People Matters PM April 2022

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Employers with multiple forms of value to offer have an advantage in attracting talent W H AT VA LU E P RO P O S IT IO N CAN YO U R O RG A N IS AT IO N B OAST?

Give a superior

Engagement & Rewarding

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Drawing up the employee value proposition


rganisations today can no longer rely solely on pay and perks to bring in talent. The move towards a more holistic evaluation of a job was underway long before the pandemic, with social media – particularly professionally-focused websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor – providing open and transparent means for employers and employees alike to see the true value that a company offers to a person's life both in and out of the workplace. The 'Great Resignation' and the war for talent sharply illustrate how this | April 2022

desire for quality of worklife has advanced in recent years. Well-being – including mental and emotional – flexibility, and diversity might once have been considered nice-to-have, but today they are increasingly standard lenses through which potential employees evaluate whether a job is suitable for them or not. Similarly, an organisation's responsiveness to community needs and social movements is more and more of a yardstick by which workers determine its worth as an employer. This has ever been a norm – scrupulous and progressive organisations have long pursued strategies of sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility, among other things, even when they would not have been held accountable for not doing so, and for just as long, conscientious employees have not hesitated to leave employers who did not adhere to such standards. Now, workers, especially of

the younger generations, are increasingly vocal about requiring such commitments from their employers, and far less hesitant to express their approval or disapproval with their feet. In this issue of our magazine, we look at how these elements, among others, have become an inextricable part of the employee value proposition and how organisations are highlighting and communicating them to potential and existing employees. We hear from HR leaders and industry experts including Darci Darnell, Global Head of Customer Practice at Bain & Company; Maria Zhang, Senior Director of Human Resources at Juniper Networks APAC; Ritu Rakhra, Regional HR Head for India at Dell Technologies; and more. And our Big Interview this month features Ayaskant Sarangi, CHRO of Wipro Enterprises, who talks about


Talent Analytics: Driving Organizational Impact (02 May to 03 June); HR Business Partner in the New World of Work (16 May to 17 June); Wellbeing: the Road to Resilience (23 May to 24 June). You can reach out to for more information and to enroll. People Matters BeNext has shown us all, over the past year, how interconnected community and learning are. Now that we have extended our virtual learning programmes to leaders in Spanish-speaking countries, we anticipate even greater levels of diversity, inclusion, and community development upon the platform. As always, we welcome your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories. Happy Reading!

Spring Collection?

Change the butterflies to humans!

From the Editor’s Desk

Make it inclusive, add diversity!


the deep characteristics of organisational culture that power the shift in retention strategies and make companies more competitive in the war for talent. Our most recent event revolved around employee experience, a fundamental part of the employee value proposition. The India edition of our annual EX Conference kicked off on 26 April, the first hybrid event of the year whose success signals a much-anticipated return to normal. The ANZ edition, also a hybrid conference, will follow on 18 May. And keep a space on your calendars for our flagship TechHR conference (India: 4 August; SEA: 25 August), where we invite the HR community to look at how to enable people in the world of work with #FreshEyes. People Matters BeNext, our cohort-based certification programme, launches three new courses in the coming months.

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Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief



M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez >

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Employers with multiple forms of value to offer have an advantage in attracting talent WHAT VA LUE PROPOSIT ION CAN YOUR ORGANIS ATI ON BOAST?

April 2022 |


contents cover story



April 2022 volume xIii issue 4

Rethinking the EVP Equation? Consider the Mission, Values, and Purpose (MVP)

By Richard Smith, Ph.D. 39

Revisit your purpose and supporting values to create a great employee value proposition

Darci Darnell, Global Head of Customer Practice at Bain & Company By Mamta Sharma 42

Employees should be treated with empathy, and their time should be valued Rakhi Shaha, Senior Director Human Resources, Mobileum By Asmaani Kumar




Creating the EVP pillars for the new era of work

By Arvind Laddha, CEO of Mercer India, and Shanthi Naresh, India Business Leader at Mercer Career

Employee priorities have changed; so are talent strategies

Maria Zhang, Senior Director of Human Resources for Juniper Networks in the APAC region By Mint Kang 51

Empowerment is a top factor for a strong employee value proposition Ritu Rakhra, Regional HR Head, India, at Dell Technologies By Bhavna Sarin



Reimagining employee value proposition in the post-pandemic world Jayanthi Vaidyanathan, Senior Director and Head – HR, PayPal India


How Do You Market Your Employer Brand? Your Best EVP is a Great Candidate Experience

By Rachel Ranosa


Esther Martinez Hernandez

Senior Manager - Research and Content Strategy - APAC

Editor & New Product Content Strategist (Global)

Assistant Manager - Content - APAC

Mastufa Ahmed

Manager - design, photography, and production

Marta Martinez

Drishti Pant

Design & Production

Shinto Kallattu

Senior Manager - Global Sales and Partnerships

Content Manager and Lead - D&I

Bhavna Sarin

Saloni Gulati +91 (124) 4148102

Senior Associates - Content


Managing Editor

Shreejay Sinha

Sudeshna Mitra Asmaani Kumar Ajinkya Salvi

Senior Editor

Associate Editor

Published by

Mamta Sharma

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Senior Features Writer

Digital Head

Owned by

Rachel Ranosa Mint Kang


Jerry Moses

Prakash Shahi

| April 2022

Sumali Das Purkyastha

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Published at:

501, 5th Floor, Millennium Plaza, Tower A, Sushant Lok-1, Sector-27, Gurgaon - 122009, Haryana, India. Tel: +91 (0) 124-414 8101

editors nor the publisher can take responsibility for consequences arising from errors or omissions in the information provided. Reproduction in any manner without prior permission from the publisher is prohibited.

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

This issue of People matters contains 78 pages including cover


big interview



Talent Hunt: How companies can get competitive on best hires

It is time to think about rebuilding the workforce Ramesh Kalanje, Vice President, Center of Excellence, Commvault By Sudeshna Mitra

Ayaskant Sarangi, CHRO of

Wipro Enterprises

By Mamta Sharma

22 E m p l o y e e e n g a g e m e n t

Why you should embrace remote-first culture

By Matt Norman, Chief People Officer at DigitalOcean


58 E m p l o y e e E x p e r i e n c e

Employee Experience – Do you CARE?

27 S t r a t e g y

Uncertain 2022? A well-defined strategy can help

By Rita McGrath, professor at

Columbia Business School and founder of Valize

By M Muneer, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute 30 I n t e r v i e w

Communication is a critical enabler to ensuring wellness adoption

Satish Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy By Drishti Pant

By Clinton Wingrove, Principal Consultant of Clinton HR Ltd

66 T h e r o ad l e s s t r a v e l l e d

HR Speak

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) 74 B l o g o s p h e r e

62 E m p l o y e e e n g a g e m e n t

Emotional Intelligence: Why business leaders must have it in the post-pandemic world

By Mamta Sharma

Featured In this issue Ayaskant Sarangi Darci Darnell Maria Zhang Rakhi Shaha

Ramesh Kalanje Professor Ranjay Gulati Ritu Rakhra Satish Kannan

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Ankita Singh Arvind Laddha Clinton Wingrove Jayanthi Vaidyanathan Matt Norman M Muneer

Rachel Ranosa Richard Smith, Ph.D. Rita McGrath Shanthi Naresh Visty Banaji

LGBTQ employees in the workforce

By Ankita Singh,Senior Vice President & Global Head of HR at CIGNEX Datamatics



From the Editor’s Desk


Letters of the month


Quick Reads


Rapid Fire


Knowledge + Networking



April 2022 |


Letters of the month

l e t tqeur isc okf r t heea m d os n t h

Diversity does not automatically translate into inclusion

It's sobering to see the impact of the pandemic as shown in global numbers of women affected. Indeed equality is about more than simple headcount. The efforts of individual companies are just a drop in the ocean. To advance DEI along the supply chain is a huge undertaking but something that can surely make great differences in the future, and the more leaders and companies that take this seriously the better. - RISHI QADIM

March 2022 issue

From implementing programmes to creating systemic change

So beautifully said, taking care of a diverse workforce is not just about making up the numbers but about recognising the uniqueness of individuals and supporting them, and having this as a company-wide movement instead of just some department by department programmes. - SUNITA SHARMA

Good performance is about clear objectives, not appearances

The point about the hiring profile is very important. Today we must rethink our hiring to search for certain soft skills and character traits that help people function in our new world of work. Hard skills can be trained quickly and easily with the tools available. Soft skills such as the ability to work with autonomy and take ownership of a task are much more difficult and time consuming to instil. - pREETIKA PAL


| April 2022

Interact with People Matters

Psychological safety is the base for an inclusive future

- Anjali Batra

Tech needs more women talent for better problem solving and higher performance In a world where we are so short of tech talent, it is frankly shocking that outdated barriers continue to deprive us of half the workforce. It's great that big companies like AWS are making efforts to pull down these barriers and it gives hope that the industry can evolve to bring more women into positions of equal standing, equal responsibilities and equal compensation. - Sharad Agrawal

Shifting from defense to offence: Measuring DEI results

Five workplace biases to break in 2022

The discussion of scorecards and how initial results make a company 'look bad' brings to mind the problem of companies burying challenges to 'save face', or pulling the plug on projects that do not give a flashy enough ROI. As with entrepreneurship, perhaps companies must be less afraid of failure and more embracing of progress, because DEI is not a negotiable in this century.

A most succinct and pointed summary of certain pernicious thought patterns that hang over many companies. Looking more closely at these biases one can recognise them as actually immature ways of thinking and viewing the world, and that harm one's professionalism. Breaking these biases is assuredly about breaking the chains and blinkers that hold one back, and taking a step forward in personal growth.



Oracle India@Oracle_India Deepa Param Singhal speaks to Jerry Moses of @PeopleMatters2 about the rise of the 'hybrid employee' and how the latest employee-centric HR solution #OracleME is assisting CHROs and the hybrid workforce to navigate the changing work dynamics. Xpheno@Xpheno_ "We are thrilled to welcome Akshay to our diverse, dynamic, ever-growing family at @ vdo_ai ", says Amitt Sharma, CEO, @vdo_ai. Click @PeopleMatters2 article… to know more. #xpheno #ceo #Twitter DIVERCEETY | Remote work & digital nomad life@Diverceety Diversity is gaining ground in the corporate world, but not uniformly. Read more of Ms.Tina Shah's interview with @PeopleMatters2 , at #Diverceety #diversity #WomenEmpowerment #WomenInBiz #womenintech #remotework #digitalnomad Russell Reynolds Associates@RRAonLeadership Have questions on #EmotionalIntelligence or the role it plays in effective #leadership? Consultant Gurprriet Singh takes a deep dive into this topic and outlines 5 critical EI traits in this article from @PeopleMatters2. Take a look: Salesforce Careers @salesforcejobs "Talent is spread evenly but opportunity isn’t, and it’s up to employers to broaden job requirements to create new pathways for top talent to get in the door." – @NathScar, Executive VP of Global Recruiting, via @PeopleMatters2

l e t tqeur isc okf r t heea m d os n t h

I would like to see more about how corporations make their employees feel safe. Most of the time it is a challenge just to have people feel safe enough to use their leave and benefits, let alone for them to feel safe about D&I matters. This is a space to closely watch going forward.

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

Skillsoft APAC@SkillsoftAPAC Skillsoft completes its acquisition of Codecademy. Skillsoft CEO Jeffrey Tarr meanwhile said the combination of the two firms' capabilities puts Skillsoft in an even stronger market position. via @PeopleMatters2 follow M > @PeopleMatters2


April 2022 |


HR Technology

Recruitment launches talent solutions to source senior officials, a networking platform for senior leaders from large companies, has launched a talent solution to fill senior positions using artificial intelligence. The company has started with 35+ clients across India, the US, and Singapore and plans to

IT giant TCS concluded FY 2021-22 on a positive note, hired 103,546

allow members to use its platform to contact potential cadidates directly.

HR Technology

WorkIndia raises funding from PERSOL Group

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Blue-collar worker recruitment platform WorkIndia has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by PERSOL Group, a comprehensive human resources service provider in the APAC region. With the raised capital, WorkIndia intends to expand its product across PERSOL’S operations in 13 countries and regions globally.

HR Technology

HR Tech startup Orka secures €3.5 million ($3.9 Mn) in funding

Outsourcing platform Orka Technology Group, commonly known as Orka in Europe, has announced that it has secured €3.5 million ($3.9 Mn) in funding by Praetura Ventures, a venture capitalist firm based out of Manchester, England. The Manchester-based startup’s platform plans to launch a passport system that will eliminate the need for background assessments every time someone sources work through Orka. 10

| April 2022

Employee Experience

Over 40% of Singaporeans want to work for a respected, caring employer: Survey

Three in 10 respondents in Singapore have changed jobs between March and September 2021. However, in quarter four of 2021, two in five respondents

Leading IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services hired 103,546 candidates in the fiscal year 2021-2022. This took the total headcount of the company to 592,195. However, the attrition rate (17.4%) continued to show an upward moving graph. According to the official communique, the quarter ending in March 2022 saw the highest number of quarterly headcount additions which stood at 35,209. The workforce of the company comprises 153 nationalities and 35.6% women. were reportedly dissatisfied with their employers and one in four was on the lookout for a new job because of recent events, says the latest bi-annual Workmonitor survey in Singapore by HR solutions agency Randstad. When considering their career choices, 49% of Singaporeans value having a job with manageable stress levels, 27% of respondents want a supervisor who is an advocate for them, and 42% of respondents prioritise working for a respected and caring employer, says the survey that highlights the workforce’s latest sentiments and perceptions of the local job market.

Employee Experience

Novartis to cut thousands of jobs as part of a restructuring

Apple announces $50 Mn Supplier Employee Development Fund

Tech giant Apple has announced a $50 Mn Supplier Employee Development Fund that will expand access to learning opportunities and skills development. This fund includes new and expanded partnerships with leading rights advocates, universities, and nonprofits to drive Apple’s ongoing work to empower supplier employees and drive improvements in knowledge of and respect for workplace rights across industries.

Research by found that hybrid working can save employees on average £328 a month on train travel and accompanying expenses, and up to £128 per month if they commute by car, with longdistance commuters saving substantially more. Businesses are also responding to calls for better work-life balance for employees in light of the great resignation.

Compensation & Benefits

The study further revealed that the already inflated tech recruitment market is creating new recruiting challenges due to increased opportunities and salaries. The annual Hiring Trends Report 2022 revealed that while 56% of recruiters believe that there is a shortage of skilled and experienced candidates, 49% are facing the challenge of inflated salary expectations because of the inflated talent market.

Hybrid working saves businesses an average of £8,100 per employee: Study

IndiGo hikes pilot’s salary by 8% in view of steady flight operations

40% of MNCs are offering 30-50% hikes to overcome hiring challenges: Report

A survey conducted by Scaler found that 72% of the recruiters witness increasing offer declines and no-shows in this competitive landscape. It states that 88% of recruiters face increased challenges in hiring and retaining skilled employees across sectors.

April 2022 |

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Employee Management

Compensation & Benefits

Aviation bigwig IndiGo has made a compensation announcement by unveiling that their pilots’ salaries have been increased by 8% in light of the continuous steady flight operations. As per the new government update, full regular international flight services have resumed in India after the COVID-19 outbreak on March 27th.

With the launch of the Supplier Employee Development Fund, Apple is significantly expanding the scope of these offerings, with new educational resources for people in its supply chain — and the surrounding communities — to develop the skills necessary for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

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Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis announced that it will cut thousands of jobs globally as part of a global restructuring. More than 100 jobs might be lost at Novartis' Swiss plants in Rotkreuz and Basel, according to a report. The company said last week that it would integrate its pharmaceuticals and oncology units into two medicines units.

