People Matters Magazine May 2022: A New Take on Employee Empowerment

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The war for talent has left employees in a considerably better bargaining position than before. Employers have some adapting to do, to keep up with this power shift. may 2022 |



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may 2022 |


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The great power shift of today's workplace


mployers have traditionally had the upper hand in all workplace decisions and negotiations. From pay and benefits, to when, where, and how work is done, to how an organisation's mission is carried out and what culture is desirable in the workplace. But the pandemic and the following talent shortage has upended that. Employees and job seekers have had their eyes opened to the fact that better ways of working are not just possible but widespread: flexible and hybrid models, an elevated focus on well-being, a culture of better manage| may 2022

ment, and so on. At the same time, they are now much more capable of seeking out these better options. The labour market is extremely tight in many countries, with the number of open positions outstripping the number of people available to fill them. Employees and job seekers at all levels, in all types of roles, can now pick and choose opportunities based on the features that they want to see in a job and an organisation. This power shift has manifested in the form of deep changes to work and the workplace. The ubiquity of the flexible and hybrid models, for example, is a response to the demands of employees who have realised how beneficial it is to them. Many organisations have already realised that not giving such a response will set them far behind in the competition for talent – and so they have prioritised meeting employee needs, over preserving the

old static workplace culture of presenteeism that would previously have quashed such a change. In this issue, we look at some ways in which the power shift has manifested, ranging from new attitudes to empowerment and engagement, to an emphasis on intangibles such as trust. We feature perspectives from industry experts such as Nick Lynn, Senior Director of Employee Experience Consulting at Willis Towers Watson, and hear from HR leaders including Bentley de Beyer, Global Head of Human Capital at Goldman Sachs; Shweta Chandrashekar, Global People Enablement Lead at HERE Technologies ; Gaurav Jhala, Head of Talent Acquisition at Tata Motors; and more. While in our Big Interview, Ravin Jesuthasan, Senior Partner and Global Leader for Transformation Services at Mercer, forecasts what the future of work

Performance, Productivity & Impact (06 June to 08 July); Agile Culture for HR Teams (27 June to 29 July); Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform (04 June to 05 August). You can reach out to for more information and to enroll. People Matters BeNext has shown us all, over the past year, how interconnected community and learning are. Now that we have extended our virtual learning programmes to leaders in Spanish-speaking countries, we anticipate even greater levels of diversity, inclusion, and community development upon the platform. As always, we welcome your views, comments, and suggestions regarding our stories. Happy Reading!


From the Editor’s Desk

might look like – a flat structure where people's contributions are not constrained by the rigid definition of a job description. Now that economies around the world are reopening and activities are returning to normal, we have successfully launched a series of hybrid events and have more to come. Our flagship TechHR conference kicks off in two different regions this August (India: 4 August; SEA: 25 August), with a mix of virtual participation and much-welcome in-person interaction. Keep a spot on your calendar; we invite the HR community to join us for a look at how to enable people in the world of work with #FreshEyes. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the results of our Are You In The List 2022 Awards. People Matters BeNext, our cohort-based certification programme, launches three new courses in the coming months. Strategizing Organizational L&D:

Love it!

Esther Martinez Hernandez Editor-in-Chief



M > @Ester_Matters F > estermartinez > may 2022 |



May 2022 v o l u m e x I ii issue 5

32 cover story


How will leaders make decisions about people in the future? The power shift is a litmus test

Nick Lynn, Senior Director of Employee Experience Consulting at Willis Towers Watson 37

The 3 Cs: Key organisational shifts tothrive in the new normal and successfully navigate the power shift to employees

Ratna Joshi is General Manager & Head – Customer Excellence Academy, Tata Motors, and Gaurav Jhala is Head Talent Acquisition and BU HR Head P&SQ, Tata Motors. 40

What a successful people strategy looks like today


Bentley de Beyer, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs 44


The importance of people enablement in today's workplace

Shweta Chandrashekar, Global People Enablement Lead at HERE Technologies 51

The war for talent has left employees in a considerably better bargaining position than before. Employers have some adapting to do, to keep up with this power shift


Esther Martinez Hernandez

Senior Manager - Research and Content Strategy - APAC

Editor & New Product Content Strategist (Global)

Assistant Manager - Content - APAC

Mastufa Ahmed

Manager - design, photography, and production

Marta Martinez

Jerry Moses Drishti Pant


Senior Manager - Global Sales and Partnerships

Bhavna Sarin

Saloni Gulati +91 (124) 4148102

Senior Associates - Content


Shreejay Sinha Senior Editor

Associate Editor

Published by

Mamta Sharma

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Senior Features Writer

Digital Head

Owned by

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Mint Kang

Shinto Kallattu

Content Manager and Lead - D&I

Prakash Shahi

Recruitment in a time of mounting labour shortages

Design & Production

Sudeshna Mitra Asmaani Kumar Ajinkya Salvi

Mint Kang

Why employees' happiness must be a top priority

Shruti Tandon, Director of People Enablement at Nagarro

Managing Editor

Rachel Ranosa


Leading with trust Biswaroop Mukherjee, Head HR - Commercial Vehicle Business Unit at Tata Motors

Sumali Das Purkyastha

People Matters Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

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Note to the readers The views expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of People Matters. Although all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content, neither the

This issue of People matters contains 75 pages including cover


big interview



Stay ahead of the trends to discover possibilities

Work Without Jobs: why it is time for organisations to reboot their work operating system

Marietta Harvey, Vice President and Global Head of Employee Experience at Enquero-a Genpact company By Asmaani Kumar

Ravin Jesuthasan, Futurist and global thought leader

By Mamta Sharma

22 S k i l l i n g

Data Literacy: An essential skill across all industries in 2022

By Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik


61 O r g a n i s a t i o n a l C u l t u r e

How do we lead a culture of innovation?

Pramod Jajoo, SVP Technology and India Country Head of ShipBob By Asmaani Kumar 28 Em p l o y e e E x p e r i e n c e

The algorithm that powers your employee value proposition

By Nalin Kumar Miglani, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at EXL Service Holdings Inc. 58 S t r a t e g ic HR

Five hard truths of HR

Shubha Shridharan, Group SVP, HR, APAC, The Adecco Group By Mamta Sharma

64 T h e r o a d l e s s t r a v e l l e d

Guns for (Corporate) Hire

By Visty Banaji, Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)

72 B l o g o s p h e r e

Why emerging gender-inclusive parental policies are so important

By Michele Nyrop, Head of Employee Success, Salesforce India



From the Editor’s Desk


Letters of the month


Quick Reads


Rapid Fire


Knowledge + Networking

Featured In this issue Bentley de Beyer Marietta Harvey Marjet Andriesse Nick Lynn

Pramod Jajoo Ravin Jesuthasan Shruti Tandon Shweta Chandrashekar

CONTRIBUTORS to this issue Biswaroop Mukherjee Gaurav Jhala Geoff Thomas Michele Nyrop

Nalin Kumar Miglani Ratna Joshi Shubha Shridharan Visty Banaji

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Letters of the month

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Talent hunt: How companies can get competitive on best hires

The best hires of today are Gen Z. The best hires of tomorrow will be the next generation of young people who are now still in school but who will a decade later graduate and mature into the world of work that's now being created. Who knows what the difference between them and Gen Z will be? Hence, it is spot on that different generations must co-exist in the workplace. Competing to have these young people in our organisations is really about being open enough to look beyond today's norms and ideas, and bringing the old and new together to co-create value. - Kamlesh C Meta

Uncertain 2022? A well-defined strategy can help

The real problem with strategy comes when it is created too far in advance and then treated as though set in stone. No matter how good and how well designed, a strategy that is inflexible will inevitably lead the organisation to a sorry ending. It does not matter whether the strategy is directional. Going in the wrong direction is still going in the wrong direction! We ought to value flexibility and agility, and be ready to tear up the playbook and start over should circumstances demand it. - Aashmeeta Yogiraj


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aPRIL 2022 issue

Emotional intelligence: Why business leaders must have it in the postpandemic world

To lead an organisation to flourish, leaders today need the human touch in many aspects of the workplace. The pandemic brought to the forefront the importance of empathy, and even now that the world is returning to normal, empathy and the understanding of emotionality remain critical parts of leadership. - Ajay Ghosh

Interact with People Matters

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

Employee priorities have changed: so are talent strategies

Revisit your purpose and supporting values to create a great EVP

- Vipul Dev

Creating the EVP pillars for the new era of work

- Nilima Madan

Xpheno @Xpheno_ "We are delighted to welcome Venkatesh Tarakkad to the DealShare family.", says Vineet Rao, Founder & CEO, @DealShareIndia. Click @PeopleMatters2 article… to know more. SPJIMR, Mumbai@SPJIMR SPJIMR Prof. Dr. Tanvi Mankodi in her article published in @PeopleMatters2 writes why those who aspire to start their businesses from the ground up need to be hands-on in the hiring process. Read the article here: article/strate…#IamSPJIMR #SPJIMR #StrategicHR #HR NASSCOM Foundation@NASSCOMfdn "A truly inclusive organisation will stand out as inclusion will not be just an HR or DEI leader’s agenda, but a business agenda" says @nidhibhasin7 , CEO, @ NASSCOMfdn in a conversation with @ PeopleMatters2 laying emphasis on mainstreaming inclusion.

- Girish Patel

Most notable that these pillars are all progressive movements, that have become additionally prominent in recent years. This is a reminder that employees are part of the broader community, and so are companies, which need to conduct themselves as such.

PeopleStrong @peoplestrong @annellaheytens (@awscloud) & Marvin Victoriano (inspiro) had an enlightening chat with @prakasharao on #Growth & #Agility Blueprint for a talent-driven economy. Brought to you by #PeopleStrong in association with @PeopleMatters2.

Elon Musk vs Twitter

Watching this whole matter play out, it is no better than a type of bullying, using great wealth, a loud voice and a well known public image to place pressure and create chaos with no justification. What does anyone gain from this? He has dragged it out for so long that nothing of his intentions seem sincere any longer. - Malkit Singh

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

A very good point that supervisors and the culture at team level must support values and purpose in order for EVP to really be felt and experienced. This calls for education and implementation not just of individual contributors but most importantly of managers.

A fantastic point around EVPs being directed toward employees today. Instead of coming up with initiatives and then telling employees 'here, you may like this', the order is reversed: it is about asking employees 'what do you like?' and then creating the initiatives around the answer.

HRGurukul @gurukul_hr Designing people systems is critical to business outcomes, says Krish Shankar, EVP HR, Infosys @kshankar21 @PeopleMatters2 @rucsb #HR #WorkTrends…

InMobi@InMobi On this International HR Day, Sahil Mathur, SVP, HR & Culture, InMobi, shares his thoughts on what lies ahead for #humanresources professionals in a special feature by @PeopleMatters2. Learn more strate… follow M > @PeopleMatters2


may 2022 |


HR Technology

HR Technology

HR tech platform HONO raises $5 million in series A funding HONO, a leading HR tech solutions company, has raised $5 million in a series A funding round led by Aakash Chaudhry, managing director of Aakash+BYJU’s, a test-preparation company. With this investment, Chaudhry will join the

HR tech platform Claira raises $3.5 Mn in a Seed funding round

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HR Technology


Uber to recruit 500 plus tech talent for its India tech centres

Uber Technologies has announced its plan to hire 500 plus tech talent by December 2022 for its India tech centres. The app-based mobility and delivery company already has a 1,000-member tech team across its centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The new hiring plan is a testament to Uber’s commitment to India, and its recognition of the engineering talent in the country. Recently, Uber hired 10

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Hiring platform WizeHire lands $30 million funding round led by Tiger Global board of directors of the Gurugram-based company and will be actively involved in guiding its business operations.

Competency analytics engine Claire has raised $3.5M in a Seed funding round led by Heartland Ventures. The round also saw participation from Trend Forward Capital, Connetic Ventures, Invest Detroit Ventures, and Northern Michigan Angels. The company will use the funds to advance machine learning capabilities and accelerate the rollout to key customer segments. 250 engineers to its India teams in 2021, with the accelerated expansion in full force at all its tech centres across the globe, including the US, Canada, LatAm, Amsterdam, and at its twin centres in India.

WizeHire, an easy-to-use online recruiting system for small businesses, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global with participation from prior investors Amplo and Mercury. This round brings WizeHire’s total funding to $37.5 million and its valuation to $250 million. The platform plans to introduce new offerings like tax, payroll, and insurance advice. WizeHire has also recently launched a mobile app for iOS and Android that allows business owners to easily manage their hiring process on the go, connect them to the services they need to scale and put valuable hiring advice at their fingertips, the company said in a statement.


IT firm ACI infotech plans to hire 1,400 plus employees in 2022

New Jersey, USA-headquartered IT firm ACI Infotech has announced its planning to recruit 1,400 plus new talent in FY22. As per their press release, the recruitment would be focussed pan-India with key areas for talent acquisition include the entire spectrum of digital transformation, customer experience platforms, intelligent automation and more. The large-scale hiring will take place through multifaceted processes incorporating direct advertisements, LinkedIn, employee references, aggregators, etc.

Employee Experience

Work is the biggest threat to mental health, report suggests A new report from JobSage, an employer review platform, has found that mental health issues are the biggest reason for more than a quarter (28%) of recent employee exits. While work is

Airbnb has announced that it will allow employees to live and work anywhere and that the company will partner with destinations to help them attract

Compensation & Benefits

Median salary increment to be around 8.13% this fiscal year: Report

A recent study conducted by TeamLease found that, unlike the last two years, this year most of the job roles from across sectors have been considered for a salary hike. the study titled Jobs and Salary Primer Report for FY’22 states that increments will be moderate. Out of the 17 sectors reviewed 14 have indicated a single-digit hike. The median

salary increment will be around 8.13%. Ecommerce and Tech startups, Healthcare and Allied Industries, Information Technology and Knowledge Services are the only three sectors that have registered a salary growth greater than 10%.

Employee Management

As offices reopen, commuting costs curb employees' enthusiasm over return to office

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Airbnb employees to live anywhere and work from anywhere

remote workers. The announcement was made to the employees through a mail sent by co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. According to Chesky, though remote work did work well for Airbnb, some functions are executed better in the physical presence of people. He believes that the work has to be executed over a blend of the best properties offered by Zoom calls and those offered by a physical office place. So, people belonging to a team that needs to be physically together, may either attend office spaces or move together to any location within the country that they operate from.

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Employee Management

negatively influencing mental health for a significant proportion of the respondents, another

report revealed that more than half (53%) agree the reverse is true - their work is suffering because of poor mental health. Some of the other mental health benefits offered include flexibility (40%), mental health coverage (39%), access to counselling (36%), wellness programs (32%) and access to mental health programs (31%).

