“Organizations with open cultures would have more innovation flowing in from bottoms up, every high potential employee is highly engaged when their ideas are welcomed,” said Baskar Varadhan, General Manager- People & Culture in Natural Remedies Pvt Ltd.
What are the steps you take as a leader to embrace innovative disruption?
Innovation breeds disruption by its very nature. Disruption is managed only when the innovation is a felt need by the employees. Creating an awareness of such need and facilitating the change is the critical aspect of managing disruption. It all starts from the culture that supports the expression of thoughts and ideas. Organizations with open cultures would have more innovation flowing in from bottoms up, every high potential employee is highly engaged when their ideas are welcomed.
A clear communication of felt need and the compelling vision of how the technology would unfold the new possibility is the key to embrace the innovation. As seeing is believing, a demonstration of pilot project with clear benefit would improve the level of acceptance. Any disruption will have its resistance, a carefully planned key stakeholders management and consistently communicating the status quo of change, would improve acceptance.
What are the strategies you employ to upskill your workforce?
Upskilling leads to better productivity and high level of market competence. Past performance is not a guarantee for future success as the environment is constantly changing. The traditional way of upskilling has gone through disruption in recent times, with the on-the-go bite sized MOOC learning tools. I would recommend the 3E method of Exposure, Experience and Education as a good model of continuous improvement. An employee must be prepared to evolve and improve to take up future challenges and be prepared to upgrade his/her skills. As for job experience, future requirement should be given more preferences as adults learn by doing and experience the real time context, being part of a stretch and challenging project which are mission critical is a great way of learning. Exposure to best practices, industry benchmarks and emerging thoughts are also important. The education part, which mostly used to be the Class room training, still holds good for conceptual learning but can’t out benefit the experience and exposure based learning.
In our organization, employees spend 70% of their time in real time projects. At the beginning of every financial year, innovative projects are welcomed from employees which are verified and approved for deployment as pilots, before improving and scaling, once done. The employee with the idea is empowered to act like an internal entrepreneur with his own team and budget, we provide a mentor to guide him, the whole team is rewarded based on the learning and the success of the project. This model is not only brought in close to 10% additional revenue through innovative ideas but developed leaders for the future. We have 150 such successful projects in 2 years’ time, creating an eco-system of internal start-ups.
How do you win at talent management?
Today, the employee life cycle is shortest than ever before, simply because they don’t see any purpose to stay on. At the heart of talent management lies a clear purpose of how an employee’s individual goals are aligned with that of the organization. The HR practices should shift gear to provide great employee experiences across their touch points than a cookie cutter approach.
Their preferences keep changing and they want to be in control of their deliverables, they love challenges but not stress, they want to make mistakes and learn through experiments. They want an opportunity to learn and grow. Also, along with purpose and learning comes how are they rewarded and sharing of profit.
What role do you think culture plays in increasing efficiency at work?
A good culture is built on clearly communicated and collectively demonstrated values, which is the bedrock of organizational performance.
Efficiency is directly proportionate to proficiency, a culture of continuous learning and application on the job, is critical to improve efficiency.
The efficiency culture should be built on the horizontal collaboration across the functional teams and how everyone is aligned to the common goals and clearly understand the purpose of one’s own contribution.
What role do you think technology plays in talent management? How can technology bring about a change in the talent management lifecycle?
Technology has been an inseparable part of talent management. Whether it’s Human Resources Management System (HRMS), psychometric testing or 360 degree feedback, technology has been part of talent management for long.
Talent management is all about how intricately we collect, store, retrieve and use the various data points of the employees.
From setting clear career path, performance goals, skill training, rewarding, managing emotions and motivation, there are enormous amount of data generated through every transaction with the employee. Today we have technology to capture data that helps us to understand the needs and wants of the employee by working through these data.
From skill profiling, assessing managerial ability, role suitability, learning needs, emotional intelligence and leadership skills, we have much clearer and predictable ability to custom make employees growth and development needs.
There are enough platform based tools storming the market with AI, chatbots, people analytics, predictive index and customized cloud based learning much more.
Hence, today, we have the these excellent tools that helps us to predict, prepare and engage with employees with more precision and add value to their professional development, thereby creating great impact on their contribution and continuation with the organization. Also, it’s important that we choose the right technology, which best suits the organization.