Jharna Thammaiah K is the Director & India site People & Places Leader at Intuit, where she leads the HR line function and is the HR Site Leader, steering the site’s people and places charter. In addition, she partners with the Business Leadership teams in India and globally to drive the talent agenda on Intuit’s True North Goals. With over 18 years of HR experience in the Technology Industry with progressive IT Product and Services organisations, Jharna joined Intuit in 2016 as the HR Business Partner supporting the Small Business and Self-Employed Group (SBSEG). As an HR line leader, she leads by influencing transformational change around org design, governance, high-performance culture, diversity and innovation towards enabling a robust and highly engaged regional leadership team.
In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Jharna shares her expertise on leading the future of work with a solid upskilling strategy, leveraging cutting-edge HR technology, designing change management strategies for the long term and more.
What are some emerging trends shaping how organisations recruit and retain talent in the coming months? What does the future of work look like for fintech enterprises?
Understanding how employees would think, feel, and act has become imperative. If we have learnt anything in these last few years, it is how hybrid working models, workplace cultural adaptation, an inspiring company mission and agile decision-making are all essential factors when attracting talent today. As a result, we have all had to reinvent the workplace to build a more purpose-driven and adaptive environment.
The fintech industry needs more people with digital expertise who can maintain the sector’s momentum. Unfortunately, the supply of digital talent cannot keep up with the sector's exponential growth. As a result, the fintech industry must find long-term solutions such as upskilling and reskilling talent beyond basic coding.
Build a supply chain of talent: The emphasis should be on building and nurturing your supply chain, becoming creators and enablers, not simply consumers, of talent. Investing in upskilling initiatives will help unlock inclusive and sustainable economies where no one is left behind and can benefit India exponentially in the coming years. Employees feel valued when an employer invests in their staff’s learning, development and growth and are significantly less likely to leave the company.
Continuous Learning is key and must be embedded into company culture: This is possible by offering tailored, on-demand learning experiences. Our culture is our differentiator, and we make learning and development a priority. At Intuit, career growth and development conversations are embedded in our goal-setting and monthly check-in process. Employees and managers discuss progress on goals and stakeholder feedback.
With technology being a critical enabler in HR transformation, what are some digital innovations that you are excited about? What are some of the HR tech solutions you plan to implement in the coming months?
New technology paradigms have emerged due to large-scale disruption in the past years. AI will optimise or transform nearly every function in the coming decade. Organisations should be ready to train their workforce in new skills and investigate the AI investments required across functions. As an AI-driven expert platform, we are connecting people to experts, unlocking intelligent money decisions, assisting small businesses scale growth and solving for personalisation needs of mid-market small businesses; we aim to build momentum, accelerate growth and boost the financial confidence of our customers.
We are always focused on using cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of the curve across various areas such as worker management, time tracking, payroll, benefits and project management, among others. HR technology evolution in Intuit is a priority for us and is at the centre of the business and people transformation we have embarked on. We endeavour to create employee experiences that are fast, frictionless, automated and inclusive through foundational and scalable capabilities that help accelerate our business outcomes.
The future of work also calls for transforming how businesses lead operations and service clients. What are some of the skill sets and competencies that will rise in importance? How are you building those skills at Intuit?
India has always been a vital place for talent hunt. To fuel innovation, we are always looking out for the best talent who is customer obsessed and evolving with new technology. In a world where skills need to be constantly updated, Intuit seeks to solve challenging and meaningful customer problems, evolving to new technologies, elegant and intuitive design and UI; We look for talent who have high learnability, passion for deep customer understanding and innovation while being creative, talented, and with an ability to work in fast-moving teams. In addition to relevant skills, we also look at how potential talent aligns with our values to ensure we have people with the right culture fit for us.
At Intuit, we are constantly developing new ways to innovate and create greater value for our customers when it comes to using Intuit’s products, and it is this passion that we look for in aspiring talent as well. Some of the significant roles where Intuit is seeing growths are software engineering, product design, product and program management, data science, risk analytics and business analytics roles and the corresponding capabilities that will see growth include artificial intelligence/machine learning, data science, cloud, open source and natural language understanding (NLU).
What are the building blocks of a robust change management strategy as the workplace transforms in unprecedented ways?
As per a report by ASSOCHAM, India’s gig sector is expected to increase to USD 455 billion at a CAGR of 17% by 2024 and has the potential to expand at least 2x the pre-pandemic estimates. We're proud of our teams' resilience over the past two years—moving to and adopting an entirely virtual way of working and now shifting to hybrid. We did so out of necessity, building new muscles and learning to work in ways we may not have believed possible.
We declared four guiding principles to help us achieve the balance between virtual working and hybrid, keeping our employees front and centre:
- Fostering connectedness and belonging
- Sparking creativity and innovation
- Solving for speed, agility, and productivity
- Attracting and retaining top, diverse talent
Teams are empowered to determine the hybrid work approach that works best for them. We encouraged our teams to align with their team/leadership and apply our Design For Delight (D4D) principle to determine the best working model for their team. Like any experiment, learning will come from both successes and failures. We recognise that not all teams will work by design, a deliberate part of our approach to innovating for a better way of working. However, success will require everyone to lean in, embrace a flexible mindset and collaborate for the best outcome.
Some of the pain points that the leaders are addressing include strengthening technology foundations to build capabilities, resources and services to handle, sustain, and restore employee wellness at work, and measures to engage employees for a durable period. We also developed a leadership playbook to provide our managers with resources to lead their teams with a clear vision, focused on our customers and built teams driven by a high-performance culture, ultimately leading to winning results for our customers.
If you could share one word of advice to our community on preparing themselves for the future of work, what would it be?
In this era, the one skill that will matter is the ability to be agile and learn new skills while embracing a continuous learning mindset. Spend time learning craft and leadership skills that will help advance your profession. Choose your leaders and influencers and develop a strategy to connect and build relationships with them. Establish a networking strategy that enables you to contribute to the creation of business connections. The future workforce should have the ability to develop personalised skills and abilities, acquire new knowledge, and contribute to the future of work.