People Matters Magazine January 2023:Outlook 2023 The Next Steps

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Outlook 2023

With a new year comes new aspirations and new innovations.

This 2023, many organisations are looking at a bumpy road ahead: some are still managing the fallout from last year's upheavals, while others are grappling with ongoing disruptions in their own industries. Even those who came out relatively unscathed may be considering how best to buckle down and weather out the economic downturn.

However, change and challenge is always paired with enterprise and opportunity, and the beginning of the year, with all its connotations of a fresh start, is always a good time for forward-thinking organisations to innovate: to exam-

ine the situation and think deeply about what can be changed, whether in small incremental adjustments or in great sweeping overhauls. Some more cautious organisations may be priorisiting cost control; others, seeing opportunity, may be taking advantage of their competitors' layoffs to snap up talent. Those which are in an established and stable position may decide to entrench themselves, or they may consider the uncertainty a good time to initiate new changes.

In our last issue, we reviewed the trends and patterns that emerged over the turbulent course of 2022 – now, it's time to assess which of these are carrying on into 2023, and how they will shape the world of people and work. Most importantly, it's time to consider what strategies and approaches will be most effective in addressing the challenges and opportunities that the coming year

will bring.

This issue's cover story collects various predictions for the year ahead and pairs them with suggestions for how organisations can look forward, prepare, and do better. We've brought together the views of leading practitioners, thought leaders, and industry experts, from STL CHRO Anjali Byce to Atlas CEO Rick Hammell, HPE's APJC head of HR Rohini Sachitanand to Qualtrics Head of EX Growth Steve Bennetts, and more.

And in this month's Big Interview, we hear from none other than Cornerstone Global CEO Himanshu Palsule, who tells us about the skills outlook for the coming year – the trends and challenges to keep an eye out for.

So, what are your plans for this year?

Here at People Matters

we're all set to bring you a lineup of exciting conferences, beginning with our Talent Acquisition Confer-

2 | JANUARY 2023 From the e ditor’s d esk From the e ditor’s d esk

ence in Bengaluru on 9 February. We're excited to welcome CHROs, HR heads, culture and recruitment leaders, talent acquisition leaders, engagement and reward experts, and EX leaders to lay the foundations of a radically different approach toward talent management, built on operational flexibility to meet times of volatility with courage.

And a little further down the road, we're bringing our thought leadership efforts to Southeast Asia with our L&D Conference in Singapore on 13 April. We're looking forward to hosting CHROs, L&D leaders, and business leaders to this event designed to help our community stay on top of latest learning trends, best practices, hot topics and innovative Learning solutions

Watch this space as we open more paths and bring more ways for our community to Become The Answer.

We have also launched two exciting new platforms for discussing and sharing insights and perspectives. Our Big Questions series, live in both India and Southeast Asia, invites leaders to put in their thoughts on the fresh trends and burning questions of today's world of work, from moonlighting to layoffs to micromanagement. And my own new podcast, People Matters Unplugged, brings candid conversations on people and work straight to your digital 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.

Happy Reading!

3 JANUARY 2023 |
Follow F > estermartinez > M > @Ester_Matters From the e ditor’s d esk THE COVER STORY (BEHIND THE SCENE) Bulls eye! I love it!

32 International movements in 2023: What's in and what's out

LEE QuanE, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International

34 Caring, enablement, and human leadership: the way forward in 2023

SHruti tandon, Managing Director of People Enablement at Nagarro

38 2023's strategy: leverage employee experience for business success

MErEditH graHaM, Chief People Officer at Ensono

40 Making global business services deliver competitive advantage

By M MunEEr, Co-founder of Medici Institute and a Fortune 500 consultant on strategy execution, and SandEEP KuLKarni, Co-founder of Medici Institute and leadership trainer

46 Creating a neuro-inclusive hiring process

By KriStin aLLEn, Senior Manager, Psychometrics, and Sara gutiErrEz, Chief Science Officer at SHL

30 Atlas CEO Rick Hammell's top five workplace trends for 2023 Rick Hammell, CEO and founder of global human experience platform



Esther Martinez Hernandez

editor & New produCt CoNteNt strategist (global)

Mastufa Ahmed

maNager - desigN, photography, aNd produCtioN

Marta Martinez

seNior editors

Mint Kang

Rachel Ranosa

seNior maNager - researCh aNd

CoNteNt strategy - apaC

Jerry Moses

seNior assoCiates - CoNteNt

Asmaani Kumar | Aastha Gupta

Samriddhi Srivastava

assoCiate editor

Mamta Sharma

assistaNt editor

Jagriti Kumari

CoNteNt marketiNg lead

Ramya Palisetty

digital head

Prakash Shahi

desigN & produCtioN

Shinto Kallattu

49 Five ways to increase employee engagement, productivity, retention, and well-being in 2023

By StEvE BEnnEttS, Head of EX Growth & Strategy – Employee Experience, Qualtrics, and gEorgiE McintyrE, Lead Author for the Qualtrics 2023 Employee Experience Trends Report and Employee Experience Scientist, Qualtrics

seNior maNager - global sales aNd partNerships

Saloni Gulati

maNager - subsCriptioN Sumali Das Purkyastha

published by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

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NotE to tHE READERS the views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of people matters.

although all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, neither the editors

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C o N te N ts this issue oF PEOPlE maTTERS CoNtaiNs 67 pages iNCludiNg Cover
contents JANUAR y 2023 vol U me xiv iss U e 1
Cover story 28
5 JANUARY 2023 | C o N te N ts Featured In thIs Issue AmANpReet KAUR DR ARviND N AgRAwAl lee QUANe HimANsHU pAlsUle meReDitH gRAHAm pRof. tv RAo sHRUti tANDoN COntrIButOrs tO thIs Issue ANJAli Byce DAwN smeDley geoRgie mciNtyRe KRistiN AlleN micHele HowARD m mUNeeR RicK HAmmell RUcHiRA cHAUDHARy sANDeep KUlKARNi sARA gUtieRRez steve BeNNetts visty BANAJi 14 view Skills will be the currency of the new workplace Himanshu Palsule, CEO, Cornerstone Mamta Sharma In today's business environment, the talent function must intervene and help set up teams and systems that can adapt and innovate in order to remain successful manpreet Kaur, Lead – Talent and Culture, CRED Ramya Palisetty RegUlARs 02 From the Editor’s Desk 06 Letters of the month 08 Quick Reads 60 Knowledge + Networking 19 e mployee eN g A geme N t Disrupting the quiet quitting trope: Practical steps employers can take to stem the tide By anJaLi BycE, CHRO of STL 22 l e AD e R s H ip Why listening is the key to employee engagement By dawn SMEdLEy, Head of Culture at WorkBuzz 25 HR tec HN ology A data-driven approach to career development and employee retention By MicHELE Howard, Human Experience Management (HXM) and Workforce Management Data Analytics Specialist at DXC Technology 52 Boo K Review 'The Crucibles of Change Makers in HR': A journey to authentic leadership By raMya PaLiSEtty 56 tH e R o AD less t RA velle D The hags of Indian business By viSty BanaJi, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) 64 B logosp H e R e 8 essential traits every leader should have in 2023 By rucHira cHaudHary, A leading executive coach and the founder and MD of TrueNorth Consulting

Letters of the month

The cryp T o melT down of 2022

Crypto is a fascinating asset but also one of the most risky on the market, with little regulations. Therefore the collapse caused by having no proper oversight of these big crypto founders and whether they are suitable to run such a business or even whether the promises they make are founded in reality. It seems investors did not learn so well from the subprime mortgage crisis as they should have. Yet whereas the subprime mortgage crisis was a matter of big investors knowingly handing out the risks to small and uninformed investors, the crypto meltdown is about investors of all sizes being overly eager and jumping on a bandwagon without their due diligence. One can only hope that the bounce back does not only build up to another crash.

Pamela's recounting of her experience in early years before gender equality is a powerful reminder of how far we have come. If not for the efforts of women to step forward and stand firm under the pressure of gender bias and the efforts of men to support them and stop that pressure, we might

still all be in such unevolved dark ages where women's skills and capabilities and contributions are dismissed because they are not men. Indeed it has been a game changer to have determined groundbreakers like her opening paths for the next generation.

Evolving APAC talent acquisition trends

It is really difficult to understand what employees want these days. Despite the layoffs and the economic downturn salary does not seem enough to get the right talent? As an employer we might be able to hire people cheaply just because they are desperate, but what are the odds that these are the people who actually benefit the company in the long term? Yet when hiring the people we actually want most, somehow there is so much more to consider besides pay alone.

Managing a global hybrid team

A very important point about accountability and trust, which many often get confused with micromanagement. A leader must trust their team and that trust is even more important when it is a distributed team, otherwise how is the team to function at all. What's more, trust then goes hand in hand with accountability, so that the entire business can function. A good leader can accomplish

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qui C k reads letters o F the mo N th
deCember 2022 issue Women in leadership can be game changer

Interact with People Matters

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

What digital leaders can learn from football

Nagarro @Nagarro

“Organisations must refocus – they must create exceptional employee touchpoints that make people feel valued & appreciated.” Shruti Tandon,MD, People Enablement, Nagarro talks to @PeopleMatters2 about building a #CARING workplace, #WorkFromAnywhere & more.

Four lessons about hybrid work from 2022

A great summary of the things that we must remember if we are going to make the hybrid model successful. Hybrid and flexible work is a new reality, there is no denying it. The only question that remains is how well we can adapt our business and ourselves to the model.

A key focus for L&D should be business alignment

Great takeaways here reinforcing important points. Such as, the L&D budget is meant for developing skills that help the business and not just for entertainment or checking the box. That means choosing skills that will really be helpful to achieving business goals (business alignment) and making sure they are put into use constantly for that objective (practice).


The corporate world can indeed benefit a lot from taking on the leadership style and the values and outlook associated with sports, like agility and an open mind. It will be a great cultural shift for some companies and the burden will be on HR to make this change happen. Time for HR practitioners to become sports fans.


One way to turn the tide of employee retention

It's true that learning new skills is very important to many today, but that's because people are keen to increase their job security and make themselves more employable especially if there is a chance for career advancement or better still, higher pay. To truly retain staff the focus should not just be on the skills alone but also on rewarding them. There are three places to reward them, for gaining the skills, using the skills in their work, and benefiting the company because of the skills. That will definitely be the finishing touch in getting them to stay with their employer.


GlobalLogic India @GlobalLogic_IN

In a riveting discussion with @PeopleMatters2, AVP & TAG Head, @ShuchitaS, elucidates her views on how talent is flourishing across the globe and the need for employers to go the extra mile to secure the perfect fit for their teams.

Cielo @Cielotalent

What are the talent acquisition trends in 2023? How has the talent acquisition market evolved since 2020? Read on and find out in the new @PeopleMatters2 article, featuring Kumar Bhaya and Doug Terry: #IlluminateTalent

tomas Chamorro-Premuzic @drtcp

The big question for leaders today is not how to execute their digital transformation strategy or protect their business from disruption, but how to create a culture where machines and humans can enhance each other.

LEAD @leadapp_ai

#Mentorship does not only support the mentee to learn, but it also allows the #mentors to grow. Read the article "Why becoming a mentor is crucial for employee #growth and #retention" via @PeopleMatters2 #leadership #culture #employeeengagement

Infra.Market @InfraMarket_

Sheetal Bhanot, CHRO, @InfraMarket_ in an interview with @PeopleMatters2 underlines value of creating meaningful experiences by fostering a culture of connectedness.

> @PeopleMatters2


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H r tEc H no Logy myInterview raises $11Mn in series A funding

Video interviewing software provider myInterview has secured an $11 million series A funding round led by the company’s existing investors Aleph and Entrée Capital and new investor Jesselson Capital. The round also saw par-

Microsoft invests in HR tech unicorn Darwinbox

HR tech unicorn Darwinbox has received investments from Microsoft as a strategic investor, although financial details of the investment were not disclosed. Darwinbox's

solution will integrate with various Microsoft platforms, including LinkedIn, Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva), and Azure Active Directory.

Econo M y & Po L icy Gloomy economic outlook, recession fears haunt CEOs world over

ticipation from SeedIL Ventures, Digital Horizon and Ocean Azul Partners. The funding will go into expanding the company's product offering, which focuses on candidate attraction and engagement for high volume hiring. As part of this investment round, myInterview has appointed Amalia Bercot as co-CEO. Bercot joins myInterview after previously founding Sendinblue, a SaaS solution.

This will be Microsoft's first such partnership in the HRMS space in Asia, and is one of the focused partnerships that Microsoft is creating with product-led startups in India.

Jo BS & Layoff S Microsoft confirms 10,000 layoffs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed in a blog post that the tech giant will be shedding almost 5 per cent of its 221,000 strong fulltime workforce in response to a prolonged slump in demand which has hurt Windows and devices sales. However, Nadella said the company will 'continue to hire in key strategic areas' and will provide full support to the sacked employees. The large-scale layoff follows on last October's downsizing, where Microsoft had laid off under 1,000 employees across several divisions. Analysts say that this move from a tech industry mainstay suggests a worsening economic environment.

Across the world, CEOs foresee a gloomy economic outlook that can last through the end of 2023 or to mid-2024 in the regions where they operate, according to a study by Conference Board 2023 C-Suite Outlook. The study anticipates real GDP growth of 2.1% in 2023 amid regional recessions in the US, Europe, and some of the largest Latin American economies. Concerns about labour shortages and talent retention persist, and

Econo M y & Po L icy Global growth to bottom out in 2023, says IMF Chief

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has said the organisation is not likely to downgrade its forecast for 2.7 per cent growth in 2023, stressing that a feared oil

CEOs feel companies should prepare for higher wage and benefit costs in 2023. Across the board they cite four broad strategies: accelerating innovation and digital transformation; pursuing new opportunities; cutting noncore costs; and revising business models.

price spike had failed to materialise and labour markets remained strong. She warned that 2023 would be another ‘tough year’ for the global economy, and inflation would remain stubborn, but the IMF expects the slowdown in global growth to “bottom out” and “turn around towards the end of ‘23 and into ‘24.”

