People Matters August 2022: What will the future of work look like?

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Building the future of work together


he future of work has always been a topic of fascination, and never more so than in the last few years. What will the workplace of the next decade look like? How will people work? What will the priorities be and how will policies and processes support these? What technologies will we use, and how do we integrate and the new generations of employees who come with vastly different expectations from the older workforce? As we speculate and make our preparations, however, we need to keep one thing in mind: the future of work is already upon us. The present day that we live in | August 2022

is the future that we wondered about in 2019 and 2020, before the pandemic. And the future that we cast our minds ahead to is what we are building today. The broad structures that the community – local and international – put in place now, starting with overarching national or even global legislation and standards touching on work and the workplace, will shape how we think and act a decade down the road. The policies and processes that we develop and implement today will form the foundation of the organisational culture and values that we cherish tomorrow: how we lead, how we manage our teams, how we balance business, people, and community priorities. To determine the future of work, we must review and evaluate what we are doing in the present day. Are we responding appropriately to macro trends in our industry, community, and geographical location? Have we developed

a level of agility sufficient to navigate a world that's gone from VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) to BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, Incomprehensible)? The answers to those questions, among others, are the best indicator of what our individual futures will look like, and what shape the collective future of work will take. In this issue's cover story, we bring together assorted views and experiences of what companies are doing today to secure the working world of tomorrow. Industry leaders and domain experts such as Kristin Trecker, CHRO of Visteon, Stephen Bovis of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the South Pacific, and Indraneel Kumar Das, Head of L&D at Byjus, offer a range of perspectives and plans for the future of work. Our Big Interview features Brandi Galvin Morandi, Global CHRO and Chief Legal Officer of Equinix, who

September to 28 October); Agile Culture for HR Teams (10 October to 11 November); Reframing Your C&B Strategy: Agility, Equity and Sustainability (31 October – 02 November). 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.


From the Editor’s Desk

Quit playing games!


brings together both the HR viewpoint and the legal viewpoint for a holistic look at the future of HR and the workplace. We just wrapped our flagship TechHR conference, the India edition on 4 August and the SEA editin on 25 August, with a fantastic response from the community. It's been our privilege and pleasure to host all of you both virtually and in person, to look at the world of work with #FreshEyes and rethink what's possible. Our heartfelt thanks to all our partners, speakers, and participants: this awesome community event was made possible by each and every one of you. People Matters BeNext, our cohort-based certification programme, launches four fascinating new courses in the coming months. Talent Analytics: Driving Organizational Impact (19 September to 21 October); Strategizing Organizational L&D: Performance, Productivity & Impact (26

Happy Reading!


Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief follow

M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez >


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August 2022 |



August 2022 v o l u m e x I ii issue 8

cover story

34 36

Why leadership needs upskilling for climate change

Stephen Bovis, Managing Director South Pacific at Hewlett Packard Enterprise


'Role Revision': HR leaders need to be stewards of company culture

Kristin Trecker, CHRO of Visteon Corporation


Technology, automation, and the metaverse will build new careers


Sharad Mehra, CEO (APAC) of Global University Systems

'We are all living in the age of chaos'

45 Indraneel Kumar Das, Head of L&D at Byjus Tuition Centre


Winning the war for talent by building serious digital muscle

Jarrod McGrath, Author of The Digital Workforce and CEO of human capital management consultancy Smart WFM

What's next for talent mobility?

As work and the workplace continues to evolve, we must constantly look ahead for the challenges and opportunities of the future


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

Mastufa Ahmed

Marta Martinez

Mamta Sharma Digital Head

Prakash Shahi

Senior Editors

Design & Production

Mint Kang Rachel Ranosa

Shinto Kallattu

Senior Manager - Research and Content Strategy - APAC


Sudeshna Mitra | Asmaani Kumar Ajinkya Salvi | Aastha Gupta Samriddhi Srivastava Associate Editor

Manager - design, photography, and production

Jerry Moses

Senior Associates - Content

Senior Manager - Global Sales and Partnerships

Saloni Gulati

| August 2022

50 Lee Quane, Regional Director for Asia, ECA International


The war for talent and the future of work

Clinton Wingrove, Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd


Sumali Das Purkyastha Published by

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Owned by

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

Note to the readers The views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of People Matters. Although all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, neither the editors nor the publisher can take responsibility for consequences arising from errors or omissions in the information provided. Reproduction in any manner without prior permission from the publisher is prohibited.

This issue of People matters contains 83 pages including cover


big interview



HR as the accelerator:

Five pragmatic mantras to improve workplace judgement

Transforming business for the future Brandi Morandi, Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer of Equinix


By Mint Kang

By Samriddhi Srivastava

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize

26 T e c h HR

The story of Jaipur Rugs, a business "built by love"

Champions of Well-being: Winners of the Best Wellness programme

By Nand Kishore Chaudhary, MD and Chairman of Jaipur Rugs 30 L e a d e r s h i p


Wipro Strengthening employee welfare using data-driven decisions


Infosys Creating multifaceted wellness initiatives and addressing worklife balance


Zomato De-stigmatizing mental health and encouraging open conversations


Cognizant Diverse benefits and gamification for success


Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Creating healthy competition for better engagement


Tech Mahindra Limited Promoting Wellness First


Expleo Establishing frequent connections with leadership and ensuring robust communication


Rockwell Automation Pvt. Ltd. Make wellness a part of your culture


By Mamta Sharma 68 L e a d e r s h i p

Planning to take a career risk? Smart lessons from a CEO’s career

By Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School and founder of Valize and and M Muneer, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist at the non-profit Medici Institute 72 T h e r o a d l e s s t r a v e l l e d

Beware of the deceitful impression manager

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC) 80 B l o g o s p h e r e

The new paradigm: well-being for a new age workforce

By Sigal Atzmon, Founder and CEO at Medix Global


Genpact Leveraging digital and AI tools for impact: Genpact (Banking & Capital Markets Vertical)



Juniper Using technology to create comprehensive employee care Maxlife Insurance Supporting employee wellness with AI for smarter solutions



From the Editor’s Desk


Letters of the month


Quick Reads


Rapid Fire


Knowledge + Networking


Executive Presence and how HR leaders can master it


Featured In this issue Brandi Morandi Daniel Kahneman Indraneel Kumar Das Kristin Trecker

Nand Kishore Chaudhary Sharad Mehra Sidharth Malik Stephen Bovis

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Clinton Wingrove Jarrod McGrath Lee Quane M Muneer

Rita McGrath Sigal Atzmon Visty Banaji

August 2022 |


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Letters of the month

Leaders ought to accept they don't have all the answers 100% agreement with the sentiment that hybrid working model and in fact any and every successful working model rests on the managers and the leaders. An organisation's transition of any kind is made by the people on the teams but executed by the managers of those teams and their own managers, who are the leadership. Change is either driven by the managers and leaders, or it is held back by them, there are no two ways about it. - Anushka Kant

Embrace hard truths to develop effective leaders A very enjoyable read with great pointers about how to avoid wishful thinking and shallow impressions. Leadership development is such a profit-making industry

these days that we must be truly sceptical of all these trainings and solutions being pushed on the market. Are they truly effective or do they just put a shiny coat of paint over a poor quality wall that's falling apart? - ruhan dey

The impact of inflation on the new world of work

Good that this is being talked about more, inflation is going to be the biggest problem that we face in the next few years. Already when we hire, the first thing people care about is whether the pay is enough in this environment of inflation. I am not too sure about whether hybrid or flexible can really be a changemaking factor to compensate for the inflation. But it is worth a try. - Priyam Singhal 8

| August 2022

August 2022 issue

What is leadership?

Loving the seven keys to success. We need more such concise tips, especially for new leaders, who are navigating their position for the first time. Best of all, these keys do not need to be practised in the physical setting. That's important, because nowadays not everybody has the opportunity to try leading in person before they lead virtually. - Anjali Batra

Interact with People Matters

Treating your employees like adults


What are we doing to develop leaders for the hybrid model? Surprising to hear that companies are not really changing their leadership model but still relying on surface competencies. Surely we have moved into a new generation of leadership by now? Or we are perhaps still bogged down in old colonialist styles of leadership that we somehow cannot shake off, so it is affecting even how we look at changes to the leadership model. - Antony Tharakan

Key strategies to drive DEI efforts in the hybrid world of work

GlobalLogic India @GlobalLogic_IN @PeopleMatters2 quotes GlobalLogic’s Rajesh Rai, VP – People Team & Head of HR, India. On the occasion of #IndependenceDay, the article discusses what #freedom means to #HR leaders for the #future of #work. #Tech #Business #Career #People #Culture #Jobs

We had believed that DEI is improved by hybrid and flexible work but strangely this is not always the case. The leaders who say that DEI is a continuing journey are indeed correct. Hybrid is more of a place to apply DEI, than a solution to boost DEI. For e.g: A company that is pro-DEI will be proDEI even without hybrid, while a company that does not support DEI will be like that no matter how flexible the policies try to be.

CleverTap@CleverTap In the latest piece by @PeopleMatters2, Sidharth Malik, CEO, shares insights on how the post-pandemic world requires companies to build a culture with a strong sense of purpose and values that suits their talent:

Loyalty is a two-way street

@SodexoIndiaClub@SodexoIndiaClub And it’s a wrap for #TechHR 2022! It was a delightful experience meeting Industry Practitioners. Thank you @PeopleMatters2 for having us. It's always a delight to be part of TechHR. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth

- Vikas Garg

This is a great take on loyalty, too often we have employers that expect a lifetime loyalty from people but do not hesitate to abuse and misuse that loyalty or even throw it away entirely for office politics. There must be more focus on closing the gap between what the employer aspires to and what really goes on in the workplace. Otherwise, employers that treat people like commodities should not be surprised if employees then treat the job like a commodity. - Nimit Grover

Global Talent Exchange@globaltalex Global Talent Exchange was part of Asia’s largest HR & WorkTech Conference organized by @PeopleMatters2 Read our latest blog - in which we’ve recounted our experience at #TechHRIN 2022. #globaltalentexchange #gtx #techtalent #peoplematters #hrtech AgroStar@agrostar_in Our VP-People Practices @priyanjali_k & her views on the changing trends in #PeoplePractices & #WorkforceManagement & how she drives & unleashes the power of #HumanCapital at AgroStar. Thank You @PeopleMatters2 for covering our perspectives.

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

Being a 'leader' does not somehow make a person into a 'super adult' who is qualified to treat those around them like children. This is an important lesson all leaders need to learn, and the sooner the better. Leaders also cannot and should not do anything themselves, for they will burn out if they do not learn to trust and delegate. They will also drive away their best people with such lack of trust. This is another important lesson that must be repeated often.

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

Commvault Asia@CommvaultAsia Ramesh Kalanje addresses the question of the hour - how does one build a #productive environment in a #hybrid setup. More in this @PeopleMatters2 article as he shares a few important tenets that can be valuable in leading a changing hybrid #workforce - follow

M > @PeopleMatters2


August 2022 |


HR Technology

Performance management startup 15Five raises $52 million Series C

HiBob, the company behind Bob the HR platform, today announced it has raised an additional $150 million in growth funding, just ten months after raising a $150 million Series C in October 2021. Led by General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm, and with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners and other insiders, HiBob’s Series D round takes the company’s valuation to $2.45 billion and total funding


Gartner: Fewer workers are on a job hunt

The number of workers in Australia actively looking for a new job has dropped for the first time in three quarters, a new study says. Research firm Gartner recently polled 855 employees as part of its Global Labor Market Survey. The company found that the number of workers in active job search has decreased to 17% in the second quarter of 2022. While the figure is only slightly lower compared to the 18% in 1Q22, it is the first time it has happened in three quarters. 10

to $424 million since inception. This latest growth investment is intended to support HiBob in capitalising on its market leadership as the company continues to execute on key business priorities in the current market environment, the company said in a statement.

Google strengthens investments in Singapore with its third data center facility

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HiBob raises $150 million Series D up-round led by General Atlantic

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Google announced that its third data centre facility in Singapore, the construction of which it announced in 2018, has been completed and is in operation, bringing the company’s long-term investments in Singapore data centres to US$850 million. Along with the development of infrastructure, the tech giant will enhance its skill training programme, known as Skills Ignition SG (SISG), which was launched in 2020. The programme has overseen 5,500 certifications. It will also extend 60 Singaporeans an enhanced traineeship programme with twelve months of full-time training in digital marketing or professional cloud architecture.

Performance management startup 15Five has raised $52 million in funding to accelerate growth and innovation. The Series C funding round is led by Quad Partners with additional funding from previous investors Next47, Origin Ventures, Edison Partners, Matrix Partners, Point Nine Capital, and New Ground Ventures. 15Five’s last raise was a B round of $30.7 million in 2019. The company will use this new round of funding to invest in R&D to further connect the ability to measure performance (via engagement surveys, performance reviews, and OKRs) and accelerate the integration of software with coaching, so managers can impact team performance more effectively and efficiently.

Telco giant Vodafone Idea to facilitate access to 40,000 jobs in Gujarat Vodafone Idea [Vi] will facilitate access to 40,000 jobs in Gujarat with the job-seeking platform Apna, giving employment opportunities to Indian youth. These job opportunities have come up in the last three months as Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara markets experienced the highest interest in Sales & Marketing jobs from maximum applicants.

Employee Experience

Employee Management

Dial it down! Online meetings cause burnout The Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) survey found that 46.2To protect workers against COVID-19, governments requested companies shift from an office setup to a remote one. Instead of face-to-face meetings, many employees attended virtual meetings using software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

However, "Zoom fatigue" is real. Using video conferencing platforms daily during the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the exhaustion of employees by 50%, a new study in Singapore revealed.

AT&T employees "being forced" to go back to office

Work from home is a mandate that many organisations have picked up on in the new world of work. According to a tech talent outlook survey by job site SCIKEY, 82% of employees prefer to work from home rather than follow the primordial adage “work only happens in cubicles and office space”. Yet it does seem many companies are not exactly onboard with following the work-from-home solution to the tee. As per various media sources, telecommunications giant AT&T is breaking away from its WFH agreement, which was agreed upon

in light of COVID-19. As per the agreement, the company and workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) agreed to extend the work-fromhome solution until March 2023. Yet as per recent news reports, a lot of workers are being forced to return to the office sooner than decided. Also, some department managers have already forced their workers to be back in the office.

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah lays off five per cent of the company’s global workforce

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In an effort to catch up to the competition for software-driven electric vehicles, Ford Motor says it will eliminate 3,000 salaried and contract positions worldwide, largely in North America and India. As the auto industry transitions toward electric vehicles and digital services, Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, has expressed his belief that the Dearborn, Michiganbased manufacturer employs too many people and does not have the skills it needs to succeed.

Employees at Google could soon find themselves on the chopping block if their performance doesn't meet the company’s expectations soon. Last month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company’s plans to help improve the performance of its workers through its Simplicity Sprint program. Aside from Google’s stricter performance guidelines, the company also announced that it will freeze its hiring of new workers for two weeks. However, Google hasn’t lifted the measure even though the two-week period has already lapsed. This has left many workers in the company to fear about their job security.

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Ford cuts 3,000 jobs in US, India as it pivots to a software future

Google workers fear layoffs amid hiring freeze

Boston, Massachusetts-based e-commerce brand Wayfair has laid off 870 people, amounting to 5% of its global workforce. As per the various media sources, the major reason is the non-fruition of growth targets which were anticipated this year. Along with the layoffs, the company also said that it is in the process of making substantial reductions in its third-party labour costs. August 2022 |


newsmaker of the month

An icon of resilience - Serena Williams By Jerry Moses

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match with Kim Clijsters; that incident put her on twoyear probation for “aggravated behaviour”. Many felt that similar outbursts by male players were often ignored. A similar incident in 2018 led to conversations around the sexist attitudes at play. This year, when a male player smashed his racket at the Umpire's chair and received a six-week suspension, Serena was quick to point out the double standards in the sport.

Evolving outside



erena Williams will end her stellar career with the US Open in 2022. She’s won 23 singles grand slam championships, 14 doubles and two mixed slams, which makes her one of the most successful tennis players in the open era. In her 27-year-long career, she broke numerous records. Williams is the only player (male or female) to win three of the four grand slams six times (US Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon). Williams has spent 186 consecutive weeks as the topranked WTA player, jointmost with Steffi Graf. Her | August 2022

journey to tennis stardom is unparalleled in her generation. But her journey wasn’t always bright. Her career is marked by ups and downs.

Biases and sport

It wasn’t always her play that made the news. Serena Williams boycotted the Indian Wells tournament for fourteen consecutive years when the crowd racially abused Williams and her family. She later noted that the experience haunted her for a long time. In 2009, Williams abused a line judge in her semi-final

In an interview to Vouge, announcing her decision to resign from the sport, Serena said that she is evolving away from tennis. “ "Maybe the best word to describe what I'm up to is evolution”, she noted. “I'm evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.", said the tennis star. Over the years, Serena invested in 66 startups - 78 % of whose founders are women and people of colour. The movie based on her father’s life, “King Richard” earned six Oscar nominations last year. Serena’s career and legacy hold many lessons in building resilience and fighting through bouts of adversity in one’s life.

