Article: People strategy is an integral part of business strategy: Natarajan


People strategy is an integral part of business strategy: Natarajan

In conversation with Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, CEO, Zensar Technologies

What we need to create are ‘mini CEOs' to partner with the line HR and take ownership of their groups


In the context of our industry, where we are experiencing rapid growth, broad basing the organization and scaling up people, capabilities is key to gain the required competitive advantage. The HR head in our organization is part of the strategy council. This council is a team of 6 people who are key decision makers for the future of the organization and HR is very much part of these team. For us, people strategy is an integral part of business strategy.

Our HR priorities include a gamut of people-intensive initiatives that we actively take on. These goals have changed in the last few years. Three years back, our HR focus was to build systems and processes and to shift the mindset of all teams towards a profit center orientation. Today this being a given, our focus has moved to the next level.

There is a constant focus on building and retaining leadership. We need to double the number of leaders in the company this year so our focus is in both growing leaders from within and hiring from outside. The strengthening of the quality of middle managers is also core to our business requirement. We strive to groom and nurture those in middle management so that they are prepared to take responsibility for their teams. What we need to create is ‘mini CEOs’ to partner with the line HR and take ownership of their groups.

Maintaining employee engagement is another core function which the CEO must pay attention to align people’s aspirations and motivations with company goals in order to drive the organization’s growth agenda. At Zensar, we talk about the ‘connected organization’ which reflects the common agenda that we all have and each one works in alignment to achieve it.

Being a people-intensive industry, at least 40% of my time is spent on people activities like leadership identification and development, mentoring and coaching of high performers and participating in activities to build engagement in teams. The rest of my time goes in customer interactions (40%) and other functions like finance and marketing (20%)

My focus is largely on working with people from the next level and to help them connect with our vision and values so they can do the same with their teams. This is our way ensure a deep connect with the organization. As CEO, a part of my role is to engage with managers to evolve a more collaborative partnership with employees. No matter the extent of pressures faced at work, the people orientation cannot be compromised, hence a lot of my time goes in coaching and helping managers move out of their comfort areas towards taking on more people-oriented work.

I also take personal interest in various initiatives where we involve young people from the organization with the top management team which is a part of grooming people for future roles.

People being a key factor of our competitive advantage, it certainly forms a key ingredient in my scorecard. Retention of critical talent, overall retention and employee satisfaction index are part of my goal sheet.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, Culture

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