Article: Srinivas Patnam M reveals what P&G is doing to bring about inclusivity to every individual

#Culture

Srinivas Patnam M reveals what P&G is doing to bring about inclusivity to every individual

In an exclusive interview, Srinivas Patnam M, Vice President & HR Head, Indian subcontinent at P&G highlights the firm’s commitment and transformational efforts to creating a more inclusive and equal world.
Srinivas Patnam M reveals what P&G is doing to bring about inclusivity to every individual

In the last two-decades, the role of HR has evolved from personnel management to HR management and now business leaders. But one thing has remained the same throughout the years for Srinivas Patnam M’s at P&G: his unwavering focus on people. Built around values such as Doing The Right Thing (DTRT), promoting Equality and Inclusion (E&I), and respecting all individuals, the firm, like every workplace, enters the tech-driven era and the VP and HR Head, Indian subcontinent unravels the road to engagement and energising organisations. From advancing everyday inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community to holistic wellbeing of employees, the firm intends to create meaningful work for employees from day 1, provide them with the skills and tools to grow and learn continuously and develop them into empathetic, inspiring and inclusive leaders who are able to lead the change. 

In a deep dive interview, Srinivas, who will be a keynote speaker at People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai, takes us through the foundations on which each of P&G’s policies are built, how it encompasses the employees, their partners and families, and why standing by your people in every possible way, is the key to organisational success. A testament to their efforts is the recognition received at the India Workplace Equality Index 2023 and Best Organisation for Women 2023. Excerpts from the interview:

At P&G, you joined as a management trainee in 2000 and since, risen the ranks to VP & head HR in the Indian subcontinent. What have been your learnings in a two-decade long career and how has the HR role evolved in the past decade to propel business growth?

Throughout my two-decade long career at P&G, I have witnessed the HR world evolve with the evolving context and workforce dynamics. I believe, the quintessential HR professional is the one who masters being in service of the people and business.

One of the key skills for the always evolving HR professional is to understand the business. Look at how we have evolved right from personnel management to HR management to now business leaders with organisation expertise. Despite these transformations, one constant has remained: the unwavering focus on people and the need for agility. As the business landscape continues to be shaped by technological advancements, we are finding opportunities to reach, engage and energise the organisation more effectively. Hence, the balance between business enabling and technical mastery is important.

Adaptation to the ever-changing needs of employees has been a key lesson for me. While the core principles and fundamentals of HR remain unchanged, it is essential to tailor specific interventions based on the unique context of the business. By maintaining a strong foundation, one can navigate the evolving landscape and ensure that our efforts are worthwhile.

Therefore, I believe, it is imperative for HR professionals to understand the business, embrace technological disruptions, and continuously adapt to meet the needs of employees. By doing so, one can drive business growth while remaining true to our commitment to people and their development.

In your career, you have held diverse responsibilities in different geographies like Singapore, China, Australia and Indonesia. What role does company culture play in shaping and motivating the workforce?

Throughout my experience of working across diverse geographies, I have witnessed firsthand the significant role that company culture plays in shaping and motivating the workforce. At P&G, we take pride in having a consistent culture across the company, regardless of an employee's location or function. We prioritise the notion that individuals are first and foremost ‘P&Gers’ before being associated with any specific category or role. At the heart of this belief is our foundation, which is built upon our Purpose, Values, and Principles (PVP), which evolve into deeply ingrained beliefs such as Doing The Right Thing (DTRT), promoting Equality and Inclusion (E&I), and respecting all individuals.

Through it, our people hold themselves and each other accountable for operating with trust, integrity, and a commitment to acting as leaders and owners of the business. Furthermore, we foster an environment where healthy competition is pursued honourably and with a passion for winning.

And as managers, we set the expectation for our teams to collaborate, create an inclusive environment, and demonstrate respect towards one another. Moreover, we provide our employees with multicultural and multicategory experiences, enabling them to grow both personally and professionally. This exposure equips them with the skills necessary to thrive in dynamic and ever-changing work environments.

With the rapid advancement of technology and the integration of AI, P&G may be exploring ways to personalise various HR functions such as rewards, L&D initiatives, compensation, and career development. Can you share innovative strategies that have shown positive results, and what implications have been observed as a result of these tech-driven approaches? How is P&G caring for its employees and putting them at the forefront of change?

At P&G, we have remained focused on designing effective people processes that enable us to hire the right individuals, develop their capabilities, and seamlessly transition them into different roles as required, in line with the strategic goals of the organisation to drive sustainable business growth. Further, we have also remained steadfast in creating an inclusive workplace environment where employees can bring their authentic selves to work and make a meaningful impact right from day one. We believe that an equal and inclusive workplace fuels innovation and better business outcomes and fosters an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, and has equal opportunities to learn, thrive and succeed. 

