledge + Networking 58 t h E ROA d l E ss t RAVE ll E d A flood of moonlight By viSty BanaJi, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting
64 B OOK s 7 “Irresistible” conversations we've had By Mint kang 68 B OOK s “Pritam Singh: The Alchemist Guru”: By Jagriti kuMari 72 Bl OGO s P h ERE Instilling a sense of ownership in employees
arJun SEtHi, Regional Head and Chairman, APAC at Kearney 14 Engaging investing in them oyal,
and productivity JoHn kallElil, CEO and founder, XED By raMya PaliSEtty
l n d In
a learnercentred, applicationbased learning process JoHn CHErian, Co-founder, MD & CEO of enParadigm By aSMaani kuMar
d In
PradHan, Country Head of India & South Asia at Udemy
By dr M MunEEr, Co-founder and chief evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute

Letters of the month

Synergi S ing legal and H r S kill S to S olve H uman problem S

It's always so inspiring to hear well-considered perspectives on how to manage one's talent, espe cially seasoned with the insights gathered from experience in other professions. Most interesting and accurate is the point that data is key to truly solving today's challenges, especially in a hybrid and remote environment where we can no longer rely on constant physical observation and 'gut feel ing' to make our decisions. Indeed, collecting and analysing information has always been central to HR, but we must now be more intentional about it!

Is there a right time to retire in the corporate world?

The point absolutely jumps out that a person with advanced skills and knowledge, and experience, can do more in a shorter time than someone less advanced would be able to achieve in a longer time. For

this, employers should be willing to pay a premium rather than clinging to the backward-thinking and nar row-minded paradigm of 'young and cheap'. If employers are intelligent about such things, retirement need not be such a complicated matter.

What if employers actually talked to employees?

Were we in an ideal world all the people management problems that we faced could be so easily solved by com munication, talking, listening. It is a great failing of today's leaders and managers that many just have no clue how to listen to their employees let alone do something about what they hear. Instead their only communication is in the form of criticising, complaining, saying unpleas ant things about the people they should be supporting. Leaders and managers ought to do better.

Culture design for learning – and failing

If skills have a shorter life span then perhaps the point is not to learn such skills, but to learn how to learn. That is to say, picking up these skills and applying them, then knowing when they cease to be relevant and pivoting quickly to the next needed thing, is in itself a skill. Technology indeed should be a great help there with identifying and providing the exact items of knowledge that are needed at any time.

6 | nOVEMBER 2022
oCtober 2022 issue qui C k reads letters o F the mo N th

Interact with People Matters

people matters values your feedback. write to us with your suggestions and ideas at

IIM Kozhikode @IIMKozhikode

How to escape quiet quitting

There is a great point here that quiet quitting cannot be escaped because it is sim ply a part of how people do work. Just giving it a catchy name and labelling it as a bad thing will not induce people to stop. Rather, em ployers ought to acknowledge the responsibility they bear to make people more invested in their work.

Quiet quitting: Trendy topic or fun framing?

Spot on! These two things, adjusting their work-life balance out of a desire for wellbeing vs. disengaging from work out of resent ment, are very different. And have very different solutions. Companies should differen tiate these two and address them appropriately.


A CEO's ultimate L&D guide for disruptive times

Some great points here around the need to discern what skills are important and what are mere fads. Also, the very practical use of data for understanding what is actually needed and what is exactly involved in the skilling strategy.

The game changer for organisations

A strange thing about learning and skilling is that to actually get employees to engage in these opportu nities seems to take more effort than providing the opportunities in the first place. Seems there is a sort of stumbling block or maybe a gap between people's understanding that it ben efits them, and their will ingness to make their own commitment. While the important skills are indeed a game changer, could the atti tude and self-investment of employees who pick up those skills be as important a game changer as well?

Wondering how to make your workplace more pregnancy-friendly? Here are some tips for creating a supportive and accom modating environment for expecting employees, from Prof. Nivedhitha K S who has written this opinion piece for @PeopleMatters2

BlueJeans by Verizon @BlueJeansNet

According to a recent survey, 83% of companies with > 1,000 employees are likely adopt a hybrid approach to work, meaning #HybridWork is almost definitely here to stay. Here's what's likely to come next as things evolve

X-PHY Cybersecurity Solution @Xphy Secure

#Cybersecurity is a critical field for many organizations but, like many others, also faces a talent crunch.

#talentmanagement #employeeengage ment #talentacquisition #cybersecurity #hiring #jobs #hrcommunity

Rezoomex @Rezoomex

How to create a remote work policy for your team via @PeopleMatters2…

#RemoteWorking #EmployeeExperience #HR #Tech #Recruitment #TalentAcqui sition | For more such articles follow @ Rezoomex Now! #Rezoomex #Newsletter

5ireChain @5ireChain Catch @pratikgauri live at the @People Matters2' Big Questions series!

Along with some of the biggest names in the industry. #cryptonews | #blockchain based | FelizMartes

Skillsoft APAC @SkillsoftAPAC Skillsoft report shows 80% of IT employ ers see skills gap as a major hurdle to meet objectives. Roadblocks include difficulties with hiring skilled candi dates, employee retention, and lack of adequate effort invested into training. bit. ly/3z7XLSP via @PeopleMatters2

7 nOVEMBER 2022 |
> @PeopleMatters2
qui C k reads letters o F the mo
N th

H r tECH nology

HR tech startup Keka

Hyderabad-based HR tech plat form Keka has secured India’s largest series A SaaS funding with a whopping $57 million from West Bridge Capital. Founded by Vijay Yalamanchilli in 2015, Keka en tered the HR tech space as a boot strapped company. Keka reached its 100-customer milestone in 2017 and grew exponentially in just

a couple of years, crossing the $750K ARR in 2017 and achieving seven-fold sales growth in 2020. By 2021, it had crossed the 5500-cus tomer landmark, the company said in a statement.

Quess Corp in hiring spree, targets freshers, headcount reaches 5 lakh

Fringe raises $17 million led by Origin Ventures and Felton Group

rEC ruit ME nt

Amazon plans to freeze hiring in corporate


Industry giant Amazon has an nounced a corporate hiring freeze, as confirmed by Senior Vice Presi dent of People Experience and Technology Beth Galetti in a blog post. Galetti informed the Amazon staff that CEO Andy Jassy and his team have decided to “pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce”. Galetti also mentioned that despite the com pany’s move, they are planning “to hire a meaningful number of people in 2023”, and the company is excited to manage newer initia tives like Prime Video, Alexa, Gro cery, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare.

Business service provider Quess Corp has shored up hiring across digital services, facility manage ment and payroll services, which the firm said is the highest growth witnessed to date. Quess has hired nearly three lakh new employees in the last 12 months. Out of total recruits, roughly 47% are first-time additions to formal employment in India with social security benefits. Within this workforce, over 88,000 employees are women and over 5,000 are specially-abled persons, the firm said. The company hir ing has been focused across 6,400+ cities. Tier 1 cities hold a workforce share of 37%, followed by Tier 3 areas with a share of 32%. Tier 2 cities, with 31% share, have also been a great source for hiring.

HR tech startup Fringe, which facilitates companies to offer cus tomisable perks and benefits to em ployees, has secured $17 million in funding. The round was led by Ori gin Ventures and Felton Group. Ac cording to multiple sources, Fringe has raised $21 million in venture capital to date. By 2022, Fringe hosts a marketplace containing around 450 vendors ranging from virtual fitness, virtual coaching, and online wellness therapy to food and grocery delivery, streaming services, and more. The platform also provides stipends and reim bursement platforms, providing options and tools for employee rewards and recognition, peer-topeer giving, employee donations, and recruiting incentives.

UpGrad to recruit over 1,400

staff by March 2023

UpGrad recently revealed that it will hire over 1,400 team members by March 2023 as part of its global growth and expansion plans. The majority of the 1,400 members will be hired as faculty, train ers, and experts. The rest will be part of the sales and marketing, content, delivery, and learning experience teams.

8 | nOVEMBER 2022 qui C k reads
raises India’s largest series A SaaS funding of $57 million

E MP loy EE Ex PE ri E n CE

Workplace communication improved for 93% employees over last year: Report

New research by HR tech company

Enboarder has found that work place communication significantly improved over the last year. 93% of employees feel connected to their



Leader and manager effectiveness is the most frequent top priority (72% of respondents) among HR leaders in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region for 2023, according to a survey by Gartner. The other top organisational priorities for HR leaders in APAC next year are: organisational and change manage ment (59%), employee experience (57%) and HR technology strategy and management, with recruiting (42%) and the future of work (42%) in equal fifth place. 45% of HR lead ers say their employees are fatigued from the continuous disruption of

Gender pay gap widens in Indian startup ecosystem

An Annual Insights Report by RazorpayX Payroll, the business banking platform of Razorpay, reveals that while salaries in the Indian startup ecosystem are rising, they are not distributed evenly across genders. Though

coworkers and over half (56%) feel very connected. When Enboarder surveyed employees in August 2021, only 83% felt connected to their coworkers and just 31% felt very connected. Employees who feel connected are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs (96%) versus employees who feel discon nected (60%). Only 13% of connect ed employees expect to leave their current role within 12 months, and this answer nearly doubles for disconnected employees (24%).

E MP loy EE Manag EME nt Infosys introduces a 3-phase hybrid plan for work-from-office

While many companies are forc ing their employees back into the office, Infosys has introduced a flexible work model. In an internal communication, Krish Shankar, HR head at Infosys announced a three-phase work-from-office plan. In the first phase, employees can come to the office twice a week based on their convenience. In the second phase, they can choose to take a transfer or relocate to a branch office of their choice. And in the final phase, the company will implement a hybrid working policy based on the feedback from the first two phases.

the last several years. High employ ee change fatigue and increased work friction are correlated with a lower intent to stay with the organisation. Gartner research shows only 43% of employees who experience above-average change fatigue intend to stay with their organisation, compared with 74% of employees with low levels of fatigue.

a gradual growth in the salaries is seen in both genders, growth in salaries earned by males is higher at 29% as compared to 22% by women. While the me dian salary gap between men and women was 46% in the last one year, the salary gap between the two genders in the 95th percentile salary bracket was a whopping 70%.

University of California witnesses biggest strike over pay hike

As many as 48,000 University of California workers have gone on strike, demanding better pay and benefits. The striking employees are mainly teaching staff and re searchers. Their demands include $54,000 minimum pay for student researchers, US media reported. According to a report by HRD US, UC has proposed wage increases of 6%, 3%, 3%, and 3% over the next four years. “In a year of 8.5% infla tion, this amounts to an effective wage cut, exacerbating SRs’ rent burden,” according to the union.

9 nOVEMBER 2022 | qui C k reads
45% of HR
say their employees are fatigued:
Co MPE n Sation & B E n E fit S

Saudi’s World Cup rise and some leadership lessons from Herve Renard

Just a couple of weeks ago, football fans witnessed a stunning upset. Saudi Arabia, a country of about 36 million people that did not make sports a national priority until 2016, stole the thunder from Argentina, a soccer powerhouse where the game is a religion.

The giant-killing achievement was one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history. A team that had only qualified for six World Cups and whose best progress was to round 16 in 1994, defeated superstar Lionel Messi’s team 2-1.

Cheers echoed across the Arab world as the Saudi team, literally written off by football pundits, united soccer fans even in rival countries in camaraderie.

How did the Green Falcons achieve this surprise victory? The answer can be found in the leadership efforts of coach Herve Renard. Here are a few takeaways.

Leaders must be rooted in


Renard showed that leader ship is not about selling dreams but converting them into real ity. Despite keeping a low profile, he delivered the goods when it mattered most, infusing a healthy dose of self-belief into his players.

He taught the Saudi team that football is a team game and that stars are not above other team members. Heroes are not selfmade, and the outcome is built on the handiwork of all.

Heart-to-heart communica tion is key

Language has never been a barrier for the French coach. The tone of his voice, his body language, and his gestures spoke volumes of the urgency he had to beat the oppos ing team.

He thundered: “Go, go go. Give it all you have. Years later, you will look back to this day. Look at your selves and look at each other.”

When his players appeared to be in awe of the Argentine super star leading their opponents, he demanded of them: “You want to take a photo with Messi?” as a reminder that they are on the field as challengers, not just as admir ers.

A motivator par excellence

“We have a crazy coach,” said Saudi midfielder Abdulelah al-Malki. “He motivated us at halftime, telling us stuff that made us want to eat the grass.”

Those who follow international

football beyond Europe and Latin America will know Renard’s coaching style. In 2012, he had been brought on as the coach of Zambia, which had not too long ago lost 18 players in a plane crash near the capital Gabon. Three days before the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, he took his team to the site of the crash and urged them to play for their deceased colleagues. The Zambian team won the cup, beating Ivory Coast in the finals.

This World Cup’s winner is yet to be decided. The biggest extrava ganza of football on earth will probably witness much more scin tillating displays and stories of players and coaches.

But the Green Falcons mentored by Renard have taken their names, their game, and the leadership of their inspiring manager to the next level. Foot ball is a power game, but with a manager like Renard, the game becomes the theme of life and leadership.

10 | nOVEMBER 2022 qui C k reads

Pu M a a PP oint undt

Puma has hired Arne Freundt after former CEO Bjorn Gulden relinquished the post to head rival Adidas, Reuters reported. According to an official statement by the global sportswear com pany, Freundt’s contract is effective from 1 January 2023 and will run for four years. Freundt has worked for the firm for more than ten years and has been a member of the Management Board as Chief Commercial Officer since June 2021. At Puma, he has held various positions and was respon sible for framing corporate strategy, tak ing care of the Global Direct-to-Consumer business and the Region EMEA as a Gener al Manager. Meanwhile, Gulden’s mandate as member of the Management Board of PUMA SE expires at the end of 2022.

Mastercard has elevated Joseph Fernandes as senior vice president & head, people & capability for South Asia. Fernandes joined the company in 2017 and since then, has been leading human resources for the India tech hub in Pune. He succeeds Priti Singh, who served in the position for over four years, and has taken on a larger mandate to lead Mastercard’s People and Capability function for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. In his new role, Fernandes will lead the team respon sible for nurturing Mastercard’s talent pool in India and other South Asian markets (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal), the company said in a state ment.

ad for

Vaibhav Bhandari has been appointed as global gaming giant Aristo crat’s new people and culture leader for India. In this role, he will chart a compre ports the company’s growth plans and further strengthens its culture. Bhandari is a seasoned global leader with two decades of human resources experience, including 10 years at Aristocrat in various people and culture functions.

azon i ndia a PP oint S o H it Jo H ar a S H r d ir EC tor E-commerce giant Amazon has appointed Rohit Johar as HR Director for India. He comes with diverse leadership experience across human resources, digital transformation, operations and M&A integration driving value for clients, business, and employees. Before joining Amazon, Johar worked with Genpact for more than 10 years in various capacities including vice president, global HR leader, banking and financial services. A management graduate in Marketing, and Human Resources from the Faculty of Management Studies, Jabalpur, Johar start ed his career at Goodricke Group in 1999.

kkE r on B oard S Pranav oon a S C H i E f P Eo P l E CE r

Logistics and transportation company TruKKer has appoint ed Pranav Prasoon as Chief People Officer. He will work with TruKKer's leader ship team in transforming people practices, culture and business evolution. A seasoned

11 nOVEMBER 2022 | E
a S CEo E n r ES ign S
t E rC ard E l E vat ES SEPH fE rnand ES to HE ad H u M an r ES ourCES for Sout H aS ia
qui C

C k reads

HR professional, Pranav comes with almost two decades of experience across all HR domains. He has been National Head HR for Coca-Cola, Head HR for Renault India, Verti cal HR Head for Engineering in Renault Nis san Technical Centre, and GM HR for Wil low Logistics. He is a Doctorate Research Scholar at SSBM, Geneva and a manage ment degree from IIM, Lucknow.

ndia a PP oint S Sak SH i la a S H E ad of P Eo P l E Real estate consulting firm

CBRE South Asia has appoint ed Sakshi Khosla as head of people. Khosla is a seasoned HR profession al with about two decades of experience across the HR spectrum. She joins CBRE from the diversified Max Group, where she recently served as corporate vice president, human resources for Max Life Insurance Company. In her earlier roles, she was asso ciated with organisations like Tata Consultancy Services, Hewitt Associates (now Aon Hewitt), and General Electric. She is a mem ber of the HR & IR Committee of the CII Northern Region and represents NHRDN in the Coaching Council of the Delhi Chap ter of NHRDN. Khosla is also the winner of People Matters' 'Are You in The List – Emer ging Future HR Leader' award (2014).

yninno i ndia a PP oint S tu Sing H a S Country H tor for oPE ration

Dyninno India has appoint ed Neetu Singh as the Country HR Director for Operations, responsible for ensuring the execution of global HR stan dards, policies, processes, and initiatives across all operations offices of Dyninno India. Singh comes with a rich experience of 18 years in strategic HR management across multicultural environments. Before joining

Dyninno India, she was heading the HR func tion for the Rajasthan circle of Reliance Jio.

