Debashree Lad, Chief People Officer & Head of Corporate Communications, CredAble.in for People Matters
What is the state of equality and pay parity in the SME and startup space? Where are the gaps?
The current gender gap that exists in the startup ecosystem; both in terms of the pay and workforce ratio is a significant challenge that startups big and small are battling with. These gaps stem from the mental associations we as a society are conditioned to make based on traditions, culture, or our experience so far.
All this results in unconscious gender bias seeping into the workplace and undermining the progress we’ve made on gender equality.
From the failure to hire the right candidates to reputational damages and low employee retention rates, the perils of unconscious bias at work are one too many.
This makes it crucial to set up employment compensation plans by benchmarking and aligning the salary and other aspects of a pay structure to market trends.
How can this gap be bridged? What are some innovative ways to design a more inclusive compensation model?
To create a more inclusive environment and accelerate the participation of women in the labor market, there is a dire need to break away from the deep-rooted mindset of gender stereotypes and stratification. Rather than devising ways to hire more female employees, strategies to retain and promote women to leadership roles must also be looked at to boost the morale of the larger female workforce.
Before building a pay structure, it is important to define the organisation's compensation philosophy. The compensation philosophy must be one that is focused on the organisation's strategic plan, business goals, and competitive outlook.
It also must take into account the personal journeys of the employees and reduce the uncertainty in terms of cash flow for the employees.
Taking on a skill-based approach as opposed to a job-role-based approach will help in yielding an effective base pay system for the organisation.
The deferred compensation’s ‘promise to pay’ brings forth a better alignment of interests of both—the employee’s financial goals and the firm's long-term success.
In addition to pay inclusion, what are some other top priorities that HR leaders of fast-growing organisations can’t ignore in 2023?
The pandemic has created a paradigm shift in the way we work, bringing forth a greater urgency for dynamic talent and work models.
Along with pay scale transparency and equity, budget-conscious startups are inclined toward having flexible workspaces than conventional setups that are cost-intensive.
To make organisations future-ready as well as to attract and retain quality talent, the HR functions are tasked with new priorities such as focusing on employee experience to fill skill gaps and drive performance.
Executing with purpose has helped companies in the past create significant long-term value. As such, breaking free from legacy processes and implementing people-aligned processes that translate purpose into employee actions and behaviour are essential to creating greater employee engagement, stronger financial performance, and higher customer trust.
In 2023, HR leaders will be seen directing their attention toward employee well-being, work-life balance, L&D programs specifically designed for people managers, and recognition at all levels of the organisation.
How are you preparing your HR teams to meet the talent and business outcomes for 2023?
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organisations are up against a challenge to handle the workforce well to influence greater levels of innovation and drive growth. The HR function becomes the prime focus here as they need to prioritise change management, attract top talent, build a positive work culture and above all, prepare for the future of work.
For the organisation to grow at a measurable rate and for the HR function to better manage and lead during these times, HR teams must be treated as strategic business partners.
When the HR employees are assimilated into the business strategy, they are in a better position to build an intelligence-based sourcing capability and cultivate a better employee experience within the organisation.
Along with an overhaul of HR and workplace practices, there must be a shift in mindset where HR leaders are more solution-oriented and open to designing policies that will help organisations challenge the status quo and thrive in the new normal.
HR teams that take on well-rounded roles will be in a better position to add value to the leadership potential, top-line, bottom-line, and long-term sustainability of the organisation.
What does the future hold for the talent market in SMEs and startups space in 2023?
The startup ecosystem has grown remarkably in the past few years, with nearly 14,000 new startups recognised in 2022. While we see startups and SMEs adopt flexible solutions that are more cost-effective, they are also aligning themselves to meet the evolving needs of employees.
The talent demand will continue to increase amidst the ‘Great Reshuffle’ trend and a possible recession looming in the distance. That said, finding the right talent can be a challenge as it involves looking for candidates that are passionate about building and creating something new.
It’s important to understand that in 2023 and beyond, the dynamic new-age talent is looking for a people-centric and inclusive culture. Startups and SMEs need to move away from traditional, siloed job functions and offer candidates a compelling point of difference that sets them apart in the crowded ecosystem.
Hiring top talent will require HR leaders to focus on building a flexible environment, developing a non-linear career map for employees, cultivating a strong culture of community and appreciation, and designing workplace training programs to upskill and future-proof the workforce.