Article: ‘Heart’ with ‘Tech’ is our employee friendly principle: Chief People Officer, BFIL

Employee Relations

‘Heart’ with ‘Tech’ is our employee friendly principle: Chief People Officer, BFIL

In an exclusive interview with us, Srinivas Reddy Vudumula, Chief People Officer, Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited, talks about the lead indicators to achieve the EX- outcomes and how ‘People First – Field First’ sets up the mantra for their organization’s employee centric approach.
‘Heart’ with ‘Tech’ is our employee friendly principle:  Chief People Officer, BFIL

Employees are the heart and soul of any organization. As the second wave hits our country, the companies also need to relook at the execution of their own people strategies to support their employees through these tough times and improve the employee experience as a whole.

Srinivas Vudumula has over 26 years of corporate experience and has been associated with BFIL for the past 6 years. He is responsible for Human Resources and administration functions. In addition to Human Resources, He also spearheads the company’s CSR initiatives. In this interview, we discuss the culture that BFIL has established and the strategies they have undertaken to achieve a stable EX-outcome. 

How is Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited managing employee engagement in the current world of work?

BFIL is a large and geographically diverse organisation. Our 28,000 employees are based in 23 states across 2,300 locations engaging with more than 1.3 lakh villages in rural India. Our employees are in the business of lending and hence company culture therefore becomes an integral part of business risk management.

The scope for employee engagement & connect are unique in our world - given the complexity and scale. We have a two-pronged approach to Engagement Drivers:

The things which are close to our heart: Consistency & Efficiency is what we focus on diligently. All our efforts converge on these factors

The things we wish to change: We run these in project mode – and monitor them closely till they become part of the culture

How can leaders be proactively involved in tailoring the Employee Experience (EX) programs? 

Employee Experience (EX) is an outcome of: 

  • The culture organisation wishes to institutionalise 
  • The tenets of values & behaviour which manifest in EX
  • The clear Don’ts (Zero Tolerance) 

We receive a host of information on EX from a variety of sources – Employee Experience surveys, 1x1 interviews, feedback platforms, exit interviews, skip meetings and mystery shopping. Along with the Annual Business Plan, the Leadership Team also takes a close look at the health of EX based on the feedback and defines the charter for EX in the organisation for the next 12 months. As the custodian, HR then drives these programs across the organisation – and monitors the progress periodically.

The HR industry is readily adopting people analytics. How can businesses learn from analytics to improve EX? 

At BFIL, we constantly look at lead indicators which determine the EX-outcome. The data which is backed by insights is critical to decision making for any large organization with a diverse workforce spread far & wide.  EX is an outcome measure  and also a lag indicator. 

For example, to manage attrition at the frontline in the initial 6 months of joining, we had focus group discussions to understand the root causes of the issue. Post that we defined the desired levels to enable a good EX for the new joiners - thus improving retention & longevity. The lead indicators for us were training performance, On-The-Job performance, Mentorship, etc. – which gave us the final outcome of defining the journey towards retention & performance. We consistently measure lead Indicators and make individual managers accountable for the mandate. 

How is your organization executing EX initiatives to cater to the digital, more hybrid, and inclusive culture of today's times?

All of our 28,000 employees are connected through digital devices. ‘Heart’ with ‘Tech’ is the principle we follow in the way we connect with our employees. We focus on a personalised experience and leverage the high availability of digital channels in this regard. We also have a clearly demarcated approach in what is delivered through which medium – Digital or Direct – and all our managers are expected to follow that framework. 

For example – if there is a communication which needs to be cascaded ‘personally’ – then it starts from the MD & CEO to his direct staff delivering the same via a conference call/on-line meeting– and then it gets cascaded down the chain in the similar manner. Another example is our MD & CEO personally greeting field managers on their birthday. Digital helps in cutting across the layers quickly and we use this extensively to provide a seamless experience. Each of our 28,000 employees have access to a HR self-service portal and we would probably be one of the few organisations involved in last-mile financial inclusion that provide this facility.

Competition for talent has played a major role in putting the focus on EX programs. What would you advise your fellow leaders to keep an eye on when they execute their own EX programs?

BFIL has been a preferred employer or employer of choice in the microfinance industry, having been consistently ranked in the top 50 Best Places to Work in India. Our priority towards a total Employee Experience has helped us have a strong & stable leadership team all across, best retention rates and the depth to scale quickly.

We follow the mantra of ‘People First – Field First’ and ensuring the user is a part of the engagement and execution strategy, which is the maxim.

Do you feel there is a need to explore more avenues to make EX programs more impactful? What kind of parameters come to your mind?

There is always room for improvement and EX programs should be a continuous process that takes feedback from stakeholders into account as well. Some of the avenues that come to mind are:

  • The ability to customise/personalise experiences for individual employees in factors like work hours, workdays, workstation, basket of external titles, reward mechanism (cash/kind, long-term vs. short-term), total value proposition for self, etc.
  • Mechanism to ‘hear’ employee experience real time 
  • Formation of an EX Board - making a cross-section of employees part of an EX-Board which will define the charter and the custodian

Know more about what’s new in employee experience at the People Matters Employee Experience India Conference on 10th June, 2021. Register Now!l- 

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Topics: Employee Relations, #EXChecklist, #EmployeeExperience

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