H J oin S tata tor, H r

Digital health platform Tata 1mg has appointed Gurpreet Singh as director of human resources. He joins Tata 1mg from Wing ify, the makers of experimentation platform VWO, where he served as head– tal ent management & HR projects and lead a three member talent team to develop and drive the strategy around talent manage ment, employee engagement and organisa tion effectiveness to support high business performance and growth.

rPlaCE a PP oint S ana M d a S C H i E f P Eo P l E and Cultur E o ffi CE r

BetterPlace, the full-stack tech platform for frontline workforce management, has appointed Mohana MD as Chief People and Culture Officer. With over 15 years of experience in BFSI and IT sectors, she has led large scale talent trans formations in companies like SAP and Fidel ity Investments. She was formerly the head of HR at Global Business Services (GBS) Standard Chartered in Bengaluru where she drove the Future Workplace, Now program which helped the bank’s global employ ee base adapt to the changing workplace environments during the pandemic.


ia g onzal ES f P Eo P l E o ffi-

LTK, a creator-guided shopping platform, has appointed Patricia Gonzales as its first Chief People Officer. She will be responsible for overseeing all people operations –uniting teams and driving the organisation to reach business targets. Gonzales joins LTK from Acorns, which saw good growth under her supervision.

12 | nOVEMBER 2022

t e N q uestio N s i N terview


Brian Elliott

Executive Leader of Future Forum and Senior Vice President, Slack

Your thoughts on the success of flexible working models?

More efficient and productive than we would have imagined possible, and employees want to maintain the flexibility they were able to adopt during the

But concerns around the

connection to the company?

Unfounded: our Future Forum Pulse report finds that remote and hybrid knowledge workers

their immediate teams, more connected to their manager, and more connected to their company's values as their fulltime in-office counterparts


So, what works to enable connection?

Transparency: people who believe their leaders are transparent feel higher sense of belonging with their teams and higher satisfaction with their work environment 4

How much flexibility is actually good for employees and employers?

We need to move beyond

worrying about how many days a week people are together, and look at schedule flexibility or when people work


And what doesn't work?

If employers only measure the performance and productivity of their employees by how many hours they’re spending in the office, they’re likely to drive away top talent


Will all-remote or majorityremote organisations last?

Hybrid work is here to stay, and

some of the largest companies in the world have produced recordbreaking profits with a remote workforce

Why is schedule flexibility


High correlation with positive employee sentiment, satisfaction, and performance

How are they doing that?

By building trust and employee engagement, through open and transparent communication Advice on promoting trust in the workplace?

Build a task force of experienced employees who also represent the diversity of voices you want to have in your organisation is essential; shift your management culture to one where knowledge is freely shared internally


A key message from your book

“How The Future Works”?

There are three essential ingredients to success in this digital-first age: focus on outcomes, not attendance; listen to your teams; invest in frontline managers

13 nOVEMBER 2022 |
rapidF ire

On engaging peOple and investing in them

14 big i N terview November 2022

buildiNg a workForCe For the preseNt aNd Future is both aN art aNd a sCieNCe. iN CoNversatioN with people matters, tata CommuNiCatioNs Chro aaDESH GOYal desCribes aN approaCh that eNCompasses eNgagiNg a diverse aNd distributed workForCe, while iNvestiNg iN them suCh that they aNd the CompaNy CaN iNdepeNdeNtly be Future-ready

As we approach the end of 2022, it's a time to review how the year has been, what the outlook may be for the coming months, and what lessons and approaches we can bring forward with us. People Matters met up with Aadesh Goyal, Chief Human Resources Officer for Tata Communications Limited), to ask for his insights on how the compa ny's people management approach is evolving and what the next steps may be in today's uncertain environ ment.

Aadesh has been with Tata Communications for over a decade, having joined in 2010 from PeopleStrong HR Services, where he was Chairman and CEO. He has over 35 years of experience in multiple aspects of business leadership including not just HR but also P&L management, operations, ICT, corporate communications and more, and has held global leadership roles in these functions across multi ple geographies.

In this interaction, we hear from him on how Tata Communications is working to meet the needs and expec tations of employees after the changes of the last few years.

Tata Communications operates a global business that spans multiple geographies. Tell us how you're maintaining such a widely distributed workforce with its many different demographics.

Tata Communications has employees in 33 coun tries, serving customers in over 190 countries. The prin ciple that we have followed for the last 20 years is that we are a global company, but we are also a local company. In practice, this means that we aim to hire as many local people as possible in

every country where we are doing business. At the same time, we are constantly moving people across coun tries so that they can bring their knowledge of the company to different parts of the organisation, while also having a chance to get assimilated and introduced to the culture of the coun try where they have moved temporarily. They can also bring the culture of their origin country to their new location.

This is critical for us because all our businesses are global – all our prod ucts are for the entire globe. But our customer facing organisation is unique to each specific region. The customer facing organisa tion in APAC, for example, comprises people who are primarily present in APAC

November 2022
big i N terview
We have learned from the pandemic that we as human beings have much more capacity and capability to deal with change and adapt and innovate than we think

countries, who are dealing with the APAC market and the APAC customers. But this organisation would also include employees with a different focus: they could be from marketing, prod uct development, be it engi neering, operations, solu tion engineering, finance, legal, HR. And while these employees may be present in this region, their work is not restricted to this region. They are performing a multi-region, multi-coun try, or even global role from right here.

For such a global-andlocal approach, do you find it more effective to 'build' or 'buy' talent?

This depends on what role is open and where the person is available. Where possible, our preference is to 'build' through inter nal mobility, which means hiring from within the

organisation. If we can hire a person from within a region or within a coun try, we do that. But if such a person is not available at the time, then we'll seek a candidate from outside. And most of these decisions are made by individual leaders and managers, who build their teams in the manner that makes the most sense to them.

You've described a huge range of job functions and a huge range of geographies. With such a diverse workforce, how are you managing the return to on-site work?

Two years has been a long time, and people have got used to working in a particu lar way. So even though fears of infection have subsided, and people are more will ing to go back to normal activities outside the home, I don't necessarily see them

being ready to start work the way they would if they were going to office. In a way, working from home has become a comfort zone. The early signs have been good. Over the last six months we have seen that approximately two-thirds of our people have started to work from the office. Some are working regularly. Some are working occasionally. And most are somewhere in between. But we also have another one-third who are not yet ready to leave that comfort zone. Take India, for example. During the pandemic, many people went to their hometowns to work, and many of them have not yet returned from there to their city of work.

We have taken a clear position on this. We believe that we're not going back to the pre-pandemic paradigm where everybody is going to work from office all the time. Certain roles need to be done from the office, but the vast majority of roles can be done in a hybrid model. At the same time, we are not going to support remote-only work for anybody.

Our approach is to be flex ible and show people why it is important to do some work from office. Hybrid work for us means three days from office and two days remotely, and every team and manager decides how they want to imple ment that. Then we make

16 | nOVEMBER 2022 big i N terview

the in-office days useful by creating interactions in the office which can't happen remotely. If you think about interactions like stopping and chatting with somebody in the hallway or near the water cooler or when you're grabbing a cup of tea, all those just don't happen when you're working remotely. You have only organised interac tions. But a lot of relation ship-building, innovation, problem-solving, happens through these impromptu

ing from home model in a matter of three weeks, even though we were not equipped to do it. Now, if we had approached it like a project to be executed in normal times, I'm sure most of us would have drawn up a three year plan. But without that luxury of time, we were able to leapfrog three years into three weeks. We can do it. That's the big inspiration that we must take away as individuals, as teams, and as organisations.

We don't see engagement as a transactional activity; we see this as a sustained, institutionalised value that employees experience, and our focus is on getting people to understand that the drivers of engagement have value for them as individuals

discussions. And that's where people will realise that there is a lot of value in not just completing your work, but in interacting with people.

Finally, I am optimistic about the return to work place because we have learned from the pandemic that we as human beings have much more capacity and capability to deal with change and adapt and innovate than we think. For example, we switched from the working from office model to the work

In early 2021, we had a conversation with you that touched on how to support employee wellness, productivity, and engagement during the lockdowns and pandemic response. How have these initiatives evolved in the intervening year and a half?

We did a lot of work related to wellness during the pandemic, and we invested a good amount of resources, money and time and what wellness means and how it will develop over time. Even now I think we're

still in early days, with a lot of discussion and experi ments happening around what meaningful roles companies as employers have to play.

And my initial impression is as follows. When you talk about mental wellness, physical wellness, emotional wellness, other things like general well being health sleep nutrition, these are all very important topics. But we have found that very, very few employees are interested in this, as in they are willing to spend their time to engage and do something with these programmes that we offer to the whole company globally. We found that only about 10% of employees are actually engaging. My sense is that employees are interested but they are not necessarily willing to invest their time to do something about it.

So when we talk about these initiatives, we must also remember that when a company wants to do some thing, we need the major ity of employees to start engaging with it. It's very hard for a company to run niche programmes which only a small percentage of employees are engaging in. Even though there is a lot of dialogue, our experience has been that the uptake is slow right now. I'm not discour aged – I think ultimately, we have to do things that add value for people, and we have to continuously work

17 nOVEMBER 2022 |
big i N terview

towards identifying areas where that value needs to be added. And once you've done that, you have to keep improving it over time. It's really a long haul, there is nothing short term here.

Have you found other approaches that do work well to engage people, especially for your top performers?

Let me first define what engagement means to us. We assess employees' level of engagement based on their perception of their future at the company, whether they are striving and doing their best, what feedback they have to give, and other communications with them. And then we look at what are the underlying drivers that create this outcome. We have actually identified 20 drivers, which include learn ing opportunities, the quality of engagement that a person has with their manager, what they think about the leader ship of the company, career opportunities, and so on.

Over time we have devel oped programmes to expand on these, and we continuously improve the programmes so that we can deliver superior outcomes for the employees. We build on our existing digitisa tion efforts and use a plat form approach to create a consumer-grade experi ence, in line with what many employees are expecting

today from their workplace digital tools. And for the last seven or eight years now we have been able to maintain and increase our employee engagement score over time.

We don't see engagement as a transactional activity. We see this as a sustained, institutionalised value that employees expe rience, and our focus is on getting people to understand that the drivers of engage ment, whether opportuni-

completely changed the paradigm more than five years ago. We built a digi tal platform that's almost like Amazon for training. Anybody can learn anything on this at any time, without needing to get anybody's permission. It's a self-service intelligent platform. People can use it whenever they want. If they're sitting at an airport or they have a few minutes during the weekend or time between meetings or

ties or quality of leader ship or other things, have value for them as individu als – regardless of whether they are a new employee, or a tenured employee, or even a lifelong employee.

Can you share a little more about how you approach, for example, learning?

So rather than the company or the manager deciding what an employee needs to learn, we

if they want to dedicate two hours a week to learning, they can do any one of that or all of these based on their interests. They can take up long programmes which span one year, or they can take up something as simple as watching a very informa tive video about a topic that is relevant to them. And they can stop and start as they want.

And what we have seen is that the learning per person per year has been multi-

18 | nOVEMBER 2022
big i N

plied by two and a half times since we introduced this, and where five years ago, 90% of our learning was delivered in person, now nearly 100% of our learning is delivered digitally. We have received excellent feedback about this approach from employees.

Given the uncertain global economic environment and today's concerns about inflation, do you think that people's views of monetary versus non-monetary benefits has changed?

In the last 12 to 18 months, macroeconomic forces have certainly created challenges for citizens in all coun tries around the world. Our memory is short, but if you look back two or three decades, this type of situa tion has happened more than once. 20 years ago, the dot. com meltdown created one such situation. Then in 2008 the collapse of the bank ing system created a simi lar situation. Right now, we face inflationary trends, and war related issues are creat ing challenging situations on top of that. Energy costs are going up, for example, in several countries. It does impact the lives of people, especially those who have lower discretionary income because most of their sala ries go to basic needs.

Obviously in a situation like this, people tend to shift towards a more economical perspective, and often there's

not much scope left to make that shift. Non-financial benefits like healthcare and pension are essential; you can't take away money from there. Salary is also diffi cult to shift, because of the broader economic situation.

But I think this is a pass ing phase. I'm not an econ omist, but I do think the current inflationary pres sure that we're seeing in almost all countries, to varying degrees, is temporary. Like the pandemic, it won't last forever. And so my message is that we must stay strong, and we must stay hopeful, because this is going to pass.

For Tata Communications itself as a company, how is this outlook affecting talent priorities?

Here at Tata Communications, we've undergone a great business transforma tion. 10 years ago the focus of our business was primarily related to network and infra structure related services, and while that is still a big part of the business now and in the foreseeable future, the business that we're build ing now is really becom ing a digital and a platform company. This is happening in multiple stages. There are some products that we built a few years ago, and they are now in a significant growth phase. There are a few prod ucts that we built only two three years ago, which are

now out of incubation and are going to see the growth. And there are several things that are currently in incubation, which may become big bets on the future.

So if we look at the next five to 10 years, we are going to require different think ing and different talent to sustain this transformation. We will need people who are good in digital, people who are good at customer expe rience, people who are good at data science, AI machine learning software, and other important technologies. We are continuously develop ing people in that direction, and we are also hiring when we're not able to meet the demand from within. It is a continuous process. When you talk about transforma tion, sometimes it tends to give the impression that transformation is taking time. But this is actually happening every day. You see the impact when you look back after one or two years, and see that we have come a long way. But you don't get all the talent that you need on day one, and even if you somehow manage that, you're not able to make the transformation immediately because things take a certain amount of time to start flowering.

What investments are you planning to meet these talent needs?

Over the last 10 years

19 nOVEMBER 2022 | big i N terview

we have digitalised our HR strategy. We now have a digital HR ecosystem that is accessible to all employ ees globally. Going back to the example of learning, we have made many such func tionalities available in other areas like career planning, and for demographics with different needs like older employees. In the last 18 months, we now have devel oped about 12 academies on our learning platform, with courses ranging from AI, to improved account management, solutions engineering, service assurance, customer success, management, and many more. That is one way in which we are building new skills for a very large number of people for roles that we predict are going to be of somewhat differ ent nature in the future: we

are enabling that transition through building new capa bilities for a large number of employees.

Then we have a targeted learning programme for identifying new skills that need to be embedded into different job families and different roles. We create certifications so that people in these teams can go on those journeys and build those skills. And the third is on-demand learning.

So how do we create a mechanism for converting this learning into role mobil ity for employees? New roles are emerging continuously, and we need to match these with people who have the implicit knowledge of the company, who have the rela tionships needed to build out the roles. That's where all our focus is, and thatis what

is driving our whole strategy.

In the next few months, we'll be launching a tool for employees to see, at any given time and based on his or her experiences, capa bilities, what are the different roles he or she can take up in the company. The tool will provide some gap analy sis: what skills they already have for the role, what are the skill gaps, and what learning programmes they can under take to bridge those gaps. It will show them what roles are open and allow them to apply directly then and there. It's an end to end experience which can potentially fulfill all their aspirations and needs.

We have been successful in driving a cultural and a mindset change, so that rather than employees depending on a manager to tell them what their next career move could be, or what they should be learning, employees now have the power to do this on their own. We've created channels and an entire ecosystem through which they can steer their life in the manner that they want. Managers and leaders are still there to provide guidance, coach ing, and inputs, and facili tate wherever they can, but employees don't need to neces sarily just depend on that.

In short, we are investing not just in the employees alone, but also investing in empowering them so that they can grow by themselves.

20 | nOVEMBER 2022 big i N terview
We must stay strong, and we must stay hopeful, because this is going to pass

Make Better Talent Decisions

Make Better Talent Decisions

Transform Your People Strategy With Data-Driven Talent Assessments

Transform Your People Strategy With Data-Driven Talent Assessments

Aon’s assessment solutions is a world leader in the design and implementation of innovative online tests, questionnaires and gamified assessments for recruitment, selection and development, delivering 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

Aon’s assessment solutions is a world leader in the design and implementation of innovative online tests, questionnaires and gamified assessments for recruitment, selection and development, delivering 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

Our team, spanning 2,000 colleagues in more than 30 countries, includes the firm’s rewards, talent assessment, and performance & analytics practices.