Nearly 54% of office workers across Australia plan to stay parked at home to avoid the high costs of commuting and close to half of their counterparts around the world say they will do the same, reveals the results of a OnePoll survey conducted by Citrix Systems, a cloud computing and virtualisation technology company. By working at home just one day a week, Australians are set to save $394 in public transport costs over a year, according to the Productivity Commission. Nearly seven in 10 Australians (68%) believe their employers should help them offset the costs of travelling to the office when they choose to by either increasing their salaries or providing a fuel allowance, the survey adds. may 2022 |


newsmaker of the month

Managing heatwaves and the climate change agenda

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By Jerry Moses



he record-breaking temperatures in South Asia have once again put the spotlight on climate change. In India and Pakistan, the rise in summertime temperature is not unusual. But this year, the heatwave started much earlier (from March and April), and it lasted for much longer. If a weather station experiences a maximum temperature of 45 degrees Celsius or above, or if the temperature is 4.5 degrees Celsius to 6.4 degrees Celsius above normal, the IMD declares a heatwave. For instance, based on the first criteria, in 2010, 11 weather stations in India crossed the 45 degrees Celsius mark 23 times. In 2022, 25 weather stations crossed this threshold as many as 56 times.

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March was the hottest in India since records began 122 years ago. The month of March recorded 62 per cent less than average rainfall in Pakistan and 71 per cent below average in India, creating a great deal of uncertainty for crop production at this time of the year. It is estimated that there would be a 10-35 per cent reduction in crop yields in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab due to the heatwave. India and Pakistan are not alone. Earlier in the year, central South America and Western Australia recorded the highest temperatures.

Tackling heatwaves

Managing the impact of heatwaves comes down to how prepared and wealthy governments are. "The story of

climate change is one of high inequality and we're seeing that playing out already in the poorest and hottest regions of the world," said Tamma Carleton, assistant professor of economics at UC Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science and Management to DW. The number of hot days and affluence were the main factors in a city’s ability to minimise deaths during extreme temperatures, according to a 2022 Study by Carleton. Experts note governments need to introduce laws that change building by-laws to insulate new constructions and push for cool-roof programs. Among the action steps the companies need to tackle include – early warning systems, educating their employees about the possible signs of heat exposure and introducing staggered timings for work – especially for those working outdoors. The future looks grim. According to the UK’s Met Office, the natural probability for a heatwave to exceed 2010 average temperatures would be once in 312 years. However, if climate change is taken into account, the likelihood increases to once in 3.1 years.

Dirac appoints Petra Schedin Stergel as the new CHRO Swedish digital audio company

Cover Genius appoints Gloria Basem as Chief People Officer Cover Genius, an insurtech for embedded insurance, has appointed Gloria Basem as its new CPO. Basem will lead the company’s global people strategy during its rapid growth, overseeing talent acquisition, employee experience, growth, learning, DEI, career development and compensation. Most recently, she served as chief people officer for Stash, a fintech company. She has also served as chief people officer at MediaMath, a global adtech firm, New Avon, Planned Parenthood of New York City and the CDM Group.

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Pine Labs appoints Vijayalakshmi Swaminathan as Chief People Officer Merchant commerce platform Pine Labs has appointed Vijayalakshmi Swaminathan as the company’s new CPO. She takes over from Anu Mathew who will now transition into the role of the head of learning & development at Pine Labs. Swaminathan joins Pine Labs from Amazon India where she was heading the HR function. Prior to Amazon India, she was one of the founding partners at CoCoon Consulting, a cross-sectoral boutique HR consulting firm with expertise in solutions for organisational and leadership transformation and growth. She has also worked with FMCG major Unilever where, in her last role, she was responsible for bolstering the company’s employer brand.

Dirac has announced the expansion of its executive team with the appointment of Petra Schedin Stergel as Chief Human Resources Officer. In her new role, Stergel will be responsible for scaling the team internationally across all departments, new hiring and onboarding, performance management, and culture definition & implementation. She will report directly to Dirac CEO Peter Friedrichsen. Prior to Dirac, Stergel served in various executive roles at Cramo Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers. q u i c k

Unit4 appoints Tania Garrett as Chief People Officer Multinational enterprise software company Unit4, which specialises in people experience software, has appointedTania Garrett as Chief People Officer. She joins Unit4 from Adobe, where she headed the international employee experience organisation and previously the EMEA employee experience organisation. Prior to Adobe, she was Group HR Director at law firm Parabis. She also held HR leadership positions at Experian, Willis Towers Watson, and paint and coatings manufacturer Valspar.

Modern Health appoints Maureen Calabrese as Chief People Officer US-based workplace mental health platform Modern Health has appointed Maureen Calabrese as Chief People Officer with effect May 2022, taking over from former Head of People Ashley Killick. Calabrese joins Modern Health from social media management platform Sprout, where she had been Chief People may 2022 |


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Officer since 2017. Before that, Calabrese was the Chief People Officer at digital payments platform Raise and public relations services firm Cision. She also held leadership roles in the HR function at Ipsos and The Nielsen Company. Khoo Ee Lyn joins Avalara as chief people officer Avalara, a provider of cloudbased tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, has appointed human resources leader Khoo Ee Lyn as its new chief people officer. Khoo's responsibilities include overseeing all global people and culture-related initiatives, including human resources; talent management and acquisition; diversity and inclusion; learning and development; total rewards including compensation and benefits; and organizational development. She has held human resource leadership roles at global companies, including Amazon and General Mills, and most recently served as chief people officer at Redfin. Allison Davis joins Wiley as Employee Relations Director, APAC Allison Davis has joined global leader in research and education Wiley as employee relations director for the APAC region. A senior HR leader with more than 14 years of experience in human resources both in a strategic and operational capacity, Davis has held various senior management positions within small local businesses and large multinational organisations. In her most recent role, Davis served as human resource director for iMedX Australia & New Zealand, a medical documentation company. 14

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GRAB appoints Shantanu Bhattacharya as Head HR India's leading last mile logistics service for businesses, GRAB, has appointed Shantanu Bhattacharya as Head HR. He brings more than two decades of extensive experience in the HR domain, having led the people function across multiple global MNCs and Indian conglomerates, in the likes of GE, Nokia, ABP Group, Reliance ADAG and NISA Global. Shantanu joins GRAB from NISA Global where he served as the Vice President and CHRO. As Head HR at GRAB – a company with one of India's largest fleets with more than 1 lakh gig workers – he will be responsible for leading the company’s HR function as well as overseeing the frontline rider fleet of GRAB. DISCO appoints Jignasha Amin Grooms as new CHRO AI-enabled legal tech platform DISCO has appointed IT industry veteran Jignasha Amin Grooms as the new executive vice president and Chief Human Resources Officer of the company. She has led human resources departments globally and trained teams to foster diversity, equity and inclusion at some of the world’s leading technology companies including Dell, Cisco Systems and, most recently, Epicor Software. In her new role, Grooms will be overseeing all HR functions, including recruitment, learning and development, performance management, diversity, equity and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility efforts.

Ten Questions



Marjet Andriesse

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Red Hat, APAC By Mastufa Ahmed



What characterises the postpandemic tech landscape?

How can they stay on this path?

Digital strategies that call for transformations of IT projects, fluidity, and responsiveness

Reinvent the employee experience by investing in training, upskilling and open leadership



How can they strengthen the employee experience?

Those same digital strategies: it requires fresh levels of insight, creativity, and flexibility from workers


Growth opportunities in the APAC market? A growing appetite for disruption, and the potential for companies to tap into the hidden power of communities they serve


Do's and don'ts within those opportunities?

Do: take the conversation well beyond technology to tackle actual business problems and add social value. Don't: undertake digital transformation just for its sake


Patterns you see in the APAC job market?

Companies in APAC are definitely becoming more aware of their employees’ needs; they need to reinvent the employee experience Shift in the go-to-market model, physical stores investing in digitalisation, businesses adapting to new ways of working


Your thoughts on companies' response to the 'Great Resignation'?

Companies in APAC are definitely becoming more aware of their employees’ needs — be it for hybrid working, purposedriven work, or inclusivity

Take the time to understand existing employees’ perceptions, review your employee value propositions annually, embrace openness and a culture of community

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The greatest challenges for businesses?


What's the #1 employee expectation to meet?

Hybrid is here to stay. Companies must continue to invest in the right technology and tools to enable productive and collaborative work in 2022 while creating a cohesive company culture


Your vision for the future of tech?

Consistency is now more crucial than ever to successful IT organisations. Combining existing systems with new technologies represents a sustainable future for IT may 2022 |


Work Without Jobs:



Ravin Jesuthasan on why it is time for organisations to reboot their work operating system


Futurist and global thought leader Ravin Jesuthasan proposes a new way of looking at work that deconstructs jobs into their component parts, deploys these parts to the optimal combinations of talent and automation and connects talent to work more seamlessly to make the most of the skills and abilities of individual workers By Mamta Sharma


obs don't hold (are not confined to) a stereotypical definition anymore. The change requires deconstructing the current system to accommodate automation and agility. Ravin Jesuthasan, the global leader of Mercer’s Transformation Services business, is one of those spear-heading the paradigm change. A recognised global thought leader, futurist and author on the future of work and workforce transformation, Jesuthasan has led multiple research efforts on the global workforce, the emerging digital economy, may 2022 | May

the rise of artificial intelligence, and the transformation of work. He has led numerous research projects for the World Economic Forum (WEF) including many of its ground-breaking studies on work and workforce transformation. He is a regular participant and presenter at the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos and is a member of its Steering Committee on Work and Employment. During an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Jesuthasan talks about his recent Wall Street Journal bestseller "Work Without Jobs" (MIT Press, 2022),

co-authored with Professor John W.Boudreau of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Research Director of its Center for Effective Organizations, and why it is time for organisations to reboot their work operating system to ensure the resilience, agility and flexibility required of the world of work today. Jesuthasan was named to the Thinkers 50 Radar Class of 2020. He has also been recognised as one of the top 25 most influential consultants in the world by Consulting Magazine, one of the top 8 future of work influencers




may 2022 |



by Tech News, and one of the top 100 HR influencers by HR Executive. His other books are "Transformative HR" (Wiley, 2012), "Lead The Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment" (Wiley 2015), "Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach to Applying Automation to Work" (HBR Press, 2018).


How would you define ‘Work’ without ‘Jobs’ and why the future of work requires the deconstruction of jobs and the reconstruction of work? Work is traditionally understood as a “job,” and workers as “jobholders.” Jobs are structured by titles, hierarchies, and qualifications. In our book, we propose a new way of looking at work that deconstructs jobs into their component parts, deploys these parts to the optimal combinations of talent and automation and connects talent to work more seamlessly to make the most of the skills and abilities of individual workers. COVID-19 impacted work and life globally. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in April 2020, said: "We have seen two years' worth of digital transformation in just two months”. Looking back from here, the impact on the future of work is far more profound. It's more like a 20-year trend in these two years because of two forces. | may 2022

The future of work requires an ability to ensure that the organisation, its work, and its workforce are perpetually being reinvented to ensure their continued relevance even as they are perpetually being rendered obsolete Certainly, digitalisation and automation is one factor, however the bigger and more insidious force is the democratisation of work… our ability to decouple work from its traditional confines of space, time, and structure. The most obvious change we can all see is the shift to remote work during the pandemic and we typically think of the where and when of work, but what is the work? How is the work done? Things like job sharing, etc. Who's doing the work? Is it automation? Is it

the employee? Is it an agile talent pool? And lastly, the Why of work. Why should I, as an individual, connect with what you as an organisation stand for or is your mission and purpose. The future of work requires an ability to ensure that the organisation, its work, and its workforce are perpetually being reinvented to ensure their continued relevance even as they are perpetually being rendered obsolete. In our new book, we lay out a roadmap for that future of work.

out Jobs offers an essential guide for doing so.

may 2022 |


How can organisations determine when they have to make the shift to a new work operating system? William Gibson, the great author, said: “The future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed”. What we're talking about is challenging organisational muscle that is, in some cases, 150-160 years old. We tell all the organisations what you need to create a prototype or proof of concept to challenge the status quo and illustrate the art of the possible and there are typically three possible starting points. First is when you've got an operational process or a bottleneck, something's broken and not working. You can take the four principles and seven elements we talk about in the book and use it as a way to fundamentally

solve the problem in a different way. The second area is where you've made a decision to bring in a new technology. How do you ensure that when you introduce that technology, you've redesigned the work so that you get the maximum benefit from the technology? And then the third is a very simple one. We have so many talent shortages today. Instead of just throwing more money at the problem, how would you redesign the work? We've seen this with the shortage of nurses in hospitals and in manufacturing roles where it's difficult to get talent for these frontline roles. We still have the pandemic, people are still getting sick, and the work is hard. So how do we make it easier for people to connect with work? Those are three areas where there is an opportunity to prototype and try and do


Do you have real-world cases that show how organisations are embracing work deconstruction and reinvention? Also, how sustainable is it? We have many examples and cases of companies who are challenging the status quo, like Genentech, Unilever, DHL and Providence Health among others. Biotechnology company Genentech deconstructed jobs to increase flexibility, worker engagement, and retention. It was an opportunity for their progressive business and HR leaders to rethink their work operating model. They saw a terrible situation with the pandemic but realised it was an opportunity for them to challenge and question everything. We've seen this framework applied in manufacturing, distribution, pharmaceuticals, financial services, construction and airlines among others and the same ideas have played out equally well. In the book, we share the example of an agile data scientist pool in an insurance company, and showed how they had improved productivity by 600%. So, there are really big gains in performance and productivity that are possible. It's time for organisations to reboot their work operating system, and Work with-




something different. The last thing I will say is that what makes the new work operating system compelling is that the ROI is materially different. There is a real prize for doing this hard work and doing something different. It's not the usual five to 10% improvement, it is orders of magnitude greater


Does this change require a significant mindshift, both at the leadership level and employee level? How can this be prioritised with competing financial priorities? We find it's really important that the voice of the employee be in the process because they're the ones closest to the work, but you have to make sure you do two things to get it right. People have to have an incentive to want to help you and contribute. And, you have to ensure that there is the promise of a safe landing, because you're going to redesign the job and the person might say, "Oh, well, now it doesn't look like I can do this work or it's going to take me too long to reskill and it's easier for someone else to do it". So, you have to ensure that there is a promise of a safe landing as well. But, again, this challenges a lot of legacy muscles. Hence this is a process that requires a lot of change management. It's a process | may 2022

We find it's really important that the voice of the employee be in the process because they're the ones closest to the work, but you have to make sure you do two things to get it right that requires people to start with a specific playbook.

What's your message to policy-makers and individuals? This is where there's a real opportunity for them. In the book we talk about not just what this means for companies, but how this could benefit individuals and nations so there are specific implications for regulators, policy makers and unions who are looking to protect the workforce. Firstly, we're talking about seeing the whole person, not just the headline of the job, seeing all of the different ways individuals can contribute to different types of work. Each person has a unique set of skills and attributes. So how do we ensure that there is visibility with drawing clear pathways to the many different ways talent can connect

to work as opposed to when you have a job and a job holder. When you limit work to this one-to-one relationship, you limit the opportunities for growth and advancement. That's why we hear from so many companies, it's easier for people to find work outside than it is inside. That's always going to be true, even if you show them what jobs are available internally because you're limiting them to a job versus if you can say to someone, here is a body of work where you are three months away in terms of skill gaps. This is another opportunity which you might be nine months away from, in terms of closing the skill gaps, and we're going to help you be ready for multiple opportunities. Your growth is not just going to come from doing another job, but we're going to create a lot of opportunities for you to express your skills through projects, assignments and gates, etc, in different parts of the organisation. That's going to then result in you getting paid more, because you have demonstrable skills that we can commercialise and you’re contributing to projects and assignments that make a difference to our business.

