The CEO’s role has witnessed a paradigm shift post recession and there is an increasing need for the CEO to spend time on engaging the workforce. There has been an increased stress on employee engagement and communication where CEOs today need to reach out to the employees and communicate what was happening within and outside the organization as well as its impact on the organization.
As CEO it is my responsibility to build an environment where employees can flourish by enabling engagement at every level. I conduct a lot of open house sessions to talk to my employees directly. This also gives me an opportunity to understand their needs and concerns better.
Keeping these developments in mind, the topmost priority for 2011-12 is employee engagement, communication and retention. This is crucial as people are our biggest asset and would be the biggest differentiator for a successful organization. My second priority is to effectively align HR to the business agenda, and we are fast seeing HR undergo a transformation phase from being tactical to being strategic. The third priority is to attract and retain ‘key’ talent.
People being our biggest differentiator, around 40% of my time is spent on talent-related activities and of this, around 40% is spent on employee communication and engagement. The reason why it is actually so much of my time is because it is a “labor intensive” activity, I need to communicate myself in person and I cannot delegate this to anybody. The balance time goes into developing and retaining key talent. I do believe that learning and development is a great tool for retention. Developing new competencies is immensely valued by the employees. I personally spend a lot of my time in planning learning and development interventions and my focus is more on strategic L&D as this is directly related to where we would like to take Monster two years down the line.
I am very particular about hiring the ‘right talent’. For key and senior positions, I get involved right from the first meeting to follow up meetings until the final offer is made. I do not worry about the time spent on the hiring process as our focus on productivity enhancement will only happen if I have the right talent in place. If I am not getting a clear “yes” from within, I will not hire. I never push myself to bring a person on board.
At Monster, business leaders across all functions work closely with the HR team. In the last 2 years, I have brought HR out in the open and placed them in the midst of business. Business heads have direct conversations with HR and work together to understand and solve people-related challenges. We also ensure that a member from HR team travels to different locations and spends time with business leads to understand people-related issues in different centers.
HR and business work in tandem and whenever business is preparing a plan for the year, it would integrate the people strategy and HR is a part of the discussion right through. Further, the HR team takes co-ownership of the people strategy in the business plan before we sign it off.