Aditi Pareek is currently the Head - Human Resources at Pepperfry and is a ‘Great Place to Work’ certified professional. She joined the company in 2012 and has been instrumental in leading people process. Aiming to build an employee-first organisation, Aditi is responsible for the organization’s HR strategy, focusing on talent and culture. She brings over fifteen years of experience talent acquisition, talent engagement, administration, organizational development and people operations in mid-sized companies and start-ups. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Pareek shares with us the guiding values to drive and sustain productivity at the workplace.
Here are some excerpts.
What are some of the ways in which technology can help boost productivity among the workforce? What are some of the challenges that can come up in this endeavour?
The pandemic posed several changes in the way companies and their employees have been functioning. Remote working has become the new norm. While this was a saviour in uncertain times for most companies across sectors, there was a clear challenge to address in terms of human disconnect after years of an ‘in-office’ work culture.
Technology, however, helped here. It has been a great enabler in terms of the transition process of employees to adapt to their new work environment with better efficiency with the help of various tools and software. Technology tools like online conferencing mediums have bridged the discrepancy in staying at home and feeling connected. Organizing Webinars, Pep Talks around topics concerning work and wellbeing has kept us moving forward as a company towards a bigger purpose, so this in a much more real sense boosts productivity significantly. Implementing technology that also reduces an employee’s monotony goes a long way in channelizing their focus on more important tasks.
With employee experience playing a significant role in the overall business growth agenda, could you share some important strategies that organisations must invest in to align work culture and business growth?
The more elevated the employee experience, the higher is the business growth. Straight off the bat, it is important that organizations significantly invest in inductions that give new joiners the truest representation of the existing culture to make them feel at home. Broader efforts must be made to cultivate the culture such that it makes employees feel invested in and valued. This acts as fuel for organizational growth. Strong internal communications are the cornerstone of creating a culture that challenges, engages, and develops every employee giving them a strong sense of purpose and belonging.
Additionally, continuous feedback and well-thought out Rewards & Recognition programs contribute greatly to amping up their motivation and sense of fulfilment. At Pepperfry, we introduced something called Spot recognition for those who go above and beyond the call of duty, every month.
A culture of inclusivity and representation plays its part in bringing in diverse experiences together while also creating psychological safety. One of the imperative cultural manifestations of an organization must also be in how it encourages learning- both theoretically and on the job.
We focus a lot on campus hiring in order to bring in fresh new perspectives and provide them with adequate training and coaching. Sponsoring Training and Development Programs and helping employees upskill is a critical cultural alignment for business growth.
How can performance management procedures be made more empathetic, transparent, fair, bias free and driven to motivate the workforce during these turbulent times?
At the heart of it, performance management procedures need to be effective in order to drive great results for the betterment of the business and its people alike. It is important to first and foremost set realistic yearly business goals that will help an employee feel empathized with and give them a fair shot at keeping up their own performance accordingly. For this to happen, managers need to be equipped to help their team members set these goals while being aware of their strengths and encouraging them to achieve it. Providing the managers with adequate training would definitely go a long way and create a ripple effect in motivating the dependent team members to give it their purposeful best.
Business disruptions are a likely hurdle that is bound to impact skills formation. What are some of the key skills that organisations must invest in to build the workforce that can accelerate growth and bring in productivity gains?
We saw a classic exhibition of this phenomenon over the last two years when the pandemic disrupted business and work as we knew it. Personally, I’ve understood that two of the most important skills that will help an organization thrive in various circumstances are visionary leadership and conflict management. The former is the magic ingredient that helps in unlocking efficiencies while the latter is instrumental in arresting attrition and lifting up everyone’s spirit towards boosting productivity.
In addition to these, value alignment is key in building and sustaining a productive workforce. At Pepperfry, we believe in the concept of ‘Learn, Relearn, Unlearn’. Working towards cultivating this mindset across the board has led to accelerated growth and productivity for us.
What are some words of advice that you would like to share on how the HR function and Executive Leadership can co-create business plans to ensure that employee’s professional goals are aligned with larger organisational goals?
At the outset, the organization needs to ensure that the talent being recruited and hired see eye to eye with the organization’s vision. HR and the Executive Leadership need to be aligned in their vision and communicate that in unambiguous terms to the entire workforce.
This vision must capture the heart of who they are as an organization, how they intend to make a difference to the ecosystem they serve, and how they aim to grow in the process. As an HR professional, understanding the skill sets required for each function is imperative and identifying strengths of every individual is crucial to be able to optimize performance in each and every role. Doing this will ensure that meaningful professional goals are set in accordance with larger organizational goals. As employees tend to be more engaged in their work if they feel that their individual goals are aligned with the larger strategic vision of the organization, it is important to create visibility around the impact of their work on organization level goals.