Before becoming the Chief Human Resources Officer at Cactus Communications, Yashmi Pujara spent the first half of her career in marketing. It allowed her to have both outside-in and inside-out views of business and more deeply understand the interplay between business and people. Since 2005, she has led initiatives spanning organizational culture, values, talent, performance, rewards, and leadership development.
In this exclusive interview with People Matters, Yashmi discussed the winning strategies to attract talent, in-house education of employees, and looking for a game-changer in this great war of talent. Excerpts of the interview are below -
What factors can enable organizations to attract the highest level of talent in the current scenario?
Firstly, employers who have responded proactively to the pandemic by keeping people at the center of policymaking, displaying greater empathy, and providing timely customised support, are more likely to attract talent. Employees are the first brand ambassadors of the company and what they say about their employers to the outside world will be the biggest influencers to pull good talent.
Secondly, companies that are able to provide top-notch candidate experience during the hiring process such as speed and quality of response, and demonstrate their values and ethos during this recruitment process, will strike a chord with potential employees.
Thirdly, employees globally are expecting more flexibility in the post-pandemic scenario. Companies that are quick to adapt and are willing to rebuild and redefine their work models to provide employees the flexibility to work across locations and time zones as much as possible will become magnets for the best talent.
It is already a challenge to hire the best talent from the possible pool. Add to that the need to diversify the workforce. What are your thoughts on the same?
If employers are able to identify distinct hiring segments, they will be able to solve for both: diversity and pace of recruitment. Targeting different personas or talent pools will automatically solve for diversity in recruitment. Talent is distributed evenly irrespective of geography, ethnicity, and other socio-economic demographics. However, the opportunity is not. When an organization pitches its opportunity to different talent pools, diversity will become a natural by-product.
What are your thoughts on how organizations can invest their energy to 'educate' and 'train' their talent from within instead of plugging gaps from outside?
Anticipating the needs of an organization over the short to medium term, upskilling in-house talent to meet those needs, and creating an internal marketplace that allows talent to make lateral shifts in roles will help fill new positions from within. Organizations need to develop scientific frameworks that link roles with skill/ knowledge requirements, identify apt learning modules and mechanisms for these requirements, create ongoing periodical learning calendars that are synced to career progressions so that talent is educated and trained in time for their changing roles and responsibilities. Heuristic learning and training from internal "coaches" are more effective ways of upgrading talent than plugging gaps from outside.
What, according to you, are the major ingredients for employers to win the 'talent war' handsomely?
I believe there are three major ingredients for employers to win the 'talent war' -
- Empathy, personalised support and heuristic learning
- Top-notch candidate experience during the hiring process
- Employee-centric work models and workplace flexibility
What would be the one game-changer for you in this 'great war' that can tip the talent scale?
Employees are the true champions of the employer brand. Their 'signature' on your brand is the best and most authentic way to attract and convert potential talent. Companies that live their values; provide great employee engagement & experience; have a culture of trust, autonomy, flexibility, & compassion; embrace diversity & inclusivity, and provide each employee an opportunity to discover themselves and realize their true potential will find that their employees are their biggest endorsers in this connected world and their "word" will matter the most in this 'great talent war'.