Inbrew Beverages appoints Manmohan S Kalsy as CHRO Global beverage company Inbrew Beverages has appointed Manmohan S Kalsy as Chief Human Resources Officer, reporting to the CEO and MD. A seasoned human resources professional with proven business partnering and organisation building capabilities across manufacturing, FMCG, telecom, technology and outsourcing industry at most admired workplaces, Kalsy last served as vice president and head of human resources at airline company Go First, reporting to the CEO. Previously, he was a member of Vodafone’s operations board on a global business transformation project. His earlier stints were with United Breweries ,Vodafone, Triveni Engineering & Industries, Bharti Airtel and PepsiCo among others. August 2022 |

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Apollo Tyres appoints Dipankar Ghosh as Group Head, HR Dipankar Ghosh has joined Apollo Tyres as group head of human resources for the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA) region. Ghosh comes with 25 years of diverse experience in leading FMCG, automobile and service industries, in the domain of HR business partnering, strategic human resource initiatives, talent assurance, policy making and employee relations. He joins Apollo Tyres from Bajaj Consumer Care, where he was the CHRO, leading the HR, ER and administration function of the FMCG company. Prior to that, he was with Diageo. He also spent a large part of his career with Tata Motors, managing multiple roles.

Vertiv appoints Cheryl Lim as the new CHRO Critical digital service provider Vertiv has announced the appointment of Cheryl Lim as the company’s new Chief Human Resources Officer. She will report directly to CEO Rob Johnson and lead the development and execution of HR strategy in support of Vertiv’s business goals. Lim brings more than two decades of experience leading human resources teams, supporting organisational transformation, and supplying data-driven insights for global HR operations in the manufacturing space. Prior to joining Vertiv, she spent more than 20 years holding various HR leadership positions at Honeywell and was most recently the vice president of Human Resources at ITT Inc.

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Whirlpool Corporation appoints Hemlata Goel to lead its global back office and Asia HR operations Global home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation has appointed Hemlata Goel as director of its global back office (GBO) and Asia HR operations. Based out of Gurugram, India, Goel will lead the support of global HR services. She brings over 18 years of diverse HR experience to Whirlpool, having worked extensively into HR transformation and integration during mergers and acquisitions, leading global shared services and HR operations. Previously, she has managed diverse portfolios and led HR teams across geographies at AxtriaIngenious Insights, SHL (Former Garter), Alcon, WNS Global Services and InterContinental Hotels amongst others.


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Hiver names Meena Kumari R as Chief People Officer Customer service platform Hiver has appointed Meena Kumari R as its Chief People Officer. With over fifteen years of experience across various tech and SaaS startups, her areas of expertise include building and developing a fully remote and globally distributed team. Previously, Meena was the Global Human Resources Head at Airmeet, and before that she led the HR department at Circles.Life and was the head HRBP at Capillary Technologies. She is also the founder of a global HR community, The HR Folks. Brillio appoints Camie Shelmire as Chief People Officer Digital transformation services and solutions provider Brillio has appointed Camie Shelmire as Chief People Officer. A technology and consulting industry veteran who most recently served as chief client officer of Altran Americas and after its acquisition by Capgemini, executive vice president in the combined entity, Shelmire brings 20 years of leadership experience in talent, client strategy, and operations. Based in Dallas, TX, she will lead the company’s talent strategy. She will also serve on Brillio’s executive committee and report directly to its chairman, founder and CEO, Raj Mamodia. Acceleration Partners appoints Suparna BasuRavis as Chief People Officer Global partnership marketing agency Acceleration Partners has appointed Suparna Basu-Ravis as its Chief


| August 2022

People Officer and Global Head of Human Resources. The appointment has been effective since June 2022, but the role is a newly created one and was only announced in August. Basu-Ravis most recently served as Senior Vice President - Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Investor Services at Brown Brothers Harriman. She also served as Head of Human Resources for Service Delivery and Technology, and previously worked at Moody's, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley in various roles. Braemar appoints John Beckwith as Group Director of Human Resources Global advisory firm Braemar has appointed John Beckwith as Group Director of Human Resources, responsible for leading HR strategies which will be adopted and followed by all the fourteen offices across the world. Beckwith is also an expert in M&A and restructuring, having been the people/HR subject-matter expert on multiple mergers, demergers, and acquisitions throughout his career. Before Braemar, he was the Head of HR at ED&F Man Capital Markets, based in London, UK. He also counts OEC Connection, Clarkson-Platou and MF Global as his previous employers. Marriott International names Vinay Jaswal Senior Director HR for South Asia Marriott International has appointed Vinay Jaswal to the role of Senior Director HR for South Asia. Jaswal, who has close to two decades of working experience in the HR domain, previously served as HR Head-South-West Asia at IHG Hotels and Resorts. Known for business building and culture transformation, he has also served at Hughes Communications India Ltd, Aviva Life Insurance, iDiscoveri Education Pvt Ltd, InterGlobe Air Transport Limited, InterGlobe Hotels among others.


Ten Questions


Sidharth Malik

Chief Executive Officer at CleverTap By Mastufa Ahmed



What's the top change in the post-pandemic tech industry landscape?

What about the Great Resignation?

Companies should introspect on why employees are quitting: post-pandemic, people want to focus on more purpose-driven jobs with better work-life balance

Technology adoption; tech companies have had to focus not only on innovation and digital transformation but also on sustainability, collaboration, and agility


State-of-the-art data centre and edge capabilities, cloud computing, customised Internet-of-Things to predict any issues, sense and report inputs across distributed networks, etc


Top uses of technology in the current landscape? Improve processes and customer experiences


Your own use of technology? Enabling our customers to understand and engage with their users better


How do you see the hybrid model playing out? Hybrid work models are

So what should companies do?

Hybrid models help in increasing productivity, making employees more efficient and delivering better and faster results practical and here to stay – they help in increasing productivity, making employees more efficient and delivering better and faster results


How is your own company implementing hybrid?

We have left it to employees to choose if they’d like to work remotely or from the office until 2023.

Start catering to the new talent pool, align their work culture to suit the younger generations

r a p i d - f i r e


What tools are tech companies adopting?


Will that help with the Great Attrition?

As long as companies continue to listen and evolve along with their employees, leaders will be able to address the attrition problem and ascertain ways to retain their employees


Your own priorities for 2022 and beyond?

Growth and expansion, adding to our leadership team, innovation on our product offerings August 2022 |


HR and transformation go hand in hand under the right leadership. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Brandi Morandi, the Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer of Equinix, tells us how she and her team have built an incredibly strong and unique position in the execution of the business strategy By Mint Kang



randi Galvin Morandi, the Chief Legal and Human Resources Officer of global digital infrastructure company Equinix, has an unusual background for a HR leader. She started her career in law and spent over five years as a corporate attorney with international business law firm Gunderson Dettner before moving to Equinix in 2003, where she took on the roles of Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary. In that position, Morandi built a very strong working relationship with the human resources leaders and the HR function, such that when leadership turnover meant an interim CHRO was needed in 2013, she was appointed to the role while still performing her original role in the law department. It was not the last time.



HR as the accelerator: Transforming business for the future

| August 2022

Over the course of 19 years with Equinix, Morandi served as interim CHRO three times, and the last time, in 2018, coincided with the appointment of the new global CEO, Charles Meyers. Meyers began his tenure by developing a transformation strategy for the company, and Morandi, as interim CHRO, took the lead on a number of projects. She established an excellent rapport and operating cadence with Meyers and continued strengthening her relationship with the HR leadership team, building on 16 years of trust with the rest executive team, and eventually, Meyers asked her to serve as CHRO permanently – which she accepted alongside her role as Chief Legal Officer.

Your legal background is unique among HR leaders! How


August 2022 |




does it influence the way you approach HR matters? There are two main ways. Firstly, on the legal side a great deal of focus is placed on understanding the company's risk profile and the risks that you're taking on. As an in-house lawyer you must either know how to mitigate that risk, or be willing to accept it. You're constantly in a state of compromise, and the easiest thing is to just say, “No, you can't do that.” What's hard is creating an avenue to achieve the goal while still mitigating risk, and so a deep understanding of the business is required: you must know what's really important and critical, what is that line in the sand that you will not cross from a risk perspective, and where you can be flexible. That knowledge and deep understanding of working with all of the different functions across the team translates really well into understanding what is going to be an effective people strategy. Secondly, within the legal function there is a mindset where


| August 2022

we must solve for the business and prioritise such that we are applying our critical, precious resources toward the most important things, filtering out the bulk of what is not as important and focusing our efforts to really try to move the needle on those critical few things. This translates well across both teams, especially because in HR, it's very easy to get excited about our own programmes. Wearing my legal hat helps me to keep looking through that lens of solving for the business strategy, ensuring that what we're delivering will be used and is relevant for what we're trying to do at the time. It shapes a certain mindfulness around making good use of resources, both from a dollars perspective and a people perspective.

Tell us about the HR function at Equinix. How are you leading HR to play a role in the transformation strategy? At Equinix, HR is not at all a back office function. Across the board, and especially within the executive team, HR is very much seen as a as a business enabler and accelerator. We have been leading from the front on the transformation to enable the business's strategy: our team is actually the site of the Transformation Office. And a big part of that is because if you don't have the right people working on the right things and exhibiting the right behaviours, you can't meet your strategic objectives. What we discussed earlier, about coming into HR from a different part of the business, also plays a role in our ability to drive trans-

If you don't have the right people working on the right things and exhibiting the right behaviours, you can't meet your strategic objectives


Trust-based relationships are so important in the world of work, especially after the last few years. Can you share some tips on building that critical level of trust? First, it starts at the personal level: with never compromising your integrity. When I talk to our more junior leaders, I always tell them that as you progress in your career, it's all about people trusting your judgement, because if it was straightforward and clearly within a process or a guideline, it wouldn't land on your desk. In every interaction that you have, I believe you're either building or eroding trust. And transparency is important: following through on your commitments, wearing your corporate hat rather than pursu-

ing your functional or personal agenda. Those are all ways to build trust over time, and when you get to a role like mine, where I'm sitting in front of the board and advising – whether it's from a legal perspective or an HR perspective – they know that I am coming from a place of genuinely recommending what I think is best for Equinix with no personal agenda involved. The other way I think that you can build trust is through vulnerability, being able, as a leader, to acknowledge that I don't have all the answers, and that's why I surround myself with other highly competent people who also want


formation. I know what it feels like to be a customer of HR. So when we're strategising or even just thinking about how we want to communicate our plans, I can hear it through a different ear and find a way to present it that makes sense to the rest of the business. For instance, if we want to launch a particular talent strategy, we need to make sure that people understand how this is going to help us achieve the business results we want to achieve. And of course, I have also established a wonderful, trust based relationship with my CEO. He knows that I personally, and functionally everyone in HR, are in service to the Equinix agenda to make sure that the business's success is our success. And so he sees us as a key partner.

to do what's best for Equinix. There must be a willingness to say: “I don't know what to do next. Can you help me?” and to invest in one another. I think that's really important, because you build the most trust when people know that they don't have to be perfect, that we are going to find the right solution together and not be fixed to any one person's perspective. And that touches on diversity, equity, and inclusion – it goes straight into the core tenets of what inclusion looks like. Is everybody contributing their unique ideas for a better outcome? August 2022 |


In short, vulnerability and acknowledging that you don't have all the answers, and then just doing what you say you're going to do time and time again. That's a very practical way to build trust in the organisation.



Going back to the strong understanding of risks that you've gained from your legal background, what do you see as the greatest human capital risks that organisations face today? One risk that everybody is monitoring is, of course, the Great Resignation. There's a lot involved here: how deep in an or-

You build the most trust when people know that they don't have to be perfect, that we are going to find the right solution together and not be fixed to any one person's perspective ganisation will it go, is it impacting tech or frontline, what is happening with the attrition rates, how is compensation holding up against changing market standards? We have to pay attention to a lot of different metrics and data to make sure that we aren't going to lose people. And that's just retention. Attraction of top talent is another issue, and this one is particularly acute for us because we're going through a strategic transformation and thinking differently about our products and services. And so we're trying to attract new types of skill sets into the company in order to make sure that we can be competitive in


| August 2022

our existing space, let alone a new environment. Another thing that's top of mind coming out of the pandemic is employee wellness. I think overall, there is a lot of fatigue in the system. People have been through a lot personally and professionally, whether they are managing or leading or just showing up every day with a good attitude. And so we need to make sure that we're taking great care of our employees from a wellness perspective as well, as part of an overall retention strategy. And then of course, as we bring people back into the office and follow a global strategy of moving to a hybrid work environment, we need to look into how we can keep people engaged and productive yet also offer this flexibility that they have come to enjoy.

Discussions of risk usually involve processes and governance as part of risk management – do you think this approach works for HR? I think it can work in some areas where the risks are compliance based risks: local employment laws, for example. But it's important to remember that one size does not always fit all in HR, especially when it comes to people. This is not only from a legal and regulatory perspective, but also the cultural element and what is really going to resonate with the team. In my experience, rigidity isn't always the best or the most effective approach. We need to find something that's locally acceptable while still broadly following global standards – we always need


What do you think the future of HR will look like, maybe in the next few years or even in the next decade? I think there's going to be more prominence around the role of HR as change accelerators and enablers. The concept of what change looks like in an organisation is going to explode, and HR will have to be there to help the organisation accelerate the pace of decisions and change. There will be a cultural element to it for sure: maintaining what's great about your existing culture, but then introducing the new behaviours and skills that are going to be required to achieve your stra-

tegic direction. And HR will definitely have to spend a lot of time getting employees into the right mindset, because most people start from a place of not liking change. The industry is moving fast. We've just been through an unprecedented time, but business momentum never stopped, and now there's a backlog of execution coming. We have to be prepared to support and enable it, and even hopefully accelerate it. For this, HR itself will need to undergo a shift of mindset, from being a curator of processes to an enabler of business strategy. There is always a certain pressure towards consumerisation of HR, and while this will continue, there also must be constant attention given to the question of how we are integrating into overall business process and strategy. HR is going to drive the behaviours that are required, by compensating people, giving them the tools that they need, incentivising them to achieve the business strategy. Transformation and HR will interlock around culture.


to make sure that we're looking through that local lens. This can be complicated, because sometimes when we want to move forward with a global process, it can be out of step with the local market, or vice versa. And of course, local markets can be vastly different even within the same country. That said, I do think it's possible to trickle global standards down to local markets without encountering major friction. It requires a lot of attention and investment, but it can be done. Take DE&I as an example: we have global protocols and global employee connection networks, what some companies call employee resource groups. And we also have a local forum to take these global principles and discuss them in a way that feels relevant for the local market. Our values are non-negotiable – that is the global protocol – but how that shows up in any given market may look different.

August 2022 |


Daniel Kahneman’s five pragmatic mantras to improve workplace judgement

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A key determinant of success in business is making the right decision at the right time. At People Matters TechHR Singapore this year, we proudly presented a conversation with Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman on how to avoid errors of judgement. Here, we bring you key takeaways from the event By Samriddhi Srivastava


ecision bias is pervasive within our society and is similarly highly prevalent within the workplace. Nobel laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman, the pioneer of behavioural economics, has dedicated his life to understanding the psychology of judgment and decision-making, and in his groundbreaking research, he demonstrated one simple truth – people are not immune to prejudice and


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favouritism because it would be difficult to function without them. However, implementing strategies to reduce bias in the workplace can do wonders. While the Great Resignation continues to test HR leaders, we must find effective ways to eliminate bias to improve the employee experience and business outcomes. To learn ways our thinking can be flawed and to make more informed and rational decisions, we sat down with Professor Kahneman at People Matters TechHR Singapore, and came away with five valuable mantras that you can use in dayto-day HR work to make sound decisions.


Standardise structured interviews


Minimise risks with analytical judgement

Flaws in judgement are not just restricted to hiring a new candidate for the job. Within an organisation, when it comes to performance reviews, biases have a huge impact. It can lead to the inflation or deflation of employee

Business leaders are not immune to noise, the flaw in human judgement, and hence, they and the brand lose more than time, money and effort ratings, which can have serious implications, further affecting performance assessments such as promotion, compensation, hiring, or even firing decisions. To refrain from making such errors, Kahneman advised gathering and considering information in length before making a big decision. He said, “You have a general impression of employees. When you have to make an unbiased decision, records and evidence can be very useful. Get in a habit of making notes about salient events. Then, during the final evaluation, go through those notes. You may discover that you have a very positive impression, but actually, there have been many problems with that individual.” August 2022 |

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The interview is a crucial stage of the hiring process which tells you about the candidates beyond their resumes. Among the two types of interviews; unstructured and structured, Professor Kahneman strongly recommends adopting a structured interview format to avoid inaccurate hiring decisions. The difference between structured and unstructured interviews lies in questions. While the structured format comprises predetermined questions, unstructured ones are spontaneous and the next questions emerge from the answers to the prior questions. Hence, it is unorganised, leading to asking unnecessary questions, being biased and making imprecise recruitments. “Structured interviews are planned and are designed to cover certain topics and address specific segments about the candidate. You can include open and close-ended questions to get an insight into the candidate’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes. However, don’t do this without intuition, just delay that instinct within an interview or delay it in general to eliminate bias,” he explained.