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Jo BS & Layoff S ILO forecasts decline in global job market growth by 50% in 2023

The International Labour Organization (ILO) says that global employment growth is set to witness a 1 per cent slump this year compared to 2% in 2022, triggered by the economic fallout of the Ukraine war, high inflation and tighter mon-

etary policy. The international body also predicted that global unemployment would rise slight-

ly in 2023, by around 3 million, to 208 million (corresponding to a global unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent). Furthermore, progress in reducing the number of informal jobs in the world is also likely to be reversed in the coming years. And the global jobs gap, a measure of the unemployed and underemployed, stood at 473 million in 2022, around 33 million above the level of 2019.

Credit Suisse cuts 10% of European investment bankers

Credit Suisse will be cutting more than 10 per cent of European investment bankers this year, having already laid off hundreds of staff in London and

Zurich a month ago. The latest cuts are part of its downsizing plans, announced in October, to cut as many as 9,000 roles globally over the next three years, and

follow on its second consecutive annual loss next month. The bank is under significant stress at present, having suffered huge client withdrawals in October.

Sation & B E n E fit S India Inc set to see 9.8% salary hike in 2023

co MPE n

Workers in India are likely to see an average salary increment of 9.8% in 2023, according to Korn Ferry’s latest India Compensation Survey. In alignment with India’s focus on accelerated digital capability building, the survey has

Apple's CEO to take a 40% pay cut

Tim Cook's pay is going from $99.4 million to $49 million. In a filing with the SEC, Apple has disclosed that the primary reason is Cook’s own recommendation to the compensation committee, supported by investors' counsel. The present cut of $35 million comes from a change in the

projected substantial increments in life sciences and healthcare and high technology sectors at 10.2% and 10.4% respectively. Employees in Tier 1 cities continue to receive higher compensation as compared to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, but with hybrid model and remote work developing into an accepted norm, there is a shift towards work becoming location agnostic, aiding Tier 2 cities

such as Ahmedabad and Pune in giving competition to tier 1 cities in fixed annual cash received by employees.

equity component of his pay. In the previous year, $75 million worth of shares was accorded to him by the company, based on Apple's stock market performance. This year, that award was slashed to $40 million. However, the cut will not result in any changes in his basic salary of $3 million and bonus value of $6 million.

9 JANUARY 2023 | qui C k reads

Big Tech's Job-Cut Tsunami

A closer look at the big tech job cut tsunami that has rocked the industry

The tech industry has recently experienced an upheaval in the form of widespread job cuts and cost-cutting measures. Big tech firms, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, have collectively laid off over 150,000 workers, sparking widespread concern as to the underlying causes of this move. Despite the cited reason of cost-cutting measures, the real factors are far more intricate and multifaceted, encompassing everything from economic stagnation and supply chain disruptions to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the rapid advance of automation and AI.

Data sheds light on a never-before pumped-up recruitment that took place during the height of the pandemic. As demand skyrocketed, tech companies embarked on a hiring spree, with Amazon alone adding an astronomical 746,000 new employees, resulting in a 93.5% increase in its workforce.

Yet, even with this explosive growth, Amazon's recent downsizing is only expected to result in a

meagre reduction of 1.2% of its headcount.

In contrast, Apple has managed to sidestep layoffs altogether. With a workforce of 68,000, the tech giant has maintained stability through its approach to staffing and its CEO Tim Cook's pay cut.

The claimed justification of cost-cutting may not be the sole explanation for these job cuts – rather this could be aimed at signaling to shareholders amidst the decline of tech stock values. These Silicon Valley behemoths are among the world's most valuable firms that boast impressive profits, as well as massive cash reserves. For example, Microsoft attempted to purchase video game maker Activision Blizzard last year, offering a staggering $69 billion in cash, before federal regulators challenged the deal.

Some experts argue that AI and automation are contributing factors to the current state of affairs, as tech firms are increasingly leveraging these cutting-edge technologies in the pursuit of cost sav-

ings and streamlining workflows. For instance, Microsoft terminated 10,000 employees while simultaneously announcing a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the creators of the ChatGPT app.

Despite the recent job cuts, tech jobs still account for a tiny fraction of the US economy, and experts concur that these layoffs are likely a temporary blip in an otherwise thriving job market.

Nevertheless, for those affected by the downsizing, the impact is significant. Companies and governments are now competing for the attention of the unemployed tech professionals, offering competitive salaries, benefits, and equity packages to attract them. A recent survey conducted by ZipRecruiter found that 80% of tech professionals who lost their jobs secured another within three months of starting their search, with nearly 40% landing a new tech job within one month of being laid off.

The job cuts in the tech industry have placed a spotlight on the CEOs of these firms. Alphabet's Sundar Pichai and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg have publicly taken responsibility for the layoffs, yet have yet to announce any reductions in their own remuneration. The story of Big Tech's job cuts serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of rapid expansion, inflated hiring and the importance of stsability. It’s a reminder that no job is immune to the winds of change.

Yet, even as these tech titans shed thousands of white-collar professionals, the wider job market is still healthy --albeit reverberating with mounting recession fears, and still offers ample opportunities for those affected by the downsizing to embark on new careers.

10 | JANUARY 2023 qui C k reads Newsmaker oF the moNth

LESS a PP oint S

EJa a S c H ro

Stainless steel producer Jindal

Stainless has appointed Sushil Baveja as its new chief human resources officer. Baveja comes with over three decades' experience and will be responsible for driving people strategy, enhancing workplace culture, strengthening talent management, and enriching the organisation’s growth. In the past, he has worked with organisations such as Nokia, DCM Shriram Ltd, Dalmia Industries, Cadbury India Ltd, and Gillette India, among others.

H n E id E r E LEctric a PP oint S

Binu P H i L i P a S i ndia c H ro

Schneider Electric has appointed Binu Philip as the new zone vice president HR (CHRO) for greater India. Prior to this appointment, Philip was the vice president HR for the international operations for the secure power division of the company. He has been with Schneider Electric for over seven years and has been spearheading critical projects like the merger and acquisition of the L&T electrical automation business with Schneider Electric.

odi S a PP oint S Jun E Ko H a S w H r d ir Ector for a Pac , ME r Egion

Global transport and logistics provider GEODIS has appointed June Koh as the new Human Resources Director for the newly created Asia Pacific and Middle East region. Prior to joining GEODIS, she held leadership positions at Heineken and Asia Pacific Breweries. In the new role, Koh will be responsible for overseeing all HR functions in the Asia Pacific and Middle East region.

ugar co SMEtic S a PP oint S for ME r n y K aa c H ro

irav Jagad a S c H i E f PEo PLE offic E r

Premium beauty brand SUGAR

Cosmetics has appointed Nirav Jagad as its chief people officer to oversee all aspects of SUGAR’s talent and culture initiatives. Before joining SUGAR Cosmetics, Jagad was part of the leadership team that scaled Nykaa through back-to-back years of steep growth. In his past stints, he worked with companies like Randstad, Cerebrus Consultants, IL&FS and Nykaa and has also been an advisor to assist early-stage startups with scaling.

aKu MS d rug S & P H ar M ac E utica LS H ir ES a rvind Sriva Stava a S H r Pr ES id E nt

Akums Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd has appointed Arvind Srivastava as President of HR. He comes with more than 26 years of comprehensive experience in people management operations and restructuring organisations. Before joining Akums, he worked with Bansal Group of Companies as CHRO & Group Head HR from April 2021 to December 2022. Previously, he was associated with Usha International as Senior General Manager of HR and Rockman Industries Ltd. as Chief Human Resources Officer.

rontdoor a PP oint S K E rri Jon ES a S c H i E f PEo PLE offic E r

Frontdoor, a US-based premier provider of home service plans, has appointed Kerri Jones as senior vice president and chief people officer. Jones most recently served at wealth management firm Waddell & Reed, Inc. as vice president of enterprise project manage-

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ment. Prior to Waddell & Reed, Jones served at H&R Block for over 11 years in a variety of positions, including senior operational roles.

LM ia Biz H ir ES n itin K H indria a S c H ro Management and consulting firm Dalmia Biz has appointed Nitin Khindria as Chief Human Resource Officer. He has joined Dalmia Biz from Balaji Action Buildwell Action Tesa where he worked as GM HR. Nahar Industrial Enterprises, Sonalika Tractors, and Mahindra and Mahindra are other companies where Khindria worked in various capacities.

oadca St tEc H no Logi ES

PP oint S ru EBE n da S a S H r

E ad

Telematics and delivery automation SaaS platform Roadcast Technologies has appointed Rueben Das as HR Head. An experienced HR professional, Das comes with over 19 years of experience working with Jubilant Consumers, Carz on rent, Kuoni Travel Group, Salasar Techno Engineering Ltd, and across various sectors like manufacturing, food and beverage, ground transportation, car rental, travel and management consulting.

Sa a PP oint S i ndian-aME rican ac cH arania a S cH i E f

tEc H no Logi St

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has appointed Indian-American AC Charania as Chief Technologist, to lead technology innovation and serve as principal advisor to Administrator Bill Nelson on technology policy and programmes at

the agency’s headquarters in Washington. In the role, he is entrusted with aligning NASA’s agency-wide technology investments with goals across six mission directorates and oversees technology collaboration with other federal agencies, the private sector, and external stakeholders.

The position works within NASA’s Office for technology, policy, and strategy. Before joining NASA, Charania served as vice president of product strategy at a firm that is working to bring certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. His previous experience also includes working at Blue Origin to mature its lunar pReliable Robotics,ermanence strategy, Blue Moon lunar lander program, and multiple technology initiatives with NASA.

ionair E B E rnard

French billionaire Bernard Arnault has named his daughter Delphine as head of Dior, effective 1 February. She will succeed Pietro Beccari, who has been the head of Dior since 2018. Beccari in turn will replace Michael Burke as head of Louis Vuitton. Delphine has been the executive vice president at Louis Vuitton since 2013, where she supervised the brand's product-related activities. Prior to this, Delphine was the deputy managing director at Christian Dior Couture. Besides Delphine, Bernard Arnault’s eldest son Antoine Arnault is also a significant part of the family business. Antoine has been the CEO of the holding company Christian Dior SE and also holds other positions within the group, such as the head of communications, image and environment for LVMH as well as chairman and CEO of LVMH's holding company Christian Dior SE.

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rnau Lt na MES daug H t E r dELPH in E c Eo of cH ri Stian
qui C k reads 2023

Set up well-rounded and diverse seamlessly, supported by appro

Amanpreet Kaur

Lead – Talent and Culture, CRED

Tips for leaders to marry tech

Use technology as an enabler; leverage data for informed decision-making; foster collaboration

organisation's culture and values


And the systems? Should support and empower individuals to work together effectively, through clear communication channels, crossfunctional collaboration, and opportunities for professional development


The role of tech and tools? Tech and tools should streamline processes, increase efficiency, and adapt to the present and future of work


Best way to use technology in hiring?

Keep the human element at the forefront, because hiring is ulti-

In today's business environment, the talent function must intervene and help set up teams and systems that can adapt and innovate in order to remain successful

mately about people; use technology as a tool to support and enhance the human elements of the process


How in your experience can organisations win talent? Concentrate on three pillars as you increase attention to employees: firstly an empathic attitude to employees' wellness, secondly an environment that supports learning, and thirdly a culture of growth

The ideal objective of a good to reach their potential and achieve the company's goals – this improves collaboration, morale, produccustomer satisfaction.


Traits you are cultivating at CRED to attract & retain talent?

Trust to create a positive work environment, employee commitment, and open communication; policies and benefits to provide employees with a sense of security and support


And some people-first values you have at CRED?

Customer obsession, truth-seeking, delivering outcomes, skin in the game, compounding, earning trust, audacity, solving elegantly, being right a lot, having radical candour, and CRED first thinking, which guides the culture and approach towards creating value for team members.

13 JANUARY 2023 | Rapid-Fire
t e N q uestio N s i N terview
rapidF ire

SkillS will be the currency of the new workplace

14 big i N terview
JaNuary 2023

how CaN orgaNisatioNs stay Competitive through 2023 aNd beyoNd? they Need to Follow this tried aNd true strategy, says HImaNSHu PalSulE, Ceo, CorNerstoNe oNdemaNd: strive to retaiN their top taleNt, while empoweriNg their employees to CoNsisteNtly develop New skills so they CaN respoNd aNd adapt to ChaNgiNg eNviroNmeNts

Regular turnover is not a very welcome development for companies. But a contributing factor to the phenomenon is that employees don’t see opportunities to grow their skills and their careers at the current jobs within their present companies.

Amid today’s dynamic workforce landscape, it is clear that if organisations want to stay competitive, they must retain their top talent and empower their employees to consistently develop new skills so they can respond and adapt to changing environments.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone OnDemand, says organisations need to align their purpose and goals with the personalised skills development of their employees.

“Upon joining

Cornerstone, I went on a listening tour, visited six countries, and over 60 different customers. Since then, I have been to more countries around the world and spoken to hundreds of organisations about how to solve talent and learning issues. From these conversations, one thing is quite clear: skills have become the new workplace currency,” Palsule says.

He adds that the number of skills required per job is fast increasing which has led to a further widening of skill gaps. While organisations and their leaders are quickly realising the need to upskill their employees, according to Gartner, 47% of HR leaders have reported not knowing what skills gaps their current employees have.

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Palsule dwells upon the top challenges in skill training and development that organisa-

tions face today and skilling trends to look out for in 2023.

What are the critical skill training challenges that organisations face today and how to overcome them?

Many companies are challenged with identifying skills across their workforce for current and future roles, delivering skills training in the time of need, and providing all employees access to learning and growth opportunities, personalised and recommended directly to them.

So, what are the world’s leading companies doing in this area? Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, announced in 2021 that it would invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years to provide its employees with free access to higher education and skills training.

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Presently, we are witnessing universal uncertainty about how to build the right skills programmes, and what are the correct tools and systems to use

Technology giant IBM is committed to upskill 30 million people globally by 2030.

Yes, investment is needed, however above all, organisations need to rethink their talent experience. They should focus on implementing a personalised, end-to-end experience for their people that continuously connects development (learning, content, and skill building) to new growth opportunities (marketplace of careers, communities of practice, mentors).

By creating this type of experience for employees, HR leaders can ensure alignment between their talent strategy and business outcomes, while meeting the engagement and empowerment expectations of their people.

As digitalisation grows, we can expect a significant impact on employment and skills in the decades ahead, at all levels and in all sectors, hitting some industries harder than others.

Are companies currently keeping up adequately with skilling needs to be ready for the recession?

