Article: Manisha Kelkar on how Nuvoco prioritises leadership, learning, career and care

Leadership

Manisha Kelkar on how Nuvoco prioritises leadership, learning, career and care

Discover how Manisha Kelkar of Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd. leads HR with innovative and future-ready strategies, AI, and a human-centric approach.
Manisha Kelkar on how Nuvoco prioritises leadership, learning, career and care

Manisha Kelkar is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd. A driving force behind performance-oriented cultures in both manufacturing and service industries, she has a proven track record of implementing innovative HR strategies. Throughout her career, she has effectively nurtured organisations through leadership development and change management interventions. Manisha’s experience spans over two decades across several renowned organisations, including Crompton Greaves, RPG Enterprises, E-Funds International, Morgan Stanley, and WNS Global Services.

In conversation with People Matters, Manisha shares her expert insights on how HR can become more agile, the impact of AI and automation, their innovative talent acquisition strategies and more. 

Here are some excerpts. 

In light of the evolving business landscape, how can HR adapt to meet the changing needs and demands of the organisation? What are some challenges they must be wary of?

The Human Resources Team at Nuvoco has significantly adapted to meet the organisation's changing needs by focusing on employee well-being, talent management, and technological advancements. A key transformation is the comprehensive wellness programme, developed in partnership with health experts, which targets both physical and mental health. We have tied up with leading service providers to offer a platform that raises awareness and provides support through an app, allowing individuals to evaluate their current mental state discreetly while maintaining the highest level of confidentiality.

The company also provides extensive medical insurance coverage for employees and their families, supported by annual health assessments and discounted rates for extended family members. Additionally, the 'ZERO HARM' philosophy underscores the company’s commitment to health, safety, and the environment with stringent safety protocols integrated into operations.

Another significant adaptation is in talent management. The Company has introduced an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that reflects our commitment to employee engagement and organisational success.

This initiative is structured around four key pillars: Leadership, Learning, Career, and Care. We believe that investing in our employees' development is essential to driving organisational success.

Strategies have been revamped to attract, retain, and develop top talent. Emphasising skills development, career growth opportunities, and diversity will equip our employees with the necessary skills needed to be future-ready. The HR team plays a critical role in navigating the rapid pace of technological change.

We ensure continuous upskilling of the workforce while maintaining a balance between leveraging technology and preserving a human-centric approach. To support this, we provide on-the-job and specialised training, integrating digital learning platforms like Nuvoco University and the Manufacturing and Sales Academy, which cater to the diverse learning needs of our workforce. Collaborations with IIT Madras and LinkedIn Learning, along with gamified virtual learning activities, ensure our employees stay abreast of industry trends and enhance their learning experience. Embracing cutting-edge educational tools ensures our workforce is always prepared for future challenges.

To ensure that all employees feel valued, heard, supported, and aligned with the company’s mission and values, we have introduced a Manager's Playbook—a comprehensive video-based learning resource designed to empower managers in navigating the various stages of the employee life cycle.  We firmly believe effective leadership starts with clear communication and consistent feedback. This playbook equips managers with the tools and best practices needed to lead effectively, providing guiding points for clear communication, consistent feedback, and meaningful development opportunities. Standardising our management approach enhances employee satisfaction, drives engagement, and ultimately boosts organisational performance.

Technology continues to revolutionise various aspects of HR. How do you foresee the impact of emerging technologies, such as AI, automation, and data analytics, shaping the future of HR practices within your organisation and the industry as a whole?

By integrating AI services across the employee life cycle—from Hire to Retire—we are exploring numerous opportunities to enhance employee experiences, facilitate skill development, promote continuous learning, and support professional growth. 

AI is transforming recruitment by automating tasks such as resume screening, applicant matching, and initial interview assessments, significantly reducing time-to-hire and enhancing the quality of hires. It allows us to efficiently sift through vast amounts of candidate data, bringing the best talent to the forefront quickly, additionally, this technology enables us to attract top talent more efficiently.

Automation and data analytics streamline workforce management and facilitate informed decision-making based on real-time data. At Nuvoco, we understand that data analytics is crucial for any department to function effectively. To this end, we are on a journey of implementing Business Intelligence and analytics tools that support a data-driven HR approach, allowing us to generate automated reports, anticipate workforce trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and support strategic planning. This evolution boosts operational efficiency and enriches employee engagement and experience.

Embracing digital tools is now essential for HR to streamline processes and enhance the employee experience. Our integrated HRIS system, NEST, provides a uniform experience across the organisation by serving as a one-stop solution for HR-related activities such as talent management, recruitment, performance management, learning management, onboarding, and employee information. Additionally, we launched NuTEP to improve the employee experience through real-time expense tracking, faster approvals, and seamless reimbursements and also analyse data under various administrative cost parameters. Our Nu Smiles program promotes peer-to-peer recognition through the NEST platform, contributing to a positive and dynamic work culture.

However, integrating AI presents challenges, such as protecting data privacy and managing organisational transformation. Maintaining the human element in HR interactions is crucial, even as we embrace advanced technologies like AI. By leveraging these emerging technologies, Nuvoco Vistas ensures a more efficient, engaging, and supportive HR environment while staying competitive in the modern landscape.

SpeechX appears to be a significant innovation in talent acquisition for Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd. How has it been adopted within your organisation, and what measures are in place to assess its effectiveness, particularly in sales and campus hiring?

SpeechX has transformed our talent recruiting approach at Nuvoco Vistas. This AI-powered solution has proven especially useful in sales and campus hiring, where it aids in the first screening of prospects, saving significant time and cost. We've used SpeechX to perform voice-based evaluations that test candidates' communication abilities, which are crucial in sales positions. For campus hiring, SpeechX allows us to rapidly manage enormous amounts of applications, ensuring that we choose the top talent from institutions around the country. To examine SpeechX's performance, we used a variety of indicators, including time-to-hire, quality of hiring, and applicant feedback. Regular assessments and upgrades to the tool guarantee that it remains in line with our changing hiring goals and standards.

 As technology continues to advance, how do you balance the integration of innovative tools like SpeechX with maintaining a human-centric approach to HR, particularly in areas such as candidate experience and employee engagement?

Prioritising a balance between innovative tools like SpeechX and a human-centric approach to HR is fundamental to our organisational ethos. We supplement AI-powered evaluations with personal touches, such as one-on-one interviews and follow-up conversations, to ensure candidates feel valued and involved throughout the recruiting process. Technology helps us streamline processes, but it's the human interaction that truly engages and reassures candidates.

By blending technology with personal touchpoints, we aim to create a balanced and holistic HR approach that leverages the best of both worlds. Our goal is to harness the efficiency of technology while preserving the empathy and warmth of human interaction.

For organisations considering the adoption of innovative HR technologies, what advice would you offer based on your experience? 

It’s essential to start with a clear strategy and understand how the technology can be leveraged to execute it. Engage stakeholders early in the process and provide training to ensure a seamless transition. Prioritise data security and privacy, and continually seek feedback to improve the system. The successful adoption of technologies, including NEST and SpeechX, involved pilot testing, obtaining user input, and iterative improvements. Focusing on user experience and integrating technology with organisational objectives have been critical in maximising ROI, ensuring our systems are efficient, user-friendly, and strategically aligned.

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Topics: Leadership, Skilling, Recruitment, HR Technology, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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