What are your views on major challenges that organisations face to adopt the new system and what retards the change? Would

What is your message for HR leaders to come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic? HR has really stepped up. The CHROs were the heroes of the pandemic. If we look at our experience over the last two years, how well the economy has turned out and how well organisations have

been managed, it's 90% down to the leadership of HR. HR has the credibility, it has the space and the permission, the question is how we use this credibility to fundamentally reset the role of this function. We have to reprioritise. We still have to do the core work of HR, but we also have to take on the reinvention of work. This is where the HR service delivery model needs to be rethought. There is a need for HR to shift some things away, so that they have the space to take on the new things. I want to tell them: You've made a huge difference for your companies, for the economy and the planet. Use this opportunity. You have the permission to fundamentally change work in organisations and reset work for the next 10 years. I really believe that HR in most companies has a seat at the table. You have that power. This is our golden moment. may 2022 |


How big a role has HR got to play in this shift to the new operating system? HR has a massive role for two reasons. Firstly, we're

seeing HR’s mandate shift from being a steward of employment, to increasingly being a steward of work. Secondly, there's a lot of white space related to the new work operating system and that is an opportunity for HR to really step up and own this. There's no other function that can do it right. Strategy is typically focussed on “bigger picture” issues, finance is largely focussed on the reporting and monitoring of the operating model, but it's HR and the business that really need to own this. The time is perfect for HR to redefine its remit.


you like to share possible solutions as well? Work without jobs is an idea whose time is here. There are two big challenges and hopefully we've addressed them in the book. The first big challenge is inertia and legacy. It is something completely different from what people have done for decades. It's different from everything we've told leaders to do and manage. The second thing is how to get started? I am hoping that the book gives them the roadmap for overcoming legacy and moving forward. It is both leaders and the processes that are holding organisations back. Take for example HR. Everything that we do is organised around this notion of a job right from how we hire people, develop them, deploy them, pay them. We need HR to start questioning and challenging whether the existing structures and processes are fit for purpose. And again, in the book, we talk about how you rethink pay, rethink development and deployment etc. An organisation’s mindset, its toolset, its processes, its culture ...all of those are part of that legacy, the inertia.


Paul Barth

Data Literacy: An essential skill across all industries in 2022 The day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory

W S k i lli n g

hile we’re in the midst of the “Great Reshuffle”, companies in the Asia Pacific and Japan region are reporting increased workforce volatility, with almost two-thirds (64%) of small and medium-sized enterprises reporting difficulties in coping with employee resignations, according to a SAP study released this April. Leaders are being misguided by the misconception that the need to hire has exceeded the growing need for specific skill sets, which could not be further from the truth. The key takeaway for businesses in 2022 is how data and analytics skills will

continue to grow in importance and prominence. Explicit requirements for these skills are expected among more job roles in 2022, including roles such as customer service, marketing, sales, and operations. Despite this, Qlik’s recent “Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution” report found that only 11% of employees are fully confident in their ability to work with data. As such, organisations that want to compete and remain driven by data, and not guesswork, should look toward data literacy to future proof their workforce. However, businesses cannot shoulder this alone. Schools and universities need to prepare new talent before they even walk through the door.

Obtaining the skills of the future

Do you remember the last time basic reading and writing skills were not required to get a job? Probably not. Likewise, the day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory. That day is not here yet, but as it is, businesses are attempting to do more with data. While few will 22

| may 2022

Learning at the youngest age possible

Data literacy does not end at work, and for future generations, it should not begin there either. It would be a disservice to students to send them off into the workforce without first preparing them for an integral aspect of virtually any job imaginable.

The day is coming when data literacy will be so prevalent that everything that came before it will be a distant memory Many universities are already recognising that they must do their part and are adding data literacy to their curriculum to teach students about the importance of data literacy, why this skill is invaluable, and how it is becoming a critical career differentiator. Furthermore, students of all ages need to understand how to read, write, and work with data at some point in the future. Primary schools and universities will evolve quickly to fulfil that need or risk missing a pivotal window during their students’ education. It is important for our children to be exposed to these concepts at the youngest age possible. For instance, education institutions such as Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) may 2022 |

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be expected to become data scientists, employers will start looking for people who are data-literate. For many jobs, data and analytics skills will be listed as explicit requirements, which will create a distinct advantage for applicants who possess these skills. This isn’t about thinning the herd—managers genuinely want and need people who can read, analyse, and work with data. They will pay special attention to applicants’ abilities when hiring for roles across various departments. Human resource departments may even begin to track data and analytics skills for all prospective employees and ultimately lean in favour of data-literate candidates. These candidates can expect a higher salary too. According to our Data Literacy report, C-suite executives in the region, such as in Japan and Australia, are willing to offer an average annual salary increase of ¥1.28 million (USD9,981) and AUD23,600 (USD16,979) respectively for dataliterate applicants. The good news for employees is that many companies will be eager to help their staff grow these skills by offering data literacy training as part of their retention and growth efforts.


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have pledged to accelerate staff and student capabilities in these emerging technologies, by partnering with Qlik to set up a social media and data analytics lab. In addition, ITE and Qlik are also jointly exploring industry project opportunities that would complement the learning of data analytics for its students.

Highlighting the EQ

The work will not only include data literacy but also take a closer look at the EQ of those who apply. Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto have shown a link between EQ and decision-making. Emotionally intelligent people are also better at enduring stress and making smart decisions. Given the importance of EQ, organisations have learned that technical experts without a growth mindset are less likely to excel. The same can be said for data architects who do not actively listen or analysts who do not collaborate well with others. 24

| may 2022

Collaboration and communication are essential and are continuing to increase in importance. To democratise data and analytics, ivory towers of expert data scientists must be transformed into diverse decision-making communities. EQ aspects are beginning to stand out as businesses refine their hiring strategies and better define what they are looking for in a candidate. Yes, we are in the midst of the “Great Reshuffle,” but top talent is still at a premium, and organisations will continue to be diligent in their search for the right type of toptier talent.

Hiring the right talent for years of success

Businesses need every advantage they can get to thrive in APAC’s highly competitive marketplace. Data does not simply level the playing field; it is the difference between companies that thrive and those that merely survive, which is why data and analytics skills will be essential for many jobs. Schools and universities must do their part and help prepare the next generation for the future of work. However, smart organisations are not waiting around and have already started to deploy their own programs to ensure their staff is ready to use data. When data skills are paired with high EQ, employers acquire the rare talent they need to succeed for years to come. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Barth is the Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik.

Stay ahead of the trends to discover possibilities: Enquero's Marietta Harvey

By Asmaani Kumar


arietta Harvey is the Vice President and Global Head of Employee Experience at digital transformation solutions company Enquero, a Genpact company. She comes with over 25 years of experience as a people leader who fully understands the value of company culture and is well-versed in how to create, embody, and nurture a culture of excellence. The breadth of her experience combines the execution of proven best practices while incorporating the dynamic needs of the constantly disrupted and evolving business models. Marietta built Enquero's

scalable human resources functions from the ground up. Prior to joining this company, she helped shape start-ups, distributed, and multi-site global business organisations by leveraging human resources business models for companies like Dell, Netformx, Sybase, and Siemens. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Marietta shares her take on how organisations can thrive and lead innovation in the face of business disruptions.

Digital transformation opens a space for innovation as well as disruption. How can leaders today prepare for business disruptions?

The business world is forever evolving, driven by new technology, and shifting customer preferences. And industry leaders need to stay ahead of the trends to discover possibilities. Disruptive innovation relies on untapped markets to create more convenient and affordable products and services. Leaders of tomorrow must be open to absorbing and carefully experimenting with disruptive innovations. Before jumping on the bandwagon to try something new, it is essential to evaluate an enterprise's current state and its people's potential while clearly defining the purpose for enthusiastic buy-ins. may 2022 |

In t e r v i e w

‘Disruptive innovation relies on untapped markets to create more convenient and affordable products and services. Leaders of tomorrow must be open to absorbing and carefully experimenting with disruptive innovations,’ advised Marietta Harvey, Vice President and Global Head of Employee Experience at Enquero-a Genpact company


In t e r v i e w

Building a culture that is ready to incubate such tech disruptions is necessary to ensure that your digital transformation initiative takes off the ground right.

As the HR function becomes more digitised, what are the significant challenges that might come up, and how can leadership address them efficiently in the era of hybrid work? When disruptive leaders are at the forefront of driving digital transformation, fostering creativity within a team can be more complex because it relies on people’s comfort level with technology and collaboration. Teamwork and collaboration have always been complex issues. The bottom line is that technology offers advantages, flexibility, and mobility. Leaders will need various talents and competencies to lead a hybrid working model. Businesses

Business leaders require robust emotional intelligence to confront remote leadership challenges and the capacity to create the right attitude within teams 26

| may 2022

will need to adapt their work procedures to a hybrid working paradigm to sustain employee engagement and productivity. Leaders must undergo a paradigm shift to acquire skills, such as making analytical decisions, learning new technologies, and adopting them effectively. Business leaders require robust emotional intelligence to confront remote leadership challenges and the capacity to create the right attitude within teams to foster autonomy, responsibility and learning agility.

How can technologies be designed to impact the softer aspects of the workplace, such as work culture, wellbeing, collabo-

rative practices, and even employee engagement? We are witnessing the rise of technology platforms designed to implement an innovative culture and improve the employee experience. Integrating technology and culture can help in a clear line of communication and empower employees to meet an organisation’s expectations. Access to accurate, real-time data allows managers to comprehend their team’s work habits, improve efficiency and transparency, and encourage goodwill practices within an organisation for employee retention. Employees can work most effectively and productively through performance management tools that

using various new-age tech tools such as Cloud app services, IoT sensors, stateof-the-art video conferencing tools, connected devices, and applications. These tech choices nurture a diverse and inclusive culture that can boost productivity and deliver meaningful impact.

enhance communication, collaboration, and cooperation. HR departments can utilise a simple survey application to gather employee feedback and ideas for improvement while measuring output metrics. Companies can implement flexible, employee-centric work practices without losing performance through workplace optimisation tools.

A culture of innovation is what every organisa-

tion aspires to build. How do digital solutions today create greater spaces for innovation and reimagining the future of work? Today’s workplace transformation has blurred the boundaries of physical and virtual spaces to increase opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Digital solutions provide employees with a unified experience across geographies and help them balance life and work. Organisations are now

In t e r v i e w

As a leader, you should incorporate methods of creating functional, effective, versatile, and userfriendly technological platforms for organisational success

What are some words of advice that you would like to share with businesses leading their digital transformation journeys in today’s business landscape? Digital transformation has created some excellent possibilities for leaders in today's economy. Integrating digital transformation efficiently and flexibly in all areas is advisable while keeping human centricity the primary metric. As a leader, you should incorporate methods of creating functional, effective, versatile, and user-friendly technological platforms for organisational success. Additionally, strategising to build a sustainable organisation for the future and restructuring the organisation should be a determining factor. Businesses must ensure a flexible workforce, a comprehensive benefits package, a flexible and collaborative work environment, and opportunities for advancement for all employees. may 2022 |


Nalin Kumar Miglani

The algorithm that powers your employee value proposition How can we build an experience that delivers ‘more?’ A balance needs to be struck among the various needs a candidate or employee expresses

L Employee Experience

et’s start with a core truth that we all can agree on. All of us want to become

more. The idea of an Employee Value Proposition is built on this simple truth. Magic happens when you convert this truth to an actionable formula.

The elements of the formula

The first step is to recognise that an Employee Value Proposition is an experience, not a product. How can we build an experience that delivers ‘more?’

Great work attracts the best talent for the money you can afford. In addition, if you have a good brand, the probability of this happening goes up 28

| may 2022

Fortunately, the need states that constitute ‘more’ are easy to identify. In general, they apply to all of us. All of us: • Need more MONEY to improve our economic security, freedom and lifestyle. • Need WORK that is more interesting, challenging and makes us more valuable in the market. • Need more social recognition, normally delivered through the BRAND of our company. • Need more TRUST and

COMPASSION in our relationships at work. • Need more opportunities to be HEALTHY. Identifying these needed states is like identifying the variables in our formula. Assigning values to each variable and establishing the relationship between them helps build the formula.

Attracting Talent

For a person who is about to join a company, the play is mainly among MONEY, WORK and BRAND.

Retaining Talent

When you shift from ‘join’

People are likely to trade all other variables for TRUST. Lower MONEY, smaller BRAND and hardest of them all, even lower quality of WORK to ‘stay,’ the formula starts pivoting to a different set of need states. WORK, BRAND and MONEY still matter. Their inter-relationship too does not change. However, other states gain primacy. TRUST and COMPASSION begin to play an important role in the ‘stay’ value proposition. People stay at companies when they can trust their boss, peers and the leadership of the company. Being trusted is as important as trusting. Being trusted is not just about relationships. Internal processes and technology also communicate if the employee is trusted or controlled. People are likely to trade all other variables for TRUST. Lower MONEY, smaller BRAND and hardest of them all, even lower quality of WORK. An environment of distrust negates all need states that are part of an Employee Value Proposition.

COMPASSION as a needed state is a recent and more modern phenomenon. The pandemic may have been responsible for this phenomenon. The corporate community, grown up on the alpha diet of hard, relentless driving of people, is still learning the power of COMPASSION. Compassion retains extraordinary people and produces extraordinary results. It is not a ‘give.’ Companies that get this will build a remarkable employee value proposition. TRUST is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for COMPASSION. Employee expectations on TRUST are clear. On COMPASSION, the expectations are fast taking shape. For a healthy life, it is important that your job does not take over your entire life. People apply this test on the nature of their employment, more than ever before. A healthy life is not a component, but an outcome of an attractive employee value proposition.

Employee Experience

Great WORK and great BRAND are not good enough to attract talent if MONEY is not sufficient. More MONEY can compensate for less BRAND as long as the quality of WORK improves. People may trade BRAND for MONEY, but not for WORK. Better WORK can compensate for less BRAND as long as MONEY is more. People may trade BRAND for WORK, but not the other way around. In short, to attract great talent, build an Employee Value Proposition that is centred around great work. Great work attracts the best talent for the money you can afford. In addition, if you have a good brand, the probability of this happening goes up. At this stage, it is important to clarify that there is really no difference between a corporate brand and an employer brand. Most efforts directed at building an ‘employer brand’ are a waste. The ‘employer brand’ is indistinguishable from the corporate brand. Try and think of a company that has a great employer brand but not a great corporate brand. Or the other way round. It is hard to find any examples. In this article, the word ‘brand’ is equal to the corporate brand.