These are testing times for businesses of all sizes across the globe, with inflation and the energy crisis putting pressure on businesses. Of course, if we look back at recent history, this isn’t the first time we’ve had

to endure global business challenges – nor will it be the last.

Whether the topic is about skills gaps, skills shortages, reskilling or upskilling, there’s this flurry around the rising impact of skills and an extreme sense of urgency to build them as quickly as possible. Particularly during a recession, we all need to be ready for the future, and skills are constantly evolving.

Organisations and their people continue to see skills development as an increasingly important part of navigating their shared future. Presently, we are witnessing universal uncertainty about how to build the right skills programmes, and what are the correct tools and systems to use.

How can employee skilling help organisations to become recession-proof?

Addressing skills and training is nothing new. The same skills development framework we’ve been using for decades still applies today, and the great news is, new technology advancements exist now that make these types of skills development approaches even more effective.

We need to lean into technology, specifically, artificial intelligence. AI can comb through skills data across an organisation to better understand their people, the skills they currently have and the skills needed to fill current and future job roles.

There are several practical steps organisations can take to build high-impact future skills.

• Predict future skills your organisation will need and identify potential skills gaps among your people, both within industry and across the board.

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• Integrate intelligent skills technology into other career development tools that your organisation is already using or should be using

• Foster a learning culture that prioritises skill-building and empowers people to grow

• Strategise and deliver more relevant, modern and personalised learning content to people within your organisation

• Adopt an internal-first hiring mindset to encourage skills development and career growth

What according to you are the top skilling trends for techies in 2023?

With the technology landscape continuing to advance, the demand for skill sets in new-age technologies is skyrocketing.

The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report highlighted that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as the adoption of technology increases.

In a recent Gartner report,

testing is among the top five skills by demand volume in all industries in India.

Cloud platforms in the IT industry and automation in the manufacturing industry are new toppers by demand growth and demand volume, respectively.

Computer systems analysts, network and computer systems administrators and software application developers are among the top five occupations by demand volume across all industries. Computer programmers are also among the top five occupations by demand growth across multiple industries. Additionally, we are seeing continued jumps in demand for the below tech skills that will specifically enhance employees’ credibility and hireability:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhances the speed, accuracy and effective-

ness of human efforts, thus increasing productivity and efficiency, while reducing cost.

In today’s time, where agility is required, organisations are continuing to invest in AI to automate repetitive tasks and other business processes. With its application in almost all sectors today, such as health, manufacturing, logistics, banking, recruitment, etc, individuals with knowledge, skills and experience in AI are in high demand.

The top AI skills that are in demand include programming languages such as Python, R, and Java, linear algebra and statistics, signal processing techniques, and neural network architectures.



AnalyticsAmongst all the innovations in the digital age, big data is probably one of the most impactful ones.

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Particularly during a recession, we all need to be ready for the future, and skills are constantly evolving

Big data usage has grown to the point where it touches nearly every aspect of our life. Thanks to big data analytics, Google Maps can tell us the least traffic-prone route to any destination.

Using big data analytics, organisations are analysing large amounts of data in the most efficient way possible to extract meaningful insights that enable them to make data-driven decisions and solve key business problems, including understanding customer behavior, predicting future business trends, detecting frauds, developing better products

and services, and streamlining their operations.

The global big data market is forecast to grow to $103 billion by 2027, according to Statista. This will give rise to many job opportunities, but to succeed in this field, individuals need to learn different tools and techniques used for handling, managing, analysing and interpreting data including technical skills such as data mining, data visualisation and software such as Tableau, SPSS Modeler, Oracle, SQL, Python R, @ Risk, Arena, Hadoop etc. Cloud Computing, or

storing and accessing data over the internet.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote working which drove organisations to shift towards cloud-based applications and services to support remote working employees and retain customers.

We do see the increase in the usage of cloudbased tools for communication, project management, video-conferencing, file sharing, and more which will continue to remain a priority for organisations as they look to support employee collaboration and productivity, anywhere and anytime. Amazon (Amazon Web Services, or AWS), Microsoft (Azure), and Google (Google Cloud Platform) maintain the most in-demand cloud platforms.

By 2027, more than 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives according to 2023 Gartner top strategic technology trends leading to job opportunities for cloud developers, cloud network engineers, cloud database administrators, cloud architects. and others.

Cloud computing skills that are in demand include cloud security, machine learning and AI, cloud deployment and migration across multiple platforms, database skills and DevOps.

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The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote working which drove organisations to shift towards cloud-based applications and services to support remote working employees and retain customers

Disrupting the quiet quitting trope: Practical steps employers can take to stem the tide

Preventing "quiet quitting" requires a culture of listening: understanding employees' unique needs and differences, and offering tailored employee experience instead of taking a onesize-fits-all approach

reconsidering their career options. This brought about a huge challenge for employers and HR teams who had to work hard on their hiring and retention strategies to attract and retain talent. This remains one of the key challenges as we move into 2023, as an increasing number of employees express concern over workloads and work-life balance that aren’t being addressed.

Tconstant disruption for the past two years. The pandemic revolutionised the work culture in a big way with office-based teamwork undergoing a transformation. Many businesses made remote and flexible working a core part of their workplace culture.

According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, more than half (58%) of Americans now

of the workforce saying that if the opportunity arises to work remotely, they would take it. This is a trend that is being echoed around the world, and for many, the pandemic was simply the catalyst for a cloud-based world we should already have been inhabiting.

Parallel to this shift was the so-called ‘great resignation’, which saw 41% of the global workforce actively

About 37% of the global workforce now feel their employers are asking too much from them, with one-in-five commenting that their employers have no regard for the work-life balance. More than half (54%) feel overworked, and 39% described their current state as ‘exhausted’ when asked about their work life.

This has given rise to ‘quiet quitting’, so prevalent that it was included in Collins Dictionary’s top ten words of the year for 2022. But what is quiet quitting,

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The sudden rise of quiet quitting

Quiet quitting refers to employees becoming disengaged from their work, electing to do the bare minimum of their duties. For some, quiet quitting is a response to burnout and fatigue. For others, it’s a serious sign of employee dissatisfaction and a general feeling that their needs aren’t being met and their voices aren’t being heard.

Data is thin on the ground, but a recent Gallup survey suggests that 18% of employees are ‘actively disengaged’ at work, while 50% are simply ‘not engaged’ – these are the quiet quitters. It seems that remote and hybrid workers under the age of 35 are driving the trend, perhaps because they belong to a generation where life-long careers and devo-

tion to a single employer or company are a thing of the past. This generation of workers is used to ‘job hopping’ frequently to broaden their experience and portfolio, and it’s vital that businesses engage these employees directly in an effort to retain them as we move into the New Year.

The cost of quiet quitting

Looking at quiet quitting in isolation, it’s easy to attribute it to burnout or feelings of anxiety or stress. These factors are real and important, but they are the symptoms and not the underlying cause. Employees, much like the companies that employ them, have been through an extremely turbulent time. It’s pushed employees to re-evaluate their goals in life and reassess their sense of purpose and what drives them. In our society, this sense of purpose is inextricably linked to profession – so

it’s vital that businesses take this on board and do their best to instill that sense of belonging and purpose.

If the passion is there, and the sense that they’re working toward a higher purpose and worthwhile goal, the engagement will naturally follow. The tide has shifted, and employers must shift with it and understand that if their employees’ goals align with company objectives, engagement and productivity will follow. If this isn’t accomplished, companies will have to get used to facing a low return on their investment when it comes to hiring staff. Retention levels will plateau or continue to fall, and collaboration and engagement will become something to strive for rather than a cultural baseline.

What can employers do to stem the tide?

There are some very practical steps that employers can take to counter the trend toward quiet quitting. For instance, becoming a “listening” organisation.

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what can employers and HR teams do to deal with it?
If this isn’t accomplished, companies will have to get used to facing a low return on their investment when it comes to hiring staff

That means being cognisant about employee differences and catering to them, rather than taking a one-size-fitsall approach to the employee experience. In order to improve individual, team, and corporate performance, successful firms collaborate with their people to design personalised, real world, and inspiring experiences. For instance, some employees may have large families, children, or relatives they’re caring for, and offering flexible holidays would allow them to celebrate important occasions or take time off

ity, automation and leadership development is key to keep the workforce engaged and motivated. Upskilling and reskilling create a happier work environment that improves retention, attracts new talent, motivates employees to see a career advancement path, and gets them excited about new possibilities.

Most importantly, the kind of culture, warmth, learning and environment we can provide to our employees is key. They should resonate with your company values and leadership style.

welcoming culture of the organisations and a job that gives them a ‘purpose’ and ‘growth’, more than just pay. Companies should acknowledge all the new standards and have programs to cater to the needs of incoming young talent. They should create a culture of continuous learning and enable employees to evolve their skill sets and help them progress in their careers.

according to their schedules. Companies can become listening organisations through a variety of means – one-on-one meetings with line managers, companywide surveys, or anonymous pulse checks, or even enlisting a third party to objectively gauge employee satisfaction and help make new working policies. Having a high performance, high compassion culture is equally important. Continuous development through focus on skills, accelerated career growth, talent mobil-

A flat organisational structure with strong empowerment helps build an entrepreneurial culture that enables young talent to contribute ideas and have a bigger voice in decision making. Companies that foster a tech-led culture which embraces change and encourages innovation usually have happier employees than companies that don’t. The GenZ today demand flexibility in work that helps them maintain a work-life balance. Moreover, they also appreciate the

Last but not the least, leaders must demonstrate empathy to manage the rapidly shifting workplace dynamics. The rise of previously unheard-of health challenges, instability in the economy, and societal changes have intensified the focus on empathy among leaders as a fundamental competency. It is essential in promoting inclusion and diversity in the workplace, in addition to creating collaboration and cooperation. Empathy is at the heart of “people centricity”.

Quiet quitting isn’t simply a problem to be solved with blanket pay increases and incentives – it’s a nuanced response to trying times and companies need to address the underlying anxieties and concerns that employees have. Only then will they be able to stem the tide and create the collaborative, productive flexible workplaces of the future.

21 JANUARY 2023 | e mployee eN gageme N t a n Ja L i Byc E is the CHRO of STL
The kind of culture, warmth, learning and environment we can provide to our employees should resonate with the company values and leadership style

Why listening is the key to employee engagement

What makes a great listener? Why do good listening skills matter in the digital age? And most importantly, how can leaders step up their listening abilities?

Here’s some bad news! By the end of the year, a fifth of UK employees will have quit their jobs. So how do you stop your people from leaving? Even though the cost of living is at a record high, it’s not simply a case of paying those more, but rather creating a culture that your people choose to engage with. Culture is your differentiator. And this means asking what your employees want, listening to their answers and acting on the insights. This listening strategy must be at the heart of every cultural change, helping to create an exceptional

employee experience that makes your people want to stay.

The resignation equation

There will always be some level of employee churn no matter what you do. Some employees, especially from the younger generation, will look to move on every couple of years, so HR leaders need to figure out the difference between natural churn, and churn due to some underlying cultural issues. According to LinkedIN, the average staff turnover rate across all industries between July 2021 and June 2022 was 10.6 per cent, although this figure varies considerably depending on industry with government organisations seeing the lowest churn (8.4 per cent), and professional services the highest (13.4 percent). However in WorkBuzz’s conversations with HR leaders in health and social care, turnover can be considerably higher than this in some cases!

Against a backdrop of record inflation, it’s unsurprising that some employees are leaving their jobs due to pay, and according to PWC’s Global Workforce

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survey, the pressure to increase pay will be intense over the next 12 months. However, even when the cost of living is challenging, employees will choose to stay with an employer for reasons above and beyond salary. In fact, there are five predictors of an employee leaving – the so-called ‘resignation equation’. And in addition to not feeling fairly rewarded financially, these include the employee finding their work unfulfilling; the inability to be their true selves; feeling that their team doesn’t care about them; and not being listened to by their manager.

Creating a culture people choose to engage with

So, organisations need to create an employee experience which is fulfilling within an environment that is caring, encourages people to have a voice and feel heard and engenders a sense of belonging. But achieving this isn’t a linear process that can be replicated from one organisation to another, as every company and its people are different. Plus, it’s important to remember that a great employee experience is comprised of hundreds of daily ‘moments’ that shape how an employee feels about the organisation, rather than a few milestone achievements at certain points in the employee life cycle. Understanding how to influence some of these everyday moments (and then making them ‘outstanding’) is crucial, such as finding ways for employees to shine, ensuring individuals feel empowered, and having line managers respond compassionately to employees’

personal issues. And to create such an appealing culture means having an in-depth understanding of the existing employee-experience and what needs to be done to make it first-rate. This requires asking employees the right questions, listening to the answers and actioning the insights.

Listening to what your people want

Any listening strategy must start with clear intent from the leadership team and not just the HR team. They must understand and ‘buy into’ the end goal of an improved organisational culture, and recognise that finding out what employees think and want must be an ongoing conversation rather than a one-off ‘HR project’. And this process of listening must tie into the organisational

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Any listening strategy must start with clear intent from the leadership team and not just the HR team

goals and values, supporting what the company is trying to achieve and what it stands for. After all, if an organisational value is ‘respect’, and yet employees aren’t asked whether they feel respected, how can this value be truly upheld? Leaders MUST be willing to ask deep and challenging questions to learn what employees truly think, thereby encouraging san honest dialogue.

Engagement surveys are valuable tools for giving employees a voice. These surveys can’t be an annual phenomenon but must be regular, concise and to the point. From surveys targeted at particular points in the employee lifecycle (attraction, recruitment, onboarding and exit), through to frequent, anonymous ‘pulse surveys’ that focus on key topics/

issues such as employee development and wellbeing, modern day engagement surveys are invaluable for giving the employer the ability to listen to its people, dissect and understand the findings, and then drive the necessary cultural change.

Reshaping the organisational culture

Only with truth comes positive change, and this is especially true when an organisation is faced with needing to reshape its workplace culture. Understanding why your employees are (and aren’t) leaving, how they feel about their role and team, and whether they have a strong sense of belonging, are just some of the insights leaders need to know. This honesty between the organisation and its employees then lays the foundation for the creation of a more attractive and engaging culture, one that has been purposefully designed in partnership with its people.

