Article: From reactive to proactive, that defines Experience 2.0: Urbanic India’s Kanchan Sharma

A Brand Reachout InitiativeLeadership

From reactive to proactive, that defines Experience 2.0: Urbanic India’s Kanchan Sharma

In conversation with People Matters, Kanchan Sharma of Urbanic India shares her best practices for driving a superior employee experience.
From reactive to proactive, that defines Experience 2.0: Urbanic India’s Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma is the VP-People and Culture at Urbanic India. With over a decade of experience, she is a seasoned HR professional with experience working in varied segments of human resources. She has led HR and talent strategies across multiple sectors— technology, retail, and eCommerce. In the past, she has worked with Microsoft India, IBM India, WIPRO, and also with retail giant Noon. In this exclusive interview with People Matters, Kanchan sheds light on the paradigm shifts in employee experience, the power of leaders to strengthen workplace culture, how to build a robust feedback mechanism and more.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation. 

In the current disruptive and dynamic marketplace, what is the value of a powerful employee experience? Why should organisations prioritise it? 

Productivity and creativity exist because there are employees chasing one goal which the organisations define for themselves and are able to achieve because of the undying commitment and dedication of this talented workforce. It is the responsibility of organisations today to appreciate this talent by enabling, respecting, empowering and treating them equitably and all of this can be achieved by building a superior employee experience. 

A powerful employee experience makes an organisation stand out in the crowd. Simple initiatives like responding to feedback, delivering excellent communication, and creating a positive work environment will benefit the employees as well as the organisation. It’ll foster growth and innovation, attract and retain high-performing talent and reinforce a sense of belonging.

How would you define "Experience 2.0"? What differentiates it from traditional approaches to employee experience and culture? 

A shift of approach from reactive to proactive, strategic and holistic is Experience 2.0. Gone are the days when organisations used to operate in a hierarchical structure and the decision-making was centralised at the top. DOA (delegation of authority) for instance, was neither incorporated nor practised in the past, but organisations today are dynamic, they pivot overnight and have a quick turnaround time, DOA has come out as a strong process, especially for startups. 

Organisations have evolved from non-centric to people-centric, employee engagement is not an afterthought anymore but in fact a strategic priority. There is a paradigm shift in the perception of rewards and perks from physical to holistic well-being of employees, recognition is given importance over the increments, and there are multiple sources of feedback collection which were limited earlier. The communication is transparent and open - the offices have fewer walls and the concept of silos is outdated. The culture is adaptive rather than maladaptive where people are encouraged, appreciated and celebrated.

How can leaders actively contribute to creating a positive work environment? How can they align organisational culture with the rapid growth of a company without losing sight of core values? 

Leaders although sponsor the required changes in the organisation, they must partner with the change agents and enablers to make the outcome effective. If the end goal is to create an impactful work environment, the leaders must act as role models by setting examples which are inspirational and aspirational. For e.g. if one of the defined core values of an organisation is ‘ownership’ and the leaders themselves don’t display the quality, it is fair to assume that the associated people will not show ownership in projects.

To align organisational culture with the rapid growth of a company without losing sight of core values, the leaders should be able to communicate the vision and values clearly to the employees, they should invest in people, recognise and appreciate them and after a certain point in time should trust and empower people with decision making. While continuously doing all of this, leaders should lead with empathy and should assess the workplace culture through surveys or conversations and gather feedback followed by corrective actions wherever necessary.

What is the role of technology in enhancing the employee experience? How can digital solutions strengthen a sense of collaboration, belonging and purpose among employees? 

Technology should be credited for most of the transformation in employee experience. Tech-enabled organisations learn faster, keep people connected, provide flexibility and personalise things beyond imagination. Digital solutions are already strengthening collaboration, belonging and purpose among employees. These solutions have opened avenues for knowledge sharing in the form of tools which provide upskilling and opportunities to develop personally and professionally and give us online communities and social networks to collaborate formally and informally. Employees are constantly engaged and involved through surveys, virtual suggestion boxes and Video conferencing.

Employee feedback is crucial for improving experience and culture. How can HR teams in fast-rising organisations collect and act on feedback effectively to drive positive changes?

Feedback collection can be done through different sources like eNPS, pulse surveys, chatbots, virtual suggestion boxes, focus group discussions, 1:1s, Town Halls etc which is only step 1. Acting on feedback by analysing the inputs and coming up with a plan of action is step 2. This is followed by measuring the impact of new initiatives introduced by doing follow-up surveys or any other metric to gauge employee sentiment. All 3 steps are critical to driving a positive change.

Could you share a success story or a best practice that significantly improved employee experience and organisational culture in your organisation? What is the greatest learning you would like to share with our HR Community? 

Constructing an impassable feedback mechanism in every process of HR has dramatically improved employee experience for all the businesses I have supported in my career. Tying feedback to recruitment in the form of process feedback or employee feedback post-induction and onboarding at regular intervals (7 days or 45 days or 3 months) or exit feedback on the employee's way out has been really fruitful in developing interventions for the betterment of employees and the organisation. 

The greatest learning I can share is "employees want to be heard and wish to be reminded time and again that the organisation they are working with is invested in them 100%", this can be achieved by putting together a solid recognition framework and a feedback mechanism which in turn will automatically improve the overall employee experience.

Read full story

Topics: Leadership, #EmployeeExperience, #Leaders Talk, #SMEcorner

Did you find this story helpful?