3 4 Navigate noise to foster a positive workplace

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Professor Kahneman describes noise as an "undesirable variability in judgments", something that pushes humans to make decisions that prove to be life-changing, without putting the necessary thought into it. Business leaders are not immune to noise, the flaw in human judgement, and hence, they and the brand lose more than time, money and effort by making bad hires. “The price that companies pay when noise is involved in hiring is bringing in people who perhaps shouldn't have been brought on in the first place. That’s why leaders mustn’t rely on intuitions, such as whether they're liked by their superior or whether they have support. The key is to focus on the facts, not feelings and give the situation considerable time so that you have adequate stretch to

collect information,” said Kahneman.

Be confident, not overconfident

The Nobel Prize laureate believes strongly that confidence is good, but overconfidence is dangerous. It all starts with intuition, followed by the lack of feedback. As you keep making intuitive judgements without any assessment, you become overconfident in your choices as a leader. That’s why Professor Kahneman suggested always going for a subjective sense of expertise. “People need intuition, as it gives you the sense that you understand the situation, further making you a confident leader. However, if achieved too early, confidence can be dangerous, because it’s an indication that you’re no longer collecting information. That’s the problem with

In the end, try to draw conclusions based on objective facts and not intuition


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intuition.” “On the other hand, intuition with all its flaws, is necessary, but with the help of feedback. If leaders are not getting feedback, they develop a subjective sense of expertise. They think they’re getting better at understanding and judgement, but you’re not. With passing time, when you don’t get feedback, you start agreeing with yourself and when you do that, it makes you overconfident."

Effective decision-making in today’s complex and disrupted business environments can be achieved by being analytical. To accomplish the same, Professor Kahneman shared three attributes: A. Measurement of noise Measure noise, study, and ask questions. “In hiring candidates, it’s crucial to know if different people reached the same conclusions or not. You can assess this by systematic studies, in which different people interview the same candidate or by making people see the same film of the interview. Then analyse if different individuals have distinct opinions. That’s how you will find out there is more noise than you thought there was,” said Kahneman. B. Reduction of noise Once you know there is noise involved in the process, the next step is to reduce it. “For noise reduction, case conferences are very important. People influence

With different people looking at the same case, you’ll realise how people see one situation in different ways. The point is to “acknowledge variability as it can be very useful in making sound judgments

T e c h HR


Rethink decision-making techniques

each other very quickly. As a leader, you must minimise those influences with the help of strategic independent discussions,” he added. C. Intelligent discussion With different people looking at the same case, you’ll realise how people see one situation in different ways. The point is to “acknowledge variability as it can be very useful in making sound judgments. Thereafter, encourage people to ask questions so that every individual can share their point of view. In the end, try to draw conclusions based on objective facts and not intuition,” concluded the pioneer of behavioural economics. August 2022 |


T e c h HR

The story of Jaipur Rugs, a business "built by love", in the words of Nand Kishore Chaudhary

At TechHR India this year, we were honoured to have the ‘Gandhi of the carpet industry’, Nand Kishore Chaudhary, to share the story of Jaipur Rugs with us: “a business that sells blessings, stories and experiences; carpets are just a bonus.” We bring you his tale, from the event By Ramya Palisetty


ach one of us dreams of building a business of our own some day but there is none like Nand Kishore Chaudhary, MD and Chairman of Jaipur Rugs, who is also known as the ‘Gandhi of the carpet industry’. And rightfully so! In his entire journey, he was shunned by society, threatened, lost and


| August 2022

in dire straits but he never let go of his belief to let goodness, fairness and most importantly, love prevail in his business. Even as a student when he was asked to define business, his reply was, ‘It is next to love.’ At People Matters TechHR India conference in August, Chaudhary in his keynote

Channelling your passion into business: The beginning

He thought to himself, ‘This is what I should be doing as I will get a chance to work with people, who are shunned by society.’ With the decision made, he took a loan of 5,000 rupees from his father to buy an old cycle to travel to the weavers’ houses along with two weaving looms in Churu, a city in Rajasthan.

Standing up for the people who were refused a place in society: First hurdle

When he began his journey as a contractor to learn the carpet business, his major work revolved around weavers, who, at that time, were shunned by the society on the basis of caste. Due to his involvement with weavers, his family members were upset and even threatened to never let him pursue the business. Not just family, his neighbours were against the idea of him inviting weavers into his home and at gatherings, people would often refuse to shake hands with him. Through these instances, Chaudhary understood how a person

T e c h HR

session, ‘Age Of The Modern Leaders’, took us along on his own journey at the University of Hard Rocks of Life, where his true education began 44 years ago. At a time when everyone was looking for a stable job to sustain themselves, he declined a wellrounded government job to find his passion and built a business that connected the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. It wasn’t an easy journey, he had to go against all odds and bet on his values and principles as he conquered one obstacle after another to build Jaipur Rugs, a business that combines kindness with the pursuit of profits in a manner that is beneficial to all artisans, stakeholders, consumers, employees, suppliers and buyers. We dive deeper into the life of Chaudhary and what makes his business model so popular among authors like CK Prahalad and Raj Sisodia, among others.

As a young adult, Chaudhary started his career at his father’s store, where he sold footwear. During his tenure there, he realised that there wasn’t much scope for growth and left. As he wondered about the true purpose of life and who he is, he came to the conclusion that he is indeed a people person, who loved spending time outdoors. As he tried to come up with a business idea aligned to these criteria, he found that there was a high demand in export for carpets made in India. August 2022 |


T e c h HR

can be identified solely based on his caste and not his karma. It opened his eyes to the hypocrisy in society and in families. But nothing deterred him from his path, and the love he had for weavers triumphed over everything else. He would often spend all his time with them and even share meals. After over a decade, he came to Jaipur to build an export company with his brother. During that period, with a sudden rise in the demand for Indian carpets, he had to look for more weavers to meet the demand. He travelled to districts such as Valsad and Dang in Gujarat, known for carpet weaving. Though there were several

When he was asked to define business, his reply was, ‘It is next to love’ misconceptions around tribals there, Chaudhary knew that with love and empathy in his heart, he would find his way. And indeed he did! After three years, the tribes and their families would welcome him with open arms, as he became their guide and mentor. He lived with them for almost eight years where he taught over 15,000 weavers how to weave a carpet.

Begin again: Second hurdle

In 1999, Chaudhary separated his business from his brother and established what we today know as Jaipur Rugs. With challenges at every turn, all that he had earned was lost in the first three years of the business. There came a time 28

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when he felt like he couldn’t continue the business anymore. And that’s when he decided to carry out deep introspection to find out where he went wrong. After navigating through his past, he realised that fame had gotten into his head, and he was experiencing a misleading sense of ‘Euphoria’. And since he was working with weavers for years on end, he had developed a false belief in his own goodness. His constant micromanaging of every decision made him rigid in his ways like a cube of ice. As he came to his senses, he decided to break away from the mould of ice and learn to flow like water again.

Learn to unlearn: Third hurdle

Most of Chaudhary’s adult life was spent travelling to villages as he worked with weavers. But now, he was on the precipice of running a global business and in order to do so, he had to equip himself with the right skillset. He began to read books, attended conferences, interacted with successful leaders and entrepreneurs to create a unique leadership style and perception to help him in the long-run. His children, who had completed their education from the US, came back to India to join the business and in no time, it grew like wildfire. But sustaining that growth came with its own set of challenges. Chaudhary understood that there was a need to hire people with immense business acumen. And when he started

The dream come true

In 2008, one of the most wellknown authors of India, CK Prahalad called Chaudhary to ask if he could write a case study on the Jaipur Rugs business model (The Fortune At The Bottom of The Pyramid) that revolved around enhancing capabilities at the grassroots level. It was during a chat with Prahalad that Chaudhary realised that he had built something valuable. At Jaipur Rugs, all the processes of carpet weaving have been put in place by weavers, who didn’t have any or much education and Chaudhary believes that when it comes to creativity, education doesn’t play an integral role. As he saw how talented some of his weavers were, he started the

Knowledge is power but without practice, it develops into ego. One can lose themselves in knowledge without having a grip on reality Manchaha project, to give them the freedom to design carpets to their liking with dignity, an initiative that has won nine global awards to date. Throughout his arduous journey, his biggest takeaway has been that it is true that technology has brought about a change in the business landscape. But he believes that it can never replace the empathy or creativity possessed by a human being. If a business has these two ingredients at its core, technology will only take it to great heights. The social entrepreneur built his business on empathy, simplicity, integrity, shared wisdom and humility since the beginning and that is the legacy that the world will follow. August 2022 |

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to do so, he was put in his place. That taught him an important lesson for life: Knowledge is power but without practice, it develops into ego. One can lose themselves in knowledge without having a grip on reality. In order to help his employees not suffer the same fate and understand the intricacies of carpet weaving, he started an initiative, the 'High School of Unlearning’, where every employee was introduced to the weavers who explained the entire step-by-step process of carpet weaving in detail. For his weavers to gain knowledge about the business aspect of things, he started a management course where they could find the meaning and purpose of life. All this so he could align the value of Jaipur Rugs with its people!


L e a d e r s hi p

Executive Presence and how HR leaders can master it How can HR leaders increase their personal influence to help them get noticed and bring about positive change? One solution is to mindfully work on developing their executive presence. By Mamta Sharma


usiness stakeholders are constantly judging and forming opinions based on HR stereotypes. In other words, they’re creating your reputation! It has become necessary for HR leaders today to rise to the challenge and further strengthen their role beyond the decisionmaking process to managing rela-


| August 2022

tionships and increasingly influencing the management. And for this to happen, HR leaders have to stand out as trailblazers, change agents, and leaders who create the future. “This is why HR leaders need to mindfully work on developing their executive presence and increase their personal influence. It is this combination that

will help them get noticed and bring about positive change. Also , when HR leaders leverage their executive presence they are signalling their readiness for the next level,” says Vikram, executive, leadership and career development coach at Coach Vikram which offers specialised coaching around CXO advisory, partner promotion, executive transition, startup founders and CEO coaching among others.

What is executive presence?

Leadership and executive presence - the crucial difference

While leadership is the ability to influence, executive presence is what helps you influence with ease. “In fact, leaders already emanate leadership qualities. Their presence enables them to expand their spheres of influence, accelerate business results, and stand out,” says Vikram, who has

The key components of executive presence for HR leaders

The influence of HR function with management and top leadership is rising. An efficient HR leader goes well beyond good communication and organising skills. Executive presence helps talented HR leaders to have meaningful influence with the top ranks. Vikram says to achieve this influence with ease, HR leaders have to use all the nine key components or characteristics of executive presence - Relationship Mindset, Social Awareness, Personal Magnetism, Inner Dialogue, Composure, Personal Brand, Gratitude, Self-Care, and Compassion.

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Vikram defines executive presence as the balance of the behaviours of focus, power, and warmth. These behaviours can be learned and can be switched on and off by choice to bring out your best self and influence people.

worked with organisations like Aditya Birla Group, Asian Paints, Avendus, Bank Of America, BCG, Capgemini, DBS, DE Shaw, Google, HDFC Life, J.P.Morgan, KPMG, McKinsey, Lightspeed India Partners, Nomura, PwC and VISA among others.

While leadership is the ability to influence, executive presence is what helps you influence with ease August 2022 |


“As an HR leader, when they balance all these nine components they communicate with likeability, credibility, and trust,” he adds.

Augmenting executive presence for HR leaders in their everyday work

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Vikram suggests three actions steps HR leaders can put into practice immediately to work on their executive presence: 1. Go out and know more people in your organisation. Engaging in not just transactional HR conversations but also meaningful conversations that build relationships. 2. Gather a lot of information on matters related to your field. A broader knowledge base and expertise will help you display more authority and gravitas and your stakeholders will start taking you more seriously. 3. Make time for yourself and open up about your vulnerabilities so that you can build trust. It’s all right if you are not the

smartest person in the room.

Common barriers leaders face when influencing – and solutions to setting the right tone

Vikram lists a series common leadership barriers that dilute a leader's presence and influence: • Every meeting with them is like a transaction-driven conversation. • They often carry emotions from their previous meetings to the next. • Engage in conversations that might be a little too focused on themselves, their work, and their experiences. • They don’t step into power and dream big or play big. • They surround themselves with people who do not inspire. • They are not comfortable making a powerful impression. • They have a limited view of HR influence on the organisation. • They are uncomfortable with vulnerability. • They do not give people the benefit of the doubt easily. So what are the solutions to these? Firstly, leaders should have clarity about meeting outcomes. At the same time, they must make an effort to connect with people through common topics even beyond work. Before their next meeting, they should take some time to prepare and freshen themselves. Having that extra energy will help them to be more socially aware and navigate the dynamics in the room during their next meeting. In the meeting itself, they


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Deserving a seat at the table and building value in a discussion is a mindset

of visibility and recall, helps you to gain credibility and inspire action. This then results in you influencing with ease for greater success,” says Vikram, suggesting some easy ways one can sustain a personal brand and put themselves in a position to win:

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should be mindful to speak and express ideas succinctly, so as to come across as composed and credible. This increased confidence and clarity, will inspire greater support from stakeholders. When talking to others, leaders should mindfully shift the spotlight to the other person and let them share while the leader listens. They should create positive momentum and rapport to see early wins. The company one keeps is critical. Leaders should surround themselves with people who are better than them. They need to recognise their own weaknesses, so that they can have people in their team who will complement their strengths. And they need to be positive – to start looking for what is working out rather than what is not working out, so as to better appreciate the support of those around them. HR leaders need to allow themselves to dream big and play the game joyfully. Deserving a seat at the table and building value in a discussion is a mindset! Developing and sustaining a powerful personal brand Branding helps leaders with increased leadership visibility and brand recall. “And expanding your spheres

• Set aside time to work on new skills. You may want to use this time to work on developing your subject matter expertise. • Build strong networks with your senior leaders to build effective partnerships across the organisation. Make a list of your top five key sponsors and have monthly or quarterly touch points with them. • Spend time building effective external alliances. Make time to expand your professional and personal networks outside of your organisation. • Purposefully design your digital footprint to stand out. For a start, leverage social media to connect with leaders from other organisations. August 2022 |



| August 2022

As work and the workplace continues to evolve, we must constantly look ahead for the challenges and opportunities of the future


August 2022 |


such as empathy, communication, agility – which might have been a lower priority before. The way teams are managed has shifted greatly, away from the old belief in command and control and to a more collaborative, people-centric approach, requiring managers to reskill and upskill. The war for talent has pushed organisations to offer a greater degree of flexibility in working times, locations, and even part-time arrangements. And around all of these, regulation and legislation are evolving: industry bodies, national governments, and international governance bodies are slowly but surely developing frameworks to direct and shape how organisations interact with employees in the new world of work. With all this said, it's still hard to tell how much of a change will come to pass in the long term. Even as progressive organisations embraced the leap forward that resulted from the pandemic, just as many have been looking forward to going back to prepandemic ways. Two and a half years simply may not have been long enough to shift mindsets, expectations, and ways of working. This month, our cover story brings forward perspectives and reactions to some of the changes in the world of work: today's trends and what outcome they may lead to, how organisations are moving forward and where they see themselves in five, ten, twenty years' time. Ultimately, the future of work is shaped by what employers do today.


t's the perpetual question: what lies ahead of us? And it has been all the more relevant to the world of work in recent years, as digitalisation, the pandemic, changing employee expectations, and economic uncertainty combine to open up more and more questions about how organisations should operate. Here are just a few: On one end of the spectrum, there are changes in the physical office as employers overhaul their layouts for greater flexibility in the hybrid model – building in areas specifically designed for physical collaboration, adding the capacity for virtual meetings, and so on. Some have shifted from a single centralised office to multiple small satellites more accessible to a distributed workforce; others have embraced remote working to the extent of completely eliminating office space. What might the next setup look like? Alongside the flexible work trend are technological developments, with digitalisation first driving huge changes in processes and then slowing as organisations settled into consolidation mode. Automation, workflow tools, and virtual collaboration tools have already entrenched themselves, and some, more advanced organisations are looking into the possibilities of next-generation technologies such as the metaverse. With or without technology, processes and working arrangements have had to change. Leadership styles are evolving and leaders are called upon to demonstrate competencies –


Why leadership needs upskilling for climate change Sustainability cannot be separated from the future of work, and boards are acutely aware of this. ESG factors now rank as ‘very important’ to the enterprise value of a company – in addition to being a force for good in the world. Stephen Bovis, Managing Director South Pacific at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, explains why Mamta Sharma



or all organisations, no matter what sector they operate in, sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) is no longer a ‘nice to have’, and nor is it enough to just address ESG issues from a siloed team within. Stephen Bovis, vice president and managing director, South Pacific, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) says if the world is going to make the necessary carbon reductions to meet net zero goals, it will need employees from across company divisions and sectors working towards sustainability outcomes. The war for ESG talent is tough, he points out, and organisations need to look for every opportunity to attract and upskill strong talent. “Organisations need to upskill talent across their entire businesses to integrate ESG into the overall strategies. HPE’s approach isn’t to build out a huge centralised ESG team but rather to build capabilities – whether that’s in product development or finance,” he says. To equip leaders from


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Achieving net-zero targets

requires transformation and accountability across every part of the business. “Climate change is an existential threat to humanity and our planet. Goals don’t drive change, accountability and action do, and this starts at the top,” says Bovis. In addition to HPE’s executive climate training, the entire board completed ESG training in 2021 to enhance their competence. “It’s important that ESG is managed at the board given that it’s inextricably linked to HPE’s business strategy,” says Bovis. “Board-level attention around corporate sustainability is hitting all-time

highs with ESG factors now ranked as ‘very important’ to the enterprise value of a company – in addition to being a force for good in the world,” Bovis adds. And as per IDC’s latest predictions, by 2023, 75% of enterprises will expect sustainability goals to be addressed in RFI responses, demonstrating responsible supply chain principles and secure IT asset disposition capabilities, Bovis says aligning tech strategies with sustainability initiatives, organisations across industries are growing stronger, more resilient, and more able to accelerate a data-first digital strategy. “Studies show that compaAugust 2022 |


Upskilling, reskilling senior leadership to help mitigate climate change

HPE’s approach isn’t to build out a huge centralised ESG team but rather to build capabilities – whether that’s in product development or finance


across all HPE’s teams and empower them to confidently create action plans within their organisations that mitigate climate impacts, HPE will be introducing a mandatory climate training programme for all leaders at VP level and above. The programme will inform and inspire HPE executives to learn about the relevance of climate change to HPE’s business. Also, beginning in 2022, executive committee bonus compensation will be tied to the company’s performance against key climate metrics. “This builds on existing ESG-related compensation metrics related to team member engagement and workforce diversity,” says Bovis. HPE has the Young Employee Network (YEN) programme - an international group of rising talents who are given the opportunity to connect with colleagues and business leaders, strengthen team building and expand their knowledge to develop a new generation of leaders. YEN employees can also participate in mentoring and workshops to enrich their experience of work and upskill on climate change at a corporate level.