Employee Management


newsmaker of the month

Elon Musk Vs. Twitter

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By Jerry Moses



he Musk-Twitter saga has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride for the news media. It's also a skirmish that can have long lasting consequences for the future of Twitter – which has become a thriving public space of the internet – for individuals, governments, and organisations alike. Here's the context and timeline. On March 25th 2021, a Tweet poll posted to Elon Musk's Twitter page asked users, "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle? 70% of them said No. On March 26th, Musk asked users: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done? Is a new platform needed?” Among the suggestions were tweets suggesting Musk could buy Twitter instead of starting a new platform. And on April 4th, Twitter disclosed that he had in fact done that, taking a 9.2% stake

| April 2022

in the platform and making himself its biggest shareholder. Twitter’s shares shot up by 27% as a result. On April 5th, Musk asked his followers, "Do you want an edit button?" – a long-requested feature on Twitter. On the same day, Twitter's CEO Parag Agarwal announced that the company is appointing Musk to the Board, citing conversations over the past few weeks. He noted that "(Musk) is both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the longterm." Twitter employees protested, afraid that Musk would negatively affect the company’s ability to moderate the content on its platform. But their alarm was unfounded. On April 11th, the day when Musk’s appointment would have become effective, Agarwal announced that Musk had decided not to join the Board. The media erupted in a frenzy of speculation that Musk would try a hostile takeover instead. Sure enough, on April 14th, Musk announced that he had offered to buy Twitter in a filing to the Securities and Exchanges Commission. He noted, "since making my investment, I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed into a private company.”

His offer was highly attractive, to buy shares at a 54% premium over the day he began investing. It amounted to $54.20 per share in cash. "Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it," he said. However, not everyone was convinced of Musk's intentions. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban speculated whether this was a way to artificially inflate the share price before dumping his stake. Still others challenged Musk's understanding and commitment to the cause of free speech around the globe. Others noted whether he was responding to presumed censorship rooted in left-wing politics. Other Twitter users noted that Musk's offer was the best financial offer the company had ever received, and that it was a no-brainer not to take it. As for Twitter, its Board and leadership do not look like they're interested in Musk's offer. On 15th April, which happened to be Good Friday, the company introduced a poison pill – a financial device to dilute the value of the hostile buyer’s stake, that companies have been wielding against unwelcome suitors for decades. As a business leader, this is not the first time Elon Musk has openly expressed his views on Twitter – or taken unconventional routes to disrupt the status quo. But whether he will succeed in his efforts and whether Twitter as an entity survives remains to be seen.

Orient Electric appoints Aditya Kohli as Chief Human Resources Officer Orient Electric, part of $2.4 billion diversified CK Birla Group, has appointed Aditya Kohli, as CHRO, based at the company’s head office located in New Delhi.

Razorpay appoints Kushal Bhat as Director of Human Resources Razorpay has appointed Myntra’s former Deputy Director HRBP, Kushal Bhat as the Director of Human Resources. Prior to Myntra, he was associated with Acko as the Associate Director of HR and also e-commerce platform Snapdeal. To the table, he brings a wide experience of working with digital platforms. Throughout his career span, he has been associated with a number of big brands across several industries, namely Tata Institute of Social Sciences, KPMG, Citibank India, Phillips, Siemens, Volvo Trucks and Cognizant.

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SAP elevates Shweta Mohanty as new HR Head for India Business Software & technology solutions multinational company, SAP has announced the elevation of Shweta Mohanty as new HR- Head for SAP India. The appointment is effective April 11th 2022. She would be replacing Shraddhanjali Rao, who resigned from her position to look for better job prospects. An experienced HR leader,Shweta is associated with SAP for the last 6 years, where prior to the elevation, she was Vice-PresidentGlobal HR Business Partner for Enterprise Cloud Services and SAP Labs Network.

Kohli has a proven track record that spans across a wide range of HR expertise in the areas of business relationship management, HR transformation, change and culture management, HR technology, talent management, and performance and compensation, among others. He brings with him a rich experience of more than 23 years working in India and abroad with companies of repute like Hewitt Associates, Standard Charted Bank, Bharti Airtel, and Clix Capital.

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dentsu International promotes Luke Speers to APAC Chief People Officer Multimedia conglomerate dentsu has promoted ANZ’s Head of Talent Luke Speers to APAC region’s new Chief People Officer. He took the ANZ role in 2016 and subsequently worked in various roles before this latest appointment. Prior to joining dentsu, Speers spent several years in consulting with Michael Page, MitchelLake and Telstra, before moving into Human Resources at iSelect, where he worked across roles as Head of Resourcing and Head of People.

Everest Group appoints HR veteran Swapna Allapur as Chief People Officer Global research firm Everest Group has appointed HR industry veteran Swapna Allapur as the new Chief People Officer. In her new role, she would be responsible for the human resources strategy and operations for the firm, which employs nearly 400 people across the U.S., Canada, Europe, India and April 2022 |


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Latin America. Prior to joining Everest Group, Allapur was working with Deloitte Consulting for a decade in multiple senior roles. Her previous international stints have also included senior roles with Sun Life Financial and Hexaware Technologies in the U.S., as well as Satyam Computers, Mascon, Parke-Davis and HMT. Aware appoints Erin Souza as Chief People Officer Collaboration platform Aware has announced the appointment of Erin Souza as the company’s first ever Chief People Officer. In this newly created position, she will be tasked to bring fresh leadership perspective to Aware and scale the organisational culture. Souza boasts a portfolio of 15 years of human resources experience. Previously, she was the VP of People Experience at Sonos where she led the company’s recruitment, growth, and engagement strategies and cultivated the Sonos culture across 15 global offices. Before this, Souza was the VP of Human Capital at Charles River Associates (CRA), a global consulting firm, and worked in financial services. McKinsey appoints Priya Ramdev as Director of People – India Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has appointed Priya Ramdev as Director of People for its India office, where she will be in charge of driving the company’s talent agenda and overseeing its people function. Ramdev has more than 16 years of experience with major specialisations in Talent Analytics, HR Tech, Digital HR Solutions, Tailored Talent Strategy, HR Business Partnering, Career Architecture, and 14

| April 2022

Competency Architecture, among other things. In her previous role, she worked for Accenture for over 15 years, most recently as Head of HR – India Market Unit (Accenture Strategy). She also had a short stint at Citibank. SG Analytics appoints Kiran Bala as CHRO Global insights and analytics company SG Analytics has announced the appointment of Kiran Bala as CHRO. Bala brings over 18 years of experience leading highperforming human resources (HR) teams at global organisations, to her new role. She recently served as Head of Human Resources for UST BlueConch, a global product and platform engineering company. Throughout her career, Kiran has worked with distinct companies (SKF, Persistent Systems, Schaeffler Group, IBM and M&M), cultures, and roles to lead people teams that manage all aspects of HR. She is passionate about building high performance teams, strengthening culture, and learning and development. Uponor Corporation appoints new worldwide CHRO Finland-based infrastructure firm Uponor Corporation has announced the appointment of Jennifer Hauschildt as Chief Human Resources Officer for the company worldwide, effective 1 April and reporting directly to Michael Rauterkus, President and CEO of Uponor Corporation. The position is a new one. Hauschildt has been with Uponor since 2014, initially holding a leadership role with the IT division for North America. Prior to that she was with Thomson Reuters in a leadership capacity with various departments including human resources, talent development, diversity and IT.


Ten Questions


Professor Ranjay Gulati Harvard Business School By Mastufa Ahmed


align their overarching purpose with the personal purpose of their employees

What is an organisation's purpose?

Purpose is a prism through which to view both long-term strategy and day-to-day operations


What should leaders in a purposeful organisation look like?


Mission: similar to purpose but more of a statement. Vision: goals and measurable targets. Values: unchanging principles of behaviour


What makes purpose so important today?

Deep purpose improves financial performance, in addition to resulting in societal good; it is a generative force on many levels


What if the company doesn't have a strong purpose? It will most likely flounder when outside social and political pressures come to bear


How to create such a purpose?

Detect the purpose, craft a purpose statement, look at

Without a wellformed purpose, a company could find itself floundering in response to outside social and political pressures every aspect of the organisation through the lens of that purpose, and make changes that balance stakeholders' needs


What role does purpose play in the new world of work?

Many people want their job to provide meaning in their lives, and so companies must actively


Why does purpose sometimes go wrong?

r a p i d - f i r e

Plumbers – making sure their organisation is operationally and financially sound – and poets, able to communicate a compelling narrative around the purpose of their company

How is purpose different from 'mission', 'vision', and 'values'?

Some companies use a noblesounding purpose to cover up immoral or even criminal activity: this is a dying model, and it is no longer tenable in today’s world


Should purpose be scrutinied?

Absolutely, and it’s already happening: in the environment, sustainability, social and political developments


Your advice for companies that use purpose to cover up something immoral?

Beware, your time is running out! April 2022 |




Talent Hunt:

Wipro Enterprises' Ayaskant Sarangi on how companies can get competitive on best hires

Employees are increasingly looking for organisations with a higher say-do ratio and better transparency, which are honest about what is feasible and what is not, and explicit in this respect, says Ayaskant Sarangi, CHRO of Wipro Enterprises, in an exclusive interaction with People Matters By Mamta Sharma


ompanies and their employees, existing and potential, may not be compatible in all respects. How can a best match be struck here, especially in terms of employee value proposition (EVP)? Industry veteran Ayaskant Sarangi provides some insights. The chief human resource officer at Bengaluru-headquartered Wipro Enterprises, Sarangi has more than 24 years of experience in human resources, with the opportunity of working across different verticals of


| April 2022

human resources, organisational and talent development. As a collaborative leader with experience across diverse companies, he brings to the table a huge repertoire of knowledge and expertise in developing strategic organisational culture and talent. He has a proven track record in improving the work culture at organisations and has supported Wipro in successfully navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic. In an interaction with People Matters, Sarangi

talks about the role of an organisation's employee value proposition (EVP), what works best to make the company competitive on the talent attraction front in terms of leadership, and the kind of value a company offers to employees. Here are excerpts from the interview.

What do employees look for in organisations in the post-COVID scenario? The approach to retaining talent has undergone a shift. During the (COVID) crisis, we had to communicate our


April 2022 |



Employees are now looking to see whether the company will stand by them personally as an individual when the chips are down. And this shift has accelerated because of the pandemic EVP through our actions, not by words. One aspect of communicating EVP is being able to tell people what our organisation stands for, but what is more important is the process of experiencing it - because once a person experiences it firsthand, they know not just with their heads but with their hearts that ‘yes, this is what the company stands for’. For example, during these years of the COVID-19 pandemic we demonstrated to our employees that we really are a company with a heart and put our employees | April 2022

first. We encountered financial difficulties because of business not being there or growth slowing down, but we never compensated by taking actions that affected our people such as major layoffs. We extended help to our employees’ families, even for things like hospital bookings or providing oxygen cylinders during the COVID crisis. All these might appear small but for our employees, it was extremely important at that point of time. Besides other obvious aspects like career path and growth that drives an

employee to work for an organisation - and these will continue to hold importance - employees are now looking to see whether the company will stand by them personally as an individual when the chips are down. And this shift has accelerated because of the pandemic. The second most important piece for us is the fact that employees are increasingly looking for organisations with a higher say-do ratio and transparency. What this means is that organisations should be honest and transparent about what is feasible and what is not, and they should communicate this explicitly. It also is a function of higher trust for an organisation and individual. If I am not able to do something due to certain reasons, I should be transparent about it. I think that is a big shift from the earlier opaque approach. In my assessment, employees are increasingly looking for organisations that can be authentic to them. Even if organisations have policies that many would not like, they should have reasons for those policies, and be honest, truthful, and transparent about it. Authenticity is an extremely important aspect.

What are your thoughts about attracting and retaining GenZ? Every generation brings

ers prepare for retaining talent? Firstly, we must address the challenge of how people can mentally prepare themselves to embrace the new normal at all. This crisis has hit all of us emotionally. People have lost their loved ones, and their families have been impacted or scarred, which has changed what they are willing to accept. For example, earlier people would not think twice before travelling long distances but now they want to think about it. It is a small but

through in the last two years. There is no denying the fact that there is a war for talent today and organisations are paying a premium to get the right talent, irrespective of industries. The boom of startups in the last two years has made it even tougher. And one interesting change is that organisations have become much more open in attracting talents across industry segments. It's no longer necessary to join a company similar to the one you are leaving.

important thing and there are many other such little indicators that we must be sensitive to. The second aspect is the culture of an organisation and its ways of working. All of us have been working in a certain rhythm for years, but that rhythm has undergone a shift. For instance, almost every company has onboarded talent who have never seen the office. Adjusting to the new rhythm involves also adjusting to what today’s talent sees and expects, which is based As we embrace the new normal, how should HR lead- on what they have gone


As much as I would expect anyone else to do things differently, it is also a function of my own openness as an individual to embrace different ways of thought to achieve a given outcome


with it its own strengths. As a progressive society, we should embrace diversity and exercise acceptance of different thoughts. As much as I would expect anyone else to do things differently, it is also a function of my own openness as an individual to embrace different ways of thought to achieve a given outcome. GenZ is much more ambitious, risk taking, and more self-confident as individuals and these are great strengths to have for any organisation. They are extremely well prepared for today. We should try and focus on what we can learn from them, and leverage these things. Bringing GenZ into the workforce involves the coexistence of multiple generations of talent in an organisation. It's not about one versus the other, not A vs B vs C. It is A, B, and C working together and learning from each other. Our CEOs for each of our businesses take a lot of interest in entry-level talent that comes from various campuses, because it gives them an opportunity to learn new things. It gives them different perspectives, which helps them to relook at a lot of things very differently. That is how smart leaders bridge multiple thought processes in an organisation.

Talent is now very mobile, and that is good for the individual, but for an organisation, it is a challenging environment to ensure retention.

How can we jettison unconscious biases to create a more level playing field in our own minds? The diversity and inclusion strategy for an organisation is a larger journey that all of us have to embark upon together at the end of the day. Even before we get into the diversity of physical aspects, first and foremost April 2022 |



we have to start accepting diversity of thought. That is something a lot of us have not been able to develop over the years. If we look back at childhood, we all would have been raised very differently. As a result, each of us has our own unique perspective on how a certain thing should be done; who is better in certain respects; and who is not. These are the unconscious biases that we as individuals need to get rid of so that we can create a more level playing field for everyone in our own minds. For companies like ours, that means we are spending a lot of time on helping people to break their unconscious biases. The mindset makes a huge difference because the moment we truly believe that things can be done in multiple ways, or that anybody can take on any kind of role, we will be much more open to accepting new ideas and ideas and implementing them. Core policies are important, but there is a great part of the story in unlocking the human mind. Otherwise, I can have a very diverse team reporting to me but if I am not unlocking my mind, I will continue to bring my biases to work every day and that will ultimately affect their willingness to work with me.

What do HR leaders need to focus on as we move | April 2022

beyond the crisis and into the new world of work? HR leaders across the world should give themselves a pat on their backs for the way they have led their organisations through the different stages of the COVID-19 crisis. Navigating the last two years has been all about people and HR played a massive role across all streams and industries. They were at the very front of the situation. In the future, it will be increasingly important to have a good point of view on how to re-establish the core principles of an organisation, how to rebuild the culture, how to re-imagine the careers for talent in organisations, and how to develop the authenticity of the organisation’s offerings to talent. Of course, we will still have to emphasise the traditional focus areas of how to build capability

and how to differentiate key talent. Those will be the fundamental expectations, but more importantly, we as HR leaders need to invest time into introspecting on the needs of the organisation and how we can contribute. We must bear in mind that every organisation’s needs are different: for a startup, the priorities could be faster growth, building its brand, and strengthening its customer base, all with its own set of nuances. For a large company, it could be how to maintain its industry dominance, which again calls for a unique strategy fitted to the company’s own circumstances. As you work to understand what skills you will bring to the table, never lose the context of the ecosystem that you are in, because you just can’t use a one-size-fitsall approach.

