Binitha Shajesh has been the Director HR at Younion Brand Experiences since 2010. Passionate about aligning HR initiatives with strategic goals, Binitha spearheads talent acquisition, performance management, and cultivating a positive work culture in her current role. Her commitment to unbiased recruitment practices and inclusive policies has played an instrumental role in shaping Younion's success. Before joining Younion, Binitha accumulated diverse experiences in multiple recruitment firms including Adecco and OnMobile, an Indian telecommunications company headquartered in Bangalore.
In this exciting conversation with People Matters, Binitha sheds light on critical talent trends, how to address recruitment and retention challenges, skill sets HR leaders should prioritise for their own development and more.
As we step into 2024, what are the 3 talent trends that you believe will have a significant impact on the HR function and people practices? How do you plan on embracing and adapting to these changes?
As we embrace the opportunities that the new year presents, three pivotal talent trends take center stage in Younion's HR vision, shaping our approach to human capital and organisational success. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goes beyond a checklist, it's a fundamental ethos that permeates our talent strategy. Through targeted recruitment efforts, we aim for a rich tapestry of backgrounds that fosters innovation and inclusivity. Our inclusive policies are a commitment to providing an environment where every employee feels valued and heard. The leadership development programs are a catalyst for empowering diverse voices at all organisational levels.
Digital Transformation in HR is not just a buzzword at our company, it's a dynamic reality. We wholeheartedly embrace technology solutions, recognizing them as enablers rather than disruptors. Streamlining HR processes through technology is a strategic move to free up valuable time for our HR professionals to engage in more meaningful, human-centric aspects of their roles.
Skills-Based Hiring and Development form the backbone of our talent strategy to cultivate an agile and adaptable workforce. Implementing skill-based assessments in recruitment processes ensures that we aren't just hiring for today but for the future. Our commitment to robust learning is a proactive approach to upskilling our employees. Aligning training programs with organisational goals and individual career paths is our commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning, where each team member's growth contributes to the collective success of the company.
Gartner’s research found that 56% of HR leaders believe that their HR technology solutions and strategy do not match their current and future business needs. Given your experience, what are some best practices you would recommend to bridge this gap so that organisations can truly reap the benefits of HR digitisation?
In the ever-evolving landscape of HR technology, it has become integral to bridge the gap between solutions and business needs. Some key recommendations are: investing in user-friendly solutions that prioritise employee experience. A user-friendly solution is a strategic decision to ensure widespread adoption and enhanced efficiency. Training and support should be an ongoing commitment to help employees maximise the benefits of HR technology, turning them into proficient users who contribute to organisational success.
We recognise that HR technology is not static, and to stay current with industry trends and advancements, constant vigilance is essential. This commitment ensures that our systems remain agile and adaptable to changing business needs, contributing to a dynamic and responsive HR function.
Scalability and future-proofing are integral components of any technology selection process. Choose those technology solution systems that can seamlessly scale with the organisation's growth. This foresightedness is the insurance required against the risk of outgrowing the current technology infrastructure, ensuring a future-ready HR tech ecosystem.
By implementing these best practices, the company ensures a seamlessly integrated HR function that contributes significantly to the organization's overall success. This strategic alignment of technology with business needs sets the company apart as an organisation that not only embraces digital transformation but thrives in it. The approach should be to leverage technology to empower the workforce and drive sustainable organisational success.
The challenges around recruiting and retaining talent never cease, especially with evolving employee expectations and working styles. How does Younion Brand Experience approach this conundrum differently especially as the company expands to new countries and geographies?
Navigating talent challenges takes on an artful form at Younion, particularly as we extend our footprint into new countries. There are a few unique elements that define our approach during this expansion.
- Transparent Communication stands as a cornerstone. Open, honest communication is more than encouraged; it's a fundamental principle at Younion. We keep channels open, providing regular updates on goals, changes, and successes. This transparency builds trust, keeping our employees engaged in the company's journey.