Climate change is an existential threat to humanity and our planet. Goals don’t drive change, accountability and action do, and this starts at the top nies linking digital and sustainable transformation are 2.5 times more likely to be among tomorrow’s strongest-performing businesses,” he adds. Therefore, businesses worldwide are pledging to aggressively cut carbon emissions, reduce energy usage and strive to achieve “net zero” sustainability goals. On its own, HPE is accelerating its existing 2050 net-zero commitment by 10 years to 2040. HPE is among the first tech companies with a net zero target approved by the global Science-based Target Initiative (SBTi). Sustainability is inextrica| August 2022

bly linked to HPE’s business strategy, says Bovis. “Not only are our customers asking us to help them reduce the climate/environmental impacts of their IT estates, but also – a major portion of carbon emission occurs during the use phase of our product lifecycle. Helping our customers optimise their IT’s efficiency by transforming and modernising sustainability is our biggest opportunity to have a positive impact on the planet,” he adds.

Winning the war for ESG talent Bovis says now is the time for organisations to ensure

sustainability is a key part of their business strategies and incorporate ESG as a workforce strategy - given changing mindsets, especially among the younger workforce. Even in the midst of a pandemic, climate change stood out as Australian Millennials’ (33%) and Gen Z’s (33 %) primary concern in the workforce, as per Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey. “HPE has a decentralised approach to ESG that enables us to have a lean team of ESG experts that act as internal consultants across the business to help enable the brightest minds to solve the issues they encounter every day (e.g., helping product engineers design with ethics considerations, helping finance teams evaluate climate risk, etc),” he adds.

'Role Revision': HR leaders need to be stewards of company culture The role of HR has undergone a paradigm shift to integrate with core business. HR leaders now have a major part to play in shaping the future of work, and they must partner with CEOs or business leaders to do that. We hear from Kristin Trecker, CHRO of Visteon Corporation Mamta Sharma

There seems to be an urgent need to build HR capability including awareness about data, technology, marketing, P&L, and financials for post-pandemic success. How can this be achieved? The HR teams need to have multi-functional understanding and experience to create a meaningful impact. This includes commercial, financial, customer and market awareness and the ability to leverage data and

technology to provide better insights and strategies. I always tell my team that we are value creators—for our people, customers, and investors. For this, we need a 360-degree overview of the company and business. We need to think about adding both top- and bottom-line value. At Visteon, we work closely with business leaders to develop our strategic priorities and assess the capabilities required to achieve these. We collaborate with the leadership team to identify the talent requirements needed to support our technology and customer roadmap. August 2022 |


In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Trecker shared insights on how HR leaders can play a role in partnering with CEOs or business leaders and building a culture that has a one-team mindset and is aligned by a common vision.



hile the key requirement for any HR leader is to build and retain talent, a majority of HR leaders are still focused on policies and processes instead of initiating innovative practices to drive the change. But that won't help us build the future of work. Kristin Trecker, Chief Human Resources Officer of global technology leader in automotive electronics Visteon Corporation, says there’s an urgent need to rethink the role of HR within the organisation. “The role of HR has undergone a sea change in the past several years driven by the increased criticality of talent in executing the business strategy. The expectation today is that HR is boundaryless and deeply integrated with the core business,” she says.




As HR leaders, we are stewards, with the CEO and the executive team, of the culture


Finally, building a team with diverse experiences and expertise is also a way to build the whole team’s capability. My team includes people who also have sales, marketing, and financial backgrounds—and this includes me. This brings in new perspectives while simultaneously building organisational always one of our priorities. capabilities in these areas. Post-pandemic, it is even more important to re-evalHow can HR leaders play uate our thinking around a role in building a culture this. We are deploying liswith a one-team mindset tening strategies to better and common vision? understand how we can As HR leaders, we are stew- increase employee engageards, with the CEO and the ment and effectiveness. executive team, of the culFor example, we recently ture. We create the organisa- adopted a hybrid work tional framework and archimodel. Because of our listecture that enables people to tening efforts, we were able unleash their individual and to structure this to be more collective abilities. responsive to employees’ We have fostered a highly needs and find the right balcollaborative environment ance between business obensuring that everyone in the jectives and helping people company understands the vi- work more effectively and sion. This message is cascad- grow in their careers. ed through our regional and We are also focused on functional leaders as well. building a healthy culture This enables people to better and creating the right enviunderstand where we are go- ronment for people to learn, ing and what we stand for. grow and succeed. This In turn, our employees un- includes: derstand the impact they are Living our beliefs and creating in their roles, which values so they are more strengthens their connection than words on a piece of with the company. paper. Our beliefs are values are: • We obsess over deliverHow is Visteon reshaping exceptional customer ing the workplace culture satisfaction to focus on employees and • We treat each other with their professional developrespect and embrace our ment? People engagement is differences | August 2022

• We use our passion for innovation to keep our customers ahead of the curve • We uplift the communities in which we operate and protect our environment at every turn Emphasising the importance of both the “what” and “how” of work. We are becoming a software-driven company with technology solutions that allow us to play an important role in our customers’ transition to digital cockpits, electrification and the connected car. But just as important as what we do is how we do it. Our values remain at the forefront as we embrace this rapid pace of change. Visteon’s Beliefs and Values form a “North Star” to guide us in our work. They build on our past strengths but are forward-looking to assure that we hold ourselves to the highest standards in every step we take, every single day. Incorporating nimbleness. The industry is undergoing once-in-a-century transformation and is witnessing an exponential rate of change. To respond to this change, we are building teams that are nimble and have an entrepreneurial spirit. At Visteon, people have the freedom to explore trends and consumer behaviours, and sense and seize new opportunities. There will be obstacles. However, we are

individual's core competencies linked to the company's product portfolio. Visteon's Technical Ladder gives its experts a platform to promote their work in creating new methods of product development and innovative manufacturing processes across a variety of different disciplines. We are also recognising employees by offering a direct stake in the company’s performance via stock options. This enables sharing ownership and profits with a broad base.

What is your talent strategy to stay future-ready amid disruptive trends in the mobility space? Technology is changing fast, and we need to be very diligent about observing the market trends. Here are a few things that we are incorporating into our talent strategy: Developing a talent roadmap. We collaborate with our customers so we can enable them to be successful in the marketplace. We create a connection

August 2022 |


Technology is changing fast, and we need to be very diligent about observing the market trends

between customers, their roadmap, technology innovations, industry demands, and our talent. Every six months, we review these roadmaps by analysing the needs and plans of our customers and developing an integrated talent development plan. Developing our workforce planning capabilities. Our workforce planning model allows us to look at the capabilities that we have today, the capabilities we might need in the future, and identify the gap. This allows us to better ensure that we have the right skills at the right time at the right place. It also allows us to make smart investment decisions when we know additional capabilities are needed. Launching an early career programme. To build capability within our organisation, we are focusing on bringing in recent college graduates through the RISE programme, which is an early career programme at Visteon. It allows us to find talented newcomers with deep capabilities, train them and help them grow in the mobility industry. We're also looking across the industry to find innovative leaders who understand technology in the mobility space and can augment our capabilities with new skills and talent.


confident that our team can overcome these so that we can better serve our customers with industry-leading digital products. Adopting a growth mindset. We encourage people to step outside their comfort zone, explore new things and adopt a growth mindset. We have also earmarked a day each year to intentionally focus on a growth mindset. On this day, we ask people across levels to talk about their achievements and initiate a dialogue on how embracing a growth mindset helps. Providing career development opportunities through career mobility and recognition. Our goal is to increase our ability to source talent from within. We have a well-laid-out internal movement plan and process to place people into new, challenging roles that help them grow their capabilities. This has led to increased cross-functional collaboration and more cohesion. We are also recognising extraordinary performers who really strive to make a difference. Our Future Makers programme, for example, recognises key technical talent across all functions who shape Visteon’s future through innovation or by improving the ways we operate. Another example is Visteon’s Technical Ladder programme, which accelerates the development of the




Technology, automation, and the metaverse will build new careers


The future of work will be shaped by disruptive automation. In conversation with People Matters, Sharad Mehra, CEO (APAC) of Global University Systems, describes how this blends technological and human expertise with a variety of next-generation skills and an innovative mindset By Sudeshna Mitra


he present age has brought chaotic disruption to many businesses. The challenges of today include talent shortage, efficient retention, wellness and several others, all of which come together and give a new structure to the future of work. To understand how the future of work may appear, People Matters spoke with Sharad Mehra, CEO (APAC) of higher education network Global University Systems. Here's what he told us during the interaction.

How do you define ‘the future of work’? Disruptive automation – which combines technical and human expertise – alongside a host of next| August 2022

reality skills and an innovative approach will be setting the tone for the future of work across the globe. With the metaverse unfolding at high speed around us, we can expect working styles, organisational operations, businesses, skill sets, domain expertise to undergo huge transformations and create ‘next level’ interactions where connections will matter in a big way. And in this increasingly autonomous ecosystem, it will be important for everyone to be a ‘forever learner’ where upskilling will be a norm.

One of the most impactful changes will be the rise of careers that don’t exist today Simultaneously, the 4Cs – Culture, Collaboration, Communication and Connectivity – will continue to drive the work scenario ahead. Another important development will be new careers that didn’t exist five years ago or even now. These will see an escalation on the

Workplace Skills – Ability to work in a team that you have not seen; playing a team game without knowing the team is pivotal to the workplace. New-Reality Skills – Negotiation kindness, gratitude, mindfulness besides domain expertise. Cognitive Skills – Creativity, originality, reasoning, critical and analytical thinking and complex problem solving. Being up-to-speed with technology – The VUCA world will continue to expand with technological shifts easing challenges. When we reimagine the job landscape, we also have to be prepared that the

careers of the future will be more fluid, cross-disciplinary, requiring multiple experiences and multi-functional. In my opinion, we can expect the expansion of gig roles, reskilling and rebooting backed by technological skills.

While such predictions are being made, do you think that the skills being imparted to the present workforce will be useful by 2030? The four skills mentioned above are already setting the base for the future and I’d like to classify them as ‘Evergreen Skills’ that can outshine any challenge or change. What’s important August 2022 |


In an article, Forbes stated, “It’s been predicted that 85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 don’t yet exist!” How do you look at this? Yes, that’s a reality. With increasing progress in technology, automation and the shift towards metaverse, one of the most impactful changes will be the rise of careers that don’t exist today. For example, in the metaverse ecosystem we can expect new roles like: Metaverse Business Strategist, Meta Event Direct, Metaverse Research Scientist, AR VR Designer, Crypto Artist and others. The future of jobs will also hinge upon the following factors:

Before anything else, organisations have to remember that all changes should centre around the human element


employment front. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report projects that by 2025, 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms. The resulting changes in talent acquisition processes will continue to disrupt the playing field and hybrid working styles will become a norm. For example, we made work from home two days a week, a permanent feature at GUS. We can also expect companies and organisations to become less hierarchical and more aligned to working on projects, consultancies and other similar models.



What’s important to remember is that since we are seeing huge technological strides in the form of Edge Computing, 5G, Metaverse and other similar tech shifts, we will have to be prepared to have a constant upgrade, upskill and learn new things to stay relevant and in sync with the changes that unfold around us. to remember is that since we are seeing huge technological strides in the form of Edge Computing, 5G, Metaverse and other similar tech shifts, we will have to be prepared to have a constant upgrade, upskill and learn new things to stay relevant and in sync with the changes that unfold around us. A survey conducted by PWC revealed that only 26% of respondents strongly agreed they can identify the skills the organisation will | August 2022

need in the future due to technological change. How, according to you, should organisations look at this to shape their L&D programs going forward? Change is an inevitable part of life. Before anything else, organisations have to remember that all changes should centre around the human element. That’s why we’ve witnessed an escalation of in-house programs and conversations on mental well-being, workplace

improvement, inclusivity and diversity, incorporation of technical learning among other changes. Like the current trend, upskilling will not be limited to just domain expertise but will also include other softer and important skills like developing more collaborations, building bonds, networking and looking at a positive and impactful change in not just in professional but personal life as well. So, in the future, companies have to be mindful of ensuring that people matter to themselves and their organisations via all these trainings and other programmes.

To what extent do you think process automation is going to affect the future workforce? Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and emerging technology is an exciting part of what is to arrive in the future. Besides moulding talent development by creating learning strategies, it will help sharpen critical thinking, emotional intelligence, reasoning skills and more. RPA will reshape the workforce by sharpening employee engagement, increase productivity and further raise quality standards by opening doors for employees to add value to existing processes by improving their quality, approach and also catalyse innovation.

'We are all living in the age of chaos' How will the disruption of today affect the future of work? To answer that question, we have to first accept that we are being disrupted and there is no alternative but to live and work with that disruption. Indraneel Kumar Das, Head of L&D at Byjus Tuition Centre, talks about how he came to this conclusion By Sudeshna Mitra

excerpts from the conversation.


A recent study conducted by Deloitte states that 80% of the respondents believe it is important for external workers to participate in the organisation’s culture. But achieving this alignment is not easy. As you are associated with a company that works with external stakeholders and workers to a great extent, how do you look at this statement? At the heart of that study is confronting the challenges of intentionally leading and coordinating workforce ecosystems OR orchestrating workforce ecosystems. In a world changing from VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) to BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Nonlinear, Incomprehensible) in less than 2 years’ time with a 30-50% contingent workAugust 2022 |



ulture has emerged as one of the highly prioritised factors among job seekers globally. A recent study conducted by Randstad has found that as many as 41% of Singaporeans would rather be unemployed than feel unhappy

in a job and more than half (52%) would quit if their jobs prevented them from enjoying life. This finding, and others like it from around the world, clearly depict that going forward into the future of work, leaders will need to be extra cautious about offering the right kind of culture to retain the key talent into the workforce, and efforts have to be made by both internal and external stakeholders to succeed in doing so. To discuss how such factors are going to affect the investments and plannings of the future of work, People Matters chatted with Indraneel Kumar Das, Head of L&D at Byjus Tuition Centre. Here are some



force, we are all looking at a recipe for disaster if we do not have a strong cultural foundation in place. In that context, I would suggest that we not compartmentalise external and internal workers just by their location. Rather, can we develop a gig mindset in every employee and stakeholder? Bear in mind that the first step of culture building is working on mindsets, beliefs, and behaviours. This gig mindset is a mindset of being a self-starter, taking ownership, accountability and initiative (agnostic to role), innovating big and small, constantly failing and learning. By trying a distributed and networking leadership model, we can empower and engage the external stakeholders and employees to participate in a thriving org culture. Here are some suggestions: • Create and align to a purpose driven culture – define and drive a common ‘Why’ amongst one and all. • Embrace diverse voices and opinions to create the framework of common cultural tenets irrespective of location, geography, mindset. • Storytelling is a great tool to build culture competencies – use it to cascade culture. Intentionally, weave in the gig stories in your meetings. | August 2022

Are the needs of internal and external employees really that different? The context might be different, but human beings are social animals • Build an instant hyperpersonalised feedback mechanism for everyone – make time for regular cadence on the same. • Recognise cross functional wins – big or small, internal or external, gig or otherwise. • Be fluid and ready to embrace nimbleness and agility in every experience.

