Article: How Avanse is using HR Tech to shape a culture of high performance: Chief People Officer reveals

Performance Management

How Avanse is using HR Tech to shape a culture of high performance: Chief People Officer reveals

Building a culture of trust, transparency, and high performance necessitates using emerging technology, and Achal Goel, the Chief People Officer at Avanse Financial Services, explains how to do it effectively.
How Avanse is using HR Tech to shape a culture of high performance: Chief People Officer reveals

The global move toward high performance culture means workers need to improve their skills for better productivity. To make this happen, HR and talent leaders must establish effective programmes and initiatives to build this workplace where talent thrives. Additionally, leveraging new technologies for training and development, and HR processes can boost employee engagement and experience, which is crucial for improving organisational performance.

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Achal Goel, Chief People Officer at Avanse Financial Services, disccused effective strategies for leveraging HR technology, creating a culture of trust, transparency, and high performance where talented workers can thrive.

Here are the edited excerpts: 

Fostering a future workforce - Aligning skills and mindset to thrive

At Avanse, we believe employees are our greatest assets, the fulcrum of our organisation. We strongly believe in the two-word mantra, PEOPLE CENTRICITY, which lies at the core of our organisation. Thus, we have invested in our human capital by introducing several learning and development programmes, enabling us to reap the benefits of an expanded pool of qualified experts.

  • Our commitment to nurturing talent is exhibited through various curated programmes and initiatives, which enhance the overall learning curve of the employees, resulting in ‘Return on Intelligence’ while enabling ‘Return on Capital’ for stakeholders.
  • One of the initiatives, the Swagatam Programme, is meticulously crafted to conduct branch orientation and induction through Avanse Certified Trainers. This initiative is designed to facilitate the seamless integration of new joiners into their respective functions, ensuring their early success and reducing attrition. Moreover, training functional managers as ‘Functional Certified Trainers’ has led to detailed orientation sessions for new hires.
  • Furthermore, our SEED (Skill Enhancement & Employee Development) initiative empowers employees with specialised, role-based, skill enhancement and capability-building programmes. These initiatives target various competencies essential for upskilling and reskilling employees, including self-management, team management, and leadership development.
  • Our commitment to managerial development is evident through the LEAP (Learn, Engage, And Make Teams Productive) programme. This four-month rigorous programme equips first-time managers with vital leadership skills like communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, and team building, preparing them for success in their new roles. With their renewed outlook, well-trained managers are better positioned to steer their respective teams towards success.
  • At Avanse, knowledge dissemination is paramount. Thus, the Avanse Expert Speaks series is curated to educate employees about our products and partners through case studies and discussions, enhancing their ability to serve customers effectively. Additionally, the Avanse Knowledge Series fosters cross-departmental collaboration, promoting knowledge sharing, teamwork, and appreciation for each department’s contributions. Our employees leverage these tools for objection handling, overcoming challenges and effecting frictionless synergistic collaborations. 

Creating a holistic work environment goes beyond just skills development

When people talk about factors that make an organisation a good place to work, many think about the brand name and the compensation offered to the employees. However, in reality, work culture plays a vital role in retaining and binding people to an organisation. At Avanse Financial Services, we believe in creating an environment that encourages people to implement innovative ideas and boost their entrepreneurial spirit. In line with this philosophy, we have designed a robust Cultural Pillar framework for the organisation to enable our people to grow both professionally and personally. The core values that we uphold are Governance, Accountability, Inclusivity, Meritocracy, Consistent Value Creation, and Happiness Quotient. This has helped us create a ‘one team, one experience’ environment focused on creating value for our stakeholder ecosystem.

  • Our ‘Inclusivity at the Workplace’ workshops are conducted to foster an inclusive environment for all employees. These workshops provide a safe space for open and honest discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through thought-provoking discussions, the workshops empower them to challenge biases and stereotypes, fostering a culture of respect and acceptance within the organisation.
  • Another initiative, the Women Mentoring Journey, is a 5-week mentoring programme specifically curated for female colleagues. The programme seeks to nurture diverse talent by helping women understand their strengths and hone leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and insights into managing and developing careers. 
  • As an organisation, we have implemented a three-pronged approach for our people where they can Learn-Earn-Grow. Each manager/supervisor tracks the journey of their people and, thus, recognises their contribution where they make efforts to learn new things, implement them in their day-to-day lives, and add value during the process. These initiatives underscore Avanse’s commitment to fostering an environment where employees feel valued, empowered, and motivated to innovate and drive growth.

Balancing high performance and employee well-being

Employee well-being has always been our priority. We ensure that the balance between work and well-being is fostered adequately through a range of people-centric initiatives and processes designed to support them throughout their journey with us.

