In the financial services industry, only three things really matter - clients, capital and people. It is the combination of these three that creates differentiation between the market players and spells success or failure for any organization. As most of our products and services are intangible and can only be experienced by clients or are enablers, our people hold the key to business performance. Thus, there is a very strong linkage that exists between people and business performance in the financial services space.
Religare has a unique operating model, where employees ranging from client facing staff to senior management, see themselves as co-owners of their respective businesses due to their significant equity holding. We believe that the entire Religare family should be aligned to delivering a superior customer experience and contribute to the intrinsic value of their business.
The last 2 years have structurally put pressures on the global financial markets and we continue to evolve into a new era. Established operating paradigms that existed, are being challenged and every business has had to evolve to keep pace with this changing environment. Given this need for evolution, there are three key areas that HR has to facilitate: right sizing the organization and enabling productivity growth, enhancing existing skill, and talent acquisition.
At Religare, people who demonstrate passion and commitment in their respective businesses are not only incentivized, but also are and will remain a treasured asset. Secondly, it is imperative that we retain and up-skill our existing talent. The structured classroom programs offer formal interventions to help people acquire or enhance their skill sets. And lastly, the priority is to attract the best talent that is available for our new businesses. Having received the license to start the health insurance business recently, the focus is now to acquire the best talent in the industry.
As the Group CEO, one of my key priorities is to connect with people, both formally and informally. In the early days, I could devote time to reach out to many; however, with rapid growth, this has become difficult. Having said that, recognizing this void, I have consciously created a second layer, which widely connects within their respective businesses in the same format that I used to and periodically, I connect with them. It is here that one gets to hear the real progress of the company or pick up key internal or external issues that may otherwise never reach you.
There are three core objectives that I have set personally, that is, to drive customer centricity, collaboration and performance ethics. The loci of our business are customers; everything else is a related outcome. It is a given mandate that besides the people who naturally interface with clients, support staff and senior management also reach/meet three customers per month in person. My objective in driving this is to ensure that each person within Religare connects with the customers.
A natural vice of rapid growth and expansion is ‘verticalization’, wherein businesses tend to work in isolation even when the focal point - the customer, is the same. Thus, for the customer, there may be multiple touch points for different needs, even when the providing organization is the same. In addition, for the organization, there is loss of operational efficiency and potential cross sell opportunities. Thus, collaboration is imperative. At Religare, we drive collaboration co-originating opportunities across businesses; we have even created a forum at the senior management level, which meets once a month and discusses customer needs. While we have directionally steered in the correct course, there is much ground yet to be covered. There is no second to unimpeachable integrity in financial services and we take this very seriously at Religare. Performance at ‘any cost’ is unacceptable. Thus, we have embedded within the Religare culture, a performance ethics code that we take pride in.