To learn more, visit us at

Our team, spanning 2,000 colleagues in more than 30 countries, includes the firm’s rewards, talent assessment, and performance & analytics practices. To learn more, visit us at

Managers can make or break a company’s morale, motivation, and productivity

people learn, earn and lead the future, he has been lever aging technology to provide access to high-quality educa tion to leaders from across the globe.

We live in a com plex world today marred by informa tion overload, full of paradoxes and contradictions.

To be able to lead with clar ity, order and purpose in these disruptive times, it is imperative for learning to go beyond convention al educational approach

es. With the aim to address the skills gap among sen ior leaders and to decentral ise and democratise educa tion, John Kallelil founded XED in 2015 and since then, it has been a game chang er, empowering leaders who are eager to drive change, influence and create a posi tive impact. With his man tra to revolutionise the way

In an exclusive chat with People Matters, Kallelil reveals what it takes to lead in the VUCA world, why are there no quick fix solutions to toxic work envi ronment, the skill set of a great leader vs a good leader, what are the programmes to help new-age senior leaders navigate through tumultu ous waters and the ultimate answer to phenomenas such as the great resignation and quiet quitting.

As organisations across the globe are focusing on digital and structural trans formation, Kallelil also shares his insights on the silent killers that block sys temic change required to make learning and develop ment programmes effective and what the age-old adage, ‘employees don’t leave organisations but manag ers’, really mean.

22 | nOVEMBER 2022
John Kallelil, CEO and founder, XED, explains why one needs to proactively seek learning and develop ment to be better equipped to face an increasingly uncertain future

As one of the pioneers in designing senior leadership learning programmes, what are the radical shifts and trends you have come across in the L&D space in the postCOVID era in comparison to the pre-COVID era?

Until the pandemic, lead ers were working with known threats; competition, disruption, digitisation, polit ical and economic dynamics. The pandemic and the subse quent disruption was quite unprecedented and impacted executives and senior lead ers globally. From suddenly managing supply chain dis ruptions, to adopting remote work and relying extensively on technology to keep the lights on, the events that shook the world also served as a wake-up call for many businesses.

This led to a realisation that there is value to collec tive wisdom and continuous learning. There is renewed

focus on areas like leading with empathy and compas sion, building organisational resilience, reinforcing values and purpose and leading dur ing crises in today’s VUCA world. Long-term adaptabili ty and people-focused leadership are the governing princi ples that will shape the future of work.

Fortunately, the L&D sector stepped up to the chal lenges presented by a disrupted world and created models that minimise friction and encourage flexibility. The classroom, as we know it, has been redesigned to suit a range of virtual learning options such as online learn ing, blended classrooms, liveonline classes led by top aca demic experts, etc.

So the changes are threefold: Firstly in content and context, curricula have been redesigned to fit this new reality to include more rel evant and broader themes.

Secondly, there is a massive transformation in terms of digitisation, and in the tools and technology that are being leveraged to impart learning, and last but not the least, edtech platforms and players like XED have made it possible to democra tise learning, offering worldclass education to leaders as they learn from anywhere.

With the great resignation and more recently, quiet quitting taking centre stage, one thing that is usually said is: employees usually leave managers, not organisations. How can leaders avoid this pitfall that creates toxic culture in the organi sation?

These trends are indica tive of a larger shift in the employee mindset. As companies and leaders strug gle to address these trends, many still don’t focus on the heart of the matter. Why are employees leav ing or quitting quietly as it were? Many organisations have implemented quick-fixes such as bumping up pay or perks or bonuses instead of making real efforts to strengthen relational ties or employee engagement.

This has shifted the spot light to organisational cul ture, policies, and ‘bad managers’. A large part of workplace dynamics is guid ed by emotion-driven deci sions rather than rational and well thought-out

23 nOVEMBER 2022 | # pmlNdiN

actions. With great pow er comes great responsibil ity. The manager, especially mid-to-senior managers can make or break a company’s morale, motivation, and pro ductivity.

If employees are not get ting the growth and development they want at your organisation, they will seek it elsewhere. The importance of communication and transparency cannot be overstat ed, especially in the current hybrid, remote context.

Unfortunately, there are no tips or quick solutions to fix a toxic work environment. Rebuilding the environ ment requires a significant amount of work, starting from the top and extensive introspection and owner ship. It is hard work but it can be done with the right tools, audits and coaching or mentoring.

What are some of the skills and practices that senior leaders should master to be good leaders to their team, as they build a culture of learning?

In our experience in the executive learning space, we have worked with leaders and executives from all manners of enterprise. Some of the core skills that stand out as we interact with leaders and managers include a high degree of self-awareness as leaders, strategic and criti cal thinking, effective com munication, accountability,

the ability to influence, and agility.

Some of the best leaders have learning agility and they are able to course cor rect, knowing when to adapt, and how to use new and existing tools and empow ering their teams to do the same. It is important that leaders make continuous learning a core organisa tional value and not some thing they can tick-off a box. From designing per-

grammes from global uni versities and Ivy Leagues that identify and address the need gap, tailored for each organisation.

How can senior leadership learning programmes help in understanding, and ultimately, addressing the skills gap?

The traditional ways of leading and managing no longer suffice in the postpandemic era. Leaders need to navigate a strange new

sonalised learning plans to offering leading by exam ple, encouraging knowledge sharing and inculcating learning in the hiring pro cess, there are multiple ways to make learning and devel opment a priority for your teams and leaders.

Additionally, the way learning happens in the workplace is also undergoing a sea change. There are now tailor-made pro

world where everything from rapid digitisation to intense competition, hybrid models of work to quiet quitting and moonlighting, employees present previous ly unseen challenges. There is great emphasis on emo tional intelligence and some of the ‘softer’ skills such as critical thinking, power and influence, negotiation, leading from the front, change management, decision-mak

24 | nOVEMBER 2022 # pmlNdiN

ing and executive presence.

Some of the new-age sen ior leadership learning pro grammes such as Cornell’s ESenior Executive Lead ership programme, Brown University’s postgradu ate programme in Innova tion Leadership and Chi cago Booth’s Executive programme in Finance Strategy dig deeper into the challenges of leading in the contemporary landscape with focus on opera tional and strategic skills from a global perspective. The waves of disruption and a rapidly evolving busi ness model mean that lead ers need to realign their approach and prepare for the future with relevant skills in digital leadership, strategic thinking and busi ness transformation.

What are the silent killers that block systemic chang es from taking place in an organisation leading to unsuccessful senior leadership learning programmes and training?

Senior leadership learn ing programmes gain the most traction where there is buy-in at the top level. Before you sow the seeds, you need fertile soil and the right climate. If the sys tem does not align with the key goals of training pro grammes, then individuals may benefit personally from these initiatives but the organisation will fail.

Businesses often strug gle with lack of real context, unclear priority on strate gy and values, lack of cohesion across business, leaders and functions due to poor organisational design, poor leadership time and atten tion to resource issues and a hostile environment where employees fear speaking out about the real problems that plague them.

These barriers are the silent killers and they block the systemic change required to make learn ing and development pro grammes effective.

Ensure that the learning process is intuitive and exciting, and presents an opportunity to connect with high-net-worth individuals, top academic faculty, etc.

Leverage virtual classrooms, digital platforms, and more personalised and customised content that addresses your specific domain, organisational and personal challenges. Focus on employee development at all levels as you grow into the organisation. Under stand the expectations from your superiors, teams as well as customers to learn

Finally, what advice/ approach do you suggest for leaders eager to upskill their leadership skills as they gear up for the new world of business?

Leadership is going to be radically different from how we perceive it. Business leaders will need to learn new approaches to support their team, and their organ isational goals. Proactively identifying what is happen ing internally and external ly and how it impacts your business can help antici pate the skills of the future.

the right traits and behav iours for a forward-thinking organisation. Finally, plan ahead and don’t wait for the wave of disruption to reach you before you act. The more proactively we seek learning and development, the better equipped we will be to face an increasingly uncertain future.

XED was Diamond Partner for Peo pleMattersL&DIndiaConference 2022,and John Kallelil chaired an inspiringpaneldiscussiononhow todevelopleaderswhocanshape the future of business.

25 nOVEMBER 2022 | # pmlNdiN
Senior leadership learning programmes gain the most traction where there is buy-in at the top level... before you sow the seeds, you need fertile soil and the right climate

Emphasise a learnercentred, applicationbased learning process

journeys, designing futureready learning strategies and more.

As organisations redesign their L&D frameworks to become ready for disruption, what are the top three things that L&D leaders or HR professionals must pri oritise to lead in the future of work?

John Cherian is the Cofounder, MD & CEO of enParadigm. He believes in the poten tial of purpose-driven busi nesses to make the world more meaningful. John has pioneered the learner-cen tric, experiential model for enterprises to enable people to achieve business impact. He leads the teams at Enpar adigm to bring together

business insights, learning methodologies, and user experience on technologydriven learning platforms to make transformational learning accessible for all employees. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, John highlights critical priorities for L&D leaders, how enParadigm supports growing businesses in their L&D transformation

The first priority is for or ganisations to focus on employee experience. With the Future of Work becoming a reality, many newer working models have emerged, and the work culture has transformed beyond recognition. In these disruptive times, you need to ensure that your employees adapt well to these changes and that they have the necessary skills to bridge the competency gaps. It's about ensuring that employees feel valued, ap preciated, and empowered at every stage in their careers with your organisation.

Next comes creating a culture of continuous learn ing and upskilling for their employees. With the current market disruption, most em ployees might face role-fit

26 | nOVEMBER 2022
John Cherian of enParadigm dives deep into how they support organisations in designing impactful L&D strategies for the future of work

ment issues and competency gaps at every level. To bridge these gaps, organisations must create an engaging and accessible experiential learning model and make it part of their DNA.

Finally, companies need to focus on longer employee retention as they move into this new way of working.

Employees with access to consistent coaching and de velopment opportunities are more likely to stay in your organisation for longer. You also need to give employees a wide range of upward mobility options, which can only be possible if they have the right competencies. So, to sum up, organisations need to provide experien tial learning opportunities to their employees to make them future-ready.

When faced with the rapidly evolving skill demand, how does enParadigm support fast-growing companies in building up their competencies and strength ening their ‘Talent Intelligence?’

With the Future of Work becoming a reality, most organisations face a massive role-fitment issue, especially when it comes to having a future-ready workforce with sales and other role-specific competencies.

To tackle this, enParadigm has developed the Catalyx platform with the world's largest competency library

across the functions of any organisation. In addition, our platform features 120+ digital simulations in key productivity areas. With Catalyx, you can map ideal competencies for each role, analyse gaps, create hyperpersonalised learning jour neys, and more.

Learning strategies also need to keep pace with learner demands and engagement. Following up on that, what are those big shifts you have witnessed in the way learners today? What are those solutions offered by enParadigm to support this L&D transformation?

Post-pandemic, learners’ demands have evolved rapidly. As roles and competen cies change, so are the ways your employees want to upskill. It’s no longer restricted to routine L&D training or some seminar. Learners today want to go beyond that and upskill continuously. But with newer working models, organisations need to rearchitect their learning strategies.

That’s where enParadigm comes into the picture. Our simulation-based learning models are designed to ena ble employees to learn when, where, and how they want. We have focused on creating engaging, on-demand

27 nOVEMBER 2022 | # pmlNdiN
The first step is for organisations to be mindful of the changes happening in their workplace and equip their employees to adapt quickly

and media-rich content that supports an applicationoriented learning approach. Also, our training models consider your organisation’s goals and values and design learning journeys that align with them.

We’ve got the right resources, the content, and the expertise to ensure your employees acquire the essential competencies & skills and remember what they've learned long after the course is over. So, we've got you cov ered whether you want them trained on-site or remotely.

From learner engage ment, when we shift to learner transfer and impact, how can businesses ensure that the skills get applied and are relevant to the changing workplace? How can they tackle the behavioural aspect of L&D with enParadigm?

As discussed earlier, the skills and competencies required to thrive in these disruptive times constantly change. In response to this, organisations must ensure that their employees acquire the relevant skills they can apply to their roles.

The first step is for or ganisations to be mindful of the changes happening in their workplace and equip their employees to adapt quickly. In this process, enParadigm’s simulationbased learning model will help map the competency gaps and enhance the behavioural aspect of L&D by enabling active learning, analytical thinking, complex problem solving, better com munication ability, cognitive flexibility, digital literacy, emotional intelligence, and leadership.

Finally, what would be

your advice to our community on embracing future-ready learning strategies?

Adapting to any change takes time and patience. So, while driving these organisation-wide changes, having empathy, under standing, and social and cultural awareness is essential. Organisations must encourage newer initiatives, adaptability, curiosity, and resilience in their employees. They can leverage various emerging technologies and experi ment with newer methods and tools to develop futureready skills.

But the emphasis should be on having a learnercentred, application-based learning process in place. You can make learning more immersive and engaging through gamifica tion. Moreover, the learn ers’ preferences and pace must also be considered while designing learning strategies. The final com ponent is establishing a comprehensive system for measuring learners' perfor mance. You can implement all these aspects individu ally or switch to enPara digm and get everything in one place.

enParadigmwasDiamondPartner forPeopleMattersL&DIndiaCon ference2022,and John Cherian conducted an exclusive Master class on how to solve the role-fit challengeforthefutureof work.

28 | nOVEMBER 2022 # pmlNdiN

Companies are finding ways to truly bring learning to life

Sparta. In an exclusive con versation with People Mat ters, Vinay highlights the critical learning trends and focus areas for L&D leaders as they embrace the future of work, the role of learning technologies and more.

As organisations rede sign their L&D frameworks to become built for disruption, what are the top three things that L&D leaders or HR professionals must prioritise to lead in the future of work?

Vinay Pradhan of Udemy tells us what trends L&D leaders must capitalise on as they embrace the future of work

Vinay Pradhan is a seasoned leader with a demonstrat ed history of suc cess in the e-learning indus try. As the Country Head of India & South Asia at Ude my, a leading destination for learning and teaching online, he leads the region al teams to build Udemy’s enterprise business, focus ing on expanding the com

pany’s regional investment and partnerships.

Before joining Udemy, Vinay was the Country Man ager of India at Skillsoft. He’s skilled in sales, operations management, busi ness development and mar keting strategy. In a career spanning 30 years, he has worked with companies like Dun & Bradstreet, Bharti Group, Essar Group and NIS

Perhaps the biggest trend or opportunity we’re seeing globally right now is com panies finding a way to truly bring learning to life and embed it within their virtual and hybrid work culture. At Udemy, we’ve honed in on a few distinct trends, namely:

• The need for varied learn ing modalities–multiwork learning–how do you layer learning experi ences on top of the vari ous ways we are working?

• A shift to skills-based learning vs content acquired

• Virtual validation mark ers (like badges) that enable employees to hone

29 nOVEMBER 2022 | # pmlNdiN

digital leadership capabil ities and earn badges for future-focused technical and power skills

What key focus areas must L&D and HR leaders prioritise in strengthening their learning culture?

We recognise that peo ple acquire knowledge dif ferently, so at Udemy, our engagement with learners is increasingly personal ised to help them meet their personal and profession al goals. Similarly, organ isations need to support employees with a person alised, remote and scalable workplace learning model so they can continue to upskill and reskill throughout their careers. The learning lead ers and HR profession als we’ve spoken with say they’re continuing to focus on reskilling and upskilling efforts, acknowledging the need to invest and scale with their current workforce as

hiring freezes continue to be put in place.

How has Udemy aligned its learning interventions to keep pace with new-age trends and technologies?

Udemy is innovating new learning methods and path ways to enhance every step of learners’ career journeys. Our corporate solution, Ude my Business, offers a vari ety of learning methods, including on-demand learning through our market place-driven curated course content, cohort-based learning for leadership develop ment, and immersive learn ing through labs, workspaces and assessments.

How do you see the role of learning technologies growing in the future?

Embracing a culture that uses learning as a key lever used to be a “nice to have”; now it’s become a business imperative. A recent Deloitte

survey found that organi sations fostering cultures of learning were 92% more likely to develop novel prod ucts and services, saw a 50% increase in employee reten tion rates, and noticed a 17% increase in profitability. To address skills gaps, now more than ever, Udemy empowers and enables organisations to build cultures of learning at work. Looking ahead, we’ll leverage sophisticated AI and machine learning models to help personalise these learning experiences.

