Stakeholder alignment is paramount for HR tech investments: VN Mahesh, Maveric Systems
V.N. Mahesh is the Co-founder & COO at Maveric Systems.
In his present role, Mahesh leads the company’s global operations management and oversees the Finance, Infrastructure, HR, Process and Information System functions. He provides robust leadership for developing the blueprint to strengthen and scale Maverics’ process and quality initiatives by supporting the current and future business units in a responsive and reliable manner.
With over 22 years of experience in the IT industry in the area of solutions design, delivery and quality, Mahesh has a wide range of experience in delivering complex testing solutions to clients in Europe and US through innovative models of offshore and onsite service delivery.
Prior to joining Maveric, he founded Adarsh Technologies, an IT solutions company which catered to clients in the retail segment in the US, and provided solutions for co-operative banks in India. Mahesh started his career with Infosys Technologies and AF Ferguson.
In conversation with People Matters, Mahesh spoke about how to become ‘Digital with a Heart!’, the three basics that have been monumental to scaling productivity of employees and leaders, and advised how to overcome the three major roadblocks to adoption of HR tech.
Here are highlights from the interview.
What were some of your biggest learnings as a talent leader over the last fifteen months? Did the pandemic impact your approach to people strategy?
Every business leader had to reimagine the state of people management. With so much going around during the crisis, a lot of questions started getting tougher for both employers and their employees. For associate’s, job security was a major concern with the way COVID had impacted the economy. For employers, the challenge was on maintaining delivery quality in a WFH context where the employee’s well-being was paramount.
At Maveric, we digitized the entire people management agenda. Communication played a key role for driving this agenda which was the first and foremost step. Existing digital channels were rejuvenated to host daily catch-ups with teams on their well-being. Right from virtual on-boarding to talent management, every single process was digitized. Online L&D programs took the center stage to maintain the rigor of continuous learning. Special virtual programs were organized to boost our associate’s well-being and their mental health. Leaders were advocated on supporting their teams through constant communication.
Today, when we look back at our various initiatives over the last 15 months, the pace at which we adapted to the situation with a high degree of technology adoption, keeping associate health and delivery quality has been refreshingly outstanding.
While the focus on upping digital capabilities of employees remains a key focus, how are employers responding to the need to up the digital capabilities of internal processes and systems?
Digital transformation nowadays is essential for any kind of set up. It does not matter how big or small the organization is, as it offers enormous layers of benefits that nobody can overlook.
We deal with banking transformation on a daily basis as an organization. Having said that, I can say that the employers are responding well to the constant need of upping digital capabilities as it does not matter what a company’s vision for the future is, it must include digital transformation to grow and expand.
Digital is the language of the new generation and it is imperative for organizations to recognize that as a critical element in their talent strategy; more so for those in the knowledge economy. The challenge is really on how to become Digital with a Heart!
What key metrics are shaping your investment decisions in HR tech? Which HR functions do you see attracting more tech investments and adoption in the evolving workplace construct?
The key metric decision shaping our investments in HR tech is people centricity. The tech/ initiative needs to enable employee learning and make internal processes simpler.
According to me, HR teams will need tech investments across the focus areas of recruitment for hassle-free employee on-boarding, cloud based workforce management systems to support remote working model, employee experience led technologies, insights-driven employee analytics and more gamification or reward led strategy in online learning systems.
What key challenges remain a roadblock in the adoption of HR technology? How can organizations and leaders address these roadblocks?
In my opinion, there are three key roadblocks in the adoption of HR technology. These include internal stakeholder alignment, timely data gathering and user adoption.
Each of these challenges impact the HR tech adoption across the stages of HR system evaluation, deployment and ongoing utilization.
Stakeholder alignment is paramount for HR tech investments. This means getting the team together for a common purpose with a clear vision is an absolute must to begin this journey. Data gathering process can be a huge exercise if they do not adhere to the required timelines. This phase is an essential part of HR tech deployment in order to reflect best and current data in the new system. Effective communication plans can be drafted and initiated by the HR teams in line to project timelines to overcome this dilemma. Lastly, perhaps the most important is around user adoption. Organizations need a thorough change management strategy which entails a considerable amount of user communication and training workshops. This has to be planned meticulously for a period of 3 to 6 months depending on the invested technology with a close eye on the metrics governing system utilization effectiveness.
How has the renewed focus on communication, engagement, wellness, and productivity impacted your employee experience strategy? What role has technology played in meeting evolving employee needs?
Collaborate, communicate, and connect, these 3 terms have been monumental when it comes to scaling productivity of employees or even leaders for that matter. The pandemic has created profound and immediate changes to how societies operate and how individuals interact and work with each other.
Technology has helped us connect with them better, be available for them around the clock, and keep a close monitoring on their well-being. This way, work from anywhere has become a nomenclature. Organizations being able to adapt to this change, show their flexibility quotient without losing sight on their cultural fabric.
How can employers and leaders strengthen the ecosystem for a distributed workforce to make business agility and operational excellence a reality?
Organizations need to build a strong wall of delivery governance in the current distributed working culture. The processes empanelled within these governance walls have to be provisioned via digital technology to ensure accountability and ownership.
The frequency of communication across internal and external networks have to enhance significantly. This will ensure trust, hope and confidence among your customers and associates.
Thirdly, organizations will have a huge role to play in taking up proactive initiatives to promote and retain their company culture. Lastly, the most critical of all would be the way companies can help their associates maintain work-life balance. Leaders have to wear an innovative hat to combat this growing concern.
What is your advice for leaders looking to scale their digital HR capabilities?
Transforming the HR outlook through effective means of digitization is a very contextual subject. Every organization is unique with respect to their size and operating model. The priorities and criticalities which govern each of these organizations may differ from each other. Leaders have to consider such prerequisites while drafting their HR digitization agenda. Additionally, there has to be a substantial layer of flexibility built in the agenda which allows companies to make easy amendments. This is in line to the constant changes we are witnessing in today’s economy.
Access anytime, anywhere will be a key central theme for creating a superior employee experience.
Furthermore, a company's culture and values have to be an integral part of this transformation journey.