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Only with truth comes positive change, and this is especially true when an organisation is faced with needing to reshape its workplace culture

A data-driven approach to career development and employee retention

Data is a buzzword, but what does deploying it actually involve? Here are some tips from the practitioners at DXC Technology, who built their own in-house career development and mobility platform using graph technology

learn, transfer skills, and adapt to these changing requirements.

According to the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 63% of IT decision-makers view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business. Organisations who try to rehire former employees or seek new talent may need more time to re-skill and upskill these employees.

Leveraging the power of graph technology

Challenges around the skills crisis, or “war for talent”, have been made more prominent in today’s evolving workforce. Instead of narrowing the impossible talent gap, organisations are moving their focus towards maximising and retaining the skills employees already possess.

When it comes to the IT industry, there is an added complexity given the rapid pace at which technology is progressing. Tech organisations, large or small, need people who are willing to

Beyond training and redeploying people, it is becoming imperative to help employees reach their personal career goals. Employees are quite often confused by the complex ecosystem of platforms, systems and processes that have been deployed within their organisations. Whilst employees simply want to know what in-demand skills they should have for career development opportunities, managers may not always have the necessary data to provide this advice.

Organisations maintain large amounts of data about their

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employees and in most cases that data resides in siloed systems that are difficult to connect. Graph databases and graph data science allows organisations to connect siloed data and determine the complex relationships within this data which can then be applied to various use cases for workforce planning analytics and career development recommendations for employees.

To untangle this complex ecosystem of siloed data, DXC Technology is using a combination of the Neo4j Graph Database and the Neo4j Graph Data Science Library (GDS) for its Career Navigator platform. As explained in the recent Inter-

national Data Corporation (IDC) InfoBrief on The Power of Graph

Data Science, graph technology uses a more sophisticated way of structuring data as it contain nodes and relationships as its primary structure, compared to tables in a traditional relational database, which contains rows and columns. On the other hand, graph data science is a scientific approach to gain knowledge using the structures of connected data to power predictions, answer questions, and explain outcomes.

The first release of DXC’s Career Navigator is currently being piloted by 10,000 employees across the APAC and EMEA regions. Employees receive automated and personalised recommendations for career development and mobility, based on in-demand roles and skills. At the same time, they also receive recommendations based on the skills and learning of their peers and the role that they are currently in, their aspirational role, open roles and project assignments.

To be successful in developing employee career opportunities, organisations need a view of what is likely to occur in the next six to 12 months to allow enough time to upskill their employees. Using the graph database to determine external demand and supply patterns will enable organisations to look “beyond the horizon” for trends on where they should be upskilling employees.

By anticipating forward skill demand, organisations can ensure that their people are trained and ready for the next

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By anticipating forward skill demand, organisations can ensure that their people are trained and ready for the next wave of technological change, without constantly having to go back to the market in search of new talent

wave of technological change, without constantly having to go back to the market in search of new talent.

Using data to drive career development

With data, leaders also gain a better understanding of the complex relationships between their people, skills, learning gaps, and business resources. It also enables them to better guide employees towards career oppor tunities and pathways available within their organisation. If done right, graph technology can be a very powerful tool for organisations to benefit from a more diverse talent pool and be more effective in redeploying their workforce.

A forecast by Gartner shows that graph technology will be used in 80% of data and analytics innovations by 2025. Being able to analyse employee-related data can effectively bring more value to an organisation. It allows for more informed decision-making regarding employee development and career mobility, builds better employee experiences and fosters meaningful relationships. Employees become more empowered to drive their own career development as they have a clearer career plan and at the same time, connect with individuals within the organisation for mentorship and peer learning opportunities.

While traditional analytic approaches struggle to extract important relationships between entities, leaving useful datasets neglected and underleveraged, graph-based models can analyse

large volumes of interconnected data and uncover hidden connections, hence providing organisations with a clear view of all the relationships and roles within the workforce.

Graph technology set to transform HR functions and management

With today’s remote workforce, leaders are faced with changing expectations in working environments, shifting mindsets, market demands and challenges when managing career pathways for employees. Organisations need better tools to help retain employees and upskill them to high-demand opportunities, while keeping their skill sets within the organisation. On all counts, graph technology is set to transform HR functions and management, offering real-time data to solve the rapidly changing skills demand.

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Mic HELE Howard is a Human Experience Management (HXM) and Workforce Management Data Analytics Specialist at DXC Technology.
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Coming out of a year filled with disruption, many organisations are already bracing themselves for a 2023 that will be at least as challenging as its predecessor. Many of the macroeconomic difficulties that characterised 2022 persist into this year, from supply chain issues to inflation to geopolitics.

On the other hand, COVID-19 is no longer the threat that it was, lifting the fears and burdens of health risks from organisations and individuals alike. The talent shortage that characterised the last few years has partially eased. And the controversies over hybrid and remote work have for the most part settled into adaptation and acceptance, as organisations realise the benefits of the model and develop their own effective approaches to flexibility.

Forward-thinking organisations have already drawn up plans for weathering the coming recession. Some, especially those companies which experienced a business boom during the pandemic and overextended themselves as a result, have unfortunately done so by initiating large-scale layoffs as a cost control measure. Others, more strategically, have scaled

back their growth and expansion plans. And of course, the most savvy business leaders have leveraged the lessons of the last few years to better manage their workforce and more effectively adjust their business model.

In the coming year, we are likely to see a continued focus on recession-proofing in one way or another. Organisations, having learned the lesson that people are key to business survival, will be looking for ways to more effectively upskill and transform their workforce, including the leadership and managers. Investments in technology will most likely shift toward measurable utility instead of digital acceleration. Employee engagement and wellbeing is likely to become very important, simply because morale is critical at a time when the outlook does not appear rosy.

So what are some things organisations can do as part of their preparations? In this month's cover story, we look at several predictions for the year ahead and consider a few interesting next steps that organisations can take to better place themselves for tackling the challenges and opportunities most likely to emerge.

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Atlas CEO Rick Hammell's top five workplace trends for 2023

With many paradigm changes in the nature of work in recent times, and fears of recession abounding, we need to keep an eye on the future of the workplace. rick hammell, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters, highlights five trends to look out for

Testing the international waters

Companies that have exclusively operated in one country may find themselves looking outside of their domestic market for the first time in 2023 – not to access new customer markets, but to connect with global talent.

From an HR perspective, the most essential and prevalent tool we’ll see these companies implementing is an employer-of-record (EOR) platform to serve as an ‘in-country expert’ as they scale their business globally. The country-by-country HR analytics will equip organisations with the insights and background they need to make educated decisions on where to source new talent next year.

The year 2022 brought the term ‘quiet quitting’, where employee engagement hit a record low worldwide amidst an economic downturn.

Rick Hammell, CEO and founder of global human experience platform Atlas says in the new year, organisations will need to prioritise

this facet of operations internationally, among other challenges and requirements.

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Hammell discusses the future of the workplace in 2023 and the likely trends, and concerns, especially of a recession.





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Quieting the quiet quitting

We will see organisations prioritise employee engagement internationally, preventing both employee burnout and organisational inefficiency due to turnover. This will be especially noticeable for companies expanding globally, as local governmental ordinances – such as salary transparency laws – will impact international organisations looking to expand to these regions.

Regional predictions

APAC: Historically, APAC has been underserved from an EOR perspective. However, we expect this to change in 2023 to reflect the region’s increase in hybrid and flexible work environments, as well as the rise of independent contractors.

LATAM: Companies looking to ‘follow the sun’ in 2023 will diversify talent beyond India and Europe, meaning talent markets in areas like Columbia and Mexico will thrive next year.

EMEA: Europe saw the introduction of the four-day workweek this year, and we expect that the success of that experience will echo throughout the region in 2023. Regarding Africa, HR tech will support the region in new, mature ways, as reflected by the business boom we’ve seen over the last 24 months.

N.America: Europe’s

mandated equality programmes will migrate over to North America next year, especially as another tool in an organisation’s toolbelt to focus on employee retention.

Recession-proofing talent

Organisational strategies were disrupted in 2022 by the global economic downturn, prompting many to reconsider their existing plan as the recession led to staffing decreases.

In 2023, organisations will prioritise upskilling, reskilling and repurposing existing talent to best weather the economic situation. With the continued uncertainty of the hiring landscape next year, offering training opportunities to upskill or reskill current employees

not only saves the time and money it would have cost to hire and train talent, but can reinforce company loyalty for employees looking to build their skill set within the organisation.

Employee experience and engagement

Globally, we saw a rise in employee turnover due to a lack of engagement in 2022. This year, we expect to see a strong focus on increasing employee engagement through bettering the employee experience – turning attention to employee experiences, proactive talent retention (and attraction), and leader effectiveness will help organisations increase engagement and better prepare for the year ahead.

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International movements in 2023: What's in and what's out

The world may have opened up, but people won't be moving for work in the same way that they used to. lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International, shares his observations with People Matters

The pandemic has been brought under control, borders are open, people are returning to the office and travelling for work and leisure. A natural follow-up to this would seem to be the return of corporate relocations, where employees are assigned to overseas positions for the long term.

In fact, relocations ought to be part of getting back to normal – in 2020, when borders closed around the

world, thousands of expatriates rushed back to their home countries in order not to be stranded abroad. So, shouldn't this movement reverse itself, and see a flow of talent back into host countries?

Not necessarily, says Lee Quane, Asia regional director for international worker management specialist ECA International, and in some cases, quite the opposite.

“Companies will be much

more circumspect about moves in 2023,” he predicted in a conversation with People Matters. “They are looking at a 20-40% increase in costs right now, and if they cannot justify paying that amount, they will not move their people.”

So where are the costs coming from?

The days of the expat living it up have been declining for quite a number of years, and the pandemic may have put the nail in the coffin. At this point in time, in fact, long-term overseas assignments are almost more like hardships – for both the company and the assignee.

“The cost multiplier of relocations has increased,” observed Quane. “To begin with, you are looking at the cost of incentivising people to go overseas at all. People are far less willing to move than they used to be, especially after the pandemic. They are concerned about the risks to their health. They are thinking, much more than before, about the personal and financial costs if they fall ill.”

That translates into people demanding a much higher

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salary to relocate, and also demanding more benefits, especially medical insurance – which can be costly depending on the host country.

Furthermore, he pointed out, the cost of relocation logistics has soared. The supply chain problems that started in 2020 are still not resolved, and basics such as shipping and accommodation have become drastically more expensive, especially in host countries or cities where property prices are soaring – within the Asia Pacific region, Singapore and Australia are already seeing enormous spikes in property inflation.

And then there is overall economic inflation, which the IMF projected to peak in late 2022 before slowly coming back down. But lower inflation does not mean lower prices. If anything, costs are still rising.

Is this the end for relocation?

Not quite: a different model will emerge, Quane predicted.

“Relocations will recover at a different pace depending on seniority and rarity,” he said. “Movement will pick up first for senior executives, essential personnel, and specialised talent. Here, we are looking at those people who are most needed on location, whose work cannot be done remotely,

and who cannot be easily replaced locally.”

This has several implications for the way international companies currently do career pathing, he added. Relocations for junior staff will take much longer to come back because the cost cannot be justified, which means that international opportunities for this group of employees will be low for some time to come. As a result, the importance of international experience in talent development and possibly even leadership development will go down.


Furthermore, he said, distributed leadership will become much more common, and companies are likely to adopt a flexible model: instead of permanent relocation, they might fly leaders and specialists in and out as and when these people are needed on site.

“You might see someone flying in to the host country for one week, then spending the next two or three weeks in their home location, and alternating between locations like that,” he suggested. “Remote work will

be much more acceptable under this model – if someone can do the job remotely, the companies will be far more likely to let them remain remote.”

Are there pitfalls companies need to be aware of?

In the new normal of relocation, costs will be the biggest stumbling block, Quane said. One major challenge companies are facing is outdated cost structures.

“If a company has set its cost structure in 2017 or 2019, and failed to review it when the pandemic happened, they would have been totally unprepared for 2021,” he said. “And if they did not review it again in 2021 or in 2022, then their projected budget will be unable to cover the changes due to present-day inflation, which affects logistics costs, accommodation costs, and so much more. Companies will need to be much more agile now, and review their cost structure much more promptly.”

And HR, being the function responsible for payroll, is going to have to be much more on the ball about relocation costs, he warned. “HR needs to start tracking costs more proactively,” he said. “They especially need to keep an eye on volatile items, which includes day to day costs – those that are being affected by inflation –and accommodation.”

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Caring, enablement, and human leadership: the way forward in 2023

The future of work is shaped by leaders who understand and support their employees’ needs, who achieve organisational success through employee experience.

Shruti Tandon, Managing Director of People Enablement at Nagarro, describes why these leaders’ approach will successfully overcome the challenges of the near future By

Going forward into 2023, leaders around the world need to strongly understand the areas of people management and people leadership that will most affect the future of work. Many challen-

ges have emerged over the last few years that require HR leaders to rethink their approach and develop new solutions, or to refresh old solutions that can still be made fit for the new environment.

In a conversation with People Matters, Shruti Tandon, Managing Director of People Enablement at Nagarro, talks about the future of work and how to tackle some widely discussed challenges that will continue into this year.

The definition of the future of work varies from person to person, depending on how they see the future. How do you personally define the future of work?

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Interest in digital workplace transformations and more flexible hybrid workplace models is not a new concept. However, the pandemic has accelerated these trends and forever changed the way we perceive the workplace of the future. It has now become imperative for HR leaders to evaluate the immediate and long-term impact of COVID19-induced trends and the degree to which existing solutions and talent strategies need to be tweaked to ensure safe and resilient change. It has also necessitated a move away from past standardisations, and now the need of the hour is a unique, hyper-personalised experience for each employee in the organisation.

To me, the future of work means responding to these fast-shifting priorities of talent, understanding and adjusting to the new power shift, and gearing up to redesign the company's culture in a way that the top talent wants to work for you. To achieve this and to be the employer of choice, you must be a feeling organisation – a workplace that cares for its employees and gives employees the flexibility they desire. I truly believe that Work From Home or Work From Anywhere (WFA) is the future of work and is the surest way to ensure the right growth

trajectory for us, as well as our colleagues.