What parting words of advice would you give our community on empowering a future-ready workforce?

The demands of the future workforce are changing dai ly, so it’s important to lever age a tool that’s constantly pushing out new content to meet those growing needs. Udemy’s learning platform is powered by the indus try’s most dynamic and agile content engine, ensuring a steady stream of fresh and diverse content in local lan guages available to learners within a few clicks. Ongoing training initiatives that help employees grow and positive ly contribute to their future success can greatly impact their personal and profes sional growth.

UdemywasDiamondPartnerfor PeopleMattersL&DIndiaConfer ence2022,andVinay Pradhan headedapaneloncreatingan enablinglearningculturetokeep companiesaheadof thecurve.

30 | nOVEMBER 2022 # pmlNdiN

Agility and adaptability demand better strategic analysis

CHROs take on a greater strategic role, they need to equip themselves with a wide range of tools and capabilities to drive performance from their unique seat. Here is a practical process for improving performance analysis

The last two years of pandemic turbu lence have shown us the importance of being adaptive and agile in the face of setbacks. A good strategic performance analysis and governance process will help to manage the future transitions better. Those who did not have robust strategic governance and performance manage ment systems suffered much more – the SME sector was one such victim.

In many global organisa tions, I have seen CHROs taking on the mantle of strategy execution using such frameworks as the balanced scorecard. The use of such frameworks is more relevant today than ever, and evidence shows that old frameworks need not be discarded. After all, Harvard Business Review says the balanced scorecard is the most revolutionary management tool of the last 75 years!

There is a valid reason for the CHRO to take this role –

any execution of strategy can only happen through the employees. Any reluctant CHRO will be more moti vated by the recent eleva tions of HR folks to CEO roles globally (Leena Nair at Chanel, Leslie Motter at Make-a-Wish, Brianan van Strijp at Anthemis, etc). Getting the holistic view of business will help them fast track this move. As our experience shows, the strategy execution champi ons normally become CEOs faster than their peers.

Assuming that an organisation has translated its strategy into a balanced scorecard format of stra tegic themes, objectives, metrics, and initiatives, how does one analyse the data to drive strategic govern ance? Strategic performance governance requires collect ing, organising, scrutinis ing, and interpreting data. The goals are to know how well the strategy is getting managed, to test the sound ness of the strategy itself, and to identify areas for

31 nOVEMBER 2022 | s trategi C hr

improvement or change.

To prepare and conduct a strategic performance analysis, start with collect ing quantitative/qualita tive data and use sound judg ment to interpret the same. The analysis should be done on the four perspectives of the balanced scorecard, viz., financial, customers, processes, and learning and growth. In order to test the logic of the linkages, anal ysis should encompass the themes, objectives, measures and initiatives.

Proper strategic analysis for performance is impor tant always, not just for turbulent times. Leadership must know how the strategy is working for the organisa tion: assess progress regu larly, be cognisant of weak areas, and identify opportunities in the market. This also becomes the govern ance system by making continual learning possible.

As top managers analyse performance, they will start learning more about the cause-and-effect connec tions that define their strat egy. This learning process enables them to make increasingly improved deci sions for refining the strat egy and resource allocation. The insights gleaned from strategic performance anal ysis lead to what we call double-loop learning, which in turn drives the agil ity and adaptability. Both operational and strategic

changes can be made with such learning. As depicted in the figure below, testing the hypotheses behind the causal links across strate gic perspectives and objec tives at one level, and updating new market realities and prompting a discussion on even revising the current strategy, at the other level.

etc) warrant modifications to the strategy.

The lower loop is of oper ational learning or management control. Based on the strategic direction (balanced scorecard or any similar framework), managers apply resources to improve perfor mance. Results are reported back to the leaders for neces

The upper loop in the figure above is of strategic learning. By assessing oper ational results, leaders can decide how the strategy is getting implemented and how recent developments (new technologies, competi tive shifts, new regulations,

sary corrective action.

One of our clients, a retail chain, realised through this kind of analysis that their “lowest total costs” strat egy was working in some financial results, but it was not differentiating them from their competitors.

32 | nOVEMBER 2022
s trategi C hr
Leadership must know how the strategy is working for the organisation: assess progress regularly, be cognisant of weak areas, and identify opportunities in the market

They tweaked the strategy to driving operational excellence that incorporates efficient service, excellent selec tion and quality products to make a differentiation. They focused on the changed attitudes of consumers and started many new initiatives including quicker home delivery and cash on delivery to fight the e-commerce challengers.

Here’s a six-step process to prepare better performance analysis. Follow the three steps each in collection and analysis of data and you will find refreshing strategic insights.

Data Collection Stage

1. Clarify scorecard elements – Check the validity and logic of themes/perspectives, objectives, metrics, and initiatives.

2. Gather internal data, collect current and histor ical information on metrics and initiatives, and get the latest informa tion.

3. Collect external data –From regulatory, industry, and other outside sources.

Data Analysis Stage

4. Update objectives, meas ures, and initiatives with the data.

5. Analyse trends and causeand-effect relationships in the data. (This is the core of the performance analysis process).

While analysing at the strategy level, check if the story of your strategy is clear for all with the necessary themes, perspectives, linked objectives and logical cause-effect relationships

6. Summarise findings in qualitative and quantita tive terms

In Step-1, ensure that your company has clearly defined and translated the strategy into actionable objectives, metrics and targets. Make each objective owner ask the following questions:

• Are the themes and perspectives clearly defined and correctly organised?

• Has my unit defined the objectives clearly? Is there any change?

• Has my unit completed a profile for each measure?

Is there any change?

• Has my unit developed initiatives to close perfor mance gaps? Is there any change because of rele vance?

In Step-2, identify the sources for gathering rele vant data. This could include financial department data from budgets, expenditure, production, etc; data warehouse where most of the other database of the organisation are located; by conducting surveys where warranted (qualita tive mostly); and interviews for detailed information on some issues.

33 nOVEMBER 2022 |
s trategi C hr

Tips for gaThering daTa

• ideal sources: Deter mine which individuals or departments in your organisation constitute the best data sources. Some times, the best source is not the most senior person or even the person who is closest to the operation that the data represents. Perform a thorough search.

• Consistency:In collecting data on a particular meas ure or initiative, be consist ent across time periods. For example, if you're gather ing data from two different quarters, make sure that you use the same source and formula for both quar ters.

• rolled-up measures: Ensure that inputs for these measures use the same format and formula. For instance, if different regions have not previ ously been required to aggregate “percentage of on-time deliveries” into an overall measure, each unit may have developed a different formula and method for reporting the measure.

• Timeliness: Ensure that data inputs are timely. For example, ensure that the data is made available a week after the end of a particular month or quar ter that you're planning to analyse.

In Step-3, make use of external sources for data since the outside world often influences what’s happening inside your company. Some of these sources include outside stakeholders such as your customers, regula tory bodies and analysts; agencies that supply indus try information; and trade bodies.

In Step-4, which marks the beginning of data analysis, use the internal and external data to update the objectives, measures, and initiatives on the enterprise scorecard. This update process consists of both changing definitions and adding current data about actual performance. For objectives, clear any incorrect casual linkages and also modify definition in case warranted. For each measure, make necessary corrections in formula and

update the graphic repre sentation to reflect latest data. For each initiative, update the actual milestones achieved during the period in question and provide modification if needed.

In Step-5, the actual anal ysis will get done. This involves studying the data populated in the scorecard for the period(s) in question. Determine what insights the data provide about the performance of the organisation’s strategy. Identify the challenges to execution lie, and consider what may be causing those. Typically we assist clients to analyse the data in multiple levels: Overall strategy, theme and perspective level, individual strategic objective level, measures level (actual and target performance) and initiatives level (actual vs. milestones).

34 | nOVEMBER 2022
s trategi C hr

Three Types of Analysis

For each objective, measure and initiative, apply thought in these levels


Trends: examine the same type of data over several successive periods “same” relationships: looking at the same type of data from different SBUs and functions.

root causes: examine the actions and events that may have influenced the overall performance

Assess inventory levels across multiple months.


Get a historical perspective on performance; how is the performance now as compared to the past? Is it improving over time?

Identify specific operational or personnel problems over a shorter time frame that may be causing below-target performance. For example, are there particular days where we tend to have more quality issues?

Examine inventory levels across multiple regions.

An IT support unit is taking too long to close trouble tickets. Examine a number of factors represented by different measures to determine the cause.

While analysing at the strat egy level, check if the story of your strategy is clear for all with the necessary themes, perspectives, linked objectives and logical cause-effect rela tionships. What is even more critical for checking on your strategy execution is the anal ysis of measures. Determine whether the measures make sense in light of your strategy. Ask the following questions:

• Does the measure support the objective?

• Is the measure worded correctly to communicate the strategy?

• Are lead measures driving the right behaviour?

• Do the links between meas ures in the same perspec tive and across perspec tives make sense?

Analysing targets is the key part requiring the most effort and time. You are exploring possible explanations for why actual performance differs or matches target performance.

See whether a performance problem is organisation-wide or limited to a specific SBU or function.

The learning gained from both positive and negative performance will be useful for improving agility and adapta bility.

Here are some of the ques tions you must ask while analysing targets:

• Does actual performance differ from target perfor mance?

• Are data missing or corrupt?

• Is a target too high?

• Are one or more teams performing below taraget?

• What is the correlation between outcomes on related measures?

• Why does actual perfor mance differ from target performance?

In a similar way, initiatives too should be analysed.

Dig deeply into the forces that are driving a particular performance problem within a specific unit. meeting -- the culmination of the performance-analysis and presentation process. An effec tive summary should have both quantitative and qual itative components. We use specific formats for present ing the summary using graph ical representation, manage rial analysis of the data and recommendations for the leadership team to consider collec tively and act.

In the final step, Step-6, summarise the findings for top management to evaluate and decide. The goal is to use this summary to lay the ground work for a strategy review

Remember not to rely only on quantitative data to summarise the findings. The qualitative summary is most likely to stimulate effec tive discussions about perfor mance in the review meetings and build agility and adapt ability in the way the future may demand. Quick actions will follow from such strategic analysis.

Mun EE r is the co-founder and chief evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute. Tweet him @MuneerMuh

35 nOVEMBER 2022 | s trategi C hr
36 | nOVEMBER 2022
C over story

What is it that wins acco lades and awards for employers around the world? It's not just salary – that is simply the baseline, the fun damental requirement of the employer-employee relationship. What adds real depth and val ue to that relationship, and often makes or breaks an employ ee's decision to remain with an organisation, is benefits and rewards.

Forward-thinking organisations have long since realised the true scope of what consti tutes 'benefits and rewards'. These start with the extreme ly basic forms of employee wel fare that may even be formal ised in legal requirements, such as medical benefits or travel stipends, and extend to pro grammes that benefit the busi ness directly – training and career development, for exam ple. There are more complex support initiatives for wellbeing, physical, mental, emo tional, and even social. Following the great remote working shift of the pandemic, there have also been flexible work benefits – such as those stories of companies financing their employees' home office setup, or restructuring their work model and even office locations to create a more flexibility-friendly environment.

And of course, there is the critical element of recognition, with or without monetary or

other rewards attached: meeting the very human desire to have one's efforts seen and acknowledged.

All these and more come together in what, today, is termed the total rewards con cept – putting together every thing that makes an employ ee more supported, enabled, and engaged in their work, and creating a holistic strategy for addressing all of these aspects together.

The importance of such a strategy cannot be understat ed in today's workplace, where employee expectations and pri orities have been dramatically reshaped by massive external global forces, starting with the pandemic, moving on to demographic changes, and now the economic disruption worldwide. Today, employers have to rapidly adapt their approach to rewards – and, in some cases, their entire worldview – to match both the environment they work within and the people who work with them.

In this month's issue, we look at the various ways in which organisations are implement ing rewards, recognition, wellbeing, benefits, and other incen tives that acknowledge how the world of work has changed. We consider the challenges and opportunities in the pre sent environment, and touch on some of the solutions available today.

37 nOVEMBER 2022 |
C over story

How to attract and retain top talent at tech companies

Employees in a rapidly changing workplace are not just concerned with salary increases; they are also interested about upskilling to expand their knowledge base and update their hard and soft skills

Ahost of factors has dramatically driv en tech companies’ growth and business mecha nisms. These forces heightened the need for additional skilled talent and technolo gy-oriented support teams globally.

Recruiting is critical to meeting this demand. But upskilling dedicated to cur rent talent is also a key initiative. Upskilling allows employees to enhance their knowledge base, freshen up their hard and soft skills, advance their careers within a firm, and showcase their desire to support their com pany’s future needs. At the same time, upskilling allows

employers to leverage cur rent proven talent, support them in career advancement goals and, in many cases, prevent them from existing for greener pastures.

As per NASCOMM, India’s tech talent pool stands at 3.8M in FY2021, representing over 80% of the 4.7M tech industry employee base. Skills development has been considered one of the criti cal aspects for job creation in India. It makes sense for companies to tap into the unexposed talent pool in rural areas and make the IT sector more inclusive while improving employability. Industrialists and entrepre neurs are eagerly contributing to the development of

new-age skills. Data shows about 800,000 people have been re-skilled last year as compared to about 600,000 the year before. The IT industry in India spends about 1% to 1.5% in reskilling employees.


Ready to upskill/reskill? A holistic analysis is in order. Companies must understand the specific needs and pri orities of their team members, as well as the skilled tal ent they seek to attract. They must also understand why existing employees leave. It means thinking beyond just salary increases. The Great Attrition (a.k.a. the Great Res ignation) is still being felt in many companies as valu able tech talent streams out the door to pursue bigger, bet ter opportunities. Research has shown that a majority of employees surveyed want enhanced learning and devel opment opportunities. What’s more, offering upskilling and training as an employee retention strategy can help maintain a competitive edge, especially in light of today’s fiercest battle for top tech tal ent. Those companies that can stand out from the crowd by offering enticing upskill ing/reskilling programmes can be the benefactors.

Beyond offering upskilling as a corporate benefit, there is an underlying genuine need. Technology-based skills gap can be witnessed. Academia does its best to teach the latest

38 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story

technology and digital skills for today. But technology is continually evolving, and rapid changes -- along with shifting needs among compa nies that employ technology professionals -- means skill gaps present and can quickly widen into chasms. Bridging those identified gaps serves to benefit technology employ ees and tech companies.

Reimagining the workforce

Business leaders are feeling the heat. It’s time for organ isations to redesign their recruitment and retention efforts and fully embrace upskilling as the talent economy has become increas ingly skills driven. Accord ing to a McKinsey survey of more than 1,500 senior executives globally, 87% say their companies are not adequate ly prepared to address the skills gap. In another McKinsey survey, 61% of HR profes sionals believe hiring devel opers will be their biggest future challenge.

Upskilling/reskilling from within is a trend that is here to stay. By 2024, it is estimat ed that 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling, while 94% of business leaders expect their workers to pick up new skills. Investing in peo ple will pay off. A stagger ing 93% of CEOs who have already introduced upskill ing programmes are now see ing increased productivi ty, an improvement in talent


acquisition and retention, and a more resilient work force. HR professionals must reduce hiring costs while bridging the current skills gap. Companies are always looking for bright, new tal ent, but sourcing it internally could be a smart move. Existing personnel may have the potential and desire to acquire the precise skills employers are seeking. Man agers and senior leaders have a role to play here. They need to become not only champions in management but role models for lifelong learn ing. A continuous commit ment needs to be addressed to improve one’s knowledge, skills, and competencies through formal and informal learning opportunities.

The approach

Now comes the biggest question: how to successfully upskill your workforce? Hon estly, it depends on the company, people, and business structure. But here are a few strategies.

• Assess your current state, identify your desired future state and plot a strategy

• Invest in, develop, and deliver effective internal/ external training

• Make training and develop

ment opportunities readily available and affordable for everyone

• Make learnings appropri ate for your requirements and embrace changing needs • Invest in your people before hiring externally

Tangible benefits

In a world of technologi cal change, lifelong learn ing refers to the active investment by firms in future-ready skills and enduring capabilities. This allows for the intersection of humans and technology. Leaders will themselves need to upskill, develop and deep en their understanding to become the ushers to young employees.