In conclusion, it is a simple algorithm

Build your Employee Value Proposition around WORK and TRUST. And don’t expect a discount in MONEY. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nalin Miglani is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at EXL Service Holdings Inc. may 2022 |



The war for talent has left employees in a considerably better bargaining position than before. Employers have some adapting to do, to keep up with this power shift.


| may 2022


fill roles with warm bodies. And employees are increasingly empowered to make changes for the better in their jobs, in their workplace, and even across the entire organisation. This power shift is in certain ways relatively minor. A corporation will always carry more weight in terms of resources, reputation, and options than an individual person. But its significance lies in that, for decades, employee voices have been more likely to be discounted than heard. Some organisations would have considered employee views no more than a formality, with no impact on decisions; some would not even entertain them. This month, our cover story looks at the ways in which organisations are adapting to the power shift and how they are reshaping the workplace culture to centre more decisively around employees at various levels. We look at the benefits deriving from this change – starting with talent attraction and retention, and going into the organisation's deeper capabilities for innovation and even its values. And we consider how it may shape the future direction of work and the workplace, especially in today's volatile world.


rganisations around the world are short of talent. It's been a cause of intense concern ever since economies began reopening, only for workers to decide they aren't so keen on going back to their jobs. What many have already understood is that this talent shortage represents a shift in the balance of power between employer and employee. The old approach of treating jobs and workplace conditions as a 'take it or leave it' deal now represents a real risk that the organisation will miss out on talent – not just top talent, but the broader workforce in general, right down to more junior roles which traditionally have had less bargaining power in the employer-employee relationship. Progressive organisations, of course, are keeping pace with this power shift. A huge range of strategies for engaging and winning over employees has emerged: from intensive listening to peoplecentricity to empathy in leadership and managers, and many other elements that organisations judge will meet the expectations of today's workforce. The recruitment process has shifted towards matching candidates' needs rather than being a production line to

may 2022 |




How will leaders make decisions about people in the future? The power shift is a litmus test


Many leaders are locked in a command-and-control mindset and want to see people back at their desks. Others are approaching decisions about the future sensibly and not rushing to impose rules. But this clash of mindsets obscures a deeper structural shift in work and the workplace, says WTW's Nick Lynn By Mastufa Ahmed


ith changing employee expectations about flexibility at work, almost every company is forced to come up with new policies. While a lot of leaders want to see their staff back at their desks, some are engaging with employees to find solutions that are right for everyone. “The best companies are reflecting on this transition broadly,” says Nick Lynn, Senior Director of Employee Experience Consulting at Willis Towers Watson (WTW), “to find solutions that can help them retain people who want flexibility and attract new sources of talent that perhaps weren’t open to you before.” | may 2022

Nick has advised clients on how to improve engagement, culture, and leadership effectiveness for 20 years and is the author of the top-selling book “Employee Experience (EX) Leadership”. In this exclusive interview with us, Nick shares some sharp insights on the global power shift and how employers should reframe their relationship with their employees.

As the Great Resignation persists, employeremployee dynamics appear to be changing. How do you see the power shift globally? During the pandemic, some people certainly

re-evaluated what they want from work and decided to make a change. We saw indications of this very early on during COVID. Power is shifting, but things are complicated. In relation to the Great Resignation, there are many causes of turnover. • There are employees who feel they have been treated poorly by their employer during this period. There’s been a lot of restructuring, costcutting, and lay-offs. As soon as things opened up, people wanted to move on. • Others, meanwhile, are frustrated by longerterm problems at their companies and have said:

Employers are now drawing people back to the office, but some employees are stubbornly resisting resuming their commute. How do you think this will unravel? I think it’s a litmus test for how leaders make decisions about people generally. A lot of leaders are stuck in a command-and-control mindset. They want to see people back at their desks because they judge productivity and culture in terms of visible activity and “busyness”. The pandemic has changed employees’ expectations about work flexibility. Before the pandemic, only 10% of people were working remotely and only leading companies had anything serious in place regarding flexible working. Now, according to our research,

56% of employees are working in remote/hybrid models and just about every company has been forced to come up with policies. Most are approaching decisions about the future sensibly. They’re not rushing to impose rules but are engaging with employees to find solutions that are right for everyone. If you do that, then you can retain people who want flexibility and attract new sources of talent that perhaps weren’t open to you before. The best companies are also thinking broadly about this. They’re considering what kinds of workplaces they need. They’re reflecting on what it means for their culture when you have people who must be onsite and others who could be anywhere. They’re thinking about the future of jobs, alongside other trends like automation.


In fact, the overall balance of risk has been shifting for a long while in the opposite direction, so more individual risk now falls on employees and workers than it has in the past. That’s one reason why there’s a large trust gap in many organisations. The best companies realise they need to address that

by transforming employee experience.


“enough is enough”. Studies have shown how toxic work culture is linked to high turnover. • Looking at the data, there have been many sideways moves – perhaps also driven by people looking to earn a bit more as the cost-of-living increases. • In certain industries, there’s a lack of people with the required skills, which means there’s competition for key talent. These are longerterm sectoral problems, however. Overall, it’s early to talk about a general shift in power coming out of all this.

A transformation is taking place, but we’re focusing on the short-term fuss rather than deeper structural changes in jobs and work may 2022 |




There’s so much noise about this issue that it’s a great example of Roy Amara’s law, that we tend to overestimate the effect of something in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. A transformation is taking place, but we’re focusing on the shortterm fuss rather than deeper structural changes in jobs and work.

How do you think employers should reframe their relationship with their employees? When we look at what matters for transforming employee experience, there are four areas that companies need to think about. 1. There is a sense of purpose that people get from work. This means helping people understand how their work fits in. It’s showing them how they impact customers.

It’s also about involving people so that the workplace is inclusive. 2. Many organisations that I work with have a sharp focus on the work itself. They’re looking to transform employee experience and business performance through simplification, work technology, and empowerment. 3. It’s important to clarify the total rewards that are offered in return for your contribution. Many companies are terrible at communicating the value of total rewards. It is more than talking about pay and benefits, it’s about helping people understand how they can grow and reach their potential. 4. Most leaders I’m working with are (rightly) very focused on culture. There’s a sense that culture has shifted over

the last couple of years. Leaders also know that a culture change is required to be successful in a more volatile and uncertain world. What also matters is how you activate them by identifying the moments that matter for employee experience and through personalisation and great technology. In our research, we found that only 9% of organisations have transformed employee experience in this way. Most companies have a lot of work to do.

How can organisations meet the rise in demand for flexibility, wellness benefits, and support for career growth? There are two aspects to this. The first is taking an integrated approach. At WTW, we talk about physical, financial, emotional, and social well-being. All these are important. But well-being is not an isolated programme

It’s important to clarify the total rewards that are offered in return for your contribution. Many companies are terrible at communicating the value of total rewards 34

| may 2022

Related to this is the ability to personalise communications and drive behaviour change through digital technology. Ideally, you’re providing information in the moments that matter to people in a way that helps them make the best choices.

How will this power shift shape the future direction of work and the workplace, especially in today's volatile world? What we have seen throughout the pandemic is high levels of anxiety. This indicates that we are operating in a time when things

not only feel volatile and uncertain but brittle and hard to make sense of. One way that leaders can respond is by zeroing in on the interactions that are most important. In our research, for example, we have identified five “breakthrough moments”. They’re all about addressing current and future challenges to achieve a high-performance employee experience: 1. Adapting to flexible work (not just where work gets done, but how and by whom) 2. Re-balancing your worker priorities, so you can may 2022 |


By changing the mix of total rewards that you offer, you may be able to provide more value without spending any extra money. When so many companies are worried about losing talent, and when you don’t have lots of cash to spend, this kind of insight is critical


or initiative; it’s purposedriven and woven into the fabric of your organisation’s values and the employee experience. It is inextricably linked to a myriad of policies, programmes, and benefit offerings as well as to desired culture, productivity improvement, longer term talent retention and sustainability of business results. Many organisations focus on individual solutions or tools, but you also need to understand the role and impact of senior leadership and day-today managers in establishing and maintaining healthy company culture. A second key step is prioritising programmes by really understanding employee needs. For example, we help leaders optimise their total rewards by capturing employee preferences and then costing different options. By total rewards, I mean everything from pay and benefits, to flexible working, to learning new skills and supporting careers. If you really understand what’s important to people, you can make better design choices. By changing the mix of total rewards that you offer, you may be able to provide more value without spending any extra money. When so many companies are worried about losing talent, and when you don’t have lots of cash to spend, this kind of insight is critical.




We see a performance premium for those companies that do these things well, including higher productivity and lower staff turnover


deliver fair pay, align programs to meet the needs of a more diverse workforce, and invest in health and wellbeing 3. Equipping leaders and managers to lead through change 4. Connecting with employees by really listening to them 5. Building an EX strategy that’s integrated with your business strategy and fueled by technology. In our research, we see a performance premium for those companies that do these things well, including higher productivity and lower staff turnover.

Can you share insights from your customers about how they are navigating the employer-employee power shift? In practical terms, our clients are doing lots of different things to address those “breakthrough moments” I described. For example, we’ve worked with a large transportation company to | may 2022

develop an EX “blueprint” that’s designed to power their overall business transformation. This meant assessing their current employee experience, helping leaders articulate their aspirations, and then prioritising programs based on where they need to close gaps the fastest. We also recently worked with a financial services company to completely revamp their approach to well-being by focusing on the employee experience. This involved creating a digital navigation tool, which begins from the point of key moments of need from the employee’s perspective (physical, financial, social, or emotional). And we’re working with an auto manufacturer that’s making a huge investment in skills, effectively re-wiring the whole organisation to operate in an EV world. Alongside this, we’re

building a strategy for the future of jobs and a whole new career architecture in order to transform employee experience and engagement. In all these examples there are three common elements: 1. Understanding workforce needs through things like pulse surveys, virtual focus groups, and smart analytics. We have great software to do that, including for making sense of qualitative data. 2. Prioritising programmes and changes so you focus on the moments that really matter. 3. Sparking behaviour change through digital communications, people leadership capability, design thinking, and involvement. This is another area where we have a big focus. For example, we have a very smart “EX platform” that our clients use for personalising communications at scale.

The 3 Cs: Key organisational shifts to thrive in the new normal and successfully navigate the power shift to employees COVID-19 has shifted the power dynamics, finally placing the worker in the driver’s seat of their career, replacing the traditional ways of working which had remained unchallenged till now



work still SOP driven? Do the world of work has mainemployees actually need to tained its old rhythm and ince the 9-to-5 workday sit together physically and routine. Be it a manual came into being in the work synchronously? Do we 1900s - mainly to suit the worker or a modern-day always need to be co-located assembly line manufacturing knowledge employee, the and operating within the 9 – approach to handling a set-ups - not only has it culti5 workday? These and more person’s work schedule and vated deep and strong roots, such questions started occuin fact every other aspect but also given a clear upper pupying people’s minds. around work has remained hand to the corporates. A When workers en masse more or less unchanged. typical day of a worker When the worldwide were forced to move to was clearly designed by the COVID-19 pandemic hit remote work, which was the employer, be it the number us, it started triggering first time ever for the majorof working hours or the shift ity, they suddenly experitimings or even break sched- unconventional thoughts enced a work day where they and reflections that chalules. What needs to be done, lenge the fundamentals of had a flexibility to plan their how it needs to be done, day towards meeting job and when it needs to be done and corporate working in many ways. Questions like Is the other important commitwhere it needs to be done was heavily regimented. Now that times have Workers now have more power than changed and we have ever in deciding and designing their ushered in the services econcareers and can choose to work with omy which involves a high corporations that offer the desired degree of individual work, creativity and innovation, value proposition may 2022 |


By Ratna Joshi and Gaurav Jhala



Clarity of deliverables, technology to support collaboration, and platforms to unleash creativity can make a job into a real dream job ments - e.g. working parents could manage their children and aging parents at home. This fundamental change has now left many believing that they do not want to go back to the earlier regimented way of working. Backed by knowledge and flexibility, employees now have the ball in their court. In other words, COVID19 has shifted the power dynamics, finally placing the worker in the driver’s seat of their career, replacing the traditional ways of working which had remained unchallenged till now. Now that remote work and flexibility demands are a reality, organisations mandating work from office as they did in pre-COVID | may 2022

days are facing backlash, challenges, and imminent threats to their talent pool. With businesses expanding and the evident shortage of required skill sets, employees know that they can easily find a job that offers flexibility and would choose a job that offers what they need over one that does not. They are more likely to quit to find a better job or speak up to seek improvements in their working conditions at the current job. Certainly, workers now have more power than ever in deciding and designing their careers and can choose to work with corporations that offer the desired value proposition. Well, it’s not only a question of flexibility. An equally

important aspect to many is the heightened autonomy and effectiveness in meeting life and work demands, pursuing hobbies, devoting time to other critical aspects like self-learning, and so on. In some cases, people have realised that they don’t want to return to one employer at all. Armed with skill sets and aspiring to achieve effectiveness, many are out to tap the opportunities which the evolving gig economy has to offer. The future of the workforce, work, and workers has changed for sure! From the employer’s perspective, this shift is going to be massive and with many ramifications. The need of the hour is to evolve a hybrid remote-office model of working which is likely to balance the flexibility offered by remote work, coupled with the benefits of social interactions which is needed for creativity and innovation to happen. We present this figure to depict how the employee is at the centre of action now. The key shifts required by the organisations being – Career, Connect, and Organisational Culture, underpinned by leadership mindsets. These in turn will enable the much needed trust, flexibility and autonomy for the employees. Career growth is an important consideration for employees and is playing a critical role in both attraction and retention. The defi-

Employee at the center "Career" & "Connect" "Culture" - Flexibility, Trust & Autonomy


ibility, autonomy and trust can facilitate a long term association between employer and employees. Organisations need to re-orient to explore options beyond the ‘one-size-fits-all’ office solution. For example, sharing of spaces can be experimented in altogether new ways. A clear choice can be placed in the hands of employees: to work 100% remotely or in a hybrid fashion with flexible compensation and benefits offered. Flexi-work timings and the option to work from anywhere can make an employer really attractive. Clarity of deliverables, technology to support collaboration, and platforms to unleash creativity can make a job into a real dream job! Organisations which are able to deliver on the 3 Cs of “Connect, Career and Culture will definitely have a competitive advantage in this new era of work. Not compromising on the business results or values, but rather using these levers effectively can drive attraction, engagement, retention and work-life balance for the employees. It’s the right time to balance the power equation between employees and employers and make it win-win for both!


nition of career itself has changed, a majority of employees now prefer flatter organisations which provide faster access to decision making, policy making and strategising as compared to tall hierarchies with multiple layers between the C-Suite and the last mile employee in the structure. With the growing number of unicorn start-ups, employees are increasingly experiencing this compared to larger organisations. Faster growth with timely rewards and recognition which offers not only a sense of growth, but real growth is now a clear and non-negotiable need of employees.