Going forward, to what extent will it be possible for organisations to balance the needs of external and internal employees in the hybrid era of work where even internal employees don’t meet in person very often? In response to this, I will dig deeper and ask myself: are the needs of internal and external employees really that different? The context might be different, but human beings are social animals. You cannot take away that innate aspect of human nature even in the strictest cases of gig or

remote work culture. Given this fact, some of the most basic indicative needs of any employee at work would be to learn, earn, and grow in a connected workplace. As HR professionals, we should consciously step up our efforts to create employee experiences which speak to these three needs. Any organisation that offers challenging and meaningful work, ongoing learning, and a meritocratic workplace culture has already won the battle. Key elements of a thriving hybrid work culture can be: • Rethink empowerment in smaller flexible team set ups. • Provide equal opportunity to everyone • Find creative ways to collaborate. • Use core competencies of empathy, communication and inclusiveness to drive connectedness. • Re-align work and life to reduce digital burnouts. • Discover a powerful common individual and organisational purpose.

In an article, Forbes stated, “It’s been predicted that 85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 don’t yet exist!” Amid such a scenario, what do you think about the relevance of the skills being imparted to the present workforce? In my experience, I think we are only incrementally

culture of lifelong learning in your organisations, backed by an unheard-of rate of technology adoption.


How do you plan to restructure your own leadership style to match such changes penetrating the workforce? I think the first step I took was accepting the fact that we are all living in the age of chaos. The next step was to acquire knowledge around understanding these chaotic patterns and the effect they will have on my work. My further steps were to find out the answers to these questions and embed them in my leadership quotient, in no particular order: • Am I leading with trust, empathy, and mindfulness ,or with control? • Do I know the values and motivations of my team members across generations?

• What am I doing to keep my team agile and future ready? • Do I have a ready pool of talent prepared to face black swan events, if and when? • Am I building resilience in the team? How am I ensuring my new workforce is not fragile? • On my priority list, where does learning, re-learning and re-orientation feature? • Am I creating leaders who can be self-responsible, self-driven and conscious? • Am I leading with clarity and purpose? • What changes do I need to make amidst increased digitalisation and new age teams? • Am I creatively collaborating more?


innovating in this space. We need to get more aggressive on skill development. Researchers, academicians, consultants and of course organisations’ talent development should pave the way. Broadly speaking, we know that all the future skills will evolve with tech innovation. So as learning professionals, we need to keep up and improve the pace of largescale workforce capability changes. Skilling, reskilling and upskilling is the name of the game. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time on the first one. We need to pivot to the next two – fast. The World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling due to adopting new technology. Industry 4.0 is here, already. Both individuals and companies need to commit to reskilling and upskilling and make career development basis these an essential element of the future workforce. Great efforts should be taken to make these learning opportunities, such as reskilling and upskilling, accessible, available, and affordable to the large workforce. Current skill building is largely limited to help employees do their current jobs better, and hence it is myopic. So, amidst all this harsh reality, what can we do? If I must define the change in one sentence – create a

Have I figured out all? No. Have these impacted my leadership style? Oh, yes! August 2022 |


Winning the war for talent by building serious digital muscle The future of work is one where organisations need to become more digitally ready, in order to keep up with trends and meet the expectations of a global workforce that is already advancing ahead of where many businesses are prepared to go By Jarrod McGrath





he power balance has shifted between employers and employees as a more digitally talented workforce feels more empowered to take control of how, where and when they work. Business and HR leaders need to acknowledge these trends and change their approach to technology and people if they’re to succeed in attracting and fulfilling the best talent in the country. Achieving this means a fresh look at technology, not just on the tools that are leveraged, but how to build them into an organisation and create a workforce built upon digital muscle.

to make staff more productive, reduce time spent on more tedious tasks, and improve their overall workforce experience. But how many leaders take the time to make sure that’s how it’s understood at the coal face? The answer is very few from my experience. The simple fact is, that we’re creatures of habit and we struggle with change. There are many reasons why people don’t quickly adapt to new things: comfort with the old ways, presumption that there will be difficult teething issues that will make the change difficult, fear, or concern it will lead to a clash between the coal face Tech works for us, not the and leadership. What does this innovation mean for my other way around To date, most digital transfor- role? Is this the first step in a machine or an application mation has centred around taking over my role? the idea that people should Reports and headlines are change the way they operate to align themselves to the full of ‘AI will steal your job’ technology in which business sentiment – some of which is justified, and some just and technology leaders have fearmongering. In any case, decided to invest. it’s created a very justifiThe sentiment is usually well-intentioned – many tech- able fear among the worknology projects are deployed force around new technol-

| August 2022

ogy being a steppings tone towards their irrelevance.

Trust and transparency are key

The tension between people and AI highlights the importance of trust and transparency for a modern digital workforce. AI is going to play a bigger role in the future of work, and it will see many roles disappear from the workforce. But it will also create new and enhance existing roles. The Indian Government expects AI to create 20 million jobs between now and 2025. Globally, the World Economic Forum estimates AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025 while displacing 85 million. It’s a net positive, but there’s work to be done for more people to feel that. Organisations need to be willing to acknowledge the

This fresh approach, which I firmly believe is necessary for businesses in India to succeed and make the most of the opportunities an enhanced digital economy

(WFM) and payroll. I’ve worked closely with leading experts in the field of people management to test this and these are the criteria we’ve developed supported by our Maximum People Value framework: (see the below table) Leaders who take time to understand this, who are willing to align, prepare, track, implement and measure the success of their digital workforce, will ultimately win the war on talent, create the most diverse and inclusive teams, build trust through transparency, and align the coal face to senior leadership to deliver both personal and business value for all stakeholders. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jarrod McGrath is the author of The Digital Workforce and CEO of human capital management consultancy Smart WFM.

Human capital management People Strategy

WFM People Operations

Payroll People Compliance

Talent planning and attribution

Interpreting payment rules

Payroll policy

Recruitment and placement

Forecasting and rostering

Manage payroll components

Onboarding and compliance

Track time

Manage data input and validation

Learning and growth

Exception management

Payroll processing, distribution and statutory compliance

Performance optimisation and flexible work practices


Payroll accounting

Career and succession planning

Pay period end

Reporting and analytics August 2022 |


Creating the ‘Digital Muscle’

will provide, doesn’t just allay fears, it dramatically increases the value of a digital workforce. The coal face is no longer ignored, it’s empowered – taking an active humancentred role in what technology is used and how. It’s aware of and communicating with senior leadership to evaluate, measure, and succeed. It converts digital transformation from a series of ongoing engagements to building ongoing skills and outcomes with digital muscle developing and powering the organisation, and its people and satisfying the needs of everyone in it. There are ways to measure this too – a framework of steps to follow under the pillars of human capital management (HCM), workforce management


reality of AI’s impact on the workforce and take steps to ensure staff are informed, involved, and retrained so that it becomes a positive force in their career. This mindset shift allows us to take a step back and remember what technology is: a tool. It’s not something we have to align to, it’s a tool to work hand in hand with us to make our lives easier. Even when not related to the AI conversation, communication is often poor when it comes to people-focused digital transformation projects. While these projects are designed for entire workforces, the transaction usually only happens between knowledge workers and the operational coal face is out of the loop, no doubt adding to any concerns or fears they might already have. So, organisational and HR leaders need to open up these lines of communication, which should be a key aim of technology deployments in the first place. Given the workforce in India are already adept at digital readiness, this approach is even more likely to be welcomed and succeed here than in other parts of the world.


What's next for talent mobility? The practice of moving talent across borders is back, now that the world is reopening. But things have changed, and a fresh set of challenges to talent mobility loom in the future of work



By Lee Quane



he world is transitioning to post-pandemic life, and both leisure and corporate travel are forecasted to make a steady recovery amid significant pent up demand. Similarly, in the realm of global talent mobility, international moves are likewise expected to gradually regain momentum. Nevertheless, the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic have presented a new set of complications for talent mobility teams around the world. Markets across the world are experiencing the worst inflation in decades, prompting fears of an upcoming | August 2022

recession. Regional governments have begun to implement policies aimed at prioritising local workforces, leaving the stability of some expatriate positions unsettled. At the same time, major shifts in employee priorities have presented new considerations around talent retention, particularly for companies looking to kick start overseas assignments once again. In the face of these challenges, how then may employers better prepare themselves for the challenges of cross-border mobility and talent retention that will impact the future of work?

Manage macroeconomic challenges through regular compensation package reviews While global travel continues to pick up around the world, it remains hard to say if we are truly on the path towards an economic recovery. Headlines in recent times have largely been dominated by warnings of rising inflation rates driven by supply chain imbalances, which have threatened to set the global financial market into a major recession. This has been corroborated by ECA International’s latest Cost of Living research, which saw a global year-onyear median rate of inflation of 5.8%, up from 1% a year ago. This has driven up the cost of living for expatriates around the world, particularly across factors like rental costs, utilities, and petrol. To combat this, companies can look to incorporate wage adjustments and policies aimed at mitigating the impact of inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, which would work to protect their employees’ purchasing power in the current economic climate. This is particularly crucial at present, given how inflation rates in many countries are at levels that many have never experienced.

Promote an organisational structure where foreign talent complements and enhances the local manpower, rather than competes with it

Unemployment remains a contentious topic, with millions of people across the region losing their jobs following the initial economic fallout in 2020. Consequently, governments have been facing mounting pressure to protect the jobs and livelihoods of local employees, and resultant policies have inevitably presented unwanted complications for global mobility teams.

company’s morale and culture.

Support renewed employee priorities in an increasingly unpredictable world

The pandemic has changed the relationship that many of us have with our work. Employees today have begun to prioritise factors such as their health, well-being, and time with family above conventional job benefits, and this is no different for expatriates. On the contrary, to help alleviate the additional stress that can arise from being in a foreign environment, employers should look to revisit their benefit plans and recalibrate their overseas operations in a manner that can best support their expatriate employees in today’s unpredictable world. While the physical health concerns posed by COVID-19 have undoubtedly taken August 2022 |


Balance the needs of a foreign and local workforce

While such measures are typically relaxed as economies return to health, companies looking to work around them in the meantime must look to balance their need for foreign talent with those of a recovering local workforce. One way to achieve this is by promoting an organisational structure where foreign talent complements and enhances the local manpower, rather than competes with it. For instance, foreign workers can play a role in companies’ talent development programmes by training local employees on skills and knowledge which may be lacking. Knowledge sharing also creates opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration, heightening employee productivity in the long run, while simultaneously promoting healthy working relationships that will ultimately benefit the


As inflation and exchange rate movements can directly impact both the real and perceived value of compensation packages for staff working outside of their home countries, companies should set in place clear and consistent policies that allow for fair and timely reviews of their staff ’s compensation packages as needed, which will help to account for further bumps along the road ahead.



The focus should be on ensuring that staff feel seen, heard, and remembered centre stage over the last two years, mental health and wellbeing have also emerged as key priorities of employees, with many even considering them the top challenge stemming from the pandemic. Around the world, government-mandated lockdowns had driven many to involuntary isolation for extended periods of time, resulting in increased feelings of loneliness and depression. For expatriates who have been away from their families and friends for an extended period, this has only increased the pull of homesickness. The consequences of this have manifested in an exodus of foreign workers from longstanding expatriate hubs, particularly across cities in China and Hong Kong, which | August 2022

are maintaining strict lockdown and travel restrictions. In times like these, an expatriate’s need for their company’s support has perhaps never been greater, and talent mobility teams must rise to meet this challenge. From providing access to mental health resources and programmes to conducting regular employee check-ins, the focus should be on ensuring that staff feel seen, heard, and remembered. The rise of flexible remote working arrangements has also allowed for staff in certain roles to carry out their duties from locations around the world. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will be able to carry out all their duties from their home countries,

it does open up the possibilities of having them relocate to nearby countries (such as from Hong Kong to Singapore) on a temporary basis to wait out restrictions, or being deployed on a long-term basis to a reopened regional hub. In addition to offering employees more freedom of movement, this will also allow them to leverage regional support and resources while managing multiple markets from a single location. With cross-border mobility becoming ever more complex amid the myriad of macroeconomic issues, tightening foreign manpower measures, and concerns around employee well-being, today’s talent mobility teams are facing more challenges than ever as they look to get their staff back overseas into a gradually reopening world. While it remains to be seen how the pandemic will continue to play out in the coming months, it is crucial for companies to bear in mind that the needs of their expatriate staff will remain everevolving amidst the highly uncertain and volatile situation. Conscious effort and flexible policies should be put in place to help employees feel supported and looked out for, so that together, all parties can look to emerge on the other side stronger. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Quane is Regional Director for Asia, ECA International

The war for talent and the future of work


ave you read “On War” by Carl von Clausewitz, 1832? Probably not. But it is interesting, because everyone seems to love the analogy of the difficulty of acquiring and retaining talent with the challenges of war. Carl von Clausewitz was a young Prussian major, fighting in battles immediately preceding Waterloo in 1815. Those experiences shaped the way he

1. Select and Maintain a Clear Aim

No business has ever grown from an idea to success without a clear and decisive purpose. That aim must then pervade the organisation’s culture. A Clear Aim provides focus for all actions, processes and endeavours; it’s the overriding principle and it’s the reference against which to test decisions and gauge progress. In simple terms, if you want to attract, develop, and retain top talent, they will want to know your WHY


By Clinton Wingrove

So, as we are addicted to the metaphor that recruiting top talent is a war, it is worth exploring the Principles of War and extracting apposite lessons from them for business. Various countries have adopted slightly different numbers, names, and descriptions for these principles but they are all extremely similar. Here we review the most common model of 10 principles and link them to a sound business approach.


The future of work continues to change as we build it, but one thing seems very likely to remain the same for years to come – the war for talent. Here are some principles from the past that will serve well in the ambiguity of the future

thought about warfare. He later became a general and a military theorist. Clausewitz argued that war could not be waged successfully merely as a logistical exercise. He argued that war demanded rapid, quality decision making by those in command – responding promptly to unexpected events that arise in the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of war. Sound familiar? Clausewitz’s work helped form the basis of military doctrine and what are now known as the Principles of War. These principles of war are ignored or forgotten at the peril of commanders and leaders; indeed, most military failures can be attributed, at least in part, to a failure to understand or apply them. And so it is in business – managers and leaders who apply researched, robust, and tested principles avoid failure and achieve success. Most of those who don’t apply the principles fall by the wayside.

Don’t get distracted trying to emulate, to compete with, or to catch up with other organisations August 2022 |


– what you stand for and what it will mean for them. Define your mission (why you exist) and your vision (what that look will like in when achieved).



2. Maintain Morale

Organisations whose workforces have poor morale lack sustainability, find it hard to add value, and struggle to motivate their staff. Conversely, organisations in which morale is high are far more productive, are more agile, and have a ‘passion to win’. Yes, morale is powerful - it is the intangible fuel that permeates and drives successful organisations. But, it also acts like a magnet for new talent. Organisations with great morale do not have to tell that to potential candidates – the candidates come because they have heard about it from others. Social proof will drive candidates to you.

3. Offence is Better than Defence

It is easy to adopt a perspective that you need to emulate or even defend yourselves against other organisations. But offence is the practical way in which an organisation most easily gains advantage, sustains momentum, and seizes the initiative. You need a mindset of internal entrepreneurship – proactively identifying opportunities and striving 54

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Top talent want to know that you concentrate on success, not bureaucracy, structures, and status

are protected and that individuals have the freedom to create value in the business. Top talent want to know that, if they join you, they will be equipped, enabled, and encouraged to use their abilities to the fullest. Make that clear!

5. Surprise to take advantage of them. This positive state of mind creates prompt action rather than reluctant reaction. Offensive action implies a robust, incisive - but not necessarily aggressive approach to competition, opportunities, and to protection of assets. It benefits from a culture that inspires creativity, innovation, and courage. Don’t get distracted trying to emulate, to compete with, or to catch up with other organisations. Simply go on the offensive – set out your stall clearly, boldly, and loudly as to why you are the best employer for those you target.

4. Security

Security is the creation and maintenance of an operating environment that allows managers and leaders the freedom of action to achieve objectives. Underpinning security is a profound understanding of comprehensive risk management. It is a judicious mix of legal, financial, and procedural actions to ensure that assets

Surprise is a market winner. It comes in many forms but can be exemplified in consumer-relevant innovation that takes the market unawares and reshapes the environment to the benefit of the business. So, to attract top talent you need to demonstrate a culture of creativity, innovation, and courage. But, your organisation should also expect to be surprised themselves, whether by competitors, pandemics, international supply chain issues, financial instability, or something more obscure. You need to demonstrate your ability to spot, manage, and even capitalise on risks.