Matt Norman

Why you should embrace remote-first culture

Rather than attempting to return to our pre-COVID work environment, we should use this period as a springboard for a shift in how we approach the integration of our professional and personal lives in the future

Employee engagement



uring these two years of the pandemic, many offices have adopted a remote work model. By enabling employees to work from anywhere, businesses can be more productive while also creating a more inclusive environment and continuing to foster genuine connections. Though some CEOs in the tech sector continue to delay return-to-office, it can be good for both businesses and employees. A remote-first

| April 2022

culture can lead to more engaged employees, better retention, and improved productivity. Here's what the future of work could look like and why going back to office culture would be a step back.

Not limiting measures of success to working hours

For a very long time, offices and the work they do have been seen as an output. Companies measure employees based on how long they are at their desks and link

productivity to the notion of "hard work." In reality, remote offices help achieve company goals while removing the friction that comes with a physical workplace. Before COVID19, several employees used to spend many hours a day commuting. Now that has been cut out, and as a result, friction in business is significantly reduced. We should not focus on hours worked as a measure of productivity, but on achievable goals. If employees can meet their goals in fewer hours than the standard 40-hour work week, they should be praised and rewarded. Encouraging time off, by implementing companywide recharge days in addition to paidtime-off, ensures that employees feel refreshed and achieve more while working. After all, we are charged as business leaders to deliver great results for customers, employees and investors. An OECD report found that both employees and

managers believed that working from home had a positive impact on them in terms of performance and well-being. We have seen this ourselves at DigitalOcean, where after two years of working remotely and encouraging time off, we have recorded over 30% improvement in productivity. We’ve been fostering happy employees, who are giving the flexibility to work in the environment that best suits them, enabling us to achieve our goals and grow our business.

Companies need to adopt a measured approach about how they foster a culture, retain employees and collaborate. One of the main concerns we hear about remote work is that employees won't be able to connect virtually the same way they can when interacting in person, and that will result in damage to company culture. The companies that create sustainable cultures are those that have a clear vision of why they exist. They work actively to promote and live by a set of shared values. And they use those values as a social contract to drive consistent execution as a team. When companies set about working towards a shared

when COVID-19 is more manageable. After two or three years of dramatic lifestyle changes, for those who can work remotely, there is no going back to the old office environment. Rather than trying to go back to our pre-COVID-19 work environment, I think in the future, we should look at this time as a catalyst for a change in the way we view the integration of our professional and personal lives. Leveraging the powerful development of technology tools has enabled

The companies that create sustainable cultures are those that have a clear vision of why they exist. They work actively to promote and live by a set of shared values ees to focus on their physical and mental health and ensuring everyone has a comfortable at-home setup goes a long way in creating a successful remote environment. HR personnel should implement these benefits and regularly collect feedback on what is doing well and how it can be improved.

Considering COVID-19 as a catalyst of change, not a temporary switch

It is tempting to think of the current times as temporary and to believe that things will return to "normal"

productive engagement that eliminates the barrier of a physical office as the sole mechanism to drive business results. By rethinking our approach to company culture and redefining the mission, values and convenience of achieving business goals, we can focus on great customer service, creating better products, generating stronger results and achieving better and lasting employee satisfaction.

Employee engagement

Companies need to be deliberate about remotefirst approaches

mission, teams can build more lasting relationships by forming alliances with customers and each other, even when they're not physically together. Using tools like Zoom, we can democratise meetings and enable teams to connect socially through shared activities. Remote and even hybrid cultures can work when companies take the time to create guidelines for engagement and think creatively about how to engage. Benefits that encourage time off, allowing employ-


Matt Norman is the Chief People Officer at DigitalOcean. April 2022 |


In t e r v i e w

It is time to think about rebuilding the workforce As companies change their technology and workforce structure, it is important to change employee engagement strategies also, to help people adapt. Thus, companies should invest in culture and engagement parallel to innovation, says Ramesh Kalanje, Vice President, Center of Excellence, Commvault By Sudeshna Mitra


amesh Kalanje leads the Centre of Excellence (COE) organisation at Commvault and is responsible for increasing the customer value of Commvault solutions. His extensive career includes leadership roles at Deem, EMC, MuSigma, and Cisco, and he is an influential industry thought leader, often sharing insights and writing for the technology services industry. In an exclusive podcast


| April 2022

with People Matters, Ramesh shared insights on how innovation and workplace culture should work hand-in-hand to bring out the best from the workforce in a rapidly changing atmosphere. Over the last two years, employees witnessed multiple sudden changes in a short period of time, and Ramesh holds the view that such changes have a negative impact on productivity as employees need time to adapt. Under such circum-

stances, it is important for leaders to understand and guide employees through the ocean of challenges. This calls for an ‘employee first’ mindset. To implement this, leaders must realise that the workforce is highly heterogeneous in nature and businesses need to tap different verticals of employee value proposition ranging from employee engagement to pay hikes and rewards. Here, we bring you some of the highlights of the podcast.

do. With the onset of the pandemic, this has gained more relevance. As leaders try hard to satisfy their employees, their innovative ideas around employee engagement have turned out to be very successful. In this aspect, Commvault has been very supportive of the employees to bring out the best of them every day. Right from being associated with NGOs to sponsoring educational facilities for underprivileged children, our employees have been active in many such social activities which they are passionate about. If such activities and passion are brought into the

Today, employees look for roles that will be beyond mere jobs and fit the purpose of their lives for them to enjoy what they do

flow of work in a systematic way, employees feel connected which in turn enhances their productivity. The changing scenario demands that the workplace should be way more than just ‘login and logout’. As our employees are our biggest assets, we should definitely go beyond the traditional norms to create a work culture that helps them thrive.

With the reopening of the offices, when it comes to office culture, flexibility takes the centre stage. As we transition from remote to hybrid or onsite work, how do you look at the roles of organisations in making the lives of employees easier? If we rewind we will notice that everything that we have been doing is brand new compared to before the pandemic. Though earlier our focus on employee engagement was much more about in-person meetings and watercooler chats, the pandemic gave it a new shape. So what we started doing was to try and realign and reshape our entire leadership and management team, along with our workforce in this virtual boardroom. However, even with all such changes happening, seamless communication continues to be an imperative when engagement and a healthy work culture April 2022 |

In t e r v i e w

What role does investment in culture play when a company is also investing in innovation? Investment in innovation plays a key role not only in the digital industry but also in all the industries across the world and the last two years have proved that true. This pandemic has provided the business leaders with an opportunity to reimagine the workplace and that has been at the forefront of all business strategies over the last two years. Today, employees look for roles that will be beyond mere jobs and fit the purpose of their lives for them to enjoy what they


In t e r v i e w 26

The era calls for a change in thought processes too. At present employees should come first and then the customers is the concern. Thus, the Commvault leadership came up with the idea of organising virtual interactions for which the workforce was asked to pick out one or two people (not necessarily from the same team) with whom they would like to interact. For myself in fact, this was the very first time that I personally read out stories to the children of our colleagues over a virtual platform. Such initiatives were not just helpful in opening up a healthy work culture but also lent mental support to those who couldn’t step out to enjoy social lives for any reason. During the entire journey, | April 2022

we worked with our workforce to try and figure out how we can make life better.

A changing work atmosphere calls for changes in not only the employee policies but also the leadership codes. How do you define leadership in the hybrid era? One of the biggest learnings for business leaders is that remote working is here to stay. But when we started with it, for many employees including the managers, productivity started falling as their homes became their offices. The line between their offices and the comfort zones of

their homes blurred. That changed the roles of leaders. They became the guardians of mental well-being, who would roll out employee assistance programs and mental health workshops. Today, a very crucial role of leaders is to make sure that employees are getting help with mental health problems. The era calls for a change in thought processes too. At present employees should come first and then the customers. It is natural for the clients to be happy and satisfied with a productive workforce on board, and that productivity is derived from employee satisfaction.

What is going to be the correlation between innovation and a hybrid workforce as we go head back to offices? In my opinion, hybrid businesses are going to generate more money. The centre of the business strategies is going to be distributed teams, flexible working hours and other verticals of hybrid working. This will help to feed employees with innovation, and make them more likely to flourish. As already mentioned above, usage of technology has seen a boost over the last two years as much work was automated due to remote work. It is time to think about rebuilding the workforce with technology imbibed into it.

A well-defined strategy can help

S t r a t e g y

Uncertain 2022?

Strategy is not a goal in disguise, nor is it something for the upper echelons alone. It is a plan describing the choices and tradeoffs that must be made organisation-wide to achieve the desired outcome By Rita McGrath & M Muneer


t is unfortunate that strategy has come to mean just about anything that those in an organisation deem to be important. So we have strategic human resources, strategic finance, and even stra-

tegic procurement! When things aren’t predictable, solid strategies are essential – they help provide guidelines and act as guardrails. When well crafted, they get you past the frozen-in-theheadlights reaction many

have to uncertainty – as we have witnessed in 2020. Strategy started as a concept in military thinking. One of the most misunderstood ideas in strategy is that decisions are made at the ‘strategy’ level and April 2022 |


S t r a t e g y 28

everybody else just executes. The purpose of a good strategy is to allow smooth decision making throughout the organisation, but particularly at the ‘edges’ where real information about what’s going on lives. There is a multitude of definitions for strategy but what is common is that it’s all about making choices – both of what to do and even more importantly, what not to do. There are two main reasons that having a clear strategy is helpful: the first is that resources are not unlimited, and the second is competition – for customers, for talent, for other assets and for attention. No business can just try every idea that comes to its leaders – you need to have some way of selecting from alternatives and setting priorities. As for competition, even if you did demonstrate that a course of action led to success, others will try to copy, match or otherwise surge into the same space. The strategy being pursued must be both widely understood by key stakeholders and embraced by key stakeholders. This is easier said than done. In our seminars and sessions with senior executives, 95% of the time, leaders don’t have the same understanding of their organisation’s strategy. Strategies, fundamentally, are ideas or hypotheses. This is what makes them so | April 2022

Strategies reflect decision-makers’ beliefs about what course of action will lead to desirable outcomes difficult to pin down and so difficult to communicate. Strategies reflect decisionmakers’ beliefs about what course of action will lead to desirable outcomes. Of course, in uncertain times, some beliefs about what will lead to what are bound not to be borne out, and a host of cognitive and other biases can sometimes get in the way of making sensible decisions. Failed strategies are often a reflection of decision-makers getting the future wrong. That is not so bad. It is not testing assumptions and being prepared to redirect that is much more of an issue. We have seen many failed strategies from small to mammoth businesses. All

of them are victims of concepts that didn’t work but were never tested prior to someone making a corporate level commitment. Far too many expressions of strategy are really statements of goals in disguise. “We want to be number one or number two” is a popular example. Increasing operational efficiency, targeting this or that market or becoming more or less of something are all statements of intention, but they say very little about how you plan to make the choices and the tradeoffs that would realise these goals. Of course, good strategies are informed by clear goals, and it is often astonishing to observe how often the over-

What are the implications for the business leadership facing an uncertain 2022?

As rates of uncertainty increase in the environment, a new perspective on strategy is emerging. It relies

less on analysis and more on pattern-recognition than conventional prescriptions. It embodies the sense that strategies themselves must adapt in an agile manner. It recognises that when the landscape is very uncertain, strategies may be no more precise, and a directionally correct strategy that emphasises learning may be the one to adopt. Leading indicators, not lagging ones, become more important. It is critical to also have a framework to link operations with strategy so that the real changes get meas-

choosing among options that the organisation generates in structures that are increasingly “permissionless.” Here are some of the challenges leaders must prepare to face in 2022: Workforce burnout, destructive innovation, funding sustainability, new waves of stringent regulations, adaptation and resilience of infrastructure assets, growing political polarisation, trade wars, massive convergence of technology, mutated Covid19 waves, implementing flexible working hours, data

When the landscape is very uncertain, strategies may be no more precise, and a directionally correct strategy that emphasises learning may be the one to adopt ured quickly and communicated upwards without dilution or confirmation bias. Regular strategic reviews should be the norm in 2022 to stay agile. A leadership model that does not presume that all information is possessed at the “top” of an organisation is further essential. In fact, strategies need to incorporate deep insight into the organisation’s capabilities as well as rich insight into the context in which the company is operating. Leaders today are often seen as

S t r a t e g y

arching goals for an organisation are left to chance. Without knowing what goal one is trying to achieve, it’s virtually impossible to weigh tradeoffs and make decisions – and decisions about what not to do are every bit as critical as decisions about what to do. Consider this “To thrive as a mass merchandising company that offers customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands and labels.” That was the one-time strategy statement of a leading retail chain, which was acquired cheaply by another retail chain. Karl Weick, an American organisational theorist, points out that in uncertain and confusing circumstances, the goal of strategy is often directional, not predictive. Strategies are not about ironclad unchanging five-year plans. They are about making the best hypotheses with imperfect information, providing clarity to people and founding an environment in which people up and down the organisation are at liberty to make smart choices.

and AI regulations, balancing human resources with humanoid robots, new funding options such as ICOs (initial coin offerings), tokenisation and SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies). Only a strategy that is well-crafted and agile will help to sail through the fog in 2022. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rita McGrath is professor at Columbia Business School and founder of Valize, and M Muneer is the Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute. Twitter @MuneerMuh April 2022 |


Communication is a critical enabler to ensuring wellness adoption:

In t e r v i e w

Satish Kannan, MediBuddy


Satish Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy discusses how companies can create exponential employee experience with a focus on employee wellness By Drishti Pant


t is the era of employees. This big shift is moving the world of work from a world of push to a world of pull. One of the key consequences of this great power shift has been an increased focus on employee wellness. Employees are prioritising their health and wellness above all. As a Microsoft report revealed, 53% of employees are more likely to prioritise health and wellbeing overwork than before the pandemic. The organisations that don’t respond to this great shift with personalised and flexible wellness plans could be at risk of losing their top talent. | April 2022

“The COVID-19 outbreak has pushed employers to focus on employee health and many organisations are enabling services that go beyond hospitalisation and insurance benefits and include solutions like telemedicine,” said Satish Kannan, Cofounder & CEO, MediBuddy. With a singular focus to bring a paradigm shift in the healthcare industry, Satish is helping organisations make high-quality healthcare accessible to everyone across the nation through MediBuddy.

He takes us through MediBuddy’s journey and shares how it is helping organisations address the diverse needs of their dispersed workforce with an on-demand, full-stack digital healthcare platform.

What unseen opportunities did you see that inspired you to create Medibuddy? MediBuddy was founded when we (Enbasekar & I) began working on the concept, we realised that almost 70 percent of health issues can be handled by remote doctor

intervention, diagnosed and treated online. That realisation became the genesis of MediBuddy. Access to a specialist doctor is a huge challenge in the country and mobile technologies can help in making healthcare services more accessible to people. With a vision to make high-quality healthcare accessible for billions of Indians, MediBuddy began its journey.

There has been an accelerated corporate effort to promote work-life balance, raise mental health awareness and provide emotional support organisations and employees such as mental health webinars, employee assistance programs etc. During COVID-19, to fight humanity's newest foe, the team at MediBuddy curated unique solutions such as the Hospital Bed Availability Tracker, and Coronavirus Risk Assessment Tool. We also launched a department dedicated to COVID queries, where consultations were provided for free. MediBuddy has also been the trusted partner for providing vaccination to over 740 corporates, delivering over 7 lakh Covid19 vaccination doses. It also successfully set up over 10,074 vaccination camps across India to strengthen India’s vaccina-

tion mission. To provide this robust vaccination service, MediBuddy deployed 335 staff members, worked with 142 hospitals & network partners, managing on an average 66 camps a day.