Upskilling and reskill ing can include self-manage ment, empathy, and social skills. These abilities sep arate the most successful workers and leaders from the average. This is especially true in managerial and highlevel executive roles. The end goal is to help organisations and teams stay uniformed, agile, and extremely produc tive, no matter where one sits to do the job!

39 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story
May yang is Managing Director of Synechron about the author

Does our pay for performance process deserve rewarding?

Pay for performance is a staple of any rewards model, but practitioners often take for granted that it is sound. In fact, a good pay for performance model needs intensive planning and careful design

could be spent on strategic thinking, on addressing critical business issues, and on development) and emotional energy. They can last for weeks, often delaying planning for each upcoming period;

COVID has awakened employees to what they really want from their employment, forced companies to view employee wellbeing as a priority, and challenged many of our pri or beliefs about what motivates employees. We must step back and rethink our total reward strategies. We need to identify all of the rewards and benefits that employees receive or to which they have access. We need to design these to work together to produce the max imum impact. Employees need to be sufficiently and frequently advised about them, take them up, and be reminded of their value.

One of the most conten tious components is Pay For Performance - often viewed

as an essential component. But, from my nearly 40 years of HR experience it is often the weakest component. Here are some recurring reasons:

1. Even in our current dif ficult financial times, an increasing percentage of the working population are not significantly motivated by pay;

2. Focus on individual reward is not positively received in some cultures in our now global com mercial world, often being viewed as divisive;

3. An increasing percentage of the working population are more concerned about fairness than personal gain;

4. Processes for determining individual perfor mance-related awards typically consume exces sive resources (time that

5. Most schemes are based on an unsubstantiated belief that because pay for performance feels right, that it must be effective. There is even evidence that some are destructive;

6. The drive for simplicity has led to many Pay For Performance schemes lacking comprehensive coverage of performance and sufficient specifici ty to support the level of precision and rigour that they demand;

7. Most performance assess ments, on which Pay for Performance is based, are of poor quality - lacking in validity, reliability, and comparability to name but three shortfalls. Moder ation or calibration pro cesses designed to address these often replace one set of biases with another.

8. In many cases, the differ ence between rewards to top performers and poor

40 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story

performers is insufficient to achieve any anticipated incentive. Yet when it is, it often created dissent.

What do we need to consider?

I am not against Pay For Per formance. But, the design of Pay For Performance presents many opportuni ties and many pitfalls for us Human Resource profession als. Many questions need to be addressed, including:

• Do we wish to recog nise, reward, or provide an incentive for perfor mance? Those are three different activities with different effects;

• Why do we want to implement Pay for Performance? What do we believe it will do for the employees and thus for our organisations?

• For which dimensions of performance do we wish to pay e.g., - What (outputs, results),

How, or Growth?

- Short term or long term? - Final, Cumulative, or Improvement?

• Can we be assured of having comprehensive, valid, reliable, differentiating, comparable, and defensi ble measures of the cho sen performance dimen sions? This is notoriously difficult for knowledgebased and many other roles;

• Does this fit with our declared values?

• How do we want to bal ance company, team, and individual performance? Company and team-based Pay for Performance is far simpler to implement and more directly supports collaborative working.

• How will the budget be derived, allocated, and then paid? Any ambiguity, uncertainty, or unpredict ability risk suspicion and cynicism;

• What might be the con

sequences of the scheme (employee reaction, union reaction, management commitment, local cul tures, etc), and how will the system integrate with the other benefits pack ages? We need to con sider both the employ ees and the managers as most schemes are high ly dependent on the skill and commitment of the latter.

Many otherwise excellent schemes have failed to pro duce desired results simply because one or more such questions was either ignored or answered incorrectly. But the sheer commitment of resources most organisa tions have already made in their reward schemes activates the investment bias –“Given what we have invest ed in our scheme, we cannot scrap it now. Let’s invest a little more in refining it and I’m sure all will work bet ter.” Will it; seriously?

What about the employees themselves?

The response of each indi vidual to any scheme is greatly affected by them and their personal circumstances including but not limit ed to:

• Their financial aspirations. Is the target employee pool working in a sector known for Pay for Performance? Do we specifically recruit people who are seeking high

41 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

financial rewards? Is pay the primary reward offered and generally low compared to competitors’ offerings?

• Their personal financial security and horizon (the timeline over which they plan their cashflow). Is the target employee pool typically paid sufficient ly well that they can think in terms of the period to which you wish to con nect the rewards?

• Their level of risk aver sion. Is the target employ ee pool typically recruited because of their willing ness to take risks, take personal accountability, and work independently?

• Their discretionary finances. How big could any award be, compared to their typical discretion ary finances?

• Their ability to predict the award they might

receive. What influence will each employee have over the measures set for them? To what extent will they be able to predict their award i.e., the return on their invest ment in the enhanced per formance that we seek? With the global decrease in trust in organisations, leadership, and manage ment this has become a very significant factor.

The answers to the above questions should inform any design of a Pay for Per formance scheme and how it addresses these three key issues:

BUDGET: how much mon ey will be allocated to the scheme; ALLOCATION model: how will the budget be apportioned to the individuals; APPLICATION model: how will the awards be paid.


Before completing the design of any scheme, the question of how the budg et will be determined needs to be considered. Will the scheme be funded by a pre determined sum of money, and, if so, how is this sum to be calculated? Or will the scheme produce a budget requirement and, if so, how will the factors that influ ence it be decided and what will be the final approval process?

Allocation model

The objectives behind the scheme, and the existing base pay scheme will guide the determination of an Allocation Model: is it band ed or continuous and what is the shape, as illustrated in the following diagrams?

If the objective is to reward and motivate individual ‘high fliers’, then the model will produce signif icantly higher awards for them.

If the objective is to provide an incentive for indi vidual lower performers to improve (one of the most common intents), then there will be a sharp increase in

42 | nOVEMBER 2022
C over story

the size of the award for a small increase in perfor mance at the lower end of the performance scale.

Application model

For individual Pay for Per formance, there are four common ‘payment’ methods:

Base pay, where compe tency assessments may drive base salary to reflect the val ue of this proven ability/ asset.

Other considerations

Besides these, many less tan gible factors have to be considered to address the wider context. These include:

If the objective is to pro vide an equitable reward for performance, with continuous encouragement for improvement, then the mod el will be continuous and even.

Bonuses, where achieve ment of objectives may be used to drive one-off bonus es that reflect the value but potentially non-recurring nature of a contribution.

• What level of discretion will be needed for manag ers, to their commitment to and ownership of the scheme?

• What other processes will influence pay management, and how?

Banded models are also possible, with perform ers being grouped based on their individual -perfor mance. Such banding can be based on percentile (e.g., bot tom 25%, next 10% etc.) or on actual performance (e.g. rating 0, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 etc.).


• What is the day-to-day performance management process and how will this ensure that the Pay for Per formance scheme is effec tive?

• What is the culture/cli mate of the company and its various locations, and will the scheme be compat ible with those?

Share options, which may be driven by a combina tion of measures.

Access to special ben efits (e.g., funded learning and development), where development achieve ments may be used to trigger access to more expen sive development resources to further capitalise on the individual’s potential.

The final model needs to ensure maximum equitabil ity (payment versus perfor mance) combined with optimum return on investment, and minimum risk/long term commitment for the company.

When we bake cakes, the quality of our cakes depends on the quality of the ingre dients as well as the skill of us as chefs. As we move into an era during which TOTAL REWARDS become ever more significant, let’s not lose sight of the importance of ensuring that each INGRE DIENT is well designed and fit for purpose. We may be great HR chefs but let’s not assume that the ingredients we already have in the cupboard, especially our Pay for Performance scheme, are up to standard!

43 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story
Clinton Wingrov E is the Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd

Focus and follow up on your talent, give them opportunities to shine

Rewards don't need to be monetary alone – they can include less tangible aspects such as career development and flexibility.

In conversation with People Matters, Jorgen Wengel of Sennheiser Electronics dives deep into designing impactful talent practices for the future of work

Jorgen Wengel is the Director of Global HR & Operations of Sennheiser Electronics. In his current role, he drives the global HR strategy and builds a structure to support the organisation’s strategic ambitions. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Jorgen shares some of the impactful talent practices implemented by Sennheiser Electronics, how they foster collaboration and engagement across a distrib uted workforce, and more. Here are some excerpts.

As we embrace the future of work, what are those top

Today, we’re trying to become a more active and attractive employer rather than simply hoping for the best candidate to join us. We do this through active sourc ing and utilising all opportu nities to engage with talent across industries so that we have a candidate pool even before we post a job. It can be a very demanding pro

cess, so we’re also trying to partner with consultancies and recruitment agencies who can support us in this endeavour.

We're focusing on talent and career development on the talent retention front. However, along with lateral promotions, we’re equally curating avenues for vertical development and empower ing employees to gain more skills and expertise while working in the same posi

44 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story
talent trends redefining how Sennheiser hires and retains talent?

tion and field. We do this to enable them to explore and open doors to new and unex plored opportunities.

Given the emergence of new ways of working, how are you at Sennheiser embracing flexible practices and accommodating the needs of a global and hybrid workforce?

Sennheiser is a matrix or ganisation, which means we already embrace cross-bor der working and have man agers and teams working together worldwide. How ever, when it comes to the hybrid workforce, we have also learnt our lessons dur ing COVID-19, and one of the things we have seen is that work can be done anywhere. As a result, we implemented a 60-40 hybrid rule. Still, given the rising demands for flexible work practices, we have decided to offer our people complete flexibility in choosing how and where they want to get their work done. But to make it more practical, we also dive into discussions with local and regional offices and check whether such complete flex ible frameworks are indeed possible. Of course, we also recognise the spaces, such as production, where this choice might not be entirely applicable. Still, we con tinue to support flexibility wherever possible and align ourselves with people’s de mands.

As a global HR leader, how have you driven employee engagement and collaboration across geographies?

Collaboration and engage ment don’t come easy, espe cially when people cannot meet. So, we have leveraged the virtual medium to bring people together and intro duce them to one another. But with the world slowly opening, we have organised multiple events where teams and departments can come and work together. So, for example, through the APAC region, we have hosted an exclusive HR event where all employees had a chance to come together and meet in person. We also facilitated several workshops during this event to figure out how to proceed forward in this new world of flexibility and mobility.

Could you share how technology has played a role in designing that desirable employee experience at Sennheiser? What are some of the talent management practices in place?

When it comes to the digitisation of HR, we are invested in our people de velopment dialogues which is one of the cornerstones of our talent management practices. Employees and managers come together to chart their growth trajecto ries for the future of work, and all this data is uploaded

to our HRMS systems for transparency. We’re also newly implementing a highpotential programme across our offices where we recog nise the top talents and give them extra tools that support their growth and devel opment into managers and experts in our organisation. Additionally, there’s a ro bust mentorship and coach ing programme along with an annual training calendar combining knowledge, skills and attitude.

Being a matrix organi sation, we empower our leaders to manage teams effectively across cultures and geographies through data stored in digital HRMS. Although we’re still a work in progress, we’re cur rently working on updat ing our digital systems and integrating all data into a singular platform so that it can be easily accessible to our managers to design tal ent strategies. In the APAC region, we are looking into recognition and apprecia tion programs where interactions can come about across functions and people and are no longer limited to managers.

The success of any talent strategy lies in focusing and following up on all the talent at your organisation. Opportunities must be given to all with a solid develop ment plan that allows your people to grow and seize their potential.

45 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

Employee well-being initiatives cannot be one-size-fits-all

Today, well-being has become an expected component of rewards and benefits. But it is not always implemented or received in a way that bears out its potential impact. How can organisations be in sync with employee sentiments and provide them with initiatives that are both relevant and impactful?

Meiyea Neo is the Senior Director, People Partner at Zendesk APAC. She has over 20 years of HR experience, largely in technology and consulting. Her experience lies in business partnering, coaching, leadership, talent and organisational devel opment, as well as change management. At Zendesk, Meiyea is tasked with evolv ing the employee experience at Zendesk’s offices across the rapidly growing region. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, she shares her expert insights on designing wellness frame works, keeping a pulse on evolving employee needs, the critical role of leader

ship in championing well ness initiatives and more.

As employee wellness and well-being become a critical facet of any peoplecentric organisation, what key areas do leaders need to prioritise when design ing wellness and benefits frameworks?

We have learnt over the past 2.5 years that treat ing employees with empa thy and seeing them as a whole person—not just a coworker—is an impera tive. The COVID years definitely accelerated the need for a stronger focus on men tal health and well-being in the workplace. People man agers and leaders need to

identify what matters most to their employees, what they care about and why. At a time when employee retention is a challenge, it’s important for leaders to pay attention to the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of their employees as more express concerns with digital burnout. Keeping in touch with employees’ sentiments and their needs must there fore be followed through with action.

What challenges do organisations need to address to ensure that their well-being policies actually address people's needs? How can we keep them relevant and measure their impact?

Organisations need to recognise that employees’ wellbeing needs are dynam ic and constantly evolving. It’s important to be in sync with employee sentiment and needs to ensure wellbeing initiatives are rele vant to what’s top of mind for them. At Zendesk, we do this through regular pulse surveys to identify and align our policies with employees’ needs.

46 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story

Taking care of our employees is very important to us, and we invest heavily in developing programmes that create better employ ee experiences that help us attract, engage and retain our talent. Our regular pulse surveys provide a well-struc tured feedback loop ensur ing we understand our employees and find opportu nities to do better in terms of well-being initiatives. Managers can leverage the data for insights into their team's challenges and how best to support them.

The fact that our work force is now more distribut ed than before with our digi tal-first policy makes it more challenging for organisations and managers to keep up with their people’s needs. Leadership teams also need to significantly dial up their listening and be more inten tional in communicating and getting feedback from their teams and the broader community. This can be done through employ ee groups representing a range of diverse interests. At Zendesk, we have creat ed more opportunities for leadership to step into AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions in order to have more fre quent dialogue in the organ isation and better understand what’s top of mind for our people.

By listening more, organ isations can better support their employees where it


matters most to them, be it well-being initiatives, diver sity and inclusion initia tives, listening circles with leadership or digital-first policies. This approach can help businesses facilitate more opportunities to con nect with employees and ensure their needs are met.

Given that diversity and inclusion intersect with wellness programs to accelerate or hamper accessibility, how can organisations ensure accessibility to these wellness programs and policies?

Each company is different, made up of a different workforce with different needs. That’s why employee well-being initiatives cannot be approached with a onesize-fits-all mindset. This is where employee communi ties come into play, ensuring the diverse range of needs are heard and addressed. Our Employee Communi ties at Zendesk consist of employee volunteers with shared values, identity, and experience who lend their voice to specific causes. To

ensure accountability, each EC has an executive sponsor from our leadership team to champion their voices. Our Pride community ensures all LGBTQAI+ employees are valued and seen; Women in Engineering and Wom en at Zendesk celebrate our women employees at every level and help them achieve their personal and profes sional goals. And our Mosaic community encourages peo ple of different ethnicities to celebrate their differences.

What is the role of leadership in championing the cause of employee wellbeing and wellness? What are some of the initiatives that have been taken up by leaders at Zendesk?

Oftentimes, employees actually look to their leaders to set an example of their company values. While it’s important for leadership to lead communication efforts around well-being initia tives and flexible work cul ture, it’s equally important for them to walk the talk and experiment with new initia tives. For example, through our regular pulse surveys at Zendesk, we knew our employees were facing burn out. Alongside the compa ny’s commitment to embrac ing a more dynamic work style as part of our digitalfirst approach to work, the leadership team endorsed and supported the launch of a few crucial initiatives,

47 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

including our company-wide Recharge Fridays program. It involves one paid Friday off every month throughout 2022 to give employees muchneeded time and space to focus on self-care and worklife balance. This means taking the second Friday of each month off for most teams. For certain teams, they have adjusted work hours, such as a half-day off every Friday, to ensure our customers and partners still receive continued support and service.

We also encouraged our leadership team and employ ees to share on company slack channels what they did on their Recharge Fridays to encourage employees to dis connect from work. In less than six months, we have seen the positive impact of this program, with over half the comments from a recent employee engagement sur vey citing how positive Recharge Fridays has been for their well-being.

The other role of lead ership in championing employee well-being is listening actively and under standing employee needs. Besides surveys, companywide town halls, and Ask Me Anything sessions, our lead ers also opened up to share their personal journeys and how they cope through our internal blogs. We also got our leaders involved in the Empathy Circles initi ative, a safe space created



for employees to talk, vent and share with a guarantee of being listened to. Lead ers join these sessions to lis ten and learn, helping to break the echo chambers and to encourage sharing about employees’ experiences. Over 900 employees have joined these circles with strong participation from Zendesk’s senior lead ership, and we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback, including a 95% approval rating.