6. Concentration of Force Concentration of Force involves the decisive, synchronised, and effective application of assets to realise specific outcomes. It requires organisations to understand their core business strengths and the processes that allow them to engage with their market in an agile manner. It requires

leaders to know when, how, and where to apply assets, irrespective of organisational hierarchies and policies. Top talent want to know that you concentrate on success, not bureaucracy, structures, and status. They want to know that the use of their talent will be focused on achieving success.

7. Economy of Effort

Economy of effort is the judicious exploitation of

8. Agility

Agility is about being adaptable and flexible. It also comprises versatility, responsiveness, resilience, and acuity. Employees are encouraged to think creatively, and to be resourceful, imaginative – especially in the face of the unexpected – and to demonstrate a ‘cando’ attitude. Do your talent attraction, selection, and

9. Collaboration

Collaboration includes, but is more than, simple teamwork. It includes sharing of dangers, burdens, risks and opportunities in every respect. It relies on three related elements: a common aim, a clear division of responsibilities (including understanding of, and compensation for, the capa-

10. Sustainability

Sustainability has two dimensions. First, what is your organisation doing to maximise sustainability e.g., attention to carbon footprint, recycling, reducing use of plastics? Second, what is your organisation doing to maximise its own sustainability? Does your talent attraction, selection, and recruitment process demonstrate that you have strategic management who are focused beyond the short-term stakeholder demands and on ways of ensuring long-term success? If we are truly in a war for talent, then we need to think strategically about how we can win that war. The ten principles of war provide a framework against which to assess and correct our talent attraction, selection, and recruitment communications, processes, and logistics. How well does your organisation’s talent attraction, selection, and recruitment processes, logistics, and communications compare with those principles?


recruitment process send that message?

bilities and limitations of others), and mutual respect and trust. Does your talent attraction, selection, and recruitment process get that message across?


manpower, materials, and influence in relation to the achievement of objectives. It is not necessarily about making things simple - it is about making them easy, effective, and least demanding. Economy of effort is best summarised as the right tool in the right place, at the right time, leading to the right result. Does your talent attraction, selection , and recruitment process convey

a passion for efficiency and effectiveness?

Clinton Wingrove is the Principal Consultant, Clinton HR Ltd August 2022 |


Champions of Well-being:

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Winners of the Best Wellness programme

People Matters and MediBuddy recently concluded the Buddies of Wellness: Best Wellness programmes of 2022. Here is a brief snapshot of the winners and some insights into how they forged winning wellness programmes that pushed the boundaries of employee well-being By People Matters Editorial Team


n support of efforts towards recreating employee wellness in the workplace, scaling ever new heights, People Matters in partnership with MediBuddy curated the Buddies of Wellness: Best Wellness programmes of


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2022. Meant to recognise the companies that have created outstanding and impactful wellness programmes, the Buddies of Wellness recognition initiative ended with 11 winners, each with their own unique and robust emphasis on creat-

ing the right wellness initiatives. These winners built programmes that leveraged digital technology and organisation-wide support to create meaningful change. Here is a peek into what made our winners truly impactful.

Leveraging digital and AI tools for impact: Genpact (Banking & Capital Markets Vertical)


dance, and music therapy sessions. Through partnered events and sessions, employees also received support for finding purpose in their work, managing stress, building resilience, and ensuring financial wellness. Employees also had access to 24x7 counselling services with trained psychologists, free access to Headspace (a meditation and wellness application), and membership in the company’s virtual medical platform on MediBuddy. Genpact’s employee wellbeing programmes helped key engagement metrics improve by 50%. In the company’s Banking and Capital Markets division in India, concerted efforts saw a rise in their wellness quotient. The company also reported a high employee satisfaction rate with their wellness initiatives, with over 100% of employees saying they would recommend the programme to their peers. The company regularly solicited employee feedback during

implementation to improve participation and engagement. The company used technology solutions such as AI-enabled chatbots to gather employee feedback and satisfaction scores. In addition, a separate virtual assistant called ‘Watercooler’ helped replicate information conversations and connections held in the office, ensuring team members remained connected despite working in different locations through award nights, happy hours, and shared images and videos helped enhance collaboration. Company leaders who participated in these activities set a positive example and connected with different team members. By keeping employees at the centre of all their initiatives and leveraging technology to make wellness accessible, Genpact has created a culture that encourages employees to strive for holistic wellness and supports them at each step. August 2022 |

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ith two unique wellness programmes that helped employees connect and ensure comprehensive well-being, Genpact’s Banking & Capital Markets vertical in India helped its digital workforce become more engaged and included. The BCM Unwind programme includes weekly leadership events with one-onone virtual listening sessions with senior company leaders, quick and informal sessions with colleagues at mutually convenient time slots, and virtual team happy hours. There’s also a parenting support community called i-Support that helps parents access resources like webinars, blogs, and articles from children experts to help balance work, supervise children and keep them engaged. Sessions for parents and children that include storytelling, art, and craft are also held. Team members also assemble virtually to share their writings, poems, and other creative projects. Creating social connections and ensuring employees working remotely have opportunities to connect are also prioritised. The second programme, #IChooseWellness ensured physical and mental wellness for all employees. Besides encouraging employees to remain physically active by participating in activities such as hiking, biking, running, yoga and swimming, this programme also organised virtual Zumba, yoga,


Using technology to create comprehensive employee care: Juniper

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uniper believes that addressing mental and physical employee wellness is critical in creating a solid foundation for a culture of constant innovation. The company, which boasts a multigenerational workforce in the country, has many ongoing programmes that champion the cause of employee well-being. Among Juniper's host of wellness initiatives, the top two are the TaskHuman Wellness App and the Cleo Family support programme. With their TaskHuman Wellness App, Juniper leveraged digital technologies to allow employees to access a live global network of wellness coaches for one-on-one private video calls any time of the day. The aim is to make it easier for the employees and their spouses/domestic partners to invest time and effort in their

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well-being, personal growth and mental health. With the coaches covering nearly 1,000 wellness categories, they can consult experienced professionals on personal goals, stressors, and interests. Launched in January 2021, Juniper uses technology as an accelerator of wellness benefits. The benefits of using technology with the proper forethought were evident in the results that Juniper obtained. In just over a year since implementation, Juniper employees have used over 1 million minutes of coaching via TaskHuman. Juniper places utmost priority on employees’ wellness and an annual survey is conducted to assess the impact of the various wellness initiatives the company has in place to ensure it is focusing on the needs and considerations of all employees. The organisation’s wellness programme strategy and plan

are shared with relevant stakeholders before any programme launch, ensuring it meets employees' needs and aligns with the business strategy. Many of Juniper's wellness initiatives, such as the Cleo Family Support programme, Optum MyLivewell app, TaskHuman Wellness app and Mfine telehealth app, leverage the latest digital technology to create a holistic impact. Once the physical option wasn't available, Juniper seamlessly moved the wellness seminars and physical yoga sessions to live online sessions. All online sessions were conducted via the Microsoft Teams platform and recordings were shared with employees for easy round-the-clock access. Juniper has also taken to LinkedIn Learning and Yammer, an online platform which allows interactive idea exchanges, to promote employee wellbeing by creating the Employee Wellness programme learning path with several recommended videos on various relevant topics. To increase employees' awareness and engagement across the wellness programmes, Juniper also launched the India Juniper WeCare Wellness programme in 2022. This holistic integration of the four dimensions of wellness helps employees build a stronger financial future, engage the mind, address physical ailments, and ultimately improve their overall well-being.

Supporting employee wellness with AI for smarter solutions: Maxlife Insurance

significant decline in mobility. To address this concern, Max Life introduced the Healthify Smart initiative so that employees could access much-needed assistance and information to lead healthy lives. Over nine hundred employees joined the programme within 1.5 months of the launch. Another simple yet effective initiative by Max Life has been Wellness Wednesdays. This is a bi-weekly reminder that urges employees to live a healthier, more active lifestyle focused on their mental and physical well-being. There are a variety of methods that Max Life has adopted to keep its employees engaged in leading a healthy lifestyle. They have sessions focused on mental well-being (mindfulness sessions, art therapy), physical well-being

August 2022 |

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ax Life Insurance made employees key stakeholders in accelerating their own wellness. The insurance company has several ongoing initiatives focusing on employees’ mental and physical well-being. With Healthify Smart, Max Life has launched an artificial intelligence-based programme that helps employees create easy-to-follow diet and workout plans, where they can eat what they want but with the proper nutritional values to support their fitness goals. They also have access to 24x7 assistance from their AI Coach, at-home workout videos and food recipes based on their fitness goals. In developing this programme, the company considered the fact that employees working from home have seen a

(yoga, weight loss exercises, Tabata training) and diet (dietary hacks, immunitybuilding food, losing weight at home). Max Life has ensured all its programmes and initiatives are digitally accessible to all employees, either through its mobile app or collaboration platform Workplace. In addition, recordings of all live sessions are kept on the platform for employees to view at a convenient time. The company has also developed comprehensive strategies to encourage healthy behaviours. Employees are informed of all the support and benefits available to them and how to access the benefits weekly via mailers and digital platforms. Max Life also proactively collects employee feedback and shares health stories as testimonials to encourage more employee participation. Using Pulse and Engagement surveys efficiently, Max Life gathers information about employees' sentiments. These responses are used to fine-tune the wellbeing programmes as per employees' requirements. Max Life has also participated in external surveys like Workforce and Increment Trends Survey by Deloitte to understand more about the best wellness practices in peer organisations and where they stand.


Strengthening employee welfare using data-driven decisions: Wipro

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ipro's commitment to employee well-being translated into a host of concerted efforts towards ramping up wellness programmes. The wellness programmes representative of Wipro's approach to employee wellness are their GearUp and the Behaviour Spotting programmes. The GearUp programme works with a preventive approach targeted at an individual level as an onboarding initiative across all locations. This programme equips employees with the right attitude, knowledge, and behaviour towards mental health and well-being and also works towards normalising well-being engagements. In-house research has shown that more than 60% of the participants who previously thought "only emotionally weak people seek counselling" had changed their opinion post attending the programme. Gear-up played a significant role in taking new employees toward a fruitful, positive work journey and equipping them with a psychological safety toolkit. The company also worked with its managers and leaders to further facilitate employee wellbeing. The second programme, which works at an organisation/ leadership level, is the Behaviour Spotting programme. It can be defined as a psychological first aid programme designed for

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leaders, specifically the FrontLine Managers (FLMs), to be equipped with the right skills to recognise any signs of psychological distress and align strategies to support their affected team members. Wipro's impact analysis research has shown that 73% FLMs are very confident in identifying well-being concerns post attending the programme, and 90% FLMs reported they are always encouraging their teams for well-being connections. The company's Consumer Digital Operations team has a dedicated line function for Employee well-being, called the WeRe (well-being and Resilience) team. Additionally, wellness programmes are governed by the Occupational & Psychological Safety and Health model. Data-driven decisions are fundamental to Wipro's approach to well-being programmes. For example, the company conducts a biannual well-being PULSE survey to get insights into employees' emotional well-being. Another

example of Wipro's reliance on technology and data is the automatic emails generated to notify aligned wellness coaches if any employee reported sub-par scores on the well-being survey or did not attend well-being check-ins three consecutive times. The coaches then contact such employees for check-in and follow-ups if required. Due to the pandemic, most of these programmes have been taking place virtually. During the pandemic, Wipro used synchronised e-learning sessions to promote wellbeing and create a sense of awareness. The company introduced employees to a mindfulness app to help with relaxation and de-stressing techniques whenever required. With strong efforts to collect data to understand employee sentiment and health about any current events that may impact employee wellbeing is a fundamental practice, Wipro can make accurate datadriven decisions to promote wellness.

Creating multifaceted wellness initiatives and addressing work-life balance: Infosys


integrating all the pieces of the puzzle. As the pandemic forced everyone to become more physically distant, technology became the solution for all needs, connectivity and otherwise. Infosys has leveraged several solutions to curate a culture of well-being in the 'new normal. For example, mapping a well-being profile of the organ-

benefits such as applying for COVID leaves, accessing COVID helplines and emergency support, COVID soft loan, wellness FAQs and more on the Infyme Mobile App. Infosys also conducts fortnightly, organisation-wide, comprehensive employee satisfaction surveys to gauge the effectiveness of processes and programmes, including the

isation by using feedback data from various initiatives, analysing patterns in utilisation of wellbeing services and following global contemporary well-being trends were all part of the wellness efforts. By using all this data, the company was able to get a bird's eye view of the well-being strata present in the organisation. This enabled them to launch more focused interventions for various employee categories. Infosys also ensured all employees could access

Health and Wellness initiatives. The IT major has seen a 14% increase in participation from Infoscions quarter-on-quarter in their response towards wellness initiatives. The wellness measures available at every employee's disposal have enabled them to be more active and reduce their sedentary lifestyle. The opportunity to work from home and continuous focus on wellness has decreased absenteeism by 98% from FY20 to FY21.

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nfosys, the Indian IT giant, has had a long record of putting employees and their mental and physical well-being on top of their list of priorities. Today, the company has over 900 ongoing initiatives aiming to better the work life of 150,000 Infoscions. Two of Infosys' most empowering initiatives have been Samaritans-on-the-go and HALE, Infosys' employee wellbeing programme. Samaritanson-the-go is a peer-to-peer counselling network of Infoscions who are trained in barefoot counselling and provide support to other employees, helping them cope with personal and professional issues. Employees can access this programme through Infosys' internal app, InfyME. This programme encompasses over 100 Samaritans across different locations. HALE, Infosys's Employee well-being programme, was reimagined during the pandemic. They built a sustainable 3-tiered model to help employees navigate their wellness journey. The programme covers three aspects: self-help, micro environment and macro environment. Having moved to a hybrid work model, Infosys' future points more in the direction of creating virtual environments that nurture and harbour the concept of "Co-exist, Co-create & Collaborate". When it comes to the macro environment, the focus is on driving programmes centrally and

August 2022 |


De-stigmatizing mental health and encouraging open conversations: Zomato

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he organisation has many programmes that exemplify its commitment to championing the cause of employee well-being. All wellness programmes are designed to be both accessible and engaging. The company continuously creates relevant wellness content and shares it across its platforms. Zomato created an 11-member strong Wellness Team comprising five psychologists, four fitness trainers, and two consulting psychiatrists. The Team helps create relevant programmes that are tuned to address employee needs. In March 2021, the Team introduced Humans of Zomato: a platform for Zomans to come forward and share unique and inspiring chapters from their lives. An important outcome of these initiatives was the much-

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needed de-stigmatisation of mental health, encouraging open conversations among one another and greater awareness regarding the gravity of mental health. Employees have also gained the confidence to reach out to their managers and team leads to discuss their struggles and provide feedback about things that have been helpful or unhelpful. This comfort level has been a major part of helping Zomato reduce stress and increase employee motivation. The second achievement has been creating a psychologically safe work environment for everyone, leading to a happier and more content workforce. This has also culminated in a healthier lifestyle for each individual that aids personal and professional growth. Zomato's Wellness Team maintains a database of the

number of employees reaching out for support. With the help of all this data, it becomes easy for the company to identify the frequency of concerns and look for patterns. For example, difficulties faced by a particular team decreased the progress rate amongst people. Employees also receive feedback forms after every group session or activity to understand what they took away from the session, what they would have done differently, and what other topics they would like to discuss. Zomato also rolls out frequent Pulse Check Surveys across the organisation every few months to keep track of changes that are being experienced and areas that still need improvement. All Wellness content and initiatives are backed by research. This includes Wellness Tips sent out to employees and all facts mentioned in the modules shared in group sessions/campaigns. Almost all of the Wellness Team's initiatives are conducted through online platforms like Zoom to make things convenient for those working from home or other offices at different locations in the country. The Wellness Team is also creating an 'E-Training Wellness Module' to prepare Zomans to provide the first line of assistance for themselves, fellow Zomans, or anyone who might require support for their emotional well-being using video animation.