A strong connection and bond with the employer is driven by transparent communication. It starts right from a great onboarding experience, opportunities to continuously bond with the team. Frequent leadership connects, timely feedback on performance, and supportive leadership behaviours play an important role in building a long term bond with the organisation. Creating an environment which allows employees to take risks, embrace failures, and enjoy opportunities to re-learn, upskill and contribute towards the organisation’s vision all impact the employer image positively. In all of these, people managers have a great role to play, specifically in displaying emotional intelligence to manage people in a hybrid working environment. COVID-19 has also taught us that a culture of flex-


Ratna Joshi is General Manager & Head – Customer Excellence Academy, Tata Motors, and Gaurav Jhala is Head Talent Acquisition and BU HR Head P&SQ, Tata Motors. may 2022 |




Goldman Sachs' Bentley de Beyer on what a successful people strategy looks like today


To better contend with shifts in employee expectations and preferences, organisations need to focus on listening, trust, and transparency. Bentley de Beyer, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, tells us more about the important facets of people strategy By Bhavna Sarin


entley de Beyer is Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. He has been with the firm since February 2020, when he joined as a Partner in the Human Capital Management Division in the New York office. He is a member of the Management Committee, Human Capital Management Executive Committee, Partnership Committee, Firmwide Enterprise Risk Committee and Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee. de Beyer's experience spans a number of multinational organisations across various industries from finance to FMCG to avia| may 2022

tion. Before Goldman Sachs, he spent almost at decade at Johnson & Johnson, where he served as head of human resources for the global supply chain. Prior to that, he held several leadership roles in human resources for Standard Chartered Bank’s private banking and consumer banking businesses, based in Singapore and India, and worked at Barclays Capital in Asia. He started his human resources career in executive compensation consulting at Mercer. In addition, de Beyer serves on the Board of

Directors for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people. In this exclusive interview with People Matters, Bentley de Beyer talks about what a successful people strategy encompasses today, tackling micromanagement and performance assessment in the hybrid reality, and the hiring outlook for Goldman Sachs in 2022.

There is a visible shift in power as employers

As one example, feedback from GS People Pulse has helped us launch several new initiatives, including new and enhanced benefits designed to further help our people to rest and recharge, and focus on their mental, physical, and financial health. Within the past year, we have announced expanded family care leave and bereavement leave, as well as enhanced vacation benefits, and introduced a new sabbatical benefit and changes to our retirement plan. Engaging and supporting talent holistically is a strategic imperative to remain a leader in a competitive and dynamic talent landscape.


How is GS approaching 'people strategy' in the new world of work? What constitutes a successful ‘people strategy’ today? In the same way that busi-

nesses evolve their strategies and operating models, organisations must also evolve their people strategies to deliver on business objectives. A successful ‘people strategy’ should support the organisation’s long-term business strategy, deliver a compelling talent value proposition to employees and allow for flexibility to quickly pivot in response to changes in the external environment. At Goldman Sachs, HCM collaborated with leaders across our businesses to co-create our people strategy. We are focused on advancing the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion agenda; enhancing our foundational people practices, such as performance management; engaging and retaining our talent; and providing differentiated benefits and wellness offer-


attempt to elevate their EVPs and engage top talent. How do you see this shift impacting the future of work? The current talent market is a powerful reminder of why it is so critical for companies to make ongoing investments in their employee value propositions (EVP). One way organisations can do that is by adopting an employee listening framework that helps leadership teams better understand employees’ experiences in the workplace and identify shifts in their expectations and preferences over time. Last year, we implemented a new approach to employee listening, “GS People Pulse” - a short, bi-annual firmwide survey that serves as an important channel for leadership to hear from our people more frequently, and identify and prioritise solutions to enhance our EVP.

A successful ‘people strategy’ should support the organisation’s long-term business strategy, deliver a compelling talent value proposition to employees and allow for flexibility may 2022 |




ings that support our people and their families.

Talent remains a fundamental driver of business success. As employers continue to navigate the great resignation, how can companies address the overheated talent market globally? Organisations must broaden traditional recruiting channels, and offer prospective candidates a positive and transparent hiring and onboarding experience that is consistent with their external brand and culture. In addition, to compete in today’s talent market, organisations must also invest in engaging and retaining their current talent with increased growth and development opportunities. At Goldman Sachs, we are committed to providing our people with opportunities for growth, including via internal mobility. We are focused on enhancing our people’s experiences with internal mobility, by making it even easier for individuals to express their interest in opportunities across our businesses. We are also providing new tools to help our people identify roles that best match their skill sets and long-term professional goals. What does the hiring outlook look like for GS in


| may 2022

2022? How is the prevalent demand for digital acceleration impacting skill needs at GS? Goldman Sachs’ growth story in India has been phenomenal, with our footprint in the country spanning our Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad offices. Each office has a unique identity and is growing, thanks to the deep talent pool in India. With the Mumbai office driving our India business, our Bengaluru office is one of the fintech hubs for our global businesses, and our Hyderabad office – opened in 2021 – continues to grow as a global centre of excellence for consumer banking services and human capital management services. In 2021, we welcomed thousands of new colleagues in India, and our hiring momentum continues this year in support of the firm’s

strategic priorities. Advances in technology continue to have profound impacts on the workplace, and a technology-oriented skillset continues to be critical for many companies across industries. Increasingly, technology expertise and related skills are also becoming important in many non-engineering roles across our firm. At Goldman Sachs, we expect to continue hiring talent with engineering skillsets not only for critical programming and coding roles, but also for a number of non-engineering roles across our businesses where our teams collaborate on innovative and creative solutions on behalf of the firm and our clients.

The ongoing pivot to a hybrid reality of work calls for a shift from micromanagement to trust and revamping of performance

The pandemic highlighted the importance of increased transparency in building trust between an organisation and its people

As you continue to serve on the board of The Trevor Project, based on your learnings, what would your advice be for business and talent leaders as they work towards building inclusive workspaces? What is needed from organisations to build a safe and level playing field for every individual? We are committed to maintaining Goldman Sachs’ position as an employer of choice for diverse talent, and to ensuring that all of our people feel like they can be their authentic selves at work. We value diverse perspec-

tives and understand that in order to maintain a safe space for every individual, we must work together to foster trust and make sure every voice is heard by encouraging our teams to invite input and feedback. As part of our data-driven approach, which includes the results of our employee listening efforts, we are working to better understand the experiences of our diverse populations and identify areas that require additional focus. This has allowed us to direct additional investment to our diversity initiatives and continue to leverage our Inclusion Networks effectively to bring our people together. While we have made steadfast progress towards our aspirational diversity and inclusion goals, we recognise we still have much work to do. may 2022 |


manage performance at the firm, including through the Three Conversations at GS, by encouraging our managers to serve as coaches, and by recognising our people’s contributions through our recognition program.


assessment. How is GS tackling these two pieces in the EX puzzle? The pandemic highlighted the importance of increased transparency in building trust between an organisation and its people. At the end of 2020, we rolled out an evolved approach to performance management called the “Three Conversations at GS”. This new approach supports our people in setting goals and enables our managers, as leaders, to take a more active coaching role with their teams by facilitating transparent discussions on progress and performance. Goal-setting drives a focus on outcomes and impact. Even the most elite athletes require coaching to bring out their best, and our people are no different. We found that individuals who have regular performance conversations are ~5x more likely to feel like they have growth opportunities compared to their peers. We continue to enhance the tools and resources for how we


Leading with trust In a world where a changing business ecosystem is fast evolving business practices, it's important to ensure that employees are engaged and motivated – and leaders play a major role here



By Biswaroop Mukherjee



s we grow from individual contributors to managers and then to leaders of organisations in our respective domains of expertise, the expectations of the people who work with us – the shareholders, the customers, essentially all stakeholders – grow by leaps and bounds. Every stakeholder looks up to a leader to deliver the margins, deliver the returns, and deliver the bonus for them higher year on year amidst market uncertainties, volatile economic environment, rising global competition, and increasing cost pressures. One leader is entrusted with beating the competition by a margin unheard of; one | may 2022

leader is entrusted with the task of reducing costs never seen before; one leader is entrusted with reducing the headcount by half as a part of the restructuring. All these seem daunting tasks and insurmountable too in the beginning. However, if the stakeholder expects that the leaders deliver on these seemingly unachievable targets, then the leaders have no choice but to roll up their sleeves and start strategising.

To achieve these seemingly impossible goals, the leader looks up to his team to drive the extra mile, go the extra distance, and push themselves harder in the plans. The leader consistently strategises with the team, reviews along with the team leaders, coaches the team leaders, and guides the team towards the goals planned. However, it requires the belief of each team member in the purpose, in the goal, in the leader to go the extra mile for the leader of the organisation and achieve the unachievable. As they say in corporate lingo: to 'dream big and deliver bigger'. Let's look into this phenomenon closely. First,

Most importantly, they trust that if they deliver the extra mile for the leader, they will accomplish their professional and personal goals in the long run

from the day we take up a leadership position? These are pressing questions. Yet the most important question is, can leaders can be successful if they cannot lead their teams with trust? The answer to all this lies in the simple phrase, "leadership is not about what we say; it's all about what we do. " A leader can lead with trust through the actions he demonstrates to the team over some time. Once they see the consistency in the actions, then they start trusting the leader and are willing to walk the extra mile for the leader and on a lot of occasions, without

may 2022 |


A lot of leaders fail because they take the credit for all the team's success but place the blame on others in case of failures. This is one of the biggest deal-breakers in earning the trust of the teams

looking at the outcomes of the extra hours of work or the sacrifices they need to make in their personal lives to achieve the outcomes. So let's reflect on the aspects and actions that enable a leader to lead with trust. Competence: The demonstrated behaviours of the leader, both in functional and behavioural aspects, should reflect the high level of knowledge, skills, experience, and exposure the leader brings to the team. The level of trust of the team increases when the leader, through his/her competence, can provide direction that no one thought of, which eventually enables the team to win or troubleshoot a complex situation from which no one was able to get out and thus eventually makes the team cut their losses. A lot of time, the role of the leader in enabling performance is to provide the extra fillip in terms of motivation or being the statesman who can troubleshoot complex situations or provide direction towards a path that is uncharted but eventually brings laurels for the team. All these are possible only if the leader possesses a high level of competence. Highly competent leaders evoke a lot of respect and trust amongst their teams. Performance: A track record of being a solid performer in the past is a


we will realise that the art of delivering extraordinary results through ordinary teams is what makes leaders great. This entire phenomenon is possible because the teams they lead trust the leaders' beliefs, the leader's vision, and the leader's execution strategy. Most importantly, they trust that if they deliver the extra mile for the leader, they will accomplish their professional and personal goals in the long run. How do we develop this level of trust in the teams we lead? How can this be measured? Do we get this level of trust from our teams




Integrity for a leader is to be committed to the cause and be accountable for the success and failure of the team


good start for the leader; however real trust develops in the team once they see that the leader is outcomeoriented and drives them towards the performance objectives, thus enabling the team to come out a winner. The moment a team is able to taste the success of the outcome, although on the way they might have faced hardships, their trust in the directions provided by the leader increases. Solid performance is always the result of great planning and flawless execution; the leader needs to oversee both these aspects strategically and tactically to enable the team to succeed. Integrity: Integrity is not only about financial honesty; integrity for a leader is to be committed to the cause and be accountable for the success and failure of the team. A lot of leaders fail because they | may 2022

always have an ear to the ground in order to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by those who are carrying out the organisation's agenda. A leader with empathy creates a sense amongst take the credit for all the team members that the team's success but place leader is aware of their situthe blame on others in case ation and is enabling them of failures. This is one of with a clear understandthe biggest deal-breakers ing of ground realities. A in earning the trust of the leader who has a high level teams. Integrity is also a lot of empathy will eventually about the level of fairness also be seen by the team as demonstrated in handling caring and understanding various business and people despite being highly task situations and problems and, most importantly, being oriented. Leading with trust is one authentic in actions. Being political or creating a divide of the key foundations of being a successful leader; and rule environment in teams rally behind the leadthe team eventually leads ers they trust and go many to mistrust amongst team members and with the leader. extra miles for such a leader .If you are a leader and you Empathy: The leader are hearing or seeing "I don't should know the challengtrust you" from your people, ing circumstances under take steps now to remedy which the team works. The leader should know the hard- the situation. Reflect on the points mentioned above. ships they face to deliver A lot of your success as a the outcomes, and should leader depends on it. be able to understand some of the intrinsic and extrinABOUT THE AUTHOR sic challenges which are Biswaroop Mukherjee is the Head HR - Commercial Vehicle beyond the control of team Business Unit at Tata Motors. members. The leader should

The importance of people enablement in today's workplace


rogressive organisations recognise the importance of shaping their people strategies around enablement and empowerment. For a deep dive into what that involves, People Matters spoke with Shweta Chandrashekar, Global People Operations Lead at location platform company HERE Technologies – a title that she carries interchangeably with that of Global People Enablement Lead – about why the focus on enabling people is so important today and what it

actually means in practice, in today's workplace environment.

What is people enablement really about, in today's workplace environment? Simply speaking, it is about putting people first – about trying to understand employees' requirements and needs, and making them the crux and the centre of decisions. But it's also about understanding the business needs and trying to support the business outcomes and strategy, and seeing how

HR can play a role to make that alignment between the business and the employee – which is also important in keeping our employees in the organisation. I also want to highlight that people enablement is not an administrative function. It's a very integral partner for the success of any organisation. In terms of my role, people enablement focuses primarily on enabling our employees and the talent that we have in our organisation, and doing this throughout the employee life cycle, from onboarding to offboarding. It is about managing the entire employee life cycle. may 2022 |


By Mint Kang


Business success today is about people enablement, which in turn is about making decisions based on employees' requirements and needs – while balancing these with business priorities. Shweta Chandrashekar, Global People Enablement Lead at HERE Technologies, describes some of these needs and how to build on them to enable the workforce




People enablement is not an administrative function. It's a very integral partner for the success of any organisation


And as the people enablement team, our approach has been to focus on employee services as well as creating good employee experiences at different stages of the employee life cycle. Seen from a wider lens, people enablement is about empowering your employees. That means it's about transparency, and it's also about how we can leverage the resources that we have to help our employees in their own career growth as well as the success of the organisation. It's about listening to your employees, because we are the first point of contact during onboarding – they will reach out to us, and we will listen to them and understand what are their concerns and try to create a win-win situation by addressing their urgent issues and needs. Finally, people enablement can mean helping our employees to develop their skills and competencies. Our L&D team is doing a great job in partnering with the employees to create that value and enabling them to develop this. | may 2022

Do you get the sense that today's workforce is looking for certain types of support and empowerment, more so than others? This varies depending on the stage where the employee is in terms of their life cycle, as well as their demographics. But I find there are some common fundamental expectations these days: 1. The well-being of employees. That's been the most important factor that's come to the forefront, and as organisations we need to be sensitive enough to understand what we can do to support our employees' wellbeing. Prior to the pandemic the focus was more on physical well-being, but now there are a lot more requests and requirements for support in terms of mental well-being. 2. Flexibility. I think that working from home and remote working has become

a very normal expectation for employees to have in today's world. However, I think it's also important to understand how these things balance out – the physical presence and the remote effectiveness – and that's where a lot of progressive organisations are adopting the hybrid model today. I would also say that flexibility should not just be limited to the place where you work. Having full flexibility in terms of managing your own work schedule is just as important. And that's where productivity should not just be based on the time that the person is spending at work, but it should be based on the outcome. 3. Inclusion at the workplace. This is not just a numbers game. It's something that is very essential, and it's crucial to us that all our employees really feel that they truly

employees who want to give back to society.