- Personalised Employee Experience isn't a slogan; it's a commitment. From tailored benefits packages to flexible work arrangements, Younion acknowledges that each employee has unique needs and preferences.
- Innovative Workplace Culture goes beyond encouraging creativity; we actively celebrate it. Input from all levels is valued, creating a collaborative atmosphere where fresh ideas are not just welcomed but celebrated.
- Flexible Policies define our HR strategy. Expanding into new territories means embracing agile, flexible policies that swiftly adapt. Whether integrating new technologies or responding to unique market demands, our policies ensure relevance and alignment with diverse workforce needs.
- Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives are core values. We create an environment where every employee feels heard, respected, and included.
- Celebration of Differences is actively fostered. Embracing cultural, religious, and other differences creates a workplace where individuals feel valued. This celebration contributes to a rich tapestry of perspectives, fueling innovation and inclusivity.
In a disruptive business landscape, HR leaders need to equally evolve at the speed of change and embrace their own upskilling. What are some skill sets that they must prioritise to truly lead the change when building a resilient workforce?
To truly lead change and build a resilient workforce, certain skill sets take precedence.
- Employer Branding and Employee Experience are foundational. Building competencies in employer branding enhances our ability to attract top talent, while a positive employee experience contributes to higher retention rates and fosters a positive workplace culture.
- Professional Networking is actively pursued at Younion. Engaging with HR networks, attending conferences, and staying connected with industry trends are vital. Regularly assessing HR practices against industry benchmarks identifies areas for improvement, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of HR innovation.
- Ethical Leadership is non-negotiable. Leading with ethical considerations should be a company hallmark. Upholding a culture of honesty and transparency, especially in navigating HR challenges, aligns with our commitment to ethical standards.
- Digital Transformation happens by actively incorporating emerging HR technologies to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.
- Global and Cultural Competence is paramount. As we operate in a globalised world, HR leaders at Younion possess a deep understanding of diverse teams across geographies. Knowledge of different cultures, employment laws, and global HR practices ensures effective leadership in our interconnected world.
- Championing Learning and Development (L&D) for HR professionals is a commitment. Staying connected with industry trends, facilitating opportunities for HR professionals to engage with their peers, and integrating L&D goals into performance reviews are instrumental. Providing constructive feedback and recognising their dedication to continuous improvement ensures our HR professionals remain at the forefront of industry best practices.
2023 was a journey with its fair share of twists and turns, from layoffs to the acceleration of GenAI. What were some of your key learnings from this past year that you would like to share with our community? If there is one thing HR leaders should start doing immediately, what would that be?
These are some essential insights and imperatives for HR leaders:
- Focus on Employee Well-being emerged as a top priority. During challenging times, supporting mental health, providing resources for stress management, and fostering a positive work environment became pivotal.
- Resilience is Essential in the face of change. The pace of transformation highlighted the importance of organisational and individual adaptability. Being prepared for unforeseen challenges and having strategies in place to navigate them became crucial.
- Diversity and Inclusion Matter strategically and morally. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. A company’s commitment to diversity positions them as being more innovative, resilient, and better equipped to navigate change.
- Embracing and accelerating with technology became a necessity. While human connections remain vital, acknowledging the power of tools like GenAI is crucial. Actively integrating AI support in various HR functions and recognising its potential in enhancing efficiency without compromising the human touch became critical. However, it is crucial to note that while GenAI brings benefits, human oversight and ethical considerations are non-negotiable. Maintaining fairness, avoiding biases, and preserving a human touch in sensitive HR functions remain paramount.
For HR leaders, an immediate imperative is to prioritise employee well-being, embedding it into the organisational culture. Resilience should be cultivated at both individual and organisational levels. Diversity and inclusion initiatives should not only be upheld but expanded upon for strategic advantage. Lastly, while embracing technology, maintaining a balance that preserves the human touch is critical.
From talent trends to technology solutions, talent challenges to leadership resilience, and key learnings from the past – our approach is not just pragmatic; it's personal. As Younion charts its course into the dynamic landscape of HR, the commitment to transparency, innovation, and inclusivity stands out.