Diverse benefits and gamification for success: Cognizant

25,000 participants and 2,500 family teams are a part of an eight-week challenge to improve their physical activity, diet, hydration, sleep, and wellness. By creating friendly competition where each location, business unit, team, and individual competed, the company accelerated adoption. Those who emerge as winners also share their approach on internal and external platforms to motivate others. The company's mental and emotional health wellness programmes include diverse initiatives like employee assistance programmes that offer counseling from certified professionals and a dedicated platform to discuss worklife topics such as managing stress, maintaining good health, and solving conflicts. These initiatives have helped Cognizant employees become more

August 2022 |

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ognizant is a global IT services and consulting company that addresses its employee wellness needs with a range of targeted employee wellness programmes that focus on participants' physical, mental, financial, and social well-being. These initiatives use the 'ABS' approach of creating awareness, promoting behavioural sustenance, and monitoring success. For example, the 'Be Well' programme covers 370 initiatives covering more than 250,000 employees and their dependents. These programmes involve health experts and professionals from diverse fields who offer employees the guidance and support to prioritise their health. The 'Cognizant Health Challenge’ is a gamified flagship programme in its seventh consecutive year, wherein

aware, engaged, and motivated while improving their health and those of their families. Cognizant uses several technology platforms and partners to improve employee access and participation. Besides internal platforms, services of third-party providers such as Healthify are used to measure and analyse participation. All webinars, consultations, and sessions as a part of the Employee Assistance programme are held digitally, and over 1900 users have sought professional help through these programmes. Similarly, 1980 expecting mothers enrolled in the Magic of Motherhood (MOM) programme. All programmes are designed after consultation with diverse stakeholders and partnering with the DEI, LGBTQ, women, and millennial councils. Internal affinity groups help identify expectations, collect feedback, and improve the rollout of specific initiatives. Incentives in rewards, celebrity sessions, and financial health awareness programmes also helped increase motivation. By providing its employees with accessible, creative, and innovative encouragement to prioritise health and using quizzes, concerts, and stand-up performances to educate participants, Cognizant has helped its workforce make healthier changes to their lives.


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Creating healthy competition for better engagement: Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd.



ntas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is a leading multinational pharmaceutical formulation development, manufacturing, and marketing company. The company’s iCARE wellness programme helps employees and their families with specific COVID support measures such as partnerships with hospitals for priority admission, 24x7 medical support and ambulance services, and meals for families in COVID distress. It also includes support for critical medicines, oxygen, and diagnostics, access to a 30-bed COVID treatment centre, vaccination, and care of surviving family members in case of demise. In addition, employees recovering from the infection received daily check-ins, support, and medical supervision to detect complications. The company also operationalised a 24x7 call centre to provide the required information and support. To complement this, the company also has the iFIT

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programme that encourages employees to cultivate behavioural changes and be physically active. Participants competed with each other in teams under different categories such as walking, jogging, or running (steps), cycling (kilometres), and cardio skeletal exercises (minutes). The company’s CRS division pledged to donate INR 25 for every kilometre, 1500 steps, or 10 minutes of exercise completed. To focus on the health of women employees, the company started ‘Desk to 5K’ wherein participants received training by a professional triathlete to walk or jog 5km at the end of the 90-day programme. With these interventions, Intas integrated health and wellbeing into its work culture and encouraged employees to live a healthier lifestyle. With more than 16,000 employees participating in these programmes, the company donated more than INR 79,30,000 to help children fighting cancer due to the

recorded steps, kilometres, and minutes of activity. Technology played a vital role in implementing these wellness measures at Intas. For example, the company’s global crisis management team connected virtually every week to prepare and update the status for the iCARE programme, which involved live tracking COVIDpositive employees. In addition, an internal platform helped employees get live access to medical help, resources, and advice. A particular vaccination portal also displayed the vaccination status of all individuals and their family members, which helped plan meetings, site visits, and other events. With rich experience in medical support, Intas was able to choose the right intention, design, and approach to implementing comprehensive employee well-being measures that helped employees improve their wellness, engagement, and trust in the company.

Promoting Wellness First: Tech Mahindra Limited


tem accessible 24x7 through wellness apps and integrated portals to implement and measure these programmes. This helped provide personalised and real-time medical care to employees and their family members. The company’s wellness programmes are integrated into eight dimensions: Physical, Occupational, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Environmental, Financial, and Intellectual. By making wellness more accessible and analysing data points to make targeted improvements, Tech Mahindra is demonstrating how its mantra of “Wellness Before Business” is a way of life. Using a multi-layered approach that involved leaders, managers, and employees, Tech Mahindra has built a Human network of well-

ness champions. These ‘Wellness Samaritans’ work with the ‘Central Wellness Team’ alongside ‘Wellness Warrior Groups’ and ‘Location Council Members’ to facilitate check-ins, organise expert talks, and curate training and personalise wellness content across all locations. In addition, using external partners like Medibuddy and YourDost, Tech Mahindra has been able to provide value added counselling services, medical support, home sample collection, delivery of medicines, personalised diet, and nutrition plans etc. As a people-centric company, Tech Mahindra is focused on expanding their vision of holistic wellness with a tech-enabled bouquet of wellness services as well as a ‘Wellness Menu’ to let employees personalise their wellness experiences. August 2022 |

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ech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting, and business re-engineering services and solutions, adopted a multifaceted approach for its employee wellness needs. The company relied on personalised technology solutions to ensure employee well-being during the pandemic while maintaining business continuity. Its AI Coach tool uses positive reinforcements to nudge managers in improving their frequency of communication, reducing negative tones, using positive vocabulary, and recognising good work. This not only promotes psychological safety at the workplace but also improves managerial effectiveness and employee morale. Tech Mahindra believes that ensuring a healthy workplace is more than just preventing illness, injuries and accidents. It’s a positive approach to improving the overall well-being of an organisation, its employees and their loved ones. Over 10,000 employees participated in their ‘Wellness 101 Challenge’, a global wellness contest to focus on physical and emotional wellbeing . The ‘Kick the Butt’ smoking cessation programme also witnessed a 79.4% increase in annual engagement, and 10% of the participants reduced daily cigarettes by 100%, 23% cut them by 50%, and 7% reduced them to 1 per day.. Tech Mahindra created an embedded wellness ecosys-


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Establishing frequent connections with leadership and ensuring robust communication: Expleo



xpleo is a global engineering, technology and consulting service provider that partners with leading organisations to guide them through their business transformation. The company initiated a ‘Gift a Leave’ policy in 2020 that allows its workforce to support their colleagues during challenging times and create a culture of goodwill and trust. Additionally, the workforce is given practical, easy-to-follow guidelines for improving transparency and maintaining a healthy work-life balance to help them manage their time and communication effectively. Close monitoring by the leadership team and connecting with employees and their family members help strengthen the trust and serve as an opportunity to learn more about the needs of everyone in

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the organisation. The company’s ‘Employee Wellness and Assistant programme (EWAP)’ provided support and resources to all employees, delivered in a confidential manner. Besides providing medical support, the programme offers access to professional counsellors, ‘Tranquil’ mindfulness application, peer support groups, self-help tools, and health and wellness webinars. Due to the scale and scope of these proactive measures and initiatives, employee satisfaction grew by 15 points in the past two years, and a majority of the new employees have started considering the wellness programme and healthy work culture a considerable perk. The efforts taken by the Human Resources function also

benefited the organisation in finding new talents, observing 23% of the talent inflow coming through referral, as current employees appreciate the measures taken to offer wellness benefits and health support. The focus during implementation was to ensure communication channels were accessible and involve the leadership team to set the best benchmark. Sharing employee experiences and success stories and organizing one-minute challenges, competitions, and quizzes helped strengthen communication and boost confidence. The organisation also runs customised programmes that include healthy lifestyle campaigns, financial fitness campaigns and safety campaigns, policies and processes and much more. The company’s leadership team, HR team, and employee assistance partners collaborated to create a seamless framework that encouraged employees to focus on their health at work as well as at home. To ensure that everyone remained connected and engaged, Expleo helped resources to take needed breaks and set a fixed time for schedules, limit the number of calls, and take time off as required. The company also supported managers in following healthy and productive professional habits. Expleo used digital collaboration platforms to establish virtual connections regularly.


introduced, including enhanced insurance coverage, modified leave policies, internal helplines, and easier access to scarce resources. These initiatives have helped the company improve employee engagement scores and helped well-being become an integral part of the workplace culture. Increasing participation and higher utilisation of employee assistance programmes and applicationbased services indicate the overall success in adoption and sustained engagement. The company’s employee assistance programme and telemedicine are available 24x7 digitally, and remote counselling is also available to employees. The company’s leadership and, more

crucially, managers became the most important drivers of these programmes. The company trained managers in conducting effective conversations and collecting feedback virtually. They were also made aware of how to identify signs of distress in their team members. Rockwell provided special attention and support to ensure managers could implement these initiatives without feeling exhausted or over-burdened. Rockwell’s timely shift to make wellness a strong pillar of its organisational culture by providing accessible and valuable resources has positively impacted its workforce and business by defining a new way of working that prioritises well-being and flexibility. August 2022 |

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ockwell Automation is the largest company in the world dedicated to industrial automation and information. Rockwell focused on building resilience and providing comprehensive wellness to ensure that employees experience maximum consistency and minimum disruption while adopting a remote or hybrid work model. Rockwell Automation India introduced an annual wellbeing calendar covering various wellness aspects, including the physical, psychological, financial, and cultural. It also geared its communication, engagement, and recognition policies to focus on health and wellness. Besides visible and regular communication from the top leadership, Rockwell provided access to wellness apps, organised educational wellness programmes, and facilitated employee resource groups focused on health. In addition, regular surveys and questionnaires with specific health-related aspects helped the company assess how the employees are feeling and what could be done to support them better. These responses helped devise many innovative and engaging initiatives, such as the ‘Step It Up’ challenge, wherein participants logged in more than 16 million steps, and the ‘Healtha-thon,’ which saw the participation of over 500 employees. Moreover, specific measures to help employees manage COVID-19 and its stresses were

Make wellness a part of your culture: Rockwell Automation Pvt. Ltd.


Planning to take a career risk?

Smart lessons from a CEO’s career The Great Resignation makes job and career movements look so easy. But what about our own fears, which are so often the greatest obstacle? Here, we draw some lessons from the career of Sharon Price John, President and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc By Rita McGrath and M Muneer


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ave you been planning to take that career move, but not done so because of the “what ifs” fear? Sharon Price John’s fabulous career is full of lessons on how to get past those fears and get out of your own way. The fears that come on your path to career progress are aplenty. Being afraid to ask for


| August 2022

that next job. Being afraid to take credit. Being afraid to speak up. But as Sharon Price John’s career suggests, the fears of what could go wrong are often wildly overexaggerated, and the upsides of what could go right are underestimated. But first, who is Sharon? She is the President and CEO of BuildA-Bear Workshop Inc, a teddy bear retailer headquartered in St Louis, USA. She has turned the company around in just a few years and repositioned the twodecade-old brand for the future. In her forthcoming book, “Stories and Heart,” Sharon recounts an early episode in her life of ambitiously determining to climb a huge beech tree. She made it to the branch she wanted to climb, and then realised that despite weeks of planning to get up the tree, she had somehow neglected to figure out how to get back down! Most of us can relate to this experience as children. As

she reflected on the experience, she consciously noted that setting challenging goals could be labelled scary (it might be bad) or exciting (it might be awesome). Picking “awesome” made the setting of challenging goals something to be enjoyed, not feared. Writing the goals down also makes them much more executable. So here are a few smart ways you can pan for the risk:

Sometimes you have to experience what you don’t want to learn what you do want

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Sharon was a guest speaker at Rita’s inaugural Women in Leadership class at Columbia Executive Education when a participant asked her whether she would advise women to ask for a raise or promotion. She blinked, and then said, “Of course – what’s the worst that could happen? They

Don’t overthink everything

As someone from a small town in rural Tennessee working at a fancy advertising agency in New York, the clash of backgrounds with co-workers could be tough to navigate. This situation is very familiar to most executives in India. And yet, as Sharon points out, it would be a mistake to take every mismatch of expectations as an insult or put-down – sometimes, it’s just funny! As Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “no one can make you feel inferior without

The fears of what could go wrong are often wildly over-exaggerated, and the upsides of what could go right are under-estimated

L e a d e r s hi p

Sharon’s first try at attending a large university didn’t go so well – she ended up returning home to take a break, worked at a blue jean pick-and-pack facility and could easily have given up. But when her co-workers asked her to slow down because she was making them look bad, she realised that settling for the mediocre wasn’t what she wanted in life. She went back to school, changed her major to advertising and created a personal rubric for making decisions based on her middle name, PRICE: Perseverance. Respect. Intelligence. Creativity. Excellence. These came to be critical to her future choices.

might say no, but now they know you are interested and can give you suggestions about what might allow you to qualify for that role.”

your consent.” This is most apt for many folks in the new India where discrimination based on caste, creed, income, religion and even political affiliation is rising.

The two things you learn in business school

Making a huge leap of faith to attend Columbia Business School, Sharon had to face down a lot of self-doubt. A rather cynical colleague said that you learn two things in business school. The first is that more money is better than less money. The second is that money now is better than money later. This was in the day August 2022 |


The quantitative and linear thinking of the money-first mindset could lead to blind spots

L e a d e r s hi p

when Columbia was very financefocused, just as most B-schools are. Seen through that lens, it was a dumb decision to give up her income and go into debt. What Sharon learned, however, was that the quantitative and linear thinking of this mindset could lead to blind spots. Her background in advertising and creative pursuits, coupled with financial know-how, would prove essential to her success in leadership roles. She talked her way into a product management job at Mattel, working on the Barbie account, and even though that proved less lucrative than the roles taken by some of her more financially driven colleagues, it was a springboard to future success. This may seem very familiar for many of the 10+ year experienced MBAs when they look back at their batchmates.

Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be Just after doing everything right to launch a new, entrepreneurial 70

| August 2022

product, 9/11 and the subsequent snarling of global supply chains doomed the venture. A move to the toy company Hasbro offered the chance to re-imagine what a corporate career might look like, and Sharon enjoyed considerable success with then-iconic products such as Furby and the Butterscotch pony. But after a corporate reorganisation basically eliminated her job, a session with an executive coach led to the realisation that she had what it takes to be a CEO!

Stop Doing Stupid Stuff; Start Doing Smart Stuff

Over time, organisations accumulate habits. These habits make sense for the situation the organisation is in, but over time many no longer make sense. One of Sharon’s key precepts is to encourage people, with humour, to consider everything they are working on in the light of whether it is adding value or not. She says, think of it like the movie Groundhog Day, in which you don’t get past the day you’re in until you get it right!


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

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Visty Banaji

Beware of the deceitful impression manager

The road less travelled

Impression Management presents a hazard like the Iceberg Menace for the unwary. All of us like to display our best faces to the world. But what happens when that conceals outright fakery underneath?



knew a man named Jackson once and I was scared of him. Jackson could change colours like a chameleon. At one moment he could be the most charming person around and, literally without batting an eyelid, turn and torture his prey with a tirade from his vicious tongue. Like the Jackson chameleon, he was also slow in his movements and ruthless in his behaviour with competitors.1 His dazzle and dashing actions were reserved for the people that counted – till they counted. Jacksons are not a rare species in the corporate world. But those who cannot see through how Jacksons package their pasts, pretend in performing and present themselves to the public, are destined to join the extinct species list themselves. This column is intended to prevent that from happening. I shall not pretend the | August 2022

The kind of personalities that excel in interview deception can play havoc with office politics and outside relationships rest of us don’t manage impressions. What is different about Fake Impression Builders (FIBs), are the deceit they use in doing so and the consequential harm they can cause to trusting individuals and enterprises.

They are the frightening realisations of what happens when the lily and the rose accede to the tiger and the viper: Said the tiger to the lily, Said the viper to the rose: Let us marry so our children

May attain the double pose. With a feline half a flower – With the attar in the asp, We could institute a slaughter That would make a planet gasp.2

Scripting selections

The collateral damage caused by FIBs also comes from the hunting packs they create for the sake of maximising reach and plausible deniability while minimising risk much-overused construct),6 Cit can be a positive handicap in closing the doors to tricksters.7 While structured CV examinations and thorough reference checks can limit the impact of fudging, there are no such impediments in an interview. An astute FIB, facing an unknown interviewer, uses three methods, often simultaneously. The first is the embellishment or erasure of parts of the past track record as well as the higher-risk, higherreturn creation of non-existent achievement and recognition. The second method is to lay flattery on with a

trowel – without appearing to do so. Getting the interviewer to talk about the firm’s victories (often the same as the interviewing CEO’s), presents an endless stream of toast for buttering. The last method requires both pre-work with considerable presence of mind and involves giving the interviewer the answers s/ he wishes to hear. This is the way to go when speaking of values, principles and preferences – which do not have a single correct answer. The problem for the selector is that s/he is in an echo chamber, rejoicing in finding such a great cultural fit while August 2022 |

The road less travelled

Selection is meant to segregate movers from fakers but FIBs are masters at scripting fictitiously puffed-up bio-data, acting them out in 'gamed' interviews and using both to make off with prize positions that their capabilities do not merit. The incidence of faking in interviews is fairly common and, even if we confine ourselves to 'Extensive Image Creation', (i.e. when candidates lie), the proportion of people faking rarely falls below 60%.)3 Cross-cultural studies show both power distance and in-group collectivism positively correlated with attitudes toward faking.4 Hence there is little reason to believe India is free from this malaise. Unfortunately, our battalions of experienced interviewers, whose Emotional Intelligence has been honed to the nth degree, also cannot protect us from these deceivers. Several studies have shown that "experience does not improve IM [Impression Management] detection. …[P] rofessional interviewers did not outperform novice interviewers at detecting IM."5 As for Emotional Intelligence (a


The road less travelled 74

being ignorant of the candidate’s true character and likely conduct. Some interviewers try to brazen out the ignominy of being deceived by pretending that’s the kind of person they wanted to select. After all, wouldn’t such a smart operator be an asset in convincing people internally and even more so in persuading clients? But this is dangerous thinking. The kind of personalities that excel in interview deception can play havoc with office politics and outside relationships. "Indeed, many of the antecedents of deceptive IM, such as … high scores on the dark triad are also associated with lower work

performance or increased likelihood of engaging in counterproductive work behaviours."8 There are ways in which recruiters can minimie (though not eliminate) the possibility of getting taken in by con-artists with dark triadic leanings. An entire column has been devoted to avoiding such traps in CHRO selections and those ideas on interviewer choice, interview structure and 360º reference checks could all be helpful here.9 Additionally, it could be useful to supplement the job specs with a clear set of 'select-out' criteria.10 Needless to say, preference for an internal talent pipeline can pre-empt some

It is finally up to us to distinguish between true thought leadership and attractively coloured dishwater

| August 2022

of the risks high-level external selections invariably entail.11 That pre-supposes, of course, those internal assessment processes to avoid the traps and tricks posed by dark triaders who have already slipped in. Let’s examine these more closely.

