Winning at Talent Management with the help of n=1: Srinath Gururajarao, CHRO & VP, Nexval Group


“Talent management today is strongly tied to technology and will only align further to form a deep bonding in the years to come,” said Srinath Gururajarao, CHRO & Vice President, Nexval Group. “To win at talent management a leader necessarily needs to think on the lines of Talent Delight in n=1 space where “n” is our individual employee who forms the basis of the experiences we create to enable and deploy to unleash value out of work assigned.”

What are the steps you take as a leader to embrace innovative disruption?

We strongly believe in Innovation being the new stability in sustaining and performance in organisations. Innovation is baselined at the core of our way of work, this has become a culture which has broken the shackles of traditional hierarchy ushering in creativity. A Culture with innovation is a sure invite to a great Talent. Towards innovation and disruption being embraced, as a leader one needs to enable people who can handle changes as a part of norm, else it is not looked upon favourably. At Nexval we held a series of programs right from changing our Brand Image and actions to the culture as it was understood. A critical part of this was and is to this day to let our people know that embracing change shall only unlock the true potential of growth. We held a series of workshops and close to a thousand hours of Design Thinking learnings to encourage and enable a platform for common thinking and doing, a must for any modern organisation stepping into the future. A simple message for everyone was to utilise the time “not in action”, in “preparation for action with innovation. This set the ball rolling out with a slew of products and services across the spectrum championing innovation and challenging the already set!

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What are the strategies you employ to upskill your workforce?

The strategy today is an environment shifting in continuum. Businesses become sustainable when it’s powered by transformation & innovation. To ensure we are at the top stack of talent enablement with development we changed some key aspects of how we traditionally upskill.

    1. Delayering learning tied to number of hours rather than to innovation and change
    2. Identifying unique roles in the present and into the future and designing a skill necessity roadmap to align learning which impacts business outcomes positively
    3. Constantly preparing a set of atleast a pool of 10% agile workers with more than 3 future skills ready. This would result in bagging key value driven projects from customers driven by value necessities.

Our competency dictionaries are updated every 2 years and aligns itself with the learning needs of talent and the organisation in a given environment.

How do you win at talent management? 

Talent management today is strongly tied to technology and will only align further to form a deep bonding in the years to come. To win at talent management a leader necessarily needs to think on the lines of Talent Delight in n=1 space where “n” is our individual employee who forms the basis of the experiences we create to enable and deploy to unleash value out of work assigned. Talent delight as we call it internally is all about experiences and bettering them as we move to enable and empower talent to perform at a higher order in a sustained manner. So, the ecosystem now consists of a bouquet of options customized for performance in unique roles. Our n=1 is that unique role which forms the cluster of experience design. Thus, we created a skills registry which evolves continuously, learning and development is a constant and designed to unique roles in the organisation and learnt from the aligning individual growth to learning to ensure we motivate employees in designing their own growth mantra through learning and it worked. Talent Delight is the way forward and this as a strategy shall ensure every leader fills each employee with a good amount of growth by enabling and empowering experiences.

What role do you think culture plays in increasing efficiency at work?

Similar to how, the success or failure of a farmer is dependent on weather, an organisation’s success is dependent on its Culture, Talent availability is market driven whilst talent ability is culture driven. Efficiency is a factor of skill will and thrill. If an employee has the necessary skill or is on the learning curve to attain that skill and is powered by an indomitable will with enough joy and happiness at work, she would transform the place of work in to joy at work and we then witness efficiency explosion. However, this being a sustained effort, today’s leaders need to augment experiences and align purpose to be able to achieve necessary productivity. The strongest cultures are those that have a workforce who exchange knowledge and become collectively better and wise. Culture is the glue that binds skill, will and thrill together in a sustained manner. Autonomy, variety in work, appreciation and a provision for constant social interactions are a sure-fire way to build that culture which enthralls and brings in the much-desired culture. 

What role do you think technology plays in talent management? How can technology bring about a change in the talent management lifecycle?

Technology in Talent Management either leads to just managing talent effectively or creating Talent Delight by ways of real transformation unleashing value and performance. For an organisation to command being unique, standing and sustaining the competitive advantage technology has a huge say in the coming days and years. Today decisions made on Talent and ability of organisations to deploy Talent at n=1 mode to unlock value is and will only be possible with “technology delighting talent” decisions. Usage of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning has put the intelligence on finger tips to be able to make that steady qualitative and right timed decisions which in turn makes talent deployability more a science. To have great talent is one and to be able to deploy that talent at the right time to bring in sustained value is today no more a dream but a reality made possible by technology. Talent Delight lifecycles as I prefer to call it has moved away from traditional succession planning to success planning, great talent available with the right skill. However, the journey in creating unique individual experiences to make meaning out of tech usage has still some way to go, given that the platforms and systems available today are still configured at best to serve the group and not the individual in managing talent lifecycles. According to Sierra Cedar’s 2018-19 HR Systems survey report Talent Management applications experience the highest percentage of functionality gaps and the lowest vendor UX ratings for this HR application area. This certainly shall change into more robust systems enabling that n=1 environment ushering in a change across the board.


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