Wellness has emerged as a critical lever to drive exponential EX at work. What would be your advice to organisations regarding their employee wellness programs? What can they do differently in the postpandemic world of work? A very important lesson we all learned from the pandemic is that health, immunity and wellness are not dependent on a magic pill. It is extremely important to be fit, to be active. April 2022 |

In t e r v i e w

In the uncertain and rapidly evolving ecosystem, how is Medibuddy helping organisations put wellness into practice and reach employees where they are? The pandemic has caused upheaval across many aspects of daily life. With health taking centre stage, companies, both large and small, are increasing their focus on employee health. Companies have now started looking at health from a holistic approach where they are looking at health from a wellness approach as compared to the “illness approach”. There has been an accelerated corporate effort to promote work-life balance, raise mental health awareness and provide emotional support. It is essential that corporates provide an environment of productivity, empowerment, and health in the organisation. To help enable the same, MediBuddy offers multiple services for


In t e r v i e w 32

Ensuring the success of wellness programs is a continuous process, and often, the impact is only in the long term. Communication is a critical enabler to ensuring wellness adoption. By building a multi-pronged approach, companies can ensure that employees hear the message on wellness across multiple touchpoints. The stakeholders in the company (Leadership team, Managers & HR) also play a crucial role in ensuring the success of modeling the right workplace behaviors.

How can organisations measure the impact of their wellness initiatives and programs on employee experience? Each organisation is different. There is not a onesize-fits-all measurement strategy for all organisations. However, to get the | April 2022

discussion started here are a few metrics that can help: • Utilisation by employees • Positive feedback from employees • Reduction of overall health insurance costs • Overall improvement in employee satisfaction • Requests for additional programs • Reduction in sick days and absentees • Employee's likelihood to recommend the program

How are you constantly involving and helping organisations tackle their diverse employee Health and Wellness challenges? We have a wide range of solutions and programmes. MediBuddy is an online digital healthcare platform that addresses the problems of availability, accessibility to high-quality healthcare. MediBuddy helps its users consult specialist doctors,

order medicines and book lab tests from the comfort of their homes. It is also a partner to several leading corporate customers in the country and helps their employees access multiple healthcare benefits. We believe in the use of innovative technology to allow zero-friction access to healthcare to our corporate employees, which also promises an end-to-end cashless experience to users based on their needs and coverage. Other solutions include MediClinic: We have 300+ MediClinics for our corporate partners across the country, where we manage the medical manpower, pharmacy needs, referrals, ambulatory services, webbased inventory management, data management and bio-medical waste management. Maternity Program, Condition Management Program, and Employee assistance program are some of the other solutions we offer. We also have a subscription package, named MediBuddy Gold, designed to provide access to quality healthcare for employees of an organisation and to the public at large. The Subscription not only takes care of the healthcare needs of the employee but also their family members, enabling organisations to take care of their employees’ experience beyond work.


In the world of work, employers with multiple forms of value to offer have an advantage in attracting talent W H AT VA LU E P RO P O S IT IO N CAN YO U R O RG A N IS AT IO N B OAST? 34

| April 2022


their people internally have seen the benefit of this approach in the 'war for talent'. Many people increasingly also evaluate their employer based on how well the organisational values, ethics, mission, and objective align with their own personal values. Aspects such as corporate governance, social responsibility, sustainability, or community solidarity come under the spotlight here, and progressive organisations that commit to the above have that edge of desirability as an employer. In bringing these layers of value together, an organisation may shape a single comprehensive strategy around its brand and value proposition, or it may focus on certain aspects that are specific to the industry or organisational traits. Some employers create a formal statement to communicate what they have to offer prospective and current employees. Others are transparent about their focus and the progress they have made in value areas. This month's cover story looks at how organisations are manifesting the value they offer to employees, and how they are adapting to the changing expectations of the workforce. We also consider how that value is presented and communicated to the world beyond the boundaries of the individual organisation, and the impact it has on attracting, and keeping, the most valuable resource in today's world of work – people.


here's more to attracting and retaining talent than salary; astute employers have known this since the beginning of the employer-employee relationship. Companies that offer good benefits have always been popular places to work, and teams that are well managed have always done better. And in a day and age when talent has suddenly become scarce and talent mobility is incredibly high, driven by global connectivity and the Internet, this is more the case than ever. The value that people perceive in a job and, ultimately, an employer, comes in several layers. First and foremost, the work they do must align with their short-term personal needs. This most often means compensation and benefits, but in recent years the scale has begun to tip in the direction of a compatible schedule as well – meaning flexibility and all the associated characteristics of an organisational culture that supports flexibility, such as trust and autonomy. Candidates and employees also hope that the organisation will meet their future needs, which for many means career advancement. Learning and training currently take centre stage because of the upskilling rush in the last two years, but career opportunities – from networking, to stretch assignments, to a formal growth track, to internal mobility – are just as critical. Organisations that successfully pivot their talent management strategies to develop

April 2022 |


Rethinking the EVP Equation? Consider the Mission, Values, and Purpose (MVP)



Today’s new entrants to the workforce are no longer just looking at pay and prospects. The value they see in work has changed, and the employee value proposition model needs to be updated accordingly


By Richard Smith, Ph.D.


s the spring season begins in the northern hemisphere, I witness many final year university students busy planning their careers and life after graduation. Employers are hosting recruiting events, career offices are busy with career fairs, and graduating students are faced with a myriad of considerations for their future. While all of these activities may look like the same pattern that we have seen for decades, under the surface (albeit more virtual in many cases), there is an undercurrent of change. The traditional employer “pitch” or Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to new recruits has traditionally centred on the earning poten| April 2022

tial, nature of the job, and the career prospects. Some might argue that the traditional EVP can be simplified into a three-variable equation: EVP = S + R + C Where salary (S) combined with the nature of the role (R) and the promise of career prospects (C) are combined as a measure of the attractiveness provided by an employer. While this may be an over-simplification that does not consider many other factors, we do see evidence of this in job

choices by graduates. This three-factor model may be especially true in business schools where MBA students are seeking to achieve a high return on their investment (ROI). The prospect of earning high salaries in consulting, financial services, or the tech industry is still attractive, yet seems to be somehow insufficient for many graduates. As one employer noted during a recent campus visit, “We need to work harder to attract top talent – they are often looking for more of a

The prospect of earning high salaries in consulting, financial services, or the tech industry is still attractive, yet seems to be somehow insufficient for many graduates

a positive sense of mission in other ways. Consider the office furniture manufacturer that shares a mission such as, “We care for the physical, ergonomic wellbeing of workforces everywhere to enable meaningful collaboration as they solve the problems of our time.” This is quite a contrast to the old mantra: “To be the leading supplier of office equipment in the world.” Creating and communicat-

words posted on a website or plastered on conference room walls sufficient for making an impact. Talent today is seeking to understand the values and how they are practiced inside the organisation on a daily basis. Consider the organisation that has a stated value of “Unwavering Humanity.” It is not only important to share what this means on a day-to-day basis in the organisation, but how this might

ing a strong sense of mission that is appealing to the workforce can bring about a positive sense of affiliation and pride in the organisation, which is more critical than ever before. Values – While most organisations have taken the time to state organisational values, it is surprising how infrequently these are used in the process of attracting and retaining talent. No longer are these abstract

become meaningful and differentiated for a potential new recruit. For example, does this mean that the firm respects the individual’s choice to work from home at odd hours – or will the firm support an employee’s interest in providing humanitarian aid? Creating clear statements and examples can help bring values to life, which can be critical for attracting and retaining talent. Purpose – Just as organiApril 2022 |


meaningful experience.” The pandemic coupled with increasing awareness of global and social issues has changed the expectations of many in the workforce. This seems to be especially true of those who have recently entered the workforce. So, how might employers re-align their EVP to meet the needs of the rising talent? Based on the current trends related to the future of work, it seems that focusing on mission, values, and purpose can have a significant impact. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas: Mission – Some occupations and businesses are clearly aligned toward a mission that is viewed as positively affecting society and the planet (education, environmental, etc.). This gives people a multitude of choices. Consider the simple example of an engineer being offered a job at both a petroleum energy company and a solar energy company. Oftentimes, graduates will gladly accept the solar energy role for a significantly lower salary. This choice may reflect their own values as well as the perceived peer pressure to make a positive impact in the world. While not all employers may have a strong positive mission related to saving the planet or improving society, it is possible to create



sations have a mission statement, many individuals are seeking or have established a strong sense of purpose. In fact, on my college campuses we have transformed the old “Placement and Career Services Office” into “Career and Life Design Centres,” reflecting the need to help young professionals chart out their personal journey with purpose in mind. The concept of having a meaningful purpose was highlighted during the pandemic as people reflected on their work in light of the fragility of humanity facing a crisis. “What is the point of this job and why am I doing this?” was an often-repeated reflection throughout workforces around the world. When an individual can see and state a clear sense of purpose in what they do, we often see a heightened sense of intrin| April 2022

sic motivation and fulfilment. Considering mission, values, and purpose has become more critical when considering the employee value proposition. The days of only thinking about payscales, job descriptions, and career movement is no longer sufficient. When thinking or re-thinking the employee value proposition, I suggest a modification to the general model that suggests that mission, values, and purpose are necessary. When they are not present or addressed, they can dilute the overall value of the value proposition such that: EVP = (S+R+C)/(M+V+P) Where the employee value proposition (EVP) comprises the combination of salary (S), role (R), and career (C) value divided by the perceived alignment of the firm mission (M), organ-

isation values (V), and role purpose (P). Of course, this is an incomplete and over-simplification to help emphasise the importance of taking a more holistic perspective to the EVP as we consider the future of work. The pandemic had a major impact on our lives and has created a shift in how we think about our relationships with work. It is no surprise therefore that we must re-think the employee value proposition and how we communicate this to our employees and our potential talent. The shift toward more meaning, more impact, and more fulfilment seems clear, which calls for a renewed focus on mission, values, and purpose. As I encounter students graduating this spring, I expect to hear their expressions of excitement in considering their future, not in terms of big salaries, great roles, and glamorous careers, but rather in terms of the anchoring to the mission of their organisation, the values that they uphold, and the purpose that drives them toward future success. I hope that employers are able to shift to the new EVP equation to bring these bright new futures to life. Richard R. Smith, PhD is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University where he also serves as Vice Dean, Education and Partnerships at the Carey Business School

Revisit your purpose and supporting values to create a great employee value proposition


The fight for talent requires you to rethink what it is your organisation can deliver for an employee that will be differentiated and inspiring, and how you can sustain that throughout the entirety of the employee’s career, says Darci Darnell, Global Head of Customer Practice at Bain & Company


he experience of the pandemic was a turning point for a lot of employees through all levels of organisations. As people confronted the realities of the workplace and even more existential questions around life and death, the feeling among some that they were giving so much to work without seeing much in return, struck a chord and ignited the “great resignation.” However, similar to the customer value proposition - that you can’t just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away - just piling money on top of a problematic core offer-

ing will create a cycle of churn as people take advantage of sign-on bonuses and other financial incentives only to resign once their contract period expires, says Darci Darnell, a partner in Bain & Company’s Chicago office and global head of its customer practice. Fundamentally, the fight for talent requires you to rethink what it is your organisation can deliver for an employee that will be differentiated and inspiring, and how you can sustain that throughout the entirety of the employee’s career, she says. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters,

One way to practically track delivery against EVP is a parallel to what we do with customers: get feedback!


By Mamta Sharma

Darnell, who has served in multiple global leadership roles and today sits on the firm’s top elected governance committee, shares insights on improving employee retention through a good employee value proposition (EVP). Here are a few excerpts from the interview. April 2022 |



How do EVPs help organisations/leaders improve employee retention? In the same way you or I as customers stay loyal to the companies who deliver remarkable products, services, and experiences, we also stay loyal to our employers who inspire us every day beyond just the basic needs of having a safe work environment, fair compensation, or necessary tools to do a job. One way to practically track delivery against EVP is again, a parallel to what we do with customers: get feedback! Employee NPS, or what we call “Net Promoter for People,” is one way to do this. Forget about the metric—Net Promoter for People is more about the act of listening, learning, and taking action at a far higher velocity than is the stand-

ard HR-led annual employee survey type of exercise. It’s also listening, learning, and acting at the team level that provides feedback to your direct supervisor and colleagues to celebrate one another or nip any emerging issues in the bud. Ultimately, this is the level that you retain an employee, and not necessarily something that an organisation’s most senior leaders can impact.

EVP included elements that became irrelevant due to the pandemic. What does a good EVP look like in a post-COVID world? This is a highly relevant question and one that we at Bain have had to face headon ourselves. One of the core value propositions we offer with a career at Bain preCOVID - especially for those just starting out in their careers - is the excitement

and fun of teaming and learning from working on a small case team in person. As a result of COVID, we had to change the way this worked and tried to infuse the model of teaming and fun into our virtual experience. While many people were disappointed to miss out on the camaraderie built from the in-person experience, probably just as many have grown to enjoy consulting without the weekly flights or daily commute. The possibility of returning back to the office postCOVID made us have to rethink once again exactly what is unique and differentiated about Bain. Is it time to change our EVP and enable a fully remote environment for our consulting staff ? Here again is where it’s critical to revisit what it is that makes you unique and differentiated. As we determined what our policy would be post-COVID, we reaffirmed that in-person teaming and learning is

The possibility of returning back to the office postCOVID made us have to rethink once again exactly what is unique and differentiated about Bain 40

| April 2022

part of our core DNA. A permanent fully remote model was off the table, but more flexibility was added to provide greater balance for those who sought it out.

this at some of the most prestigious public interest organisations. Graduating from a top law school in the United States, you’d be surprised at how competitive it is to get a job at one of the renowned public interest organisations such as Human Rights Watch. These candidates are not in it for the money – they are in it for the purpose. For those running organisations who may not have as lofty a goal as defending human rights, there’s definitely still something to be said about having a culture committed to a clear


Do financial rewards/ compensation only make a good EVP or there are intangibles too? There’s a great quote in the book that Fred captured in a conversation he had with Steve Grimshaw, the CEO of Caliber Collision, a $5B auto-body business across the US. “Fred, people work hard for a paycheck, they work harder for a good boss, and they work hardest for a meaningful purpose.” In practice, we can see

For those running organisations who may not have as lofty a goal as defending human rights, there’s definitely still something to be said about having a culture committed to a clear purpose


Creating a great EVP what do organisations need to consider? Revisit your purpose and supporting values – are they inspiring for the customer and employee? Commit as senior leaders to modelling and reinforcing these values every day with your words and actions. Define what makes your company unique and differentiated with employees, and amplify it. Uncover and systematically eliminate those things what gets in the way of greatness – e.g., employee level KPIs that go counter to your values or a compensation structure that is unfair.

purpose and lived through the practices of its employees up and down the organisation every day. While you still need to be competitive with your financial rewards, those businesses with the best cultures that inspire the employee experience a lot less turnover, a lot more retained knowledge in the organisation, and ultimately happier customers.

April 2022 |




Employees should be treated with empathy, and their time should be valued


With the tremendous shifts that the pandemic created in the work environment, employees' expectations of the value they derive from an organisation have changed greatly. Rakhi Shaha, Senior Director Human Resources, Mobileum, talks about how this impacts the employee value proposition By Asmaani Kumar


akhi Shaha is a seasoned HR professional with over 17 years of experience in the IT industry, she excels in designing and implementing programs & processes for the HR functions for India and other countries. She has vast experience in building high performance teams, establishing the global HR Shared Services practice, pioneering talent management initiatives and leading HR transformation efforts in the M&A space. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Rakhi shares thoughtful ways in investing in an employee value proposition that thrives on empathy and | April 2022

aligns with the changes in the current working environment.

