Build a coaching culture: Poornima Srinivasan, Head HR, Jana Urban Space Foundation


According to Poornima Srinivasan, Head HR, Jana Urban Space Foundation, talent management is the key for a successful organization. The ideal talent management plan is closely aligned with the company’s strategic plan, its goals and overall business needs.

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

Embracing innovative disruption is the most practical and evident way of getting ahead of our own race. The more the management resists innovations, the more it is in trouble of becoming obsolete. Leaders should find creative ways to accept innovations in their own field of expertise for the organization to be up to date in its functions.

Like other organizations, even we face situations where the innovations disrupt the usual process flow, however we follow the below steps to embrace innovative disruptions:

  • Let the new technology take over and find ways to make work better: do not resist the new trends, and do not sulk in the old process that was born with the organization. Always welcome new technology to make the life of the organization better.
  • Slow transition: let there be a slow transition from existing to the new or innovative process.
  • Bring new blood into the organization: hire people from outside, young, energetic new people who can give us the latest trend and also carve a smart way of doing things.
  • Communicate transparently: take opinions from existing staff – let there be acceptance and ownership in the new process and the initiative, explain the benefits and the changes it can bring it in- gain acceptance from all.

What are the strategies you employ to upskill your workforce?

Upskilling your present workforce is very important to keep the talent in the organization upbeat and confident. There are several strategies which can be followed, that are tried and proven to be successful in upskilling the workforce, below are few of them:

  • Build a coaching culture: Mentors & SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) Management needs to create a culture where there is constant coaching, either with the SMEs/ Mentors or with Peer knowledge sharing and cross functional. The experienced will have to upskill the newbies in the system and bring them up to the scale required by the management.
  • Personal Development Plan: Create a TNA -Training Need Analysis process, which can be half yearly or annually. The staff will have an opportunity to openly communicate or inform the Manager/Management about the Training needs they feel they need to upskill themselves for the present job or to fulfill their aspirations. A Training module needs to be created by the Management after required approvals for the training need to the employee.
  • Online Learning: Learning modules to be available online for the teams to learn at their own phase and choose from the various online trainings available.
  • Job-specific upskilling: As much as it is important to train the employees for the next level or to plan their career growth, Upskilling is required in their present role too. They need to be focused and super-efficient in the jobs they are presently handling. Hence conducting job specific upskilling is also very essential.

How do you win at talent management?

One concept I have experienced in my HR experience is that talent management is the key for a successful organization. Ideal talent management plan is closely aligned with the company’s strategic plan, its goals and overall business needs. The culture of the company reflects on its approach to its talent management. 

The organization which excels in its talent management process, will always be ahead of the race in terms of productivity, performance, culture, retention and employee satisfaction.

Some of the talent management strategies which have been proposed and followed in the present and previous organizations I have worked for are:

  • Hire the Best Talent & Create a highly skilled internal talent pool: stringent Hiring process is an essential for all organizations. There is no point in investing time in mending the Talent after it has been hired. If you need results, have a stringent hiring process where only the best talent will be able to make it through. Be aware of the market and upgrade your hiring skills and requirements up to the market level.
  • Retain the best talent after hiring /create a challenging role/employee engagement and experience: after stringent hiring process and you have searched for a needle in the haystack, it becomes the duty of the HR to work towards engaging and retaining the Talent. HR needs to ensure the hired employee is utilized up to his potential and he is given challenging roles which makes use of his talent and skills he has been hired for. The employees engagement and experience in the organization will determine the employee’s stay with us.
  • Create goals and specific KRAs/create a Pay-for-Performance culture/Rewarding Culture: There has to be clear goals and KRAs for every employee. The purpose of their being in the company should be clear to them. Once you have individual goal sheets ready, you will have to make Team wise goal sheets, and then department wise goal sheets, the department goal sheets should coincide with the organization goals. This way, every employee know their purpose and there is a direction in which the organization culture will flow. There should be a healthy competition- Pay-for-Performance culture formed within teams, where the staff work to excel in their performance. Suitable rewards and recognition for hard work, extraordinary contribution should be given.
  • Along with performance, Learning and Development – Personally and professionally should be encouraged. Employees should have the confidence to excel in his present position and also aim at growing in his preferred field.
  • Employer branding and reputation is a very important aspect which the management will have to create in the market. When the employer brand is big and has a great reputation of their culture and values, it will not only attract talent, but also give a sense of satisfaction and pride to the staff who are employed there.
  • HR Analytics: This plays a major role in identifying the pattern in employee behavior. Be it in hiring, talent management, exit etc. With the well versed technology in HR and growing intervention and pressure of automation, HR analytics plays an important role in research of finding out various pattern – be it in hiring or in exit which was near to impossible few years back. A strong HR analytic team is a basic necessity for every organization to understand employee behavior.

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

Culture determines the employee behavior in every organization. Employee behavior shapes the path for success and efficiency. Hence culture and efficiency are an equation for success of any organization. They go hand in hand and enrich each other.

If the culture of a company is encouraging, focuses on motivating employees and facilitates a family-like environment, employees will be more productive. Employees who feel appreciated, valued and adequately compensated for their efforts are more likely to be devoted to their jobs and feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work product.

When employees are asked for feedback and have a role in determining strategic operations in the business, they are naturally inclined to be more efficient and productive.

Employees who are allowed flexibility in their work schedules are frequently more productive. Flexibility allows employees to enjoy a greater work-life balance, which in turn increases their loyalty toward their employer and enhances their work product.

Employers who develop a corporate culture built on mutual respect and support between colleagues often enjoy significantly elevated levels of productivity and efficiency at work. Employees who see a future with their employer, through internal advancement or management training programs, are also more likely to have longevity and make more significant professional contributions.

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

Technology is already playing a major role in engaging talent. From the earlier culture of paper and pens, we are moving to technology for everything, from hiring – automation and algorithms, which decide whom to hire and differentiate between age groups, to engaging talent, the annual performance appraisals are passé. Feedbacks are given instantly and scope of improvement and learning is increased. In our organization, we have a quarterly review of performance and goals which helps employees to keep a reality check on their performance and have rightful expectations from the organization in terms of appraisals.

Rewards and recognitions have gone online now, with the introduction of cloud, mobile, apps etc, it is easier to reward an employee’s performance online and write a comment and give him an e-certificate.

Appointment letters, confirmation letters to relieving letters are all sent to the employees at a click of a button. With all these, the major win for employer is the HR Analytics, where we can analyses the pattern and reports which is making it easier to understand the employee behavior and plan your HR intervention accordingly.

It is not going to stop here, going forward, there would be a digital HR intervention and AI in HR Analytics is being explored. The maturation in the learning market can be seen going forward as all the information is in our fingertips now. There will an inevitable need for all organizations to upgrade their learning levels and technology to accommodate and engage the new generations.

Also growth of contingent workforce is seen on an increasing side, where the employees now do not wish to be present in office for 8 to 9 hours of their time for the work which they can complete in a shorter duration. Work life balance is seen as the utmost importance now.

With all this intervention, talent management will become an interesting segment in the HR function, where people and technology should concord for successful business.


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