Is this increased mindfulness of employee needs and wants a new trend created by the last two years? Or is it something that's been going on since before the pandemic? My view is that overall companies have become more mindful of their employee needs because of the pandemic. We cannot deny the fact that the impact of the pandemic has been huge on employees, businesses as well as the whole

happened. In these organisations, like ours, the awareness of employee needs and the emphasis on employee centricity has actually become more focused and it's also been accelerated. Hybrid work, for instance, might otherwise have taken us four years to reach this stage, but now we are here within a span of two years. And now we're also going through another important stage where we are asking employees to come back to work, and at this point companies really need to listen to employees and help

of society. If you just think of how overnight, your home became your workplace – that alone was not an easy change for anyone or even any organisation to deal with. Also, the constant view into what's happening into people's personal lives has brought more focus around being mindful and having greater sensitivity around employees' needs. But I also think we cannot really attribute all of it to the pandemic, because many organisations, especially the progressive ones, have been doing a lot even before the pandemic


The awareness of employee needs and the emphasis on employee centricity has become more focused and it's also been accelerated


belong. Having employee resource groups to encourage dialogues around the needs of underrepresented groups – women, LGBTQ, and others – or campaigns to raise awareness of allyship, has really helped us create a culture of inclusion. Also, in today's context, I think inclusion needs to be seen from a wider lens, because normally when we talk about inclusion, we focus on these groups, but in the current working environment, we have to consider the needs of other categories of employees as well – new hires for example, will face additional challenges when they come into a hybrid setup, and we need to do extra to make sure that they feel interconnected and included in the organisation. 4. Giving back to society. I think there's a trend where people want to contribute and give back to the society in which they live, and so we have to create a culture where employees feel that they are able to connect with the purpose of the organisation and build upon that to give back to society. We need to help them create and uphold that bigger picture of life. So we need to listen to our employees and find ways to provide the support they need to do that. For example, we introduced a voluntary leave policy last year for our

them navigate this change. Because many employees are still trying to balance their expectations and their work requirements in this new scenario.

Do you think this employee centricity will be sustained going forward? Or will we end up reverting to the pre-pandemic situation? To be honest, I don't think we can go back to the pre pandemic stage, because so many things have changed. Employee expectations have changed drastically in the last two years. Previously, when people were may 2022 |




When your employees feel that they are being heard, and they're being valued, that's where managers, employees, leaders can all move in the same direction, towards advancing the business


working from the office, the concept of work-life balance was very simple and clearly divided – 50-50 work and personal life. But now, employees have become used to the idea that work is only one part of their life. They have multiple other things going on. They need time to attend to their physical health, they need time for their family, they need time for their own personal development. They need time to pursue their hobbies. And work is only one part of it. So that 50-50 ratio has changed, and it's going to be difficult for organisations who still operate in that mindset. Progressive organizations will be the ones that really put effort into creating the right balance, listening to their employees, and catering to their needs while managing the business priorities. | may 2022

What are some easy things organisations can do to create and maintain that balance? To me, the easiest and the most important thing is having clear and effective communication, being transparent with your employees and having enough communication touch points. I think that becomes essential when you're trying to balance people expectations with business priorities. It's also an avenue for leaders to connect with the employees and share important points such as what are some of the business challenges, what they're doing and why they're doing it, how the organisation is doing. This is truly important, because once we have transparency and employees understand why we're doing what we're doing, they will become aligned with the mission and the vision of

the company. The other side of this is to be always mindful not to over-promise, because once you make false promises, expectations are not met, and people's motivation will take a hit. So be transparently true and stick to the facts. Lastly, it's very, very important that you listen to your employees. Let them ask questions, or create that safe space where they could be free to chime in with their ideas or share when things are not going right. Having that psychological safe space also helps in driving innovation, which ultimately helps the organisation succeed in business goals. And when your employees feel that they are being heard, and they're being valued, that's where managers, employees, leaders can all move in the same direction, towards advancing the business.

Why employees' happiness must be a top priority An organisation that emphasises the happiness of their employees before everything else will see a positive impact on business results. Shruti Tandon, Director of People Enablement at Nagarro, tells us why By Rakhee Sharma C OVER


sional with more than 15 years of diverse experience, Shruti's skillset covers HR Business Partnering, Human Resource Management, Culture Building, Performance Management, Talent Management, Talent Development, organisation Development, Change Management, Talent Assessment, Diversity and Inclusion, communications, and International HR. She began her career as a specialist in OD, culture building and subsequently gained experience as a generalist and a Strategic HR partner. Currently, she is responsible for leading interventions in the area of Career, Culture, Capability and Change.

There is no standard definition of the term employee experience; it has different meanings to different audiences. What does it mean to Nagarro and you? I agree that the way employee experience is interpreted across industries is very different. It is unique to the context. But if you were to ask me for a simple definition, employee experience is everything. I read somewhere that the word “experience” encompasses anything and everything that filters through consciousness. This is beautifully written and has stayed with me. Experience is very contextual. It encompasses each interaction in each day may 2022 |


he concept of employee experience has changed since the pandemic and the emergence of a completely remote working environment. As experience became more important, the tables were turned, and employees' needs became a driver of how businesses function. Among the learnings of recent times, we saw that employees nowadays seek the meaning of their existence within a company and investigate the significance of their contribution to it. Furthermore, employees tend to leave organisations when they lack the freedom to explore. People Matters interviewed Shruti Tandon, Director – People Enablement, Nagarro, about this shift and what it means going forward. A HR profes-



of an employee's time at your company. It’s about the value, the connection, feedback, and it is a part of each critical moment across the employee value chain. So, employee experience must be treated as the number one priority. Anything that HR does should be experience led, and at Nagarro, we try to take this one notch up by making it CARING led. This is a unique distinction that we create with a high touch personalised experience for everyone in the organisation. Technology is important here, because having a top-notch digital experience in this remote environment goes a long way in letting you connect with your colleagues, and we need to create bonding even more than what we used to do in the past.

What are your views on the relationship between employee experience and business performance? With the power shift that is happening today, one must also respond to the shifting priorities of talent. Employees want a workplace that values them, engages with them to connect, collaborate, and celebrate. That is why a more personalised EX is a key differentiator in the job market. People need a feeling of belongingness in the workplace, a culture that is engaging, caring, and values their inputs. 52

| may 2022

Gone are the days when the companies used to retain the top talent just by promising promotions and compensation. Those are not effective in the current market anymore. You must have ways to stand out, and I believe experience is one of the most important factors that would help people make that decision. Companies are now realising that it is what shapes the ultimate success of an organisation. What is that one thing that could make you stand out and differentiate your organisation? It’s your culture and

tions are leveraged through technology for attracting and retaining talent, fostering workplace culture, enhancing productivity, and much more. And technology is for sure important because it enables the culture in an organisation, among many other things. For example, Nagarro currently has more than 15,000 employees across the world. What will it take for us to bind them together in our company culture? It is going to be technology. So, anything that you want to do has to be tech enabled. Any

Employees want a workplace that values them, engages with them to connect, collaborate, and celebrate the employee experience. A good EX will result in a happy workforce that treats its customers right, employees who feel good and stay motivated. I would say, a workplace or an organisation that emphasises the happiness of employees before everything else will see a positive impact on business results.

Organisations often think that employee experience is a strategy equal to a tech strategy. YWhat is your take on that? Digital experience plays a huge role in today’s distributed world, where connec-

experience that you want to create will be through a platform. For any benefit that you roll out, you must invest time and energy in getting feedback from people. Digital experience plays a huge role in shaping the culture. I would even say that technology is going to be the backbone of the culture that we are creating in this hybrid, distributed global organisation. The use of more cutting-edge technology and experience data will open more avenues to digitally reimagine the company culture, creating connections, enabling knowledge sharing in structured and

unstructured ways, having newer methods of capturing feedback, and providing recommendations (and nudges to take action) in the regular course of business.

What practices at Nagarro have the most significant employee experience? That would be our individualised approach. We always believe in individualised employee experience. So it’s not just one practice, but rather an entire approach to realise and accept the fact that people are individuals, they're not resources. Each person wants to be engaged in a different way. Every individual will have a different ask out of the system. As HR, we need to understand each one of these asks, and make sure that we have something for everyone. We have numerous programs and collec-

tively they are extremely effective because each one of these programs engages a different pool of people. Hence, we can focus on creating experiences which will allow people to be themselves as unique individuals at the organisation. I would say that realising that employees are a collection of individuals who have their own personality, their own preferences, their own likes, and dislikes, is additionally vital in today's war for talent . That's why we call ourselves ‘people enablement’ - because enabling each person is our responsibility. Organisations need to appreciate the fact that the ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work, and there must be something personalised for everyone. That's the challenge at hand and that's what we need to solve – a huge opportunity for the next evolution of HR. may 2022 |


forum where people ask us anything and everything, and I think such discussionoriented conversations go a long way in creating a nonhierarchical atmosphere for us.


What do you think is the role of communication in better employee experience? The need to have transparent and regular communication is imperative. People need to see that they have leaders who are communicating with them. It is also very important for people to know that the leaders have access to them and vice versa. Moreover, they should be aware that they have appropriate platforms and forums to share their feedback, views, and to express themselves. This creates two-way communication, which is very crucial for the health of an organisation. At Nagarro, we use this collaborative platform called Yammer for all important communications or announcements. We encourage people to participate in healthy discussions through various groups we have created on Yammer. There are casual, serious, and work-related discussions, and important messages go out as well. There are senior management interactions and comments, and if people comment, there are responses from the HR and senior leadership. We do not manage or delete or mask comments. This is one


Recruitment in a time of mounting labour shortages



With fewer suitable candidates in the labour market and higher expectations from jobseekers, the only solution has been for organisations to step up their processes and try to match talent demands – quite a reversal of the previous employerjobseeker relationship


By Mint Kang


ecruiting new talent has gotten a lot more difficult in the last two years. The skill shortages that started with digital acceleration during the pandemic have turned into full-on labour shortages across nearly all sectors and all roles. Many jobseekers are not returning to the labour market even though borders have reopened and companies are hiking starting salaries, and those who do consider new roles are often much more stringent in their evaluation of potential employers than they might have been before the pandemic. Why is this the case? It's partly the uncertain economic situation – jobseekers question whether | may 2022

the risk of moving from a known position is worthwhile – and partly because the jobs themselves have changed and become more demanding. Joy Seow, Director of Executive HR Search and practice lead for the consumer, healthcare, and tech sectors at Singaporeheadquartered executive search firm Kerry Consulting, told People Matters that candidates are likely to be uncomfortable with both the expanded nature of today's roles and with the way the hiring process has changed since the pandemic – it has become more protracted, tends to involve more stakeholders, and relies on the

virtual format, all of which can be a turn-off. “Today’s role has become more fluid and candidates are expected to take on more responsibilities that they have signed up for,” she pointed out. “There is a higher element of risk for candidates to take the leap of faith amidst the uncertainty of the hiring process given the limited face-to-face interactions with stakeholders.” Employers themselves have observed that candidates are less tolerant of delays, tedious processes, or unexpected hitches in the recruitment process – and with the current state of the labour market, they are more able to suddenly walk away

Plenty of organisations have realised by now that recruitment is no longer just about candidates putting on their best displays to court an employer. The power shift means that employers, too, have to put forward their best face and convince today's often-skeptical, skittish talent that this really is a good organisation to work

Candidates are less tolerant of delays, tedious processes, or unexpected hitches in the recruitment process date expectations of a ‘great place to work’,” he told People Matters. “If organisations can showcase the unlimited sources of wisdom candidates can tap into by joining the organisation, they will remain a step ahead of the rest.” In practice, he said, this means that leaders need to put extra effort into marketing the company during interviews and even on social media. “To stand out in the recruitment process, compa-

nies have to inspire prospective talent in the interview room (or on Zoom). Leaders need to share practical examples of how the organisation lives up to their purpose and values through the work they do. HR leaders need to explain how everyone has the opportunity to grow, learn and shape their career at the company. Job seekers will actively reference check the brands they intend to work for via social media so it’s important this work is reflected on company channels, too.” Employers cannot neglect the mechanics of the recruitment process, either, especially given that it is the first set of prolonged interactions a candidate has with the company, and will colour all the candidate's impressions of the organisation going forward Vijay Sivaram, CEO of India-based Quess IT Staffing, Recruitment, and Search, shared some observations about how the recruitment process can be improved. One important factor is the speed of closing: “From the time a candidate is confirmed as a select till the candidate joins, there are very strict timelines organisations are putting in to ensure that the documentation is in place and the candidate is engaged periodically with various stakeholders,” he told People Matters. may 2022 |


So what can companies do about this?

for. This ranges from overhauling their processes, to advertising themselves much harder during the process itself, to curating their public image much more intensively. Michael Tan Kian Yen, Human Resources Director at ServiceNow in Asia, listed out a number of ways in which employers are trying to put their best foot forward to attract talent. “Organisations have shifted focus toward ‘talent branding’ to meet candi-


at at any point if they find something too frustrating. One survey by Robert Half found that candidate ghosting has become noticeably more common today than it was two years ago, and the more in demand the role, the more likely candidates are to simply disappear and leave employers hanging. “The employer-employee relationship dynamic has shifted the power to employees,” said Victor Leong, Talent Acquisition Specialist at London-headquartered foreign exchange fintech Currencycloud. In the tech sector, for example, he noted that recruiting IT professionals has become a highly competitive affair, one where employers really need to step up their game. “Companies need to do away with inefficient and tedious recruitment processes or they risk losing good candidates to companies that work quicker, smarter, and are more attuned to market trends.”



He also recommended that the organisation stay in very close contact with the candidate during the period between selection and actual joining, with engagement via not just email but calls, invitations to join internal webinars, and even in-person meetings where feasible – this also serves to bring up any red flags that might have been previously overlooked. What's more, if this level of attention sounds like something that might previously only have been directed towards candidates for top leadership, it's no longer the case. According to Sivaram, an increasing number of companies are doing this for candidates at all levels. “When you recruit, you are not dealing with a product that comes in a shape and a size, you are dealing with a human mind,” he pointed out. “Organisations today are trying to stay away from the old school approach of selection-to-offer, and moving to a more employee experience-focused process because of an increasing

Leaders need to put extra effort into marketing the company during interviews and even on social media 56

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number of offer declines that are happening in the present time.”

