EXL is a people-driven business and the business strategy is to be a category killer in select industry and function domains in the areas of outsourcing and transformation. These select domains are insurance and healthcare, banking and financial services, utilities, logistics, travel and finance, and accounting, where the focus is to be the best player in these domains and specialize in our ability to offer incremental value to our customers, through outsourcing and transformation. In order to achieve this, the people strategy is to attract the right talent, ensure subject matter expertise in each of these domains, and be able to differentiate EXL in the marketplace by virtue of its capability, imagination, thinking, innovation and ability to add value through customer relationship. Therefore, the people strategy strives to attract, develop and nurture talent. EXL being a high growth company, the ability to hire people, who can take on increasingly larger responsibilities in the company, is critical.
EXL’s current growth rate of about 30 percent CAGR has been possible because of its emphasis on attracting the right talent, developing talent, acquiring greater skills and managerial capabilities to prepare people for global responsibilities, and being able to attract new talent into the company. This focus on people-activities has helped manage growth in existing as well as new areas of business. In this backdrop, it is vital not only to grow internal talent, but also to integrate the external talent in a way that it continues to add value to customers, and ensure excellent service delivery.
As CEO, close to about 50 percent of my time is spent on people-related activities, which mainly aims to focus on activities in three broad buckets. Firstly, my time is spent on being a highly visible leader by engaging one-on-one with employees in the organization. My ability to reach a large part of the 20,000 employee base is absolutely critical to bring about a common alignment in terms of the vision, strategy and execution. Secondly, I spend a lot of time with the HR leadership team to put in place the right kind of processes and mechanisms for developing people and making EXL an attractive destination for talent. Within this, I am involved in creating the right learning and development programs, performance measurement methodologies, talent management and succession planning, and creating robust HR processes and systems. The third bucket where my time is spent includes attracting senior management talent to join EXL. I spend a fair amount of time in identifying who would be great talent for our business, and attracting them to EXL.
There are both formal and informal channels through which I engage with employees. Every time I travel to different locations, the town hall meeting with the employees there gives me an opportunity to engage with a large number of people. Secondly, I also engage with high potential and successful employees in the company on a periodic basis over breakfast, lunch or dinner. And lastly, I chair the broad forum with the senior leadership team, which is a structured activity that takes place every quarter when the top 200 people in the company sit together to discuss strategic issues, thus allowing me to directly engage with them. Further, outside of these formal approaches, I often do one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss the issues facing them.
In the present scenario, the talent challenges are faced at the lower levels because of high attrition and thus, there is a constant need to maintain high level of employee engagement and satisfaction to manage the churn. In the middle level, the challenge is to develop high performers and provide them with different career opportunities, so that they look at EXL as a long term option. And at the senior level, the focus is on getting the right talent and the cultural fit, so that the team works on a common agenda and common path of building and growing the company. These people-related activities form an integral part of the CEO’s goal form. Almost 30 percent of my personal performance is based on the people-driven matrix of having employee engagement, the right team at the senior level, a strong career development, succession planning and talent management program.
Given the nature of the business, there is a great emphasis on measuring and monitoring these people-related activities at EXL in order to justify the ROI on the time and money investment made. The Learning and Development (L&D) function that focuses on capability development directly measures the business impact created through the interventions. The ROI on training and development inputs provided to employees is measured through monitoring the quality improvement witnessed, the efficiency and effectiveness generated, and the value of dollar savings it has resulted in, to the business as well as to the clients. The shift in employee engagement and satisfaction scores is also an indicator of investments made on people activities. The recent Center for Talent created at EXL is a dedicated center for recruitment, capability enhancement and development of talent, which enables measurement of the value derived by the organization through monitoring the number of people trained and the impact created on client processes.