As leaders and peo ple managers, it’s impor tant for us to be intentional – with our people’s time, career development and overall well-being. I’m cur rently working with my People Partner team to address feedback from

recent engagement surveys. These include Focus Fridays – a meeting-free after noon – on the other Fridays we do not have Recharge Fridays; monthly development days where we spend focused time on personal and professional develop ment activities; and monthly cafe sessions for casual team bonding activities and topof-mind business updates. It’s been an invigorating yet necessary process of listen ing, experimenting, adjust ing and repeating to ensure we stay abreast with evolving employee needs and sig nificant events.

Finally, what would be your advice to leaders as they increasingly prioritise employee well-being?

Pay attention, listen and communicate with compas sion. Empathy is key when designing any employee well-being policy or initia tive. And creating psycho logical safety plays a crucial role if you want to devel op an accurate picture of what challenges employ ees face and what exact ly they need to be happy at the workplace. Without this, well-being policies are at risk of being ineffective as they may not address the true concerns at all. Practising empathy goes a long way in nurturing great employ ee relationships and deliver ing a better employee experience.

48 | nOVEMBER 2022 C
over story

Wellness programmes are a combination of experiences and learning

How else can we shape our wellness programmes to benefit employees? madhulika vedula, DirectorHR of Providence India, dives deep into designed wellness frameworks and bringing about a sustained, meaningful change By asmaani kumar

pion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Madhulika’s strength lies in building cul tures of excellence and high values. In conversation with People Matters, she shares her take on designing acces sible and inclusive wellness programmes, measuring their impact, creating sus tained change and more.

Madhulika Vedu la leads Human Resources for Prov idence’s Global Innovation Center in Hyderabad, India. Partnering closely with the business, Madhulika is driving the people strategy for nurturing a robust and high ly engaged talent base to support the global vision of health for a better world. As Providence India accelerates its efforts towards health care digital transformation, Madhulika’s workforce goals will build an authentic and inclusive work culture with resilient talent deep ly involved in the organisa tion’s vision and purpose.

With two decades of rich experience in all facets of Human Resources spread

across leadership roles at Deloitte, Bank of Amer ica, and niche firms like T. V. Rao Learning Systems, Madhulika’s portfo lio spans business integra tion, organisation design, workforce and performance strategy and HR consulting & research. A strong cham

What key talent trends impact how we design employee wellness pro grammes today? What have been some of the key focus areas for Providence India?

Today, employee wellness is a complex syner gy of employees’ personal

49 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

aspirations and the organi sational ecosystem functioning around the individual. Since the pandemic, employ ees have reset family, self and growth priorities. Purpose-driven careers, a val ues-based culture, and the flexibility to pursue their personal interests are all priorities for them today. Total health – physical, mental, and social health – is also vital. Employees want to leverage benefits, time and con nections to fulfil these.

For Providence India, our organisation’s employee wellness programme is designed to keep this holistic life cycle in mind – both the tangibles and intangibles. As a health care technology organisa tion, we make whole-person care a core priority for our caregivers. We have a “car egiver first” approach in building our benefits around mental health and well-being, with global mental health awareness and support programmes and a benefits plan to emphasise self-care, health and wellness, apart from the tangibles.

The success of any wellness initiative lies a lot in enabling access and inclusion. So how do you ensure that your wellness programmes meet the needs of all sections of the workforce?

All our programmes are with our employees – whom we call caregivers – in mind, hence the term “caregiv

er first”. DEI is part of our organisational charter, and all our programmes, policies and benefits are designed to be inclusive as well as flex ible enough for caregivers to customise them to their own needs. For example, we have a wellness benefits pro gramme which caregivers can leverage for anything from meditation apps to gym memberships to nutrition counselling. In addition, we have a lot of support programmes, from parenting to women’s mentoring to build ing awareness of disabili ties, both visible and invis ible. We began operating in India at the start of the pan demic, and our organisation has grown through these times. The programmes we have built were very focused on supporting our remotely located caregivers and their families through these difficult times, so building flexibility and accessibili

ty regardless of location and situation was paramount.

What is the role of lead ership in championing the cause of employee wellbeing and wellness? What are some of the initiatives that leaders have taken up at Providence?

The roles of leaders require the resilience of mountaineers leading treks, showing the way to their teams and helping them along the journey to reach every milestone – and there are many. Our Providence India leadership team strong ly supports well-being in the workplace, and each takes ownership of what that means for their teams, be it no-meeting Fridays or friend ly wellness challenges. Lead ers value and respect a car egiver’s personal time off and are very supportive of any wellness support needed by employees. Our country

50 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story


head is a strong proponent of mental health and drives this as a focus area through mul tiple live conversations and communications with car egivers, and has ensured that we as an organisation enable the resources and sup port systems for the same. We also have a strong cul ture of nurturing inclusion, and our leaders help create an environment of accept ance and authenticity in this space. Our leaders practice. Leaders understand that wellness directly impacts engagement, retention, and business results; wellness is innate to what we do versus being a good-to-have focus.

How are you measuring the impact of your wellness programmes? How are you ensuring that there is real, meaningful and positive change due to these wellness frameworks?

For us, wellness pro grammes are a combination of experiences and learn ing. From a plethora of bene fits to sensitisation on varied wellness elements to learn ing experiences of personal

interests, growth and collec tive wellness, it is all-encom passing when we focus on wellness. Creating spaces to talk openly about mental health has strengthened our endeavour to build a more authentic workplace. Our impact measurement encompasses employee feed back after key programmes are run, engagement and participation in campaigns, annual caregiver feedback surveys that also measure employee satisfaction with our wellness programmes, mental health check-ins, and employee tools to track well ness. Our effort to create meaningful impact comes from keeping the interven tions simple and relevant to our workforce demographics, be it driving buddy pro grammes to help each other succeed or creating forums to share stories of impact or perspective. We use all these to improve the wellness

journey we offer our caregiv ers continuously.

Finally, what would be your advice to leaders as they increasingly prioritise employee well-being?

What is the one thing that leaders must start doing immediately for themselves? It’s critical how leaders oper ate and behave at all times, given well-being is so much about practising to help emu late wellness. It is a lot about how leaders show up at work. Are they balancing their personal time, valuing their health, and, most important ly, being willing to share and be vulnerable about their per sonal journeys? One thing that leaders can start imme diately is conversations with their teams on how each one looks at well-being and what they value. It has to be woven into every key coaching conversation that a leader has to drive critically.

51 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

On the role of employee policies amid moonlighting and quiet quitting trends

In a disrupted economy, compensation continues to be a top concern on employees' minds. But the lessons of the pandemic remain and many other factors have emerged as influencing engagement and retention

holistic and financial wellbe ing. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

How do you look at the significance of effective engagement policies in a remote work setup?

Amid the highly debat ed trends of quiet quitting, quiet firing, moonlighting, and others, employers clearly face chal lenges in retaining key tal ent. Flexibility, mental wellbeing, work life balance, and other factors that were pre viously given little consid eration, have now emerged as tripwires over which employers are losing talent.

Moonlighting, for exam ple, is a huge challenge of current times. Stud ies have already found that many employees may seek to change jobs if asked to return to the office, and the

possibility of moonlighting seems to be intensifying that trend. Looking at all the dis ruptions across the workforce globally, the right set of employee engagement pol icies seem to be the safest remedy.

People Matters had a chat with Sara Rahmani, Vice President of People Experi ence & DEI, Chronus. During the interaction, she shared insights on how the expec tations of the workforce has changed in terms of both

Effective engagement pol icies can take many forms, and we find at Chronus that they are significant in initi atives including DEI, crosscollaboration, and reducing burnout while enhancing morale.

Boost engagement amongst employees. Reverse mentoring can provide a bridge between boomers and Gen Z, which helps drive feedback, deepens connec tions between managers and junior employees, and pro motes age diversity.

What are some key engagement policies rolled


52 | nOVEMBER 2022 C over story

out by Chronus, with special reference to the remotely working employees?

• Employee Recognition through virtual Kudo boards and Slack channels

• Employee Appreciation through tenure rewards programs – giving employ ee tenure recognition by rewarding employ ees with an experience of their choice (skydiving, glamping, spa days, etc.).

Employees can choose an activity near them, no matter where they are.

• Quarterly virtual town halls – All employee meetings where we allow ques tions to be submitted to the leadership team

(anonymously or dur ing the event) in order to tackle the tough things we’re focusing on around employee engagement, hybrid work policies, cul tural celebrations, DEI strategy and employee rec ognition.

• Monthly events – we host monthly virtual and inperson events such as hap py hours, trivia days, desk yoga sessions, book clubs and more to keep employees interacting across functions and teams.

Two years into remote work and the expectations of workers have changed. When you look back at the

pre-pandemic world, do you spot any difference between Gen-Z’s expectations of their managers today?

Before the pandemic, we weren’t seeing as many members of Gen Z in the workforce as we are now, so it can be challenging to make an apples-to-apples comparison. That said, we’ve seen shifts in what this generation expects from their managers and employers – likely due to the chang ing labour market dynamics and the Great Resignation/ Reshuffle.

Now, workers want more support and flexibility from their managers, and feel that it’s a necessary part of a strong culture. Workers are even willing to pass on or give up other benefits to preserve the focus on flex ibility and well-established work boundaries. In many cases, Gen Z expect more direction on daily tasks and support from their manag ers than older generations had – but this direct instruction has also become more important and necessary in a remote work environment; older Millennials and prior generations had been more accustomed to an in-per son onboarding that allowed for more learning as you go, and thus expected less direct support from their senior staff.

A study by Cigna International shows that while

53 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

C over story

hybrid and flexible work is seen as very important amongst younger workers, they are also experiencing worrying levels of burnout and concern for the future. How do you look at this?

The rising cost of living and job security is definite ly on everyone’s minds, espe cially those working hard to move up the corporate lad der. Companies need to be constantly looking at benchmarking data on salary and equity to ensure they are compensating their team members adequately and being competitive with the market.

When it comes to burn out, employers need to promote a culture that focus

es on employee well-being and take actions to encour age keeping it top of mind. Employers can help build social connections through large and small group events/activities both in person and virtually, along with mentoring programs to increase employee support.

Amid the circumstances of moonlighting and quiet quitting, what ‘secret-man tra’ would you like to share with the employers to retain the key talent?

Not a true secret, but we advise HR and company leaders to build formal men toring programs to encourage career development and social connectivity. Most of

today’s symptoms of dis engagement result from employees losing sight of how they matter and how they can continue to grow.

Continuing to learn, gain ing advice and next steps for career growth and sim ply talking to another col league or leader that isn’t project or team focused can reinvigorate employ ees to not only engage in an organisation, but active ly want to be a part of the company’s growth forward.

In a remote work set up, employees natural ly don’t have immediate interpersonal connections. They can’t stop by anoth er employee's desk and ask them about their weekend or to discuss project-spe cific questions. This – cou pled with longer working hours without breaks – has exacerbated rates of burn out, especially amongst the younger generations, as many started their careers during the pandemic and are now working through a looming recession/economic downturn.

Most of the companies we work with at Chronus have noted that remote men toring has been incredibly valuable in supporting engagement, as it offers a personal way of connecting while remote. For instance, career mentoring can sup port career pathing, reduce burnout and improve employee engagement.

54 | nOVEMBER 2022

There’s no HR playbook, the role is broader and deeper now

We are in the middle of a workplace transformation and there is no HR playbook today, says Serena townsend, Chief People Officer of Silicon Labs. How does that influence the rewards and retention strategy?

By Mastufa ahmed

the last two years. Nobody knows where emerging labour market trends will settle. Still, we know that employee needs and expec tations are changing fun damentally. There is also a greater focus on person al flexibility and wellness. Companies that understand that and adapt their value propositions will succeed.

Agrowing number of employees today expect more from their employers in terms of providing individual flexibility, fostering an inclusive company culture, respond ing to world events, support ing mental health, and per sonalising the employee experience. This is a mam moth task for corporations. Providing these expectations and future-proofing organisations in an envi ronment of uncertainty and shifting priorities remains a challenge. “If the last two years have taught me any thing – the goal shouldn’t be

to futureproof the organisa tion, as it’s impossible to predict the types of problems coming our way,” said Sere na Townsend, the chief people officer at Silicon Labs.

With over 25 years of expe rience in technology organ isations, Townsend earlier held HR leadership positions at companies including Sam sung Austin Semiconductor and HomeAway (Expedia).

How are organisations reinventing their talent strat egy in the wake of a mass exodus of talent and a tight labour market? How do you see the larger transforma tion of talent strategies?

Employees have absorbed a remarkable amount of change and disruption over

Gimmicks don’t work long-term for attracting and retaining talent. Know your values. Build strong com pany culture fundamentals. Listen and respond authentically to your employees. Rec ognise and appreciate great work.

In the post-pandem ic world, the use of AI and automation has increased manifold and businesses are exploiting next-gen tech to improve efficiency and handle increased customer demand and expectations. How do you see the impact of next-gen tech such as AI and automation in the Human Resources Department?

There is a lot of opportu

55 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story

nity in the HR space to lever age technology and automa tion to improve the quality of service and increase efficiency. We’ve seen trends towards shared service models, automating routine tasks, enabling employ ee and manager self-service, and predictive modelling to do some cool new things, like identifying potential attrition risk and under standing possible bias in decision-making.

The most important start ing place for innovation is good human-centred design. What problem are you try ing to solve? Begin with designing a great employee experience and an effective process, and then find the tools and systems that sup port that, not the other way around.

Organisations must bal ance automation with human connection. We know that connection and community are fundamental needs and that person al interactions are key to building a culture of inclusion and belonging. If your

new hire only interacts with a bot, it’s more difficult for them to feel welcomed into the organisation, so it’s critical to keep the employee experience top of mind.

How is the role of HR evolving in the wake of remote work practices, a rise in data, and a focus on inclusive culture and employee experience?

We are in the middle of a workplace transformation. There’s no HR playbook that we have experienced over the past years, and the role of HR is changing inside organisations to be broader and deeper than ever before.

Employees are asking for more support and expect ing a lot more from employ ers in terms of providing individual flexibility, build ing an inclusive company culture, responding to world events, supporting mental health, and personalising the employee experience.

It’s critical to understand the world around you, your industry, your business, your organisation, and the

variety of employee needs to design and roll out pro grammes that have the most impact. You must continuously invest time in all areas to be a great business part ner and to offer relevant counsel.

As a global talent leader, what has been your core focus in the hybrid work era? How do you measure progress?

Keeping our company's value of “do the right thing” top of mind. To us, that means providing flexibil ity and personalised solutions to employees as much as we can, as we all navigate the pandemic and new pressures on individuals/fami lies/communities.

Employees need differ ent things at different times, and there is no one-size-fitsall solution today. This is especially true for a global organisation like ours.

We measure progress through annual and quarter ly employee experience sur veys, inclusion assessments, focus groups, leadership

56 | nOVEMBER 2022 C
over story

forums, and regular perfor mance and development con versations. Our ability to attract and retain talent is also a key indicator of our progress.

What are the top challenges and opportunities that you see in the up-skill ing and re-skilling workforce today? Can you share insights about your initiatives around the same?

Like most growing glob al tech companies, we have a continuous demand for top talent and there is a limited supply. It’s a losing strategy to expect to grow long-term by only hiring experienced talent.

ties in technical and pro fessional development are as. This provides benefits to our employees who care a lot about their career growth and continuous learning, and it also helps our organisation to strengthen core capabilities that are critical to our long-term success.

As an HR leader, what role are you playing to futureproof your workforce?

If the last two years have taught me anything – the goal shouldn’t be to futureproof the organisation, as it’s impossible to predict the types of problems coming our way. Focus on building organisation resilience and


We have robust pathway programmes where we part ner with local high schools and universities to build STEM skills and provide career opportunities to stu dents to excite them about our industry, and so that we can build and grow the over all talent pool.

Internally, our Silicon Labs University initiative offers live, online, and ondemand courses to help build skills and capabili

leadership capability so that we are better at solving new and unexpected problems in creative ways to work through the change curve at a faster pace, and have trust in each other and the company so that we can weather hard things.

leader in the large and grow ing Internet of Things market. This is a space that used to be unknown to people and now it's part of everyone's everyday lives and is expect ed to be some of the fastest growth in technology in the industry for the coming dec ade. We are bringing togeth er some of the most inno vative, skilled, and creative talent from around the world to meet this challenge.