  • Our Flexi-Working policy enriches work-life balance by permitting remote work for defined periods, accommodating personal commitments and unforeseen circumstances.
  • To promote fairness and encourage excellence, we offer a Meritocracy-driven Culture. Therefore, we follow a structured and transparent talent philosophy that focuses on identifying the right talent without any biases.
  • Our Comp-Off policy provides flexibility by granting employees compensatory time off for working on non-working days or holidays, contingent upon meeting required working hours. We also optimise operational schedules by closing branch offices for two Saturdays in a month, aligning with peak business demands, and endorsing flexible work hours to empower employees to manage their schedules efficiently while meeting business objectives.
  • Upholding employee safety and convenience, we offer transport reimbursements for extended working hours and enforce a Safe Commute Policy for Women, ensuring secure transportation for late shifts. Acknowledging the needs of expectant mothers, we provide mobility benefits and exclusive parking facilities, supporting them during their commutes.
  • Our Menstruation Leave policy grants female employees a monthly leave allowance with auto-approval, prioritising essential rest and recovery. In addition to these, support for working parents is extended through childcare benefits, covering expenses related to childcare facilities like crèches or daycare centres. 

Fostering trust and transparency: Encouraging open communication between employees and senior leadership 

Consistent communication is a must to create an environment of trust and productivity. We ensure we engage with the last mile of the organisation via thought-through initiatives so that they can share their views, further fostering a sense of belongingness. 

One of the initiatives we have launched is a quarterly town hall with the Managing Director & CEO of the organisation, where we update the employees about all crucial business news and developments.

Function Heads conduct Employee Connect sessions, addressing concerns and gathering feedback, which enhances accessibility and builds a stronger bond among the team.

The HR team plays a pivotal role in facilitating communication by conducting regular visits to branch locations to address employee concerns and gather feedback. As a listening organisation, to further encourage open dialogue, we have also introduced a programme where employees, regardless of their roles or levels, can engage in one-on-one conversations with the management during fixed hours every day.

Participation in the Great Place To Work® Survey reflects our commitment to employee feedback. Their honest, unbiased opinions enable us to identify our strengths and areas of improvement. Management takes this feedback seriously and uses it to enhance the processes further. Action items from the survey are transparently communicated, fostering accountability and continuous improvement.

In essence, these initiatives underscore our dedication to fostering a culture of open dialogue, trust, and transparency, ensuring that employee voices are valued and heard at all levels of the organisation.

Improving HR practices and processes with technology 

HR technology plays an important role in driving efficiency and conserves resources throughout the processes involved in managing employee lifecycle.

The organisation employs an AI-driven Applicant Tracking system, facilitating seamless candidate screening, onboarding, and job marketing. From AI screening to managing internal job postings, referrals, consultant partners, offers, and data analytics, this system enhances efficiency and accuracy throughout the recruitment process.

Additionally, we prioritise frequent feedback conversations about the work experience. Anonymous feedback is collected at regular intervals through an AI-enabled Chatbot, covering various aspects such as employee-manager relationships, work-related challenges, and skill development needs. Escalated concerns are personally addressed by the Management team through one-on-one discussions, ensuring a supportive and responsive approach to employee feedback.

Moreover, the organisation offers an e-learning platform, providing employees with access to on-the-go learning opportunities tailored to their needs. Curated curriculums encompassing values, skills, and knowledge-based programmes ensure a uniform onboarding experience and ongoing development for all employees across locations.

How HR technologies enhances employee experience..

In this new era, it is mandatory for HR teams across industries to revolutionise hiring and retention practices to enhance employee experience and boost employee engagement, which have the potential to impact their productivity positively. It is crucial to find the most skilled rather than qualified candidates and retain them by investing in their well-being and development. Some of the trends that we have been observing are – a growing focus on skill-based hiring, employee well-being as the top-most priority, focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), the creation of avenues for continuous learning and development, and more.   

Some of our key investments and initiatives include enhancing the New Joiner Candidate Experience with tailored engagement plans and implementing 30-60-90 day immersion programmes for smoother integration. This function-wise immersion programme will be undertaken at branch, lateral and leadership levels. This will enable us to strike the right bond with the employees even before they become a part of the work family. 

As a people-centric organisation, we will emphasise individual learning journeys, where we will create learning catalogues and pathways for self-paced consumption. We will create avenues such as Learning Fairs, where employees will get opportunities to self-nominate and attend valuable sessions for self-development conducted by industry experts via digital webinars. 

Lastly, we will remain committed to driving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives within the organisation. We will continue to invest in curating industry-best policies and benefits that support employees and their families throughout various lifecycle needs. By prioritising DE&I, we ensure an inclusive work environment where every employee feels valued and empowered to contribute to their fullest potential.

Our proactive approach to emerging HR trends highlights our dedication to enhancing employee experience and maintaining its leadership position in the industry. Through investments in candidate experience, individual learning journeys, innovative learning platforms, and DE&I initiatives, we will continue to pave the way for a future-ready workforce.

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Topics: Performance Management, HR Technology, Strategic HR, #Culture, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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