Article: HR leaders strategic partners in driving growth & innovation: Kotak Mahindra’s Shwetha Kalappa

Employee Engagement

HR leaders strategic partners in driving growth & innovation: Kotak Mahindra’s Shwetha Kalappa

People Matters spoke to Shwetha Kalappa, Executive Vice President of Human Resources & Head of Employee Engagement at Kotak Mahindra Bank, about the dynamic realm of modern HR practices.
HR leaders strategic partners in driving growth & innovation: Kotak Mahindra’s Shwetha Kalappa

As we navigate through the changing tides of Industry 4.0 and the rise of hybrid work models, HR leaders need to adopt the right strategies to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant in today's dynamic world of work. 

People Matters spoke to Shwetha Kalappa, Executive Vice President of Human Resources & Head of Employee Engagement at Kotak Mahindra Bank, about the dynamic realm of modern HR practices. In this exclusive interview, Shwetha shared invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of employee expectations and the transformative role of technology in shaping the employee experience. 

Join us as we uncover the latest trends and best practices that are shaping the future of HR and employee engagement. 

Over the past five years, what notable changes have you observed in employee expectations from their employers? How have these expectations evolved?

Over the past five years, there has been a remarkable shift in employee expectations, driven by changing societal norms, technological advancements, and evolving workplace dynamics. Employees today seek more than just a paycheck from their employers; they desire a meaningful and fulfilling work experience that aligns with their personal values and aspirations. Unlike in the past, where job security and financial stability were paramount, today's workforce prioritizes opportunities for growth, flexibility, and work-life balance. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability, with employees expecting their employers to demonstrate a commitment to social causes and ethical business practices. Overall, these evolving expectations necessitate a more personalised and holistic approach to talent management and employee engagement.

A recent McKinsey study highlights that workers crave trust, social cohesion, and purpose. What factors do you believe are most essential in fostering an effective and engaging employee experience?

Fostering an effective and engaging employee experience requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the diverse needs and preferences of today's workforce. While trust, social cohesion, and purpose are indeed crucial factors, several other elements contribute to creating a positive workplace environment. Firstly, clear communication and transparent leadership play a vital role in building trust and fostering a sense of belonging among employees. Open channels of communication allow employees to voice their concerns, share feedback, and feel valued as integral members of the organisation. Secondly, opportunities for professional development and career advancement are essential for promoting employee engagement and retention. Employees seek roles that offer opportunities for learning, growth, and skill development, allowing them to progress in their careers and achieve their full potential. Finally, a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion is fundamental in promoting employee well-being and satisfaction. By embracing diversity and fostering a culture of respect and acceptance, organisations can create an environment where all employees feel valued, empowered, and motivated to contribute their best.

As HR enters its 4.0 phase with increasing automation, what steps can HR leaders take to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant?

As HR evolves in the era of Industry 4.0, HR leaders must adapt to the changing landscape by embracing technology, fostering innovation, and enhancing their strategic capabilities. In an age where automation and artificial intelligence are reshaping traditional HR functions, HR leaders must leverage technology to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and deliver a more personalized employee experience. This involves implementing advanced HR analytics tools to gain insights into workforce trends, optimizing recruitment and talent management processes through AI-driven solutions, and utilising digital platforms for employee engagement and communication. Moreover, HR leaders need to develop their skills in data analysis, predictive modeling, and strategic workforce planning to anticipate future talent needs and drive organisational success. By staying abreast of emerging trends, leveraging technology effectively, and continuously upskilling their teams, HR leaders can position themselves as strategic partners in driving business growth and innovation.

With hybrid work becoming the norm, how do you see employee benefits and rewards evolving in the new world of work?

The shift towards hybrid work has prompted organisations to rethink their approach to employee benefits and rewards, recognizing the need for greater flexibility, customization, and inclusivity. In the new world of work, where employees may work remotely, onsite, or in a hybrid capacity, traditional benefits packages may no longer suffice. Instead, employers are adopting a more agile and adaptable approach to benefits, offering a diverse range of options that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of their workforce. This includes flexible scheduling options, remote work allowances, wellness programs, mental health support services, and opportunities for skill development and career advancement. Moreover, organisations are increasingly prioritizing employee well-being and work-life balance, recognizing that happy and healthy employees are more engaged, productive, and loyal. By aligning their benefits and rewards programs with the evolving needs of their workforce, organisations can attract top talent, enhance employee satisfaction, and drive business success in the hybrid work environment.

How are you leveraging technology to meet the demands of the new employee experience mandate, and how does it align with the expectations and priorities of the modern workforce?

In today's digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the employee experience and meeting the evolving expectations of the modern workforce. At Kotak Mahindra Bank, we recognize the transformative power of technology in enhancing employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. By leveraging cutting-edge digital tools and platforms, we aim to provide our employees with a seamless and personalized experience throughout their employment journey. From recruitment and onboarding to performance management and career development, technology enables us to streamline HR processes, deliver real-time feedback, and provide access to learning resources and support services. Moreover, technology allows us to connect with our employees irrespective of their location, facilitating remote collaboration, communication, and team engagement. By harnessing the power of technology, we can create a more connected, inclusive, and empowering workplace that meets the expectations and priorities of our modern workforce.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Leadership

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