It’s important for me (and all leaders) to understand our overall business strategy, people trends influencing our space, unique strengths of our culture that create tailwinds for us, the chang ing needs of our employ ees, and the pace at which our organisation can absorb change.

Silicon Labs is a respected

It’s important to commu nicate often and transparently with employees through regular company meet ings, town halls, leadership forums, all-hands, company intranet, and other chan nels on what’s happening in our market, how our busi ness is doing, and how our customers and products are doing. This level of transpar ency builds trust with our employees that we are sharing what we can and that we are planning responsi bly. We also regularly share the results of our engage ment surveys, actions we are taking, and progress we are making towards people and culture-related goals.

57 nOVEMBER 2022 | C over story
What are your company priorities and how do you align this with employee expectations?

A flood of moonlight

Those operating close to subsistence levels have often had to stretch themselves over multiple jobs. Why is the trend accelerating among knowledge workers and what should we do about it?

he road less travelled

Recent TV debates on Moonlighting have fully lived up to the potential of the medium. Participants have talked past their opponents and sometimes even past those purportedly on the same side!

Proponents of Moonlight ing almost break into one of Andy Williams’ signature lyrics (with minimal aug mentation):

Moonlightingriver,wider than a mile

I'mcrossingyouinstyle someday Youdreammaker,youheart


Whereveryou'regoing,I'm goingyourway.

The other side fields supreme court advocates threatening death, doom or (failing those) dismiss al. Nothing less will assuage the righteous anger of the affronted CEO. White-hot moral indignation about employees wanting to earn more must take special chutz (grand)pah from pro moters who out-wage the moonlighters by a thousand times or more.

Neither side chooses even to define terms, much less

investigate causes. Such con fusion is not recent. As far back as 1963, Harold Wilen sky wrote that "the range of fact and opinion about moonlighting discourages understanding and predic tion."1 This column seeks to describe how mid-level Moonlighting is only the culminating act in a long sequence of neglect coupled with several enabling tech nologies. It goes on to ana lyze varieties of Moonlight ing as well as the special circumstances when Moon lighting can be a boon. But we can do none of that till we get some definitions and terminology in hand.

I find the definition pro vided for Multiple Job Hold ing (MJH) by Emily Cam pion (et al) useful: "The act of working more than one job simultaneously, includ ing working for employers and self-employment, where in all tasks, or sets of tasks, are performed in exchange for, or expectation of, com pensation…. MJH is distinct from but can overlap with, the concept of 'gig economy work'… MJH is a broader

58 | nOVEMBER 2022
VisT y BA n AJ i t

concept that captures work ing and managing multiple jobs simultaneously, which may or may not be short-term or project-based."2 Their justi fication for preferring MJH over Moonlighting is also convincing. Moonlighting is pejorative and implies a clan destine activity which need not be true of all MJH. In the interest of greater familiar ity, however, I shall continue with the less happy usage for most of this column.

Psychological contract pyramid

When an issue is fraught with confusion and emotion, I find it useful to start from the basics. "The psychological contract concept is used to explain behaviour by considering the extent to which the employee believes that the employer has kept the prom ises the employee perceives were made to them. As in any relationship, if promises are kept, then satisfaction and a desire to stay in the relationship are likely consequences. If, on the other hand, promises are broken, negative emotions and the urge to withdraw may follow." 3

In this case, I shall pick five fundamental building blocks of the psychological contract that exists between people and the organisations that employ them. My choice is also dictated by the help they provide in classifying Moon lighting and the triggers for it. The following table pro vides a summary:

The employee Brings The organisation provides Time Living wage

Energy Differential recognition and reward Competencies Development of new competencies Loyalty Durable employment Citizenship behaviour Fairness in all dealings

Neither these terms nor the reciprocity between the columns needs an explana tion for an HR reader. What could do with some elabor ation are the consequences when one or other side fails to live up to its side of the unwritten psychological contract. Moonlighting is a particular type of employ ee withdrawal behaviour, usually in response to some breach in what the organi sation is expected to provide. It involves diverting at least 'Time' and 'Energy' from the primary job (or from the time intended for rest and recuperation) and sometimes the other

'Employee Brings' as well, to another job. Profession al codes vary greatly in the extent to which they accept such diversion, with the mil itary and religious orders being least tolerant of divided loyalties while doctors and teachers generally enjoy far greater leeway. The corporate world is somewhere in the middle, making its challenge more nuanced and complex.

Recrimination will not make it easier to under stand the issue. So it’s no use organisations childishly shouting "He started it first". Even if it were true and a small set of employees

t he road less travelled

59 nOVEMBER 2022 |

t he road less travelled

were the first to be, say, dis loyal, the retaliatory insec urity of tenure created by the employer would hit the till-then loyal employees and not the disloyal ones who would have left in any case. Nor should employ ees imagine that retaliatory Moonlighting behaviour will simply damage the organi sation. The employees’ own well-being and long-term growth can also be irrepar ably damaged in the process. Rather than destroying each others’ ocular organs, far better to use them for seeing which forms of Moonlight ing are detrimental – and which aren’t.

From BOP to MOP moonlighting

Long before the term Moon lighting became popu lar and almost since the time the first person con fined to a salaried job felt the terms of trade were unfair, people have sought to burst the monetary confines of a single job. Even today, there are countless Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) jobs that yield incomes inadequate for supporting a family with school-going children and, sometimes, ailing parents. If at least one more earner is unavailable, there is no choice but for the prime earner to offer time and energy for sale again. Employers over the years have become inured to this phenomenon and find

closing their eyes to it less expensive than raising payments or reducing precarity.

The reason Moonlighting is raising under-collar tem peratures in recent days is that an entirely new slice of the organisation (the Middle of the Pyramid or MOP) has started entering the multiple job market in signifi cant numbers. The reasons for the flood of Moonlight ing are trifold.

For several years now, employers have been trifling with their side of the bar gain in return for employee loyalty and citizenship behaviour. Family feelings were fore-fronted to blunt the edge of compensation expectations when business boomed but forgotten when times turned sour and fam ilial sacrifices were used to mollify Abrahamic share holder deities. Similarly, val ues were vapourised when commitments (e.g. cam pus appointments) were drowned in fine-printed clauses and the braggado cio of challenge-us-legal ly-if-you-dare. A previous column detailed how these short-sighted shareholder value steroids hollowed the muscles of employee loyalty.4 Such unfairness may, in the past have resulted in dis engagement, attrition or some other form of employee withdrawal. This time, however, for a large variety of mid-level jobs, technol ogy had created smoothly

functioning conduits to take capabilities to the demand face with minimal disloca tion and identification. More over, the increasing GIGifi cation of tasks had prepared companies at the demand face to extract the effort the conduit conveyed with out the inconvenience of arms, legs and a questioning tongue accompanying them. Perhaps most providential of all, Covid gave every part of the virtual system a thor ough trial while wiping those with reservations about such impersonal organisation of work off the reservation.

Costs of Conventional Moonlighting

Neither organisations nor individuals emerge scathe less from BOP and, even less so, from MOP Moonlight ing. "Generally speaking, spiralling and compounding demands from maintaining boundaries around each job cause depletion. In other words, the extra demands [Moonlighters] face in man aging the space between their work roles drains their personal resources above and beyond the demands of each role. In addition to these role-related intraperson al mechanisms, scholars have found that interpersonal mechanisms also explain depletion effects. For example, according to par tial inclusion theory, an indi vidual’s involvement with a social group dictates the

60 | nOVEMBER 2022

degree to which he or she identifies with that role and social group... [B]ecause [Moonlighters] spend less time, or are less involved, in their secondary roles, they are less likely to integrate with coworkers, leaving them feeling socially marginalised and contributing to feel ings of depletion. Further, depletion from [Moonlight ing] demands relates to other negative outcomes, such as reduced job commitment."5 Add to these the strain of

of errors and aloofness from teams, play havoc with regu lar and (particularly) remote work quality and quantity. Threats and tantrums can no more be a cure for the organisation than for any failing relationship. Until the psychological contract is healed, the withdrawals symptomatic of its failure will remain uncured even if they bury themselves deep out of sight.

Obviously, Moonlighting is useful neither as a

problem here. Until they can, insisting on single-job discipline should buy nothing more than a business-class seat to purgatory for the busi nessman insisting on it. The more interesting exception arises when open Moonlight ing (or should we call it Sun shining?) provides learning or 'calling' fulfilment that the organisation is not in a position to provide but which the individual considers essential not only for future progress but to be extremely effective in the prime job. Let me illustrate this with a per sonal example.

Sunshining for Vitamin D (Development)

maintaining a deceptive front, skewed work-life bal ance and hugely lowered chances in the career stakes and Moonlighting doesn’t seem such an obviously rosy path to success.

For companies, the loss is even more apparent, espe cially if leaking IPR to com petitors and working dur ing the time committed to the company are factored in. Lack of full energy and attention, higher incidence

retaliation nor as a cure for breaches of the psycho logical contract. There are, however, some critical cir cumstances when Moonlighting might not just be permitted but encouraged. We have already referred to those individuals whose pri mary job does not provide adequate means of susten ance or a living wage for the family. Ideally, employers should cure the compensa tion and contractualisation

When I came back to India after a four-year stint in Eur ope, it was to a job that didn’t score very highly on standard yardsticks for meas uring CHRO job size. Thus, though it exposed me to a range of new industries and governance styles, raw head count and geographies were far fewer than those to which I had been accustomed. I, therefore, had a genuine fear (unjustified, as it turned out) that my talents would be underutilised and my per sonal development attenuat ed. I still admire the flexibil ity shown by the promoter seeking to bring me on board in accepting my suggestion to permit me to consult for other organisations that were not direct competitors. Of course, the number of days

t he road less travelled

61 nOVEMBER 2022 |

I could consult each month were limited and I got no leeway in delivering the ambi tious results expected in my primary role. In return, the organisation continually benefited from the addition al exposure, new capabil ities and fresh contacts that I acquired through my consultancies. A clear win-win made possible by an enlight ened promoter operating a relationship of trust that I was careful never to betray.

In these special circum stances, Moonlighting is converted from being a cause of both individual t he road less travelled

depletion and organisational talent leakage into a source of enrichment for both. Here are the five essentials for the conversion:

• The focus must be com petency building or ven turing into a 'calling' which is not feasible in the primary job.

• There should be no scaling down or relaxation in the KRAs of the primary job.

• Ideally, the competen cies acquired should have some rub-off that benefits and certainly no competi

tive disadvantage for the primary employer.

• Employers must be will ing to craft policies that make selective Sunshin ing feasible and attract ive to those for whom the lure of the 'calling' or com petency accretion makes the strain worthwhile.

• For all of this to work, the understanding must be open and scrutable.

I appreciate that employees may prefer the excite ment of gambling with unauthorised Moon lighting. They also make unauthorised alterations to

a far more popular peren nial of talk shows and webad-nauseums: the future of work. All the blinding new insights we have received on the subject in the last couple of years can easily be accom modated on the head of a needle without inconven iencing any of the thousand angels already gath ered there. Let me be radical enough to suggest a way in which Sunshining could actually transform the future of work for organisations bold enough to launch such an experiment.

Frankie Laine’s lyrics:

Youcangambleformatch sticks,youcangamblefor gold,

Thestakesmaybeheavy orsmall, Butif youhaven'tgam bledforyourjobandlost, youhaven'tgambledatall Theycallmeamoonlight inggambler .

The Future of Work Craft ing

Since this column started with the shallowness of TV debates on Moonlighting, it may be fitting to end it with

This column has embraced the happiness of people as a core goal for HR and repeat edly pointed out how the enrichment of jobs is the most lasting way of grow ing aggregate happiness.6 Job Crafting is an even more felicitous term and Amy Wrzesniewski (et al) explain it well: " [J]ob crafting is the process of employees pro actively changing the boundaries that comprise their jobs… Job crafters shape the boundaries that define their jobs in three main ways. First, job crafters may change the physical or tem poral boundaries around the bundle of tasks that they consider to be their job. We refer to this as 'task crafting,' and it consists of adding or dropping tasks, adjusting the time or effort spent on vari ous tasks, and redesigning aspects of tasks (e.g., a teach er who spends time learn-

62 | nOVEMBER 2022
This column has embraced the happiness of people as a core goal for HR and repeatedly pointed out how the enrichment of jobs is the most lasting way of growing aggregate happiness

ing new classroom tech nology to fulfil his passion for IT). Second, job crafters may redefine the relation al boundaries that define the interpersonal interactions involved in performing their jobs. We refer to this as 'rela tional crafting,' and it consists of creating and/or sus taining relationships with others at work, spending more time with preferred individuals, and reducing or completely avoiding con tact with others… Third, job crafters may reframe the cognitive boundaries that ascribe meaning or purpose to the tasks and relation ships that comprise their jobs. We refer to this as 'cog nitive crafting,' and it con sists of employees’ efforts to perceive and interpret their tasks, relationships, or job as a whole in ways that change the significance of their work… The three types of job crafting are not mutually exclusive, and job crafters may exercise any combina tion of the three.7

Broad as is this description, one searches in vain for a reference to the Sun shining outside the con fines of the organisation in it. The reasons are not far to seek. In 2013, when the book containing Wrzesniew ski and her co-authors’ chapter appeared, the technol ogies and business models permitting skills to be piped remotely and organisations being able to put them to pro

ductive use were nascent (see the section on 'From BOP to MOP Moonlighting'). It is not only technologies for orga nising work that needed to catch up but the harnessing of big data to help individ uals in understanding and realise their own developmental demands better.8 This process is just making a start in a few progressive organisations. Perhaps even more game-changing than the techno-economic feas ibilities will be is the evolu tion of mindsets that permit non-competitive Sunshin ing to figure as a full menu choice in the restaurant at the end of the universe.9

This is such a far stretch from present reality, even if we peer all the way to the horizon, isn’t it? Perhaps that’s because we have been looking directly into the sun for light.

Andnotbyeasternwin dowsonly,

Whendaylightcomes, comesinthelight,

In front the sun climbs slow,howslowly, Butwestward,look,the landisbright.10


1. Harold Wilensky, The moonlighter: A product of relative deprivation, Industrial Relations: A Jour nal of Economy and Society, 1963.

2. Emily Campion, Brianna Caza and Sherry Moss, Multiple Jobholding: An Integrative Systematic Review and Future Research Agenda, Journal of Management, Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2020.

3. Neil Conway and Rob Briner, Understanding Psychological Contracts at Work: A Critical Evalu ation of Theory and Research, Oxford University Press, 2005.

4. Visty Banaji, The Great Reciprocation: Loyalty is a two-way street, People Matters, 11 July 2022.

5. Emily Campion, Brianna Caza and Sherry Moss, Multiple Jobholding: An Integrative Systematic Review and Future Research Agenda, Journal of Management, Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2020.

6. Visty Banaji, ‘If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do’, People Matters, 24 June 2021.

7. Amy Wrzesniewski, Nicholas LoBuglio, Jane Dut ton and Justin Berg, Job Crafting and Cultivating Positive Meaning and Identity in Work, from A B Bakker (Ed.), Advances in positive organisational psychology (pp. 281-302),. Emerald Group Publish ing, 2013.

8. Visty Banaji, Big Data: Bigger performance – big gest delight, People Matters, 14 January 2022.

9. Visty Banaji, PC in the hybrid age, People Matters, 13 September 2022.

10. Arthur Hugh Clough, Say not the Struggle nought Availeth, from The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, Clarendon Press, 1974.

63 nOVEMBER 2022 |
v i Sty Bana J i is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)
t he road less travelled



Just a month ago, Josh Bersin released his latest book, “Irresistible” about what makes companies absolutely enticing to top talent, and how to get there. People Matters looked back at the companies we've spoken with over the years, and brings you 7 examples of conversations that illustrate the book's principles in practice

It's their attitude towards how people work, rather than the work or industry itself, that attracts and retains the best talent. This is the message at the core of Josh Bersin's newest book, “Irresistible” – a heavilyresearched, anecdote-dense hand book for how to make an organ isation genuinely attractive to people.

Reading “Irresistible”, the hundreds of interactions with leaders and experts that we've had over the years came to mind. Huge companies like Unilever and IBM,

which feature in the book's gen erous list of case studies, have of course nailed the seven principles that Josh Bersin writes about. But so have many others – and at People Matters we've had the great good fortune to hear from them directly.