Most Nagarrians around the world work from anywhere, including our 13,000 colleagues in India. We believe that if you're willing to spend eight hours and have an internet connection, how does it matter where you are working from? Very often we see our colleagues being online from Goa, from Bir, or other exotic locations. We have always been focused on the idea of borderless work. Flexibility and employee experience are supercritical pieces and must be treated

must start asking questions that relate to employees, such as: are the employees feeling overworked or are they dealing with work beyond their capacity? Are they feeling motivated enough to do the work they are doing? Do they know the purpose of their work? Trends in the industry may change but organisations can always choose to respond in a way that positively influences their relationship with the employees. This relationship can be termed the culture of the organisation and will not just address the quiet quit-

to bE tHE EMPLoyER of CHoICE, you MuSt bE


as the number one priority by the HR fraternity. I feel companies are increasingly realising that it is employee experience that shapes organisational success, and this realisation is great for the future of work.

How is quiet quitting affecting the future of work and how can organisations better tackle it?

Employees need to be cared for in an organisation through intense personalised experiences. To understand quiet quitting behaviour, organisations

ting challenge but will also help the organisation evolve.

An organisation is an ecosystem and employees should feel an important part of it. We have to realise and accept that employees are individuals – they are people who want to feel involved and engaged. They are not just resources or one pool of people. Each workplace has a unique culture and is not a concrete or unfeeling, mechanical structure. It is a collective of people who must all consider the growth of the org anisation


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as a common goal, as well as find their own good in the company’s good. It is a symbiotic bond. Moreover, each person wants to engage in a different way. Our role as HR is to understand each of these individual demands and ensure that we have programs that appeal to each individual. We must enable every single person, and each organisation that aspires to grow has to appreciate the fact that a one-sizefits-all approach is not going to work.

It is also important to develop a culture of constant feedback within the organisation which gives an avenue of interaction between people. At Nagarro, we recently launched a development tool called ‘Anytime Feedback’, which helps with continuous self-development for each Nagarrian, who can leverage this to send realtime feedback without waiting for bi-annual or annual cycles. It allows them to give feedback/suggestions/ praise anyone within the organisation – be it their peers, their seniors, or even the senior leadership. In this process, they really feel engaged and feel that their opinion matters. The power of real-time feedback is immense, and it can help drive a high-performance culture and environment of trust where people feel safe, valued, and cared for.

Lastly, organisations must also see to it that employees are firewalled against additional strains this current work environment places on them. In a disconnected work environment, it is easy to feel disengaged and not supported. As is the case with human relationships, you remember people for their legacies of kindness and goodness long after they have gone. Similarly, people remember organisations for how valued they made them feel. People need constant and continuous reinforcement, both internal and external. And that's where we must remember that relationships need to be actively built and nurtured within the organisation. That is the key to achieving a strong sense of belongingness. All of this is what I feel will help address quiet quitting.

According to a recent survey by Executive Networks conducted across CHROs, 83% of the respondents said that they were struggling with talent retention. Going forward, what should be the right success mantra for HR professionals to better retain talent?

In the current scenario, it’s not just salary or bonuses that set companies apart. It is imperative for organisations to refocus – they must create exceptional employee touch-

points that make people feel valued and appreciated and encourage them in many ways to be with the organisation for a longer period of time. They must be more flexible in their approach. Most HR leaders stay divided on remote only or hybrid work models for success. At Nagarro, we have gone far beyond that realm. For us, WFA has been a game changer and we have managed to grow fastest by hiring talent where it wants to be. We are now in 35 cities across the country by opening offices which we call ‘Hives.’

Even though we follow a permanent WFA concept, Hives are spaces that allow our people the option of working from their hometown and being in the office whenever they want to socialise. The Hive creates a local network for socialising, brainstorming and even doing social work, while collaborating remotely on global projects with colleagues from across the world.

Lastly, organisations must consciously invest in automation that can drive intense personalisation. We have to invest in the right kind of tooling that would enable that support. We need to be able to better gauge employee sentiment to help determine where early intervention may be needed that will help them stay product-

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ive and engaged. The need to use technology to personalise messaging and to nudge employees for effective communication has never been greater. With a large number of people working remotely, keeping them connected in a digital world is a challenge and organisations must invest in this.

In the corporate world, assessment is a two-sided term. On what grounds do you think an employee is going to assess the performance of their leaders going forward?

Post-pandemic, the entire landscape has changed, including the expectations of colleagues. The topmost attribute an employee seeks in a leader is empathy. Leaders with compassion – those who can put themselves in the shoes of others and understand the needs of their teams will be the ones that will efficiently drive distributed teams in today’s environment.

The second attribute would be effective and consistent communication. Employees like engagement and constant communication from their leaders, and this goes a long way in providing clarity of expectations and also in establishing a relationship of trust. Thirdly, employees will also look up to leaders who have an openness towards feedback. A leader should be






ready to accept feedback as well as then introspect and course correct himself/ herself. The Anytime Feedback system in Nagarro is designed to achieve exactly this, where feedback is not just top-down, but one that transcends hierarchies.

An analysis conducted by McKinsey in 2016 while analysing the success rate of company transformations found that 70% of organisational transformation programmes had failed. Common pitfalls the researchers pointed out were a lack of employee engagement, inadequate management support, poor or nonexistent cross-functional collaboration, and a lack of accountability. A good leader would not let these gaps exist and would ensure that their vision of the company is not theirs alone, but it is one shared with everyone within the team and within the organisation. Those are the kinds

of leaders in my opinion, who will drive change.

Where do you see yourself as a leader 10 years from now?

I see myself as a dreamer and an explorer, and I personally feel that's the only way to grow. Giving everything to the moment but never stopping to dream about a better, more productive, and more compassionate workplace. This also reminds me of this very interesting read from the late futurist, Mr. Edward Cornish. In his book called ‘Futuring - The Exploration of the Future’, Cornish connects history and the future with an analogy. He says, “The great explorers dreamed their ships across the seas long before sailing them. In their imaginations, they tested their mettle against snake-infested jungles, blazing-hot deserts, cruel mountains, and merciless ice floes. By exploring future possibilities in their imagination, they could anticipate their future needs realistically and prepare for what lay ahead of them. This was productive dreaming.”

If you were to ask me today, ten years from now I still see myself exploring, learning, and contributing positively to every space I touch and every person that I meet. In the process, if I get recognised as a good leader, I will be very grateful.

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2023's strategy: leverage employee experience for business success

Companies can't afford to lose valuable talent, especially diverse talent. Ensono's meredith Graham shares some pointers for what to focus on in 2023

Moving into 2023, there's a lot for HR leaders to focus on. In a conversation with us, Meredith Graham, Chief People Officer at Ensono, shares her thoughts on trends that we can expect to be crucial in the coming year.

People-focused technology, hybrid as the new normal, and evolving employee expectations were trends in 2022. What new trends are expected to reshape the workplace and workforce in 2023?

In 2023, organisations will continue to deal with challenges from the economy and job market but be able to make smarter decisions that prioritise the employee experience and employee happiness. HR teams have put their focus

on implementing a hybrid and remote-flexible work environment since 2020 but now must see how productivity can be improved among their entire workforce without creating burnout. While this year will bring challenges to companies coming from our current economic situation, I believe business and HR leaders have gotten smarter about putting a spotlight on the employee experience, recognising how this translates to business success. This will become crucial in the coming months.

Renewed focus on company culture was one of the keys to winning the war of top talent in 2022. How are you reimagining work culture in 2023?

Companies cannot afford to lose valuable talent, espe-


cially diverse talent, which is why an inclusive workplace culture will continue to be top of mind in 2023 for HR teams. This will be particularly critical to recognising the disparities that exist in the tech industry and working to create policies and programs that support women in technology. Organisations can

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champion this by emphasising on a culture of communication and advocacy in 2023 and beyond. Some methods to achieve a better workplace culture that companies can utilise are anonymous employee feedback channels and ongoing education and training for individuals and teams around fostering an inclusive environment — including how to identify a toxic work environment or situation. Initiatives like these create a workplace culture where employees feel like they have a voice and are truly valued by their organisation.

Initiatives supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion were top priorities for HR leaders in 2022. What according to you will be new priorities in 2023?

To retain valuable talent, especially diverse talent, inclusive workplace initiatives will still be crucial in 2023 for HR teams to recognise the disparities that exist in the industry and work to create policies and programs that support women in technology. It’s not surprising but concerning that harassment and intimidation are still concerns in the workplace today, so I’d like to see even more conversation and progress on behalf of women this year, especially when it comes to developing and

encouraging the skills and career progression of female technology professionals.

I also expect workplaces to prioritise learning and development programs in 2023 as more tech workers are seeking out upskilling opportunities. We’ve seen how pivotal a role digital transformation plays in an organisation’s progression and this won’t be ending anytime soon. Tech workers want to keep up with these new innovations by honing and developing new skill sets which will also allow them to advance their careers. More companies are realising this and will respond accordingly.

What are your views on the ongoing layoffs especially in tech, and their impact on the job market?

Despite industry-wide layoffs, companies are still struggling to close the skilled labor gap. Economic

uncertainty has not slowed down the pace of emerging innovations and technologies, and keeping up with them continues to be critical to an organisation’s success. This is where I anticipate upskilling and learning and development programs to become key players in 2023 as more tech candidates look to obtain new roles while businesses mobilise their efforts in closing the skills gap.

What will be the new hiring and recruitment trends to look for in 2023?

Tech candidates overwhelmingly want flexible hybrid/remote work schedules, but this won’t be enough for companies looking to recruit and retain top tech talent in 2023 and beyond. Implementing new learning and development opportunities will be a major focus over the year to draw the right talent and improve retention.

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Making global business services deliver competitive advantage

Organisations today like to outsource their support functions in the hopes of saving on cost, but by doing so they are actually sacrificing competitive advance and giving away their business model. Here's a better way forward this year

It may be counter-intuitive but captive support functions, or shared services, can be made to deliver a strong competitive advantage for medium and large organisations. It is better not to outsource such services, as is in vogue currently, unless these are non-strategic, mundane and repetitive. A strategy-focused captive GBS (Global Business Services) indeed has the potential to get you

the business edge in this era of transient competi tive advantages, and drive tremendous value. Yet, for most organisations, this potential remains untapped. Worse, the outsourcing partners gain much value to grow new business models.

In its modern form, GBS represents the erstwhile support functions consolidated as a centralised service delivery model. GBS typically serves as a single

enterprise organisation, acting almost like a busi ness, fully in control of the processes, the budget and the reporting lines. It incorporates multiple functions (Finance, HR, IT, Administration, Procurement, etc.), with services delivered in a seamless manner across all internal SBUs at international locations, aligned with local needs but with global thinking.

With a major thrust on outsourcing for cost advantages, discarding all non-core services from in-house to external parties will not be a great idea for a number of reasons including value creation by innovation and customer insights. By setting up a GBS, captive shared services, outsourcing, and centres of excellence (COEs) to serve multiple business units, with end-to-end service delivery focus, can all be done without losing much cost advantage. This is

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typically done through a combination of onshore, offshore, and in recent times, even virtual workplaces. Many enterprises in the pharmaceutical and healthcare services industries are embracing this model.

So why are Fortune 500 companies lagging behind on this, and instead giving the IT companies more business?

While at a structural level such reorganisation of the internal services may have happened, our research finds that the typical perspective of the corporate and business units (BUs) towards GBS has not changed much over the years, especially in developing GBS organisations. GBS is still considered to be “backstage”, “not adding much business value”, and seen as an “unavoidable devil”. What’s more, they are perceived to be a “pain in the neck” due to bureaucratic processes in the areas of compliance, standardisation, policies etc and their non-alignment to business. BUs are often seen complaining that GBS does not understand the real needs of the business, which are everchanging, and a dismal lack of agility can be witnessed in the GBS folks.

GBS, on its part, has its own issues and mindset, especially in the early stages of its formation, that

contribute further to its being perceived as a sidekick of the corporate world. Many GBS organisations operate in a highly reactive manner, frustrated that they are always “at the mercy of the business”, and being “taken for granted”. GBS complains that BUs and corporate do not see the value it provides. Instead, it is pushed to meet the ends of compliance, dynamics of changing business requirements, and meeting the high expectations of internal customers. Thinking that they are always “caught hold of” when things don’t go well, and not even acknowledged if things do, GBS frequently finds itself degenerating into micro, operational issues even though the very purpose of the structuring was strategic in nature.

A possible new breakthrough

While all this is happening, we also see progressive GBS organisations driving breakthrough strategic thinking. The ultimate possibility? GBS can be a competitive advantage to the business, with scalability and new expansions being the most obvious business value. With GBS strategising itself correctly, it can strongly differentiate itself in ways not thought about conventionally, and can yield substantial leverage. The above diagram represents this possibility.

With appropriate systems in place, businesses can springboard on top of GBS to focus on what is critical, while the rest is completely taken care of by GBS. This enables businesses to venture into newer opportunities and take risks, where otherwise conservatism prevails. Moreover, a captive GBS has the same work culture as the parent

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company and data-driven analytics can provide plenty of new insights for the parent to drive new areas of business. In fact, GBS can be made to encourage BUs to take the plunge with the assurance of a strong backbone of support. At peak efficiency, GBS in the conventional form literally becomes invisible, with BUs simply working with efficient systems within an encouraging climate. GBS becomes the internal nurturing environment in which business units can thrive. Such an advantage may not be easily available to competition.

The below picture captures typical GBS value propositions with increasing levels of maturity. At the basic level, GBS only provides the required services in a timely manner with quality. Thereafter efficiency calculations start ticking in through its cost effectiveness. We have observed that many organisations stop at the basic level, which is just the beginning of value creation. With cost-effective quality services being delivered consistently, at the next level, GBS strives to create delightful experiences for its internal customers.

Going further, more mature GBS organisations create the value of solving business problems beyond conventional transactional needs. This builds the BUs’

trust on GBS, and they start taking smaller risks, which other-wise they would not have done. With some experience in such valueadded services, GBS now realises that they need to deepen the relationship with businesses to keep creating value. So they assume the role of a business partner. This enables businesses to look at GBS as more than a service provider.

At this stage GBS can give significant business insights through data analytics. As GBS’ understanding of the business grows even deeper, it is truly in a position to create differentiated value through their business insight, and deliver solid service experience, at the top of the ladder. This is a journey that any GBS organisation can make.

How GBS can make the breakthrough transformation

Our work with Fortune 500 companies and others have given us enough insights to drive a brilliant transformation for GBS of all types. Here, we outline a methodology that works well in practice.

