Article: We are creating digital-ready, cross-skilled talent: Aye Finance’s Ankur Sharma

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We are creating digital-ready, cross-skilled talent: Aye Finance’s Ankur Sharma

“While entrepreneurs are laying the foundation stones of unicorns, intrapreneurs are building them. We understand that our talent needs creative freedom, consistent delivery of unique challenges to learn and workplace wellness,” shares Ankur Sharma, Head HR, Aye Finance.
We are creating digital-ready, cross-skilled talent: Aye Finance’s Ankur Sharma

In the latest study by People Matters and Keka, leaders of SMEs and startups highlighted ‘Building an attractive EVP and Employer Brand’ and ‘Adopting Digital Delivery Models’ as top priorities. 

With these priorities listed in the report titled Talent Trends 2022: The rise of startups, unicorns and SMEs, these fast-growing organisations need to invest heavily on upskilling.

In an interview with People Matters, Ankur Sharma, Head HR, Aye Finance shares how they are investing in shaping careers, resulting in more business growth and better employee experience.

From 5,000 startups and eight unicorns in 2015 to 60,000 and 81 unicorns in 2021, the rise of the SME and startup industry has been exponential. What are the factors attributing to this phenomena?

India now has 100+ unicorns and will reach 250+ by 2025. 1 in every 10 unicorns globally are from India, which is the world’s 3rd largest home to unicorns. The incubation periods are continuously shrinking owing to the easy access to capital, ease of doing business, implementation of technology in new domains, lego tech platforms for scale up and availability of talent. Talent is the biggest asset and dominating factor to this growth story the world is tuned to. 

What are the key macro disruptions shaping your business priorities?

Obviously, COVID-19 has forced us to recalibrate to focus on efficiency with efficacy. In addition, the deeper penetration of technology is redefining the customer value chains, making us adapt at the same pace. Disruptive Innovation has been a key organisational priority for Aye with Digital at the forefront. Today, even our last mile customers are admiringly tech-savvy and some are early adopters of specific digital business methods. 

How are these shifting business priorities influencing your talent needs?

Today, we need talent that is digital-savvy and can adapt continuously. Our hiring assessments help us screen the right talent. 

What are some critical changes in your talent management policies that you have introduced to navigate through the business demands and talent requirements in the post-pandemic milieu?

While entrepreneurs are laying the foundation stones of unicorns, intrapreneurs are building them. We understand that our talent needs creative freedom, consistent delivery of unique challenges to learn and workplace wellness. We are creating a fungible digital-ready talent pool cross-skilled in the needed domains. Byte-sized learning continuously and repeatedly administered through gamification helps us push retention of learning by 3x. Deeper engagement and workplace positivity are our core 2022 priorities to help us stay a truly Great Place to Work. 

What is one big HR transformation you have successfully led in recent times? What worked?

Aye Finance is a rapidly growing workplace which is changing every month. Our HR ecosystem has to co-evolve coherently. One big HR transformation we have done is the implementation of a career lattice. Our employees can move up, laterally or diagonally in any role. To make things work, we implemented an IJP program throughout the organisation and started real-time promotions. Now, employees do not have to wait for their promotion for months. Most high performers have progressed through this program in the last 1 year, leading to improvements in high-performer retention rates.  

How is the role of HR in SMEs, startups, and fast-growing organisations changing? How are you enabling your HR teams to gear up for this change and contribute in the exponential growth of your company?

HR in fast-growing organisations has to run ahead and lead the pack. Such organizations cannot afford the luxury and mistake of being reactive. HR has to have a thorough subject matter expertise of their business. They should be Change agents and Thought leaders for the business to drive capability development programs that can sustain long-term growth.

The role of the HR, which was never under the spotlight a few years ago, has become vital today. While designing policies, processes and practices, what are the key principles that make HR professionals in fast-growing organisations more effective?

HR has to create a culture that drives the growth agenda and binds everyone together. A transparent and open culture where divergent views are discussed helps create winning organisations. Today’s employee is not happy with best practices. Employees of 2022 want organisations that give them inner peace and outward growth.  

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Topics: Recruitment, Culture, #EmployeeExperience, #SMEcorner

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