To make informed decisions and ensure the effectiveness of our people processes, we conduct thorough analysis leveraging multiple sources of information and data. By combining qualitative and quantitative insights, we gain a comprehensive understanding of our workforce which enables us to make objective decisions that support the overall health of our organisation.

Additionally, at P&G, we believe people are our greatest assets - they are at the core of everything we do. Just like we have Consumer Moments of Truth, we have Employee Moments of Truth, which we continue to win every day via a superior employee value equation. This belief is based on the core principles of ‘CARE’ and ‘Co-Creation’.

  • Care and co-creation to provide meaningful work right from Day 1, which enables people to make an impact they want to.
  • Care and co-creation to develop essential skills and tools to continuously learn and grow
  • Care and co-creation to develop empathetic, inspiring, and inclusive leaders for tomorrow.

 

As every individual needs are unique – we believe in managers spending quality time with employees to ‘Co-create’ the required learning and growth journey for the individual – as one size  doesn’t fit all! This enables the personal and professional growth of our people, so they can, in turn, maximise their true potential.

One area where we have continued to focus is the overall wellbeing of our people and their families. We believe that only when our people are happy and healthy at their core and know that their company truly CARES, they can be their authentic selves at the workplace and maximise their potential.

For instance, we evolved our mental wellbeing program based on real employee experiences and feedback, which resulted in the curation of a more holistic program called – ‘Happy Minds 2.0’. This initiative is designed to support employee wellbeing comprehensively, and comprises of a bouquet of initiatives, including counsellor services at the workplace, preventive mental health check-ups, enhanced awareness among leadership to identify mental wellbeing impact indicators within workgroups, and increased flexible working arrangements for employees. 

Our dedicated policies and support structures reflect our focus on physical wellbeing which includes an on-site dedicated fitness centre with top-notch equipment and qualified fitness experts is a key enabler to disconnect from work and focus on physical wellbeing, as well as reimbursement for fitness subscriptions, physiotherapy and proactive health check-ups, on-site doctors, and dieticians. 

We also drive focused efforts to enhance the financial wellbeing of our people. As part of it, we have designed a benefits portfolio which is comprehensive, inclusive and allows the right flexibility to the employees in terms of support. We offer support for day care, infertility treatment, and support for parents who are caregivers to children with disabilities and special needs via ‘Lead With Care’. 

Our inclusive policies are available to all our people and their partners and have continued to strengthen the culture of equality and inclusion at P&G India. These include:

  1. Our 'Share the Care' inclusive parental leave policy provides all new parents including biological parents, domestic partners, adoptive parents, parents in same-sex couples to 8 weeks of fully paid parental leave.
  2. Medical benefits and hospitalisation cover including partners of LGBTQ+ employees. 
  3. We offer emergency financial assistance to our employees and their partners in case of natural calamity, demise or hospitalisation of an immediate family member to cover expenses not covered in the company’s existing medical policy. Our people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community can avail this facility for their partners. 
  4. The company provides additional fixed allowances to its employees to meet their personal and family needs. LGBTQ+ employees can now avail this benefit for their partners. 
  5. The company also extends the relocation benefit, including financial support and transfer related assistance arising out of a company-initiated relocation to partners of LGBTQ+ employees.

What are some of the trends you see dominated in 2024 and what advice do you have for CHROs looking to stay ahead of the disruptions?

In the new decade and the decades to come, our belief would remain consistent, that to solidify our future, to thrive as an organisation, amidst disruptions and challenges, we need to solidify our people today, and stand by them through thick and thin, in every way possible. 

P&G’s organisation structure is designed to focus our human, technical and financial resources on our biggest opportunities for growth. This structure yields an empowered, agile and accountable organisation with little overlap or redundancy - flowing to new demands, seamlessly supporting each other to deliver against our priorities in the communities.

Further, our aim is to be inclusive to every single person and their dynamic and ever-evolving needs. When we do this successfully, the result is a resilient organisation that can truly fuel organisational success. 

If you wish to understand the evolution of the firm, P&G in the last 185 years through techtonic shifts and disruptions and its intent to stay ahead of the curve at each turn, join us at People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai on March 14 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai where Srinivas Patnam M is set to deliver an impactful keynote on 'Driving A Culture Of Constructive Disruption'. Register now with just a week to go!

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Topics: #Culture, Leadership, Skilling, Technology, Strategic HR, #TechHRPulseMumbai

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