First, GBS needs to envision itself in this position with conviction. The limited perspective of the corporate, and GBS’ mindsets hold them back from even considering this as a goal – often dismissing it as being unrealistic. Secondly, GBS needs to change its focus as the basic service provider, and figure out ways of creating new value for businesses. Needless to say, this requires working shoulder to shoulder with BUs in matters of concern to the BUs.

Once such opportunities are identified, GBS needs to organise and align different pieces of its strategy to actually deliver the differentiated value to the BUs/ Corporate. It is critical in this scheme of things that GBS measures the resultant value that gets created in a manner that makes business sense. It also needs to

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measure and monitor its own internal drivers of this value and what it takes to create it. Finally, it needs to deploy a strategy execution system like the balanced scorecard to execute the entire strategy that it has put together.

Having a strategy map and scorecard for business is not a new idea. Several organisations for decades have been using tools to do so, the balanced scorecard being the most popular. The same model can be very effectively utilised by GBS to create this dramatic transformation in the new direction. A framework like Balanced Scorecard includes the following elements which GBS can powerfully implement:

A strategic destination for GBS: The end vision of what GBS would like to accomplish. This could

be creating the competitive advantage, being in the league of top GBS organisations worldwide, or any other aspirational goal. Identifying such an end vision is also an opportunity for GBS to benchmark itself with global best practices in their industry

Defining the major financial outcomes of the strategy: GBS should examine the ultimate outcome that the corporate as a stakeholder would expect in financial terms. Clearly, the basic expectation of great services at the lowest possible cost determines the financial efficiency of GBS. In addition, GBS should also determine which outcomes will determine their effectiveness, such as various business impacts that GBS creates.

Consolidating the GBS customer value propos-

ition: This forms a central piece of the GBS strategy. It should identify what specific value GBS would like to create for its customers. Various elements of the value created include service attributes like quality, timeliness, relationship, partnership, trust, and image attributes such as the internal brand. The GBS value ladder can be used to determine the specific value depending on the level at which the organisation is.

Articulating the themes of strategy and the processes needed to create value: Once the value proposition is defined, identify the major pillars of the execution game-plan to deliver it. These themes are groups of related actions that GBS needs to drive internally, and processes that GBS needs to excel in.

The learning and growth agenda for GBS: In order for the themes to be effectively driven, GBS needs to build a number



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of intangibles, which will enable effective execution of the strategy. Thee are b roadly in three areas: human capital, organisation capital and information capital. This includes the alignment of skills and right talent to changing business needs, the quality of leadership, the culture and climate needed for GBS to drive change, and relevant tech and digital infrastructural elements. These together define how the GBS organisation should constantly learn and evolve through its transformation. Metrics to measure efficiency and effectiveness: Finally, in order to stay on course, GBS needs to have the right metrics along with the relevant targets for each of the items mentioned above. It needs to measure, monitor and manage what are most critical to the strategy.

The key point to note here is that adoption of such a scorecard necessitates GBS to reflect and spell out its game-plan on all of these aspects, giving a solid focus to its strategy. Articulating it this way gets all levels of employees to internalise the strategy and their roles in its achievement.

The concept of strategic themes for GBS

An important element of the GBS value creation strategy is finding the right themes to drive the value delivery.

The above exhibit illustrates the typical generic themes, which represent short-term to long-term time span for driving sustained execution of strategy.

The first one is the theme of process and operational excellence. Apart from delivering the basic quality and timeliness of the services, this theme drives enhancement of processes within the GBS organisation. Improvement of efficiency of process through simplification, standardisation, benchmarking, etc., and governance, can directly add to the cost-effectiveness of GBS and also make their deliveries more predictable. In many ways, GBS can become the process expert in the organisation and drive multiple process agendas through this theme.

Process automation, data unification and digital transformation

form the next major theme. At peak level, they can

simply provide self-service alternatives including business analytics, and remain invisible for all transactional requirements. The likes of Amazon and Google will continue to provide more and more products and services through their own platforms, and users expect similar experiences. Digital transformation will drive GBS efficiency as well.

The third theme and one of the major aspects of GBS value creation is being able to work closely with business units in order to understand their real needs and issues. This makes it paramount that GBS builds deeper relations with businesses, and works closely with them real time. Relations with the business also helps GBS to build their own brand internally.

The final theme is about GBS enabling innovation and co-creation with BUs. This may need

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creative thinking, data insights, and other capabilities for opportunity identification and new sources of value creation. It could well be an extension of the digital transformation and may also result in devising newer offerings to the business through the expansion of GBS portfolio, or delivering creative one-off business solutions of high value.

Map the strategy to drive the transformation

The above figure shows an example of the GBS strategy map to anable every employee to align with and internalise the stragey. There is a GBS financial perspective which has two major aspects – efficiency of GBS in terms of the costs, number of resources, etc., while the effectiveness is about what is the extent of GBS impact on the business. The Customer perspective, Internal Process perspective and Learning and Growth perspective state the GBS objectives for the value proposition, themes, and learning and growth agenda, as outlined above.

Each of the bubbles shown in the map represents a strategic objective, which determines the direction of some aspect of the GBS strategy. Further, each strategic objective is measurable, and has metrics along with targets and initiatives to enable strategic perform-

ance management.

The scorecard will have all the objectives, definition, metrics, targets and initiatives. We have captured a couple of examples for illustration purposes only in the following exhibit.

egy to move in the direction of this aspiration.

By developing GBS as a value-creating business partner, organisations can optimise the cost of outsourcing with the benefits of long term competi-

In conclusion, we observe that a GBS scorecard can act as a major driving force to enable it to aspire to move from an operational to a strategic and from there to a differentiated value/ competitive advantage creating role. The scorecard can also facilitate the process of consolidating the GBS strat-

tive advantages which otherwise get captured by the outsourcing companies. Perhaps this will be a game changer this year!

Twitter @MuneerMuh

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Mun EE r is the co-founder of Medici Institute and a Fortune 500 consultant on strategy execution. Sand EEP is co-founder of Medici Institute and leadership trainer.

Creating a neuro-inclusive hiring process

As we advance towards greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we need to also encompass invisible differences – such as neurodiversity

Most organisations today understand the importance of diversity in the workplace and recognise that differences of thought lead to innovation, creativity, and, in general, better business outcomes. However, until recently, neurodiversity has yet to be a part of the dialogue.

Neurodiversity is still largely overlooked in many companies' DEI initiatives, even though these individuals are believed to make up 15% to 20% of the population. Unemployment for neurodivergent adults runs at least as high as 30% to 40% – three times the rate for people with a disability and eight times the rate for people without a disability.

Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that refers to natural variations in how

people think and process information. Neurodiver gent conditions include autism spectrum disorder, dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette Syndrome. Some in the field include mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression and acquired brain injury under the neurodivergent umbrella. It's common for individuals to have more than one neurodivergent condition.

A large part of the reason for the high rate of unemployment is due to bias. In a survey from the UK's Institute of Leadership & Management, half of the

respondents reported they feel uncomfortable hiring or managing someone who has one or more neurodivergent conditions. Negative and false stereotypes persist, such as their incapability to perform their role and a need for extra supervision.

The good news is that over the last couple of years, as organisations grapple with the future of work and social justice concerns are revealed, there is emerging awareness that individuals are just that – individuals. We have different interests and skills. We define success differently. Some of us might want a traditional career trajectory, while others want to try new roles continually. The momentum to at least have conversations around neurodivergent talent is increasing globally. We see interest both from our clients and in professional associations at industrial and organisational psychology conferences.

Organisations are also becoming increasingly aware of the benefit of hiring neurodivergent individuals. Common strengths within the neurodivergent talent pool include high-

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er-order cognitive functioning reliant on comprehension, creativity and innovation and the ability to be hyper-focused on solving a problem and being entrepreneurial. Additional research shows that neurodivergent talent with autism and dyslexia have above-average skills in pattern recognition, memory and mathematics.

We know that having a diverse workforce – and the accompanying diversity of thought – leads to better business outcomes. Numerous studies also point to the strengths neurodivergent individuals bring to the workplace. JPMorgan Chase, which employs 175 neurodivergent employees worldwide as part of its Autism at Work initiative, found these individuals made fewer errors and were 90% to 140% more productive than neurotypical employees. Other studies have found that

neurodiverse teams are 30% more effective than neurotypical ones.

Many leading global organisations now have targeted programmes around diversity. Microsoft, for example, has a Neurodiversity Hiring Programme that recognises neurodivergent talent employed by the company and offers stated practices on the application and interview process.

To bring neurodivergent talent into your hiring pool, consider how they may encounter each step of your recruiting and hiring process, including assessments. Too often, organisations lose neurodivergent talent early in the process, which means they never make it into your applicant pool.

As you broaden your diversity initiatives to include neurodivergent talent, you may have to refine some of your traditional

hiring practices. Below are five tactics to help you create a more inclusive hiring programme.

Bring neurodiverse talent into the conversation to promote powerful change When designing DEI policies, ensure that the neurodiverse population has a voice. These individuals can share a wealth of information about how you can better your hiring process, the assessments in particular, and how to make them more inclusive. Many changes don't require much effort but could have a considerable effect.

We've learned the importance of having neurodiversity representation on our research team. Since neurodiversity is about cognitive differences, those who aren't neurodivergent might not think about things the same way. Having their input can be essential to creating an inclusive culture.

Question the qualifications required for a job

Neurodivergent talent is likely to have a 'spiky profile' with areas of both strength and challenges, which has implications for how recruiters select, measure and make decisions about competencies.

Frequently, neurodivergent individuals stop short of applying for a job. Many job descriptions ask for more than a dozen qualifications, touching on a cadre of skills

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and personality traits. Does the individual need to be the best at every qualification listed, or can a candidate be productive and excel in some critical competencies for the open position? You may inadvertently cut individuals out of the process because they need to fit the complete profile listed. Take a moment to examine the job critically, including what success means for that role.

Keep assessments accessible and ensure inclusivity Neurodiversity is often a hidden condition. So assessing whether a neurodiverse job candidate is the right person for the job can be challenging, especially since many of these candidates aren't willing to disclose their condition and request accommodations – especially in a highstakes hiring context. There


Recognise that strengths and challenges vary by condition and across individuals

Neurodiversity includes many different conditions. Strengths and challenges vary by situation and individuals with those conditions. We must refrain from making assumptions about individuals who are neurodivergent; there is both commonality and variance of strengths and challenges across neurodivergent states. For example, within our survey, we found a variety of perspectives represented by participants who had autism and were professionals. As you assess the neurodivergent job candidate, consider each person on a case-by-case basis and their needs.

are several reasons for this: they haven't been diagnosed, do not consider their condition a disability and/or fear the potential stigma and discrimination. Suggestions for enhancing the assessment experience include changes in word choice to ensure inclusive language, providing clear instructions about what to expect; sharing interview questions in advance; customisation options to remove features candidates may find stressful or that enable candidates to demonstrate their strengths, such as game-based, cognitive ability assessments; offering extra time; and allowing for breaks between assessment components. It's also helpful to encourage candidates to try practice assessments.

The ideal scenario would be assessments that are accessible and inclusive for all, removing the burden of disclosure.

Understand that a one-sizefits-all approach does not apply

What works for one individual may not work for another. We recommend that HR leadership make assessments as inclusive as possible by implementing accessible content and platforms, knowing what modifications are possible, and then implementing them. Look at the experience from the individual's perspective to understand how the test-taking experience might affect them and how you can modify it to best help candidates demonstrate their abilities.

We are at the beginning of understanding neurodiversity in the workplace. While more organisations are asking questions, they may need help to ensure success for the neurodivergent individual. More research is required to ensure we have accurate information. However, we know that using inclusive language, recognising that every individual has different needs, and harnessing the unique abilities of neurodivergent individuals will create a welcoming culture where all employees will thrive.

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Stin aLLE n

Five ways to increase employee engagement, productivity, retention, and well-being in 2023

Across Asia Pacific and Japan, only 38% of workers say their employer delivers an employee experience (EX) that meets their expectations. Addressing this EX gap must be a top priority for employers in 2023 – and those that do will be rewarded with improved productivity and retention

Iment, and retention are some of the biggest focuses for HR, EX, and business leaders across Asia in 2023. And meeting the expectations of employees is critical in achieving them. Research from Qualtrics in the region shows when workers’ expectations are met, they are 2.1 times more likely to stay with their employer for longer, and 4 times more likely to go above and beyond what’s expected of them at work.

Encouragingly, findings from the same Qualtrics study – the 2023 Employee Experience Trends Report – suggest employers are on the path to fulfilling their EX goals. The percentage of workers who say their

expectations are being met is up 16-points compared to two-years ago.

But despite moving in the right direction, there is still a way to go.

To stay on this path in 2023, it’s crucial organisations remain committed to the transformation journeys they’ve embarked on in recent years – especially as they navigate another year of change.

For example, as increasing numbers of organisations in Asia have moved beyond the annual employee engagement survey to programs capturing regular employee

feedback across a range of topics there has been an uplift in EX metrics. Engagement in particular is up 8-points, as is well-being (+4) and inclusion (+4).

To help HR and people leaders continue making positive progress in meeting employee expectations next year, Qualtrics spoke with almost 11,000 workers across Asia to identify the five impactful changes they need to make:

Improving the employee experience for new employees

New starters are having a


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more negative experience at work compared to employees who have been with the company for over 12 months. Across the region, workers who joined less than 12 months ago return lower engagement and intent to stay scores, and are less likely to say their expectations are being met. For instance, in Singapore there is a 12-point gap between new joiners and longer-tenured employees who say their expectations are met.

These findings are a contrast to the “new starter glow” employers historically expect to see, and reflect the significant challenges organisations face onboarding employees in rapidly changing and hybrid environments. To address this in 2023, employers need to listen at key moments across the employee lifecycle and across a range of EX drivers to understand the experiences and expectations of different cohorts within their team. This inclusive and holistic listening approach enables employers to understand what each group values most to define and deliver a tailored and meaningful EX for all.

Addressing EX inequality between leaders and their teams

There is a concerning disconnect in how senior and executive leaders in Asia rate their own EX compared to

the teams they lead. The gap is particularly prominent in Australia and New Zealand where 55% of senior and executive leaders say their expectations at work are met compared to 33% of middle managers and junior employees.

In addition, middle managers and junior employees report lower levels of wellbeing, engagement, inclusion, intent to stay, and satisfaction with pay than their leaders. In many instances these gaps are increasing year on year.

