Article: Talent is more important than capital


Talent is more important than capital

For the CEO of a start-up, human capital is far more important than talent, says Prashant Tandon
Talent is more important than capital

Leadership will be my core focus in the coming 12 months and I will be looking to build a quality and balanced leadership team in the organization


The top management at HealthKart is given specific goals and budgets for talent management, starting from engagement, performance, attraction and retention. As the Head of the business, it is my objective to ensure that the management team is empowered and driven to meet their talent management objectives. I connect with everyone in the office formally and informally and an important part of that objective is the monthly townhalls. Through these townhalls, I ensure that I connect with everyone in the organization at least once in a month. The tone of these townhalls is mostly informal, and I use this forum to allow anyone to ask anything directly or bring up any issue without inhibition. To achieve this objective, we place question boxes before the townhall and people drop their questions anonymously. I take every question, no matter how ‘politically incorrect’ or inappropriate that may sound. These townhalls have proven as a great platform to have an open discussion on what can be done and what cannot.

HealthKart has grown to a great extent both in terms of business progress and also expansion of the workforce. My involvement in talent expansion spans across the talent acquisition and development lifecycle. I personally do interviews during hiring of key positions and have spent a great amount of time in the past two years in this process. In our company, every candidate applying for a position of manager or above is interviewed by the core leadership team. Earlier, the hiring process was completely decentralized and every department lead was directly hiring candidates. But, as the business expanded, there was a definite need for structure and centralization. As a CEO, I was closely involved in structuring and standardizing hiring processes, from a fully decentralized system to a hybrid system, involving the department lead and the leadership team.

Besides that, I also work closely with the senior leadership team to mentor them and drive my vision to them. In fact, I spend most of my time connecting with talent in the organization. Besides formal hiring and development processes, most of my time spent is on other aspects of talent, including talking to leaders, mentoring, and connecting with people in the organization. I would estimate that almost 75 to 80 per cent of my time is spent on talent management.

One of my core objectives is to ensure that I am connected closely with key talent in the organization. I am also closely involved with the formal onboarding process. As an organization, it has helped us drive the vision of the company to candidates in a much better way. For any startup, talent is more important than capital and thus, the CEO’s more important objective is to get and retain the right talent in the organization. Also, it is very important for talent to understand the objectives of the organization and work toward common goals.

One of the most important things on my scorecard is the trajectory of potential leaders in the organization. It is important for me to ensure that key talent in the company is happy and engaged. On the broader scale, I am also interested in tracking overall attrition because it gives me an overall idea of the general happiness on the floor.

I have an open office and I do not sit in a cabin. I sit with the team so that people can reach me directly at any point. Leadership will be my core focus in the coming 12 months and I will be looking to build a quality and balanced leadership team in the organization. We also believe that is it time to make a more structured process to provide better development opportunities for high potential talent. Lastly, I want to figure out how to improve the conversion ratio of applicants versus selected.

PRASHANT TANDON is the CEO, Founder & Managing Director of HealthKart

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Topics: C-Suite, #TalentAssessment

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