In the current environment of people and work, what makes a strong EVP? What is the value addition of an EVP in terms of attracting and retaining talent? After the pandemic, the definition of EVP has broadened, and it now encompasses much more than just building a strong employer brand. It is about treating employees as ‘people’ rather than just workers, providing them an exceptional life rather than just an experience, focusing on how they perceive their career rather than just giving them a re-

muneration. Recognizing this transition, we believe that a good EVP must have five key elements: firstly, respect, growth opportunities, flexibility, work-life balance, and remuneration. For example, in addition to a salary, giving them additional monetary benefits such as health/gym memberships, mobile remuneration, relocation, comprehensive insurance coverage etc. motivates them as it meets their financial needs. Also, it is critical to care for your staff not only professionally but also personally. Employees should be treated with empathy, and their time should be valued. Also, if

necessary, step in to assist them in accomplishing their goal so that they may effectively manage their time. By effectively managing their time, employees can achieve optimal work-life balance and stability. Over the last two years, there has been a drastic shift in the working environment, and organisations are aligning their EVPs to reflect this trend.

talk to potential hires about. For feedback, some people like to provide this in person while others prefer to be anonymous; we need to ensure that there is an option to use all available formats. It is all about placing people first now – it is essential to listen to the employees, understand and add a personal touch which probably was missing in the pre-pandemic world.


When it comes to professionals finding purpose and meaning in their work, what are some of the strategies that can make a difference? How can organisations better align their values to their employee values from a social responsibility standpoint? We believe that creating a common purpose is at the heart of employee engagement because it makes people feel valued and relevant in the organisation. Following the pandemic, firms are aligning their EVPs to the change and ensuring that their employees remain invested in the


In an increasingly hybrid working environment, what are the shifting talent needs? What are some of the best practices in enabling and sustaining not only an engaged workforce but a strong work culture? This new environment is clubbed with the war of talent – the 'Great Resignation' phenomenon and digital transformation have made talent needs even more important. Firstly, it is essen-

tial to maintain productivity by assuring consistent and quality engagement with employees working remotely. It is very easy to feel disconnected, hence, it is key to build on the ‘feelings’ (or emotional) aspect and understand the employee’s mindset on a regular basis. Secondly, it is important to invest in building and sustaining the company culture - one that goes beyond work and organising activities which interests the employees. Lastly, employees nowadays want to be heard, thus, it is important to have a system of continuous feedback. Taking the cue from the needs, some best practices could be making the employees lead specific initiatives – be it fun or learning sessions. Also, it will be great to make the hiring process enjoyable, maybe using something like gamification, which they remember and

We believe that a good EVP must have five key elements: respect, growth opportunities, flexibility, worklife balance, and remuneration April 2022 |



organisation by encouraging the company to address societal and cultural challenges through a shared purpose. Rather than having closeddoor meetings between senior leadership and HR on the company’s stand on social concerns, companies should consider having an open forum for conversations on crucial matters that the firm and its employees believe is essential to acknowledge. With this strategy, we can certainly establish a strong community together and an inclusive environment. Furthermore, global firms should establish cross-region programmes in which employees from other regions can connect with one another and exchange their opinions, thereby assisting organisations in fostering an inclusive workplace. This will also enable them in using peer coaching to hold employees accountable for taking individualised action on societal issues and prioritising societal issues that align with the organization's goals.

Given the turbulent times that organisations and working professionals have found themselves in, what they increasingly prioritise is a workplace that cares for their wellbeing. How can companies then build a community that is collaborative, highly communicative and upholds wellbeing practices? | April 2022

Creating a common purpose is at the heart of employee engagement because it makes people feel valued and relevant in the organisation Following the pandemic, organisations are focusing on developing humancentric EVPs, in which they are now aiming to forge stronger bonds with their employees through better communication and assuring their overall well-being. Employers are taking efforts to promote holistic well-being by holding people accountable for personalising well-being progress, encouraging mental health champions to have open discussions about it, and defining clear dos and don'ts for how managers may support employee wellness. We also believe that when it comes to drafting policies, companies should seek inputs from their employees, as they are the ones who will ultimately benefit from them. By doing so, employees from all regions will feel valued and will be able to share their concerns. We, at Mobileum, focus on taking an approach that is for, by, and around people by being cognisant of their ‘state of mind’. By doing so, we will

be able to create a strong community in which all employees are respected and feel a part of it.

Finally, from your years of experience in the field, what is one word of advice you would like to share with fellow HR leaders for greater talent retention and engagement? Firstly, understand the business to have a strategic approach and to strive towards providing a balance. because we continue to be the bridge between employees and the employer, represented by the leadership. This approach may pave the way for honest conversations as teams navigate through challenging business environments. To sustain a positive work culture, I believe HR must be credible with all stakeholders. Secondly, close alignment of talent strategy to business priorities is now very important. It is critical for HR to be agile and quick in creating programmes that focus on upskilling and cross skilling. There is no single point strategy that can work but a more comprehensive one which focuses on building capability to enrich the career of employees, providing them a flexible work environment and that takes care of their financial and mental wellbeing.

Creating the EVP pillars for the new era of work The idea behind a personalised employee value proposition is that each individual is unique and is going through a different life stage at a moment in time. The things that are relevant to that employee change accordingly By Arvind Laddha and Shanthi Naresh

The idea behind the personalised value proposition is that each individual is unique and is going through a different life stage at a moment in time, at which point a specific set of things becomes relevant to that employee. This mindset


Personalised Value Proposition

goes beyond gender, age, and other stereotypes traditionally used to craft engagement strategies for specific demographic groups. Let us illustrate this concept of personalisation with an example of Unilever. Unilever instituted a programme that allows employees to choose the kind of rewards and benefits that may be etc. The programme acknowledges the uniqueness of each employee and conveys the message that the organisation is creating a platform through which curated needs can be delivered to each employee.



or the past 2 years we have all been living in a much shrunken environment, with most of what we took for granted no longer as freely available for us to enjoy. This has resulted in many people re-evaluating their priorities and what matters most to them, especially post pandemic. Against this backdrop is the sharp rebound in economic activity resulting in a heightened demand for talent, forcing organisations to reorient their Employee Value Proposition, so that they are not only able to attract new talent but also retain the talent they have. Our research indicates that employees are increasingly mindful of the choices they make and seek opportunities with organisations that offer a more holistic experience. Organisations

have re-evaluated many aspects of their EVP and we share here some of the core pillars that any forwardlooking organisation may want to consider. There are five ways to rethink employee value:

Our notion of inclusion goes beyond just looking at these groups to a more holistic consideration of what organisations need to do to strengthen the emotional bond between the organisation and the employee April 2022 |






For a few years now, flexibility has been a prevalent concept, and one that employees value significantly. The pandemic has focused the attention of the world on hybrid working – crafting a workplace strategy where employees can choose to work from home or from office or a combination of the two. However, many organisations have realized that flexibility goes well beyond just the workplace. The newer propositions around flexibility involve looking at different employment models. There is a significant gig workforce around the world, and this is only growing. Continuing with the Unilever example, the organisation has also created a flexible programme that allows employees to choose the type of employment contract that they want

| April 2022

with options including fulltime, part time and contingent contracts. The contract decides how many days the employee will work for, what the role will entail, etc. Retirement and social security benefits have been extended to gig workers as well.. In an environment where talent is in such great shortage, many organisations are tapping non-traditional hiring pools such as retired employees and putting them on contracts of various durations. For example, an Indian energy and power consulting organisation hired two retired engineers from the electricity board on contract. Extremely pleased with their performance, the company extended their contract with a pay raise. To their surprise, one of the employees asked for the pay raise to be withdrawn indicating how being productive

and employed was enough of a value proposition for him and how money was only a token. Being flexible about flexibility is helping organisations to be creative and get a set of people who are more willing and engaged.


A large part of our current focus is on inclusion of a set of defined special needs groups. However, our notion of inclusion goes beyond just looking at these groups to a more holistic consideration of what organisations need to do to strengthen the emotional bond between the organisation and the employee. And there are many ways to do this. Some organisations work on building a connection between the employee and his or her spouse and children through family day celebrations, office-

The notion of sustainability revolves around what the organisation can do to continuously enhance an employee’s value in an environment of constant change. Being relevant from a knowledge, capability and skills perspective and remaining employable is valued by employees across all levels in the organisation. Organisations that focus on sustainability focus on building the careers and futures of employees by providing learning opportunities, For instance, Infosys offers over 27,000 courses on its in-house learning plat-

giving them the opportunity to be financially empowered. Many large Indian industrial houses, with the Tata group being one such leading example, have built their brand on their contributions beyond running a successful commercial organisation. When organisations consider personalisa-

When organisations consider personalisation, flexibility, inclusion, sustainability and purpose in the employee initiatives they offer, we believe that employees will start seeing the value proposition appeal to their head and heart Purpose

Today’s employees prefer working for organisations that have a purpose that the employee can relate to and feel proud of. 37% of employees in our India Global Talent Trends study 2020 would prefer to work for an organisation that has a sense of purpose. And often this purpose goes beyond the organisation’s need to make profits. Many organisations have brought to life their purpose beyond profits mission and endeared their employees through their work. Usha International, for example, has through its Usha Silai School initiative joined hands with several NGOs to empower women from minority groups by skilling them in sewing and

tion, flexibility, inclusion, sustainability and purpose in the employee initiatives they offer, we believe that employees will start seeing the value proposition appeal to their head and heart. Leaders committed to such a holistic value proposition, managers communicating frequently and transparently about what is on offer, and the deployment of technology to enable a seamless delivery of the proposition to the employee are foundational for the EVP to deliver results.



form LEX. It not only helps reskill, upskill and crossskills employees, but also recommends self-paced learning paths based on employees’ interests, skills and roles. A great way to blend personalisation, flexibility, inclusion and sustainability all through addressing one universal need!


visits, children’s education sponsorship, formation of employees’ spouses, self-help groups, etc. In turn each of these initiatives enhances employee retention as the relationship is now between the organisation and the family, and not just the employee. During the pandemic, many consumer organisations in India extended health care benefits to their dealer/distributor networks, making them an extension of their organisation. As employees start seeing the organisation’s network of relationships expand, and the organisation’s initiatives support a broader crosssection of the community, their sense of belonging and pride starts increasing.

Arvind Laddha is the CEO of Mercer India. Shanthi Naresh is the India Business Leader at Mercer Career. April 2022 |




Employee priorities have changed; so are talent strategies


As employee expectations change, talent priorities must be incorporated into the business strategy so as to better attract and retain talent. Maria Zhang, Senior Director of Human Resources for Juniper Networks in the APAC region, tells us about what's changing and what companies can do to adapt By Mint Kang


all it the Great Resignation, Great Attrition, or Great Redefinition – it amounts to the same thing, which is a very large-scale shift in the way employees view their jobs. Current and potential employees alike seek better quality of work-life; they consider factors such as flexibility and well-being to be essentials; they even scrutinise the mission and values of potential employers. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Maria Zhang, Senior Director, Human Resources, APAC, at network technology multinational Juniper Networks, talks about the changes she has observed in employee expectations and how | April 2022

companies can adjust their value proposition to keep up. Here's what she shared with us.

What do you see as the biggest changes in expectations – what are employees, consciously or not, demanding to see in their jobs these days? The global pandemic, which has accelerated hybrid working, has shown organisations and employees that work can be equally, if not more productive, when done remotely. As a result, hybrid work arrangements have emerged as one of the top priorities of today's employees.

In a recent IDC study, more than 56% of the employees in Asia Pacific want flexible work that allows them to work both in the office and remotely, even after the pandemic. It will be critical for organisations to ensure that a solid Return to Office strategy is in place for those who wish to return while also providing flexibility to those who prefer to work remotely. Aside from hybrid work arrangements, organisations are seeing an increase in demand for workplace cultures that prioritise employee well-being, which has expanded beyond physical well-being to include

in response? What areas are being emphasised more? Traditionally, an EVP is about defining the company to an employee – how it is unique and what it stands for. Today, EVPs ought to be directed to employees. From employee satisfaction to workplace culture, EVPs should address concerns from employees, making them feel more included, heard, developed and cared for. This could be achieved through offering flexibility – hybrid work arrangements; creating platforms for personal growth opportunities; enhancing

From employee satisfaction to workplace culture, EVPs should address concerns from employees, making them feel more included, heard, developed and cared for fairness and sustainable business practices. This is also why many global companies, including Juniper, have made sustainability pledges to reaffirm our role in building a sustainable future in which our actions today will impact every employee, customer, and partner's future experience.

A company's employee value proposition would generally be able to articulate how it's meeting all the above expectations. How do you see the EVP evolving


Can you tell us more about the expectations around the mega socio-cultural trends? What do companies need to do to keep up? The world is changing rapidly, from the future of work to geopolitical shifts, we are now at an oppor-

tune point of business where inflection points are abundant. Employees are expecting organisations to take over conversations on such matters – diversity and sustainability, for example – and for organisations to face these issues head-on. This also means business leaders need to show up and speak out. Millennials and Gen Z employees are purposedriven generations, and they hold organisations accountable – they will opt to work for companies with clear value systems and corresponding actions around inclusion,


emotional, financial, social, and mental well-being as well. Organisations today are continuously put on the pedestal to establish initiatives that offer the best possible environment for employees. We have rolled out several wellness programs and initiatives including Global Wellness days where we encourage our people to take the time off to unplug, recharge and do the things that they enjoy. Above all that, employees today want to be part of organisations that tackle mega cultural trends such as inclusion, diversity, and sustainability. Studies have shown that organisations with advanced inclusion and diversity strategies produce more loyal employees who are engaged in their work and dedicated to top performance. Also, nearly 40% of Millennials have reported taking a job because of a company’s environmental endeavours. Sustainability is also now a major part of corporate agendas and has evolved from a contributor to an indicator of business performance.

collaboration and inclusion through collaboration tools or workplace and affinity communities; building trust between managers and employees through scheduled deeper and regular conversations; building holistic employee caring systems through competitive compensation and evolving employee benefits. Over the past couple of years, the emphasis on employee benefits has evolved tremendously. It has been always reviewed, refreshed and even redesigned to support and lead April 2022 |



workforce diversity culture, employee well-being and the hybrid working model. We can see many multinational companies including Juniper offer male employees extended paternity leave beyond the statutory. They have shifted their focus from paying medical bills to being more preventive. For example, offering employees and their family members health screening benefits, paying bills on some preventive check-ups. The benefits are packed and customised with flexibility to meet employee’s individual needs at different ages and life stages. Also, more and more benefits programmes are now being digitalised and cloud-based, making them globally applicable.

Flexibility and/or hybrid work has become a non-negotiable for many employees and also a major selling point for companies today. Can you share a bit about what works to set up a flexible model for existing and new employees, and how to communicate it? For us, a good hybrid collaboration model strikes the best balance between the needs of our people and their preferences, and those of the company and their teams. We understand hybrid work will yield an engaged, motivated and innovative workforce that will generate desired stun| April 2022

The traditional management system – a hierarchy that solves for uniformity and control – has proven to be no longer effective

countries move forward with post-pandemic recovery plans, it is vital that organisations continue to reaffirm safeguarding the health and safety of employees.