It’s long been said that a one-size fits all approach is not conducive to a great EX – and these findings prove it. In response, organisations must capture and act on feedback from across their entire workforce to ensure different needs can be met. Within this, it is important leaders are equipped with regular employee insights and action guidelines to help them

make decisions and drive positive change.

Prioritising employee growth and development

The belief career goals can be met at the employees’ current employer is one of the most pervasive drivers across all EX metrics in Asia, positively impacting engagement, inclusion, and retention. Growth and development is a fundamental part of EX, and employees can cultivate it in multiple ways.

To go above and beyond the traditional growth and development programs many employers offer, organisations can offer specific study initiatives aimed at furthering development. Formalising career pathways that are supported by mentorship, shadowing opportunities, and career action plans are also important. Regardless of the approach adopted, it’s important managers support the long-term career goals of

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their direct reports through regular, meaningful career conversations.

Aligning and regularly demonstrating company values

Across Asia, employees’ belief in organisational values is a key driver of nearly all the core EX KPIs – including engagement, inclusion, intent to stay, and reducing the risk of burnout. The importance of having values employees believe in and regularly see demonstrated is reinforced by a separate Qualtrics study where 94% of workers in India said they feel motivated to go above and beyond what’s expected of them when their employer’s mission, values, and vision align with their own.

To harness the value of aligned values, employers must embed them across the employee lifecycle to ensure they consistently show up throughout the organisation, and are demonstrated by leaders. Over time, this will help build a culture of valueoriented business where beliefs are practiced, not just preached.

Evolving workplace technologies, processes, and resources to improve employee well-being and productivity

After three years of significant change in ways of working, streamlining work processes and giving workers access to the resources

they need to do their job –such as the right technology – has become a core driver of engagement, inclusion, and well-being.

Despite their growing importance, the Qualtrics study shows employee satisfaction with workplace technology and processes in Asia dropped in 2022. This worrying trend demonstrates the critical need for employers to continue evolving and refreshing their approaches and tools for the new ways of working being adopted.

To reverse this shift, it is critical organisations conduct regular listening activities to understand the current state of work processes and satisfaction with the tools available. This will help employers identify existing (and potential) bottlenecks to deliver solutions that better support employees in their work. As organisations implement new systems and processes,

listening early and regularly through the change management process will also help deliver successful adoptions and programs.

Next steps

At the heart of keeping employees productive, engaged, and loyal in 2023 is deeply and continuously understanding how they are thinking and feeling. Equipped with these insights, employers can take targeted action when and where it matters to meet the diverse needs of their workforce. And against the backdrop of the ongoing talent shortage and expected economic headwinds in 2023, those that do this well are well placed to confidently navigate the journey ahead.

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St E v E B E nn Ett S is Head of EX Growth & Strategy – Employee Experience, Qualtrics. gEorgi E Mc i ntyr E , Lead Author for the Qualtrics 2023 Employee Experience Trends Report and Employee Experience Scientist, Qualtrics. C over story

'The Crucibles of Change Makers in HR': A journey to authentic leadership

Dr Arvind N Agrawal and Prof. TV Rao unravel the story behind the creation of their book, ‘Leaders In The Making: The Crucibles of Change Makers in HR’. A deep dive into the life of 30 HR leaders, this is an unmissable read for anyone keen to understand how leaders are made

People often want to emulate their leaders and walk in their footsteps. But more often than not, most of us are befuddled by the question of whether leaders are born or whether they are made through life experiences. From time immemorial, great minds have been at work to understand how nature and nurture influences a person’s personality traits and behaviours. In their latest book, ‘Leaders In The Making: The Crucibles of Change Makers In HR’, Dr Arvind N Agrawal and Prof. TV Rao offers a glimpse into thirty leaders in HR, so one can

take a deeper look into the experiences that shaped these people.

Through the life journey of Anand Nayak, Anil Khandelwal, Anil Sachdev, Anuranjita Kumar, Aquil Busrai, Aroon Joshi, Ashok K Balyan, Chandrasekhar Sripada, Dr Harish, Dileep Ranjekar, Hema Ravichander, Kishore K Sinha, Marcel Parker, Niddodi Subrao (N.S) Rajan, P Dwarakanath, Pradeep Mukherjee, Pratik Kumar, Raghu Krishnamoorthy, Rajeev Dubey, RR Nair, SV Nathan, Santrupt Misra, Satish Pradhan, Saurabh Dixit, Shrikant Gathoo, Sridhar Ganesh, Vineet Kaul, Visty Banaji, Vivek Paranjpe and Yogi Sriram, the two authors derived common threads to the making and baking of leaders, the crucible experiences that shaped them and what are the values and lessons new generation of HR leaders can inculcate from these ‘baked’ leaders.

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It is the interactions with people during their lives and the values they share that culminated in these crucible experiences

The genesis of the book

The story behind how the book came to be is a fascinating one. It was Agrawal who came up with the idea. He had met and knew many seasoned HR professionals and had a line of sight to their impactful work. This kindled a curiosity in him to know more about the life of these people who have carved a path for themselves in the world of HR. He wanted to know, “What’s the life journey of these people? What have they gone through to become who they are?” Once he had this idea, he contacted Rao and told him that as this was his first time writing a book, he needed a partner on this journey. He quips, “He (TV Rao) took his time. But then gave his enthusiastic support that overwhelmed me.”

What piqued Rao’s interest was the term “baking of HR leaders.” Arvind’s passion really motivated him to come on board. “Arvind did a lot of the early interviews for 2-3 years,” he shares. It took them a year to define the criteria for selection. They wanted to document these lives by diving deep into their childhoods, points of inflections in their lives, and the choices they made to get to where they are.

They didn’t start out knowing that there would be common traits between these leaders or if there would be any similar patterns. But after conducting all the interviews, they did find patterns that were similar and presented their findings in the book along with life stories. One pattern that jumped out was that regardless of whether they grew up in afflu-

ent families or in families with modest means, they all grew up with parents who instilled in them positive values and social and patriotic awareness. Each one of them was nurtured with positivity, even in scarcity. They were introduced to the larger causes plaguing the society and the nation in the 1950s to help them understand their purpose. Agrawal and Rao believe that the awareness broadened the perspective of these young children. Rao also highlights how mothers played a powerful role in each of these leader’s lives.

Value of mentorship

The role of teachers and mentors was also a pivotal one and one that was shared across the board. All the HR professionals had a teacher or mentor who had a noticeable impact on the course their lives took. “Teachers had a personal connection to these students.” Agrawal and Rao also noticed a continued ability among the leaders to observe, assimilate, learn, and then apply

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these lessons to life. Rao speaks of one such instance wherein one of these leaders wasn’t good at Maths and so he didn’t want to take the exam. The teacher went to the child’s house in the early morning hours and asked him to at least attempt the paper. Rao says, “This personal care really pushed the child not only to take the exam but also excel in the subject.”

You are who you meet

But one might wonder if there is an inherent quality in these individuals that got them to where they are, or was it the upbringing and the select experiences that

a peon and changed completely after that and took his studies seriously. He became the CHRO Asia Pacific of a global multinational. This is what Agrawal and Rao term as a crucible experience. Arvind says, “Something somewhere creates a life-changing experience and we have captured these experiences through their life stories in the book.”

Dual skillset

Agrawal and Rao believe that these crucible experiences shape our beliefs and make us into who we become. They also believe that it is the interactions with people during their lives and the values they share that culminated in these crucible experiences.

One of the anecdotes from the book illustrates such a story wherein one of the leaders as a child wasn’t very good at studies because of a lack of motivation.

One day, a neighbour told his father, who was a bank manager, to employ his son as a peon at the bank. On overhearing this conversation, the child vowed to his dad that he will be much more than

Another pattern they noticed was the acquiring of two skills that played a major role in their opinion. Many leaders mentioned in the book had taken up a business role at some point in their career, which helped them understand the business better and in turn how best to serve. The second was their ability to connect to people and understand their individual concerns and through it better deal with people. Rao elaborates, “They were versatile and cultivated the ability to integrate business with people. This made them different from others.”

When these leaders first entered the workforce, they were given unique projects where they had the chance to explore the ground reality and that led to most of them becoming ‘socially responsible’ leaders.

A path of your own

Another important aspect that these people shared was that they didn’t wait for someone else to define the job for them, especially in senior positions. Agrawal remarks, “They tried to understand what the business required and what people valued and created

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Each conversation and each step in their life was a learning experience; their network of people, as small or as big it was, was a source of learning and knowledge shaped them?

a role for themselves relevant to the business.” This inner urge and clarity of mind to take charge and create their own parameters has set them apart from the rest. These leaders might have been ordinary beings in their childhood, but it was these crucible experiences that changed their perspective and their paths forever.

Agrawal and Rao are both optimistic that these crucible experiences can also be curated for individuals to learn from and grow. Agrawal believes that the exposure of these individual experiences can be designed to suit individual needs. Rao said, “One has to find the leader within to deal with challenging situations and then have the humility to learn from them.”

For these ‘chosen few’, each conversation and each step in their life was a learning experience which they tried to leverage to become better at their work. Their network of people, as small or as big it was, was a source of learning and knowledge.

Now that the book is out, Agrawal and Rao are already looking at next steps and are busy pondering on what more needs to be done. They bemoan the fact that there are only two women among the thirty, but wonder if it’s because of the time period they chose. Most of the leaders selected for the book were born in the 1950s and 60s in India when female literacy was poor. They want to document more women and want to explore more stories of people from different sectors who are leaders in their field. This book might offer a glimpse

into the life of these different people who are leaders in the field of HR but one can learn much from the crucible experiences of these people. These experiences and how they overcame the obstacles in their paths gives each one of us the chance to interpret these stories in our own way and learn from them. Dr Agrawal agrees that if we isolate and replicate some of the conditions that each of these leaders went through, we might be able to design the crucible experience for the new crop of HR leaders, helping them to achieve greatness in their own field.

We always say that it is the people who matter, and in the end, the same notion is offered by the authors as well – it was the people around these leaders that made them into who they are. Without the right people, they might have not gotten as far in life as they did.

Keen to find out who the leaders are in each of the instances mentioned above?

'The Crucibles of Change Makers in HR' is now available online or in select stores.

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The hags of Indian business

The life stories of India’s business captains and promoters are told constantly. But they suffer one flaw: they invariably paint the lead character in heroic or saintly colours and show no negatives. What are we losing without balanced biographies of business leaders?

When I started my career, biographies of Indian business leaders were rare and restrained. Since then, both the number of such hagiographies and the virtues apparently possessed by their subjects have reached astronomical levels. The current profusion of such books is inversely proportional to the readers they attract – bar the hapless denizens of the corporation the subject heads and for whom the volume is complimentary and the reading of it is compulsory.

I use hagiography (hag for short) here not in its traditional meaning as the life of a saint or prophet but in its more colloquial usage as a biography purged of all complexity, criticism and colour. Since such sanitisation particularly afflicts biographies that are commissioned, authorised, or written with the hope of eliciting future

favours, business leaders and tycoons in India rarely have biographies that are believable or of anything but the most marginal learning value. As Indians who well know the value of spice in food, it is strange that we expect only the bland-

est and sweetest of descriptors in business biographies. Unlike food without masala, moreover, blotless biographies are not blame-free.

The harm of hags

Samuel Johnson’s words ring true even today. "If

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The difficulties commence when readers attempt to follow the purported lessons from the hags in their own careers – with varying degrees of failure

the biographer writes from personal knowledge … there is danger lest his interest, his fear, his gratitude, or his tenderness, overpower his fidelity, and tempt him to conceal, if not to invent… [W]e, therefore, see whole ranks of characters adorned with uniform panegyric, and not to be known from one another."1

Admittedly, reading business leader or promoter hags for pleasure is not a problem in itself. One may only suggest, if hags are indeed the preferred means of passing time, that far greater profit and upliftment may be derived from the reading of the gods and saints described by Valmiki, John Foxe,2 or even Jacobus de Voragine.3 or even Jacobus de Voragine [3] rather than the riches-to-yet-more-riches stories of corporate chieftains. There’s no accounting for tastes, however, and I shan’t quarrel with (though I may sneer at) the business leader hags people pick up. The difficulties commence when readers attempt to follow the purported lessons from the hags in their own careers – with varying degrees of failure. The kind of failure readers face and their consequences vary depending on the manner in which they treat the fictionalised, fault-free account contained in the hag.

The least damaging way of dealing with the para-

gon-of-virtue profiles contained in hags is to ignore them for all practical purposes. The books can then serve to provide book-case ornaments that are particularly impressive when everyone and his uncle have billion-book backgrounds for video interactions. Even if one is constrained to read the hag, compartmentalisation is easy. One uses the hag for quotes and anecdotes from the blemish-blanked life while running the mouse marathon as ruthlessly as one would have otherwise.

The damage increases to the extent people start

taking a hag seriously and use it for distilling their experiences and character evaluations. Not only does this make all actual leaders fall short, thus preventing a demanding but realistic expectation-profile to develop, but all judgements tend to become binary. When such black and white mindsets extend to interpersonal dealings, not only are people deprived of rich friendships but their interactional repertoire becomes circumscribed and dysfunctional. After comparing against the hag standard, the majority of people are written off as unmitigated villains,

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Not only does this make all actual leaders fall short, but all judgements tend to become binary...not only are people deprived of rich friendships but their interactional repertoire becomes circumscribed and dysfunctional

preventing further reciprocity or redemption. Sinner that I am, I have almost invariably found those capable of conduct that falls just this side (measured in microns) of propriety to be the best company, having the most to impart and, (on rare occasions) even capable of changing for the better. The white side of the B&W error can be even more dangerous. People plastered up as saints are permitted unlimited access to the hag admirer’s secrets and vulnerabilities. Since there are few real saints in the corporate world, some degree of exploitation (with consequential disillusionment and distrust) is inevitable.

