Pallavi Shome is the Chief Operating Officer for Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM), Technology in India. She is also the Global Head of Strategic Vendor Partnerships for Global Operations & Technology globally, with teams in the US & India. She is on the Board of BK Technology India.
In her 26-year corporate career, she has been part of firms such as Fidelity Investments, Standard Chartered Bank PLC and British Telecom leading multiple functions and domains and large teams. Pallavi is a certified executive coach from the International Coaching Federation, trained in Lean methodology & Six Sigma. She is passionate about mentoring & coaching on leadership, management, executive presence & personal branding.
In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Pallavi gives her take on the future of work by sharing how BNY Mellon’s innovative and digitally driven workforce strategies drive collaboration, respect flexibility, build future-ready skill-sets, achieve successful DEI outcomes and more.
Here are some excerpts.
What are those emerging business trends that have an impact on the way BNY Mellon leads its workforce strategy?
There has been a renewed focus on employees and their well-being in the post-pandemic era, as organisations look to recalibrate their workforce strategy to align with employee expectations. It’s the “people” trends in the current environment that needs to be proactively defined - one that’s agile and empathetic to the needs of both clients and employees. The underlying principle is to create an organization that fosters a culture where everyone can be themselves - celebrate their differences at work and feel respected.
Our intention is matched by action and action is backed by accountability. We invest in attracting, developing, supporting, advancing, and retaining the brightest, most innovative minds. With strength in diversity as one of four core values, we actively seek diversity of thought, perspectives and problem-solving. We strive to create an ecosystem and environment that unleashes the power of diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise to produce better ideas and business outcomes.
As we discuss new working arrangements, flexibility has become a critical focus area. How are you at BNY Mellon enabling flexible working practices?
The pandemic and the ensuing work-from-home model over these past 2 years have led to a major transformation in the way we think of executing our business priorities. Our Future of Work model allows for flexibility, but it’s about using good judgement aligned to managing life, work and meeting expectations.
We have adopted decentralised decision-making on working physically from the office, with managers encouraged to maintain a balance in providing that flexibility to colleagues while also building a collaborative culture. We encourage our employees to take advantage of the benefits of in-person collaboration, showing up for the moments that matter to strengthen a sense of belonging and reinforce hands-on learning. Furthermore, everyone can benefit from in-office time to focus on relationship building, networking, professional development and celebrating team milestones and success.
With technology being a critical enabler in designing any operating model, what have been some digital innovations pioneered to lead talent management?
BNY Mellon’s MyCareer platform has been completely reimagined through artificial intelligence (AI). Employees have access to an intuitive platform designed to help employees identify and match internal opportunities for their next career move at BNY Mellon. This helps with increased visibility across the organization into a unique set of skills and capabilities, experiences and interests.
Additionally, to support our employees with their learning and development, we have one-stop platforms in the form of Learning & Development Academy and DEI Academy, which house a variety of resources catered to different styles of learning for employees to support honing specific competencies as part of a holistic professional development experience. Additionally, the Pluralsight platform supports continuous technology and digital skill-building for our workforce in Technology & Operations.
As we talk about technology, how can we leverage it to lead DEI initiatives at the workplace?
Technology has played a critical role in connecting people, having a significant impact on the way the company designs, communicates and implements initiatives that consider the needs of all employees. For example, BNY Mellon has developed platforms like internal social forums and curated ready-to-consume content such as conversational videos, case studies showcasing inclusive behaviours, and LGBTQ+ terminology guides which have helped our employee & business resource groups to conduct regular sensitization workshops.
To address gender parity, our focus has been on implementing technology-led initiatives that have a positive impact across all levels of the organisation, from the MP3 Program (Maximize Personal & Professional Potential) and IGNITE Program– which supports our women employees at mid-level management looking to progress further, to Finding Your North Star Program – which grooms our women leaders into executive leadership roles. Furthermore, existing leaders are encouraged to mentor women employees - share career guidance and arrange for sponsorships that help increase their visibility in appropriate channels.
Being a pioneer in designing workforce strategies, what are some lessons that you would like to share with our community as they embrace the future of work?
Organizations should actively invest in continuous skill building that can help highlight and mitigate bias, improve decision making and empower managers to lead high-performing teams. At BNY Mellon, our focus has been on designing policies that enhance employee experiences – allowing them to feel safe, respected and with equal access to opportunities to grow. We have also shifted the accountability to the leadership team for improving the diversity of the workforce and strengthening the talent pipeline. Employees across all levels have DEI goals embedded in their performance management plans and commissioning continuous engagement management tools such as Peakon has allowed us to monitor prevailing employee sentiment against a range of indicators such as diversity & inclusion, wellbeing and belonging.