In meeting employee expectations, there are plenty of longer-ranging implications for how work is done and how business ning business results. priorities are decided. What This will influence how is HR's role in this reconfiguwe operate our daily activration of conversations? ities. One of the ways we In today’s business landare putting this into action scape, HR has an elevated is through the introduction role to play in business stratof collaboration days when egy. HR ensures that talent offices are allowed to fully reopen safely. Employees are priorities are defined as part of the business stratencouraged to work closely with their managers to iden- egy by identifying areas of change, ways to attract and tify which days would make most sense for them and their retain talent, as well as drive engagement and bolster team as collaboration days. employee growth. These collaboration days The at-scale shift to can be seen as opportunities remote work, accelerafor employees to reconnect, strengthen bonds, and simply tion of digitalisation and reallocation of business enjoy time with their teams. resources are major chalWe shall also relook at lenges faced by many organhow offices are designed by isations today. The tradiintroducing more collaboration spaces, flexible working tional management system – a hierarchy that solves for zones and ergonomic office uniformity and control – has desks and chairs. During proven to be no longer effecthe pandemic, we called our tive. HR teams must work home our “office”, and now we could be calling our office alongside business leaders in reimagining the organiour “home” post-pandemic. sation of the future – where All in all, organisations must be genuine and consist- labour becomes talent and companies become more ent when communicating their commitment to flexibil- people-oriented, collaboraity during the transition back tive and focused on making the employee journey more to in-person collaboration. fulfilling and meaningful. Furthermore, while many

Empowerment is a top factor for a strong employee value proposition

By Bhavna Sarin



itu Rakhra is the Regional HR Head, India, at Dell Technologies. A strategic Human Resources leader with a track record of building and delivering on the people strategy, Ritu has a rich experience of 26 years with organisations such as Hewitt, IBM and Dell, where she has spent the last 19 years. With an entrepreneurial attitude and deep experience in multiple HR functional areas, she has led team members from diverse cultures and backgrounds and believes that the key to success is inclusion. Ritu’s inherent belief is that everyone comes to work to give their best and


Ritu Rakhra, the Regional HR Head, India, at Dell Technologies, believes that employees are intrinsically motivated and the employer's role is to give them the means to express that motivation with their best work. In this interaction with People Matters, she talks about how that emerges in Dell's EVP

the onus to create a successThe EVP strategy ful environment lies with the needs to be holisorganisation and the leader, tic; it must be a worldview that strongly shapes her approach to the embedded throughemployee value proposition. out the employee In this exclusive interview lifecycle of with People Matters, she talks attraction, experiabout Dell’s ‘Connected Workence, development, place’ philosophy, designgrowth, culture, ing a competitive and effective EVP, the three employer and leadership brand essentials and empowering employees with the ‘freedom to think big’. member’s well-being. We have a deep entrepreneurWhat does Employee Value ial culture that provides our Proposition (EVP) encompass team members with a strong for Dell Technologies in the sense of empowerment, new world of work? where they can contribute Dell Technologies is a and share their ideas with‘People Centric’ organisation out holding back. Our stratand heavily focuses on team egy revolves around: April 2022 | 51


• The freedom to dream big and developing one’s career within or across functions • Emphasis on work-life balance: Respect for a full and fulfilling life, and not just a full and fulfilling career • Focus on nurturing highly ethical and inspiring leaders • Diverse and inclusive work environment • Commitment to community and the environment • Collaborative and flexible environment, where team members can pick and choose where, when, and how they want to work – an environment where we help our employees grow both professionally and personally Our ‘Employee Value Proposition’ focuses on three of these aspects in particular: the freedom to dream big, the opportunities for career development, and the collaborative and flexible environment. These empower us not only to recruit new team members, but to retain the ones we already have.

For many organisations, EVP emerges as an afterthought to rising attrition rate. What are your thoughts on this? At Dell Technologies, we have always put our people at the centre of our strategies and decision making. 52

| April 2022

Our people philosophy is our commitment to providing them with limitless opportunities, flexibility, and an inclusive culture, where employees can be their true selves at work. Organisations who invest in employer branding and take the time to define their EVP can really differentiate themselves from the rest. The EVP strategy needs to be holistic; it must be embedded throughout the employee lifecycle of attraction, experience, development, growth, culture, and leadership. The three top factors that a company considers for its employer branding today must include: 1. Work Culture 2. Work-life balance 3. Career progression opportunities

Flexibility, wellness and Diversity, Equity, and Inclu-

sion (DEI) are top-of-mind for organisations across the globe as they enhance experience for their remote/ hybrid workforce. What is your approach to these elements? Flexibility, wellness, and DEI are our top priority at Dell Technologies, when we introduce any new initiatives. We have championed the remote work culture for many years, and we call it ‘Connected Workplace’. The recent pandemic has shown that proximity to a specific location doesn’t have to be a priority for everyone, and many of our team members are fully productive with home as their primary workplace. Dell has been constantly communicating its ‘Connected Workplace’ program and is focused on improving the same, every step of the way: People Philosophy: Dell continues to help our team

firmly believe that ‘Diversity’ makes companies more successful, and ‘Inclusion’ is the skill that makes diversity work.

What is your advice for organisations seeking to reimagine their EVP? What should they be mindful of? The Employee Value Proposition needs to be reflective of reality and should encompass an authentic message based on what the employees are actually experiencing. Organisations need to be grounded in reality. One of the biggest challenges in cultivating an effective EVP is making it stand out when everyone is emphasising the same values, promises and opportunities. A company can overcome those commonalities by striving for authenticity in the way it communicates its EVP, both internally and externally. A key parameter to a successful EVP is incorporating feedback from employees and team members acquired through surveys, particularly if it’s related to what people seemed to be most happy about and what they valued the most. Employee feedback can also be helpful in identifying gaps between what management perceives to be the organisation’s value proposition and the reality of what employees live every day. April 2022 |


oping New Ways of Working – tools and resources made available to our team members whether they are working virtually, some coming onsite from time to time, and others being in the office five days a week, helping them adapt as we move into a more flexible reality In addition to this, diversity continues to be our focus even in a remote environment. Diversity & Inclusion is in our DNA. It’s more than what we do, it’s who we are. We not only hire a good and diverse mix of team members but also encourage them to leverage our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs enable our team members to drive initiatives to support gender diversity, generational diversity and cultivate a more comfortable environment. We


members find the right balance between their work and life. We have provided our team members with a range of resources that helps them strike just the right balance in terms of: Body – Ensuring our team members have opportunity and choice to maintain and improve their overall wellness Mind – Taking care of their mental and emotional health, which is essential for true and holistic wellness Wealth – Helping them manage their financial wellness to feel secure for today and their future Flexibility – Empowering them with flexibility around when, how, and where they get their work done, as well as paid time-away programs. This enables them to do their best work and lead a fulfilling life. Over the last year, we have been devel-




Reimagining employee value proposition in the postpandemic world


The needs of employees are shifting, and a good employee value proposition that reflects these changes can act as a differentiator in the war for talent. Here are a few tips for boosting the EVP By Jayanthi Vaidyanathan


he pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives as we knew it and the way we work is no exception. With the onset of the pandemic, organisations across the globe have had to pivot towards a remote working model which soon emerged as the new normal. In the two years that followed, the relationship between people and their work has undergone a paradigm shift with many taking on the additional role of a caregiver while meeting work commitments. Therefore, moving towards a people-centric employee value proposition (EVP) became imperative | April 2022

for organisations looking to create a conducive work environment and to keep employees motivated. Today, employees are more conscious about the attributes they look for in their employers, both current and prospective. To build and nurture a culture of support and care from within, organisations have pivoted towards an employee first approach and introduced or modified policies to meet their needs. A strong EVP is a key factor when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. As the needs of employees continue to shift radically, a great EVP can help organisations by firstly acting as

Workplace resilience is vital, yet unachievable unless a culture of care is nurtured a competitive differentiator. Organisations need to celebrate what makes them unique in order to attract the best talent in this hypercompetitive market, and policies and culture that align with their needs and beliefs make employees brand ambassadors for a company. Secondly, a well-defined EVP that meets the expec-

tations of today’s workforce can help an organisation boost retention rates, even amid the 'war for talent'. An employee feels engaged and motivated when the work they do is aligned with their aspirations. Engaged employees are also less likely to switch jobs frequently as they see opportunities to grow within the organisation.

Ways to boost the Employee Value Proposition


develop workplace resilience. Employees must feel safe bringing their true selves to work, and the organisation must enable them to not hesitate while speaking their minds. Most importantly, organisations must walk the talk. Defining an employee value proposition on paper isn’t enough. They need to be upheld and adhered to under all circumstances. This commitment comes from leaders who help make them a part of an organisation’s DNA. Leaders need to lead by example and small initiatives go a long way to build a truly empathetic environment. Thoughtful practices like keeping shorter meetings, not scheduling late evening or nighttime calls and meetings, encouraging teams to be off their laptops over weekends and holidays, and not setting any expectations of round the clock availability can help create a positive work environment. Employees who see their leaders being empathetic tend to follow through on the same with their teams. For example, if for some reason an employee is unable to attend a review meeting on account of his or her caregiving responsibilities, leaders need to understand, and this will have a cascading effect.


Organisations must build a culture of care and support from within. Caring for employees is a shared value that many organisations began embracing and following over the last year, in the pursuit of a more resilient and human-centric workplace. Workplace resilience is vital, yet unachievable unless a culture of care is nurtured, and policy, as

well as systemic changes, are brought about to ensure employee welfare. Secondly, organisations must promote the personal and professional growth of employees. Admittedly, growth is subjective. It could have a different meaning for each one of us. Hence creating an environment of learning and innovation is critical to enable personal and professional growth while keeping employees motivated. This can be done via many means: leadership training; mentoring; career guidance; online training modules; external learning sessions; and so on. Organisations must also foster a culture where people are at the core. The future of work will be centered around holistic employee well-being, and this means building a culture of trust, support, and empathy to

Jayanthi Vaidyanathan is Senior Director and Head – HR, PayPal India April 2022 |


How Do You Market Your Employer Brand? Your Best EVP is a Great Candidate Experience If you’re looking to impress the best talent in the market, start by conveying your employee value propositions during that first encounter – recruitment By Rachel Ranosa





uch of the discourse on employer branding today revolves around enhancing life at work for a company’s existing workforce. While employee retention is key to business success, the larger conversation around talent management is also changing. Right now, millions of workers all over the world are out in the market searching for better career opportunities. Talks of a great employee experience, therefore, cannot ignore how employee value propositions (EVPs) are being communicated to jobseekers. The most effective time to market your brand to a wider community is in that first encounter between employers and potential hires. That is, during recruitment. A recent study by People Matters found that – for 76% of respondents – the idea of a great employer brand | April 2022

is predicated on a frictionless candidate journey. This depends, of course, on how well employer brand values are presented in these early touchpoints, from job listings to initial interviews. When a candidate comes across a job advertisement for the first time, or takes part in a screening interview, they aren’t just checking whether they match the role – they’re also assessing the company culture by way of the employer brand. That’s why it’s vital for employers to consider their recruitment process as one of the pillars of their EVP programme. People Matters interviewed employers in Asia who value the recruitment process as part of a stellar EVP. Here are the strategies they shared.

Our recruitment touchpoints serve as a feedback mechanism

Amarpreet Kaur Ahuja, Country HR Director, India, at AstraZeneca, talked about the need for a carefully structured process to maximise candidate experience: “We prioritise transparency in all our engagements, whether it is with our employees or candidates. That aside, the entire recruitment process is a well-structured approach supported by candidate- and business-focused content; a panel of interviewers based on our principle of Learning & Development; our constant endeavour to collect feedback from candidates and, more importantly, to implement their feedback; and, lastly, ensuring leadership connect in the process of offering a comprehensive and top-notch experience. “Once onboarded, new employees are part of a well-defined orientation

We prioritise transparency in all our engagements, whether it is with our employees or candidates

and onboarding structure. Multiple touchpoints are built in between the new employee and talent acquisition team, managers and other relevant stakeholders. All of this together helps us deliver a positive recruitment and probation experience. These touchpoints also serve as a feedback mechanism and provide assurance to new employees that their views are important and will be considered.”

than monitor or update their tools to be effective. Our goal is to invest in tools in line with Adobe’s fundamental approach – creative and effective in-market engagement. We have tools that help us understand our employees personally, and our policies evolve keeping in mind the collective requirements. The focus has always been on high-quality engagements.”

As a tech company, we make virtual recruiting seamless

The guiding princi- dates jump through ple is that we have hoops to get hired Bino Kumar, Manager, to make candiRecruiting, at dates feel valued Technical Groupon, emphasised during the time that candidates should be they spend with respected throughout the us, irrespective of assessment process: “We put a huge emphasis on the outcome

We do not have candi-

Savita Hortikar, Head of Recruitment, India at Thoughtworks, outlined a hiring strategy that focuses on enabling candidates: “We have a candidate-centric selection process and the guiding principle is that we have to make candidates feel valued during the time they spend with us, irrespective of the outcome. Our Talent Ops team is the interface between the recruiters, the interviewers and the candidates. “Recruiters are trained

April 2022 |


Candidates have access to senior leaders of the organisation

the candidate experience. We do not have candidates jump through hoops to get hired, but we want to make sure we are vetting for skill, competency, drive and grit. “Our talent acquisition charter is putting the human in human resources. We have invested in making touchpoints seamless for the recruiters as well as the candidates. From sourcing, analytics, diversity, executive, alumni/boomerangs, and marketing, we have a one-stop-shop that allows us to stay engaged with our candidates throughout each stage of their journey.”


Mino Thomas, Director, Head of Talent Acquisition & Staffing at Adobe, said that investing in technology is a major factor: “We are hyper-focused on hiring for our engineering and technology teams that help create best-in-class products and bring them to market. Around a third of Adobe employees have joined us over the last couple of years. Since 2020, all recruitment activities from interview to onboarding were performed in a virtual environment. Adobe India, for one, has been relentless in its efforts in making virtual employee experiences seamless. “Today, the need is to constantly improve recruitment tools and platforms to suit digital-first employees. This means that organisations need to do more

to give feedback to candidates after every stage of the selection process and to help candidates prepare for the interview. Candidates have access to senior leaders of the organisation so that they can make an informed decision about joining the company. We also run regular in-touch programmes for candidates who have received an offer from Thoughtworks.”


Clinton Wingrove

Employee Experience – Do you CARE?

Employee Experience

An organisation’s reputation for how well it treats its employees significantly affects its ability to attract the talent it needs. What does it take to create an experience that wins employees’ hearts? For a start, try this acronym: CARE


uring the early days of the COVID19 pandemic, organisations metaphorically beat their chests about how, “Our employees are our most valuable asset.” Employee Experience was hailed as the competitive advantage. During those early COVID19 days, every day, working practices that had previously been described as “not workable for us” became the new norm. And, employees liked it.

But, a few months later, those same organisations were laying off staff. Why? Because they had not prepared for what the World Health Organisation had predicted for years; because managers had not developed strategic plans for their operations or undertaken serious risk analyses; because they had not developed the agility to respond to major turbulence. Consequently, they could not adapt their business model quickly enough or fund modified

operations throughout the crisis. Ex-employees remember. Ex-employees talk. Social media spreads the word. During the peak of the pandemic (which we all hope has passed), many predicted that there would be a surplus of talent due to the layoffs. Numerically and theoretically that may be true. But, the simple reality is that former employees have long memories and many are opting out of the workforce or choosing to completely change their career trajectory. Right now, airlines that were once magnets for top talent are

Ultimately, it is our frequent daily interactions with each other that cumulatively create the employee experience 58

| April 2022

Opportunities to provide support when it is most needed are lost because the team members simply aren’t aware of what that individual is going through employee experiences in our organisations, we need to win the hearts as well as the minds. Ultimately, it is our frequent daily interactions with each other that cumulatively create the employee experience. In my own experience, employees want, even need, four things:

1. Clarity

Over 60% of those who leave any organisation cite some issue with their manager. They often say things like, “I never really knew what was expected of me” or “I never received any feedback on how well or badly I was doing.” Lack of clarity leads to uncertainty. Uncer-

tainty can lead to anxiety. And anxiety damages the employee experience … let alone the critically damaging impact it has on motivation, productivity, and creativity.