Here, we look back into the con versations we've had over the last few years and highlight a few – but not all – great quotes and pointers that “Irresistible” brings to mind.

De-emphasise the hierarchy

A common factor in many of the “Irresistible” principles, and a trend that's being taken with increasing seriousness in today's workplace, is the idea that hier archies need to be phased out and power distances narrowed. The first principle – teams, not hier archy – states it bluntly: people should be allowed to operate inde pendently, including outside of their own function and in col laboration with people from oth er departments, without needing to be constantly controlled and directed by management.

People Matters heard this advice more than a year ago, from Virendra Shelar, General Manager of OMRON Corporation's Global Human Resources Strate gy Department and President of OMRON Management CentreAsia Pacific, who said: “A culture of trust will have to be strength ened into the company. We have to trust that people are doing what is required of them, that we don't have to micromanage them and check on what they are doing eve ry half hour or one hour. It is all

64 | nOVEMBER 2022 b ooks

about building trust with not just one person, but with the entire team.”

That was his prediction for how management will change in 2021 – and he was entirely cor rect about the shift that manage rial approaches have taken, and how the importance of trust has increased. As the third princi ple of “Irresistible” – coach, not boss – puts it, leaders should exist to enable, not to order people around.

We also heard this advice right back at the start of the pandem ic, from Liz Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer of digital con sultancy Mobiquity, who told us: “Leaders need to recognise that employees are people first and they are multidimensional. Lead ers should emphasise profession al development of their team members, give employees more autonomy to set more of their own work patterns, and provide input on what they will work on whenever possible.”

Although she was speaking in the context of leadership dur ing crisis, it was clear even then that this approach ought to be the norm even during times of stabil ity – that leaders and managers should put more effort into devel oping talent, and less into micro managing it.

Focus on the work people actually do

Another central factor that makes companies irresistible is wheth er they focus on the right aspect of the work. The second principle of “Irresistible” – work, not jobs – talks about concentrating on

tasks and outcomes rather than traditional measures of capabil ity such as academic qualifica tions or years of experience. We heard one very practi cal approach along these lines from Trent Jones, APAC Human Resources Lead for ABB Elec trification, who told People Mat ters that in an industry with a highly competitive talent land scape, what people can do is more important than where they come from: “Looking for people outside typical industries has long been part of our human resource strat egy. We focus on finding synergies that different fields might have, looking for adaptable skill sets, and aim to train and set our tal ent up for success in their roles... Industry knowledge and expo

65 nOVEMBER 2022 | b ooks
We have to trust that people are doing what is required of them, that we don't have to micromanage them and check on what they are doing every half hour or one hour

sure continue to be highly soughtafter skills in talent, but we also make sure to consider the big ger picture in forming holistic and strong teams. We value peo ple with complementing skill sets and highly encourage crossindustry and cross-business func tion learning.”

Of course, this approach needs to be matched in employees' career development, which the fifth principle of “Irresistible” sums up as growth, not promotion – the idea that career development is about gaining skills and capabilities via continuous learn ing.

That link was clearly drawn by Francine Katsoudas, Chief Peo ple, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco, who told us last year: “We need to reframe the skills discussion against the backdrop of 'career journeys' and leverage technology to get a snapshot of the skills we have, work with lead ers to understand the skills we need, and map to new opportuni ties that will allow individuals to own their career paths. What is important to us is that our work

ers have the right skills, not where or how they acquire them.”

Make sure employees gain satisfaction at work

“Irresistible” isn't just about pro cesses and operations, of course. The entire premise of this book is a more human-centric style of managing people, which is nice ly encapsulated in the next three principles: culture not rules, pur pose not profit, and employee experience not output.

Culture in particular has become inextricably intertwined with the shift to flexible and remote work, with leaders telling us that the challenge is to shape and maintain a work culture that keeps people satisfied in this very different working environment while still being inclusive.

“I’ve spent 20 years at VMware designing a culture that was anchored to an in-person expe rience. Now, a significant portion of our workforce has been added since the pandemic that hasn’t been part of the pre-pan demic VMware culture,” said Bet sy Sutter, Chief People Officer of VMware in a conversation ear ly this year. “We need to continue establishing a strong culture that is inclusive of all communities to drive collaboration and innova tion and foster a sense of belong ing.”

66 | nOVEMBER 2022
What is important to us is that our workers have the right skills, not where or how they acquire them
b ooks

Similarly, flexibility combined with digital acceleration has made technological tools a linch pin of employee experience. Nata sha Dillon, Chief People Offic er of Inmarsat, told us: “In order for the flexible model to work suc cessfully, businesses and employ ers need to digitalise the employ ee experience. Employees are increasingly expecting a con sumer-grade experience when it comes to workplace technology... in the same way that lockdown initially forced businesses to adopt technology in order to con tinue working from home, I pre dict there will be another major shift towards digitised employee experiences.”

That conversation was in mid2021, and since then, the ongo ing boom in HR technology has proved her right.

The final principle of “Irre sistible” postulates that employ ees are more interested in a com pany's purpose in the world, than in its profits – something which has been thoroughly borne out as younger, more idealistic generations enter the workforce in an era when climate change, war, economic recession, and social enlightenment are shaking their notions of a stable world.

Sophie Smith, HR Director for Experian APAC, told People Matters last year: “The pandemic has elevated the significance of understanding, articulating, and authentically operating in accordance with the stated pur pose. There is a newfound sense of perspective emerging with many organisations and employ ees reflecting on the unique value

they bring to the world. Organi sations will need to ensure their purpose aligns with their prod uct portfolio, performance met rics, people strategy, and deci sion-making frameworks. Employees will increasingly reflect on whether their core val ues are aligned with their employ er’s purpose.”

While the conversations we've quoted here are by no means a comprehensive list of the interac tions we've had with leaders over the years, they do drive home how well “Irresistible” summarises the aspirations of people man agement today – the principles that have been shaped by events of recent years and, suitably put into practice, will go on to shape the world of work in the years to come.

67 nOVEMBER 2022 |
Employees are increasingly expecting a consumer-grade experience when it comes to workplace technology
b ooks


A biography by Asha


Kumar sheds light on the role of a leader in shaping an organisation

It is rare to find a book high lighting the role of an academi cian in shaping the future of an organisation. And, “Pritam Singh: The Alchemist Guru”, by Asha Bhandarker and Subrat Kumar is an effort to fill that vacuum. Illus trating the significance of leader ship and its impact on an organisa tion, this book carries takeaways for corporate leaders, academi cians, and employees, indeed anyone who is interested in the intricacies of leadership in action.

Written by interviewing the people who worked with the late Dr Singh or his acquaintances, this book can be described as a celebra tion and remembrance of a pioneer in management education who has mentored numerous people in the academia and corporate sector and contributed to making them the leaders of today.

It offers readers an opportunity to sense the significance of build

ing interpersonal relationships, taking care of people irrespective of their position, duly respecting them, developing teams, and putting in place a system by which people were all incentivised and rewarded for performance.

The beautiful depiction of Dr Singh’s groundbreaking initia tives in the book leads you to the campuses of MDI Gurgaon, IIM Lucknow, and IMI Delhi, where he created the possibilities of a better future for these institutions than they might otherwise have hoped for.

Divided into four chapters, this book talks about the importance of having empathetic leaders and how they can influence the well-being of employees and stakehold ers. The authors have taken pains to highlight the role and import ance of a leader in scripting the rise and fall of an academic institu tion. Whether it is MDI or IIM Luck now (IIML), or IMI Delhi, Dr Singh was instrumental in mapping out the ways and means to give them the profile people were expecting. Despite the constraints faced by a government institution, Dr Singh left no stone unturned in making IIM Lucknow the prominent institution it has become. His dedication clearly shows that it is people, not the machinery, who make change possible.

For instance, MDI, now a wellknown B-school in India, was in very poor condition before Dr Singh took over as director in 1995. To his dismay, he found that the MDI was

68 | nOVEMBER 2022
b ooks

struggling with severe financial conditions and had little money even to pay its staff. The book goes into detail around the actions taken by Dr Singh to improve the status of the academic institutions where he served, such as how he used his personal provident fund to address the salary issue. Later to make the Institution self-sustaining finan cially, Dr Singh started a part-time evening programme, training, and consulting activities. He proved that with the right leadership, even an impoverished academic institu tion like MDI could rise to glory.

This book is a must-read recom mendation for every leader who is willing to lead by example in the workplace. It is meant for everyone who is on a quest for self-discovery and self-betterment.

Written as if in conversa tion with Dr Singh himself, this book scripts the role of lead ers in settling challenging goals, allowing followers to start on a clean slate, and fostering a high-ex pectations culture. It clearly shows how Dr Singh was a director with a vision and executive capability, as a change leader his aura made people work with him. He had a knack for picking up talent from various domains—corporate world, academia and various institu tions. He was blessed with the abil ity to spot a promising person. The mention of rewarding a hard-work ing faculty by giving him his personal consulting assignments and telling him to buy a good car with the money earned paints his caring nature for his people.

The book sheds light on how the culture of reward, recogni tion and care for your employees fosters a great work culture where people and employees feel special,

included, wanted, heard and cared. Dr Singh believed that it is a sin to give recognition to those who don’t deserve it and it is a greater sin to not recognise those who are deserving. If this book would have not been written this might had been an injustice to him.

Needless to mention, this book is a must-read to understand the significance of rewards, recogni tion, and communication in the workplace. A personal touch, and freedom to take decisions bring wonderful results to an institution. Reading the book motivates you to do wonders for your organisation. It highlights the significance of personal touch with colleagues, a performance management system (PMS), and how giving financial freedom can empower the work force.

In all, this book will help any reader develop a clear perspective of what it means to have a leader who leads by example. People who are in leadership roles must read this book. And not only leaders but employees can also enjoy reading this book to understand what makes a workplace happy and healthy.

This book depicts how a vision ary leader can do wonders for insti tutions and their people. Total rewards and recognition, and flex ibility have become a buzzword, however, Dr Singh made it possible at MDI, IIM L and IMI way back in the mid-90s and early 2000s.

69 nOVEMBER 2022 |
b ooks
Dr Singh believed that it is a sin to give recognition to those who don’t deserve it and it is a greater sin to not recognise those who are deserving

Past Month's events

People Matters EX Conference Indonesia

People Matters

03 November 2022

The world of work is changing and so are the expectations of people involved. Work places are not the same anymore. This shift in employee perspectives and expectations needs to be acknowledged and ac cepted. Against this backdrop, it was our pleasure to host senior leaders from across Indonesia at People Matters EX Indonesia this Novem ber. With a great turnout and intensive sharing of cutting-edge ideas, we're delighted to have had the opportunity to EXponen tially further employee value proposition, and advance a corporate agenda that meets busi ness needs while being people-centric and eco logically sustainable. We look forward to returning next year!

People Matters Total Rewards and Wellbeing Conference

People Mat ters

09 November 2022

We came to gether to Re:Frame – To Break The Mould! As we enter a new era of employee engagement, people and culture leaders and rewards professionals need to work together as a leadership team to build a stronger and meaningful company culture to make attraction, reten tion and engagement more ‘sticky’. This 9th of November, we were excited to host leaders from across India at Leela Ambience, Gurugram to Re:frame – The Opportunity Within. Bringing great insights and engaging conversa tions, People Matters TRWC India 2022 was an opportunity not to be missed. We will be back next year!

Online Programme: Design Thinking and Agile for HR

People Matters

BeNext 10 October – 11 November 2022

The latest edition of this programme was held for HR leaders com mitted to finding crea tive solutions to complex problems facing their teams, moving from an understanding of Agile processes to a whole new mindset of creativity, innovation and peoplecentred progress. Watch this space to find out when this BeNext course will return.

owledge +
N g
70 | November 2022

Ongoing Programmes

Online Programme: DEI: Implementing Unbiased Strategies in the New World of Work

People Matters

BeNext 31 October – 02 December 2022

This programme is for leaders invested in creating lasting mindset shifts and developing a more inclusive employee experience through the implementation of im pactful DE&I initiatives and strategies. Develop a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace through practices and strategies that uncover and overcome biases.

Online Programme: Reframing Your C&B Strategy: Agility, Equity and Sustainability

People Matters

BeNext 07 November – 09 December 2022

This programme is designed for organi sations with existing rewards programs inter ested in reframing their compensation and ben efits strategy to create a more agile, equitable and sustainable strategy that drives business-wide change. This programme would also be suitable for start-ups looking to move beyond the founding stage and gain a better under standing of how to craft a comprehensive rewards program.

Upcoming events

People Matters Conferences will return in 2023 with new ways to support our community to Become The Answer! Watch this space for updates.

Online Programme: HR Business Partner in the New World of Work

People Matters

BeNext 21 November – 23 December 2022

This programme is for leaders and practi tioners interested in how the HRBP drives cultural shifts that align with the changing needs of teams and organisations. Learn how the HRBP can create greater impact and value with a people-based ap proach to leading the transition to the new world of work.

kN owledge + Networki N g
71 November 2022 |


Instilling a sense of ownership in employees

The COVID-19 pandem ic has caused a mac ro-level attitude shift in employees’ view of work, which led to a record num ber of people leaving their jobs in 2021. This was espe cially prevalent among the younger generations. 54% of Gen Zers considered leaving their current employers last year and made their deci sion within a year of their joining.

For corporates, addressing this shift is certainly impor tant, not only for the pur

pose of talent retention, but also to understand the fac tors driving productivity and excellence at work.

I tend to think what moti vates people in their career has been more or less con stant throughout histo ry. Psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with his theory, the ‘Hierarchy of Needs,’ as early as the 1940s, purporting that our actions are motivated by needs that progress from more basic physiological and safety needs to more complex psy

chological needs.

What we see among talent today is a greater focus on higher level needs such as a sense of belonging to their organisation, respect from their colleagues, and a desire to self-actualise, as Maslow calls it.

It has occurred to me –and many of my colleagues –that one of the central traits underscoring the attitudinal shift is a longing by employ ees for more ownership of one’s work. From my experience, young professionals are willing to go above and beyond to provide their cli

72 | nOVEMBER 2022
The most important step in promoting a sense of agency in the workplace is cultivating an ethos of ownership within the company

ents with the highest qual ity service if they feel an endearing reconciliation with their work. In other words, they want a greater sense of agency in defining priorities and producing results. The most important step in promoting a sense of agency in the workplace is cultivating an ethos of own ership within the compa ny. When employees view themselves as owners they will feel a greater sense of responsibility, oneness, and pride with not just the work they are doing but also the present and future direction of the workplace.

Doing this, however, is no easy task. It comes down to creating a shared sense of purpose as well as providing tangible incentives to push the company ethos in the right way.

The former is a broadbased task and a longer-term effort that takes commit ment, wholesale change of the modus operandi and a deep reflection into the ethos that drives a company. Com panies can do this by looking into processes that influence communications and selfmanagement. For instance, a culture of direct, honest and constructive communication can be instated, responsibili ties can be assigned instead of tasks to be completed, and companies’ mission state ments and strategic direc tion can be communicated and solidified regularly.

Another important step corporates can take to fur ther a sense of purpose and ownership is one that can be accomplished in the shorter term: rethinking the remuneration model.

Compensation might be the most basic thing employ ees look for in a job, and in the current economy where the rising cost of living is affecting everyone, it is more important than ever for employers to offer a com pelling remuneration pack age. However, monetary incentives can satisfy far more than basic livelihood needs. When designed prop erly, monetary awards like bonuses offer acknowledgment and a sense of accom plishment which help moti vate employees to keep up their good effort.

This is why Kearney announced in August that it will become the first man agement consultancy to wid-

en the doors of ownership and fundamentally expanding the ranks of employees that have access to an equity stake in the firm.

By offering equity stakes to consultants who attain junior manager levels, some thing that was previously restricted solely to partners, we are creating a culture of equity and opportunity and making the workplace more purpose-driven.

As the business environ ment becomes more com plex, more interconnected and more information-driven, companies must call upon their one true asset: their people. Having people who are in it for the long run with your organisation will be the smartest investment you make to ensure a sus tainable business.

73 nOVEMBER 2022 | blogosphere
a r J un S Et H i is Regional Head and Chairman, APAC at Kearney. about the author

People Matters' Digital Platforms

74 | nOVEMBER 2022 Know More
Engaging 300K+ talent professionals
daily Know More RNI Details: Vol. XIII, Issue No. 11, 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
in Asia