The deadly game of impression manipulation

The stakes are much higher once the FIB is within the organisation. The risks become particularly severe when entrants score high on the 'psychopath' component of the Dark Triad.12 This personality disposition is capable of causing tremendous harm to results and relationships while being least susceptible to blockage by the normal promotion filters of the organisation. "[B]ehavioral tendencies that are viewed as relationally deviant when displayed by a coworker or subordinate may be considered appropriate or even admirable when enacted by someone in a position of authority. Specifically, many of the qualities of Machiavellianism and psychopathy are consistent with the role demands of leadership or management."13 As a result, "the higher up an organisation one goes the more likely one is to find corporate psychopaths."14 Dutton found CEOs to be the U.K.’s most psychopathic profession15 and Steve Taylor wrote that

ful to enter their MostFavoured-Persons lists and bullying the weak to cow them. Then going on to "enhance their reputation, to disparage others, and to create conflicts and rivalries among organisation members…"18 to garner the material, reputational and psychological rewards such 'politicking' yields. • Abandoning the people (often including the patrons who protected and promoted them) and, ultimately, the organisations that have been sufficiently parasitised and have no more pickings worth the FIB’s efforts. They almost invariably move on before their gamesmanship and sham are discovered. The collateral damage caused by FIBs also comes from the hunting packs they create for the sake of

Once FIBs are entrenched, however, cures are painful and prolonged. Some of these have been elaborated on in an earlier column in the context of psychopaths in HR.22 Part of the problem is the FIB’s patrons, who have staked so much of their assessing reputations on the line for years. Exorcism is unavoidable if the evil spirit doesn’t flee when behaviour alibis start getting exposed but damage to the victim organisation can be severe, particularly if a senior FIB was in play.

The road less travelled

"modern psychopaths generally don’t become [political] leaders in affluent countries (where they are perhaps more likely to join multinational corporations)".16 We all resort to a degree of Impression Management. What distinguishes FIBs is the sheer ruthlessness with which they operate. As Babiak and Hare put it, "The goal of their game is to set up a scam within the organisation’s structure that can fulfil their need for excitement, advancement, and power – all without concern about harmful outcomes to others."17 The same authors set out the methodology that characterises FIBs: • Assessing the terrain, identifying the powerful as well as the not-so-obvious power brokers, who can be potential patrons, supporters and (others who are just) pawns. • Manipulating the power-

maximising reach and plausible deniability while minimising risk.19 These are perfect breeding grounds for future FIBs. There are three ways to make early identification of FIBs: • Listening to complaints from employees who have been hurt or are simply observant. • HR keeping its ears to the ground20 and commanding influence enough to veto the progression of powerful FIBs. • A robust 360-degree process with tell-tale indicators of FIB characteristics (the Hare Psychopathy Checklist is a useful guide).21

Purchasing public personas To recapitulate, limited Image Management is perfectly acceptable while August 2022 |


The road less travelled 76

facing selection and in one’s work career but there is a point below which it descends to deceit. Similarly, all senior executives are conscious of their public images and nudge them in favourable directions. Here too a 'Lakshman Rekha' is crossed when people pay under the radar to breast the public image tape. Is paid personal publicity so unfair? Buying guidance and platforms for self-promotion are not as damaging (to corporates, at least) as psychopathically disposed FIBs devouring the innards of enterprises. For cohorts, it is more serious. Perhaps the best analogy is performance-enhancing drugs ingested surreptitiously by sportspersons. They don’t diminish the performance of competitors but they do give an unjustified advantage to a few, of which the judges and spectators are unaware, and which would lead to their disqualification if they were. Most of us (myself included) have only a vague idea of the fastgrowing size and sophistication of the personal branding service business. An increasing number of 'frogsecutives' are willing to spend money on advisors who can strategise, guide and, if necessary, 'ghost' their transition into tall, dark and handsome princes and make them prominently visible in seemingly impar| August 2022

tial media and communication platforms, so that their worth becomes apparent even to those who have closed their ears to direct suasion. Herein lies the link with our opening section on selection. People who obtain high corporate positions through fakery, foul their corporate nests and get found out are yet able to repeat the same cycle time after time after time. A significant part of the answer lies in the (paid) management of the public personas, with glories amplified and blunders suppressed. Brave would be the executive selector or board appointer who found such a paragon unsuitable. The same goes for award jurors, conference speaker selectors and 'top-ten' list compilers. Ultimately, the debasement of the credibility commons affects all professionals who

have built reputations the hard way and relied on wordof-mouth for them to spread. Not only are they at a disadvantage compared to those who have hired hidden loudspeakers but their brands stand discounted when people assume all medalists are on steroids. Containing public FIB is no easy task. Matters could be helped if image seekers, image providers and image judges followed some basic rules. Prospective image burnishers (potentially all of us) should strictly eschew forums (e.g. award events,23 conferences, webinars, publications, e-platforms) that charge nominees, speakers or writers. On the other side, event organisers, publishers and platform hosts should not charge fees of any kind to those for whom they provide airtime or solicit advertisements and sponsorships from their organisations.

Brain surgery

Jackson continued to prosper since "those around the 'emperor' lacked courage."25 I had long since left the firm and was working abroad when an even more devious FIB got through the swollen samrat-head that Jack-

son was bad medicine. As Dostoevsky wrote: "Viper will eat viper, and it would serve them both right!" Before Jackson got booted out, however, many valuable future leaders had left in disgust and the firm’s reputation for probity, managerial sophistication and the financial results themselves had all taken a hit from which recovery proved

Notes: 1.

2. 3.



6. 7.


David Badger, Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures - Extraordinary Chameleons, Iguanas, Geckos and More, Motorbooks International, 2006. Nathalia Crane, The Proposals, Venus Invisible: and Other Poems, Coward-McCann, 1928. J Levashina and M A Campion, Measuring faking in the employment interview: Development and validation of an interview faking behavior scale. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 2007. Clemens Fell, Cornelius König and Jana Kammerhoff, Cross-Cultural Differences in the Attitude Toward Applicants’ Faking in Job Interviews, Journal of Business and Psychology volume 31, pages65–85, 2016. Nicolas Roulin, Adrian Bangerter and Julia Levashina, Honest and Deceptive Impression Management in The Employment Interview: Can It be Detected and How Does It Impact Evaluations?, Personnel Psychology, 68(2), 2015. Visty Banaji, Old MacHR has a farm(ula), E-I - E-I O!, People Matters, 14 May 2021. Nicolas Roulin and Marguerite Ternes, Is It Time to Kill the Detection Wizard? Emotional Intelligence Does Not Facilitate Deception Detection, Personality and Individual Differences, 137:131-138, January 2019. Nicolas Roulin and Joshua Bourdage, Once an

9. 10. 11. 12.




impression manager, always an impression manager? Antecedents of honest and deceptive impression management use and variability across multiple job interviews, Frontiers in Psychology, 8(29), 2017. Visty Banaji, Help! The CHRO I picked is a lemon - How CEOs can choose better HR heads, 14 March 2019. Adrian Furnham, The Elephant In the Boardroom: The Causes of Leadership Derailment, Palgrave Macmillan; 2010. Visty Banaji, Why great business leaders are rare, 1 May 2020. D L Paulhus and K M Williams, The Dark Triad of Personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy, Journal of Research in Personality, 36, 2002. Ernest O'Boyle Jr., Donelson Forsyth, George Banks and Michael McDaniel, A meta-analysis of the Dark Triad and work behavior: A social exchange perspective, Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(3), 2012. C R Boddy, The implications of corporate psychopaths for business and society: An initial examination and a call to arms, Australasian Journal of Business and Behavioural Science, 2005. Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us

extraordinarily difficult. The lesson is clear: FIBs who have made a top connect and purchased a public persona are like brain tumours: removing them can be nearfatal. Far better to eliminate them during selection or as soon as possible after they enter the corporate body. Visty Banaji is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)


17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

The road less travelled

Where this is not possible the payment for the performance should be prominently declared. Similarly, personal branding service providers should make their client listings as well as the individual services provided, publicly accessible. The last (and most fail-safe) protection we have, as the reading, watching or hearing public, is to keep our sceptical guards up.24 It is finally up to us to distinguish between true thought leadership and attractively coloured dishwater which is the third-wash residue of someone else’s vessel that once contained grains of originality.

About Success, Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Steve Taylor, Narcissists and psychopaths: how some societies ensure these dangerous people never wield power, The Conversation, 19 June 2019. Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, Harper Business; 2007. Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, Harper Business; 2007. Visty Banaji, The Dogs of (Office) War, People Matters, 25 February 2022. Visty Banaji, HR is a contact sport, 7 April 2020. Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, Guilford Press, 1999. Visty Banaji, Wolves in HR clothing, 24 June 2020. Visty Banaji, The (funny) business of HR awards, 18 February 2020. Visty Banaji, Pyrrho, please pay another visit - A DIY kit for sniffing out BS in HR, 23 March 2017. Christopher Rate and Robert Sternberg, When good people do nothing, in Janice LanganFox, Cary Cooper and Richard Klimoski (eds), Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2007.

August 2022 |


Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

Invitation Only Event: Are You In The List 2022 Awards People Matters 04 August 2022 Courageous HR leaders have developed and exercised new skills to meet the new challenges of 2022. This year, People Matters Are you In The List Awards identified a lineup of some of the most outstanding leaders who rose to the rising challenge of 2021, leaders who have become the answer to the struggles that businesses and workers are continuing to face even today.

People Matters 04 August 2022 (India), 25 August 2022 (SEA) A rousing success! Connecting hundreds of top speakers and thousands of delegates across India and Southeast Asia, People Matters TechHR brought #FreshEyes to the postpandemic milieu, offering paths to break away from the past and “see” the world with a new mind, new heart, and new intention. Thank you everyone who joined us to Become the Answer for your team, your business, and society!

Online Programme: Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform People Matters

BeNext 18 July – 19 August 2022 This programme offered a boost to women leaders interested in accelerating their career growth within their organisation and learning critical skills for women heading a team. The next edition begins in December and is now open for enrolment!

Ongoing Programmes Online Programme: Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work People Matters

BeNext 15 August – 16 September 2022 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.


Hybrid Event: TechHR 2022

| August 2022

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

Online Programme: Gamification & The Octalysis Framework: Strategies To Drive Human Motivation

People Matters

BeNext 29 August – 30 September 2022 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 BeNext 05 September – 07 October 2022 This programme is designed for leaders interested in gamification and learning how to master motivation and engagement in a fun but methodical approach.

Upcoming events Online Programme: Talent Analytics: Driving Organizational Impact

Online Programme: Strategizing Organizational L&D: Performance, Productivity & Impact

People Matters

People Matters

BeNext 26 September – 28 October 2022 This program is for leaders eager to gain practical, hands-on approaches to organizational L&D strategies, connecting policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of capabilities-building, and L&D strategizing is useful but not indispensable. Early Bird Registration now available.

People Matters

BeNext 10 October – 11 November 2022 This program is for HR leaders committed to finding creative solutions to complex problems facing their teams, moving from an understanding of Agile processes to a whole new mindset of creativity, innovation and people-centered progress. Early Bird Registration now available.

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


Knowledge + Networking

BeNext 19 September – 21 October 2022 This programme is for HR leaders eager to gain practical, hands-on approaches to talent analytics, connecting HR policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of HR management, statistics and basic managerial accounting is useful. Early Bird Registration now available.

Online Programme: Agile Culture for HR Teams

People Matters BeNext 31 October – 02 November

This program is designed for organizations with existing rewards programs interested in reframing their compensation and benefits strategy to create a more agile, equitable and sustainable strategy that drives business-wide change. This program would also be suitable for start-ups looking to move beyond the founding stage and gain a better understanding of how to craft a comprehensive rewards program. Early Bird Registration now available.

August 2022 |



>> Sigal Atzmon

The new paradigm: well-being for a new age workforce Companies that prioritise mental health and well-being will not only bring down their long-term health insurance costs but also retain more staff as attitudes towards employment practices and corporate culture shift in the wake of the pandemic


b lo g o s p he r e

ince the onset of the COVID19 pandemic in March 2020, the world of work has fundamentally changed. And while a dictionary's concept of what constitutes an "office" has not yet evolved with the times, many businesses have been working hard to create new working environments that enable employees to thrive.


| August 2022

One reason why is because they are having to. Across a large number of industries, the Great Resignation or Rehiring has swung the pendulum in favour of employees’ requirements. Many organisations now know that they need to monitor attrition rates very closely, as they strive to improve their organisational reputation. A recent Deloitte survey highlighted those younger workers in particular - from Generation Z and the millennials - want more of a work-life balance and longterm change. They are re-evaluating their priorities and expect more from their employers. And companies are responding. The most recent EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey revealed that a majority of respondents thought that their organisation’s culture had transformed for the better since the beginning of the pandemic. So too, 96% of companies reported that they have instituted changes to ensure the

The most enlightened companies understand that employee well-being is something they have a responsibility to focus on. But they also know that it will benefit their bottom line too tion survey examining Employer Health Benefits found that in the US, 39% of companies have been modifying their health plans to increase access to mental health care since the beginning of the pandemic. Companies are also placing a much greater emphasis on taking a proactive rather than a reactive approach toward the issue. In the past, most large- and mid-sized companies had Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), providing access to hotlines and counsellors for staff members in need. However, usage rates were often low. Many employees did not even realise such programmes existed. In India, there was a noticeaAugust 2022 |

b lo g o sp he r e

security and well-being of their workers. One key shift has been the advent of hybrid working. The pandemic forced many people to work from home and that is where a large number of them want to stay. So businesses are adjusting their policies to allow ‘work-from-anywhere,’ appreciating the value of employee flexibility and wellbeing. But there is a long way to go. A Mercer study, conducted in 2021, uncovered high levels of stress, anxiety, burnout, and fear among 10,000 US employees in companies employing more than 500 people. However, just over three-quarters of companies also said that they are making their employees' mental and emotional health a top priority over the next three to five years. It is a similar picture in India where an Assocham survey, in late 2021, revealed that 43% of private sector employees are reporting mental health issues. The most enlightened companies understand that employee well-being is something they have a responsibility to focus on. But they also know that it will benefit their bottom line too. Happier employees are more productive ones. They will also be healthier since anxiety and depression boost the risk of many chronic and life-threatening conditions from diabetes to cardiovascular disease. Focusing on prevention means that over the longer term, health insurance costs should fall. A Kaiser Family Founda-


b lo g o s p he r e

Happier employees are more productive ones. They will also be healthier since anxiety and depression boost the risk of many chronic and life-threatening conditions from diabetes to cardiovascular disease ble shift during the second wave of the pandemic in April and May 2021. Companies reached out to their employees to support them through the crisis and employees turned to their companies for information and help. As we come out on the other side of the pandemic, many companies have kept this good work up. They are now being far more proactive about highlighting the mental health and wellbeing services they offer and are actively destigmatising the issue. Words such as “mental health disorders” are out. Instead, companies emphasise how everyone can improve their well-being


| August 2022

no matter how happy they think they are, to begin with. Newly-appointed well-being champions are the conduits for this evolving strategy. They are responsible for disseminating educational materials through their company’s internal communication channels. They organise events and workshops teaching resilience and the power of positivity so that employees have the tools to take control of their health and well-being. Most importantly of all, however, they are forging an eco-system, which is embedding mental health and well-being deep into their company and its culture. More companies are also training department heads so that they can differentiate between good and bad stress among their team members. Educational materials can only do so much. Ultimately, companies need managers with better EQ skills, attuned to far more than just output. Over the past year, no area of life has undergone a swifter transformation than the way that we work. Employee expectations have shifted. Companies that want to thrive are actively redefining their corporate cultures and what productivity means in a wider and more progressive sense. Mental health and well-being are fast rising on many corporate agendas. It is where they will stay. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sigal Atzmon is the Founder and CEO at Medix Global.

RNI Details: Vol. XIII, Issue No. 8, 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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