Employee Experience

struggling to recruit. Many of their former employees will not even consider returning. Others who have never worked for the airlines are paying attention to how those former staff apparently were treated. Numerous studies have shown that around two-thirds of potential recruits pay attention to the recruiting organisation’s DEI reputation alone before even considering applying. That’s just one aspect of the employee experience. Each and every potential recruit is now taking control of their own career, and they are each unique in their aspirations, their needs, and their wants. So, our challenge is to create working environments that can cater not merely for the average or norm but for the full range of those hopes and expectations. Only then will employees have truly positive experiences. Of course, most organisations already have a percentage of employees with extremely positive experiences – studies have suggested an average of around 12%. But, clearly, the prevailing culture and working environment has not worked for the other 88%. This is a sizeable challenge and there is no simple solution. Policies and procedures are essential tools for any organisation. But, those alone will never address human needs. If we are to have great

2. Assurance

Most employees are realistic. They know that their managers cannot assure them of ongoing employment, salary increases, or promotions. But, what they can and do expect is transparency, honesty, and support from their managers. They want the assurance that their manager is doing everything they can to build and sustain a successApril 2022 |


ful team, and to develop and protect the team members.

Employee Experience

3. Recognition

The concept is simple and the research is clear. Whether in personal or professional relationships, when people feel appreciated, they engage. Even for people who say that they don’t care about being acknowledged when they are acknowledged, their engagement increases. When team members, the team leader, the team sponsor, and customers take the time to say, “Thank you,” people feel better about the work they do and the people they work with. A better employee experience! During the pandemic, many of us have gotten used to virtual meetings with many individuals not coming on camera, arriving late, and not actively participating. The quality of our relationships is decreasing rapidly. We need to get back to simply acknowledging each other, giving each other specific attention, and focusing on sustaining respectful relationships. Those build positive employee experiences.

4. Empathy

You don’t often hear people say, “Oh, that Johnny, he is just way too considerate. He should really be a little more selfish and less thoughtful.” On the list of the most critical qualities to have as a human being and a success60

| April 2022

The single differentiator of sustainably successful organisations is the calibre of their managers – management excellence matters ful manager, empathy ranks near the top. Being able to put yourself in others’ shoes and thoughtfully respond to them will earn the appreciation of everyone you ever meet. In organisations where empathy is common, you are likely to have great employee experiences. Empathy really matters. Unfortunately, empathy is very hard to teach. Consider the following. Nearly everyone in your organisation is dealing with heavy personal “stuff,” which, quite frankly, is often a whole lot more important to them than their work! The greatest opportunities to show consideration typically revolve around personal crises – especially when it comes to someone’s health, the health of a family member, or personal crises at home or with children of other dependents. Of course, being able to show consideration in these areas requires that team members be willing to open up and share what is going on. Unfortunately, when an

individual is labelled as inconsiderate, fellow team members will make little effort to get to know them on a personal level. Thus, opportunities to provide support when it is most needed are lost because the team members simply aren’t aware of what that individual is going through. So, take time to learn about your fellow team members, by demonstrating empathy and interest. The more you do this, the more open they will become and the more consideration you can show. This may feel like creating a burden but this process is greatly reciprocal. Do this well and, whenever you need a little help or consideration, you will have an abundant supply on hand from your fellow team members. Your and their employee experiences will be enhanced.

Do you CARE?

Want to create great employee experiences in your organisation? Then ensure that you select managers who CARE. Ensure that you CARE yourself. The single differentiator of sustainably successful organisations is the calibre of their managers – management excellence matters. Managers who CARE create positive employee experiences. Clinton Wingrove is the Principal Consultant of Clinton HR Ltd.

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Employee engagement

Emotional Intelligence:

Why business leaders must have it in the post-pandemic world If leaders don’t create a safe environment for people to express their views unhesitatingly, then employees will always feel unheard and left out, which, in turn, will impact their morale and motivation, eventually impacting their productivity and performance By Mamta Sharma

E 62

motional intelligence (EI) has always been relevant to effective leadership. In the post-pandemic world, where work still continues to be remote and the challenge to engage and build trust remains, it is, all the more, a vital ability to | April 2022

enhance and practice. People Matters spoke to leadership experts on how a lack of emotional intelligence in business leaders can be devastating for the workforce, the top characteristics of emotional intelligence that leaders need to build on and how emotionally intel-

ligent leaders can act as a retention lever for people in the ongoing talent war.

What is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is deeply rooted in self-awareness. It starts with the ability to understand (in real

Why emotional intelligence is crucial to effective leadership now

Emotional intelligence has always been relevant to effective leadership, but in a post-pandemic world, it is a vital ability for a number of reasons. During the pandemic, when every-

one was going through a really tough time, there was an increased need for leaders to be “present” for their team members, to be able to connect and engage with them much more. More importantly, to be able to listen to them intently. The need of the hour was empathetic leadership, which allows safe space for employees to express what they are feeling, and also offers the right level of support needed in the circumstances. Executive and leadership coach Harsh Johari says in the post-pandemic world, where work still continues to be remote, the challenge to engage and build trust remains. “When people are not physically around, the social interaction and camaraderie is missing. This can sometimes create a trust deficit between a leader and the team. So, leaders need to be

authentic and genuine. You need to be clear on your intention as a leader. "If at the end of the day, you are just looking for process output and business results and don’t really care about people, it will not work. But if you want to trust your team members because you really want to build strong relationships with them, you really want to help and support them, you really believe that your success is linked to their success, then you have a really good chance to build a high performing team who trust and respect each other. Business results will follow eventually. That’s the sign of an emotionally intelligent leader,” he contends. While the earlier projections of 100% work from home have been unfounded, we are definitely headed for hybrid work-life, says Singh. “As a result, managers won’t have as much face time with teams. More

Employee engagement

time) the emotions a person is experiencing. “But the crux is to understand how those emotions can tend to affect how a person behaves, reacts and decides/makes choices based on the impact of the emotions. The second level of emotional intelligence is social awareness i.e., being conscious of how others feel and how those emotions can impact their behaviours/ choices,” says Gurprriet Singh, managing director, APAC Regional Leader of Leadership & Succession, Russell Reynolds Associates.

If leaders don’t have a high level of emotional quotient, they will not be able to connect authentically with their teams and build meaningful relationships April 2022 |


Employee engagement 64

with some, less with others. Dialling up connectedness, empathy, engagement is going to be vital to ensure teams continue to be aligned emotionally and cognitively. Managers are going to have to be consciously inclusive, communicate more and sense more across distances than ever before,” he adds. The pandemic has caused many people to reflect and reconsider life choices. “Some are heading closer to their hometown and parents, others are taking risks and heading out. The talent market is hot and there are attractive jobs and salaries to be had. In the midst of all this, the role of managers in keeping teams engaged becomes vital,” he adds.

Lack of emotionally intelligent leadership devastating for workforce If leaders don’t have a high level of emotional quotient, they will not be able to connect authentically with their teams and build meaningful relationships. Johari says if leaders are not selfaware and are not able to manage their emotions, it could lead to sub-optimal decisions both from people and business point of view. If leaders don’t create a safe environment for people to express themselves, then employees will always feel unheard and left out. They will feel that no one cares for them and that. in turn, | April 2022

will impact their morale and motivation, eventually impacting their productivity and performance.

5 emotional intelligence traits leaders need The first is self-awareness “To be aware of how their emotions are affecting them and then to self-regulate them, in order to ensure they are able to remain balanced and poised through high pressure situations.

As leaders become selfaware and realise how they are being affected, the next step is to recognise that others must be experiencing similar emotions Self-awareness will result in self-regulation and leaders would have an opportunity to be vulnerable and know when they need help. Through all the uncertainty the world is going through, leaders are experiencing more stress than ever before,” says Singh. In fact, awareness and acceptance are the key. “The more self-aware you are as a leader - about your values, your beliefs,

your strengths, your weaknesses, what really drives you etc, the more you can influence your actions and decisions to be in alignment with what you truly want for yourself and your teams. Another aspect of awareness is your emotional awareness as a leader - being aware of your own emotions, understanding the cause and impact of those emotions and having the ability to express and regulate your emotions. Equally important is to be aware of other’s emotions,” adds Johari. Empathy is another very important aspect of emotional intelligence. And the key is to recognise the “need” for empathy, he says. “Your ability to be there for your team members, coupled with deep listening skills. Some of the best conversations happen when you are silent. You are present and you are listening intently to your team members. When people feel heard, they can trust you. Being an effective listener means managing your emotions, managing your own urge to react immediately,” Johari adds. Singh says as leaders become self-aware and realise how they are being affected, the next step is to recognise that others must be experiencing similar emotions. “This helps leaders dial up how they engage and show up with others whether it is their bosses, peers or direct

will start opening up to you. Of course, this is easier said than done. It needs courage and goes back to true intent. “Behind that façade of a strong and powerful leader, you are ultimately human. You make mistakes, you feel hurt, you struggle. Admitting your mistakes, acknowledging your feelings and emotions is not easy. You expose yourself to potential risk and harm. But here’s the key – when you expose yourself and people don’t hurt and harm you, that’s when trust is built,” he notes.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are a retention lever in the talent war

Emotional intelligence can help boost individual performance. Emotionally intelligent leaders can help improve communication, collaboration, and trust between team members. “They show greater

compassion and respect for colleagues – that, in turn, creates a better work environment and stronger culture leading to higher productivity and engaged employees. It creates an organisation where people would like to work,” says Johari. Singh says empathy and self-awareness are a bedrock. A leader who is aware and is able to empathise, will be able to show up supportively and understand the motivations, concerns, and needs of their team members and will therefore be able to support them effectively. “Showing up, communicating in multiple forums, one to many, one to one etc. will ensure leaders maintain high-touch engagements with their team members. This is a vital shift leaders need to make, especially as the world of work becomes more hybrid,” adds Singh. April 2022 |

Employee engagement

reports. There are two facets to empathy: emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. "Emotional empathy is being tuned into how others must be feeling. Cognitive empathy is being tuned into how others must be thinking. "For example, if an employee’s parents are both recovering from a bad bout of Covid, you know there is emotionality here about responsibility, love and being there for parents. The employee might be thinking of relocating and moving to the same city as their parents or moving the parents to their city. Knowing this as a leader, helps you engage and support your employees at a deeper and a human level,” he says. Purpose is the next. Singh says knowing your “Why” helps you stay anchored during times of stress and uncertainty. It also helps you inspire others and keep them on-track and maintain balance. Pragmatic assertion. In the midst of all this, leaders still need to deliver results and hold people accountable for performance. “Ensuring that you keep your team members engaged, enabled and also held to account is a key balance a leader must maintain,” says Singh Another mark of an emotionally intelligent leader is the ability to be vulnerable, adds Johari. When you open up, the world


Visty Banaji

HR Speak

What HR says is often not taken at face value. Among the reasons for this distrust is the inadequate, insincere and propagandistic manner in which some HR practitioners communicate. How can we recognise and reduce this?

The road less travelled



Chinese sage of the distant past was once asked by his disciples what he would do first if he were given power to set right the affairs of the country. He answered: "I certainly should see to it that language is used correctly." The disciples looked perplexed. "Surely," they said, "this is a trivial matter. Why should you deem it so important?" And the Master replied: "If the language is not used correctly, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will be corrupted; if morals and art are corrupted, justice will go astray; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion."1 The remit of HR is obviously limited to the company rather than a country but, within its confines, HR’s careless or crafty use, misuse or non-use of words can have as devastating | April 2022

consequences as the sage foretold. There are three reasons why the frequency, effectiveness and transparency of HR’s communication style is second in organisational consequence only to the CEO’s: The only function usually authorised to issue regular, organisationwide messages is HR. This can be used for emergency information and instructions (such as following the Covid outbreak) or important long-term matters relating

to policies, benefits, change programmes and situational updates. These communications can reinforce and reify (or contradict and confuse) the understanding employees hold of the company’s purpose, values and culture. A well-run HR operation has numerous opportunities for individual and small group contact (verbal or written) with employees.2 These are vital, not simply for the transaction at hand or for acquiring a real-time pulse and healthcheck of people's sentiment,

No Speak

Seemingly the most anodyne way in which HR can mismanage communication

Seemingly the most anodyne way in which HR can mismanage communication is by not communicating much with employees at all is by not communicating much with employees at all. This LSSM (Least Said Soonest Mended) method was much in use when I started my career and I continued to be guilty of it (at least in allemployee messages) even as more garrulous HR communication became the order of the day. In my defence I could say that the organisations that I worked for already had strong cultures which did not need bolstering through HR communication but that is a specious argument. Least said also leads to least impact. But absence of influence is the least of the problems with maundharmic messaging. Organisational

information space abhors a vacuum. Without a credible and frequent voice of the management explaining crises, elaborating purposes and encouraging effort, rumours have a field day. One of the characteristics of memetically successful rumours is to put a negative or cynical spin on events, policies and the behaviour of the leadership. Even worse, and not as rare as one might hope, are orchestrated rumours and artfully leaked information that rush into the sounds of silence when there are opposing factions vying for organisational or sub-unit supremacy. Regular, relevant and realistic communication from April 2022 |

The road less travelled

but as a means of sharing with employees the nuances of the organisation’s stance and strategies that cannot be revealed in all-employee messages. HR is privy to and, if trusted, can be the recipient of confidences that do not even reach the CEO directly. This endows the function with great power to mend matters, contain conflicts and persuade prevaricators. Like any other power, this one too can be used to the detriment of the persons whose confidential information is in HR’s grasp. Such 'fair to face and foul behind the back' tactics of our less desirable brethren are well captured by Stephano in The Tempest: "His forward voice, now, is to speak well of his friend; his backward voice is to utter foul speeches and to detract."3 The intent of this column is to identify and describe three dysfunctional ways in which HR speaks to employees. They are certainly not ubiquitous but they extract a disproportionate toll on HR’s reputation whenever they occur. I have sequenced them here in rising order of lethality to organisation health and employee commitment.


The road less travelled

Once one has an implementable programme or process that has to be communicated to the leader or general employee, jargon can only get in the way HR is necessary to prevent internecine or idle rumours from flowing into the information space. The media HR can use are many and justify a study in themselves. For the present we shall summarise with: No man is the lord of any thing, Though in and of him there be much consisting, Till he communicate his parts to others.4

Double Speak

While the costs of noncommunication by HR are high, they pale in comparison to the damage disin68

| April 2022

genuous communication can cause. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: 'Better to remain silent and have one’s credibility questioned than to speak and to remove all doubt!' If we were to run a poll of what employee-customers hate the most about HR, its proclivity for speaking from both sides of its face would win hands down. Employees know that most HR people have above average command over language, hence they suspect other causes when messages from HR are confusing or ambiguous. "The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.