Don't underestimate the attracting power of flexibility

Research over the last year has clearly underscored how important flexible work has become to employees and, by extension, to candidates. For example, one 2021 study by Cisco found that as many as 60% of employees worldwide would consider hybrid or flexible arrangements a factor in deciding whether to seek out a new job. And other studies have indicated that a significant proportion of employees – varying by region – may outright quit their jobs if not provided flexibility. Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager for Safeguard Global ANZ, told People Matters that sustainable recruitment today is going

to rely heavily on employers' ability to provide and communicate that flexibility. “Employee expectations of the work experience have changed in the last couple of years – what they want from their experience and how they are willing to work. As a result, how companies build sustainable recruitment needs to change,” he said. “People want a flexible experience that prioritises a life/work integration – where their lives come first, not the other way around. Implementing sustainable recruitment practices means exploring new ways to recruit and update policies around locations or asynchronous work and how workers are classified.” Flexibility also means, in many cases, a flexibility of mindset – to consider candidates who might previously have been overlooked due to automatic prejudicial

‘Unlearn’ and challenge the way you’ve always done things. There’s no doubt some of your experience may still apply to recruitment today, but a lot also doesn’t

may 2022 |


dominates markets worldwide, it is difficult to predict what the next shift in the labour market will look like. Many employers are already planning their future strategies on the assumption that current trends such as hybrid/flexible work and an employee-centric focus are here to stay, and they may continue on this path even if the talent shortage starts to ease, simply because they have come to believe it is the right thing to do. “Many companies are trying their very best to adapt to the new hiring landscape and the demands of the candidates,” noted Kerry Consulting's Joy Seow. “It is a fine balance to ensure that the business thrives while maintaining a high quality of candidate acquisition experience.” ServiceNow's Michael Tan suggested that for many companies, there is still some way to go in adapting, and a lot of the distance may be bridged by the least tangi-

ble but most difficult change – in mindsets. “‘Unlearn’ and challenge the way you’ve always done things,” is his advice. “There’s no doubt some of your experience may still apply to recruitment today, but a lot also doesn’t. If you’re approaching each process with the candidate in mind, you’ll be asking different questions, gaining insights, and picking up new things that build rapport and help your organisation to stand out.” “Paint a picture for how your candidates’ career could transform and use the interview process to personalise the path with the candidate. Explore the opportunities available to them based on their interest.” “Better process always beats perks: Organisations too often focus on benefits to attract talent and help employees better balance their time between work and the rest of their lives. But investing in processes that help people work more effectively can deliver far greater dividends by gifting people time back in their day to focus on the work that fulfils the individuals’ career aspirations. Leaders need to show they are investing in making work better for their people. To grow and scale your company, streamline the recruiting process so it is scalable and repeatable.”


assumptions. This includes candidates who might once have been discounted because their age, qualifications, experience, background, or even location did not match the industry 'standard'. Ong Shi Ming, Talent Acquisition Manager at HP Southeast Asia, told People Matters that mindsets toward mid-career hires, for example, have shifted over time. “It has been common practice within the [tech] industry to hire candidates of a specific background and experience,” she admitted. “But we have recognised that diversity is extremely crucial to how we innovate.” Attracting diverse talent means ensuring that they are represented within the hiring process itself, Ong said. For example, the panel of interviewers who interact with a candidate may be chosen to reflect that the organisation is not just comfortable with candidates who fall outside the traditional industry image, but actively aspires to consider candidates with different backgrounds and experiences. “This gives them a first taste of our work culture, and we believe it is critical to how we stay competitive as a employer,” she explained. Where do employers go from here? Amid the economic and geopolitical uncertainty that


Adecco Group’s Shubha Shridharan on five hard truths of HR Good HR is serious business. It requires deep expertise of the subject and an equal measure of understanding of the business - along with the right level of sensitivity towards people. Shubha Shridharan, Group SVP, HR, APAC, The Adecco Group shares some hard truths about this key function that all need to know and understand By Mamta Sharma

HR S t r a t e g i c 58


uman resources (HR) has seen a paradigm shift from being merely an administrative function to compliance custodianship to now emerging as an integral business enabler. The vital role played by it, in wake of the pandemic, to steer sustainable business success, has increased multifold. But do we still understand it in all its aspects? Good HR is not just about hiring/ firing but serious business. It is a subtle combination of deep expertise in the subject matter and an equal measure of understanding of business, with last but not the least, the right level of sensitivity towards people. However, there still remain some myths about the function that need to be busted. In an interaction with People Matters, Shubha Shridharan, Group SVP, HR, APAC, at leading HR solutions company, The Adecco Group, who oversees all interventions in this vertical in the region, with her team of highly talented leaders located in 11 countries, shares five hard truths about the key sphere. Here's what she said:

| may 2022

The HR function is not merely responsible for hiring/ retrenching people TRUTH

Your HR folks have the innate ability to comprehend the financial realities and blend them with people realities


lutely critical, but when it is trivialised with a few mindless events without being anchored with a clear purpose, it totally loses its relevance. However, HR professionals repeatedly are asked to play the role of cheer leading such events with or without their preference. The role of your HR function is a lot more meaningful; understand and leverage it meaningfully.

S t r a t e g i c

In my early days at work, it used to get me psyched; each time I heard about the ignorance of people who thought of the HR function to be synonymous to the hiring and retrenching department. That is so untrue! Hiring good people aligned with the organisation's values is the most critical responsibility of line managers and business leaders, along with your HR partners. This is a collaborative undertaking. Unfortunately, many people do not get it! Recruiting and onboarding relevant people into the company is the most strategic activity and should be taken up with utmost sincerity involving relevant stakeholders, which HR experts facilitate. The same is the case with letting go of people. Be it from a performance deficit standpoint or other business reasons, and the decision to let go of people is usually a collective enterprise decision. The HR function takes the heavy task of executing the decision with respect and dignity. But the messenger here always takes the shot! That needs to change.

HR professionals have a good understanding of numbers TRUTH

HR professionals are not mere engagement angels TRUTH

I have often seen many HR functions solely delegated to organise office parties and engagement events. Please do not get me wrong - building engagement is abso-

I would like to bust the myth that HR professionals do not understand numbers. I have seen several HR professionals all through my career who understand the company's financials may 2022 |


vant data and analytics. People analytics, supported by relevant technology, is not a nice to do, but a must-do for companies to nurture business success. And your HR professionals are best equipped to help you on that journey, and they are extremely aware of this and are ready to support you in that journey.

HR professionals are gifted crisis managers

S t r a t e g i c



HR deserves every bit of respect, recognition and more for how they stood as the pillar during those critical moments exceptionally well and can devise people strategies to align with the business requirements and employees' aspirations. This is a capability I see increasing rapidly among the HR fraternity. So please take note; your HR folks have the innate ability to comprehend the financial realities and blend them with people realities. Not an easy skill!

HR professionals know their tech and their data analytics TRUTH

Another myth is that HR professionals are not tech-savvy and cannot interpret data. This is so not true. I have witnessed a large majority of HR colleagues that not only understand technology but can also articulate its benefits and interpret the implications supported by rele60

| may 2022

The last couple of years has proven to us what this function could do to adapt quickly and respond to the incredible crisis that pandemic imposed on us overnight in many places. I have seen my own HR teams leading several employee care initiatives, putting people first, and operating in extreme situations. Our HR teams' ability to think fast and connect with people offering instant solutions, small and big, was instrumental in coping with the unsurmountable challenges that the COVID19 pandemic posed to our organisations. They deserve every bit of respect, recognition and more for how they stood as the pillar during those critical moments. Good HR enables the organisation to maneuver the changing work patterns while establishing the dignity and equity of all humans in the workplace. Thereby truly preparing ourselves for "making the future work for all." Do not crave for that seat – just do your job well, and the seat always belonged to you! Good companies know it well.

How do we lead a culture of innovation?

By Asmaani Kumar


he events of recent years underscored how important it is to innovate and strengthen global supply chain. But what does it take to do so? In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Pramod Jajoo, SVP Technology and India Country Head for fast-growing e-commerce company ShipBob shares incredible insights on the innovations in the supply chain domain and how enterprises can unleash their potential for growth and impact with a people-centric culture. Jajoo has over 30 years of expertise across the business landscape with internet companies like BigBasket and Freight Tiger. He’s also a mentor and advisor to select startups and corpo-

rates and is actively involved as an angel investor in the Indian startup ecosystem. Jajoo has been a mentor to Nasscom's Deep Tech Club (DTC) startups for the past four years and previously served as a Senior Vice President at Flipkart where he managed product and technology teams for Flipkart’s Fulfillment Services Group.

What is the vision for the future of ShipBob? What has been its business impact on the supply chain enterprise? ShipBob’s vision is to serve merchants of different sizes, from small and midsized to enterprise companies. This is done by democratising fulfilment with best-in-class logistics across all merchant’s sales channels, from ecommerce to

One of the best ways to enable efficiency and innovation is by having a deeply skilled, highly engaged, and motivated workforce from diverse backgrounds retail. Feedback from the customer community is vital to steer the ship forward for any business and even more so for a supply chain enterprise such as ours. As a result of the open communication channels with our customers, innovations become a byproduct, such as new fulfilment centre locamay 2022 |

Organisational Culture

Trust each other. Be in sync with each other on priorities. And be great at documentation and asynchronous collaboration. That's the advice of Pramod Jajoo, SVP Technology and India Country Head of ShipBob, in this exclusive interaction with People Matters


Organisational Culture

tions, more robust integrations, and support of sales channels to other services that can enable a seamless supply chain. The business impact has been immense, especially in a rapidly digitised world. Merchants can get up and running on our platform in a matter of days, leading business functions at speed, at scale, and in cost-effective ways.

What is the role of technological innovation in the global supply chain enterprise? What are the challenges it seeks to address? Technology innovations are vital because they increase choices for our community and, at the same time, improve the customer experience, efficiency, and cost. When supply chain companies offer customisation and growth capabilities to address omnichannel fulfilment needs, regardless of where their customers are located and the delivery choice, there is an inevita-

We, as leaders, must strive to create a culture of innovation and flexibility, and steer away from a culture of compliance 62

| may 2022

ble expansion in terms of reach. During the pandemic, we noticed that most sellers had shifted to ecommerce. Accordingly, fulfilment solutions had to adapt, but in the post-pandemic world, there is a shift towards physical, in-store operations and the solutions that companies such as ours provide have to shift simultaneously. This agility is imperative and comes from the skilful use of data science and machine learning technologies to improve the efficiency of resource planning and every step of the fulfilment process. Simultaneously, to increase one’s capacities and reach in the supply chain, investing in a partner fulfilment network has proved very successful for us; however, partners have to be onboarded fast and seamlessly, so there are no hiccups in the solutions delivered.

In a hypergrowth economy and a highly connected marketplace, the talent you hire is critical to any organisation’s business success. So, for ShipBob, what is the hiring outlook? Solving complex problems for customers to scale and succeed at their business seamlessly requires deep product, engineering thinking and excellent merchant care. As a result, the talent that gets hired becomes a key differentiator in realising the company's mission. Four significant functions, notably Technology, Product, Customer Success, and G&A, will see the judicious hiring of highly skilled professionals in the next 12 to 18 months. I firmly believe that when the talent hired aligns with a company’s mission, purpose, and culture, that very talent can be empowered to innovate in service

we must design our organisation and work streams to be agile, resilient, and humancentred so we can thrive in times of uncertainty and continuous disruption

How can organisations today enhance cross-functional collaboration as the workforce becomes increasingly distributed? Cross-functional collaboration is essential for an enterprise with a multigeographic presence to keep the business running. Of course, there are challenges when a global organisation has to serve a global market, but empowering teams and individuals to set boundaries and set expectations with each other leads to greater work-life integra-

tion. This is one of the core practices of flexible working that we as leaders must ensure. We have to trust each other, be in sync with each other on priorities, and, at a tactical level, be great at the documentation and asynchronous collaboration to move forward continuously. For instance, a single threaded leadership structure that entails incorporating members from different parts of the organisation under a singular leader can be an interesting strategy. This divides the workforce into smaller focus groups and enables autonomy and decentralised decision-making, and we have seen this happen at ShipBob. One of the greatest benefits that it yields is a heightened sense of ownership and accountability amongst your people, which will positively impact workforce collabo-

ration and employee engagement.

As the world of business prepares for unprecedented business disruptions, what are some words of advice you would like to share with our community? Building a people-centric, purpose-driven organisation that focuses on the professional and personal development of the employees is the priority. We, as leaders, must strive to create a culture of innovation and flexibility, and steer away from a culture of compliance. In today’s environment, too much policy and too much bureaucracy will stifle the growth and adaptability of any organisation or team. Instead, we must design our organisation and work streams to be agile, resilient, and human-centred so we can thrive in times of uncertainty and continuous disruption. may 2022 |

Organisational Culture

of global customers and achieve great heights. The supply chain industry is evolving quickly, and technology will continue to drive efficiency and bring innovation to the industry. One of the best ways to enable this is by having a deeply skilled, highly engaged, and motivated workforce from diverse backgrounds.


Visty Banaji

Guns for (Corporate) Hire There is a growing pool of leadership talent that doesn’t owe loyalty to the employing corporate. These 'Hired Guns' seem a convenient and effective way of dealing with challenges, but their long-term impact on organisations is ultimately deleterious. What can be done to counter it?

The road less travelled



am sure every boy (at least in my youth) dreamed of being the fastest gun in the Wild West. Who didn’t want to be William Munny?1 A gunslinger hiring himself out on a vengeance mission so that his children would have a future, seemed both valiant and noble. The true characters of the gunmen available for hire in those times were, of course, neither. Nor were they even remotely the first to make their skills in fighting available for rent. Xeno-

| may 2022

phon’s 10,000 mercenaries, who failed to put Cyrus the Younger on the throne of Persia and then fought their way home 2,500 years ago, enacted their drama on a far larger and more memorable stage than Will’s exploit.2 Not everyone, even in classical times, approved the fighting-for-money transaction that was (and is) at the root of all mercenary engagement – however noble the cause that pays for the service. Thus, we have Aristotle contrasting soldiers who bear arms

for cash versus those who fight out of commitment to their country; "[Mercenary] soldiers turn cowards, however, when the danger puts too great a strain on them and they are inferior … for they are the first to fly, while citizen-forces die at their posts …"3 Isocrates focuses directly on another of the key problems with the hired 'sword' when he reprimands his fellow Athenians in these words: "… [A] though we seek to rule over

For organisations that have been used to homegrown dyed-inthe-culture talent, critical changes in oversight styles and mechanisms are vital if the engagement is not to be disappointing or even disastrous

The key difference lies, not in the payment they get or whether they are with the company in which they started, but in the long-term commitment they have to serving an organisation pool of military manpower available for sale. For centuries before that "[A]dventurers and men of arms comprising the plateau’s military market moved from court to court seeking promising rulers, commanders or chieftains to whom they might offer their service…. Armed villagers might sell their services to the highest bidder, but would remain in service only as long as their salaries were forthcoming."7 The military market was not confined to peasants. The prize catches were the chieftains and generals who

could marshal the masses. The parallels to the corporate world’s bidding for talent has, I trust, not been lost on any reader. There is a growing tribe of Hired Guns (HirGus for short), starting at the topmost corporate levels, but increasingly pervading downwards, which is perennially open to the lure of fresh pastures, higher payments and greater prestige on the other side.8 Of course, we are all paid by our organisations and far and few are the individuals who wouldn’t like more money for the work may 2022 |