The most damaging results occur when the hag reader is realistic enough to know every character is flawed and has sometimes resorted to unwholesome means but still tries putting

a hag to use. 'So what', goes the reasoning, 'if the author left out the unfit-for-public-view bits from the hag? We need only the nice bits to inspire us and provide a model for imitation'. This form of magical thinking is, in a way, more infructuous and frustrating than simply treating the hag as a fairy tale. When one attempts to attain goals similar to those glorified in the hag, while using only the kosher methods it reveals, they turn out to be impossible to achieve or, even if attained, accompanied by consequences the hag hid. The only choice then is to cut one’s losses (as well as the collateral damage) and get into the compartmentalisation mode – but after wasted time and counterproductive effort. Moreover, without knowing how the hag hero restrained or redeemed flaws, the reader is free to imagine worst-case scenarios of

hidden 'hamartias' and underfoot means. The blank, liability side of the hag account of the protagonist’s ledger makes it that much easier for ambiguous events and vague innuendos doing cocktail circuit rounds, to be negatively misinterpreted and retransmitted as definitive narratives. Not only does this cast doubt on the perfectly justified positives of the hag but licences the reader to concoct characteristics. In the business context, the most frequent such blank filling is the attribution of authoritarianism to any person who has achieved a lot in a little time and paves the road to sultanism with hagstones.4

There cannot be a better summary for this section than another statement of Samuel Johnson (quoted by his own biographer): "If nothing but the bright side of characters should be shown, we should sit down in despondency, and think it utterly impossible to imitate them in anything. The sacred writers, (he observed,) related the vicious as well as the virtuous actions of men; which had this moral effect, that it kept mankind from despair, into which otherwise they would naturally fall, were they not supported by the recollection that others had offended like themselves, and by penitence and amendment of life had been

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restored to the favour of Heaven."5

The Man of Steel – with some cracks below the surface

While business leader hags are no less an Indian speciality than chicken tikka, less worshipful societies are filled with ungarnished tales – even for business leaders who were greatly admired. Let me expand with an example.

Andrew Carnegie was one of the great captains of US industry. David Nasaw’s masterful biography does justice not only to Carnegie’s unique and towering achievements and his largeness of heart but also reveals the less admirable sides of his character and actions.6 While the book by Nasaw (all quotes in this section are from it and will not be separately refer-

enced) is an exemplary business biography, it is not the only one of its kind. I hope this section encourages readers to explore many more such on their own.

Above all else, Carnegie must be honoured for being a truly extraordinary philanthropist who publicly committed himself to giving away his fortune to the community early in his life. None of us can avoid feeling a thrill of admiration when reading Carnegie’s declaration "that his research institution in Washington should 'discover the exceptional man in every department of study whenever and where found…and enable him to make the work for which he seems specially designed his life work.' " Carnegie’s declaration to give away his vast wealth went hand in hand with his horror at the evils of inherited wealth.

Nasaw quotes Carnegie’s criticism of those who leave "great fortunes to their children. If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened…. Looking at the usual result of enormous sums conferred upon legatees, the thoughtful man [i.e., Andrew Carnegie] must shortly say, 'I would as soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar,' and admit to himself that it is not the welfare of the children, but family pride, which inspires these legacies."

Unfortunately, Carnegie also felt that his mission to return his wealth to the community enjoined on him the duty to earn as much profit as he could –not always by scrupulous means.

One of the ways Carnegie adopted to earn more profit was not just to curtail but to bring down the wages of blue-collar workers and increase their working hours (from eight to twelve a day)., Over a period of time, he and his team perfected a painful process to attain this goal. "The firm would make impossible demands. When the union rejected them, the company would cut off negotiations, close the works, lock out the workers, secure the plant with

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sheriff’s deputies and/or Pinkertons, and then, after an indeterminate pause, reopen under armed protection. The workers would be invited to sign individual contracts and return to their jobs; those who refused would be replaced by scabs." Things went badly belly side up when a variant of this method was tried, somewhat ham-handedly at the Homestead steel plant by his lieutenant, Henry Frick, but with the tacit approval of Carnegie. At the end of the imbroglio, ten men lay dead. While Carnegie distanced

his former bosses, Tom Scott and J. Edgar Thomson, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad… [Carnegie] organised a series of companies – with Scott and Thomson as secret partners – that were awarded insider contracts to supply the Pennsylvania Railroad with raw materials and build its iron bridges." Evasion of the Sherman Antitrust Act was an even more risky transgression, with the Carnegie firms exploiting their financial strength to jettison even the traditional honour among thieves. "… [T]hey

was a passion for reading (literature and philosophy in particular), a knack for original thinking and the ability to convey his views clearly and convincingly. While several of his ideas were impractical to the point of being Quixotic – such as his proposal for a political union between the US and Great Britain – there were some that anticipated progressive thinking of the future and many became a reality thanks to his munificent funding.

himself from the decisions made on the spot (he was in Europe at the time but in telegraphic touch) he did not reverse the higher working hours or lower wages that had been imposed on the workmen as a result.

Another vulnerable patch on Carnegie’s heel was how closely he sailed to permissible boundaries of the law in attaining his ends. Granted that the standards of business conduct were somewhat more relaxed in his time, Carnegie’s initial fortune came from practices that were unsavoury if not illegal. In cahoots "with

could afford to periodically break the pools, lower their prices, expand market share, drive the weaker firms out of business, and then organise new pools, in which they would have a larger share of the market." Then there was the tariff on steel, which permitted US manufacturers to make huge profits. It was publicly justified, in part, to protect the employment and wages of US workmen though, as we have seen, both were sacrificed to enhance profits.

Among the remarkable talents Carnegie developed assiduously over the years

But, once again, there is a dark shadow behind the glare of his achievements. On occasion, his writing is marred by his selective recall of events and the use of casuistic arguments that serve to justify his position or reputation. Here is just one instance from his autobiography that shows the degree of subterfuge bordering on self-deception that Carnegie could adopt. "In later years Carnegie would insist that he had never traded or manipulated or speculated in stocks, but had made his money from manufacturing iron and steel products. His autobiography backs up his assertions, but only by carefully editing out a critical period in his business career. Carnegie would accumulate the fortune that was later reinvested in his steel mills by doing precisely what he would later condemn."

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Once we realise this failure, not only do Carnegie’s string of successes become more believable but his personality and struggles come to view

The gap between preaching and practices was even wider when it came to employees. "Contrary to Carnegie’s promises in the 1880s, his workingmen did not share in the firm’s remarkable prosperity. On the contrary, there was, through the 1890s, an inverse relationship between the firm’s revenues and profits and the amount of money distributed to the workforce as wages. … [W] hile the value of the goods shipped from the Carnegie mills increased by some 226 per cent in the seven years following the strike of 1892, the percentage of revenues paid out in wages decreased by 67 per cent."

If I have picked out the less savoury side of Carnegie in this section, it is not because I do not share in the admiration that he has rightfully received. He remains, to my mind, one of the greatest builders of industry the world has seen and I cringe when I hear him classified as one of the 'robber barons'. It is precisely because I hold him in such high esteem that I have chosen his example and these episodes. Which

of us would not trade the compromises he made for the sake of his achievement record? True, his burning ambition to give back to society led him to be ruthless and to blur the bounds of ethics in acquiring the means wherewith to do so. But once we realise this failure, not only do Carnegie’s string of successes become more believable but his personality and struggles come to view. This can only enrich our appreciation of his character and provide us clues to emulate him (even if it is in a very small way) while avoiding the flaws that have become apparent with hindsight and that a hag would have whitewashed out of sight.

Lives to learn from

To be of practical developmental benefit, the life a biography describes must be:

Aspirational: inspire readers with the impossible heights to which a human can rise.

Accessible: provide a deep understanding of the torments, temptations and risks that accompany great deeds.

Attainable: reveal the steps, missteps and varied paths that lead to extraordinary achievements. Hags have no problem describing the aspirational aspects of their subjects. However, it takes a balanced biography to make the mental musculature of the subject sufficiently accessible for people to learn from it, and then it takes at least infant steps to make some imitation of those great models attainable.

Our country’s hags deny us the benefit of learning from homegrown heroes (and heroines) operating in the environment with which we are most familiar. It is time they left their haggage-baggage behind and provided us with real biographies of business beacons from India.


1. Samuel Johnson. The Works of Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 60, 13 October 1750.

2. John Foxe, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Reformation Publishers, 2010.

3. Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, Princeton University Press, 2012.

4. Visty Banaji, Music and management, People Matters, 5 February 2020.

5. James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Penguin Classics, 2008.

6. David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie, Penguin Press, 2007.

v i Sty Bana J i is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)

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Winning in 2023 will require companies to take a radically different approach toward talent management, built on the foundations of operational flexibility. It is time to come together and forge a new path for the future of work. CHROs, HR Heads, Head of Culture, Recruitment, TA Leaders, Engagement, C&B, Reward and Employee Experience leaders are welcome to join us this coming February to gain insights, deliberate unconventional strategies and explore robust solutions that will help you welcome times of volatility with courage and let you make some bold strategic choices. The time is now. Get your A-Game on!

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One thing is certain. The pressures of our times call for leaders who can rebuild their resilience and vitality in a VUCA world. People Matters TechHR 2023 sets the foundation of an inclusive space for us to learn from our community, break away from outdated ways of thinking, and venture boldly into business, technology and leadership.

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lOCaTION Live on LinkedIn People Matters Big Questions is a special series of panel discussions hosted on Linkedin LIVE, where we address and discuss the burning challenges, contentious themes and emerging realities shaping the present and future of business, people and work. Our objective is to bring perspectives and insights for you to become the answer in your organisation; to provide that clarity and that nudge that helps people make a decision, one way or the other, on what's best for the business.

Our previous Big Questions sessions have tackled topics such as moonlighting, the return to office, the impact of inflation on salaries, and trust between leaders and employees. Follow our LinkedIn page for updates on upcoming questions!

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In Season 1, The Art of the Possible, we bring you bold and innovative leadership strategies generating value for companies & talent alike – and transforming the lexicon of modern business. Unplugged provides you with a closer look at how great leaders strive to become the answer in their own organisations. Whether you're leading a team of 10 people or 10,000, People Matters Unplugged encourages you to take stock of your own strategies and stay on the pulse of what’s possible.

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8 essential traits every leader should have in 2023

Leaders need to play a bigger role in the new hybrid workplace by continuing to foster psychological safety, collaboration, trust, and most importantly, transparency

from the great resignation to the great reshuffle, and to the present-day term of what many refer to as “Quiet Quitting”.

2022 was the year we were all supposed to return to our offices in full force. However, the reality seems very different. Most big cities still have offices that continue to stay empty half the time. Bloomberg journalist Sarah Green Michael says, “The office seems to have become a place we are always returning to but never quite arriving”. Hybrid work is here to stay, just like hybrid leadership.

Last year was also the year of learning how to adapt, to pivot

Clearly, our assumptions have been challenged, and our socio-economic fabric has been upended and altered in unimaginable ways. While we may get nostalgic for the old normal, we know it’s not coming back. Our success as leaders lies in adapting to this new normal, in embracing these lessons, and in constantly integrating them into our leadership arsenal as we move forward.

For me, 2023 is the year of putting people at the centre of all that we do as leaders. Our employees, customers and partners. Here are eight leadership lessons to embrace in 2023 and beyond.


Leaders need to continue to build high levels of resilience in themselves and their teams by taking charge of how they think about crisis and adversity. Resilient

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managers have to be nimble and show swiftness in taking decisions (even when they do not know the answers) and move from analysis to a plan of action (and reaction). The best leaders use crisis as an opportunity to flatten leadership and delegate decision-making for greater agility.

Complexity consciousness

This mindset change requires leaders to shift away from complicated thinking and consciously inculcate complexity consciousness. An HBR article defines complicated problems as those that require linear thinking —these problems can be predicted or avoided because we have experienced them before. In stark contrast, complex problems cannot be predicted and the path to getting there resides in the realm of the unknown. One way to do that is by constantly seeking diverse opinions, and giving people a voice

Digital literacy

Automation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and data analytics etc are emerging digital competencies leaders giving them a competitive edge by boosting innovation. Leaders that stay updated by embracing new technologies and who encourage their people to do the same will be truly ahead of the game.

Listen and empathise more

Leaders need to listen more to their people. Active listening is about listening to assimilate, and not listening to react. Employees need to know that leaders understand them and most importantly

they care. Good leaders have to find that delicate balance between giving their team space while constantly challenging them to grow and improve their skills.

A growth mindset

Psychologist Carol Dweck (who coined this term) divides the world between learners and non-learners. She believes that demonstrating a fixed mindset is limiting —a growth mindset, on the other hand, propels people forward. Microsoft’s culture, according to CEO Satya Nadella, centers on the belief that everyone can grow and develop; potential is nurtured, not predetermined, and anyone can change their mindset. Good leaders build cultures where people feel safe and can learn from iterations of trial and error.

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Leaders need to listen more to their people. Active listening is about listening to assimilate, and not listening to react. Employees need to know that leaders understand them and most importantly they care

Strengthen the trust equation

According to an HBR study, the most important thing that holds back executives from reaching to the top is their inability to forge and maintain trusting relationships. “From an employee perspective, consider that more than 60% of workers say senior management-employee trust is paramount to their satisfaction. That’s because high-trust environments allow people to be their true selves, and when people can bring their whole selves to work, they are not only more creative, but more productive as well.”

Focus on mental well-being

The scars of the pandemic still remain, and the wounds are still raw for many. This collective trauma has exacerbated burnout and prompted many people to reevaluate their priorities. The World Health Organisation estimates that anxiety and depression cost the global economy upwards of $1 trillion annually. In 2023, leaders must focus on creating a workplace culture that supports mental health and wellness.

Diversity and inclusion

Today more than ever, leaders need to focus on genuinely building a diverse pool of talent and ensuring everyone feels included. Leaders can do that by continuing to create psychological safety, fuel collaboration, foster trust, and, most importantly, promote transparency in the new hybrid workplace that is here to stay.

Finally, be a leader coach – the world needs it more than ever Move away from a culture of instruction towards motivation. Coach your employees by asking powerful questions and, collectively, finding the “right” answers. Strive to build an ecosystem where all your people, regardless of the size of their teams or seniority, can contribute and flourish. Become a leader coach that constantly enables, engages, elevates, and empowers. Remember, the best leaders are those that create more leaders.

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ruc H ira cH aud H ary is a leading executive coach and the founder and MD of TrueNorth Consulting. She is the author of the book “Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership”. about the author
Know More People Matters' Digital Platforms Engaging 300K+ talent professionals in Asia daily Know More RNI Details: Vol. XIV, Issue No. 1, R.N.I. No. HARENG/2010/33504. Published and Owned by People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Published at 501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana. Editor: Esther Martinez Hernandez

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