When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink."5 A single word to describe this whole range of hypocritical communication styles is Doublespeak and HR is a master of it. "Doublespeak is a language which pretends to communicate but really does not. It is language which makes the bad seem good, something negative appears positive, something unpleasant appears attractive, or at least tolerable. It is language which avoids or shifts responsibility; language which is at variance with its real and its purported meaning; language which conceals or prevents thought."6 Broadly, there are three ways in which language can be twisted into Doublespeak. These are: 1. Euphemisms 2. Jargon and Bureaucratese 3. Inflated language Of course, each of these has justifiable uses in, for instance and respectively, minimising pain during traumatic events, specifying a procedure precisely or creating dramatic impact in an advertisement. Here, however, we are examining their misuse. Substituting euphemisms such as 'rightsizing' for

sense or of substance later. As Molly Young puts it: "… [I]t’s safer to use words that signify nothing and can be stretched to mean anything, just in case you’re caught and required to defend yourself."9 Young goes on to point out that, in pursuit of concealment, jargon garbs itself in the operating economic metaphors of its day. Thus, in recent times we have "New Age-speak mingled recklessly with aviation metaphors (holding pattern, … discussing something at the 30,000-foot

it clouds the communication of leadership or HR with the people at large, it is bound to destroy the credibility of the former in the eyes of the latter. Now it is Falstaff employees agree with, in saying to HR: "There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune, nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox …".10 If there's anything people detest more than ambiguity, it is tall claims that turn out to have little basis in reality. Whether it is describing the glory and prospects of

It is language which avoids or shifts responsibility; language which is at variance with its real and its purported meaning; language which conceals or prevents thought level), verbs and adjectives shoved into nounhood (ask, win, fail, refresh, regroup, creative, sync, touch base), nouns shoved into verbhood (whiteboard, bucket), and a heap of nonwords that, through force of repetition, became wordlike (complexify, co-execute, replatform, shareability, directionality)." Consequently, Young points out, "the ratio of ingenuity to bullshit" gets tipped too far in the wrong direction. Most functions use jargon and catch-phrase contaminated Doublespeak in their language but, when

the firm, the not-since-Ram magnanimity of its leadership or the cleverer-thanChanakya brilliance of the CHRO, few PR puff pieces can match the blatantly inflated and patently false claims of an HR flatterfountain in full flow. After the constant outpouring of hyperbolic hypocrisy, there is little left in the glitterchest when a truly remarkable achievement needs to be shared. But this is a minor problem compared to the disbelieving yawn response HR programmes into the employee psyche. They tear April 2022 |

The road less travelled

'downsizing', fools no one. Matters are not improved by using 'head count management' for collective terminations and 'unallocated' or 'selective separation' for individuals. Simple rule: if you need verbiage to guise what you’re doing, it is shady. Painting a gun pink won’t make the bullet less lethal. One of the reasons euphemistic Doublespeak is so prevalent is the demand for soporific positivity pills some managements choose to administer in place of operating to remove major employee pain points.7 People rarely fall for these pink paint jobs and end up agreeing with Bassanio’s: "I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind."8 At the cutting edge of each discipline, terminology is inevitably created that is not accessible to the lay person or even to less research-oriented members of that domain. HR is no exception to this rule. But once one has an implementable programme or process that has to be communicated to the leader or general employee, jargon can only get in the way. Its use then, in the most charitable interpretation, is to impress employees with HR’s veneer of learning and specialisation. More often, it is part of the Doublespeak used to communicate without communicating so that there is plausible deniability of


(or delete) most communications from HR, saying (with Troilus): "Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart."11

The road less travelled

Single Speak


Difficult as it may be to imagine, Singlespeak (a term I owe to Edward White, though I use it somewhat differently) can be far more fatal for all concerned than Doublespeak. The wishy-washy prevarication, the tech-term obfuscation and the adulatory ad-copy of Doublespeak may be misleading and frustrating but they do not carry the covert LOBHotomy (Listen Or Be Headless) threat of those dealing in uniform and simple Singlespeak messages. This is one of the key distinctions between the many HR leaders who make the vague tall claims of Doublespeak and the scarcely veiled menace of the (fortunately far fewer) messianic Singlespeaking CEOs and their CHRO mouthpieces. In fact, the first commandment of Singlespeakers is that people should not have divergent visions and viewpoints or mention any different leader-deities other than to ridicule them. The third and most onerous distinction is that, unlike the passive absorption Doublespeak expects, Single speak demands periodic public pronouncements | April 2022

of support for the credo and the topmost leadership. The more senior the individual, the more frequent and selfabnegatory the references need to be. I have known tittle-tattle CHROs who inform their CEOs about senior managers who are not sufficiently fervent (even in private) in the support they voice. The organisational impact of the Leadership Team Incantation (LTI) chanted by a shamanic HR isn’t pretty. "The sole purpose of the LTI is to strip everyone of their individuality, to paralyse them as personalities, to make them into unthinking and docile cattle in a herd driven and hounded in a particular direction, to turn them into atoms in a huge rolling block of stone."12 Fooled you. LTI is not a corporate credo but 'Lingua Tertii Imperii', Latin for

'Language of the Third Reich' and part of the title of Victor Klemperer’s book on the simplistic yet deadly propaganda used by that brutal regime. Far be it from me to suggest that modern Indian firms have any similarity to the Third Reich – though one wonders why Indian airport bookstores (whose clientele includes a substantial proportion of business executives) prominently display and report continuing high sales of 'Mein Kampf'. That said, the uncompromising Singlespeak put out by some HR Heads would be the envy of Joseph Goebbels. Apart from the obvious criterion of just one narrative being permitted for interpreting the past and actioning the future, here are some ways to judge how Singlespoken an organisation has become. In the

Buckingham: My lord, what shall we do, if we perceive Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots? Gloucester. Chop off his head…16

Consciously or not, Singlespeak is parasitic to some emotionally cathected values treasured by the general population Straight Speak

HR practitioners who wish to communicate clearly and transparently could make no better start than to follow these rules compiled more than half a century ago: 1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. 3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. [VFB, have you read these rules yourself ? Ed] 4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 6. Break any of these rules


1. Erich Heller, A Symposium: Assessments of

2. 3. 4.

5. 6.

the Man and the Philosopher, in K T Fann, Ludwig Wittgensein: The Man and His Philosophy, Partridge Publishing Singapore, 2020. Visty Banaji, HR is a contact sport, People Matters, April 2020 William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I, Scene 3, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1971. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene 2, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1969. George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, Penguin Classics, 2013. William Lutz (Editor), Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four: Doublespeak in a Post-Orwelli-

7. 8.

9. 10.


an Age, National Council of Teachers of English, 1989. Visty Banaji, The Perils of Pressured Positivity, People Matters, 18 November 2021 William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1969. Molly Young, Garbage Language Why do corporations speak the way they do?, Vulture, 20 February 2020 William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act III, Scene 3, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1968. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene 3, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1969.

sooner than say anything outright barbarous.17 These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude. We can advance to a few more equally compelling caveats but a CHRO’s life is not so simple and straightforward. A drastic attempt to substitute Nospeak, Doublespeak and Singlespeak with Straightspeak might be met with a CEO rebuke, on the following lines: How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes.18 And therein lies the tragedy of King Lear and of Straight speaking HR.

The road less travelled

first place, it is not essential that the leadership or HR consciously deceive or manipulate employees.13 In fact, Singlespeak works best when the former delude themselves into believing the message.14 Consciously or not, Singlespeak is parasitic to some emotionally cathected values treasured by the general population. Analysis of the appropriateness of the value or whether the directives will realize it is, however, forbidden. A lot of simple slogans abound. Once again, any questioning of them, or of the missioncraze they are intended to fan, is met with Cardiganish disdain.15 If disdain doesn’t suffice, there is always the LOBHotomic response the future Richard III gave to Buckingham.

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

12. Victor Klemperer, Language of the Third Re13. 14. 15. 16.

17. 18.

ich: LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. Jason Stanley, How Propaganda Works, Princeton University Press; 2015. Visty Banaji, The Faustian Triad, People Matters, 27 July 2020 Terry Brighton, Hell Riders: The True Story of the Charge of the Light Brigade, Henry Holt and Co., 2004. William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act III, Scene 1, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1968. George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, Penguin Modern Classics, 2013. William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act I, Scene 1, The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, 1968.

April 2022 |


Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work


People Matters BeNext 18 April – 20 May 2022 Online This programme is for HR leaders and employers looking to design an impactful, outstanding employee experience for their teams in the new hybrid working environment.

Digital Transformation & Leading Change (English & Spanish) People Matters

BeNext 21 March - 22 April 2022 Online This programme is specially designed for women leaders who are interested in accelerating their career growth within their organisation and learning critical skills for women heading a team.

| April 2022

Talent Magnet: Aligning Recruitment, Employer Branding & Business Requirements People Matters BeNext 11 April – 13 May 2022 Online This programme is for any HR or TA professionals wishing to establish a more effective understanding of the new business context and hone their employer branding to attract top talent.

Talent Acquisition Conference SEA People Matters 24 March 2022 Online How can we tackle the era of the ‘Great Resignation’, the ‘Great Attrition’, and the ‘Great Disconnect’? This conference brought together CHROs, TA Heads, Senior HR & Recruitment leaders to discuss a concrete action plan for improving recruiting processes.

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

People Matters 26 April 2022 Hybrid People Matters EX Conference brings you a riveting, insightful clash of cutting-edge ideas aimed at exponentially furthering employee value proposition, and advancing a corporate agenda that is profit-seeking, yet people-centric and ecologically sustainable.

Upcoming events Talent Analytics: Driving Organizational Impact People Matters

Wellbeing: the Road to Resilience People Matters

BeNext 23 May – 24 June 2022 Online This program is for all HR professionals, organisational leaders, and individuals that recognize the importance of actively investing in themselves and in a workplace where mental health, focus, resilience, stress-management and psychological safety are highly valued.

People Matters

BeNext 16 May – 17 June 2022 Online This programme is for leaders and practitioners interested in how the HRBP drives cultural shifts that align with the changing needs of teams and organisations in the new world of work.

People Matters 04 August 2022 (India), 25 August 2022 (SEA) Hybrid This year, People Matters TechHR invites you to look at the world with #FreshEyes, to imagine what's possible in a post-pandemic milieu. #FreshEyes is a metaphor for breaking away from the past. We aspire to “see” the world with a new mind, new heart, and new intention. Become the Answer for your team, your business, and society.

EX ANZ Conference 2022 People Matters 18 May 2022 Hybrid People Matters has always been at the forefront of helping the community navigate the uncertainties, leading the conversations impacting the space of people, work, and workplaces. Our record in providing an effective platform where talent leaders, business thinkers, and service providers for meaningful conTechHR 2022 versation and exchange of ideas has been unparalleled.

April 2022 |

Knowledge + Networking

BeNext 02 May – 03 June 2022 Online This programme is for HR leaders eager to gain practical, handson approaches to talent analytics, connecting HR policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of HR management, statistics and basic managerial accounting is preferred, but not indispensable.

HR Business Partner in the New World of Work



>> Ankita Singh

LGBTQ employees in the workforce Being unique is more important than being equal; being authentic is more important than being best

b lo g o s p he r e



ow reasonably have we framed ourselves beyond Pride Month? Thought-provoking statistics emerge daily, indicating how close we have come to what we have desired to achieve for years, conceptually, socially, morally, practically, and professionally. A noteworthy shift is evident if we specifically talk about awareness, acceptance, and intent towards the LGBTQ+ workforce.

| April 2022

But will that be sufficient? Do we have the suitable approach, policies, culture, mindset, and opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion to each individual of diverse gender and sexualities, members of LGBTQ? As per Zippa's 2022 report, 25% of LGBTQ+ people report encountering discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year, and 46% of LGBTQ+ workers

have undergone unfair treatment at work at one point in their lives. Changes owing to COVID19 have shaken the foundation of any strategic initiative that an organisation could think of or has introduced; but ask any minority group (most of us detest such categorising but it is the most widely understood term), and they will thank WFH scenario for numerous reasons. To an extent, this model secured them from anxiety, disillusionment, biasedness, embarrassment, fear, and identity crisis. This group could enjoy a world driven by capability because the e-window through which they worked is a much smaller space for others to get in through, know, judge, and react. But the world, slowly, is moving back to the office. Are we ready? Are we prepared to give that secure environment to all our people? Are we prepared to do that little

As per Zippa's 2022 report, 25% of LGBTQ+ people report encountering discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year, and 46% of LGBTQ+ workers have undergone unfair treatment at work at one point in their lives standing how much of what will be right when dealing with our people is essential. Empathy should in no way be attacking their self-respect; no one would want to compromise on that. Actions speak louder than intent. Support: They should have a fundamental support system; they are unique people and may need something extra to handle routine tasks. They may need a go-to person to discuss a few things which can't be addressed candidly or with the manager. There is a possibility that they may

want to stay out of a few initiatives. That's ok; organisations should be able to enable that support system. Proactive: Train your people on acceptance and inclusion. It's wrong to assume that people should comprehend on their own; if that happens, everybody will perceive and respond according to their understanding, not defined norms. The purpose and the plan should be discussed with people. They should all be part of these initiatives to accept and appreciate. We all know how people will April 2022 |

b lo g o sp he r e

extra for our special people? Maybe yes, but if not, we are being unfair to the talent that stands right outside our door, asking for essential consideration to become a part of us and add immense value to the system. I agree that's it's not as easy as introducing a policy, but somewhere we will have to start and start strong; only then will others grab oars and start rowing. People automatically are motivated to become a part and contribute when they witness the change happening, not just the talking. How gender responsible are we as an organisation? In my view, if we become RESPONSIBLE for all that we do, we will have a better place to work for all. I am using an acronym to elaborate more on this: RESPONSIBLE: Respect |Empathy | Support | Proactive | Owned |Neutral |Safe | Involved | Break the Perception | Live your words |Enabler. Respect: Ask, listen, understand, and include preferences defined and demanded by individuals. They are all unique with unique requirements; it's essential to respect individuality rather than categorising them. Empathy: Sometimes, we end up embarrassing our people while trying to be empathetic. The definition may be the same, but applicability may differ. Under-


b lo g o s p he r e

We need to do a little more to be conscious about unconscious biases and assumptions to embrace a culture that accepts and respects people of all identities and orientations


for LGBTQ+ employees. Support towards the group should be highlighted in the entire employee life cycle to give the required assurance and comfort. Mainstreaming of sexual minorities has found a concrete place in organisations' top strategies. react, but we must show how everybody is part of this We need to do a little more people react. game; it's a win-win. Influencto be conscious about unconOwned: Have an inclusivers, promoters, ambassadors, scious biases and assumpity specialist, share and talk policymakers, and commutions to embrace a culture nicators must come from all about your D&I initiatives, that accepts and respects departments. Communicate have a task force, and run people of all identities and a lot and seek feedback to this initiative like any other orientations. complete the cycle. critical business initiative. Just because we are still Break the perception: Ownership is a must; when not there doesn't mean we people know that our leaders Unfortunately, culturally, won't reach there. Everyactively drive and observe it, we have all been told to look thing, including perspecthey also consider it unique. at LGQT+ differently, and tive, approach, people, time, it's essential to break that Neutral: Replace genderexpectations, scenarios, will perception by being authencoded terms with neutral keep changing; the organisaterms. Organisations should tic, ethical, and empathetic. tion will have to match up to guarantee that all their poli- People follow what they see, the speed by staying AWARE, cies and processes provide at least till the time they are ACCEPTING uniqueness, inclusive benefits, including part of the same system. ACCOMMODATING diversi"sexual orientation" as a part Depict and showcase it well! fied workforce, and continuof their non-discrimination Live your words: Workously ADAPTING to remain policy. force diversity has become APT. more critical than ever; it is a Safe: Yes, a place has to When we all love rainbows, fact known to all. When leadbe a secure place for all, but why not add more color to knowing that we have unique ers are talking about it, so is make our own? Just be the individuals who have already the team. When leaders and light and support it to shine! gone through enough, organ- organisations start acting on Remember that story of a isations must support indiit, so will the team. Balloon seller? He said, "The viduals a little more to make Enable: Enable every indicolor of the balloon does not their workplace psychologvidual to be proud of who determine the height it will ically a safe one for all by they are, enable them to do achieve; it's the stuff inside having relevant policies and what they are capable of that matters." Relatable in so special groups. doing, allow a system that many ways, right? Involved: This can't be identifies people as unique In the end, it's up to all of an HR initiative; leaders, people, not different ones, us. too, alone can't drive it. This and promotes a culture that is a story where everybody values individuality. ABOUT THE AUTHOR reading or writing has to Additional efforts are Dr Ankita Singh is the Senior Vice contribute. There is no ONLY needed to make organisations President and Global Head of HR at CIGNEX Datamatics. audience category. Only if a safe and happy workplace | April 2022

RNI Details: Vol. XIII, Issue No. 4, 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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