As we continue to wage a war on the COVID-19 virus, another war is creeping up on us. The war for talent. After the high levels of unemployment caused by the pandemic, as organizations once again look for growth they are now facing a new challenge and are competing to hire and retain the best talent. Salaries, benefits, flexibility, and perks don’t necessarily hold water anymore when looking to attract young workers in today’s modern economy. Given the extraordinary pace of change, the hastening shelf life of skills, and changing business priorities, managing talent has become a critical issue for leadership. Given that pre-pandemic ways of working aren’t something workers are always ready to go back to, how can we fix the new talent management equation to win this new war?
We spoke to Jacob George, Head of Human Resources, TransUnion Global Capability Center (GCC) in India. Within it first three years of operation, the TransUnion GCC has already been recognized as one of India’s top 50 best Workplaces, one of India’s top 50 best Workplaces for Women, and one of India's top 25 best workplaces for IT & IT-BPM by the Great Place to Work Institute in 2020. It is also a proud winner in the third edition of NASSCOM GCC Annual Awards 2021 in the category of “Exemplary Value Add”. Jacob plays a pivotal role in integrating and nurturing TransUnion’s values and beliefs that enable an inclusive one-team culture. He is responsible for all aspects of HR in the flagship GCC including recruiting, employee engagement, talent management, compensation, benefits, payroll, associate relations and training.
TransUnion is an information and insights company that helps businesses minimize risk and make informed decisions. The NYSE listed organization employs over 8,000 employees in more than 30 countries. In India, its CIBIL score and wider TransUnion CIBIL offering is an important part of the credit ecosystem. In recent years it has developed its global capability centers in Chennai and Pune, India and now also in South Africa employing over 1,700 people across its GCC capabilities.
Here are some key insights from the interview:
Globally, workers are quitting or switching jobs in droves which some economists have dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. In such a scenario, what are the critical imperatives for employers seeking to attract, retain and engage top talent amidst volatility in the market?
There are three primary factors why employees resign – one, they do not see a sense of purpose in the work they do and how their role ties into the larger vision of the organization. The second, is when employees are not feeling valued and do not see any opportunity to grow or upskill. And, the third is because the traditional geographical barriers to talent and hiring have been disrupted, resulting in increased opportunities.
For companies this brings new challenges and opportunities. It means they are having to make significant investments in building a great culture. Even prior to the pandemic TransUnion was very culturally focused, and we have continued on this journey. While hiring, we emphasize cultural alignment to our core values and beliefs. At TransUnion, we value – Integrity, People, Customers, and Innovation. And, the beliefs that help us win are - ‘I think like a customer’, ‘I make a difference and so do you’, ‘I own it’, ‘I say what I need to say’, ‘I Innovate and Inspire’, I act decisively and get things done’. These help shape our recruitment analysis so we can better understand whether new candidates and hires are a cultural fit for TransUnion.
We are focused on achieving best practices when it comes to engagement, even in the virtual environment. In order to make people feel connected, we have doubled our engagement activities during the pandemic. Our culture of continuous performance reviews, mentoring and feedback is key in achieving this goal. These might not look very different from what other organizations are doing but the trick is in getting the basics right.
What strategies should be used to elevate the employee value proposition to mirror what employees seek in the changing work environment? What are some of the policy and process changes around benefits that TransUnion has brought about in order to attract top talent?
It’s very important that the EVP (Employee Value Proposition) is highly relevant to the changing expectations of the targeted talent pool and the evolving industry.
I believe the EVP is not cast in stone; it has to be constantly re-evaluated to ensure it is fit for purpose. This is something the leadership team should keep a constant watch on.
At TransUnion, we benchmark our standards with other best-in-class companies in the industry to stay relevant and competitive. We continuously evaluate our EVP and learn from industry forums and prospective candidates as to how we can tweak some of our policies to stay in sync with changing trends and expectations.
We put a lot of emphasis on managerial development because a manager is the most important touchpoint from a team’s point of view. Hence, we have empowered our managers to develop their effectiveness in order to improve our EVP.
To attract top talent we also emphasize learning and upskilling opportunities, encouraging GCC associates to learn emerging technologies in order to help them adapt to the changing world – this benefits them and our business.
Diversity and inclusion is another focus area and we have formed a DE&I group to drive inclusion and attract top talent – this comprises of associates from across teams in the GCC to ensure we have a wide variety of experience and views. We’ve also recently introduced an annual holiday voucher program for a three-day vacation to help our employees recharge themselves along with their families. All these measures stem from our commitment to enhance our benefits so that people feel valued and that they are contributing to our company’s growth story.
What do you think would be the two or three big differentiators for companies to win the talent war? What are those differentiators for TransUnion?
The first big differentiator is that companies have to create a clear sense of purpose, making sure that people understand the mission, vision, and objectives. Secondly, companies need to create a sense of ownership and empowerment. Lastly, they also need to create an inclusive work culture.
Towards this, we aim to rally our employees around TransUnion’s purpose of helping businesses and consumers transact with confidence and achieve great things, which we call Information for Good® – and this is what drives us every day! Our team managers break this down for their team members to help them understand how their work is connected to our larger vision. When an employee can see the bigger picture, it creates a strong sense of purpose and creates meaningful work.
One of our six beliefs at TransUnion is ‘I own it’. This means unlike other organizations, we aren’t focused on attendance or hours of work; rather the moment our associates own it, they know what has to be done. This is how we are empowering our people.
How can organizations leverage DE&I to retain top talent? What are some of the initiatives taken by TransUnion?
As you rightly said, DE&I is one of the key enablers to retain top talent. Allowing people to be themselves at the workplace is the first step towards building a diverse and inclusive culture.
Employees should not feel that they have to create a manufactured aura around themselves to come to work.
At TransUnion, we want the real “YOU” at work. And that’s where inclusion starts.
We have multiple work groups driven by employees themselves to drive engagement and inclusion. With respect to DE&I, we have a DE&I core group, which has specific goals around increasing gender diversity through programs like i-Refer “Her”, which is focused on women-only employee referral drives. We offer career reboot programs to drive more opportunities for women professionals who are on career breaks due to life events. All these initiatives encourage greater gender equality and provide more employment opportunities to women professionals in India. In addition, we also have “i-Grow” that focuses on developing women associates for higher career growth and training like “Unconscious Bias” and “Cross-culture sensitization” workshops and training to promote inclusive culture among our people.
Ultimately, we take pride in building a very inclusive work culture with diversity at the core. Teams could be from diverse backgrounds but they accept and respect each other and their values.