The road less travelled

all men, we are not willing to take the field ourselves, … but employ instead vagabonds, deserters, and fugitives who have thronged together here in consequence of other misdemeanours, who, whenever others offer them higher pay, will follow their leadership against us."4 A third challenge, highlighting how intolerant mercenary captains can be, is exemplified in an amusing episode from medieval Italy: ”Apolaffar had begun his mercenary career … with Sikenolf, but had stormed off from Salerno in a rage one day… [T]he two were clambering up the outer stairs of the palace when Sikenolf, exuberant over their success, impulsively grabbed Apolaffar, a small man, and hoisted him up to the next step. Apolaffar, very sensitive about his size, found this an unpardonable humiliation."5 The history of India too is replete with instances of soldiers selling their service to the highest bidder. Seen in this light, "the British conquest [of India] often meant no more than the slow drift to the East India Company of soldiers, merchants and administrators, leaving the Indian rulers with nothing more than a husk of royal grandeur."6 The British, of course, were far from the first to paddle in India’s vast


The road less travelled

If you wanted a lasting bloom, a morning glory should not have been your choice in the first place


they do. The key difference between HirGus and the rest lies, not in the payment they get or whether they are with the company in which they started, but in the long-term commitment the latter have to serving an organisation (as long as they are permitted to do so with self-respect). This is very similar to the distinction between mercenary forces and professional volunteer armies (which replaced citizen militias in many early republics). "Thus while all mercenaries were paid men, not all paid men were mercenaries."9At the individual level one can contrast the state appointed (and paid) lawman in the legendary Wild West with a hired gunslinger or bounty hunter. Few will deny the HirGu is a stream that’s fast becoming a river on the corporate landscape. Some might question, however, whether it is problematic. Dyed as we have all been in the purple colours of market supremacy, we may need to reflect a bit to figure out the damage HirGus can cause. | may 2022

The harm that irGus do lives after them

The quotes from Aristotle, Isocrates and Kreutz encapsulate the three major reasons HirGus can be undependable. In moments of intense crisis, when the immediate benefit of remaining at the post is outweighed by risks to reputation, health and home life, it takes people with long-standing commitments to the organisation to stick on. True, there have been mercenaries who have stayed in their positions and died in battle as have some modern HirGus but that’s not the nature of the deal. Most HirGus or mercenaries ``… have no love for you nor any cause that can keep them in the field other than a little pay, which is not enough to make them risk death for you. They are eager indeed to be your soldiers as long as you are

not carrying on war, but when war comes, eager to run away or to leave."10 The other and more frequent reason for HirGus departure is pay. If someone is in the game for money it would be naïve to expect that s/he would stick around when a better offer is dangling before their eyes. Matching an external offer is a temporary palliative that carries lethal lessons for others on how out-of-turn hikes are to be extorted. The delusion that a HirGu is the silver bullet for structural, strategic or systemic faults, the ready availability of self-serving Head Hunters eager to perpetuate that myth11 and the growing pool of HirGus, attracted by wealth they could only have dreamed of had they stayed put, have all conspired to ratchet executive compensation in India to dizzying levels – far outstripping

harmfully from their earlier stomping grounds, but, in any case, chosen intentionally from backgrounds that can have no possible link or loyalty to the values of the place where they have established a beach-head. Given the exorbitant payments and favours lavished on the new nobility, several longer-sighted members of the old guard, who can read the writing on the wall from a distance, adopt the mores and manners that get rewarded in the new regime. Whatever opposition there might have been is self-destructed by Beshram’s Law (the HR version of Gresham’s Law) which states that 'bad people drive out good'. The old or unemployable may remain but they are hardly in a position to save the fast-depleting cultural stock of the company.

It is difficult to generalise about the cultural changes HirGus cause. However, given the fact that many HirGus who are brought in at senior levels are given the express mandate to shake up the place and make it more aggressive, one can be reasonably certain of what will be abandoned in such cases and be equally certain that the transformative new culture that is promised will not be realised.13 Given enough time, HirGus will Rupeefy relationships, ludicrous loyalties and trivialise traditions. There are, of course, material consequences too. The advent of a HirGu wave is often followed by downsizings and massive efforts at contractualisation and outsourcing. In fact, HirGu bonuses are frequently tied to the success of these. Another, almost inevitable,

may 2022 |

The road less travelled

the stagnant-state of other corporate and (especially) non-corporate employee payments.12 A third way the hair-trigger departure response of a HirGu gets pulled is almost inevitable in the rough and tumble of organisational existence. The routine of corporate life, interspersed with the unwelcome excitement caused by despots or desperadoes, while pursuing goals stretched to breaking point by raw team members and bell-curve-racing peers, can be wearing for the best of us. Haven’t we all wished we could get away from it all at times? Well, that’s precisely why HirGus keeps their highest-rated HeadHunters on speed dial. While individual HirGus vary in their thresholds of frustration tolerance, as Sikenolf discovered, these can all be rather low. The consequences for organisations are not limited to coping with the disruption HirGu departures cause. There are three other, far more serious and long-lasting, damages. The first thing done by the Greeks creeping out of the prized wooden horse the Trojans dragged so triumphantly into their hitherto secure city, was to open the gates from the inside. HirGus in high management positions too, don’t remain alone for long. They bring in a bevy of lieutenants, most


The road less travelled

result is the stretch of the CTC envelope. Rare is the organisation that readjusts internal pay equities after paying top dollar for HirGus. And even when pay at the senior levels (where most HirGus join) is allowed to catch up, it only widens the disparities between levels. The HirGu is also sometimes brought in to recommend divestment and to prepare the organisation for it. That, of course, is the MOAB14 for destroying culture, jobs and what used to be a distinct, living organisation.


Atmanirbhar arms in the talent war

I know that by now I am sounding like a Spotify on repeat but the only longterm solution to the problem is to groom internal talent – so that the need to call in HirGus is minimised, if not eliminated.15 Incidentally, building their own professional armies was the only way states could avoid the ills of mercenary forces. Of course, even the best managed and HR-muscled organisations need to buy ready-groomed people. This is particularly understandable when the company is diversifying into unknown territory and doesn’t have time to build technology leaders within. Or when it has neglected a functional domain and has to play some fast catch-up. More rarely but still perfectly justifia| may 2022

ble is the CEO brought in to 'Gerstnerize' the company out of its lethargy and turn the laurels on which its leadership has been resting into thorns for prodding action. This last should, however, trigger serious soul-searching on what brought things to such a pass and a thorough recast of its top-level succession planning such that it is not caught again with its talent-garment down. For well-run businesses, HirGus, especially in CEO or general management roles, should be oncein-a-generation events. With the best intentions in the world, however, human (as well as murine) schemes go astray and we have to cope with HirGus in high places. For organisations that have been used to home-grown dyed-inthe-culture talent, critical changes in oversight styles and mechanisms are vital if

the engagement is not to be disappointing or even disastrous. The most important change when shifting to the oversight of HirGus after getting used to internal talent is that culture can no longer be relied upon to transmit unwritten and unspoken values, codes and ways of working. The heavy lifting has to be done by three formal Ds: Documentation of expectations, goals, measures as well as other dos and don’ts. Delegation of specific powers and authority. Commitments or decisions that can have lasting impact (e.g. dismissals in the next line) are better excluded at the outset. Delimitation by specifying what can’t be done and generally excluding what is not delegated (this can be relaxed once trust builds up to include whatever is not

Converts to the Cause

Somewhere along the way, Will Munny identifies with Notes:

the cause of justice, forgoes the payment that had lured him in the first place and establishes himself as a hero (after teaching the less amiable characters unforgettable lessons with the aid of a shotgun, a revolver and other such instructional accessories). There is a surprisingly large proportion of HirGus who follow this benevolent Munny sequence, however hot-headed or crass may have been their motives for switching firms. After savouring and succumbing to the cultural charms or als, 2012.

job excitement of their new organisational homes, some HirGus lose their wanderlust and become lasting and contributing corporate citizens. What a happy ending. Or is there another where they discover something unpalatable in the place they have chosen to settle down and make another run for it? Like the ending of an even more famous Western with a taste for Italian food.17 But that’s another story. Visty Banaji is the Founder and CEO of Banner Global Consulting (BGC)

People Matters, 23 August 2021.

1. Unforgiven, Warner Bros & Malpaso Produc-

7. Richard M Eaton, India in the Persianate

12. Visty Banaji, But who will guard the guard-

2. Xenophon, Anabasis, or The Expedition of

8. While researching this column I discovered

13. Visty Banaji, Culture Change is Not a

tions, 1992.

Cyrus, Oxford University Press, 2012.

3. Aristotle, David Ross (Trans), The Nicoma-

chean Ethics, III-8, Oxford World's Classics, 2009. 4. Isocrates, George Norlin (Trans), Volume 2 – On the Peace, Palala Press (2 March 2018). 5. Barbara M Kreutz, Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991. 6. C A Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion 1770-1870, Oxford India Perenni-

Age: 1000-1765, Penguin Random House, 2020.

that Hirgu is a character from Warcraft. After examining the less than flattering accompanying graphic, I hasten to assume my HirGu friends that they (at least most of them) look nothing like it. 9. Hunt Janin and Ursula Carlson, Mercenaries in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, McFarland & Co Inc, 2013. 10. Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, from Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, Vol. I, Duke University Press, 1989. 11. Visty Banaji, Head Hunters or Scalpers?,

The road less travelled

specifically prohibited). To avoid unpleasant surprises the Time Span of Discretion for Hirgu-filled role. will need to be lowered initially These checks should include measures of intangibles that are difficult to rebuild once liquidated. In the case of CEOs, Boards should look at trends in attrition, engagement levels and compensation more closely than heretofore.16 Just as the same piece of adhesive tape loses stickiness with each successive use, maximally mobile HirGus will not be as sticky as those who have grown with the organization. As such, realistic plans for their replacement need to be readied and renewed – starting soon after they’re onboard. Moreover, once a HirGu volunteers departure, it’s best not to be overly distraught or dissuasive. If you wanted a lasting bloom, a morning glory should not have been your choice in the first place.

ians?, People Matters, 14 March 2018.


15. 16. 17.

Screw-on Job, People Matters, 22 October 2021. Jessy J Ohl, The “mother of all bombs” and the forceful force of the greater weapon, Argumentation and Advocacy, Volume 55, Issue 4, 2019. Visty Banaji, Why great business leaders are rare, People Matters, 1 May 2020. Visty Banaji, Is Your Board Bored By HR? Improving Board Oversight of HR, People Matters, 13 November 2017 They Call Me Trinity, West Film, 1970.

may 2022 |


Past Month's events

Knowledge + Networking

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

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

Designing Employee Experience in the New World of Work People Matters

BeNext 18 April – 20 May 2022 Online This programme gave HR leaders and employers a suite of tips and knowledge for designing an impactful, outstanding employee experience for their teams in the new hybrid working environment.

Ongoing Programmes Talent Analytics: Driving Organizational Impact People Matters

BeNext 02 May – 03 June 2022 This programme is for HR leaders eager to gain practical, handson approaches to talent analytics, connecting HR policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of HR management, statistics and basic managerial accounting is preferred, but not indispensable. 70

Hybrid Event: EX ANZ Conference 2022

| may 2022

HR Business Partner in the New World of Work People Matters

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

Wellbeing: the Road to Resilience People Matters

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

Upcoming events Invitation Only Event: Are You In The List 2022 Awards

Agile Culture for HR Teams People Matters

BeNext 27 June – 29 July 2022 Online This programme 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 peoplecentred progress.

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

Strategizing Organizational L&D: Performance, Productivity & Impact People Matters

BeNext 6 June – 8 July 2022 Online This programme is for leaders eager to gain practical, hands-on approaches to organisational L&D strategies, connecting policies and practices to business performance. Prior knowledge of capabilities-building and L&D strategising is useful but TechHR 2022 not indispensable.

Women in Leadership: Lead, Influence & Transform

Knowledge + Networking

People Matters 04 August 2022 Courageous HR leaders have developed and exercised new skills to meet the new challenges of 2022. People Matters Are you In The List Awards identifies 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.

Hybrid Event: TechHR 2022

People Matters

BeNext 04 June – 05 August 2022 Online This programme is designed for women leaders interested in accelerating their career growth within their organisation and learning critical skills for women heading a team.

may 2022 |



>> Michele Nyrop

Why emerging gender-inclusive parental policies are so important

b lo g o s p he r e

gender neutral employee benefits are the norm. The norms that are staking a claim in the work culture have been ushered in by a dawning enlightenment among men and women alike that not only one single gender is entitled to care. Now, we must set up policies that match the evolution of the roles of parenting.

Evolving parental roles


s we continue to move forward in a work-fromanywhere world, companies have an even greater responsibility to create an inclusive and equal workforce. The pandemic has also encouraged companies to reimagine traditional working practices over the years. The future of work is shaping up to include a strong focus on diversity, equitable benefits, and fair policies for all. Companies today are striving to create a more equitable workplace culture, and


| may 2022

Traditionally, there is an inherent bias towards women being the primary caregiver to new-borns. However, new parents now realise the shared responsibility of a father and mother in bringing up a child. Unlike in previous generations, gender-neutral, progressive parenting has become more prominent in the urban world. Millennial parents are now equally distributing domestic chores among themselves such that children aren't made to conform to gender-specific roles. Societal changes over the past few decades have broadened and blurred the roles that parents play with children, and proficiency in tasks of parenthood is

now considered to be independent of gender. Previously neglected by researchers, fathers are now being studied to determine what part they play in the development of their children and, in turn, how this interaction affects their own development. At work, creating an encouraging culture in which taking parental leave is normalised and men can share their positive experiences is pivotal in sustaining an inclusive work culture.

Businesses need to rethink how they can support parents for taking time out for the family and also support them in their journey back to work; in turn, creating a more equitable workplace for all

b lo g o sp he r e

and overall job satisfaction. And in terms of the economy, this supports increased participation from women in the workforce. Reimagining employee benefits Transitioning back into the The cultural context around workforce paternity leave is changing, as The introduction of gendermore countries and companies are neutral parental leave can level offering the benefit to new fathers. the playing field for working Worldwide, 90 out of 187 counmothers. As fathers continue to tries offer statutory paid paterequally contribute to the upbring- nity leave, with almost four in ing of the child, it allows the new ten organisations (38%) providmothers to transition back into ing paid leave above the statutory the workforce without the added minimum. stress of managing work and Today, there is growing acceptfamily responsibilities. Additionance in the workplace and otherally, it can support men to explore wise, men too need time to bond more child-related responsibiliwith their children. Many major ties as the women of the house go multinational companies already to work. have solid parental leave poliIn the current world of work cies in place and employees are we live in, men have shown the making good use of it. At Salesnecessary skills and understandforce India for instance, in the ing to pick up the pieces of homelast year, 79% of individuals who making and child-rearing even applied for parental leave were as women have taken more steps men. towards working full time in In an all-digital environment, an office environment. Hence, businesses play a key role in creatgender-neutral parental leave will ing an equal and inclusive workgive both of them relief, especially place. Businesses need to rethink the working mothers, and usher in how they can support parents for an era of sensitivity and care. taking time out for the family and From an organisational perspec- also support them in their jourtive, these benefits have been ney back to work; in turn, creating a more equitable workplace for shown to increase productivall. ity, appreciation for the company,


Michele Nyrop, Head of Employee Success, Salesforce India may 2022 |



| may 2022

RNI Details: Vol. XIII, Issue No. 5, 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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